Advent Books for Families

Family Advent Studies:

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent – Devotions for each day, along with explanation of Christmas carols, and discussion starters appropriate for the whole family.

We Bring These Gifts: an Advent Bible Study for Families – This Bible study will help your family become intentional about loving God and others. This study also includes family night ideas, crafts, and recipes.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas – Includes specially written devotions to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for each day, with suggested activities, and beautiful illustrations. 

We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent Wreath – Short and simple devotions to keep the focus on the meaning of Christmas. 

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent – Follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family, and eventually finds Jesus in the manger.

Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent – While traveling with her family, Tabitha watches as Romans take her father prisoner, spends time with Zechariah and Elizabeth, helps Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem.

Ishtar’s Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent – Follow along in Ishtar’s search for the newborn king.

Picture Books:

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger – Hands down the entire family’s favorite Christmas book. Follow along as Mortimer the mouse looks for a home, and in the process learns the story of Jesus.

The Christmas Story – Classic Little Golden Book retelling of the Christmas story.

Legend of the Candy Cane – The Christmas story as told through the making of a candy cane.

The Crippled Lamb – Though Jesus the crippled lamb learns that God makes everyone special.

The Pine Tree Parable – The story of how sacrifice can bring the greatest joy.

Room for a Little One – A simple poem, which tells the story of the manger through the animals in the stable.

Humphrey’s First Christmas – The story of one camel;s selflessness towards the baby Jesus.

The Legend of the Three Trees – While as much an Easter story, as Christmas story, it’s truth is powerful. God has a plan for us all, that might be different than the one we hoped for.

Small Camel Follows a Star – Follow along as small camel searches for a baby king.

The Most Precious Gift – This book is out of print, but worth looking for used. The sweet story tells of a young boy with nothing to give the baby king.

The Story of the Nativity by Anna Milbourne – Great pictures and simple text retelling the nativity story.

The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer – This book is out of print, but it is one of our favorites. Simple Biblical retelling of the Christmas story with beautiful acrylic painting illustrations.

 

Celebrating Advent At Home

Advent - Keep Christmas Focused on Christ

We all know how easy it is for the true meaning of Christmas to be lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. Our families often have a wonderful time--happy to see each other and of course, the excitement of gifts and Santa’s delivery.  Our celebrations often leave out the worship of our Savior and Lord, Jesus. The whole point of the season can be overlooked if we do not actively seek to overcome the cultural norms for the season and return to the worshipful focus it was meant to have.

Celebrating Advent is a good way to help refocus the season on Jesus, the Christ while still having all the fun and excitement of family celebrations and Santa’s deliveries.

The celebration of Advent can be simple yet effective in retaining a Christ-centered Christmas. An individual devotional or family devotional guide, a Bible, a few candles, several worshipful Christmas carols and a little time each day (in the morning, at dinner time, in the evening--whenever works) beginning Sunday December 3, 2017 through Christmas Day can make this Christmas season spiritually meaningful as well as just plain old fun.

Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. Advent, as part of the liturgical calendar, is the time leading up to Christmas, which includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Many churches celebrate Advent with special services, which include the lighting of candles on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. These special services are to prepare attenders’ hearts for the celebration of Christmas Day, the day Jesus was born. The first Sunday of Advent celebrates “Hope.” The Second celebrates “Love.” The third, “Joy” and the fourth, “Peace.” Then Christmas day is the culmination of the celebration, usually at home because Christmas only falls on Sunday every few years. Some churches have Christmas Eve services to end their Advent season.

The candles used in the celebration of Advent are often blue or purple in color for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays (Hope, Love and Peace) with the 3rd candle being pink or rose colored (Joy). If a 5th candle is used, The Christ Candle, it is white or gold in color.  At church, you may see candles like this arranged in a circle with the Christ Candle in the middle.

You can use this same arrangement for celebrating Advent at home or you can use an arrangement of candles for every day of Advent from the 1st Sunday to Christmas Day. You might choose red or green for your daily candles while your Sunday candles and the Christ Candle remain as described above. This takes quite a few candles but it allows more candles to be lit each day as Christmas approaches so that by Christmas Day, all of the beautiful candles are burning at once. 

A suggested devotional time to celebrate advent each day would include:

1. Light the appropriate candle(s).

2. Read Scripture (a Scripture may be suggested in your devotional guide).

3. Read and discuss the Devotion for the day.

4. Sing or listen to a worshipful Christmas carol or hymn.

5. Pray.

6. Blow out your candle(s).

AVENT DEVOTIONAL GUIDES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE CONCORD BAPTIST ASSOCIATION OFFICE. There is a guide for individuals and a guide for families. The cost is $1 for each while supplies last.

Advent with an arrangement of 5 candles:

- Arrange the 4 “Sunday” candles around the Christ Candle.

- On the 1st Sunday of Advent (Dec 3) light the first Sunday candle. Remember, the pink or rose candle is for the 3rd Sunday. The blue or purple candles are for the other three Sundays.

- Every day during your 1st week of Advent Celebration.  Relight the 1st Sunday’s candle.

- On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, light the 1st and 2nd Sundays’ candles. Relight both candles during each day of the 2nd week of Advent Celebration.

- Continue this pattern, adding a candle each week until all four are burning during your celebration time.

- On Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, light all of your candles for your final Advent devotional (Celebration).

Advent with a candle for every day of Advent

Your candles will have a slightly different number and arrangement each year depending on what day of the week Christmas Day falls on. For this year (2017) your candle arrangement would look like this.

B-R-R-R-R-R-R-P-R-R-R-W-B-R-R-R-R-R-R-B-R-R-R

B = blue or purple for 3 Sundays

P = pink or rose for the 3rd Sunday

W = white or gold for the Christ Candle (in the middle)

R = red or green for the days of the week other than Sunday and Christmas Day.

- You can vary these colors based on personal preference.

Light the first B candle on the left on Sunday December 3. On Monday December 4, light the B candle you lit on Sunday and the first R candle on the right. On Tuesday, light the B and the R candles you have lit before plus the first R candle on the left. Continue this pattern until all the candles are burning on Christmas Day.

Visit the Concord Baptist Association office to pick up your Advent Devotional Guide and to see an example of each of the candle arrangements described above.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. We pray celebrating Advent will help focus your thoughts on the reason for the season -- Jesus, the Christ.

Disaster Relief through the Virginia Baptist -- ways to help.

https://bgav.org/hurricane-harvey-response/

Article from Tony Brooks - BGAV Field Strategist:

Tony Brooks: 4 Ways to Help during Crisis and Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 8/28/17 at 6:55am. Post by Tony Brooks.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV)  

We are all paying attention to what is happening in Texas. (I am writing this blog on Saturday afternoon.) It is always tough to see others made in the image of God facing catastrophes. What can we do? Here are some ideas for Sunday School classes and small groups:  

  1. Pray! Praying is always the best place to start. God prepares us to do what is next. Each class/small group should be praying: What do you want me to do, God?  
  2. Give! Though many cannot actually go there, we can all give! I will be doing so. If you are not trained for Disaster Response, this is the best way to help out. They will need help for months. Your class can begin a fundraiser next week and know that every dime given through BGAV will go to families in need. Here is the link: https://bgavdr.org/responses/hurricane-harvey/ 
  3. Send! If you have trained volunteers through our Disaster Response, they are heroes! Encourage them to go. Pray over them and applaud their heroic efforts to help others.
  4. Encourage Training! We have one of the best-trained Disaster Response groups in the world! We are there long after others leave, and it is not about money for us. It is what Jesus would do as we minister to the least of these. Contact us if you are interested in hosting training in your region (https://bgavdr.org/volunteer/). 

How are you helping the least of these outside your community? This is one way to make a difference.  

 

Tony Brooks is our Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org.Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7

New Radio Broadcast starting Tuesday July 4

New Concord Association Radio Broadcast!

Beginning July 4 Rev. Joe McDowell, Director of Missions will start broadcasting a program entitled, “Everyday Faith — Living out your faith beyond Sunday.” Joe will provide practical insights to help people live out their Christian values and he will promote the Concord Baptist Association. "Everyday Faith” will air every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 AM on 96.7 Shine FM.

Mission Trip in Southwest Viriginia

Fifteen members of the Concord Baptist Association (CBA) are spending this week in Nickelsville, VA working with the Southwestern Virginia Partnership (SVP). Part of the group is working on a house trailer--putting on a new roof, new deck, and porch roof. Others are working with a food pantry and several nursing homes.

The disabled owner of the house trailer is a Christian and it is obvious he feels thankful and blessed to be receiving much needed repairs to his home.  He was presented a new Bible when the work was completed. The Bible's flyleaf pages have been filled with personal notes of encouragement from the people who worked on his home. Along with the presentation of the Bible, time was spent praying for him.  This team met a tangible need in this person's life and the message and love of Jesus has been wonderfully displayed.

Many families and individuals were given assistance in the way of food from the food pantry. The Association members working at the food pantry spoke of several people who stood out in their memories from their day of work at the pantry. They spoke of families and individuals who were obviously touched and blessed by the assistance they received. Some of the people who had the opportunity to speak of Jesus were able to speak words of blessing to them. Again the message and love of Jesus was shared with many people through the act of meeting one of humanity's most basic needs--food. 

This team from the CBA working with the SVP not only helped and blessed others, they were also blessed in the process - this was an opportunity to see God work through their actions. This mission touched their lives. How wonderful it is to see the Lord work through the work of our hands and the words of our mouths.

“Drug & Gang Awareness Program”

On Sunday afternoon April 2, the Southside Drug & Gang Task Force in association with the Concord Baptist Association presented a “Drug & Gang Awareness Program.” Bethany Baptist Church provided the location and snack foods for the program.

The program was led by Ronnie Campbell. Ronnie is the State Police Agent in charge of the Task Force and he is also the Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church. The program was opened by Bethany Baptist Students who led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, read from Scripture and led the attendees in “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Various members of the Southside Drug & Gang Task Force spoke to the attendees. The Task Force members include State Police Agents, County Deputies and Town Police officers.

Topics included:

  • An overview of Heroin: Information about the drug was given, but more importantly the presenting agents explained how this drug is impacting our Southside community. The use of Heroin in our area and across the nation is shocking! This quote from the Oct 11, 2015 Richmond Times Dispatch was given; “Deaths in Virginia from heroin and opioid use outnumbered highway fatalities for the first time last year.”  Simply put, more people die in the state of Virginia due to heroin and opioid overdose than from vehicle related deaths.
  • A general presentation of providing information on gangs was given and again, more importantly information on the growth of gangs in our community was discussed. Gang membership is on the rise and a startling fact was that gangs of today often evolve around purpose rather than race, ethnicity or ideology (though these types of gangs certainly still exist). Gang recruitment often begins with children as young as 7 to 9 years old! These children will be asked to do simple tasks in return for a small amount of money. From these simple beginnings gang ideology and membership is developed. The agents discussed various ways that gang members can be spotted and provided information to help parents spot potential gang involvement in their children. Attached is a copy of a handout provided on this topic entitled, “Parents’ Guide to Gangs”.
  • Mecklenburg County Sheriff, R.W. Hawkins, Jr., Task Force Leader Ronnie Campbell and each presenting agent stressed the need for community involvement in the fight against drug and gang crimes. The community can be the eyes and ears the Task Force needs. Information can be given to them through any local law enforcement office or through “Crime Solvers” at 1-877-676-8477.
  • Ronnie Campbell encouraged the Christian community to be involved in this community problem. As Christians, we are to be “salt and light” to our community. Sheriff Hawkins, in answer to a question from an attendee, indicated that one of the greatest needs is for foster parents. He indicated the number of children being removed from their parents has risen over the past few years. Good homes where these children can be cared for and loved are direly needed.

As members of the Concord Baptist Association -- as Christians -- I ask each person and for each church to make this growing problem a matter of prayer. As Christians, we are called to aid in the suffering of the people around us. Yes, people often make bad choices that put them in bad situations, but they need help--their children need help! The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” Romans 1:16 (ESV). Good deeds provided to those in need coupled with the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ can change lives!

Rev. Joe McDowell
Director of Missions
Concord Baptist Association

Bethany Pastor/State Police Special Agent Ronnie Campbell opened the “Drug & Gang Awareness Program”

Bethany Pastor/State Police Special Agent Ronnie Campbell opened the “Drug & Gang Awareness Program”

The crowd gathers for the “Drug & Gang Awareness Program.” By the time theprogram started there was standing room only.

The crowd gathers for the “Drug & Gang Awareness Program.” By the time theprogram started there was standing room only.

Bethany Baptist Church Students led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, Read Scripture, and led in the reciting of the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Bethany Baptist Church Students led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, Read Scripture, and led in the reciting of the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Agents used facts, statistics, and stories to explain the drug and gang problem that exists in Southside Virginia.

Agents used facts, statistics, and stories to explain the drug and gang problem that exists in Southside Virginia.

The program also included practical helps for the community.

The program also included practical helps for the community.

A Chore or A Blessing

Are there times when doing God's work seems like a chore? Have you ever been called or asked to do something you knew in your heart was what God wanted you to do, but you felt imposed upon? We have probably all felt this way from time to time. Recently, I got a call and I felt that twinge of dread, but I acted on what I knew I needed to do, knowing it was a God moment and could not be missed. As I allowed God to use me, I felt both joy and pain. There was joy seeing God work in an eternal way and there was pain as I saw the physical distress of the moment. Afterwards, I was drained. I was happy in what God had done, but the reality of the situation brought me low.

 

I took some time and opened God's word. I knew right where to go--to 1 Corinthians 13. I read, "Love...does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful." I knew these were my feelings as I listened to the phone call asking me to change my plans for the day. I was convicted about the way I received the news of what I needed to do. I realized my attitude and my priorities were out of whack. I was thankful that in spite of those initial thoughts and feelings, I did act in love. I acted for the good of the one I was called to minister to. My actions were of love in spite of my feelings and you know, the "feelings" of love soon accompanied the actions of love. I am so glad I acted as I knew I needed to. I'm so thankful God used me in spite of myself. I'm so amazed how He forgives so quickly and acts on our behalf as we act on the behalf of Him and someone else. I praise my God!

 

In this instance, I was able to share the plan of salvation and God allowed me to be a part of the Spirit's actions to bring someone into the Kingdom.

Why Jesus Came

Click image to listen.

Camp Concord - Helping You Disciple Your Children

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Children have fun at Camp Concord. There are fun activities, games, swimming, crafts and more. All of these things create an enjoyable environment for children.  Children love to have FUN!

Camp Concord certainly provides a fun time for children, but its program also reaches and challenges children spiritually. This is the reason Camp Concord exists--to share the love of Jesus and the realities of His gospel.

Reggie Joiner of reThink Group says every kid needs, “Another voice saying the same things parents say.” (Joiner, Loc 1064. ) In other words, children need other adults teaching them and leading them in spiritual things. These additional voices help to solidify what parents are teaching about Jesus and the Christian faith. Camp Concord provides counselors, directors, and pastors who are doing this! Children learn about faith in formal teaching environments and in informal interactions with camp personnel. 

Typically, children are exposed to two large group worship/teaching events each day along with a small group devotional time with their cabin counselors. Then, there are the informal interactions occurring as God opens the door for them between a child and a member of the camp personnel. 

Children learn the importance of continued worship and devotion as these things are taught and modeled for them throughout the week. 

Camp Concord is a fun place for children to go, but it is much more than that--it is a place of spiritual development that is Christ centered.

Reference:
Joiner, Reggie: Thing Orange, Electronic Version,  David C. Cook, 2009.

The Christian Voice

The Christian voice has lost its prevalence in today’s society. Much of this loss is because individual Christians fail to speak of Christian values and most are afraid to share their faith with others. Churches are struggling to bring people into the church to hear about Jesus. Many workplaces have barred any form of Christian witness and many venues where prayer is still in vogue do not allow prayers to be made in Jesus’s Name. The very last commandment Jesus gave us, “to go and make disciples” is perishing in our anti-Christian culture. As Christians, we are not supposed to bow in obedience to our culture, but to Christ. The biblical fact is, we are supposed to deliver His message to the world, “as of first importance.”

One way the Christian voice is continuing to be spoken into our culture is through Christian Radio. Christian Radio stations continue to present the message of Christ in media that is forefront in our culture. Radio broadcasts and web radio broadcasts remain popular ways of listening to music, news, popular personalities, etc. Christian radio provides music and commentary that many Christians like, but it also reaches out to those who do not know Christ. Just today, I heard several stories of how Christian radio led people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

What can we do to keep the Christian voice alive in our culture. One way is to support Christian Radio. We can help insure these radio stations continue from a financial standpoint. We can pray for them and we can keep them informed on Christian events and information. The local Christian radio and web station where I live is 96.7 Shine FM. What’s the station where you live?

Also, and most importantly, we can follow our Savior’s directive to “go and make disciples.” We can do this as individuals and as churches. We must be willing to interact with our culture in ways that connect. Then, when we connect—share the gospel—the Good News!—The Story—The Creator of ALL the universe loves you and wants to have a relationship with you and He wants to give you ETERNAL life. What a GRAND story! Tell it!

Here’s several links to a site you may find helpful as you try to tell, The Story.

Commit yourself to sharing the gospel. Pray for God to give you opportunities and to give you the courage to do it. Remember, to share your story as part of The Story. Your story is simply what God has done for you.

For those who live near South Hill, VA, there will be a one night seminar on sharing The Story on Thursday August 11@ 7PM

Location: The Concord Baptist Association

121 South Mecklenburg Ave.

South Hill, VA

Contact: 434-447-7240

Lead by: Joe McDowell, Director of Missions