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Strength in our Weakness

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My most adventurous friend and I decided we needed a little time in the great outdoors so we picked a place, set our Google Maps and off we went. We chose what we believed to be a moderate hike up Yonah Mountain, about an hour north of Atlanta.  We were excited to stretch our legs, breathe in the fresh, cold air, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  

We started our watches to count elevation gain and heart rate and bounded up the start of the trail.  We waved and “hello’d” our fellow hikers and stopped to pet the excitable dogs passing by.  We were unstoppable - bounding over fallen trees and jumping over treacherous rocks.  Nothing could slow us down! 

It felt like we had gone 10 miles up until we looked at our watches - .33 miles up. And by this point, our energy was starting to wane.  As we continued on, the water breaks became more frequent, the breathing became heavier, and my trusty hiking boots began to betray me by starting to rub large blisters on both my heels.  

My friend kept up her steady pace but I disguised my sloth-like walk as “taking in the scenery.” By mile 1.5, I was wiped. I didn’t know if I could continue climbing but I saw my friend taking step after step and I reluctantly followed after.  

I kept saying to myself, “Just put one foot in front of the other,” and “Don’t be a weenie - you’re going to the top of this mountain.”  My blistered feet were saying something else entirely… 

As we reached the final leg of the initial climb, we started skating (read: slipping) on sheets of ice from the previous day's snowfall. We held each other’s hands and carefully moved up the path.  “I think the top is around that curve…” Nope.  “It’s got to be close…” Nope.  

It seemed like the mountain kept moving the crest like Lucy and the football.  

Finally, we saw sunlight peeking out through the bare trees and after a few more steps, made it to the top of the mountain.  I would say it was a breathtaking scene but I would be lying.  It had taken us so long to get up the mountain because of my frequent stops and the icy path that the view was basically a filmy picture made even hazier by the winter sun.  Nevertheless, my friend and I were elated to reach the top at last.  We rested for about 10 minutes and then began our descent.  

Back down the icy path, avoiding muddy puddles, and at times, jogging to beat the sunset.  After a quick trip back down the mountain we reached her car. 

We drove to the nearest town and ate every carb we could put into our tired bodies, sat in our fullness, and breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction.  

As we were driving back home, I was thinking how thankful I was to have someone who was faster to keep me moving forward.  To have someone who was strong while I was struggling.  My friend was the one thing that stood between me and getting caught on an unfamiliar trail in the dark.  

That’s what God is for us - he’s the reason we don’t get caught in the dark. His strength empowers us when we’re weak.  He goes before us to show us what rocks to step on, what logs to jump over, and what’s around the next bend.  

Isaiah 40:29 says “God is our strength in our weakness…” How many times have the pains in life told you to give up, to turn around?  And yet, God takes those things and turns them into power to take one more step and get up the mountain.  


Posted by Tess Hammock with
in Hope

Bah Humbug: Four Lessons we can learn from A Christmas Carol

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Bah Humbug : Four lessons we can learn from A Christmas Carol 


By this point, we’ve all watched or heard the Christmas Carol story many times so I won’t belabor the points.  I will admit, out of all the various renditions, my favorite version is the Muppets Christmas Carol. Maybe it’s the fun, child-like humor, the magical songs, or maybe it’s just the sweet capturing of the Christmas spirit.  I recently snuggled up for my yearly viewing and found that the lessons of this classic story still apply today.  Here are four life lessons we can learn from A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge.   

1.) Don’t put off life waiting for more. 

During the ghost of Christmas past’s visit, we see that young Scrooge’s fiance, Belle, is recounting how they’ve put their wedding off for yet another year due to Scrooge’s insistence that he needs more before they can exchange vows.  Ultimately, Belle realizes that for Scrooge, she is not enough and leaves him.  His desire to accumulate things trumps his ability to share his already good life with Belle. It’s easy to think Scrooge is an extreme person but I find that it’s easy to do the same thing: put off joy because we could always have more.  More is not the goal and the desire robs us of the joy of now. 

2.) Don’t be stingy 

I know this one is pretty obvious but it’s worth exploring. At the top of the story, we see two gentlemen from the homeless shelter calling to ask for a donation.  Scrooge harshly turns them away saying that the poor “should go ahead and die...and decrease the surplus population.”  I’m sure you don’t think that way but it can be easier to let an opportunity of generosity pass us by than we realize.  Sometimes those opportunities are an organization openly asking for money or it can be as little as buying someone a much-needed cup of coffee.  Scrooge was so convinced that he could not part with his money but we know where our financial blessings come from. Use your money and time wisely but be generous nonetheless. 

3.) Enjoy your friends and family now  

Towards the end of the story, we see the ghost of Christmas yet to come showing Scrooge the ominous future that awaits him and his town should he not change his ways.  We peek inside a frosty window into the home of Bob Cratchet (Kermit the Frog in the Muppets version) and see the family sitting down to a meager Christmas meal.  Unfortunately, there is a crutch in place of Tiny Tim who has passed away.   As the small family eats, the children begin to cry.  Bob comforts them and says “It’s alright children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.”  

Christmas is a wonderful season that reminds us to spend time enjoying our loved ones.  You never know what tomorrow will bring so enjoy your friends and family today.  

4.) Invest in people

We also see right before Scrooge’s great turnaround his impending funeral, attended by people only to mock and guess at where his large fortune would end up now that he’s dead.  Not a kind word was spoken, only snide comments.  At the end of our lives, people will not really remember us for the things we had or the money we stored up but how we invested in others and God’s kingdom.  


At the end of the story, we see Ebenezer Scrooge generously giving to the charity he gruffly turned away, buying a Christmas feast for the Cratchit family, and merrily singing and dancing with the joyful townspeople.  Everything is right in the world and Scrooge has turned his life into a happy one that will be remembered for his kindness and generosity.  


I hope that we learn these lessons and that we also remember the true reason for the season: Jesus.  


Merry Christmas, church family and as Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one.” 


Make Rock Springs YOUR home for Christmas 2020 and join us for our Christmas Eve services at 1, 3, and 5 PM at our Milner campus and 3 PM at both our Branch and Macon campuses.  As always, we will be live streaming our services as well. 

Posted by Tess Hammock with