Sermon – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (Third Sunday in Advent, December 14, 2014)

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Sermon – Mark 1:1-8 (Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, 2014)

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003-john-baptist-prison

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Sermon – Matthew 25:31-46 (Last Sunday of the Church Year, November 23, 2014)

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sheep and goats

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From the Pastor’s Study . . . December 2014

Dear Friends,

Wishing You a Blessed Advent!

As I write to you, electrical contractors are removing the existing lighting in the nave, in order to install our new lighting this week. When we gather for Divine Service this weekend, it will be in the brilliance of all-new lighting. Worshipers, musicians, and other leaders will find it much easier to see in our newly-improved worship space. We can also anticipate that the new lighting will further enhance the beauty of our church. As we give glory to God for this wonderful blessing, we thank numerous members and friends who contributed so generously to this project. When we dedicate the lighting in a few weeks, we will be remembering the names of those who were honored/memorialized by these gifts.

Your generosity in completing this years’ capital campaigns for both the nave lighting and the East property re-development was a joy to observe. Additionally, the financial pledges for 2015 are coming in at a rate which will likely exceed that which was pledged for 2014. I pray that your giving is as much a meaningful blessing to you as it is for your congregation. You have responded gladly and generously to the Lord’s giving to you, and I pray that the joy of responding to His grace will be yours in abundance.

When you read this, we will be starting our Advent journey. Advent is a time of preparation that bears some resemblance to the season of Lent. Both seasons include calls for self-examination and repentance. Additionally, both seasons omit the Hymn of Praise in worship and are characterized by reflective music and subdued praise. Both seasons are also “closed seasons,” in which the rite of Marriage is not celebrated.

However, there are also significant differences between these two seasons. The journey of Advent progresses from darkness to light, whereas Lent is a journey from light into darkness. Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, is immediately preceded by Transfiguration Sunday – in which Jesus’ person and garments shine forth his divine glory. Thus, we begin Lent from a point of brilliant light, and journey to the ultimate darkness of the Cross and tomb on Good Friday. Advent, on the other hand, begins in darkness with 5 unlit candles on a wreath of green – that are progressively illumined until the glory of Christ’s Incarnation bursts forth on Christmas eve. Advent is a time of stillness and waiting that anticipates the joy of what is to come.

As was the case last year, Christmas eve falls at such a time that we only have three Wednesdays in Advent. However, we will be gathering for worship on each of these Wednesday evenings. Each service will begin at 7pm, and include prayers, Scripture, preaching, and special music. Our theme this year is “The Promise of Jesus Announced by the Prophets.” Our lessons will be the following:

Dec. 3: Isaiah 11:1–10 – “The Shoot from the Stump of Jesse.”

Dec. 10: Zephaniah 3:14–20 – “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.”

Dec. 17: Micah 5:2–5a – “The Lord, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

I hope that in the midst of the many things that will be vying for your time and attention this coming month, that you will have some time to pray, read Scripture, and consider what the coming of Christ Jesus means for you.

In Christ Jesus,

Pastor

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November 18, 2014 · 11:08 pm

Sermon – Matthew 25:1-13 (23rd Sunday after Pentecost, November 16, 2014)

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Sermon – Matthew 25:14-30 (22nd Sunday after Pentecost, October 9, 2014)

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Sermon – Revelation 7:9-17 (All Saints’ Sunday, November 2, 2014)

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