New Life Community Church held a graceful one-day Christmas retreat on December 25th to meditate the meaning of Jesus' birth and thank God for sending His one and only son to save us! The retreat started from 9:30am till 3:30pm includes breakfast, two messages, lunch breaking bread time, prayer meeting, viola performance, testimony and sending out free gifts.
In the first bible study, the preacher delivered a message from Matthew 1:1-17,18-25 and Luke 2: 1-7. Christmas is the time to meditate the true meaning of the birth of Jesus. Through Matthew chapter 1 genealogy, we can see Jesus' birth is not just one time event but a fruit of immense works and sacrifice of God behind history. The event of Coming of God's Son was prophesied through the lips of prophets moved by God and was fulfilled. Through book of Luke, we can Jesus was born in a manger. The messiah came to this world in a lowly and humble way, which is not expected and accepted by the prepared person. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. John Baptist is the one who prepared the way for the Lord's coming. He preached in the desert, "Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near." The preacher exalted everyone to repent and have a humble heart to meet the Immanuel God during Christmas.
In the second bible study, the preacher delivered a message from Luke 2:8-20 and Romans 5:1. The angel brought good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Good news is Jesus' whole life, which causes joy for everyone on the earth. Glory is in heaven and peace is on the earth. In Chinese, Christmas Eve is called "peaceful night." How can we have peace? Without God, we don't have peace inside our heart. We were born as sinners, live in the sinful world, die in the sin, be punished and go perish. However, Jesus as light came into this sinful world to love us, to wash our feet, to give us light and show us the way we should live. People didn't accept him but crucified him on the cross. Even on the cross, he prayed that God can forgive those people. Jesus shed the blood on the cross because of everyone's sins. Only through Jesus' blood, our sins can be cleaned. Only through Him, we can get peace with God. Such an amazing Grace! Jesus died on the cross and resurrected! He conquered the death and opened a new history of life. The cross reveals God's greatest love toward us! 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'The preacher exhorted everyone to repent and let the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse their sins so that they can get the true peace with God. All the believers also should follow Jesus' life to spread good news to the end of the earth so that all people can be saved.
During the lunch breaking bread time, they ate pizza joyfully and shared the grace with each other. Irene James shared, 'I knew Jesus humbled himself to the lowest position and sacrificed himself for my sins. I am thankful for that.' Jafre shared, "what I've gotten from the retreat was the meaning of the birth of Jesus. He came to die for us. Our sins put him up on the cross. He took my place on the cross so that I can come to God."
During afternoon, they have a prayer meeting. The minister shared a short message from James 5:13-20. They prayed together for the city Baltimore, New Life Church and personal prayer topic. Hope God can lead more people return their hearts to Him. More people can listen to good news to be healed by the truth. Everyone also prayed for their family members to be saved.
After prayer meeting, teenager Jafre performed five Xmas songs by playing viola. Brother David, Jafre, Amos gave their testimonies of how God saved them and changed them. All people are touched and encouraged by their testimonies. Finally they had a happy time for everyone to choose a free but meaningful gift that church prepared. New Life also prepared a gift for the Lord Jesus. Everyone wrote one sentence on the beautiful card to express their love towards God!
All people spent a joyful and meaningful Christmas day! Hope God can continue to bless New Life church and lead more people to seek Him more in the new year!