King Ahaz said, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram are helping them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.” But they were the downfall of him and all Israel. – 2 Chronicles 28:23

November 1, 2016

 November is here, and with its arrival comes the anticipation of a season of celebration.   Here at Rose of Sharon we are preparing to climb the roofs and the trees once again, as we make ready for our third annual Christmas Plugged light show.  We are adding some new surprises and expanding our footprint even further as we light up our campus with colorful LED’s synchronized to lively music.  We do this as a free gift to the members of our community and as a reminder to ourselves to let the Light of the World shine through our words and actions as we celebrate His coming.

I’m reminded of the words of the apostle Paul when he wrote to the church at Philippi encouraging them to be “blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world” (Phil 2:15).  As new creations in Christ we should stand out against the darkness around us.  We “are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We’re not of the night or of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:5). 

Being different, being lights in the darkness can be difficult, especially in the day and age in which we live.  Perhaps nowhere has that been made more evident than this year’s election season.  When you want to be popular, when you need everyone to accept you, this is when shining against the darkness is the hardest.  The mounting pressure of public opinion combined with the personal goal of obtaining an office, creates the temptation to “dim down” or “turn off altogether” the light that makes you different.  This is true not only in elections for public office, but in day to day conversations as well.

We find ourselves on the unpopular side of an issue and suddenly shining bright doesn’t seem like such a good idea.  We observe the rest of the world around us.  We see people on the other side win when we lose.  We see them succeed in the dark while we suffer in the light, and we question whether our sacrifice is worth it and whether we really are on the right side.  This pressure can often cause us to abandon our stand and compromise our integrity.  Much like Judah’s King Ahaz, who after observing his enemies’ success began sacrificing to their idols so they too might help him, we all too easily switch sides and unplug our light.

Even though it can be difficult at times, we must continue to reflect the Light of the World in our words and deeds.  We must stand for what is right and fight against the temptation to compromise our principles.  We must guard against excusing wrongs for rights, even when public opinion and our own personal goals might nudge us to do otherwise.  During this season of celebration let’s resolve to be lights in the world around us.  Let’s be the city on a hill that cannot be hidden, and let’s point the way to the true Light – our Savior and our only hope in the darkness.

News and Notes:

  • We will be building our Christmas Plugged light show on Saturday, November 12th starting at 8am.  Everyone is invited to come along and join in the work to let our lights shine before men.

  • Our Kid’s Praise team will be singing on Safari Sunday!  We are also getting ready to put together a children’s nativity for our Christmas Unplugged event (Dec. 18th at 6:00).  Kid’s Praise meets every Wednesday night at 6:15 in the Element Kid’s room.

  • Be on the lookout for sign-up sheets for our Christmas Plugged Open House events.  We need your small group to volunteer to meet and greet members of our community and provide them with light refreshments.  Dates for these open houses are:  December 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, and 16th (from 6:30-8:30pm).

  • Don’t forget our Christmas worship services will officially begin 5:00pm Sunday, Dec. 4th at our annual Hanging of the Green service.  If you are interested in singing a solo, duet, or ensemble piece for this service let Jonathan know as soon as possible.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to lead you in our worship of the King of Kings!

In His Service,

Jonathan Hendrickson

Assoc./ Worship Pastor

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4109 Guess Road
Durham, NC 27712

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