It's the most wonderful time of the year!
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Ending 2018 on a holly jolly note, December is packed with family, traditions, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ! During this time of year it is easy to be caught up in the pressures of the perfect gift and picturesque family time but often our holidays fall short of our expectations. When we start to compare ourselves and our holidays to what is portrayed online or on television we can easily become disheartened, but when we return our focus to the story of Christ's birth we can be filled with hope and joy. The Christmas story is a reminder of Israel's longing for Emanuel and our present longing for Christ's return.
New series: The problem with Christmas
In this series we will unpack Christmas by celebrating the unexpected grace we receive through God's grace.
Nice to meet you!
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, my name is Hayley Joel and I am so excited to be working with JCC and Thrive students! I am originally from San Diego but moved around due to my father's military career. After attending high school in Maryland, I decided to attend Biola University for my undergrad. I graduated from Biola in December of 2017 with a B.S. in Biological Science, minoring in Biblical studies. Right now I am applying to medical school in hopes to become a physician for the geriatric community. While I will only be working at JCC until summer of 2019, I am beyond thrilled to pour into student's lives and encourage them in their walk with Christ. I look forward to meeting you and your students over the next few months!
High schoolers join us for breakfast and fellowship before you head to school!
Our last TSL meeting of 2018, be sure not to miss it!
A fun evening filled with games, treats, prizes and Christmas music!
Ending our Thrive 2018 year with a night you won't want to miss!
Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
It's recorded in Matthew's Gospel, (Matthew 10:8) that Jesus said, "Freely you have received; freely give." Though our lives may not always be everything we hope for them to be, God has richly blessed each one of us. One of the ways we can demonstrate that we are grateful to God for his many blessings is to help others.
Christmastime provides an opportunity for your family to roll up your sleeves and get involved in helping to meet the needs of others in your community -- showing them the light and love of Christ. Here are some family ideas for reaching out and helping others during the Christmas season:
1. Donate your family's time to help out at a food kitchen or a food bank.
2. Take your family to visit someone you know who lives at a nursing home, who lives alone, or is confined at home because of poor health.
3. Invite neighbors who don't have plans to join your family for Christmas dinner.
4. Provide some (or all) of the Christmas dinner groceries for a needy family in your community. Take the family along to make the delivery.
5. Have your family gather winter clothes and coats that don't fit any longer, or are no longer wanted or needed -- and distribute them to homeless people in your area -- or deliver them to a local shelter.
6. Make some bag lunches and take your family into the community to distribute them to homeless people in your area. (Make sure ahead of time that your local authorities allow this type of distribution.)
7. Make more Christmas treats than you need for your holiday meals. As a family, deliver extras to the neighbors or to a needy family in your area.
8. Find an elderly person in your area that could use some help at the grocery store. Better yet, invite them to your home for a special holiday meal.
9. Find a family in your area that could use some help to take care of fall yard cleanup, basic repair or weatherization around their home. Buy the needed materials and get to work as a family!
10. Invite a neighbor's family over to your home for a simple, fun family game night.
It's been said that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. Maybe this is why many people don't participate in the annual ritual. One survey found that 55% of Americans either never or only infrequently set New Year's resolutions and that only 8% of Americans are always successful in keeping their resolutions. With odds like that, why bother?
So, what if we reset the "resolutions" bar at a reasonable height? It just might make a difference. With the right attitude going in, the following five "just for today" resolutions can help to get your family's 2014 off to a positive start. Whether you try one or all, these are resolutions that most everyone has a good shot of accomplishing -- something that your family can live with. As you succeed, you might even end up incorporating some of them into your family life and identity.
Five Resolutions for 2014
# 1: Just for today, I resolve to pray. This doesn't have to be difficult. Sometime during the day, just say a short prayer. Thank God for something, or praise God for something, or tell God you love Him, or confess something to Him, or ask Him for something, or ask Him for something for someone other than yourself.
# 2: Just for today, I resolve to say, "I love you" to someone. It's really not hard, and if you try, you really can find the moment it takes to say it, email it, text it, or show it. There are few sayings more powerful in the life of another than these three little words.
# 3: Just for today, I resolve to appreciate the world around me. Take a moment or two to smell the roses, or look at the blue sky (or clouds, or rain, or snow, or ocean, mountains, trees... you get the picture) and let the beauty of the world God created roll over you.
# 4: Just for today, I resolve to read from the Bible. No length requirements and no reading plan here. Today, just take some moments to read something from God's word. Whatever you do here, it will be good for your life and your soul (See Psalm 119:105).
# 5: Just for today, I resolve to spend some time with my family. The breathless pace we live life is breaking families apart. So today, give your family the gift of your presence. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just make some space in your day to be with your family.