Christmas Eve Service

Celebrate the Eve of the Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve, December 24th, at 7:00pm. It will be a time filled with Christmas worship songs and Scripture reading.

Christmas Party

Join us for Christmas songs, games, and enjoying our favorite Christmas treats on December 16th at 6:00pm. Please bring your favorite Christmas dessert and/or appetizer.

River City Days

leonJoin us Friday and Saturday, July 29-30 at City Square Park in downtown Chaska for River City Days.  Every year we have a booth where we hand out FREE balloon animals and connect with the community.  Last year we went through 1,300 balloons and connected with some great people.  It is a lot of fun to see the faces of the kids who love our balloons.  Each year we hear from parents who tell us that their kids remember us from the year before.  If you are in the area, come on by and say, “Hi!”

Unstoppable

Back in 2010 there was a movie called “Unstoppable” which featured Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.  The story was about a runaway freight train that needed to be stopped to prevent a catastrophe.   The movie built to a climax as the characters tried  to get the train to stop, but to no avail.  I don’t want to give away the ending, but as you can probably guess: the train was actually stoppable after all. The heroes just had to come up with the right plan about how to stop it.

This Sunday we are going to be reminded of the unstoppable power of God.  And unlike this movie, God literally cannot be stopped.  Right now we are in a series called “Acting Up” where we are looking at the Acts of the Apostles, and throughout this book we are reminded again and again that God cannot be stopped.  The church faced serious persecution in the book of Acts, but God was never stopped.  And two thousand years later, His Gospel continues to spread!

Come on out to The River this Sunday to hear about the unstoppable power of God as we take a look at Acts 5.

Good Friday

Join us this Friday, 6:00 p.m. for a time of reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice.  We will be meeting up at the Mapstone home, 682 Liberty Court.  Join us for dinner, fellowship, worship, prayer, and remembering those last few hours of Jesus life before his death.  This is a great way to prepare our hearts to celebrate on Easter morning.  For more information or to RSVP, please call 952-564-7620.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Chaska Valley Family Theater production of White Christmas.  It was a very enjoyable evening.  For anyone interested, they have 5 more shows coming up this weekend.  You can find more information at www.cvft.org.

The show follows the tale of a couple of army buddies who, after returning home from the war, find themselves helping out their old commanding officer who is struggling to make ends meet at an inn up in Vermont.  They pull in some help from their Broadway pals and put on a Christmas show that packs in a crowd.  The story has some great, memorable musical numbers, including the famous “White Christmas” song from the title.

Julie and I wound up getting to the event a little early and spent some time talking with one of the patrons of the theater.  He talked about how this show will help many people get into the Christmas mood, because he speculated that a lot of people were not focusing on Christmas yet.

I am not sure if that was a correct assessment or not, but even those who may be in the Christmas spirit, might not be focusing on the right things. It is actually pretty easy to get into the traditional Christmas mindset.  It is easy for us to find ourselves dreaming of a white Christmas or thinking about a jolly, overweight man in a red suit climbing down our chimney to bring us gifts.  It’s easy because everywhere we turn at this time of year we find ourselves bombarded with Christmas carols, television specials, and deocrations galore that constantly turn our eyes toward the holiday season.

But if we want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, that doesn’t happen naturally.   If we are not careful, our entire Christmas season can get eaten up focusing only on the materialistic celebration of the holiday instead of on the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

So, how do we get ourselves dreaming about the celebration of the birth of Christ instead of just a winter wonderland?  That’s a good question.  I believe the key is being intentional about putting Christ in the forefront during this time of year.  There is nothing wrong with Christmas shopping, decorating the house, baking Christmas cookies, listening to carols, and watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.   But if that is all that we do, then Christ will fade into the background.

One of the things that we do as a family is to spend some time each evening reading an advent focused devotional storybook.  The one we are reading this year is entitled “Jotham’s Journey.”  We have done it before, but whenever we read it again, the children enjoy it.  The story follows the journey of a young boy named Jotham who has been separated from his family and as he gets closer and closer to finding them, he also gets closer and closer to finding the Messiah.  It is a great story that helps us focus our minds and hearts on the birth of Christ.

Another way to help ourselves focus on the true meaning of Christmas is by making Church a priority.  Over the next several weeks we will be focusing on the Christmas message on Sunday mornings.  And this Sunday evening, at 5:30, we will be having a special Christmas party at the church with a focus on the message of Christmas.  If you are free, come on out and join us for a Christmas focus along with food and fellowship.  Let’s make it a priority to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season!

Are You Too Busy To Read This Blog?

Life is busy isn’t it?  We all have so many different responsibilities and different things that are vying for our attention.  We find ourselves often running from one thing to the next.  But while life is busy, ultimately we really all have time for things that we consider to be important.

For instance, if we place a high value on physical fitness, then we are going to find the time to exercise.  It may mean that something else has to go, but we will find the time to run, or bike, or swim or whatever else we do. Each of us make choices every day about what to spend our time doing.

This blog is even an example.  For some reason you chose to take the time to read this blog.  You didn’t need to do it.  Maybe right now you are wishing you didn’t.  Anyway, it was a choice, and at least to some extent you put reading this blog as a priority over other things you could have done with this time.

In the same way, I make the choice to put a priority on writing this blog.  Unfortunately the blog has not made it to the top of the priority list the last couple of weeks.  Things have been a little extra busy around here.  But regardless of how busy I feel, basically it means that I put a higher priority on the other things I had to do over the last couple of weeks, and this blog was a casualty of those choices.

Anyway, that leads me to my point.  We all have the time for the things we choose to put a priority on.  And the question is, are we making the right choices?  Are we putting the right priorities on the right things?  This Sunday, I will be talking about putting a priority on our relationship with God.  Of course, in order to hear the sermon, you are going to have to put a priority on coming to The River, 9:30 Sunday morning at 2510 Chaska Blvd.  Hope to see you there!

Special Event on October 31

We have a special Sunday event coming up on October 31.  “Revealing The Fingerprints of God” with Dr. Don Bierle, FaithSearch International.  Dr. Bierle will use evidence from nature, history and personal experience to answer the question, “Is the existence of God only imagination or wishful thinking?”  Come and join us on October 31, 9:30 a.m. at The Rex Cinema.

River City Days Wrap Up

I want to say a big “thank you” to everyone who helped us make River City Days a great weekend for The River.  We had a booth on Friday and Saturday and lots of people from The River came by to help out.  Over the course of Friday evening and Saturday we gave away over 1,000 balloon animals and we had 12 winners in our gift card giveaway.  Thank you also to everyone who came by our booth to get a balloon, or to sign up for our drawing or to just talk and get information about the church.  We made a lot of new friends and had a great time being in the community.

For those of you who are wondering about the drawing, here is a list of the winners: Jayd Laurentz, Nichelle Schwarts, Kerry Larson, Gary Sauber, Kim Lane, Tricia Brkovich, Barb Horel, Mary Lou Bullerman, Nancy Skoglund, Karen Scullin, Travis Ristow, and Sandy Lewis.  If you see your name here, please feel free to contact us about getting your prize, or we will be sending it in the mail. 

We gave away Dunn Bros. and Rex Cinema gift cards as prizes this year.  The reason is very simple.  We gave away Rex Cinema cards because that is where we meet on Sunday mornings for our worship services.  And we gave away Dunn Bros. because that is where Pastor Rob hangs out most of the time since he has no office. 

Then on Sunday, we moved our entire worship time out to City Square Park to join in a praise and worship time featuring 7 different churches.  We were asked to provide sound for the entire event and then to also stick around and provide sound for a talent competition later in the day.  Again it was a big committment, but we said yes.  The main reason we were involved is because this fits in so well with who we are as a church.  We believe very strongly that we need to come together as one Church in the community, and we also believe that as a church we are called to be in the community, so this event fit perfectly with those two core values.  The event ended up being a great time of worship and it was wonderful to experience the different worship styles of the churches in our community.

Overall, River City Days weekend was a great success and there are so many people who helped make that happen, but most of all we want to thank God for providing in such a great way.  We specifically said, in the weeks leading up to this weekend, that taking on all that we had to do was definitely bigger than ourselves and that we needed to trust God to come through in a big way.  Well, He did!

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