We are living at a time when darkness is pressing in and threatening to overwhelm our lives. MORE THAN EVER, this Christmas we need to see the real Jesus – who bonded with us as a baby and became the source of eternal salvation. (Hebrews 5:9) This was God’s plan from the beginning. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Feeling confused or distracted? Need advice or direction? See Jesus the Wonderful Counselor – His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16) and His understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:5) Waging battle with off-the-chart fear and anxiety? (You’re not alone in these last 20 months.) See Jesus the Mighty God – absolutely nothing is impossible with Him. (Luke 1:37) Facing troubles or tough circumstances? See Jesus the Everlasting Father – He is our hope of all eternity (Romans 15:13) and cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) Personal life topsy-turvy or in turmoil? See Jesus the Prince of Peace – fix your heart and mind on His promises. (Isaiah 26:3)
Because of Jesus Christ, a weary world rejoices! Because we know His names and see the real Jesus, we can trust Him. We celebrate because the Hope of Christmas has come!
Caleb is thankful to finally be settled in California. Next week he will celebrate his 21st birthday. He continues to work as the custodian for Ventura Jubilee Fellowship and does an awesome job. He also has found a fun, challenging niche house/pet sitting and doing side work. This year Caleb made a couple of return trips to Yakima, connecting with friends. He also hosted several friends (one of the perks of Southern Cal living) and has become quite proficient at freeway driving (covered by lots of prayer from Mom and Dad). We are so thankful for Caleb in our lives and continue to trust the Lord to pour out His Spirit on him in the future.
Jim serves as the associate pastor at Ventura Jubilee Fellowship, working alongside Pam’s dad. He loves his ministry and feels like all his God-given gifts – administration, teaching, preaching, worship…and smoking meat – are running at full power, fresh and flourishing!! He has also been the point man for several home improvement projects. Throughout the year, Jim and Pam enjoyed a few day-aways to Solvang. Nothing says relax like a little Danish town charm, handholding strolls, and tasty treats. Then in August Jim and Pam celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary with an extended stay at Disneyland (we went there on our honeymoon). God is faithful and good!!
Pam will be the first to sum up this past year (maybe two) with one word, transition. (Expect her to break into singing a parody from The Fiddler on the Roof – “Transition, transition! Transition!!”) In January Jesus called Pam’s mom Joyce home to heaven. Then in March/April, our family moved from our apartment to her parent’s home to help her dad. Who knew that purging and merging was a spiritual gift? But Pam has skillfully, compassionately, and graciously worked to blend our two families. It’s an ongoing process – right up to decorating the house for a Merillat/DeWitt Christmas. After 37 years of professional ministry, Pam may not be on staff at a church, but God has wonderfully opened avenues of service for her at VJF as the pastor’s wife, accompanying worship, leading a women’s Bible Alive class, participating on the women’s ministry leadership team, and most recently, launching a women’s resonator bell choir. They will play for the first time in Sunday’s service on December 19th. What joy! Life changes, but God doesn’t. He is our all in all.
VJF family (and friends who may be reading), we love you dearly and have you in our hearts. Thank you for partnering with us in sharing the good news of Jesus. May you and yours have a wonderful celebration of Christ’s birth while seeing the real Jesus – including His suffering, death, resurrection, and promise to return.
Glory to God – both now and forever!
Pastor Jim, Pam, and Caleb