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Whenever my high school choir would get too rowdy and loud during the month of December, our director would punish us collectively by making us sing all eight verses of “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming.” An old-fashioned English Christmas carol, “Lo, How a Rose” is an undisputed classic, so it’s a real shame that it makes me want to slap an adolescent boy.
One year, our choir performed an awful rendition of a madrigal dinner — complete with many, many adolescent boys — and while “Lo, How a Rose” did not make the final cut, another equally vague yet classic Christmas carol did: “The Boar’s Head.” Although there were many to choose from, the real low point of the night was when a class of conscripted second-graders wheeled a table down through the audience which bore a real-live boar’s head resting atop a silver platter. As the decapitated horror took its place under the lights, audience members ripped their cuticles to shreds while a ninthgrader belted out the second verse of “The Boar’s Head” in a cracking falsetto. My own mother pretended to dig wood chips out of her eyes to hide her laughter. December of 1998 was rock-bottom for Christmas music in my life, but it is outnumbered by many other years of beautiful musical memories. When my youngest brother Jeff was born, I remember rocking him to sleep in the dark nursery while singing “What Child is This?” As a junior-higher, I probably was really asking, “What? Another child?” after his birth, but the minor-key mysteriousness of the carol left me in awe. Other memories flood in: my grandfather leading us in a chorus of “Joy to the World!” every Christmas morning after reading from Luke 2; singing “Away In A Manger” over cookies and eggnog at my parents’ house after putting up the tree; enjoying “Silent Night” every Christmas Eve at IBC as candles cast light on cheery faces. Upbeat, slow and somber, jolly and light, funny and weird, Christmas music ushers us into the season. Its familiar melodies make their way onto our radios and Pandora playlists weeks before a hall is decked or a gift is wrapped. The familiar choruses pave the way for the holiday memories we cherish. They remind us why we celebrate. They link us to our children and to our elusive child-likeness. The Virgin Mary sang the very first Christmas carol while she was heavy with the Christ-child:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55 When overwhelming favor has entered your life, you can’t help but sing for joy. And that is the heart of a Christmas carol — incredulous grace. A song of cold, poor people brought into a warm feast, of captives led into freedom, of brokenhearted wanderers finding their way home. Because an old promise has been kept, carols authoritatively celebrate a future promise. Light has come! God has been faithful! Let’s sing about it and look ahead with hope. What are your favorite carols? Which express the shape and contours of your heart this December? May you and your family be blessed this year as you explore the mysteries of Advent and Christmas in all the usual ways, but especially as you find your way through the music of the season.
Editor Julie Rhodes Art Direction, Design & Goodness Josh Wiese, Lindsey Sobolik, Dennis Cheatham The Final Say Julie Pierce Admin Extraordinaire Victoria Andrews Editorial Assistance/Proofing Summer Alexander* Annie Stone*
Photography Evan Chavez (The Swan)* Trey Hill (Cover, Carols, Back Cover)* Writers Jason Fox (Idle Chatter)* Shawn Small (The Swan)*
Thoughts, comments, ideas? Contact Chatter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Need Chatter Digitally? Chatter is on the web at irvingbible.org/chatter. *Most beloved and indispensable Chatter Volunteer.
Irving Bible Church: a community on a journey.
Thanks for picking up Chatter. Chatter is a publication of Irving Bible Church in Irving, Texas.
Why are we here?
IBC is on a journey committed to growing in Christ, connecting in community and joining the mission. This commitment comes from Jesus’ words in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-39) and Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
How do we do this?
Growing in Christ At the heart of the journey is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the story of the Son of God coming into our dark world to bring light, life, hope and transformation. The journey begins when we trust Christ, but it doesn’t end there. God’s desire for each of us is for our hearts and lives to become more like the one who has saved us (Ephesians 4:11-13). Connecting in Community The gospel story draws us into a community of people whose lives have been transformed by Jesus. This journey is not one that we undertake alone. We are designed to do life together as a community of Christ-followers. It is essential that we walk with one another on the journey (John 13:34-35). Joining the Mission The gospel tells us that one day God will take all that is broken in this world and make it whole. Those of us who are on the journey together are called to be people who do what we can to make glimpses of that day show up in our day. We do this by telling the gospel story and demonstrating gospel-shaped love to a needy world (Matthew 28:18-20).
Irving Bible Church | 2435 Kinwest Pkwy, Irving, TX 75063 | (972) 560-4600 Web irvingbible.org | Twitter @ibcvoice | Facebook irvingbible
Sign up for the IBC eLetter, a weekly email update for key ministry event information and announcements, along with a short devotional by Pastor Andy to encourage you on your journey week-to-week. Subscribe today at irvingbible.org/eletter. New to IBC? Turn to page 18.
Photo Update: Thanksgiving Meals & The Bridge
Over the years, IBC has provided for thousands of families at Thanksgiving (A). This year, IBC families delivered bags to Townsell Elementary and Sam Houston Middle School as part of Children at IBC’s KidVenture event. On November 5, women of all ages and stages participated in The Bridge, meeting in homes to enjoy a great meal and make new connections (B).
REMINDER: Small Group Sign-Up
December 9 is the deadline to sign up for the sermon-based small groups winter session. Register at irvingbible.org/smallgroups. Questions? Visit the kiosk in Town Square on Sunday or contact email@example.com.
It's not too late to be a part of IBC's Journey On initiative. To learn more, visit irvingbible.org/journeyon. If you have already made your JO commitment, please remember that January is the start month for all contributions.
ALSO: Journey On
In 2009, I read “God Gave Us Christmas” by Lisa Tawn Bergren (illustrated by David Hohn), a delightful story about a theologically inquisitive polar bear cub whose mom takes him on a pilgrimage to discover “who ‘vented Christmas?” They go on an adventure of discovering the beauty and power of God in nature. Mama bear brings it all home: “Little Cub, Jesus is like the flower — God in our world. Living where you wouldn’t expect him, surprising us! Christmas is a lot about surprises.” “Mm-hmm, like presents!” “Yes! Jesus is the best present of all. And God would’ve given us that present, even if it was only for you.” “Only for me?” “Only for you, Little Cub. God gave you Christmas.”
I’m 56 years old and still just a big kid when it comes to Christmas. I don’t know why the joy and wonder of the season never seem to wear off. They are renewed each year for me when the lights and decorations and seasonal lattes start showing up at Starbucks!
I think one reason for this is the anticipation of telling an old story again in a new way. Christ’s advent is that story. And though it is a simple story, it is a profound one whose depths can never be fully plumbed. God become man? A virgin gives birth? God in a stable? Yep, mind-bending. Even the deepest theologians struggle to explain the meaning of it. Perhaps that’s why the authors of children’s books about Christmas may be the most profound writers of all on the subject. The profound must be explained simply, elegantly, or else it may be diminished at worst, and misunderstood at best. That’s why I love our 25-year IBC Christmas Eve Service tradition of reading a Christmas storybook to the children. In the early years, I sat on the stage with a handful of bright-eyed, Santa-excited little ones. Lately, there’s a crowd, but no less enthusiastic, no less filled with wonder. I invite the kids to come up and sit and listen to the old story told in a new way. And as with me, they never seem to get bored. The heart of the Christmas message is never boring and it is never irrelevant and it is always applicable in a million ways. Let me show you what I mean by reviewing nine of the Christmas Eve books we’ve read in the last several years at IBC.
That’s some pretty heady stuff crammed into a kid’s Christmas book! But that’s what kids’ Christmas books can do: teach theology without you knowing it — as in “The Legend of the Candy Cane” by Lori Walburg (illustrated by James Bernardin), which I read in 2002. Hear the doctrine of substitutionary atonement illustrated by a confectionary creation: “This,”Mr. Sonneman explained,“is a candy cane. It is a very special Christmas candy.” “Why?” Lucy asked. “Tell me,” Mr. Sonneman said, “what letter does it look like?” Lucy took the candy and turned it in her hand. “J!” she said. “Yes,” Mr. Sonneman smiled. “J for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day.” “But Mr. Sonneman, what are the stripes for?” Lucy asked. The man’s eyes grew sad. “The prophet Isaiah said, ‘By his stripes we are healed.’ Before he died on the cross, Jesus was whipped. He bled terribly. The red reminds us of his suffering and his blood. “But then,” Mr. Sonneman continued, “the candy is white as well. When we give our lives to Jesus, his blood washes away our sins, making us white and pure as snow. “That,” he said,“is the story of the candy cane.” “Is it a secret?” Lucy asked. Mr. Sonneman looked at her for a long moment. “It’s a story that needs to be told,” he said. “Will you help me share it?” In “The First Christmas,” which I read in 2004, Carol Heyer expertly sums it all up with this elegant summation of Christ’s incarnation at Advent: This is why Christians celebrate Christmas. We remember that Jesus was born to save us and to give us hope. On Christmas morning, we remember
Chatter | 4
The carol “On Christmas Day in the Morning” is also known as “I Saw Three Ships.”
the wise men’s gifts by giving and receiving presents of our own. And we go to church to honor Jesus and to thank God for sending us his son to give us the gift of everlasting life. Not all the stories we’ve read at IBC on Christmas Eve are all just about theology, however. Some of them take their starting point in theology but then move out into the realm of application. How should the theology of incarnation and atonement affect the way we celebrate Christmas? The answers, such as those in “Santa’s Favorite Story” by Hisako Aoki (illustrated by Ivan Gantschev), which I read in 2005, are poignant and wonderful. Listen to Santa’s words: “And that is what happened in Bethlehem when the Christ child came. It’s my favorite story because it reminds me why we are so happy at this time of year. Love was the gift God gave to us on the first Christmas, and it still is, you know. And this love is far better than any presents I can ever deliver.” Santa Claus put his hands in his pockets and looked slowly around the circle of animals with a kind and happy smile upon his face. “How silly we have been,” said the fox, “to think that Christmas was only about presents.” Yep. It’s way more than gift-giving. It’s about loving the King who has come. I love how Carol Heyer expresses that (through the voice of a very wise and articulate camel) in “Humphrey’s First Christmas,” which I read in 2010: In this land, I have walked past many children, but never before have I felt the need to walk toward one. Now, I kneel before this baby shivering in a manger. Watching him gladdens me more than sweet water, fresh hay, or even my wondrous new blanket. I look into the baby’s eyes, and I am overwhelmed by love. I pull the treasure from my back and lay my gift carefully upon this child. He smiles, and my nose and whiskers tingle with joy. I am happy to my toes, and even without my blanket, I feel warm. The wonderful Pearl S. Buck shows another outworking of the Christmas story in her book “Christmas Day in the Morning” (illustrated by Mark Buehner). I read this jewel in 2003. It’s about a boy who gets up early on Christmas to milk the cows as a special gift to his father:
Oh, what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself. “The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son, every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.” They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead he remembered it alone, that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love. Every mom and dad in the room was hoping the lesson from this one would sink in! Maybe we don’t have cows to milk in the Dallas suburbs, but there ARE other applications. Speaking of parents, they love it when I read stories that essentially bark at their kids to get along with each other. And why not? Isn’t this also an application of the Christmas story? Karen Hill thinks so in “The Something Wonderful” (illustrated by Susan Reagan), which I read last year. She slyly replaces children with animals so that kids reading the story won’t know what’s coming before she lowers the boom: Continued on page 6
Christmas Eve at IBC
On Monday evening, December 24, IBC will be offering two identical services at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. KidZone will be available for children three years old and younger. Help us plan for a full staff by registering your children at irvingbible.org/kidzone. Please note: the service will have special moments just for children, so feel free to bring them along with you.
The composition of “Away in a Manger” was wrongly attributed to Martin Luther, most likely as a marketing gimmick for his 400th birthday in 1883.
“Gloria in excelsis Deo” is Latin for “Glory to God in the Highest,” the chorus from the classic French carol, “Angels We Have Heard On High.”
Chatter | 5
continued from page 5 “And if we’re more kind to each other, God will be pleased,” said Camel. “Mr. Donkey, I don’t think we have to make a fancy celebration,” Lamb said. “I think God will give us The Something Wonderful just because he loves us.” “He’s right,” added Rooster. “We can show God we love him by being kind to each other.” Mom and Dad say “AMEN” and the kids go home and stop fighting — for a little while, at least! Merry Christmas, one and all. Hey, this is fun. Speaking of, the final two books I’ll review are a bit weird but wonderful, such as Jane Chapman’s “Mortimer’s Christmas Manger” (illustrated by Karma Wilson), which I read in 2008. I get a kick out of this one. It features a squatter mouse who rips off a manger scene, has an episode of guilty conscience, and winds up doing the right thing by bringing back the stuff he pilfered. In so doing, he finds “room at the inn”: Mortimer lugged… And Mortimer tugged. Soon he dragged all the statues back to where they belonged. Last of all, he laid the baby in the manger. “This belongs to you,” he said. Mortimer smiled. “You look warm and cozy now.” There was no place for Mortimer to go except back to the cold, cramped, creepy hole. As Mortimer scuttled down the tree, he said a prayer: “Jesus, you were born to save the world. Perhaps you could also bring me a home?” And then Mortimer spied something new. What he spied was wonderful! Mortimer sighed with delight. “A house just my size.” There were no statues in sight. And so… Mortimer moved right in. “Thank you, Jesus,” said Mortimer. “You’ve made room for me, too.”
As Senior Pastor, Dr. McQuitty is a member of the IBC Elder Board and Lead Team.
Awesome! Now all IBC kids think rodents infest crèches everywhere. They also think some angels are acrophobic as in “Little Angel” by Geraldine McCaughrean (illustrated by Ian Beck), which I read in 2006: “It must be wonderful to be a shepherd,” said the little angel. “Oh, but to run messages for God!” said Micah. “To fly in among the planets and stars! That would be so fine!” “For someone who liked high places, I suppose,” the little angel said. “But I’m afraid of flying.” The shepherd boy held her hand. “It’s wolves with me.” He had never told anyone before. “I’m terrified of wolves.” “We should change places!” cried the little angel. “I could stay here among the animals, while you go flying.” “Yes! Because you’re not afraid of wolves!” cried Micah. “…though, of course, neither am I anymore.” “How strange!” his friend exclaimed. “I’m not afraid of flying either! But how could that be?” “The touch of the Archangel?” he suggested. “Or a gift from the baby king,” she replied. Towards morning, the Christmas angels flocked back to the Country of Angels and the littlest angel never again complained at how high they flew. Each Christmas night after that, while the older shepherds slept and the youngest kept watch, a little angel came visiting from beyond the whirling planets. Ah yes, all’s well that ends well! And that’s essentially the story of Advent. It’s a story that ends well — very well. Jesus’ coming to us that first Christmas has changed everything. And so it is fitting that we remember and celebrate Emmanuel’s arrival every single year at Christmas, and that we read stories on Christmas Eve to help us see this great mystery again with the eyes of a child. I hope to see you on the evening of December 24 here at IBC. I’ll have a new one ready to go… Now that Pastor Andy owns a Harley (lovingly named Nina), all he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth.
Chatter | 6
The text for “O Holy Night” was written by French wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau, who penned it in the mid-1800s at the request of his parish priest.
“Silent Night” made its debut on Christmas Eve in 1818 at the St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria.
Is there an issue in your life that you need to share? Do you think that your “problem” is unique, that if you just try a little harder this time it will go away? But what if your issue isn’t unique and the solution can be found only by taking the first step of sharing it with others? As a group, the Recovery community at IBC offers their take and experience with Chatter.
CHATTER: You say 99% of people walking into Recovery for the first time struggle with “terminal uniqueness.” What’s the definition of “terminal uniqueness”? RECOVERY: Terminal uniqueness is the illusion that I’m the only one struggling with and suffering from my hurt, habit, or hang-up; that no one can relate to what I am going through. This illusion can potentially kill our relationships, our careers, our finances, and even our lives if we continue to buy this lie. For example, we say to ourselves, “I attend church, so no one would understand my depression, co-dependency, infidelities, drinking, drug-using, pornographyuse, etc.” CHAT: So, what’s the key to getting past the illusion of terminal uniqueness? REC: We all had to hit a rough spot of unmanageability in our lives and become willing to engage others and ask them to help us see what they see. It was only when we became willing to seek recovery with others and get honest about our situation that our perspective began to change. CHAT: But isn’t that why a person chooses to attend Recovery? Because they want to be honest and engage with others? REC: Not really, at least not at first. We know we have a problem, but we’re not sure what it is, and we feel that we can’t trust it to anyone. We feel all alone. Our family and friends wouldn’t understand. Thinking we are the unique exception magnifies our feeling that we don’t belong. CHAT: You say the second lie people believe is that the solution to their issue will be completely unique to them. Can you elaborate on that? REC: Even after coming to grips with the fact that our problem is not unique, we still try to think out a unique solution that applies only to us. But in Recovery, we put this thinking aside and move to action. (Our thinking isn’t really working all that well anyways, right?) We decide to stop trying to fix what’s
there is no in recovery
broken with what’s broken. We quit the debate team and we take after those that have something we want. We follow the common path of those who are finding freedom in recovery. We all have a common pain and a common solution. CHAT: What is our common pain? REC: It really boils down to pride and fear. And pride and fear express themselves in a common pain management regimen: being controlling, judgmental, co-dependent, financially insecure, too smart for our own good, lazy, selfhelping, religious/anti-religious fanatical, etc. Maybe we become perfectionist workaholics who over-fuel with anger, alcohol, drugs, possessions, food, or lust in our quest to find a peaceful refuge from pride and fear. We begin to find real recovery, however, when we realize we cannot deal with these issues alone. CHAT: But doesn’t someone who struggles with alcohol approach their recovery differently from someone who struggles with, say, people-pleasing? REC: No. Come join us, quit struggling, seek Christ, work the steps, and go out and give away what you find. Same approach, same results. It doesn’t really matter what previous regimen you have used in the past to alleviate your pain; the go-forward solution is the same: Jesus. Questions about Recovery? Contact Joe Orman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Recovery is, and what it isn’t.
At Recovery, we are real people learning how to apply the 12 steps in our lives in order to alleviate emotional pain, stress, and control, and to seek practical spiritual development in Christ.
WHAT WE ARE:
• A safe place to share • A refuge • A place of belonging • A place to care for others and be cared for • A place where respect is given to each member
WHAT WE ARE NOT:
• A place where confidentiality is highly regarded • A place to learn • A place to demonstrate genuine love • A place to grow and become strong again
• A place for selfish control • A place for therapy • A place for secrets • A place for perfection
• A place to look for dating relationships • A place to rescue or be rescued by others
Recovery meets Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Ministries Area. For more information or to register, visit irvingbible. org/hope-healing.
More than a Manger or a MasterCard IBC pastor Jennifer Lefforge reflects
Jennifer as Baby Jesus with siblings John and Katy.
on how Advent has shaped her family’s life during the holiday season.
hristmas has always been my favorite time of the year. I grew up in a house that did Christmas BIG. My mom baked, my dad hung lights on our house and on our tree, we went to Christmas concerts, we watched Christmas movies, we threw Christmas parties, we ate Christmas food. The grandeur and pageantry were almost more than my childhood mind could fathom. Oh, and we got presents. Lots and lots of presents. So many, in fact, that during my husband’s first Christmas with our family, he seemed completely stunned at the enormity of it all. He loved it, but it was a bit much.
one early on, instead “settling” for a paragraph or two of personal sentiments hand-written to each and every person in our address book. I would start in October. My energy was great the first few weeks, but especially after our second and third children were born, I noticed the old zing just wasn’t there. I was starting to be a bit snarky and snappish (my husband says neither one of those are words, and yet, oddly, my spell-check finds nothing wrong with them). I was feeling moments of the same frenzied, adrenalin-filled joy, but something felt off. Was it pure exhaustion from adding the equivalent of a full-time job’s worth of hours to an already full work and home life? Was it the increase in sugar? I was baffled. It was around this time that IBC started embracing Advent in a new way — at least new to me. Although Christ had always been the center of our celebrations, we sort of skipped Advent and all it was meant to be until our pastors and leaders set out to inform us about what the season really was about. This is the story of how that changed my life. Or at least my life between the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Advent, in fact, is not the Christmas season at all. The four weeks prior to Christmas day do not focus entirely on the baby in the manger, but on what the coming Messiah (both at Christmas and at the end of time) represents for our world and for our lives. Each week’s focus is different — Expecting, Preparing, Rejoicing, and Accepting — and brings us along a journey of waiting for hope to come and heal the broken places for good and forever. The four weeks of Advent move us from darkness into light, culminating in the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. On the first week, “Expecting,” our focus is not on the baby in the manger but on the second coming of the Messiah (Matthew 24:36-44) when he returns to reign forever. As we move into the second week, we focus on “Preparing” our hearts and minds for the Christ child (Luke 1:68–79). On weeks three and four, we “Rejoice” and “Accept” while anticipating the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve (Isaiah 12:2–6, Micah 5:2–5a). Each movement is rooted in the idea that our hope is found in Christ alone both at Christmas and beyond, and is beautifully illustrated when, on Christmas Eve, we light the final candle of our Advent season — the white Christ candle — which tells us that love has come into the world (Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 1:18–25). Through the amazing teaching of IBC and some reading on my own, I came to understand what the four weeks of Advent really meant. I was challenged to make space. To slow down. To look more towards the clouds for Christ’s return and less at the manger, and less, still, at the huge tree at the Galleria. To spend more time sitting in front of a candle considering the price that has been paid for my freedom, and the victory that was achieved through the cross and what it will mean for my future. It was beautiful language. It was a compelling, fascinating story. And I was in. Just one minor problem: Where would I find the time? I mean, Christmas was already packed! Between the parties and the banquets and the teachers’ gifts and the cards and the wrapping and the . . . you get the idea.
Young Jennifer is dubious about Good Ol’ Saint Nick.
When I had a family of my own, I was committed to the same traditions. The same grandeur. The same credit card bills. I sent out Christmas cards and set about mastering the family cookie recipes handed down by my German grandmother. I even tried my hand at writing a Christmas poem as my mom had done each year, but each one ended up sounding like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” I gave up on that
Jennifer and older sister Katy wearing their homemade Christmas dresses.
Chatter | 8
“You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” was written by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who adopted the pen-name “Seuss” while attending Dartmouth College in 1925.
“O Christmas Tree” is English for the German “O Tannenbaum,” meaning “O Fir Tree.” The song’s original German lyrics do not mention Christmas at all or describe a decorated Christmas tree.
I started by re-framing my expectations. I began praying and thinking through the things I really loved and asking what were the things I did because I felt I had to. I won’t go into all our family’s personal decisions, but I can tell you baking stayed (but only 3 kinds of cookies, not 7), teachers’ gifts got the boot (I chose instead to appreciate teachers throughout the year rather than during such a busy season for all of us); and oh, I stopped sending Christmas cards to people who live where we live, choosing instead to just tell them in person how much I love them. I also stopped worrying about finding the “perfect gift,” and chose instead to get out of the malls altogether. Because maybe YOU can find Jesus at the mall during Advent, but this girl can’t quite seem to get there.
Christmas at the Lefforge house is simpler these days, and the mom is a lot happier. The credit card bills are a lot smaller. And we are the better for it. I love this opening quote from Dietrich Bonheoffer’s amazing book, “God is In The Manger”: “Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us. Do you want to close that door or open it?” Now don’t worry. I haven’t given up all of my holiday hilarity because some of it I just really like. Our traditions are not bad, but they are also not Christ. I can make space for them, I can enjoy them, I can embrace them and share them with my family — bring on the viewing of “Home Alone,” the apple cider, and the red sprinkles, please! But my new perspective means that these things come after I’ve made space for Expecting, Preparing, Rejoicing, and Accepting. And I think in the process, I have re-captured what was missing. It was the very thing that was there all along. I just couldn’t see the forest for the (Christmas) trees.
The 2012 Lefforge Christmas photo.
Advent is a season of Expecting, Preparing, Rejoicing and Accepting. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent prepares us for the coming arrival or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the Church calendar year. We can think of it as the Church’s “New Year’s Day.” “Via Advent” by Shawn Small is a book of daily readings to use as a guide through the Advent season. This is a great resource to read each night individually or with your family as you journey through the four weeks of Advent. “Via Advent” will be available for purchase in Town Square on November 25, December 2, and December 9. Mark your calendar: Join us Sunday, December 2 for our Advent 2012 kick-off. We will enjoy holiday festivities in the Town Square following each service. For more info about Advent at IBC, visit irvingbible. org/advent.
Jennifer Lefforge grew up with a crossing guard named Merl who played Santa Claus every Christmas. Or maybe he was Santa Claus and worked as a crossing guard in the off-season. She is still not completely sure.
Jennifer serves as IBC’s Worship Experience Pastor and on IBC’s Lead Team.
Present icon designed by David Goodger from The Noun Project.
O Holy Night Silent Night
According to: Brandy According to: Melissa, Gina, Emily, Michelle, Jennifer, Renda, Jen, Jill, Mary, Cel, Rachel
According to: Tarrin, Quay, Melissa, Mark, Christina, Rachel, Samantha, Jocelyn
Hark the Herald Angels Sing O Come All Ye Faithful
According to: Tina
Go Tell It On The Mountain
According to: Sybil
The Chatter staff asked you your favorite songs of the picks in each category, as ous, and unusually dapper
So you t you can
Garth Brooks According to: Dee
According to: Amy
According to: Chris
Let It Be Christmas
According to: Kim
Baby It’s Cold Outside
Lady Antebellum Mariah Carey
According to: Tarrin
All I Want for Christmas Is You
According to: Renda, Joel and Ashley
LOVE TO HATE
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
According to: Jill
Little Drummer Boy
According to: Nora
Do You Hear What I Hear?
According to: Melissa
Holly Jolly Christmas
According to: Richard
George Michael Paul McCartney
According to: Amy According to: Suzanna
Wonderful Christmas Time
think n carol?
u (via Facebook) about e season. Here are the top illustrated by the illustrir, Chatter staff.
Jose Feliciano (Puerto Rico)
According to: Mark According to: Tabithia
Carol of the Bells (Ukraine)
“Carol of the Bells” is based on a traditional folk chant. It was associated with the coming New Year which, in pre-Christian Ukraine, was originally celebrated with the coming of Spring in April. With the introduction of Christianity to Ukraine, and the adoption of the Julian calendar, the celebration of the New Year was moved from April to January, and the holiday with which the chant was originally associated became the Feast of Epiphany.” –Tabithia Sonne
Most people who attend Irving Bible Church have no idea that In the center of the quiet hall behind we keep a Swan in the building. the sanctuary are two wooden doors
that are large enough to drive a car through. Open those doors (imagine a slow, spooky creaking) and you are now staring into the audio-cave of IBC’s own techno-monk, Jeff Taylor. On any given day, you might see the large studio space filled with a six-piece band tuning up their instruments before recording a new album. Or you might see a woman through the small window of a closetsized vocal-booth as she records an audiobook. If you are really lucky, you might find Jeff sitting in front of a plethora of soundboards, computers, and TV screens while he mixes the sound for an upcoming video project.
At that time, the aesthetics of the studio were anything but appealing. “Dungeon-like” is how Jeff describes it. Scraps of carpet covered the floor to muffle the echo. Homemade plywood racks, cobbled together with gaff tape, held ragtag equipment. Yet despite The Swan’s humble appearance, IBC was attracting several musical artists who were looking for an affordable, quality space in which to create their art. Over time, Dave continued to bring in more clients and slowly build up the space and gear. In 2006 Jeff, an IBC band member at the time, was working at another local church when he got a call from Dave to do full-time audio work at IBC. Jeff excitedly accepted the title of “The Other Sound Guy.” Now with two sound technicians, the Swan’s client base grew significantly. Word in the arts community was getting out about the quality and affordability of the IBC studio. When Dave went to Little Rock in 2007, Jeff took over as the IBC’s Technical Director, overseeing the production of all internal and external studio projects and church-wide events, including lighting, sound, and video. Although it isn’t the primary focus of his job, the studio remains an important part of Jeff’s work — a project he sees as having significant mission potential. I asked Jeff what he loves most about the studio. “First of all, The Swan doesn’t cost the church anything but the light bill. We have created a haven for artists, within and outside of IBC, to benefit from a top-of-the-line studio at an affordable rate. Through The Swan, IBC is nurturing our parish’s artistic community.” The Swan is often a young artist’s first real studio experience. Says Jeff, “The studio gives us a chance to mentor young musicians, teach them studio etiquette, give them real world experience, and show them the value of inspiration.” Jeff has spent hours evaluating these young artists and encouraging them to become better at their craft as they honor God with their talents. “The Swan is the perfect vaulting point for musicians to take a big step into their careers. This studio gives them a place they wouldn’t normally have access to this early in their artistic dreams.”
I know this audio-cave well. I have had the honor of recording two audiobooks and mixing a short documentary in the studio. One day, while thinking about a future project, it struck me: How many people in the church even know about the vast number of artists who have recorded at IBC? I decided to visit Jeff to see what media magic he has been working on recently. As I sit on the couch in the back of his workspace, I notice Jeff’s face has taken on an angelic glow as the multitude of lights on his electronic gadgets hit his face. I look at his bearded mug and say, “If Moses was an audio guy, he might look like you.” Jeff turns and smiles. Definitely Moses-like. The studio at IBC, lovingly referred to as The Swan, has more going on than any of us realize. I tempted Jeff out of his cave with the promise of pizza in order to learn about the history of IBC’s hidden gem. The original studio, located in what is now IBC’s Communications Office, was started by our beloved Russ Ware (former IBC Worship Pastor) in the late 1990s. When Dave Younkman (now the Director of Technical Production at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock) took over the studio in 1999, he began to bring in big clients like MercyMe and Nicole Nordeman. When the church expansion opened in 2003, IBC did not have an active choir. The blank space designated as a choir warm-up room was finished out by Dave and Mike Gwartney (former Director of IBC’s Arts Integration) as a studio space.
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The swans-a-swimming in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” make their entrance on day Seven, right before eight geese-a-laying wreak havoc on their perfect little world.
As of this printing, Michael Bublé is set to re-release his top-selling “Christmas” album November 26 2012, complete with a new track entitled “The Christmas Song.”
IBC’s Techno-monk, Jeff Taylor.
Over the years, the client list for The Swan has grown. You might recognize some of them: Kirk Franklin’s Grammy Award-winning choir director, Myron Butler; Grammy-nominated producer, Jamar Jones; Christian artists Nichole Nordeman and Kari Jobe; American Idol star Jason Castro; and bands like Air Review (Jeff’s own phenomenal band), Addison Road, and American Music Awards-winners MercyMe. MercyMe recorded a portion of their first major debut album “Almost There” (which went double Platinum) in The Swan, including their monster-hit “I Can Only Imagine.” I asked Jeff about the future of The Swan. “We have done excellent work with what we’ve had over the years, but my dream is to expand our ability to record more. I am ready to take a great studio and make it one of the best in Dallas. This is going to take time and money, but we have the potential to impact the arts community in DFW significantly.” W.M. Praed, the 19th-century poet and English politician, wrote: I think that a life is not too long And therefore I determine That many people read a song Who will not read a sermon. If this is true, the recordings in The Swan have the potential to reach more people with “sermons” than the pulpit at IBC could ever deliver. I pray that in years to come, we continue to let our Swan soar to new heights, reaching people around the world with God’s love and righteous tunes. Shawn Small’s only musical gift is the ability to buy songs on iTunes. And he even struggles with that.
Shawn Small is an avid adventurer, author, pilgrim, husband, and father of three. He is the founder of Wonder Voyage Missions and Boundless Expeditions. Connect with Shawn at shawnsmallstories.com.
Advent Sessions Live: December 13
For the second year in a row, the IBC worship band has produced an album celebrating the season of Advent. Join us for a night of music and story on December 13 as IBC musicians performs songs from “Advent Sessions” I and II. 7 p.m.: Concert starts 8 p.m.: Coffee with the band in Town Square The concert is free, but please bring a non-perishable food item for the IBC Food Pantry.
Advent Sessions Volumes I and II are available for purchase in Town Square and on iTunes.
Bette Midler, who was born in Honolulu, sang the Hawaiian carol ”Mele Kalikimaka” in her 2006 holiday album “Cool Yule.”
“The First Noel” is actually of English origin (not French), and was sometimes spelled “The First Nowell.”
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Groups on Sunday
There’s always something new going on in Bible Communities! Here’s a taste of what’s happening this month: Bible Communities will not be meeting December 30.
Crossroads — 10:45 a.m. High School Room Couples in their 20s & 30s Join us in deepening our relationships within our community and with Christ. Synergy — 9 a.m. Middle School Room Couples in their 40’s & 50’s Synergy will be looking at a marriage series titled “From This Day Forward.” The Tree — 9 a.m. — West D Married and Young Families A community for young marrieds and young families in their 20s and 30s looking to grow together in faith and marriage. Journey — 10:45 a.m. Middle School Room All Welcome Join us as we continue “King’s Kids: Our Position, Our Problem, and Our Promise” on Romans 6–8. On Track — 10:45 — West C Single Parents Join us for Bible study, fellowship, and prayer. Renew — 10:45 a.m. Training Center Diverse, All Ages & Stages Join us for “Prodigal Perspectives,” a look at the lives of Chris Seay, Robbie Seay, and Josh and Katie Hamilton. Thrive — 10:45 a.m. — West D Singles — 30’s & 40’s Join us for our Advent teaching series. Legacy Builders — 6:45 p.m. West A — All Welcome Join us as we study the book of Revelations and late in December we will watch “The Star of Bethlehem.”
Jan. 9. Contact Beth at bhorn@ irvingbible.org.
Zone 6:30 — Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. A weekly Bible study for kids K–5th grade. Will resume Jan. 8. Contact Beth at email@example.com.
Marriage at IBC is currently in session. Last night of the semester is December 9. Contact kyeichner@ irvingbible.org.
Community and Resources
Christmas Mall December 8, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Join us for our annual Christmas Mall event. See ad, pg. 16. Sit with us on Sunday! Several single-parent families enjoy worshiping together in the 9 a.m. service. Come and join us in the lowest right-hand section, Rows 5 & 6, facing the stage.
FAITH AND BELIEF
Events and Resources
Alpha — Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. Alpha is an opportunity to explore the core of Christianity in an open, low-pressure setting. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community and Resources
Big Man Party — February 8–9 See ad, pg. 17. First Watch — Fridays, 6:22 a.m. The Commons No meetings in December, starting back January 4. First Watch Xtra Meets Wednesdays at 6:30 a.m. in the Training Center.
SERMON-BASED SMALL GROuPS
Community and Resources
Winter groups now forming. Registration closes December 9. Contact Ryan at email@example.com.
HOPE & HEALING
Caregivers for Aging Parents December 2, 9–10:30 a.m. West C CAP is a support group for those caring for an aging loved one. Recovery at IBC Thursdays, 6:30–8:30 p.m. West Wing Youth Lounge Do you deal with perfectionism, pride, overeating, inappropriate anger or control? Recovery is confidential and all are welcome. See article, pg. 7. Grace For the Wounded A confidential small group ministry that explores the wounds we have received and the healing journey God’s prepared for us. Female group currently offered. Contact Bernadette at (678) 860–4575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. NAMI Family-to-Family Class Mondays, 6:30–9:30 p.m. West B A 12-week course designed for families and caregivers of those with serious mental illness. Last night of the semester is Dec. 3. Contact Joey at email@example.com or Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mental Health Grace Alliance If you suffer from mental illness, consider joining The Living Grace Group. Contact Melissa Clark at email@example.com. Mental Health Grace Alliance Conference — January 19 See ad, pg. 15. Stephen Ministry at IBC Stephen Ministers provide a listening ear and a caring presence for IBCers going through emotionally difficult times such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, illness, injury, divorce or other life events. If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, contact stephenministry@ irvingbible.org.
Visit irvingbible.org/men for more info.
SPECIAL NEEDS MISSIONS
Local and Global
NFNL Annual Home Tour Sunday, December 2, 1–4 p.m. Ring in the holidays with the NFNL 13th Annual Home tour. Laundry Love — first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Located at Amigo Laundromat, 3349 Country Club Dr. in Irving (just down from Sam Houston Middle School). Please join us as we provide free laundry cycles and detergent, strike up conversations and build relationships. For more info visit llpirving.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community and Resources
In His Image Bible Study Wed., 6:30–7:45 p.m. — AZ15 A small group for adults (18+) with special needs. Special Needs Support Group Wednesday nights, 6:30–7:45 p.m. The Conference Room Contact Lori at email@example.com. Respite Care Every fourth Saturday For families that have children with special needs. SonShine Pals and Room Our SonShine Rooms are available during the 10:45 a.m. service for children with special needs. There are also opportunities for children to be matched with a SonShine Pal.
Events and Resources
Save the Date: Shop Talk January 27
Middle/High School and College
Don’t Waste Your Summer December 9, 12:30 p.m. West A See ad, pg. 16. Middle School Sundays MERGE AM — The Alcove, 10:45 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
Please visit page 20 for more Sunday Bible Communities.
Infants Through 5th Grade
Camp KidJam — July 27–30 Register today and give your child the gift of camp for Christma at irvingbible.org/children. MyZone Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Zone/Zone Jr. A mid-week event for kids that’s great for bringing friends. K–5 grade. Last day Dec. 12; resuming
For Folks Ages 55+
Potluck Lunch and Fellowship December 16 Immediately following the second morning service in the Commons Annex adjoining the Haven. Bring a dish if you can.
Life Groups — The Commons, 6:45–8 p.m. Middle School Wednesdays The “W” — Student Ministry area, 6:30–8 p.m.
High School Sundays Life Groups — Student Ministry area, 6:45–8 p.m.
Please contact bgroezinger@ verizon.net.
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High School Wednesdays SWAG (Students Worship and Gathering) — The Alcove, 6:30–8 p.m.
Save the Date: High School Winter retreat “Intermission” February 1–3. See ad, pg. 17.
IBC College Ministry Sundays at 6:45–8 p.m. — The Alcove.
#TRENDING — Thursday, January 17 — The Alcove As we begin 2013, we will look at the lives of four of the hottest cultural icons trending in our world today. Each of these cultural trends has a message for us. And, more often than not, that message differs drastically from the one outlined in God’s Word. Which message is your life reflecting? Sunday Mornings at the Mo Sundays, 10 a.m. The Mosaic Café Join us for fellowship before the 10:45 a.m. service.
A Little Bit of Everything
Advent Sessions Live December 13, 7 p.m. See ad, pg. 13. Financial Peace university Starting January 9 A 9-week program that empowers and teaches you how to make the right money decisions to achieve your financial goals and experience a total money makeover. Contact Kym at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wreaths Across America December 15, 9:45 a.m. Fellowship Riders of IBC with WAA will be placing wreaths on the graves of veterans at DFW National Cemetery. Contact Gary at email@example.com. Prayer Meeting 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 6:45–8 p.m. — The Chapel Join us as we pray for IBC and the needs of our people and the world.
NICHE (North Irving Christian Home Educators) Monday, December 10, 6:30 p.m. The Alcove Join us for a Potluck and Christmas movie night. Sign-up at texasniche. com. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Lost and Found Have you lost something at IBC? Contact Samara at samara.russ@ gmail.com during the week or ask at the information desk on Sunday. New Arrivals Congratulations to the following family on the birth of their child:
Community and Resources
Women’s Christmas Dinner December 4 Kick off the holidays with Doveaward winning artist Kari Jobe. Chick Lit January 8, 7 p.m.— West D See ad, pg. 17. Save the Date — Spring Women’s Bible Study kicks off January 15. See ad, pg. 16.
Seth and Sena Spofford and their son Graham David, born Oct. 15, at 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches.
Wednesday Nights at IBC
Vox Humana Choir Wednesdays, 6:30–8:10 p.m. IBC Worship Center The choral community of IBC is always looking for new singers, beginner or pro. Everyone is welcome and you can join at any time! No auditions necessary. Contact Crystal at email@example.com. ESL: English as a Second Language Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30 p.m. AZ14 & 15 Do you want to learn English? Improve your English? Come practice all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. For more info, contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Career Transition Worshop Wednesdays, 6:30–8 p.m. Contact email@example.com
20s and Early 30s
The Gathering Thursdays, 7 p.m. — The Alcove Christmas Gathering Thursday, December 6, 7–8:30 p.m. This will be our final Gathering of 2012. Come join us for a night of Christmas cookies, cocoa, and carols as we close out the year together in grand fashion!
SAVE THE DATE:
C H A R I TA B L E G I V I N G A N D 2 0 1 2 TAX T I P S
One of the best ways to make a difference in today’s world is through charitable giving of your time, talents and resources. Our government recognizes these acts of kindness as reason for reward, i.e. tax breaks, for monetary gifts.
Checklist icon designed by Phil Laver from The Noun Project
January 19, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (boxed lunch provided) Join us for the MHGA Conference featuring Joe Padilla and Matt Stanford. The conference will cover topics such as biblical and clinical views of mental illness, the role of the church to equip and support caregivers and those with mental illness, and understanding and responding to destructive behaviors. Cost: $15 Please register at irvingbible.org/hope-healing/ support-groups/mhga-seminar.
Mental Health Grace Alliance
The IBC financial team has compiled a list of tips and tricks for making charitable donations as the 2012 fiscal year closes. Learn about tax deductions, the benefits of stock contributions, tracking receipts, and more. Visit irvingbible.org/give.
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for kids in single-parent families
Don’t Waste Your summer
Middle School Austin, Texas: June 10–June 15 DFW area: July 29–August 1 VBS: June 17–20 high School San Antonio, Texas: July 21– July 26 Dominican Republic: July 26 –August 1 VBS: June 17–20
Saturday, December 8 9 a.m.–12 p.m. in The Commons An annual tradition, the IBC Christmas Mall is an event where kids in single-parent families enjoy a fabulous breakfast, shop for their parents, wrap gifts, make cards, decorate cookies, have pictures made with Santa, and make an unforgettable Christmas memory. Everything is free!
December 9, 12:30 p.m., in West A. For parents and current students (6–12th grade)
Are you tired of feeling like all you have to show for yourself at the end of the summer is nothing more than a good tan? This year, Students at IBC want to make summer of 2013 count. Join us Sunday, December 9 to get the scoop on all of our summer mission trips and service opportunities.
Register at irvingbible.org/singleparents or at the Single Parent Kiosk in Town Square on Sundays. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Contact email@example.com. Lunch will be provided.
A Bible study for women on the book of Revelation
Begins Tuesday, January 15 9:30-11:30 a.m. or 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Commons at IBC Cost: $15 Throughout history, people have speculated about how the earth will end. Though it is often seen as the best source for end-times study, the book of Revelation is not about predicting the end, but about preparing for eternal life. Join us in this inductive study of one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, and discover how to ready yourself for your heavenly home.
If you were not a part of Bible study this fall, please register at irvingbible.org/women. (You may also register children for KidZone at this site.)
The Book: “She’s Got Issues” by Nicole Unice When: Tuesday, January 8, 7-8:30 p.m., West D Engage with other literary chicks for an evening discussion of “She’s Got Issues” by Nicole Unice. Christian Counselor, ministry leader, and regular mom, Nicole explores five (and a half) everyday issues that can hold you back from living free and loving well. (Nicole is also our speaker for this year’s Oasis Women’s Retreat.) No registration required, but please register children in advance for KidZone at (972) 560-4639 or at irvingbible.org/kidzone.
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A H I G H S C H O O L R E T R E AT
SKY RANCH (VAN, TX) · FEBRUARY 1–3
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Jesus says, “Come to me.” When life feels forced and every day seems heavy, it’s time to take an intermission with the only one who knows the true meaning of rest. Cost: $173 Register: irvingbible.org/students
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Worship Service: 9 a.m.
Children’s Classes (all ages) Synergy (40s & 50s), Middle School Room The Tree (young marrieds and families), West D
HOW DO I GIVE?
My Time, Talents & Skills
Visitor Follow-Up Team (Rex Greenstreet Ministry) We are looking for a volunteer to make calls to visitors each week at IBC. Training and coaching will be provided. For more info, contact email@example.com. Snack Shack Volunteer Have the gift of cleanliness? Help us keep the Snack Shack clean for kids once a month. Deep clean the popcorn machine, counters, sink and booths. Contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Respite Care Volunteers By giving a few hours of your time to do crafts, play games, and spend time with special needs children, you give parents a few hours for themselves. Every fourth Saturday evening. Contact Shannon at specialneeds@ irvingbible.org. Kiosk and Welcome Center Volunteers Children’s Ministry is looking for volunteers to welcome and check in families at IBC events. Complete the adult volunteer application and the background check at irvingbible.org/serving/volunteer-application. Contact Kurtlyn at email@example.com. Wednesday Nights Special Needs Volunteers Help care for special needs children while their parents attend a support group. Contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mentor Kids in Single-Parent Families Men mentor a boy, and women mentor a girl from a single-parent family. All it takes is a little time and a big heart. Contact Marsha at email@example.com. Kids’ Night Out Volunteer Kids’ Night Out, a ministry for single parent families, meets the third Saturday of each month from 6-9 p.m. Volunteers are needed to give parents an evening to themselves. Contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second Worship Service: 10:45 a.m.
Children’s Classes (all ages) Crossroads (mid 20s-30s couples), High School Room On Track (single parents), West C Journey (all welcome), Middle School Room Merge A.M. (middle school), Alcove Renew (multi-generational), Training Center Thrive (30s & 40s singles), West D
Breakfast Cereal for Brighter Tommorrows The women’s shelter in Irving has an ongoing need for cereal to feed their women and children. Drop your boxes in the large marked box in the donation area at IBC. Contact Marjorie at email@example.com. Laundry Soap and Dryer Sheets Laundry Love is collecting laundry soap and dryer sheets for their monthly events. Bring these to the Laundry Love box in the donation area by the Training Center. For more info, visit llpirving.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Cars for Missionary Families Do you have an extra car to loan a missionary family on furlough? Contact Missions at email@example.com. Online Giving Option If you would find it more convenient to donate to the ministries of Irving Bible Church online, visit give.irvingbible.org.
Third Worship Service: 5 p.m.
Children’s Classes (all ages)
Community Dinner: 6 p.m. Community Events: 6:45 p.m.
Legacy Builders (all welcome), West A Middle School, The Commons High School, Student Ministries Area
SuNDAY COMMuNITY MEALS
Each Sunday in the Town Square at 6 p.m. Cost is $3/meal or $10 max./family. 12/2 12/9 Awesome pizza and Christmas breadsticks Yuletide Fajitas
12/16 St. Nicks Burgers and Brats 12/23 NO MEAL — Merry Christmas! 12/30 NO MEAL — Happy New Year! If you’d like to serve on a Sunday night meal team, contact Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning more about IBC’s budget for 2012 or other financial nuts and bolts? Visit irvingbible.org/budget.
WEDNESDAY MIDWEEK MEALS
Each Wednesday night from 5–6:20 p.m. in The Commons. Cost is $3/meal or $10 max./family. 12/5 Turkey tetrazzini, bread sticks, salad, dessert. Hosted by Mike Gwartney’s team.
New to IBC?
Have questions? We’re here to help.
We’re so glad you’re here. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin, but we want to make the process of connecting and feeling at home as easy as possible. Here are some ways to start. The Information Center is a great place to get your questions answered, find help and encouragement for your personal journey, or just have a cup of coffee and settle in. Our team of volunteers would be happy to help you, and our goal is to make you feel at home. The Information Center is open every Sunday after all three worship services. The Newcomer Gathering is an informal get-together for those new to IBC and/or those wanting to learn more about who we are, what we believe and how to get plugged in. Meet other newcomers, ministry leaders and elders. Can’t seem to figure out what IBC is all about or how you fit into the larger picture? Want free breakfast every Sunday for four weeks? Propel is designed to help you figure out how to best plug in to IBC’s culture and calling. We’ll talk about what it means to grow in Christ, connect in community and join the mission — and what that might look like for you. You’ll also learn more about membership at IBC. Small groups exist to cultivate deep relationships that advance the kingdom of God in dark places — dark places in our world, in our relationships and in our hearts. We do this in the context of sermon-based Bible studies that meet in homes. Groups comprise 12 people or fewer and are formed by leaders who have completed small group leader training. To sign up for a group or get more info, contact Ryan Sanders at email@example.com.
12/12 Hamburgers, chips, dessert. Hosted by Mike Gwartney’s team. 12/19 No meal. Merry Christmas. 12/26 No meal. Happy New Year! Changes to the menu may be made depending on cost and availability and Bob Downey’s whim. If you’d like to serve on a Wednesday night meal team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about IBC and meet others like you.
THE MOSAIC CAFé (THE MO)
Café Hours Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday: 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m. Saturday: Closed Sunday: 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. & 4–7 p.m. Phone: (972) 443-3323 New signature drinks! Stop by The Mo and see what we’ve got brewing.
Ready to get plugged in?
Connect with others on the journey.
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suit shape, running 5K’s and assuming it has plenty of time to get fat. And while my daughter needs no season to inspire wassailing, her carols of choice at the moment are the theme to “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Kyrie,” the #1 Mr. Mister smash from 1985. (That may be funny but it’s no joke.) But since you’re reading this in early December — or July 2032 if you’re at the dentist — the holly and the ivy are no doubt in full effect, bringing cheer to your soul and histamines to your eyes.
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Over the Bridge and Through the Hymnal
As I write this in mid-October (yes, even Chatter has a longish lead time), it is not yet the most wonderful time of the year. The goose is still in bathing
has not come to town early — that grandmother swathed in red is just a Huskers fan.
To be honest, by the time the lords start a-leaping (“You lords get offa my lawn!”), all I’ll want for Christmas is two nights’ sleep . I realize there is ample reason for angels to be harkened to and mountains to be told things from, but I just can’t help thinking that this year my favorite Christmas carol will be “Silent Night.” Although I admit it’s hard to beat a rockin’ rendition of “Batman Smells.”
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Jason Fox wishes you a merry Christmas that is not 85 degrees. Unless you’re in the Bahamas.
While tradition traditionally holds sway during Yuletide for the Fox Family, this year we are assured a Christmas that will be unlike any that has come before. For this year we will not spend the morning of December 25 in Texas. We will be away. Not in a manger, but in our new abode in lovely Omaha, Nebraska.
Jealous? You will be come June. Yes, the five Foxes will not be hearing the bells on Christmas day echoing from DFW’s 1.8 million megachurches (2010 estimate), but will possibly be enjoying a white Christmas of snowpocalyptic proportions. Yes, we did awaken to a dusting of powder back in 2009, but I vaguely recall going to Hurricane Harbor that afternoon to try the temporary “Angels We Have Heard Scream on High” water slide and “Four Hundred Feet of Figgy Pudding” lazy river. Of course, that may just be the nog talking.
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While my wife and I are native Midwesterners, nearly eight years in north Texas has dulled our tolerance for Jack Frost nipping at anything, including the aforementioned nog. While, in years past, we’ve trekked over the hills and through the woods to grandparents in Kansas City and Iowa for Christmas gatherings, we’ve always been blessed with mild temperatures. So our Planoborn children have no concept of the dangers inherent in exploring a so-called winter wonderland that at first blush resembles a picture print by Currier and Ives but is, in fact, quite frightful . While I doubt visions of thermal underwear will be dancing in their heads come Christmas Eve, I suspect they may be demanding more soup. I just hope they don’t demand coal for snowman eyes as such use was recently banned by the EPA.
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Considering we won’t actually get into our new home until just before Thanksgiving, this will probably not be the year we start new, Nebraska-centric traditions. No interpretive dances to “Little Shucker Boy” or trying to bear gifts of injection-molded gold, myrrh and frankincense to a Cabbage Patch Christ child via a corn maze. Instead, when one of the Fox spawn excitedly asks, “Do you see what I see?” I’ll have to somehow tactfully reply that no, Santa Claus
1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year 2. Christmas is Coming 3. Here We Come A-Wassailing 4. The Holly and the Ivy 5. Away in a Manger 6. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
7. 8. 9. 10.
White Christmas Angels We Have Heard on High We Wish You a Merry Christmas The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…) 11. Over the River and Through the Woods
12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
Winter Wonderland Sleigh Ride Let it Snow The Night Before Christmas Frosty the Snowman Little Drummer Boy We Three Kings
19. Santa Claus is Coming to Town 20. The 12 Days of Christmas 21. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth 22. Stille Nacht 23. Jingle Bells (ala The Simpsons)
Donald Gardner, a second-grade teacher in Smithtown, NY, wrote “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” in 30 minutes.
“Here We Come A-Wassailing” is an 1850s English carol that (thankfully) does not try to rhyme anything with “a-wassailing.”
“Frosty the Snowman” was composed by Walter “Jack” Rollins in an effort to get another hit Christmas song following the 1949 success of his “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Chatter | 19
Here we come a Chatter-ing. While the Chatter staff would love to come to your front porch and serenade you with all the carols of the season, we figured this was the best way to wish you a very Merry Christmas. You’re welcome. Why do we love carols so much? Merry, magical and sometimes somber, carols reunite us with old memories, link us to our children, and recapture our elusive child-likeness. But the good carols — the very best ones — connect us to the Christ Child born on Christmas Day. They remind us of incredulous grace. That light has come, that God has been faithful. That there is hope. As you celebrate Advent and Christmas this year, may you be blessed by the good tidings of great joy echoing in every note you hear.
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