22 Dec


By Alise Weber – Littleton, Colorado … More than 700 community members experienced the atmosphere of Bethlehem on December 19 during the annual Bethlehem Experience presented by the Littleton Adventist Church.

The church’s campus was transformed into the town of Bethlehem where visitors were reminded of God’s light in our world, a chance to interact with marketplace shopkeepers, visit shepherds watching their sheep in the fields, and experience that beautiful, holy night Jesus was born and the hope He brought to us all.

The evening was divided into nine groups of 75 – 90 people, each arriving 20 minutes apart for the hour-long walk-through.

Each group began their journey in the sanctuary, where they were greeted by Andy Nash, Littleton Church lead pastor, who explained the purpose of the evening and prepared the onlooker’s hearts.

“Who feels like they need a Lord and Savior now more than ever?” Nash asked the crowd.  Many raised their hands high.

After Nash’s introduction, attendees witnessed a five-minute opening drama set to the song “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns. The opening scene depicted many conflicts that have emotionally touched us in 2021. One scene showed a nurse attending to a patient on a ventilator; another showed two Afghanistan women cowering and afraid, and an additional scene showed a store closed due to lack of staff. At the end of the skit, a host of angels surrounded each struggle and resolved the sorrow. Many attendees exited the sanctuary with tears, being moved by what they had just witnessed.

“It seemed like in the experience everyone had something to relate to in our lives. It brought joy and hope to our families,” Dana Tikker, Littleton church member, said.

The Bethlehem travelers were next guided to a bustling marketplace where loud shopkeepers enticed visitors to buy animals, fabric, fruit, vegetables, bread, and pottery.  Of course, two foreboding Roman soldiers called on the newcomers to be counted for the census in the background. “Have you paid your taxes?” a local tax collector asked one of the visitors.

With travelers full of hot chocolate and cookies that a local shopkeeper graciously gave them, they were guided to a neighboring inn, where a not-so-pleasant innkeeper shouted that there was no room to rest. Thankfully, a nearby shepherd’s field brought them some distraction with shepherds who greeted them warmly and some adorable animals, such as donkeys, goats, and sheep that welcomed the hay and the soft pats the children offered.

The tranquility of the shepherd’s field ended abruptly when a burst of light and a host of angels appeared.  “A savior will be born,” the lead angel exclaimed to the crowd directing them into a nearby tent transformed into a cave.  Inside they were greeted by Mary, Joseph, and a host of angels surrounding them as they witnessed the birth of the Messiah.

The Bethlehem Experience concluded when wise men and shepherds arrived on the scene, and onlookers left reflecting on what they had witnessed with the parting words still fresh in their ears. “Wise men and women still seek Him today, and if you seek Him, you will find Him.”

Littleton member, Steve Peck, reflecting on why the experience is essential, said, “The Bethlehem Experience is unique because it creates an opportunity for the congregation to minister both internally and externally to the community.  I’m eager for this ministry to grow in size and reach.”

The Bethlehem experience was a church-wide effort that involved more than 80 volunteers who helped make the evening memorable for the community.

To view a video of the opening scene please click here

To view a video of the Nativity scene please click here

–Alise Weber is ministry coordinator for Littleton Adventist Church; photos supplied

03 Aug


By RMCNews with Alise Weber – Littleton, Colorado … Women and girls of all generations from Littleton Adventist Church gathered at Arts on Fire in Highlands Ranch for an evening of creative expression through pottery making.

The event, part of innovation at Littleton to grow a healthy church by building relationships among members, drew 50 female participants of all ages. It was a chance for mothers and daughters to grow closer and make memories that they will cherish for a long time to come.

For some, it was a multi-generational gathering. “My family is so grateful for the community Littleton church has provided for us.  We had four generations at Arts on Fire–great-grandma, Nana, myself, and my daughter. It was so much fun to spend time together and to be around friends as well.  Looking at our finished products will bring back memories that will last a lifetime,” Amanda Kolibu, Littleton church member commented.

Mothers and daughters gathered with friends around tables to begin their creative designs.  The easy part was choosing which pottery piece to work on.  Next, the decisions were endless and involved multitudes of paint colors and crafty items to decorate with their own personal flair.

Reflecting on the evening, Alise Weber, children’s and family pastor at Littleton commented, “I was so impressed with all the artists in our church, including our younger artists!”

The relationship-building continues later this month as the men and boys prepare for a father and son backpacking weekend excursion in the picturesque Colorado mountains.

–RMCNews with Alise Weber; photos supplied

24 Jun


By Alise Weber … I like to pray as I walk. Two years ago, I was keeping a brisk pace on one of the nature trails by our home and praying to God about a particularly troubling situation my husband and I were dealing with. It had been a long week and there didn’t seem to be a respite from the hardship we were facing. In desperation, I prayed, “God, please have someone call me that will cheer me up.”  I continued my walk, almost forgetting about my prayer.

Suddenly my phone rang and I had one of those perfect moments when I knew that God had answered my prayer. The person calling was a good friend who normally didn’t call on a Saturday afternoon. We spoke and my friend offered just the right encouragement for my troubled heart. Before we hung up, I said, “You know, right before you called, I prayed that someone would call to cheer me up.”  Without missing a beat, my friend replied, “Every day I pray that God will use me to bless someone else.”

My friend’s response may seem simple enough, but how many of us actually take time to pray that God will use us to minister to others, to share Christ’s love, or further the Kingdom of God each day? When I think about the motivation behind my friend’s prayer, I can’t help but think of all the opportunities that exist if we simply open ourselves up to be used by God daily.

Summertime is upon us, which means summer vacations, pool days, backyard barbecues, and road trips. While we are all relishing in a more normal summer, we are also emerging from a pandemic where people have experienced loss by the handfuls and have gotten used to being apart from one another. Perhaps there is no better time to pray the prayer my friend requests daily, “God please use me to bless someone today.” I think people are hungry to reconnect, to be prayed for, and to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Your church may have members you haven’t seen since the pandemic started. It’s time to let them know they are missed and that their church family wants to see them again.

Jesus often sought out people who were on the fringes–Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman at the well, Matthew, the tax collector, and the cripple at the pool of Bethesda. It would have been easy to ignore them, as everyone else did, but Jesus knew how important they were to our heavenly Father. Precious.

It says in Matthew 5:13-16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

I would like to challenge all of us to begin each day praying that simple prayer, “God please use me to bless someone today.”  This may be your best summer yet!

–Alise Weber is pastor of families and children at Littleton Adventist church; photo by UnSplash

04 Jan


By Alise Weber – Littleton, Colorado … The Littleton Adventist Church grounds was transformed into the City of Bethlehem on December 19 to welcome the community to experience Bethlehem.

Planning for this event began in March and the scale of the event was changed multiple times due to the ongoing pandemic.  What didn’t change was the organizers’ hope to share the Good News and the joy of Christ’s birth with all who attended.  The idea of hosting an event like The Bethlehem Experience became more of a mission as many churches were unable to offer traditional religious Christmas activities for their congregation and communities.

During the event, each group of 40 travelers was greeted by a guide at the Bethlehem gates who shared important information about their visit to Bethlehem.  After the introduction, their guide led them into a busy night market where Roman soldiers loomed in the background.  Travelers were beckoned by marketplace business men and women “selling” fabric, produce, hot drinks, small animals, and cookies. Tax collectors were encountered throughout the marketplace ready to collect “taxes” for Rome.

Exiting the marketplace, the crowd traveled to the shepherd’s fields where the children and young-at-heart could interact with the goats and donkeys there. The fields encompassed an inn with a tired, but cranky innkeeper who was tired of people knocking on the door asking for a room for the evening. The crowd’s attention was drawn to the ancient story of the shepherds watching their flock by night through the narration of Luke 2.  Eyes were drawn to the heavens as fireworks lit up the evening sky, much like the Bethlehem star many years ago.

Following the star, the gathering, filled with anticipation, made their way to an ancient cave more than 2000 years old inside the tent. There, those who gathered witnessed Joseph comforting Mary as she prepared to give birth. As angels surrounded the couple, Joseph emerged from the cave holding baby Jesus, played by 10-month-old Sully Palmer. The watching group, moved by the arrival of Jesus, expressed their emotion through applause and tears. Others sat silently, absorbing the scene unfolding before them.

The evening concluded with the Wise Men inviting individuals to rediscover Jesus in the year ahead.

Tierra Hull, invited by a member of the Littleton Church, attended with her husband and two young boys.  After the event, she wrote to her friend, “We LOVED it and hope you do it next year.  My son said it was the most fun tradition ever.  We all feel so blessed to have had a fun Christmas event this season.”

More than 450 people, many visiting Littleton church for the first time, attended the free 30-minute Bethlehem Experience.

With the success of The Bethlehem Experience, Littleton Adventist Church would like to make it an annual event, with the desire of sharing with more and more people the hope, light, and joy Christ’s birth brought to us all.

If you would like to view the Nativity scene, please visit https://www.facebook.com/LittletonSDA/videos/676031106427379

–Alise Weber is Littleton’s Children and Family pastor; pictures courtesy of Littleton Facebook page.

18 Nov


By Alise Weber…I am writing this one day after testing positive for Covid-19.  I don’t know why, but I feel shame and guilt.

For nine months, the world has been trying to avoid Covid-19 and now that I have become the diseased, I suddenly feel like the world is trying to avoid me too. There is instant scrutiny of your whereabouts for the past two weeks and the requirement that for your children to be absent from school for weeks.

Event my oldest daughter commented that she didn’t want to join her class online because she didn’t want her peers to know her parents had Covid. I even joked that we had our very own Weber leper colony. A bad joke, but I sure feel like an outcast.

The day I found out I had Covid, I wearily sent a message to a group of friends that I had asked to pray for me. We were supposed to go out for coffee the week prior, but I had cancelled saying I wasn’t feeling well and was going to get a Covid test instead. I had relayed to my friends that I had lost my sense of taste and smell and that it didn’t look good. They had responded with encouragement and had checked up on me while I was waiting for the results.

The leper finally sent a group text telling everyone that I had indeed tested positive for Covid. After clicking “Send,” I waited. It wasn’t long before I started receiving text after text telling me that they were praying for my family and me, as well as offering to run errands. One friend asked if I needed meals. I wasn’t bedridden, but I thought it might be nice to rest in the evenings rather than worry about a meal, so I responded, “Yes.” In less than a minute, I had meals for the week.

My husband will verify that I found him quickly after those text messages and there were tears in my eyes of gratitude, love, and disbelief. There are tears in my eyes as I write this now. I still feel alone in this fight, but then I remind myself that my friends cared about my family and me enough to support us when we needed it most.

When I think of Jesus’ life on earth, I remember that he made a point of looking for the outcasts, the sick, and the downtrodden of the world. He ate with Zacchaeus, the tax collector, healed the blind, befriended prostitutes, and made a point of revealing who He was to the rejected woman at the well.  He was their hope and light and I can imagine that they must have felt a lot like I did when, instead of judgment He, like my friends, stood by them when they needed it most.

I am not over Covid, but I am on my way.  This experience reminds me that there are a lot of people in the world who need to feel the light, hope, and love of Christ and it has taught me that being the hands and feet of Jesus can be as simple as bringing hot meals to a friend’s doorstep when they are feeling ill–and it can be so much more. In this world full of tension and strife, I think we need the joy of Jesus Christ more than ever. I hope we can all look for those that need that hope the most. Let’s be the light!

Update: My husband and I were diagnosed with Covid-19 at the end of October. Since then, we have recovered and our whole family is healthy and well.

–Alise Weber is pastor of family ministry and children at Littleton Church.

27 Aug


By Alise Weber — One of my favorite jobs when I was a young twenty something was working as a camp counselor and pool director at Camp Mohaven in Danville, Ohio. I loved the opportunities to be outside in nature. I was uplifted by the singular focus on Christ. I shared God’s word with many kids that were not from a Christian background. And I had so much fun hanging out with my co-workers who also became close friends.

Camp was an absolute blast!  With that being said, working at camp could also be exhausting. In conversations with young people today, I tell them that it is the closest you can get to having a parental experience without having kids. As a camp counselor, I was with the kids 24/7 and had one full 24-hour period off per week.

One particular day off comes to mind when I was completely wiped out physically and spiritually. There was nothing left to give and I had my heart set on finding a quiet place to relax with the goal of sleeping in the next morning. Usually, the camp would set aside one cabin for counselors to stay in during their day off. It was a nice gesture, but I would still be awakened in the early hours of the morning by all the camp activity. I needed to get away and I decided I was going to get a hotel room for the night.

There was only one problem. Camp meeting was taking place at the nearby Mt. Vernon Academy. I went to hotel after hotel seeking a place to rest, but all were full. I wanted to cry, and I needed a quiet moment. I almost didn’t pray because it sounded too silly.  “Lord, help me find a hotel room where I can rest,” seemed too insignificant. Nevertheless, I poured out my heart to God and asked that He help me find a place where I could be restored. There was one last hotel to go to and ask if they had a free room. Again, the answer was, “No.”

Just then, a familiar and tired face walked into the lobby of the hotel. My friend, Jennifer. We had gone to college together. She was attending the camp meeting and was coming out to the hotel lobby about a noise complaint. She saw me and I explained my predicament and then without thinking twice, she invited me to stay in her room.

Just like that. God heard and answered a prayer that was so small, I didn’t even think I should utter it. That experience was a good reminder that God cares for even the small requests we have for Him. Nothing is too quaint or insignificant for our heavenly Father to walk beside us with. Talk to Him. He delights in giving us sanctuary.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heaven burdens, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).

Alise Weber is pastor for children’s & family ministry at Littleton Adventist Church.