Sunday, December 1, 2013

Images of Advent

The severe chill of last weekend lifted somewhat but winter is here, and with it our thoughts turn toward Advent and the season of our Lord's birth. "Good morning!" Brad exclaimed. He review last week's message briefly, that all we have including our connections to one another is a gift. "Traditionally we light the Advent candle at the beginning of the service, but today I will light it after."

Life of the Church
1. Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 is Women's Bible Study
2. At 2 p.m. Tuesday there will be a hymn-sing at Chris Jensen Nursing Home
3. Christmas program will be December 15 at 4:00 p.m. Please bring Christmas cookies to share. There will also be a meal, by Leonard.
4. Cheryl shared how the Christmas Shoeboxes we created were received last week. We also have received a family to make Christmas happen for a needy family with three children. Pray about it and sign up to give something.
5. Friday there will be a Free Wash Day at the Washbucket laundromat in Lincoln Park to help the homeless and needy people wash their clothes for a day. Looking for volunteers to help out December 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. plus anyone who can help provide soap and other necessities. Posters have been posted throughout the neighborhood to promote this ministry of generosity.

The Trio -- Chuck, Ken and Darlene -- sang the beautiful song "Mary Did You Know?" before singing worship songs from the silver songbook.

The children of the church collected our Covenant World Relief cans before the offering was taken. A number of needs were shared as we entered into a time of prayer.

Images of Advent

The lights were dimmed and Brad shared how meaningful the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel is to him. There is a longing in the world for light to come chase away the darkness.

Isaiah 9:1-2 it states that we are living in darkness, but that there is a great light. That darkness is choking our hearts.

Examples are many of how our hearts all too often choose darkness, or make excuses regarding ways we fail to make caring choices or fail to listen when our conscience speaks with that still, small voice. Our hearts deceive us. Brad shares examples from his own experience.

There are horrible things in the world that are going on and Brad shared more examples of the tragic brokenness of our world. There is darkness anywhere you look. And too often we say, "That's someone else's problems."

John 3:19 says, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."

In addition to sin there is death. We walk in the shadow of the valley of death... But God says, "I know. I have seen that. And I am going to do something about that darkness.'

Brad then shares the story of Little Bear and how he was afraid of the dark. But because there is one who is with us we can be comforted.

Even though we are stained with sin straight through, God sees this, and sees our world... and doesn't send a warning or punishment. He sent us His Son... a person, Jesus, who says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

God says, "There is nothing you have done that can make me love you any less.""

This light is for you. Come to God. Confess to God. "I want to be your child. I want to step into the light."

God has promised that His light will sustain us and guide us. That is the hope of Christmas.

Before celebrating Communion Ed Newman sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Afterwards we sang our way through Communion.

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