Dear Sisters in Christ,
Thank you to Sarah Holmgren for our devotional this week.
“Comfort, oh comfort my people,” says your God. Isaiah 40: 1
I was thrilled to be asked to write the first devotional for Advent – until after I read the bible verses for this week, Isaiah 40: 1-14. For a New Testament girl like myself, I was stumped. How was I supposed to tie those verses to the Candle of Hope when I could hardly get through them?! Then I realized what God was doing:
For those of you who don’t know me, let me give you some of the details in my life right now. (Trust me, like Pastor Ryan, this will circle back around.) Today, I am at the tail end of a divorce. As in, waiting for the judge to sign off after 19 months of hurt and revival. I am living with dear friends from here at Central, but know that God is pushing me to move out on my own. Trying to find a place has been much harder than I thought. The holidays are here and I need to figure out how and where to spend Christmas without my daughter. I have another area of my life where the enemy has a stronghold over me that I have to continually work on to break that chain. These details don’t really give a lot of hope, do they?
But hope is always here. It’s the candle in the room that sometimes burns brightly. Other times it is so dimly lit that you have to really focus on the flame to be sure it’s still lit. And when was the last time you tried to walk with a candle? You have to cup your hand around the flame to prevent it from going out as you walk.
Right now, out in the wilderness of uncertainty, perhaps you are like me. Holding the candle of hope close and cupping your hand around the flame so it will not go out. Advent is one of the best seasons to guard that flame. God is sending His only Son into a broken, hurting, busy world. Isaiah 40:1 says, “Comfort, oh comfort my people,” says God. He is the one who comforts and ignites the flame.
(Thank you to my dear friend Chrissy for helping me to see and understand the candle reference.)
Heavenly Father, as we await the birth of your Son this season, we surrender to you all of our brokenness. You are the sole place for hope in the wilderness. Remind us in this busy season to guard the flame so we know that we are wrapped in you loving arms. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Volunteers and items needed for Night in Bethlehem
We need many volunteers and donations – Please indicate how you can help by filling out this form on the Hub or contact Sonja Knutson at email@example.com.
SHE Equip Devotional – If you would like to be involved in writing a devotional contact Kris Studniski at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) – The study for this year is Romans
Join over 100 women from the surrounding area Monday nights 7:00-8:30 at Central. Contact Kris Studniski at email@example.com for more information.
Prayer – Monday evenings 5:45-6:45. Join Judy Hovis and Kris Studniski in the chapel.
Armor of God (Priscilla Shirer)
All day, every day, an invisible war rages around you — unseen, unheard, yet felt throughout every aspect of your life: the devil. If you are tired of being pushed around, this seven-week study is for you.
Tuesday evenings – 6:30 to 8:00 pm
January 9 through February 20
Led by: Pam Wagner
Register by December 28
Finding I Am – (Lysa Turkherst)
What is the deep cry of your heart? The ache in your soul that keeps you up at night? The prayer you keep repeating? Jesus not only cares about this deep, spiritual wrestling, but He also wants to step in and see you through it. This study will walk you through these struggles.
Monday mornings – 10:00 to 11:30 am
January 8 through February 5
Led by: Sonja Knutson
Cost: $12 per person
Register by December 28
Our identity is the source from which we live and move each day. Believing in Jesus means that you’ve been given a new identity – one that cannot be shaken or changed because it is established in Christ. This six-week study is a look at what the Bible says on this new identity. We want to walk you through Scripture and promises from God that will redefine your identity and give you a new understanding of what it means to live as a daughter of Christ who knows whose she is and who she is.
Saturday mornings – 9:30 – 11:00 am
January 27 through March 10
Led by: Stacy Minor Cost $24 per person.
Register by January 15
Lifetree Cafe – 508 Freeport Ave Ste A (Guardian Angels Corporate Office board room)
12/6 – Secrets of Finding Contentment
12/13 – Children with no place to call home
12/20 – Mental Illness
12/27 – Overcoming Hardship
1/3 – Inside the Gun Debate
Mothers of Preschoolers are looking for more volunteers to help Thursday mornings at Central with childcare. Contact Bailey Gerdes for more information.
Central Women’s next book discussion will be on Tuesday, January 9 at 1:30 at the Elk River Activity Center and the book will be Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez. Soon after the fall of the Taliban, the author went to Afghanistan to help this war-torn nation. Well meaning, flawed, and sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation as she began the Kabul Beauty School, teaching Afghan women how to cut and color hair to become their family’s breadwinner. She is a frank and entertaining storyteller and the reader learns a great deal about Afghan women and women throughout all societies. The book is available at Holy Grounds on Sunday mornings or at the church office for $5.00. All women are invited.
Love, Peace, and Joy!
The She Leadership Team