Sunday, December 18, 2016


Temps of minus 30 were seen on many thermometers this morning as the arctic chill of the upper atmosphere descended overnight on a crisp early winter morn. Music and warmth from the hearts of our church family soon dispelled the chill as we gathered here today. Christmas cheer spilled everywhere.

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us and began by sharing these announcements.

--Christmas Eve Worship  4:00 Saturday.
--Christmas Morning service will be in the Fireside Room and you are all welcome.
--If you are interested in becoming a member, contact Chuck, Pastor White or Pam Johnson.
--The Covenant World Relief Offering (soup cans) will be collected in January.
--Pastor Terry invited us to read a chapter a day in the new year, starting with the Psalms.

This being the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the Mehle family came forwad to light the advent candle.
After reading Isaiah 52:6-9 the candles were lit and a passage read about the meaning of this candle: Shalom, which is "Peace."

Chuck read from the Book of Matthew about the birth of Christ followed by a song -- beautifully performed by Chuck, Ken and Darlene -- about Mary and the birth of her son, "Mary Did You Know?"

Ed sang a medley about the Lord's birth in a manger as the offering was taken. This was followed by a time of prayer for needs in our church family.


Introductory notes: Terry White began by thanking us for the many ways our church family serves our community. "It's a great thing to be a part of it." He also shared some of the things we're looking forward to in 2017, including two of the items noted in the announcements above.

Pastor While also invited the young people to share about their Holly Jolly experience. Hayden stood and shared how this touched him because the core of it is about giving. Another gentleman stood and shared how he was moved by it and how it gave him a fresh perspective on giving, and that it wasn't just for the kids. A third stood to share how it was exciting to be part of the youth group as they experienced the power of giving together.

God's invitation is to walk alongside Him and be part of what He is doing. When you enter into these kinds of projects there's a reason why we experience peace and feel inwardly "I'm on the right track. I'm doing exactly what God would be doing if He were here in this moment." When we align ourselves with the way God lives His life, it is good for our lives.

* * * *
Today's theme: Peace.

It's a tricky word. Peace to dictator means, "Do what I ask."
Peace to an alcoholic is when people don't call him an alcoholic.

But peace is not simply the absence of conflict.

Terry stated that peace is ironic. Peace comes through truth, but truth seldom brings peace.

Jeremiah 6:13-16 "They cry 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace."

What does peace really men?

Verse 16 is one of Pastor Terry's favorites....
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the Peacemakers." But peace has an ironic aspect to it. Peace comes through truth, though truth rarely brings peace.

The message today revolved around Ephesians 2:14-22. "For He Himself is our peace who has made the two groups one...."

It's not easy to be one, in part because we are so different.

In math, when you add fractions what you have to do is find the lowest common denominator. When it comes to our human existence, the lowest common denominator is this: Every single one of us has the same exact problem. That problem is sin.

If we have other things determine what is in and out, such as being united only if we like the same football team, or have the same age group.... these are limiters.

The passage in Ephesians 2 is about making two things one. Our lowest common denominator is Jesus. This is how we become one.

The word peace comes from the Hebrew word "Shalom." Shalom is a word that doesn't translate well because the word is a concept that is much more than peace. The word contains this sense of "Completeness" and "Fullness." That my life is healthy and full and whole, and safe. Shalom speaks of prosperity, rest...  and fully paid for.

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men is something more...

Ephesian 1:22-23  I can't wait to be not afraid of the dark, to not be afraid of the future I don't know.

What does peace look like in your world?

Hope, Love, Joy and Peace are not based on circumstances. Jesus Christ is our peace. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Making a joyful noise unto the Lord.

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