Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christians and Christmas

Was Christ born on December 25th? 

Probably not. The most common explanation was that He was probably born around the end of September (for more info, here's one source).

So.... if He wasn't born at that time, should we celebrate that date for His birth?

In fact, Christ wasn't even "born" when He came to live on this earth. He existed from the beginning. He is God and has existed in eternity past. When He came to earth, we say that He was incarnate or became a human in the flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2,14)

Should we celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday? If it's not a religious holiday, why would Christians get so upset that people want to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?"

Some people believe that we shouldn't celebrate any religious holidays because 1) we don't know the exact date and 2) we celebrate His life, death, and resurrection every day.

 Don Fortner wrote:
We must not observe any religious holiday. We should attach no spiritual, religious significance to any day. Yet, we do not need to act like super-pious religious idiots over a day that has absolutely no religious significance....Did you know that every DAY of the week, every PLANET in the universe, and many of the CARS we drive are named after pagan gods? Yet, we still call Sunday Sunday, Mars Mars, and a Saturn a Saturn. No one would ever dream of calling us pagans for doing so. We worship our God on Sunday, and would laugh at anyone who suggested that we observe the pagan Roman holiday called “Sun’s Day” in doing so. If your car is a Saturn, use it for the glory of God; and laugh at anyone who thinks that you are worshipping the Roman god of agriculture by driving it. We must not, and I trust do not, worship Christmas trees and lights, or even attach spiritual significance to Christmas day.

However, I do suggest that we seize this opportunity afforded us by Divine providence to tell people who Christ is, why he came into this world, what he did, and how they may obtain his salvation. It is no accident that once every year every human being in the world is confronted with the fact that the Son of God assumed human flesh and came into the world to save men. Certainly, no one can think that it is wrong for believers, during this season of the year, to express thanks and praise to God for his unspeakable gift, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is never wrong, but always right to think of Him, speak of Him, and sing His praise. Rather than not singing Watts’ grand old hymn, "Joy To The World," we ought to sing it year round.

For me, yes, we will celebrate Christmas. Christmas is important to our family as one expression of our faith, our traditions, and the memories that go with them.

The Christmas celebration will not be more worshipful than other days. The tradition will not be the foundation of my faith.

However, the hearts of so many people are very tender at this time of the year. It gives us great opportunities to share why we believe, to share our hope and our future.

The Christmas message is that
there is hope for a ruined humanity –
hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory –
because at the Father’s will
Jesus became poor, and
was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.

J.I. Packer

Friday, December 02, 2011

December 2011 Letter - LIVING WELL

“The Greatest Man in History, Jesus,
  had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
  Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
  Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
  He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
  He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
  He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
  He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. “ Author Unknown

The fact that one person could have that much of an influence in His world and for generations to come is mind-boggling! How do we even wrap our minds around that fact? The most amazing part of the Christmas story is still that God would leave the glory of heaven to come to earth and live as one of us. He lived in a way that we could all know what God is like. Humans were able to see and walk with God himself. Men and women talked to God! People saw how it looks to live a life perfectly. We have a written record of how a person lives a completely, selfless, faith-filled life. He did all of that so that we could know Him as our Savior, our Lord, and our God.

As Americans, we face a challenge and an opportunity at Christmas.

Our challenge is to celebrate the incarnation of our Savior every day and not be overcome by the materialism of this season.

Our opportunity is to share with our circle of friends/family/colleagues about the ultimate Gift at a time when hearts are soft and longing for a lasting peace and joy of the season. “… How much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Romans 5:15b

With a little over a month until our next mission trip to Zambia, we need lots of prayer!

As we explained in our last post, we believe God has called us to expand our ministry in Africa. We will leave again on January 5th to minister in Zambia. We will be teaching and meeting with pastor couples that we taught last year, as well as with new couples. We will also be planning for an expanded ministry next summer. Please pray with us as we finalize details. We have already purchased our plane tickets, almost $5000. At this time, we have received about 2% of the $7500 total cost of the trip. We believe that God will provide! Please join us in that prayer! 

We wholeheartedly believe in the priority of the great commission. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” Have we really “made a disciple” if we have only engaged in presenting the gospel? We take very seriously the command to “make disciples.” We believe that one of the most important ways we can make a disciple is through teaching pastors how to live out the Christ-life in their marriages. And secondly, we teach and train the pastors how they can teach others to live out the good news of Jesus Christ.

Marriage is a vital part of God’s design for our life on this earth. He started the Bible with a marriage between the first man and woman - before the birth of children or the birth of the church. He also ends the Bible with a wedding - a wedding between Christ and the Church. Marriage is not the only part of discipleship but it is a very important part of it. Marriage is a visible symbol God wants to use to show the world how He loves, how He accepts, and how He forgives.

The end of the year is often a time when people consider their giving to the Lord in a special way. We are very thankful for the people who support this ministry. These end-of-the-year donations are a vital part of our budget. Please pray for God to supply our needs at this time of the year.

You are a valuable part of our ministry! We love and appreciate you and your support of what God is doing at Living Well!

Donna and Ed Edwards

P.S. Please pray with us for the completion of the planning and financial support for Zambia 2012.

To Donate, click here.

To see more on last year's Zambia mission:

For more on the Zambian mission, see:

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Since undergoing training in Marriage and Family at the Seminar, we resolved to start having similar sessions for couples at our church. We have been having marriage enrichment sessions every Sunday, from June to the end of August, this year. We have begun to see in attendance, even couples who are not members of our church.* Pastor Sostern Banda

I can confess that I didn’t have a proper or effective ministry to the Couples. However, after attending the Seminar, we decided to re-organize our couples’ fellowship in our church. Subsequently, we first gathered thirty married couples. Presently, we are now holding monthly couples’ fellowships. Consequently, we have had three couples added to our church, through the ministry to the couples.* Pastor Gideon Mvula

*quotes from a follow up meeting at the end of August after our June conference

These two pastors express why we continue to go back and train more pastors.

After our last mission trip (June 2011), God spoke to our hearts about doing more work in that area. Our Zambian partner there is very efficient, effective, godly, and influential among the pastors. We had our most fruitful mission trip ever. We believe that the Lord is leading us to return there in January of 2012. We have two goals: 1) to minister more to the ones that we taught last June, and 2) to further investigate other ministry opportunities for a team in June 2012.

Our ministry time will include meeting again with the pastor couples that we taught. We will also do some teaching to men and women separately. We will speak at a Bible college nearby and speak in churches on marriage.

Our time to investigate and prepare for next summer will focus on discerning the best place to conduct our next marriage seminar for pastors, exploring how we can help with a school and children located in a slum in Ndola, opportunities for leadership training, and possible men/women’s conferences.

Since we are not sponsoring a weeklong conference on this mission in January 2012, we are able to keep the costs lower than the usual summer mission. We will meet in churches (at no charge) and will not give away Bibles. Our costs will include transportation (airfare is the largest cost), lodging, food, visas, translators, and teaching materials. Our budget is $7500 for the 13 day trip. We will leave January 5 and return January 18, 2012.

Please pray with us for this upcoming mission. God has ordained this work and called us to it. His mission effort will succeed through the generous support of His people. Please join us as we obey the call and allow Him to work through us in touching many in His Name.

Ed and Donna Edwards

To donate, click here. [All contributions are fully tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt.] For more information about past missions to Zambia, enter "Zambia" into the search box on this page.

Monday, November 07, 2011


“We aren’t happy anymore.” How many times have we heard that statement?

Happiness is a popular subject in today’s world. People seek it, read about it, demand it. A quick search of books on happiness turns up over 10,000 options. Near the top of the best-seller list is a book by a  popular, Christian pastor that includes this phrase in its title, “How to be Happier 7 Days a Week.”

We use idioms such as “a happy camper”, “happy-go-lucky”, “happy as a clam”, “fat and happy.” Marketers capitalized on our desire for happiness by creating “happy hour” and “Happy Meals.” 

The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Americans have made “the pursuit of Happiness” a priority. Many have moved to the next step of believing and demanding that they have happiness.

The expectation of happiness in this life on earth is a fairly new phenomenon in the history of mankind. Once believed to be something that one attained after leaving this world, the Enlightenment proposed that happiness was “a natural human endowment attainable in theory by every man, woman, and child.” (Happiness, a history by Darrin M. McMahon) In fact, if a person is unhappy, something is wrong.

We now have elevated it to a sense of well-being that we each try to attain and maintain, usually by trying to change something in our circumstances, either people, geography, our looks, or our possessions. Research has shown that only 10% of our “happiness” comes from our circumstances, and those circumstances only bring a temporary change. About 50% of our happiness quotient comes from our genetic make-up, factors that we cannot change. That means that 50% of our sense of well-being can be changed but only 10% has to do with our circumstances. However, we spend most of our life pursuing that 10% change, virtually ignoring the other factors that influence our happiness. 

What are those other factors? One of the top factors is being grateful! Scientific research affirms this solution to our sense of well being. This fact is not new news! God told us in His Word thousands of years ago to give thanks and to be grateful. This directive is not just for the optimistic or for the positive thinkers or for leaders or Sunday school teachers - it is for all of us! Expressing gratitude and thankfulness is not only part of what God says is a practice of His children but it is also what brings us to a better place emotionally in our lives. Whatever God shows us to do is the very best for us!

I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High…. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. 

Instead of looking at your mate or your circumstances and dwelling on what is wrong, practice gratitude and thankfulness. Begin a gratitude journal or a prayer list to God about all that is good in your life and in the people around you. As we approach Thanksgiving, we challenge you to express one item of appreciation or thanks to your spouse every day and to eliminate complaints or criticisms for one week and see what happens. Give God a chance to work miracles in your marriage!

We are very thankful that God has provided funds for a new computer for the ministry. We are thankful for the continued prayers and donations of many people. We are asking you to join with us and ask the Lord to raise the shortfall in our monthly budget. As a nonprofit, we operate similar to an incorporated business, except our income is all from donations; we do not sell a product. We receive salaries as employees of the organization. Our salary amount is set by our board of directors. If we do not have enough income to provide for all of our monthly expenses, the only place that we have to cut back is in our salaries. During these times, we do not receive our full salary. We want to continue in the ministry as God has called us; He has promised that He will provide for us.

You are an valuable part of our ministry! We love and appreciate you and your support of what God is doing at Living Well! 

Our love in Christ,
Donna and Ed Edwards

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The people make all the difference - our guests and those who helped behind the scenes.
Our Pastor Bill Hulse


A little music to start - Come and See - a worship chorus from Zambia.