Amy Orr-Ewing, RZIM – “Jesus is the Good Shepherd” (Advent video)
Max Jeganathan, RZIM – 3rd Sunday of Advent: “Joy Came Down” (video)
On this third Sunday of Advent, Amy-Orr Ewing and Max Jeganathan complement each other very well in this week’s pair of Advent videos. Amy brings a lot of insight and perspective on location at a field with sheep. Max reminds us that Jesus came for our joy, not our happiness, and helps us distinguish the two.
We hope your faith is being nourished through these Advent videos, and that they have helped to bring more meaning and joy to your Advent season.
Our Good Shepherd desires and seeks our joy; according to John 15:11, “that your joy may be full.” If you are in need of God’s security and the joy He offers you, please reach out to a TD leader, and we’ll be thrilled to speak with you!
Video: “Good For Nothing” (What we are good for) – Sandra
Video: “Good For Nothing” – recap video (courtesy Michael Chan)
To prepare for next Friday’s session in our ongoing series, Christ For Real, here a recap video, as well as the full recording of our last session, “Good For Nothing,” where Sandra led us in exploring our problems with our mortality, our morality, and what the Messiah actually provides for us. It would be a great way to focus on Christ and His purpose for coming to earth during this Advent season!
Below are videos of the first two sessions of the year, “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become,” Pts. 1 and 2:
Video: “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become,” Pt. 1 (God and Your Performance)
Video: “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become,” Pt. 2 (What’s Wrong With Dedication to God)
Video: “Becoming the Coach I’ve Become” (incl. CIF-SS Championship video)
We are aiming to have each member of TD memorize the entire chapter of Colossians 3 by the end of the school year. Our schedule is to have memorized vv. 1-6 by the end of November and vv. 1-10 by the end of December. How are you doing?
If you’re behind schedule, no worries, you can catch up. The beginning of this Advent season would be a great time to start!
Colossians 3 (NASB)
1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
22Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
2020 has been a year that many of us have found difficult to give thanks in. But could our lack of gratitude be one of the reasons God has ordained COVID-19 to slow us all down this year? Truth be told, weren’t our hearts just as discontent in 2019? And in 2018? Could it be that God has suspended all the “extras” that we take for granted and assume are our rights to have, in order to reduce us to gratitude for the very biggest, most essential, most valuable, most generous, and most miraculous? Namely, precious life itself?
I ask you to pause long enough today to give God, the generous Giver of Life Himself, one of the greatest gifts you can – the gift of time. Please take the time to read and act on this Thanksgiving devotion. You’ll be glad you did – and so will He! – Arthur
Let’s take advantage of this day instituted by President Lincoln, who during the civil war, proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” and use it for the Lord’s honor!
How? The Bible tells us how: “In everything, give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:18
Did you catch the significance of that? There aren’t too many places in Scripture that explicitly state, “This is God’s will for you,” so when it does, we need to take notice.
And what is God asking of us? Simply, to give thanks to Him everywhere, all the time. To be a walking “thanks dispenser,” if you will. Notice that He’s not calling us to have a grateful heart, though that is implicitly necessary. He’s calling us to go further than that to actually express thanks. Friends, He’s telling us that it WILL bless His heart! Think about it! God is explicitly telling us that it will bless His heart!
Wow. This was brought home to me many years ago as my own heart was blessed. The lesson has never left me since. Let me explain via some thoughts I penned then:
“We arrived home from DC late last night. Of the many things on my to-do list this morning, I wanted to update the TD website and write this devotion, which I am now doing. A few minutes ago, I went to take a “bathroom break” and there on my sink counter, to my surprise, were two hand-cut, hand-drawn, hand-made cards with pictures and drawings of Washington DC on them and the words, “Thank You So Much!” I opened them up and inscribed within were deep heart-felt expressions of thanks from my two youngest children, Daniel and Angela, for taking them and for caring for them on our trip.
Sandra and I had heard some activity down the hallway early this morning while we were still asleep but didn’t think much of it. Now, I get it. Those two woke up before anyone else did and the first thing they did was to get busy to find a creative way to give us thanks. Had they already expressed verbal thanks to us earlier? They sure did, but they wanted to take it further to express their gratitude and to bless our hearts. And they did. My heart melted with appreciation and love for them. I went downstairs and gave them big, big hugs and kisses. Sometimes, little ones teach us the biggest lessons.
I think of how God’s heart has been blessed when His children have taken the extra time to write poetry, hymns, and songs to say thank you to Him; when they’ve carved out larger amounts of time in their lives to harness their skills and talents to painstakingly produce offerings to Him (whether visually, audibly, or tangibly) as an expression of their thanks to Him. I’m sure, in His own providential yet personal way, He gave them His “hugs” and “kisses,” for our Father will not be outgiven.”
Here are a couple of suggestions for you to bless your Father’s heart this month (I’m sure you can think of more):
Count your blessings, name them one by one – make a list of everything God wants you to be thankful for. Then give Him thanks for each one. Be specific and make it heart-felt. Notice I didn’t ask you to list things and people you ARE thankful for. Of course, that’s important but sometimes there are things and people we really ought to be thankful for that we don’t feel thankful for.
Produce something extra special for Him as a way of saying thanks. Make Him a card, write Him a song or poem, paint or draw Him a picture, practice playing a song for Him on your instrument, etc. Whatever you’re gifted in or trained in, use your skill for His honor in an extra special way for Him this month.
Make it a special point to “acknowledge Him” (Prov. 3:6) ALL day, EVERY day – audibly, silently, through singing, journaling, etc. We need to realize that God is actually with us all day, everyday. So, make a special effort to develop your everyday relationship and conversation with Him. 1Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.” This is what that means. Always be relating with Him, including Him in your activities and conversations, as well as in your rest. Relate with Him without ceasing. You’ll both be blessed.
Express actual thanks to those God has used to bless you. Expressions of thanks go a long way for those who receive them. Go ahead and surprise them with a simple thank you for being your friend, sibling, or parent. Even though it may not be your “style,” it’s God’s style, and we all represent Him much better when we’re thankful. “As I grew older God continued to prepare my heart and teach me to seek Him. One of the first lessons that I have learnt was not to take things for granted. I had that wake up call around the age of twelve and realized just how much I was blessed with. I take my foot for granted, my family and the fact that I wasn’t born in a third world country all blessings that God had freely given and I still complain?” – Nick Vujicic (born with no arms and legs)
The Irony of It
The actual giving of thanks to God and others forces us to realize how blessed we are and how so much of that blessing had nothing to do with us deserving it. That then leaves us humble, and humble people are the ones God uses and blesses most, for “Blessed are the (humble), for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5)
So, leave it to God to instruct us to do something that seems to be for His benefit, but in actuality it benefits us! That’s our Father. Thank you, God!
Video: Highlights of various “Offerings” over the years (for much more, enter “offerings” in the search bar)
You just got a glimpse of some of the fun, amazing, and original Offerings we’ve seen over the past 5 years in this short clip! This year, we will be hosting Offerings 10 on November 20!
“Offerings” was originally developed to get you TD’ers more in touch with your creative side, to help restore holistic balance to otherwise often-imbalanced lives. Today, most TD’ers are spiritual consumers, with few producers. We’d like to work towards changing that reality by challenging you to sit with the Lord, meditate on His Word, and dream, allowing you to create an “offering” to give Him for His pleasure.
Unlike your typical talent show, which highlights the performer, Offerings highlights the greatness of our Creator — through the talents He has given us to create with! Whether through art, music, writing, poetry, reciting, baking, dancing, or whatever you can create, Offerings lets us celebrate and enjoy an amazing God who created amazing people!
Your “offering” doesn’t have to be great or anything; it just has to be from your heart. If it’s great, then great! If it’s amateurish, then great as well! 1Samuel 16:7 says “Man looks at the outward appearance; the Lord looks at the heart.” It’s the heart He’s after … a heart that’s willing to create for Him and take a risk for Him in pointing others to Him.
So, we highly encourage you to take a risk and participate in Offerings 10! The theme is CHIRST FOR REAL. You can do it on your own, or you can collaborate with others. Let your small group leaders know you’re interested, ASAP, so you can start brainstorming and collaborating!
Theme: Christ for Real
Event Date: 11/20/20
Time limit: ~5 minutes (for live sharing/pre-recorded video)
Submission deadline: 11/13/20
P.S. Need inspiration? Search “Offerings” on the TD blog and take a look at the posts for previous “Offerings”. You’ll get plenty of food for thought! Let any of the leaders know if you have any questions.
The election is fast approaching for the presidency, the Senate, local leadership, propositions, etc. Amidst all the specific people, parties, and issues to consider, it’s important for us to step back and know what God has in mind for government in the first place.
That’s exactly what we’ll be exploring this Friday at TD, as we were pause from our studies in Christ For Real to get a stronger handle on what God’s design for government really is. Part of our time together will include a vote to see who TD would elect as POTUS!
If you’re going to grow to become the Christian you’ve become, it all starts with knowing the real score, and knowing how God actually scores things. What is the role of performance in our lives, and why do we misunderstand it so much?
Intro video – “Becoming the Coach I’ve Become” (incl. CIF-SS Championship video)
Video – “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become, Pt. 1” (God and performance)
We kicked off our year’s theme, Christ For Real, with an opening session called, “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become, Pt. 1” and focused on thinking through our performance mindset through biblical lenses. What is the role of our performance in our lives in God’s eyes? Does it enhance our worth and standing before God? Does it not really matter one way or another since we’re saved?
We also explored the area of our motivation in performing, as well as the pressure of expectations, both from within and without.
This Friday, we’ll head into Part 2 by looking at how our desire to do God’s will can sometimes go wrong. We’ll spend time in small groups hearing from one another and start working out how to follow God’s lead.
Be sure to review last week’s session beforehand to be able to ramp up to this week’s session, as we march towards becoming the Christians we’ve become!
Why are you a part of the TD family? What brings you back week after week? What are you looking for? Hoping for? Longing for?
Whatever your reasons are, somewhere in there is the latent desire to connect with your Creator and the purpose for which He made you. Deep inside, you want to live life better and more meaningfully. Ultimately, you want to learn how to actually love and be loved.
You know in your head that all that is found in Christ (or so you’ve been raised), but somehow you have yet to really experience Him that way. That’s why this year’s theme is Christ For Real. We want to truly experience Christ … for real.
We begin this Friday, as Arthur leads us in our first session – “Becoming the Christian You’ve Become.”
Feel free to watch the videos to review Opening Night and to prime the pump for this week’s session. The Table of Contents will send you directly to the point in the video you want to see.