I would like to ask you to do a very difficult thing. Instead of just going along with what everyone says today and without being swayed by hundreds of years of growing modern religious practice, let’s just look at the Bible as if we were receiving its letters in the first and second century when they were written and then distributed. I would like to ask you a second difficult thing. Hear me out all the way to the end before shutting me down just because what I’m going to say is not the popular opinion.
Can I share with you a word that is conspicuously absent from the Bible? Christmas. It is not in our Bibles ever. Charlie Brown specials notwithstanding, the Bible never presents a single Christmas story, let alone the first Christmas story. I invite you to read the New Testament from cover to cover, upside down and backwards if necessary. Please provide me one shred of evidence that suggests God has ever asked us or wants us to establish a holiday (holy day) to celebrate the birthday of Jesus?
Interestingly enough, the first problem we would have is figuring out on what day such a celebration should occur. It seems to me, since the Scripture equips us for every good work (cf. II Timothy 3:16-17), if God wanted us celebrating such a day He would have, at the very least, let us know which day to celebrate. But we can’t find that day anywhere in Scripture.
Why is December 25 the day? Certainly not because God equipped us to celebrate the birthday of Jesus on that day. Consider what The Encyclopedia Americana says about it:
“The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, to celebrate the ‘rebirth of the sun.’”
Consider also what the New Catholic Encyclopedia says about it:
“The true birth date of Christ is unknown. The worldwide census reported in Luke 2:1-2 cannot be substantiated. By the late second century different groups of Christians held divergent ideas on the date of Christ’s birth: January 6 or 10…, April 19 or 20, May 20, or November 18…With no evidence for the exact date of Christ’s birth, and no clear proof of the date at which the feast began to be celebrated, nor its rationale, liturgical historians have developed two noncompetitive theories.”
Currently the Manassas Church of Christ has a good benevolence program. The assistance provided to our community takes the form of food from our pantry, minimal financial assistance, and information about services provided through social services. Every person is informed about the love of Christ and the Grace that is available through faith and obedience to Him. There are times when additional assistance is needed for rides to church or other services. Having a list of people that are willing to assist with some of these activities will increase the number of opportunities that we, as the Body of Christ, have to demonstrate the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us.
We are currently developing plans for our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas food baskets. Each care group will be asked to participate in this program as in years past. If you know of families that have need of one of these baskets now or anytime throughout the year please email James Redic, our Benevolence Deacon.
We must remember that our primary focus is to share the Gospel with the whole world. Showing non-judgmental love to those in our community is a great place to start! To paraphrase James, When people are sick and hungry they can't hear the Gospel because their stomachs are making so much noise.
POC: James Redic
We have an active and involved group of young people. The Youth Group (6th - 12th graders) hosts Devotionals and a wide variety of activities and Service Projects throughout the year. A little younger group, those not yet in our Youth Group (up through 5th graders), are busy with many programs, activities and projects as well.
We have many deacons who work tirelessly to provide activities and special events with our youth. You will hear here that our youth are not the church of tomorrow, but are part of the church of today!
You may be asking, does your youth group believe in evolution? The answer is yes ... and no. We believe that God created the earth in 7 days just as scripture tells us. We don't believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. We believe in God's theory of evolution. What's that? Well we're glad you asked. We already said we believe in God's word in scripture so we'll let scripture explain. 1Corinthians 13:11 tells us 'When I was a child. I talked like a child. I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" We all grow and change over time. we want our young people to grow from children following God, to men and women of God. However that is not where our spiritual evolution ends. Darwin's theory of evolution shows man evolving to stand upright. we believe with God's evolution we will go from standing upright to hunched over. Why is that? Matthew 16:24 states "If anyone would come after me. he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." We want these young men and women of God to feel the weight of bearing the cross every day, we want them to bow in reverence to a holy God; we want them to truly be living sacrifices. We believe in loving and serving God, we also love to be together.
Manassas Church of Christ Pre-School: This is a "pay what you can" pre-school for 3 and 4 year olds. Preregistration required. Space is limited.
Vacation Bible School
Sonshine Girls/Discovery Scouts: These are clubs for children 1st through s" grades. They meet bimonthly during the school year, and schedule special events. Membership is free. Events may entail some cost.
Tutors are available upon request for school-aged students.
The youth program focuses on how the youth of the congregation can strengthen each other through Fellowship in Christ. As part of our education program we teach the youth to know/understand what the Bible tells us about our responsibilities to God and each other. Outreach to the world around us is carried out as described in Mark 16:15 with going into the world teaching them about Christ and for the world to see our love for our fellow saints and an honest concern for others' souls. Following Christ's example, we help to reach people by providing for their physical needs first. In the context of youth, especially teenagers, the greatest need is acceptance. The youth of our congregation often invite their friends who become our friends and understand that the fellowship we have is something to be desired.
For youth 1st to 5th grade we have the Sonshine girls and Discovery Scouts. They meet to develop bonds with each other and to learn about God and Christ through lessons and activities. Cindy Kline and Alfred Huff can be contacted for these two activities.
The current effort is Camp Connection where the youth group provides needed rest for parents of special needs children and provides the children interaction with others that care about their needs first. Alfred Huff can be contacted about Camp Connection.
Any of the youth deacons can be contacted about any and all the activities of the youth program.
POCs: Paul Anderson, Robert Fancher, Mel Hurley
The Young Adult Ministry is a ministry for all young adults from college age to early 30s. Though mostly comprised of 20-something professional singles, the Young Adult Ministry is also home to college students, trade school students, graduate students, single mothers, and engaged and newly married couples ... truly a diverse family of young adults!
The Young Adult Ministry exists to 1) provide a Spiritual Family for Young Adults, 2) encourage Young Adults to live out their faith in Jesus daily, and 3) challenges Young Adults to focus on Christ and others before themselves. A common theme of all of our classes is building a faith who’s central focus is Christ, not ourselves.
They are involved in many areas of church life, serving and leading with creativity and fun. Education, family, sports, friends and work take up much of the time they have and so it is important to find a balance to life where these things are honored while space is made to grow.
Three aspects which are important to this growth have been important to the Christian church from its earliest days:
Today, our Young Adult program consists of Singles, Young married couples, Married couples with young children and college age students. Young singles are an important part of our Young Adult program. Today, we do not segregate classes, get-togethers, etc., by the various Young Adult categories (singles, young marrieds, marrieds with children, college age). All are welcome and enjoy being part of a growing group focused on supporting each other through sharing God's word, service opportunities and fun activities. Our group meets the second Sunday of every month and plans for ongoing activities such as: devotionals, bowling, apple picking, dinners, holiday parties, etc.
We are working on developing a core leadership team among the Young Adults to improve outreach and communications.
We are currently, looking at adopting a service organization. We will also, will publish info about the MCC Young Adult program and calendar of activities within the newly created MCC website.
Camp Connection was created and is run by members of our youth group. Our goal is to make intentional connections between children with special needs (and their families) in the Manassas area with youth and other members of the church. We have already held many events to serve and make connections with these families. Information about those events, and the event currently being planned can be seen below. Since about 2013 this unique ministry has offered free Saturday events that include:
1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
To find out more, please contact Joe Dunlap or the church office at 703-368-2622.