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In a 2002 Dilbert cartoon, Wally hands a piece of paper to the “pointy-haired boss.” The oblivious boss says, “Wally, your status report is just a bunch of buzzwords strung together.” Wally responds in the next panel, “I've been giving you that same status report every week for eleven years.” And in the third panel he adds, “Five years ago you adopted it as our mission statement.”

That's the risk with a mission statement—that it would become a trite, trendy, and lifeless set of words that mean something at one time but die out after a few weeks of use.

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On Tuesday night Dot Riefner went to be with her Lord. God mercifully allowed for the family to be present as she went from this world to the next. She had been declining for some time, but for those who have known her, this is a great loss. For years she has added joy, energy, wit, maturity, prayers, worship, and friendship to our church family. It is a gift to know a person converted later in life who made the most of the years that God gave. Here is the obituary the Jones family prepared on her behalf:

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Recently, one of our home group leaders sent an email to his group. It gives a good snapshot of why home groups are such an important priority for us at SGC. You'll notice the mention of various people serving one another, the logistics they took care of, and the intentionality of the leader to make God a greater part of their lives. At one level an email like this can feel routine and forgettable, but on another it reflects a web of relationships channeled for the glory of God.

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Last Sunday, Phil publicly announced the elders’ final decision to appoint Daniel Baker to the role of Senior Pastor. Here is the explanation of that decision. As we have emphasized over the last few months, we are grateful to have a plurality of elders, and it bears repeating that Phil isn’t going anywhere. He will still be one of your pastors. He will still have his office at SGC. He will continue to preach, though perhaps not quite as often. We invite you to pray for Daniel and all of the elders during this transition, and we invite you to continue working with us for the building up of the church to the glory of God.

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In case you hadn't noticed, the Christmas season is here. Today is Black Friday, and I'm just about to head out for some shopping. We all have about twenty-seven parties scheduled in the next thirty days, and in stores and homes in that same period we'll hear about a thousand different versions of Carol of the Bells. I don't write this as a Scrooge. I love Christmas. But what I love above all the family traditions and celebrations is the Event at the center of it all: The Advent of the Messiah.

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If it’s true that grief leaves you with a limp, then we must have been quite a disabled crew. Each Monday for thirteen weeks, we trudged in from the cold to pray, listen, and process the reality of our unique losses, ranging from the natural (and still devastating) loss of mothers and fathers, to the tragic and sudden loss of young life. But if you had peeked in the window at 401 Upchurch St. those evenings, you wouldn’t have only seen tears.

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I want to make sure that everyone is aware of a relatively new resource that is available in the church bookstore. There is a section on the wall opposite the checkout desk that is now serving as our library. These books are available to church members to checkout and take home at no charge. The selection is rather modest, for now, but there are some great books available, and Lord willing the selection will grow over time.

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