I love the fall. After a few warm months, it’s exciting when the days get shorter and the air gets cooler. Despite being in the midst of Southern California’s Indian summer, I see evidence of a change in season, and my heart is happy. In fact, one of the main reasons I love this time of year is because it begins the long lead-in to Christmas. Though still a ways off, anticipating the holidays gets me excited, and while I’m tempted to rush their arrival, I’m reminded to savor each expectant moment.
Despite being difficult, waiting is a gift.
For example, if I take Haven & Cohen to Target and buy them each a toy that they begin playing with as soon as they get in the car, their experience is different than if they were to receive the same items for Christmas. When the presents have been sitting under the tree, all wrapped up pretty, and the kids are finally released to tear through the paper to uncover what’s inside, the gifts are all the sweeter. This is because…
The power of anticipation makes the unveiling more impactful.
And while this statement seems applicable for trivial things like presents, the truth is it’s hard to face delays when there’s something more important “hanging in the balance.” Whether it’s a relationship, a new job, physical healing, or clarity on a tough issue, we tend to interpret delays as obstacles instead of opportunities. However, to inherit the peace of mind that Christ purchased for us on the cross, we must adjust our perspective and begin to see waiting as part of God’s answer. In other words, though it eclipses our view of the ultimate outcome, it’s every bit as much a component of the gift as what’s inside.
Faith shifts our paradigm and empowers us to see treasure in what’s yet uncertain.
Like the packages that adorn our tree at Christmas, our waiting seasons are gifts ready to be unwrapped. Here are three important reasons why:
- Waiting gives us an opportunity to enjoy the shade of the Branch. Jesus is our strong tower, our fortress, and the One in whom we can root our hope. Just as presents remain under the boughs of our Christmas tree until the time they are opened, waiting gives us an opportunity to rest and enjoy the presence of our Savior. When we don’t know which way to go, He bids us find peace abiding in the shelter of His goodness. As we cling to His promises, study His Word, and worship Him in the midst of uncertainty, He strengthens us deep on the inside so we’re ready to receive and enjoy all the blessings He has in store for our future. In short, He turns our wait into a way of experiencing His wonder.
- Waiting reveals the beauty of the present. While we all yearn to open the gifts that tempt us, if we focus solely on getting to Christmas day, we can’t fully enjoy the beauty of the season. Likewise, if we fixate only on that which we don’t yet have, we miss the good gifts that are already in our midst. Our Lord invites us to live with eyes enlightened by His Spirit so we can perceive the grace and abundance that surround us in the present.
- Waiting teaches us to deconstruct barriers. Just as children learn quickly how to break ribbons, shred bows, and tear through wrapping paper, so seasons of expectation teach us to break through obstacles and roadblocks. Discomfort is a catalyst for change, and sometimes, the greatest gifts come enveloped in problems whose deconstruction transforms us into stronger and more compassionate people. As we actively engage periods of uncertainty and do all that we can to grow, God meets us there with divine power and blesses our efforts to become more like Him.
Friend, your season of waiting is a gift ready to be unwrapped. Whatever you’re longing for, I encourage you to cling to hope and know that the One who promised is faithful. As you anticipate the revelation of His answer, your Savior invites you to find shelter in His presence, enjoy the blessings already present, and allow Him help you work through the barriers that hold you back!
Come to the Manger…
As we welcome the arrival of fall and begin the countdown to the holiday season, we’re wise to set our focus on the One who came to earth over 2,000 years ago. Though He was born in a lowly manger amidst a stable full of livestock, He was heralded by heavenly hosts and worshipped by a throng of the world’s wisest men. In one tiny baby, the King of the Universe became the Shepherd of our hearts, and today, He lives in triumph to fulfill ALL of His promises!
In fact, as a reminder to celebrate His wonder and prepare our hearts for Advent, we’re thrilled to unveil our brand new 2021 angel ornament, which we’ll send to you with a gift of just $20 or more this month. The second in a series of five, this beautiful heavenly messenger radiates the joy and light of Jesus, with her hands outstretched and wings unfurled. Etched in solid brass, finished in 14kt gold, and boasting a gold cord for hanging, she’s handcrafted in the USA and is sure to add a touch of elegance and timeless class to your Christmas tree.
In addition to the ornament, with a generous donation of $150 or more, we’ll also include the “Come to the Manger” Christmas lantern. Perfect for a table, mantle, or other seasonal display, this enchanting decoration is both a snow globe and a lighted lantern. Featuring a colorful likeness of Mary and Joseph looking over the baby Jesus in the manager, it features soft glittery snow that swirls continuously when the battery-operated LED light is turned on. Our prayer is that it will be a source of joy and a constant reminder of the Light of the World, who brought perfect love to life.
Request your gift by calling us today at (866) GET-HOPE (438-4673), or visit here.
By Chad & Hillary Blake
Waiting can be tough! In fact, I’m really not good at it, and I can say for certain that I don’t enjoy it. Most of you reading this know that we had a long journey to parenthood, and it involved a lot of waiting. That was a big thing that tried us for years, but I’m also not good at waiting for little stuff. I usually buy birthday and Christmas presents at the last minute — not because I’m trying to procrastinate, but because once I bring them home, I have a terrible time waiting to give them to people. I can’t tell you how many times I have attempted to give Hillary a gift early because I simply could not wait anymore.
I was also the child who always shook the presents under the tree, trying to guess what they were. One Christmas when I was 10 or 11 years old, my mom finally just gave up. I was getting too good at guessing what was in each box, and I had figured out what every wrapped gift was. Of course, now that I’m a parent, I can see how that must have crushed her and taken away from her joy on Christmas morning.
Today, as we raise a two-year-old, we’re trying to instill the idea of waiting with him — and (as all parents will attest) — this is not an easy task. One of the cutest moments of teaching Lewis how to wait was when we were baking cookies together. He was so excited — one, because he loves cookies, but two, because he was helping us make them! As we finished the dough and placed them on the baking sheet, you could see his body tense up with excitement and anticipation. Then we opened the oven and the cookies disappeared from sight! Oh my! The tears flowed like rain as we did our best to teach him that now they had to bake so we could eat them. That was a long ten minutes, but I’m certain they were some of the best cookies he’s ever tasted.
In life, we all find ourselves in seasons of waiting. Sometimes they are short and involve trivial things, but other times, we’re waiting for something big, and it seems like it’s taking forever. My prayer is that we will cling to the Lord in these moments. He is faithful and true to His promises, and as we hope and rejoice in Him, He always shows up.
One practical thing I would encourage you to do in times of waiting is to keep a prayer journal. Record what you’re hoping and praying for, and I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll see answers. When you write stuff down, you can more easily recognize and remember how God is moving in your life. Otherwise, you risk going on to your next request and forgetting how gracious He has been in the past.
Friend, I know that waiting can be tough! I’ve experienced it firsthand. But remember that we serve a good and faithful God who calls us His beloved. In every season, He is our help and our shield.
God loves you and so do we!
Chad + Hillary
A Generational Ministry
The Lord works through generations. Abraham was the father of our faith and his offspring multiplied and birthed King David, through whose lineage Jesus, the Savior of the world, was born. Now, over 2,000 years later, our Heavenly Father has adopted us into His household by the blood of His Son, and He has lovingly given us a heritage in our spiritual and physical families. This gift — if honored, cherished, and guided according to His heart — can bring hope to the world’s future in a way that outlives us.
We believe this wholeheartedly at Hour of Power. We are a generational ministry, and it’s only because of one man’s dream and divine vision that we’ve been empowered to carry on. Dr. Robert H. Schuller understood the importance of legacy, and he fiercely invested in his ministry and his family. As he poured into the next generation by spending time with his children and grandchildren, the seeds of his efforts took root, and today, they’re bearing fruit through the passion of Pastor Bobby and the ongoing outreach of our broadcast.
You, too, have been entrusted with the honor of investing in the ones who will water the seeds of the Gospel after you’ve gone to be with Jesus. By pouring yourself into the lives of those you care about and planning wisely for the future, you can fashion a living legacy that draws millions more to Jesus. To find out how to remember Hour of Power in your will or estate plan, call us at 714-971-4111 or email email@example.com.
Shining the Light of Christ
Jesus is the Light of the world, and He invites us to shine His love on people walking in darkness. While there are many ways in which we can do this, here at Hour of Power, our call is to usher people into the presence of God through worship, both with music and Biblical teaching. Because excellence is a core value of our organization, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the manner in which we minister. In this vein, we recently installed upgraded lighting in our sanctuary.
While you may have already noticed, our hope is that this new and improved system will enable us to provide a seamless and cohesive church experience while adding color, intensity, and focus to our services. “The number one goal of worship is not to be distracting,” says Executive Producer Robert Laird. “We’re dedicated to bringing the light of Christ to millions, and our deep desire is to draw people into the presence of God, never to divert from it.”
We’re so excited to be spreading the radiant love of God with YOU, and we’re immensely grateful for your consistent support and kindness. You enable us to grow, improve, and bless even more people, and we’re ever thankful to be on this journey with you!
What’s Happening on Hour of Power?
- Upcoming Sermon Series: This month, Pastor Bobby preaches on “The Kingdom of God in the Roman World,” a series of sermons that offer a glimpse into the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. Then, he begins a group of messages entitled “A Life of Real Power,” which focuses on how disciples of Jesus can become a source of strength and stability in the world.
- Special Guests: Last month, we welcomed musical guests Charles Jones, Nita Whitaker, and Enterline to the broadcast, in addition to author and journalist Lee Strobel. If you missed any of them, be sure to catch up at hourofpower.org/episode.
- Upcoming Guests: This month, we will welcome artist Bonnie Gray and musical guests Meloney Collins and the Voices of Hope Children’s Choir to the broadcast.*
* Programming information is subject to change.
What’s Happening at Shepherd’s Grove?
- Last month, we hosted our annual “Irvine Feeds the World” event. In partnership with Kids Around the World, we packed thousands of meals with the help of our congregation, students, preschool, and the local community.
- Our fall session of “Rooted” launched last month, and we’re excited to see how God works in the lives of even more people through this intensive, small group discipleship experience.
- We’re hosting an event in conjunction with a group of pastors at the end of the month to train and equip local church leaders.