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presence 13 web banner titleOne of our favorite traditions at The Connection Church is the annual Presence Christmas Offering. Christmas is all about “God With Us” and we are the hands and feet of Jesus in our world today. We are asking everyone connected to our church family to give their BIGGEST AND BEST Christmas gift to the birthday boy Himself, Jesus Christ!

There are many causes you can give to during this time of the year that will make you feel good, but we know that there’s nothing else on the planet that matters as much as the church’s mission to see lives changed by the power of God! We aren’t asking people to make pledges. Instead, we are focusing all of our efforts on one BIG Day, December 15th, where we’ll receive a special offering during each of our Celebration Services.

If you won’t be here that day or you’d like to go ahead and make a donation, you can give online. Just mark your gift as “Presence.”

Click Here to Give Online to the Presence Christmas Offering

Our Goal: $50,000.

Our goal is to fully fund these 4 vital ministry areas:

1. 2014 Community Assistance Ministry.

Since 2004, our church has served hundreds of people at their time of greatest need. The Community Assistance Ministry has allowed us to come along side of people in distress due to difficult financial times, a death in the family or a need for Christian counseling. We are anticipating and preparing for an increase in benevolence requests in 2014 due to the current economic climate.

2. Hiring a Full-Time Student Pastor for youth and college ministries.

This year, we have seen God working in a BIG way in our FUZE Student Ministries through the efforts of our Student Pastor Bobby Fraumann. At times, we have had attendance of up to 150 students at our Wednesday Night youth program. There is no doubt that this is an affirmation of the need for Bobby to serve with us in a full- time capacity. When we reach students, we are making a difference in their lives, their impact on our schools, and on their families!

3. International Ministry in Guatemala.

Last year, we adopted a village in Guatemala called Agua Zarca where 280 people live. This year, we made 2 trips to the village where we built a kitchen and a drainage system. We have already seen God do great things there, (including 12 Guatemalans coming to know Jesus!) and look forward to even more impact in the coming year!

We will continue to provide daily meals for the 50 children who attend school there through the coming year. For Christmas, we will be giving them a Christmas Party with a special meal, (chicken, special sauce, and a Christmas cake along with their normal beans and rice), as well as new toys for each child. Through your radical generosity, these kids will experience the love of Christ in a powerful way this Christmas and throughout the year. We’re excited that God is using us to make a difference around the world!

4. Future Expansion.

The area around our current campus is booming, and we are looking for a long-term, permanent location for The Connection Church. Our current lease expires in about 6 years, and we believe God is calling us to aggressively pursue land in the coming year. A small portion of this offering will help cover the costs of that pursuit and allow us to hit the ground running.

Click here for a PDF with more info and FAQs

Please pray with me about how God can use us to make a difference in 1000s of lives this year! Yes, we have prayerfully set a BIG goal this year, but we believe that if each of us gives generously, we will exceed it. God’s dreams for us are even bigger than the ones we have for ourselves!

Click Here to Give Online to the Presence Christmas Offering

I just got an update on the money we gave to charity: water for my birthday last year. It’s cool to know it’s still bringing life and love to those in need. Thanks also to Shep & Kristi West, Trey & Jen Williams, Yolanda Valderrama, Chuck & Irene Goocher, Kenneth & Joy Jordan, & Nic & Kristen Arce for your contributions to this effort.

I’m taking some time today to remember how blessed I am to have easy access to clean, safe water. To those in Ethiopia & Malawi today, may God richly supply their needs. To those here with excess, may we grow in our generosity.

Here’s the report:

Your money was sent to Ethiopia and Malawi.

About six months ago, your funds were pooled with those of other mycharity: water campaigns to help thousands of people in Ethiopia and Malawi. We invested your money with our local partners, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Ethiopia and Pump Aid in Malawi, to build and rehabilitate freshwater wells and spring protections for people in need. They’re also teaching communities about safe hygiene practices and forming local Water Committees to look after the projects when they’re finished.

When your projects are complete, our partners will go back and collect GPS coordinates, photos and other details from each community. Then, they’ll send all the data to us so we can create a project report for you and all your donors to share! We don’t consider a project fully finished until the local Water Committees have been trained and the community has taken responsibility for their water point. 

Go to your tap and turn on your faucet. The most amazing thing happens. Water streams forth. It’s a convenience we take for granted. But still today, almost a billion people on our planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Stop. Reread that sentence. It should give us pause to know that we are so blessed.I wonder why God has chosen to shed His grace on us in such a huge way. Could it be that we are blessed to be a blessing?

Last year, you built a water well in Peru through your Christmas Offering. Check out what Shannon from Living Water International had to say about what God did through you:

“Your water project is complete in Peru! Praise God! You have served an entire community of 140 with clean, safe water in Jesus’ name. It is unbelievable to look at the previous water source – from the polluted river. These people were in desperate need! Thank you for your partnership in serving the thirsty.”

This was so successful that we are led to do it again this year for another village. When we give the gift of water, we’re giving life, health, and a tangible expression of God’s love as well as offering them eternal life through Jesus Christ!

Other receipts from this year’s Presence offering will be invested in positioning The Connection Church to continue shining out the light to Central Texas in 2012.

Will you join me in praying to ask God what He would have you give “over and above” this year? We can’t all give the same amount, but we can all do something. In my family, we give our most expensive Christmas gift to the birthday boy, Jesus, through His church. If you choose to give online, you can click right here. Or, you can bring it to The Connection Church this month.

I thank God for using us to save lives through The Connection Church. I can’t wait to see what God will do as we give back to Him because of all He’s given to us this year!

I Will Remember

September 11, 2011

10 years ago today, we woke up to a new reality. It was a new world where life would never be quite the same. I vividly recall how surreal it was as we watched the second tower attacked while still trying to process the first. We chose to believe in the face of fear. We chose to unite in spite of our differences.

This summer, as I visited the site of ground zero, I was struck by the size of the damage that was done. In some ways, the face of our nation was scarred. But the scars serve to remind us that we are healing. And if we really do remember, we will recommit today to all that it means to be an American.

I’m proud of my country and today, I will remember.

I first heard Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water tell his story at Catalyst Atlanta in October. He spoke passionately about the fact that 1 in every 6 people in our world don’t have access to clean water.

Water is essential for life, and the key to health, business, and education. Millions of people get deadly diseases from contaminated water that you and I wouldn’t even want to walk through, much less drink. 45,000 people will die this week from the lack of access to clean, safe water. Those who survive have to walk for hours everyday to get nasty water to give to their families. This is unimaginable and inexcusable when we can do something about it.

So my birthday wish this year is to provide safe clean drinking water for people in need. I’m so thankful that I don’t need anything this year. Not another iTunes card or another electronic gadget. This year is all about saving lives.

This is my 41st birthday and my wish list is simple: I’m asking that you give $41 or more to provide the gift of water. It’s not for me, 100% will go directly to freshwater projects for people in developing nations. Will you partner with me to make a difference? Go to this site to find out how you can get involved: