12-12-04, Christmas Cookies
12-20-04, Christmas Love
Our first year in Spain has been full of adjustments and orientation, so it has taken us awhile to determine what we
feel God wants us to do to establish a church here. We're thankful that orientation is pretty much behind us and that
we finally seem to be getting a handle on it. If you're interested, you can see our vision, values and strategic profile
under the "Ministry" tab on our web page (address below). Regardless, take a look at the pictures from the Ireland trip
in our photo album on the web page.
Kay will be starting to bake dozens of Christmas cookies soon. Not all of them are for us! We'll take them
to neighbors and look for opportunities to share the story behind Christmas with them. We will also be planning
a couple of informal Christmas get togethers in our home, and are still working on the best way to do that.
Thanks for praying with us!
Mark and Kay
Merry Christmas! Actually, we prefer to wish you a Christ filled Christmas.
We've prepared a Christmas letter that's basically a chronology of our last year. It you'd like to receive it by Email,
just click on reply. (It's about 300 KB) And remember, you can always click on our web page to get an overview
of our ministry. When you do, make sure you go to the photo album.
Looking for a book to read that would orient me toward Jesus Christ this Christmas, I picked up A Love Worth Giving
by Max Lucado. The subtitle is his thesis, Living in the Overflow of God's Love. That's the secret.
I don't have the capacity even to love my own family as I should, much less unsaved people around me, like Fernando and Loli,
Oscar and Anabelia, Marcus and Sofia. Those are people with whom we especially hope to spend time in coming days.
Lucado shares an illustration from his Christmas tree in the first chapter. He had just taken it down and, of course,
had most of the needles fall off when he did so. It had looked so beautiful just the night before, just like we dress
up for Christmas services at church or Christmas parties. Now the tree fell apart, needles all over the place.
His analysis: "Blame it on bad rooting. For two weeks this tree has been planted in a metal bowl." Paul's prayer
in Ephesians 3:17 was "May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love" (NLT). We need contact with
the earth, the good soil of God's love expressed by sending His Son.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and
only Son into the world that we might live
through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that
he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God
so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (1
Jn 4:9-11). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.)
May God's love so overflow from us this Christmas that we
become an instrument of His grace to all around us. We pray that for us here in Spain and for you wherever you
may be in these days.
In God's love,
Mark and Kay