Happy Thanksgiving! Today we get to live, laugh and love with those that are dear to us. May we not miss the opportunity to let them know just how much they mean to us. And may we never forget the fact that all that we are blessed with comes from a Heavenly Father that loves us and gives us all good gifts! Happy Thanksgiving from the Petermanns!
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Well, Merry Christmas!
I have said those words many times to many different people. Sometimes not even really thinking about what they represent.
Oh, I know that Christmas is all about Jesus and His taking on flesh to be born into this world. It’s not that I forget the concept. But I do overlook just what that means at times.
Advent was certainly a time that people were looking for hope, peace, joy and love. Christmas is certainly a time that we laugh and love and celebrate. We get together with family and friends and enjoy getting and receiving gifts. As I type this now, I still have one young enough to have gone to bed believing that a happy fat man in a red suit will soon bring her gifts. (And he did!) Her anticipation of Christmas is for the the fun and gifts and the time that will be spent with family – hope, peace, joy and love.
And that is good.
But I am struck this year with what was anticipated that first Christmas. It was not gifts or celebration. It was not time with family and friends. And it was not eggnog!
Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
The first Christmas was marked by a people that were longing for an escape from the darkness and despair of their condition. They longed for a light to shine in their lives; for hope, peace, joy and love.
And boy, did that light shine!
Jesus was born. The Messiah. The light, not only to Israel, but to all nations. That light broke through the darkness and lit up the landscape so that people could see their way to God.
That, my friends, is Christmas. It is The Light piercing the darkness, making a way for us to a God Who loves us. A God Who loves us so much, that He wrapped Himself in flesh to be with us and to show us His great love by dying for us so the darkness of our sin could be overcome.
I pray you know that love this Christmas!
So, Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! It is hard to believe that this time if year has already come around again. Time flies they say, and this year it seems to have gone much faster than any previous year.
As I have studied, preached and contemplated the Christmas season this year, one thing has really grabbed my attention over and over again; and that is this: Jesus was born into a mess. The world was a mess, religion was a mess and all the circumstances about His birth (born of a virgin, Joseph and Mary were not married yet, the public perception of the events was not good) were messy. God could have sent Jesus to a respectable, rich and royal family, but He didn’t. God still works in messy situations today, and that should bring great comfort to us.
We have had a year of great transition… again! Let me share the brief highlights:
We started the year focused on Josiah and his healing after his car accident. The months after his accident were filled with long days of therapy, phone calls and traveling to Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Jennifer and I were able to keep working through all of this. Our jobs were very accommodating to us for scheduling, to which we were very thankful. We made it through those very busy and hectic days gaining an even greater appreciation for family and friends that loved on us and cared for us during this time.
In June, I started corresponding with Christ Community Church and their Pastor Search Team about becoming their next Pastor. Over the next few months we went through the process of answering questions and phone calls and then took a couple of trips to the church to seek God’s direction. On October 23rd, the church unanimously voted for me to be the next pastor of the church. We moved down here to Bartlesville on December 1st and feel like we are home! The church is so loving and has a great desire to reach people that are far from God. We are excited about the days ahead as God leads us in this new adventure!
As far as the kids go:
Jordan, Daniel and Madysen are still living in Wichita. Jordan is enjoying being a stay at home mommy, and Daniel works for Haverty’s furniture. They are now only about 3 hours from us, which makes seeing them much easier, and hopefully more frequent! They are expecting their second baby on July 4th!
Josiah is doing fantastic! He has made great progress in his healing. He was able to return to school and graduate with his class on time! He also returned to work at Starbucks and went back to almost a full time schedule after school let out. He also returned to driving and purchased a yellow 2003 Mustang to drive around in. He is currently looking for a job here in Bartlesville and plans to go to college starting this fall.
Joshua is in 8th grade and a typical Jr High boy. He enjoys being outside playing ball and riding anything with wheels. He also recently purchased a chameleon as a pet. He has a tender heart that I am praying God uses to reach others.
Jenna is in 6th grade and thinks she loves Justin Bieber. Her new room is scattered with posters and has the high-pitched sounds of his music coming from her room at most times. She is turning into a beautiful young lady and has an amazing love for people (as long as it is not her siblings).
Jaidyn is my little princess. I seriously think she believes she is a real princess. She has a great fashion sense and displays a different outfit about every three hours. She is full of joy and compassion and loves being around people.
Jennifer is enjoying being at home right now. God has blessed us with a house that has a lot of space in it, so she is enjoying setting up and decorating. We are both very tired of living out of boxes and storage facilities so we wanted to set up the house as soon as we could. It is great to feel settled and home. God has brought us through one of the most trying times of our lives. It has not all been good, looking at it from a human perspective, but it has all been part of God’s plan for us and has led us in our next steps as we follow Him.
We look forward to leading our family and our church in the new year. God has placed us right where He wants us and has great plans for us; of that I have no doubt! We pray that you know that you matter to God and to us, and that you see His hand in your life.
Praying you have a Merry Christmas and a God-sized New Year!
What a year this has been for the Petermann family. I can say that we have never had a year like it, but I would not trade it for anything. I believe God is in control of all things, and this year is a year of preparation for us as we seek His leading for the future.
We started out the year becoming unemployed. I have never faced that situation before, and certainly never thought I would being in the ministry. We decided to pack up and move the family up to Indiana/Michigan (where we are from) until we found a place to serve. It was not long after we moved up here that knew we were going to stay so that Josiah could graduate without having to go to yet another high school. We believe that family comes first, and this was an important thing for Josiah.
Through and old friend, Jennifer found a job cleaning apartments. She actually had that job before we ever left Wichita (another act of God’s providing for us). At the beginning of March I was able to get a part time job at Best Buy as a Computer Sales associate, which quickly turned into full time and then I was able to move into a management position as the Geek Squad manager. This is not what I thought I would be doing, that is for sure! But God provided for us at just the right times in all of this. I am thankful to have a job!
During this time, we have been blessed to be a part of Granger Community Church. This is a wonderful church family with a strong focus on letting people know that they matter to God and helping them take their next steps towards Jesus. We have had the opportunity to serve in the church and to get to know a bunch of great people!
This year also brought our first grand daughter! Madysen Harlee Mains was born at 7:38 PM on November 16th. She weighed 8lbs 3oz and was 21 inches long. She is a beautiful girl! And yes, I am quite a bit biased!
We have had so many blessing this year. God has provided for us in such wonderful ways that it is unmistakable that it is Him that is working. It is easy to say all of that when things are going great. This year has also had its moments of fear, grief and uncertainty.
One of the most godly men that I have known passed away on June 2nd. My grandfather had a huge influence in my life. I am so glad that I was able to be here for the last months of his life. He was a man that was always positive and talked about Jesus with whoever he met. He is greatly missed.
December 1st brought one of the most difficult things we have ever faced. My oldest son Josiah was in a terrible car accident on his way home from work. He slid through an intersection and was struck by a semi on the passenger side. At first, we did not know if he would even survive. But each day brought news of great hope for us that he would recover. I believe that Josiah is our Christmas miracle this year! After spending 11 days at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Josiah was moved to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. He has now been here a week and a half and I am amazed each day at the progress that he makes. Again, all I can say is that God has had His hand of favor on my Son, for which I am grateful. My heart cries out with Mary as she praised God:
“And Mary said: “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… for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
He still has quite a road to go, but his prognosis is complete recovery! Our God is greater!
We have anticipated the new year as the time we would get back into full time ministry, and we may still see that. We now anticipate it just to see what God will do. We are excited to see what He will do in Josiah’s life as he heals. God is a God that works from the future back, and I am confident that God has this path for us for great reasons.
For now, we take each day as it comes. Each day of life is precious, and normally taken for granted. Family and friends are so important, and the time we get to spend with them is a gift from God. During this holiday, soak it all in. Enjoy the people in your life. Remember that God has ordained each of your days to make a difference in the lives of these people.
We pray that you have a Merry Christmas, and a Christ centered New year! Live it on purpose!
We love you all,