River Church NOLA
2021 Dec 19 Christmas is about Love
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        River Kids

        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        River Kids

        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
        Ask your kids what they learned
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        Christmas Eve Service

        December 24, 2021 - 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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        Tweens Class

        December 5, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        Tweens Class

        November 28, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
        5th Grade through 7th Grade
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Hark The Herald)
  • Joy To The World (Antioch)
  • O Holy Night
  • Happy Birthday Jesus
  • Silent Night
  • Come On Ring Those Bells
  • How many of you have that uncle… or that cousin. I had an uncle and he would drive all of his sisters crazy by coming over and shaking the presents. If it rattled, he would say it must be something good. Because of that, I used to put change or rocks or anything that would rattle in presents I gave…
    No matter how crazy it seemed, it was always good to get together with family. Now, you may have that uncle, or you may be that uncle, but How about these guys?
    Odd Christmas photos
    Look, these make me realize that my family may be different, but they are family and we love them.
    Christmas is a time to look beyond our differences, just as God did, and truly love one another.
    Christmas is a time for love and Love is a wonderful thing. The word probably gets used too much for too many different things, but Love is in fact a great thing. To be loved for who you are is one of the most amazing and wonderful feelings a person can experience. And it seems … for the most part, that during the Christmas season, people are more likely to extend love, care and compassion than at other times. That doesn’t count for the parking lot at the mall.
    What is it about Christmas that draws this out of us?
    Is it possible that at the very heart of Christmas like the incredibly generous heart of the Father? The eternal God, who sent his son as a gift to humankind. The same God that knew the very people he created, who he loved, would be the same people that crucified his son on a cross.
    And He sent His Son, the gift of mercy, anyway.
    What is it about giving gifts to others and being generous with those we love that brings out the best in us? Why does it feel so much better and more fulfilling to be on the giving end of things rather than the receiving end?
    I don’t know all the answers but I do know that at the very heart of it all is the love of the Father, evident in the birth death and resurrection of his Son. So we can say with Paul
    2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV84
    15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

    1. God is love

    As we begin, I want you to understand how all of these messages are connected by the life of Jesus.
    We have eternal hope in the promises of God made alive in Jesus.
    We have unshakable peace in Jesus, who will return for you and me… his church.
    We have the gift of deep and abiding joy through our love and understanding of Jesus.
    And at the end of the day, we know what pure, unfiltered, un-conditional love looks like because of the example Jesus set for us.
    1 John 4:7–9 NLT
    7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
    At his core, God is love.

    Every action God takes is motivated and sustained by love.

    John tells us that the very reason jesus came to earth is because of His great love for us.
    The reason that we can even define loves is because it has been displayed for us by God himself. Love is so much more than Hallmark movies, hashtags and everything else we’ve come to believe it is. Love is deeply personal, hard to fully define and yet at the same time, we fully understand what we’re looking at when we see it.
    1 Corinthians 13:4–8 NLT
    4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
    story of unconditional love

    2. Love one another is the new commandment

    Love sounds pretty good… much better than hate and anger. So what are we supposed to do?
    Throughout the Gospels, the disciples ask a lot of questions… mostly relating to things they could not do or should be doing… marriage… prayer… fasting… tithing… sabbath etc.
    In John, Jesus gives the disciples a new rule to follow.
    John 13:34–35 NLT
    34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
    It’s not our doctrine… not how many Bible Verses we know… not how big of a church we have… but

    People will know we follow Jesus by how well we love each other

    Jesus commanded that we love each other. He also told us to love other people as we love ourselves so we can’t get way from love.

    We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves

    Matthew 22:37–39 NLT
    37 Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
    The first part is easy. he tells us the greatest commandment is to love God. but then he adds loving people to the command. In John, Jesus tells us to love each other… then in the Great Commandment, he tells us to love others… our neighbors which by Jesus definition is everyone, like we love ourselves.
    What does that love look like? How did Jesus show that love to his disciples… to us? Fortunately, we know the answer...
    1 John 3:16 NLT
    16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
    Jesus gave up his life for us and then tells us to do the same. We are to give up our lives for others. We trade what we want for what they want and need. We put others before ourselves. That’s the principle behind this One Day to Feed the World Offering. We are trading something we want for something they need…
    It’s simple, but it’s not easy or we would all love like Jesus loves. Why doesn’t everyone love like Jesus?

    3. Love is a choice

    Our culture today thinks and almost forces people to think that love is something you fall into. It’s an emotion that comes and goes. That’s a false teaching of what love is and it’s a dangerous teaching about what love is. Most of you, like me, know that love is a choice you make every day in relationships.
    I used to do a talk, Love is a verb. It’s action that we choose to take.
    I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that God, the Father, chose to love all of us through His son Jesus. Aren’t we privileged that Jesus chose to humble himself, taking on the role of a servant, dying on a cross for you and me? If it wasn’t for the loving sacrifice of the Father and the Son, we would not be here today.
    John 3:16 The Living Bible
    16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    Do you think it was easy for God to love a world that for the most part didn’t and doesn’t love him back? Do you think it was easy for Jesus to love and be willing to die for the very people that lied about him, beat him and hung him on the cross? Not easy at all.
    Is it always easy to love others?
    an aunt… spouse… kids… friends… enemies -
    Obviously the answer is no. Even our kids make us crazy sometimes.

    Love is not easy.

    It’s not something you fall into. It takes genuine focused effort to love others. But that’s what Jesus asks us to do.
    We love because he first loved us.
    Jesus set the example for us and He asks us to follow his lead.

    4. Love redeems

    John 3:16 is probably the most well known verse in the Bible, but the next verse is just as powerful when talking about the love of God.
    John 3:17 NLT
    17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
    God did not send Jesus to condemn, although you would not know that by some churches, but He sent Jesus to bring redemption, reconciliation, and renewal.

    Jesus came to save the world not condemn it

    Colossians 1:19–20 NLT
    19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
    One of the greatest responsibilities we have is to share this life-changing good news, the love of Jesus, with others.
    Conclusion

    5. The Best Christmas ever is about giving and receiving love

    As we get closer to Christmas, let me ask you… What has God redeemed in your life? Where have you seen the fullness of Jesus’s hope, peace, joy and love this year? Hopefully several things are running through your mind right now. If that’s you… Awesome… praise the Lord.
    But others are struggling to see the redemption in your life. Maybe it’s been a while since you felt truly loved.
    That first Christmas was and is special because it’s moment in time that we can point to and see God’s love for us in action.
    This Christmas can also be a special Christmas. This could be the moment you decide to put your love for others into action. This could the moment that you decide to follow Jesus’ lead to love others by giving your life, energy, time, resources for them.
    This may be the first time you accept God’s love.
    This may be the first time you share God’s love.
    Listen, the redemptive love of Jesus is not something that we can or should keep to ourselves. It’s something that we need to share with as many people as we can for as long as we can.
    Prayer time
      • 2 Corinthians 9:15NIV

      • 1 John 4:7–9NIV

      • John 13:34–35NIV

      • 1 Corinthians 13:4–8NIV

      • Matthew 22:37–39NIV

      • 1 John 3:16NIV

      • John 3:16NIV

      • John 3:17NIV

      • Colossians 1:19–20NIV

  • i prayer on christmas
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        Church Service Mid-Week

        December 1, 2021 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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        NO Mid-Week@ River Church

        December 22, 2021 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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