December 2019 New Heights Newsletter

In the December 2019 issue of the New Heights Newsletter, Pastor Dan reflects on Lessons from Anna, there are upcoming church events and more!

NEW HEIGHTS REFLECTIONS: “Lessons from Anna”

We are all familiar with the Christmas story told in Luke chapters 1-2. We know about Mary and Joseph.  We know about the angel Gabriel coming to visit them and announcing the good news that a Savior will be born to Mary.  We know about the shepherds and the choir of angels that appear to them to proclaim the birth of the Son of God into our world.

But not as familiar to us are the lesser known characters in the Christmas story – characters like the inner keeper, Elizabeth, Zachariah, and Simeon. One such lesser known character is Anna the prophet.  Her story is told in Luke 2:36-38 “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. (37) Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. (38) She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” (NLT)

It’s easy to overlook Anna.  She was 84 years old and had been widowed after just seven years of marriage. She was from the Israelite tribe of Asher, one of the 10 tribes that had split away from Judea and the royal line of King David (2 Chronicles 10) to form their own kingdom which subsequently fell into idol worship and exile to the Assyrians.  Pretty insignificant tribe.  She was a widow and childless meaning she had no one to care for her. Pretty insignificant woman right?  Wrong!  Anna plays an amazing role in the Christmas story!

One day commotion caused by Simeon, a baby boy and his parents caught her attention.  She went to see what the fuss was about and she saw Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, who came to fulfilled all of God’s promises. The Holy Spirit gave her insight into Jesus’ identity and immediately she began to give thanks and praise to God. Then she told everyone who would listen about Jesus!

There are some important lessons for us to learn from Anna this Christmas!

  1. We are significant to God – Anna seemed so old and insignificant, it’s surprising she is even mentioned in the Bible. Yet she wasn’t insignificant to God and neither are we.  Each of us was created by God to play a significant role in His plan to redeem this world.  If you are feeling insignificant this Christmas, remember Anna and realize God thinks you are so significant He sent His Son Jesus to earth to die for you!
  2. Be Devoted to God – The Bible says Anna never left the temple but worshiped there night and day.  Her devotion to God was without question. She is an example for each of us about how we should devote ourselves more to God rather than letting the things of this world, especially the commercialism around Christmas time, distract us.
  3. Recognize Divine Appointments – Anna was in the right place at the right time to encounter the Son of God and she recognized Jesus. God often has each of us in the right place at the right time to be Jesus to those in need of God’s love.  This Christmas, recognize the divine appointments God has made in your schedule and act on them!
  4. Share the Good News – Just as Anna went and told everyone about Jesus, so should we.  Christmas is a great time to share with others the gift of the marvelous news that God loves them so much, He sent Jesus to earth to be their Savior.

Remember Anna this Christmas.  Learn the lessons of Anna this Christmas.  Follow Anna’s example this Christmas.  If you do, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised about how blessed and joyful your Christmas will be!

- Pastor Dan

 

UPCOMING CHURCH EVENTS:

  • Joint Worship Service – Sunday December 1 at 10:30 am in the worship center. We’ll join with our brothers and sisters from Crossroads Church for a combined service including sharing Communion together.
  • Sandwich Sunday – After the combined worship service Sunday December 1. Help make sandwiches to feed the homeless in the Twin Cities area.  We need donations of bread, meat, etc.  See the joint church sign up table.
  • New Heights Book Club – It’s been said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Our book club can help you accomplish both for God’s glory!  We’re reading “The Good and Beautiful God” by James Byran Smith.  We’ll meet to discuss chapter 2 in on Sunday Dec 1 after church over lunch. See Helen for more information.
  • Grocery Giveaway – Saturday December 7 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm at Church.  Come get free groceries and invite people who need food. Volunteers are needed to help with setup, take down and distributing the groceries.
  • Q & A meeting  with Pastor Paul – After the worship service on Sunday Dec 8th.  Pastor Paul from Crossroads will be here to answer any questions we may have about our two churches working more closely together and possibly merging.
  • Children’s Christmas Program – Sunday December 15 at 10:30 am during a joint-worship service with Crossroads our children will be performing the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2.  This is a great opportunity to invite a F.R.A.N. (Friend, Relative, Associate at school or work, Neighbor) to come see our children and hear the story of God’s gift of a Savior to the world.
  • Christmas Caroling – Saturday Dec 21 at 3:00 pm at Woodlyn Heights Senior Care Center located just east of church on Upper 55th Street.  Missing the Christmas spirit? Come sing Christmas Carols to the residents, see their smiles, and feel your heart warm!
  • Christmas Party – Saturday Dec 21st at 4:30 pm at Pastor Dan & Marsha’s home located at 8146 Dawn Ave in IGH.  There’ll be a potluck dinner, fellowship and our annual gift exchange (bring a wrapped gift of $10 value and a wrapped gift for your own kids that are attending). Don’t miss this annual highlight of Christmas warmth, fun and love with your church family!
  • Christmas Eve Service – Tuesday December 24 at 3:00 pm in the chapel.  Come celebrate Jesus’ birth together in this meaningful worship experience that will bring new meaning to your Christmas!
  • Mission Mexico – Dec 26 to Jan 2 in Reynosa, Mexico. This trip is open to children and adults (children under 14 must have a parent with them). We get the opportunity to serve God by ministering to children who are less fortunate in an orphanage and doing a Vacation Bible School for them. We have worship time every morning and evening. We also help with construction projects in the community. See Pastor Dan if you are interested in going.

 

SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES:

1)  Women’s Discipleship Brunch – Saturday December 7th at 10:00 am at Helen’s house in South st Paul.

2) Men’s Discipleship Breakfast – Every other Saturday morning at 8:00 am. The next meeting is Saturday December 14th at Perkins Restaurant on Robert Street in West St Paul.

3) Unafraid Bible Study – Mondays at 6:00 pm in the Conference Room. This Bible study’s purpose is to create a community of believers who are unafraid. Unafraid to seek God together. Unafraid to love one another. Unafraid to struggle with scripture together. This is a joint-church Bible study with Crossroads.

4) Thursday Bible Study – 6:15 pm at Pastor Dan & Marsha’s home located at 8146 Dawn Ave in Inver Grove Heights and studying the Book of Joshua.

 

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY:

We have an exciting Children’s ministry program at New Heights! We believe the Christian education of our children in solid, biblical instruction is of the utmost importance. It can make a difference not only in our children’s eternal destiny but in those they affect during their lifetimes. We offer the following children’s classes held during our Sunday worship service:

Nursery: newborn through 4 years old

God’s Little Lambs: K – 1st Grade

Jesus’ Little Lambs: 2nd – 3rd Grade

Sonshine Kids:  4th – 5th grade

Our Children’s Christmas Program for 2019 is on Sunday December 15th at 10:30 am.  A few things to make you aware of:
  • This Sunday Dec 1st and the following Sunday Dec 8, the participants in the the Christmas Program will be practicing the play during Sunday School and probably a bit longer than the duration of the worship service.
  • Have your children in attendance for both practices and the program – the next 3 Sundays.
  • On Sunday Dec 15 the day of the program, please have your children at church at least one hour before the program starts (meaning 9:30 am).
  • Be sure to pray for God to open doors for us to invite friends and family to come and see our awesome children perform the Christmas story. This is a great opportunity for the unchurched to hear the Christmas story and learn about God’s love for us.
Contact Elisha our Children’s Ministry Director at (651) 343-5236 for more information.

 

YOUTH GROUP:  For grades 6-12 on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm at the Lakeville Campus. Dinner is provided.  Transportation from IGH will be provided. Contact Nina at (612) 865-4176 for more information.

 

DECEMBER QUOTES TO PONDER:

Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him–and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.” – Max Lucado

Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis

At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.” -Mother Teresa

All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.” – David Jeremiah

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