Merry Christmas from the Drakes!

Greetings! We pray you and yours are doing well and seeking the Lord this Christmas season. Thankfully, our family has had a good and “normal” 2018 (as normal as a family of seven can experience, at least).

Noah (13) is in 7th grade and had his first season of tackle football this fall. He really enjoyed football, and his team going undefeated certainly helped. Now, he is busy with basketball, which is his favorite sport.

Levi (12) is in 6th grade and just started his basketball season, too, where he is fortunate (at times) and unfortunate (at times) to have his dad as his coach. Now in middle school, Levi greatly misses his favorite part of the day: recess.

Silas (8) is in 2nd grade and is constantly seeking to make people laugh and have fun. He is looking forward to basketball soon but says his favorite thing to do is play with toys.

Zoe (7) is in 1st grade and is gritty and holding her own with four brothers. She, as much as her brothers, loves rough-housing and playing tackle football in the yard. She can’t stop talking about how excited she is to start basketball.

Micah (3 ½) has now been a part of the Drake family for 18 months, but it seems like he has been here all along. While he is still a big-time mommy’s boy at heart, he sure adores the rest of his family and loves to try to do everything his siblings are doing.

Marsha is staying busy with Micah on her heels all day, and she continues to serve our church family in children’s ministry on Sundays and Wednesdays. She loves hanging out with our family, being involved in the kids’ school activities and sports, and keeping up with various projects.

Nick has been the pastor of Richland Baptist Church for more than five years now, and he loves this ministry, particularly preaching, discipleship and outreach. He, along with the rest of the family, is beyond grateful that his mom, sister Ashley and niece Sahari all moved to Fulton this year. It is an incredible blessing to all be a part of the same church and see each other multiple times each week.

While there are countless things for which we can give thanks this year, nothing even compares to the eternal life that is promised in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He came to this earth more than 2,000 years ago, born of a virgin and lived a perfect life. Then, He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures promised He would.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He won the victory over sin and death, so that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Have you called on His name and asked Him to take over your life? If not, we pray you will make that decision before it’s too late because just like He came, as promised, the first time, He is coming again, as promised. And, His second coming is one of eternal judgment for all who have not yet surrendered to His Lordship, whereas it is a welcoming of eternal glory for all who have surrendered to Him.

If you have any questions about what it means to follow Jesus, please don’t hesitate to contact us. While we are far from perfect and certainly do not have all the answers, we would love to pray for and encourage you in any way we can.

Hope you have a great rest of the week and great start to 2019.

Merry Christmas and God bless you!

2018 Drake Kids
Micah’s face in this picture is a great example of how we often do NOT have it all together. Far from it, in fact.
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Know the plan.

Kids (and many adults, too) seem to enjoy wearing costumes. We like to pretend we are someone or something we are not, especially if that someone or something is really cool.

On Halloween last week, Marsha took our youngest son, Micah, to join our other four children at school for their costume parade and party. When our four oldest children’s classmates would ask who Micah was, our children would introduce him as “Micah,” but he would quickly respond, “No, I’m Mickey.” Apparently, it was pretty cute.

Now, if Marsha would have taken Micah to the school in that costume on another day, it still might have been cute. He could probably get away with it because he is only three years old.

If you and I start walking around in costumes on random other days, though, and claim to be someone or something we are not, that is not so cute. It is just weird.

Wearing costumes on Halloween is something people have come to expect, to some degree at least. It is a part of “the plan.” When someone shows up to work or school on Halloween dressed as Captain America, for example, that person is much less likely to be thought of as a weirdo.

Knowing the plan is important, right? Knowing cultural expectations and norms is certainly helpful in avoiding being labeled a fool, sometimes at least.

More importantly, knowing the plan according to the Word of God is eternally helpful. No, I do not mean we can or will know everything. Far from it. What I do mean, though, is that we can be much more prepared for the things we will face in this life if we have an understanding of God’s plan.

His plan is found in His Word, so seeking to know Him through regular Bible study is critical for every single one of us. The better we know Him and His plan for our lives, the better we can live the life He has created us to live.

Take suffering, for example. If we do not understand God’s clear communication that suffering is an important and normal part of discipleship, we are far-less prepared to face and endure that suffering.

During our morning worship service tomorrow, I will be preaching on “The Suffering of Discipleship” and sharing three reasons we must understand this suffering (and how to respond).

Jesus suffered. He said His followers would suffer. In America, we have experienced far less suffering than many other Christians all over the world and throughout Christian history. Are we ready for that suffering?

If you do not know what Halloween is, you will be pretty surprised, if not shockingly scared, when your co-worker shows up dressed as Michael Myers.

If you do not know what the Bible teaches, you will be pretty surprised, if not shockingly unprepared, when persecution (or any other form of suffering) personally affects you.

Read the Word. Know the plan. Trust the Lord.