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Happy New Year to our IARBC Family,

I am sitting in our family room, looking outside past our Christmas tree. A light snow is falling on a blanket of snow from earlier in the week. It is cold, but the wind is light (a nice change) making the dry snow swirl before it gently lands on the ground. It is absolutely beautiful. I no longer dream of a white Christmas, and I am very happy to have dry roads, but I have to admit I am thoroughly enjoying this winter scene that God has orchestrated. I do not pretend to understand the treasures of the snow, but I do praise the Lord for its beauty!

Of course Christmas is not really about snow; it is about the incarnation of the Son of God, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It is about the coming of a Savior who is Christ the Lord, Emmanuel, who is God with us. It is about the good news of great joy that would be for all people. For us as believers, Christmas is first and foremost about Jesus, born of a virgin, and then laid in a manger. It is about Jesus who was revealed to the humble shepherds, then visited and worshiped by the wise men from the east. They gave Him gifts that were worthy of a king. Christ Himself was a gift from the Father to a sinful and needy world. Although “commercial” Christmas (as Dr. Kevin Bauder puts it in his recent Nick of Time article) can easily usurp the true meaning of Christmas, giving and receiving gifts can have a rightful place in our observance of Christmas.

For our family, it has worked to celebrate Christmas, complete with the exchanging of gifts, over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some of the details have changed over the years, but some traditions are pretty deeply ingrained and are not to be trifled with. One of these traditions is stocking stuffers. For some reason Sandy & I bought Christmas stockings for each member of our family at K-Mart. I guess we liked the way they looked and they were reasonably priced. Though uniquely different, each of them has a similar look. As family members were added through marriage and the birth of grandkiddos, each received their own (K-Mart) Christmas stocking complete with their name in gold glitter puffy paint across the “fur” at the top. At times extra stockings would be purchased in advance just in case there were more grandchildren and spouses along the way as we never knew from year to year how much longer we could find stockings at K-Mart. The adults had the privilege of writing their own name on their stockings with puffy paint and we typically made a big deal out of it. To some degree, it was another way to say they were now family. Two Christmases ago, when Amy (our youngest daughter) and Christopher were getting pretty serious, Sandy & I decided to give him a provisional stocking. There could be no puffy paint as there was no ring yet (though it was not long before they were engaged), so Sandy put Christopher’s name on his stocking in block letters using blue painters tape. The stocking was put away after Christmas…until their wedding day. At their wedding reception, Christopher tore off the blue painters tape, and ceremoniously wrote his name in puffy paint on his Christmas stocking. Their daughter Addie has her own (K-Mart) stocking now and is celebrating her first Christmas with all of us. We will exchange stocking stuffer gifts in a couple of days.

Christmas has its traditions. We all have our ways of celebrating, and I think giving can play a meaningful role in our
Christmas traditions. Giving that is driven by gratitude for the rich blessings that we have in Christ. We all have so
much to be grateful for…

Grateful for the salvation we have in Christ.
Grateful for lives that are transformed by the Gospel.
Grateful for the privilege of serving the Lord.
Grateful for God’s grace, sovereignty, and His provision, even in the face of sorrow and grief.
Grateful for our family.
Grateful for the the ministries that God is using for the cause of the Gospel.
Grateful for the people that mean so much to us in life and ministry.

There are so many more but I want to focus on the last one. People that mean so much to us in life and ministry.

One such person, for me, is Brenna Capon.

Not only is she a wonderful daughter-in-law, she is a wonderful help to me and to our IARBC family of churches as our IARBC Administrative Assistant. Her husband, Danny, is the pastor of Grandview Park Baptist Church in Des Moines and together they serve the Lord there. She is a good and godly wife and mother. She is a faithful servant of the Lord who loves people and who loves our churches. God has gifted her in so many ways and she willingly uses what God has given her to serve Him. She is pretty tech-savvy (for which I am very grateful) and knowledgeable about finances and bookkeeping. She is a very good editor and information gatherer which is a big help with managing our website and posting Inside Iowa email updates. She is extremely efficient, and as such, is always looking for a better, quicker, more affordable way to do things. She might say otherwise, but I think she is very creative. She is a hard worker and doesn’t give up until she figures things out. This might be the math teacher in her, but, in any event, it is true.

However, sometimes the work load is more than one person can handle, so I am also grateful for Sadie Hatting. She is a faithful member of Grandview, a good friend of Brenna, and a great help with mailings, printing projects, and many other administrative tasks. She is responsible, capable, and a delight to work with.

I imagine Brenna and Sadie to be like the people the apostle Paul commended in his letters as fellow workers and co-laborers in the Gospel. It is not a stretch to say that I could not do what I need to do without them. They are an incredible blessing to me and to our IARBC family of churches. I am grateful to God for them and I wanted to let you know a little about them and what they do to serve the Lord through serving our IARBC.

Christmas…

A time to reflect on the incarnation of the Son of God.
A time to spend with family & friends.
A time observe some traditions.
A time for giving.
A time for being grateful.

Thanks for your prayers, words of encouragement, financial support, and for the opportunity for Sadie, Brenna, Sandy, and me to serve the churches of the IARBC.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,

Tim, Sandy, Brenna & Sadie

“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)

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Thrive as a couple in the middle of this winter with an encouraging, quick weekend retreat in the cozy Stoney Creek Inn. Let your marriage flourish with a great atmosphere of fellowship and worship, and an edifying time of learning — or being reminded of— God’s design for marriage with Dr. John Street of Master’s Seminary.

Below are promotional materials and a print registration form. You/your church may use these materials to promote the event– the registration form can be printed as a half-sheet bulletin insert.

Alternatively, you may conveniently register online here. Space is limited, and Early Bird registration ($35/couple) will close January 5th. Standard registration ($45/couple) will remain open until January 31. If available, Last Minute registrations ($55/couple) will be accepted up to day-of registration.

Reserve your hotel room at the Stoney Creek Inn by calling 515.334.9000 or 800.659.2220 (follow prompts to Iowa, then Des Moines). Indicate that you are with the Baptist Couples Retreat to get the conference rate. A block of rooms is being held until January 9th. After that date, reservations can be made at the conference rate, but there is no guarantee of their availability.

Please call 319.385.3718 with any questions.

To download the bulletin insert/registration form, please click on this link: Couples Retreat 2018 Bulletin Insert- Registration

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Merry Christmas to our IARBC family,

Every year Sandy & I send out a good number of Christmas cards. It is a pretty big project and it takes a bit of time to complete. But we like doing it as it is one way of staying connected with many of the people that the Lord has brought into our lives. And it reminds us that life and ministry is about people. That was the thought that the Lord brought to mind as we worked together to get our cards ready to send out…people.

 

People that have enriched our lives.
People that have been a blessing to us.
People that we have serve alongside of in ministry.
People that have responded to the gospel and have grown in the Lord.
People that we know who we believe still need the gospel.
People that are family… saved and unsaved alike.
People that we know through our own local churches settings.
People that partner with our IARBC in ministry.
People that have served the Lord well for a long time.
People that serve our IARBC fellowship in many and special ways.

 

And all of that makes us think about all of you who follow us in our life and ministry. You see, this Inside Iowa email update is another way to stay connected with people that mean so much to us. Our occasional Across Iowa articles, like this one, are a way for Sandy & I to stay connected with you all as well. We love sharing with you what God is doing in, through and among our IARBC churches. We love communicating with you in a way that we trust will inform, instruct and inspire you in your walk with the Lord. We love what we do, what God has called us to do. And all of these blessings have their root…their meaning in the Person and work of Christ on our behalf.

It really is because of Him and it really is all about Him.

Because of Christ…

We have a salvation that is rich, free, life-changing, and eternal.
We have blessings that are almost too numerous to name (see Ephesians 1-3).
We have a message, the gospel, that is still what people need the most.
We have a partnership in ministry through our IARBC family of churches.
We have rich fellowship with one another in and among our local churches.
We have an obligation, and also opportunities, to serve one another.
We have the indwelling Spirit who teaches us, comes alongside of us, enables us, and so much more.
We have access to our Heavenly Father, and answers to prayer according to His will.

 

I could go on, but you get the idea. We are richly blessed, and we thank God for all we have in Christ. And this would include the opportunity to serve our IARBC family of churches. All because God gave us His Son.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
(2 Cor. 9:15)

God bless and have a Merry Christmas,

Tim & Sandy

“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)
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