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Focus your soul on Jesus this Christmas

Posted in Children, Students, Adults, Worship, Caring, Community Life  |  By Jacob Simmons  |  Posted on Mon Dec 19, 2016

Focus your soul on Jesus this Christmas

You guys, Christmas is great.  

What’s not to love?! It gets a little cold, but not too cold (I see you, January.) so you have a chance to pull out your best jacket and drink warm drinks. There are lots of parties, so you get all caught up on the happenings and the goings-on. There are some great things on TV. It’s a season with it’s own music that you already know the words to. It’s a perfect opportunity to take a tree that normally goes outside, and put it inside! Seriously, what’s not to love about Christmas?

I’m writing a bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, but these parts of Christmas truly are fun and something to look forward to. But without the Christ-child, they’re meaningless. They’re window dressing. They’re liquid butter without the popcorn.  They’re a parade without purpose. They’re an appetizer without a main course.  

The Christmas season is a season of anticipation and remembrance. If the object of our anticipation is wrong, our celebration will be misguided. And if our remembering is weak or fuzzy, our worship is miscalibrated.  

It’s tempting to only anticipate the “season” of Christmas instead of the event. And it’s tempting to remember the Christmases of years past and their memories instead of the original Christmas and the hope that comes with it.

But succumbing to those temptations leads us down a road of misguided praise and misplaced worship. We become the misinformed child who becomes enamored with the cardboard box and unaware of the treasure inside. 

So this Christmas season, practice ways in which the coming of Christ (and his coming again!) is more anticipated than the coming of Santa.  

Read the Christmas story together as a family. Talk about who the Biblical characters were and what they would have felt like. Name out loud how your life would be different in the Christ-child hadn’t come.  

If the Christmas season is about the presence of God with us, practice presence with your family. If the Christmas season is about God’s greatest gift, consider making a gift to someone in need.  

Find a baby, hold him, and think about him as the savior of the world. Consider putting that baby in the dog bowl and ponder the humility of Christ.  

Whatever you need to do to focus your soul on Jesus, strive hard to do that thing.  You were created by the Almighty God to worship Him and know Him. 

Let Christmas be the season for you to do what you were created to do. 

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Adopted Women's Conference

Posted in Adults, Caring  |  By Jordan Cox  |  Posted on Tue Apr 19, 2016

Adopted Women's Conference

“What I say won’t get you through the next week, but the stories of the ladies around you can get you through seasons.”

That’s a profoundly humble, startlingly self-aware statement from a guest speaker.

It’s what Lisa Harper told a room of 300-plus women last weekend during Adopted, Women’s Conference 2016.

One of those stories is Holli Parker.

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Mr. Jesse Martin | Two Cameras

Posted in Caring  |  By Jordan Cox  |  Posted on Mon Jan 18, 2016

Mr. Jesse Martin | Two Cameras

Last weekend at Shades brought the introduction of a new vision; the early writings of the next chapter at Shades.

Pastor Danny introduced our new mission statement:

Sending transformed people to influence their world for Christ.

This statement embodies what we love and who we want to be.

Perhaps no man lived this mission more than Jesse Martin. Never married, Martin invested in the lives of numerous people at Shades; the net of his influence casting wider as those whom he discipled began creating disciples themselves.

Click the photo above to hear how Martin touched the lives of two people. Click here to watch Pastor Danny's sermon.

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Greg Oliver | Forgiven

Posted in Caring  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Fri Jan 23, 2015

Our Ethiopian Journey

Posted in Missions, Caring  |  By Ashley Hill  |  Posted on Thu Jan 22, 2015

Our Ethiopian Journey

"Adoption was not even in our radar five years ago much less having a third child."

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