Friends,

We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the good news of Jesus’ birth!

Back in November, we extended the 15X5 Challenge for 8 more weeks through the end of Advent. Now that Advent is over, we’re thinking about what is next.

It would be very helpful if we could hear from you about how this challenge went for you as we decide what to do going forward. What was helpful? What was meaningful? What was challenging? How was the Near Resource booklet helpful? How did it help you draw near to God and experience God’s nearness to you? Please take some time to send an email to me, Cindy Frost, (cindy@lacanadapc.org) to let me know. Thank you!!

We have two more reflection guides this week and next week for you; and then we will figure out what we are doing as we begin a new sermon series on January 10 on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

You are receiving this email because you have made a commitment to spend fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, in solitude and silence, so as to draw near to God. A special thank you to Rev. Steffi Miller who is helping write these reflections!

We want to hear how this is going for you! Please respond to this email and tell us what you are learning, what God is saying, and how this commitment is going.

Also, who else do you know who might want to make this commitment? Forward this email to them. They can receive these emails by registering here.

We are praying with and for all of you!

Blessings as you spend time in solitude, study and prayer,
Cindy and Chuck

P.S. Have you picked up your Drawing Near Resource Guide and Prayer Journal? They are available for pickup in front of the church offices. These weekly emails refer to prayers and practices that are in the resource guide.
Drawing Near

*See below for General Instructions


Sermon and Lectionary December 27
Christmas I
God Gives Power, Grace and Truth to Those Who Trust


What does the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ mean to you personally?  to the world? How did Christ reveal his glory to his disciples? to you today? What does it mean to you that we were given “power to become children of God?” Spend a few minutes in silence after reading Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians on page 12 of the Near Resource booklet, praying that prayer for yourself and for someone else. 

The prophet Isaiah was an encouragement to God’s people. Jesus used the words in 61:1-2a to describe himself in the synagogue in Nazareth. In Isaiah 61:10-11, what are the gifts of God that are being celebrated? Which descriptive phrases encourage you the most? Read the Prayer of Saint Francis found on page 13 of the Near Resource booklet. Write down ways that you can be an encouragement to the LCPC church family and to others today.  

The psalmist calls all thing in heaven and earth to praise God. Why should we praise God? How can you praise God during the pandemic?   Sing or pray the prayer by Hillsong United on Near page 20, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail.)” See the description of a Gratitude Prayer on p. 37 of Near and write a gratitude prayer.

Paul believes that the Jewish religious law is bondage, but that in Christ we are under grace, redeemed and adopted as children. What is the difference between living by religious rules and living by grace in your life?  How does being adopted as a child of God help you understand grace? What do you want to say to your “Abba” (or “Daddy”) Father God?

Many Jews at the time were expecting a Messiah/Savior who would save them from Roman rule; others were looking for a savior to save them from sickness and hardship. Read Matthew 1:21. What does Matthew say Jesus was born to save? Reflect on the Traditional Prayer of Confession on page 13 of the Near booklet, reflecting on and confessing the sins that Jesus came to save us from.
Drawing Near
*General Instructions:

  1. Be patient and give yourself grace. This is new for many of us! 
  2. Decide which days and what time you will enter into solitude and silence. Consider putting these times on your calendar, and, if needed, share this commitment with those you are living with so that they can support you.
  3. Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can be comfortable.
  4. Consider lighting a candle so as to claim the space as “holy ground.”
  5. Begin each time by letting your spirit and mind settle, and asking God to guide your time with him.
  6. Consider keeping a journal so as to record how God is leading you.