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Celebrate the Joy of Christmas

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This Sunday, we will celebrate together as a church family with our regular morning worship service, as well as an evening concert called, "The Joy of Christmas." This concert is free of charge because we want to use it as an expression of our love for our community, and as an opportunity to share the story of Jesus with our families, friends, and neighbours. We are calling on our church family to get excited, love like Jesus, and bring someone along to learn the reason for our joy.
 
We will witness the true Christmas story, told through narrative and songs. Come enjoy beautiful music from the Cariboo Hill Salvation Army Brass Band, along with solos and group numbers from beloved members of our church family, including the SDBC Choir and Kid’s Choir.
 
Why do we focus on joy at Christmas time? Joy has been the defining characteristic of our advent celebrations ever since the angels who announced Christ’s birth expressed "great joy" at His arrival. Is your Christmas celebration characterized by joy? Or are you more likely to experience stress, anxiety, exhaustion, or even frustration during the holiday season? The pressures and expectations of the season, combined with strained family relationships, can often rob us of our happiness. But joy is unlike happiness; while happiness is a feeling we temporarily experience, joy is a long-term trait that we develop through recognizing God's grace and living to share that grace with others.  We are called to share this matchless joy with those whom God has placed in our lives. This Sunday night, we are preparing to do just that, as we celebrate together "The Joy of Christmas."

Posted by Gatlin Saip

A Special Christmas Challenge: Let's Love Like Jesus this Holiday Season

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Christmas is now in full swing and with it, comes everything that makes Christmas special: Christmas music, decorations, Christmas lights, winter activities, family gatherings, parties, presents under the tree, turkey dinner, and of course, busyness. Christmas can quickly become the busiest time of year as we try to accomplish our checklist of Christmas needs. During this holiday season, we, as a church, have carved out time for us to gather together to disconnect from the busyness and connect with the person that truly makes Christmas special: Jesus Christ. Through our special Christmas concert, “The Joy of Christmas” on December 17th, our Christmas Eve services at 5PM and 11PM, and our Sunday morning gatherings focused on advent, it is our hope and prayer that Jesus remains at the centre of everything we do and celebrate this season. And part of celebrating this truth means being on a mission and helping point culture and those within our community to Jesus during this time of year. Who are you coming alongside and pointing to Jesus Christ? Whether it’s an invitation to our Christmas concert on the 17th, being hospitable and hosting a Christmas party at your home, introducing someone to church for the first time, or something as simple as wishing someone “Merry Christmas,” we all have an opportunity to Love Like Jesus during this special time of year.

Posted by Jordan Scott

India

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The picture accompanying this blog was taken before a communion service, on our last day of teaching a group of about 60 pastors who assembled in Orissa, India. For a week, Gerald Neufeld led this group in a study of Revelation; I taught them biblical hermeneutics (how to study the bible). These men are all Dalit pastors, most of whom have little formal training in the bible, doctrine, and theology. They were engaged with us from about 8:30 each morning until about 8:00 at night. 

Many of them had to travel to the site by bus, train, motorbike, or by walking. Most of them are from small villages where they have no internet and no resources for studying the bible. They are eager to learn. They desire to lead the people in their villages to Jesus and then to make them disciples. These men are godly and self-sacrificing, and all live in a culture that is certainly anti-God, and especially anti-Christian. They all suffer some form of persecution for their faith in Jesus. 

Included in the picture toward the rear of the photo, are a group of about 30 women, some of whom are wives of the pastors, others are women who seek to share the love of Jesus in their villages and communities. These women were taught all week by three other women, two from India and one from Canada, on becoming women of God. 

This trip was made possible for Gerald and me by the support of the SDBC elders and congregation for which these pastors gave thanks to, and took a year to plan. It was Gerald's third trip to Orissa to teach these same pastors, and my first trip. 

Gerald was able to go a week earlier and teach another group of Dalit pastors in a different setting, plus he shared the gospel at a girl’s vocational and bible school. We were also able to visit our Good Shepherd School in Nehtaur, India for a few hours and meet with the staff and children of the school. We will report about these various parts of the trip in a separate blog in upcoming weeks. 

For Gerald and I, we have been privileged to watch God work in all these settings. The support we have received from SDBC for this work is paying off in many ways, both in India and here at home. We look forward to continuing our work in India as we play our part in sharing the love of Jesus around the world.

Posted by Rick Burdett

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