2014 Advent at Southland

You're invited to these special Advent worship services.

Water For All Offering

During the month of December, we will be collecting an offering for Water for All. Click here to learn more.

Christmas Eve Services at Southland

December 24th, 5:30pm (Nursery provided) & 7:00pm (No Nursery)

Are you hurting? Do you know someone who is struggling?

Click here to learn how to connect with a Stephen Minister.

Advent 2014 - Day 20

“FAMILY LOVE”
Diana Banks

Family LOVE, what can that mean?  I learned a lot about these words in the weeks before and then at my son’s wedding!

As I think back over the year’s events this Christmas season, I remember one of the happiest times in my life … my son, Jeremiah Banks, got MARRIED!!!  My son married a wonderful young lady named Kassie!  As I was thinking through the memories of this special time, I remembered how weddings are a wonderful time to see the LOVE of a family unit, even a divorced family unit like mine.  My ex-husband, his wife, all of our family members, and myself worked together to make Jeremiah’s wedding become just what Kassie and Jeremiah had dreamed it would be.  As we worked together we showed LOVE for each other and our entire family unit.  I also saw the LOVE of a family unit when Michael, Jacob, and Samuel all were standing together for their brother as grooms in the wedding party.

GOD can take the brokenness of divorce and bring family members together in LOVE.  No one else can take credit for this LOVE but GOD.  He helped us though the years to work together in LOVE for our children to keep the family unit together.  This was evident as we worked together to organize, to get things we needed done for the wedding, to decorate, to visit with each other, and to LOVE on Jeremiah and Kassie!

I remember what LOVE is when I read in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS!”

At Christmas, I feel so blessed to have my daughter-in-law join our family unit!  The unit that puts the past behind and works together for an amazing LOVING future!!  If you find yourself in a family unit like mine, may the LOVE of Christ bring you together in a family unit that LOVES one another, leaving past differences and situations behind and pressing on for a wonderful LOVING future!



Advent 2014 - Day 19

“PATAPAN AND REJOICE!”
Brandon Archer

My favorite Christmas carol is one most people don't know:  "Patapan."  I only know the song because I play it in an all brass ensemble (Ice House Brass) every year, but everyone really enjoys when we play it.  We even have a guy who comes to a lot of our concerts and will yell out "Patapan!" until we finally play it for him.

I could make up some high-brow musical or philosophical reason for liking the song, but let's be honest … I like it because it's fast, it's brassy, and it's loud.  It's an exciting song!

It can't be a coincidence that excitement is exactly what "Patapan" is about.  It is a song about shepherds grabbing flutes and drums - the closest instruments they can find - to go and celebrate the birth of Jesus!

There are many variations of the lyrics, but here are a few great lines:

"When we hear the fife and drum,
Christmas should be frolicsome"

"God and man became today,
More in tune than fife and drum,
So be merry while you play"

"Man and God agree
About the flute and the little drum…
To the sound of these instruments
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan,
To the sound of these instruments
Sing!  Dance!  Jump around!"

What a perfect picture of the Advent Season.  Our Lord has come!  And that is very exciting!  Let us all share our excitement and joy in every way we know how, whether that means banging the nearest drum, dancing and jumping around, praising in song (either in tune or out of it!), or making some other joyful noise!

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!" - Psalm 98:4

Advent 2014 - Day 18

“LOVE”
Scott Blanton

My Sunday school class decided this year’s theme would be love.  So our lessons were centered on what the Bible had to say about love.  We delved into Gods love, Jesus’ love, Old and New Testament love, as well as Paul’s and David’s love.  What we realized and continue to discover is that Love is elusive to grasp.   

God in the Old Testament loves sternly and unconditionally.  How many times do the Hebrews have to wander from Him and lose His love?  How many Prophets does He have to send?  God’s own Son came and was rejected, and yet He still loved.  Paul and Peter loved until they could not give anything else except their lives.  So the question we asked ourselves is how do we love like that, and are we capable?  

The world this year, as most years, seems to be in rapid decline.  Wars and rumors of wars are all around.  Godlessness abounds.  Religious freedoms are being suppressed.  Christians are being threatened around the world as never before.  So what is our response?     

Love.   

We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.   Love our enemies.  Love in a way we are incapable of, except through the Holy Spirit.  So this Christmas season, commit yourself to love:  be patient, be kind, do not envy or be rude.  Rejoice in the truth; bear all things; believe all things; hope all things, and endure all things.  Love never fails; that is why God is Love.  God so loved then world that He gave His only Son.  So go forth and Love.  

Advent 2014 - Day 17

“A THANKFUL HEART”
Daisy Sanchez

As I sit to write a thought for the Advent season, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for life and sobered by the reminder of the brevity of life.  Three days ago our youngest daughter was involved in an auto accident on her way home from church.  While her vehicle did not survive the accident, she did.  That same evening a young man her same age was also involved in an auto accident.  He did not survive.

As I’ve thanked the Lord over and over that the days preordained for our daughter have not yet come to an end, another parent across town is mourning the loss of their child.  I can only imagine the pain and feelings of hopelessness that a child is gone.

My thoughts turn to Joseph and Mary as they held their infant son the night of his birth.  Did they know how quickly the years would pass and the time arrive for their son to die?  Surely when that time came they must have felt like any parent who buries a child.  Perhaps even voicing the cry, “he’s too young, he hasn’t yet lived out his life, why didn’t you do something God, you could have stopped this!”  

Did they know when they held their infant son that he was the hope of the world?  The hope of the thousands of generations yet to come who would need that hope to cling to in times of heartbreak?  Did they know that their son would take away the sting and victory of death?

Did they know that thousands of years later a middle-aged mom would be so thankful that He came to this sinful, fallen world and that He died and rose so that I might have hope?

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us …

Advent 2014 - Day 16

“AND THERE WERE SHEPHERDS….”
Nolen Mears

I have often wondered why the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem.  There have been countless sermons addressing the significance of the shepherds being the first to hear of the birth of the Good Shepherd, and that is certainly true.  But sometimes I let my mind drift in a different direction…

Bethlehem was a crowded place and no one wanted to be there – particularly in order to get counted in order to pay taxes to Rome.  They had to pack up their families, leave their homes and jobs, take the kids out of school, and travel to this little town and wait for a bunch of despised Roman bureaucrats to do their job.  It might be like all of the people and all of the relatives of all the people who had ever lived in Wall descending on the town for a month.  All available lodging was taken, the Bethlehem Wal-Mart was out of diapers, you could not get reservations at the local restaurants, wi-fi service was unreliable, and there were camels and donkeys everywhere.  The streets were dirty, noisy, and crowded, and everyone wanted to go home.  

Maybe angels went through the town trying to make the announcement that the Messiah had been born, but no one would listen or pay any attention.  Everyone was too caught up in their own “busyness” to be bothered.  Other babies had been born while they were there.  What was the big deal?  So, the angels went and found some shepherds tending their sheep on a hillside and told them the good news that would change the world.

Now I don’t know if it really happened like that, but I do know that Christmas is a busy time.  Let us not get distracted by the “busyness” of Christmas so we miss out on a special message that God might be trying to send us through some special angels in our lives.

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10