From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 12, 2019
Subject: It's January 12; Good Morning Union Special Sabbath Edition



Welcome to our first Sabbath of the new semester. Look out your window and check out God's illustration to us this morning about how forgiven He wants us to be. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow!!” Isaiah 1:18. I hope you find time to “Shabat” and stop to be blessed by God today. Here’s at least some of the things we offer to bless your Sabbath:

“The Well” @ 10:30 in the Young Adult room of the church. Join us for music and the Word.

IRR SS @ 10:40 in the Gear Room

CVC 9:15 and Noon. This week our lead pastor Harold Alomia will be speaking

SOS (Something on Sabbath) ask a friend to go for a walk in the snow with you!

V2 @ 5 in Rees Hall Chapel. Join JoseMiguel and friends as we come together to close the Sabbath.

So have a great first Sabbath of the new semester,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: “Live Life 24/6; then live even more blessed on the Sabbath.”

And now, my email of the week:

You are near, LORD, and all Your commands are true.
— Psalm 119:151


I always used to ask God to be near, but recently I’ve tried to shift my prayers a little. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask Him to be near, and I certainly don’t think He gets annoyed if we do even though He is already close by. What He mostly cares about is that we’re coming to Him, that we’re talking to Him. I’ve also realized that all of Scripture points to a God who can’t not be near.

Think about it: when we’re in Christ, what can keep us from His love? Romans 8 tells us that nothing — nothing — can keep us from the love of God. Not death, not height, not depth. Not angels, not demons. Not our fear. Nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35–39).

So why would we ask God to be near if He’s promised that He won’t go anywhere? And why, then, do we not feel near to Him all the time?

I’d like to propose that perhaps we’re the variable, not Him. If He’s always available and nothing we can do will keep Him away, then maybe it’s us. Maybe we’re not recognizing Him. Maybe we’re not acknowledging Him. Maybe we’re ignoring Him. And while that sounds heavy and potentially disheartening, it’s actually really great news, and here’s why: you’re enough for Him to draw near. When He sees you, He sees His Son; and when He looks into your soul, He sees the Spirit. There’s nothing you can do to keep Him away, and there’s no place you can run where He won’t go to meet with you. So if you don’t feel near to Him, it cannot possibly be because you’ve done something to displease Him or make Him turn away.

I dare you to change your prayers, not because it will make Him happier with you (nothing can!), but simply because it will remind your heart how faithful and near He always is.

Rather than asking Him to be near, ask Him to give you eyes to see Him. Rather than asking what you can do to make Him come closer, maybe just ask that He helps you see how close He is. Jesus came the distance, He came all the way to the Cross, and nothing can separate you from His love and grace.

~Jess

Excerpted with permission from
Always Enough Never Too Much by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, copyright Jessica Ashleigh Connolly and Hayley E. Morgan.