While in their old age, Simeon and Anna had meaningful encounters with the infant Jesus, and this gave them hope for the future. What does this ancient story say to us today? Listen to Pastor David’s message on Luke 2:22-40 here.
Christmas Eve and Star Wars: What do they have in common? How does the birth of Jesus begin a new, epic saga for the ages? Listen to Pastor David’s Christmas Eve message here:
Whew! We made it through the Christmas Season and are heading into the New Year with full force! Not the “Force” but the real of meaning of Christmas in our minds as we serve and celebrate the glory of Jesus Christ. A New Year, new beginnings, resolutions and all that go with the only holiday that is celebrated in the entire world (as we wish Christianity was) – the New Year? But what does it matter? Did you know that only 12 percent of us ever keep the New Year’s resolutions that we make? We celebrate the ball drop in New York City – a tradition that has happened since 1904 – say nice things we are going to do and then work on it for a few weeks. Sadly enough, many do not make any resolutions, and then there are no expectations for us to meet. After all, God loves us just the way we are –TRUE, but we could all still use a little improvement in one area or another. Why is it so hard for us to change, even when we want to? There’s a saying that “God loves me too much to leave me the way I am.” What do you think God would want you to work on this year? Continue reading
Happy Christmas Eve! Soon we will gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Here is a preview of our Sunday morning service, so you can prepare yourself for this encounter with the living Messiah.
- Welcome/Announcements: We take care of the business of the church.
- Prayer: We acknowledge God’s presence among us and invite him to be attentive to our worship.
- “Angels We Have Heard on High”: We celebrate the birth of Jesus with this carol: Glory to God in the highest!
- “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”: We continue in praise of our newborn King.
- Christ’s Birthday Observance Offering: We give a special offering to honor the birth of Jesus. This offering supports national and international ministries of the Church of God.
- “This Little Light of Mine”: We join in singing this spiritual as we give our special offering.
- Responsive Reading (Psalm 148): We praise the Lord by reading a psalm of praise together.
- “Jesus Messiah”: In song we adore Jesus, the one who became our righteousness: love so amazing!
- Scripture Reading (Isaiah 61:10-62:3): We hear an ancient text that inspires us to sing praise to God in our souls.
- Scripture Reading (Luke 2:22-40): The sermon text calls us to center our thoughts on an encounter with the newborn Jesus.
- Message (“Give Thanks to God”): Mary and Joseph brought young Jesus to the Temple, where he was greeted by Simeon and Anna. We reflect together on this marvelous story.
- “Come, Share the Lord”: We sing this song to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus face to face.
- The Lord’s Supper: This is the highlight of the service. In the bread and cup, we meet our crucified and risen Savior. This is a mystery – but it’s one that we share with each other with eyes wide open.
- Offering: We give our regular tithes and offerings to the Lord, in response to the gift he has given us: life with him.
- “You Have Been Given”: We sing this chorus to prepare ourselves for prayer.
- Prayer: We lift up our praises and petitions before the Lord.
- Special: We hear a story from one of our dear, elderly saints.
- “Good Christians, Now Rejoice”: We sing this carol to remind ourselves of our call to rejoice in the Lord always.
- Benediction: We receive a blessing as we depart, changed forever by this encounter with the living Jesus.
John Rutter is one of the most famous composers of choral music in the 20th century. He is known as the founder and director of the Cambridge Singers, and his compositions and arrangements are widely known and sung throughout the world and especially here in the United States.
I recently became aware of a Christmas carol written by Rutter in 1990. The carol is entitled “Christmas Lullaby,” and Tara and I have the opportunity to sing it with a chamber choir this coming weekend. The lyrics to this carol are particularly meaningful to me this year, so I’d like to share them with you here. Continue reading
The Wise Men followed a star and visited Jesus in Bethlehem. What if this well-known story is not about sentimental nativity scenes? What if it’s about political and personal revolution? What if it’s about seeking God’s kingdom rather than the influence of politics and money in our lives? Listen to Pastor David’s sermon on Matthew 2:1-12.
Our worship services are planned carefully and thoughtfully. I (Pastor David) take a couple of hours each Monday morning to plan the next Sunday’s worship service. Each week I have a theme or an idea in mind, and my hope is that the theme or idea is conveyed and experienced by everyone in the worship service. But I am realizing that may not always be the case.
So each week I hope to give you a little description of the structure of our upcoming worship service, in order that you might have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare yourself spiritually for our weekly encounter with the ever-living God. Continue reading