Please join us for a New Year's Eve Community Prayer Service.
December 31st, 2103 at Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.
Who's invited? Everyone is invited to join us. This is an excellent opportunity to gather and pray with other Christians in our local community.
Bring in the New Year seeking God's will and blessing for Bend, OR in 2014.
Mark 11:24 ESV Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
James 5:16 ESV Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
1 John 3:22 ESV And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
John 15:7 ESV If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
1 John 5:14-15 ESV And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
John 14:13-14 ESV Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
1 John 5:14 ESV And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Ephesians 6:18 ESV Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
This Christmas I find myself swinging. On a pendulum. Back and forth. Satisfied and hungry. At moments grateful and at others so desperate that I don’t recognize myself.
Two minutes ago, I walked downstairs, at 11 pm at night and stuffed a day-old doughnut in my mouth. Was I hungry? No. Do I usually eat doughnuts? No. They were leftover from my four year olds birthday. Doughnuts are a treat around here, the once in a long while kind of treat.
But my heart was yearning. Hungry.
I have a devoted, loving, tender-eyed husband.
I have four gorgeous, talented, and kind children. (Notice I did not say perfect. Because that would be a bold faced lie!)
I have a roof over my head. I have money to spare. I have everything I need and more. I live in this gorgeous setting. I have family close by. I am healthy. I am a wealthy woman.
What's Missing This Christmas?
What is this strange pendulum I swing on?
It’s that I live in this world, but I was made for a different one.
All the health, wealth, relationship, and success in this world will not satisfy the one ache that screams loudest this time of year.
I was made to be in relationship with the trinity who set the stars in the sky, created my every cell, and sings over me this very minute.
And this world does everything and more to pull me from that reality.
The T.V. blares with non-stop noise and false advertising.
The radio is on in my car every time I get in, clogging my ears and my heart.
My friends talk about things that don’t really matter but just add to my noise.
My work tells me if I succeed in this plan or meet that goal, all success will be mine and I will be filled.
My spouse tells me if I wear more Victoria’s Secret and keep a cleaner house, relational bliss will be mine.
The school tells me if I invest every hour of free time into volunteering, I will be a great parent and my children will thrive.
My fitness center tells me this new workout will provide the body I need and then happiness will be mine.
And these things are all lies.
It is good to have relational harmony. It is good to have physical fitness. It is good to support our schools and our children. It is good to be successful at our occupations.
But it is not good to assume all these things will answer the insistent cries of our hearts. The cry for connection.
And not just connection with people, though that is very good.
Because people will inevitably let you down.
Think about it. Have you ever had a relationship that did not in any way disappoint you?
We were created to be in constant harmony with the trinity that created the universe.
God. A Father so good that our version of father cannot accurately give vision to the way we are loved by God. He is waiting to expand that vision with himself.
Jesus Christ. The friend your heart has longed for all your life; someone who knows every detail of you and absolutely, unquestionably adores you even on your very worst day.
The Holy Spirit. A mentor and guide with unsearchable wisdom and a tender and constant nearness.
Finding Hope This Christmas in Bend, Oregon
So this holiday, when you are still for but a moment, and you recognize that great cavernous place in your heart...know you are not crazy. You were meant for a relationship so much bigger than this world can offer that your soul is restless in it’s search.
There is hope.
And he is a person.
There is a place is his heart with your name on it that will never be filled by another. It will feel like home and hope at the same time.
Glance his way. Allow him to show you who he is. You will never be the same.
Someone to Walk With
If you live in Bend, Oregon and would like to talk more about finding hope through Jesus, please let us know. We, at Epikos Church, would love to meet you.
By: Chrisy Osterkamp
Where Did Santa Come from Anyway?
So where in the world did Santa come from, anyway? I learned about him when my daughters and I took a trip to Colorado, where there is a theme park called North Pole, Colorado, a Christmas themed park near Pike’s Peak. It is a beautiful park full of all the sights, sounds and wonders of Christmas, and among all the attractions is a beautiful little chapel housing a large plaque which tells the wonderful story of how Santa Claus came to be. Nicholas was born around AD 270 in Patara, Lycia, Asia Minor, to Christian parents. His mother and father, Theophanes and Nonna, vowed to dedicate their son to God, after a lengthy time of childlessness.
The Life and Times of The Real Santa Claus
Nicholas’s sainthood was not “bestowed” upon him by the Catholic church, but by popular opinion of generations of people of many nations, Nicholas became known as a saint. The very definition of “saint” describes Nicholas perfectly: “A person who lived a life devoted to God; a worthy example of holiness, virtue, or kindness and charity; someone who lets God's love shine through them to the world.”
A Controversial Figure?
Nicholas was appointed a bishop around the year AD 300, (interestingly the same age as Jesus when He began His earthly ministry). Bishop Nicholas strove to do good deeds in secret (which eventually evolved into coming in the middle of the night down our chimneys, only while we were sleeping, lest we receive lumps of coal instead). Many witnesses claim Bishop Nicholas reportedly performed many miracles such as calming the waves of the sea, healing people, and driving out demons. If you think that these reports sound like a false Messiah, remember the words of Jesus in John 14:12, when He tells His disciples, “ Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
His Love for Children
Being orphaned as a child, Bishop Nicholas had a burning love for children, and it is said that he would toss little pouches of coins through the windows of the homes of poor children, and sometimes the pouches would land in the stockings that were washed and hung on the windowsill to dry. When finding all the windows of the house shut, he would toss the pouch up onto the roof, where it went down the chimney.
Was Santa Claus a Real Person? What Every Kid Should Know this Christmas
I have heard concerned young parents question all the commercialism, the materialism, and the symbols of Christmas that seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with the celebration of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of the world.
However, be of good cheer! The round, jolly, generous man in the red suit may have gone through many transformations over the centuries, but my children and I shared traditions about the real man who grew to be the legendary Santa Claus. We enjoy the stories which evolved over the years, including leaving milk and cookies out for Santa so he would have something to eat after struggling to get down our chimney with all our presents. My mother did a wonderful job of sharing the Christmas spirit with my brothers and me by leaving something out unwrapped that we never saw until Christmas morning, presumably from Santa. I confess that even now my children are grown I cannot resist the temptation to label at least one of their gifts not from me, but from Santa. I do not begrudge any child the joy and wonder of dreaming about Santa and all the good and wonderful things he represents. So as we should all remember the reason for the season, and to keep Christ in Christmas, I submit that for my family and me, we say Santa Claus, AKA St. Nicholas, dedicated every aspect of his life to God’s service, and pointed nations and generations to Christ through his example, and will deserve a place in our home and our traditions. Merry Christmas!!!
If you have other questions about St. Nicholas or about the birth of Jesus, we invite you to fill out the contact form and talk with one of the Pastors of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.
Epikos Community Blog
Welcome to the Epikos Community Blog where you can find and read blog posts from members of Epikos Church in Bend, OR. At Epikos we believe in the value of every member and this is a place for members to share about the work God is doing in their lives.