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Core at the Christmas Party! The theme was Christmas of the Future!
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

This verse came up in an advent devotional I have been doing and it really struck me. I don't always feel beautiful. I don't mean this is a superficial or physical way. I mean it in who I am as a person, a minister, a friend, a daughter. There is a song by Chris Renzema that gets me almost every time I listen to it called How to be Yours. Chris spends most of the time confessing to God his feelings of shame. That he can't see himself measuring up to be Gods. Then in the bridge God responds: 

So love Me or hate Me
I'm not going anywhere
Leave Me or take Me
You still bear My signature
Know Me or not
Seen or forgot
I'm not walking out on you

I have a girl I am doing Focus on Jesus with (our 10 week 1-1 bible study) who is contemplating following Jesus. And she really does want to be transformed by Him. But she is caring shame. In fact the two of us carry similar shame from similar sins. (God knew what he was doing when he put us together.) Getting to share the story of the prodigal son and that Chris Renzema story with her was powerful. She has a creator who loves her. Who finds her precious. Who sees past all her junk and desperately wants her to know His love. As I was sharing this with her I remembered that God feels all those things for me too. In fact he feels that way for you! Our creator became a human baby so that He could grow up and die a gruesome death for us. My prayer for you this advent season is that the arrival of Jesus would remind you of how much value you have in God's sight. That He came to not only bring you eternal life, but to transform your life now so you can live it to the fullest! What a good good God we serve!

Ashlie and I in Tulsa!
I recently got to go to Tulsa with my cofa (co-corefa that I am leading core with this year!) Ashlie. This sweet girl has been such a blessing in my life. She is such a servant. I got to support her in some family stuff over our two-day trip. God is really redeeming some things there and I loved that I got to be a part of it by traveling with her. 

I also wanted to extend a HUGE THANK YOU! We have been floored by everyone's generosity and God's goodness. Keep FOCUS Growing was such success this year. So thank you for the prayers and the donations. KFG makes it so that our ministry can continue to flourish and reach students at the DFW campuses and we couldn't do it without ministry partners like you!

Many Blessings,
Emily Umstead


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 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God  who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
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9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10
We have been doing a sermon series on Ephesians the last couple weeks and I have been reflecting a lot on what unity in the body of Christ looks like and what our response to the grace of the Gospel should be.  When researching for a sermon I came across the Basilica of the Annunciation which is in Nazareth, Israel. It was built to commemorate Mary being told she was to have Jesus.

This church has commissioned Christian artists from all over the world to depict Mary and Jesus in their cultural styles and symbols and the results are beautiful. Here are a few of my favorites.

I see this artwork and I reali…