January 6th E-votional

As a pastor, people occasionally ask me why they should go to church.  “After all,” they say, “can’t I worship God just as well when I am in nature or at my house?  Do I have to go to church to worship God?”  On one hand this is true.  We don’t have to be in church to worship God.  In fact, as I often say, we are called to worship and glorify God in anything we do, anywhere we are.

On the other hand, as Christians, it is important that we do attend church.  The Christian faith is a communal faith.  It is very difficult to be a Christian alone.  When Jesus sent out the disciples, he sent them out in pairs.  Jesus told the disciples that whenever two or more are gathered in his name.  1 John 1:7 says, “but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  In going to church, we continue to live and worship in community.

Going to church is a way of providing and receiving spiritual support.  In going to church we receive exposure and instruction to the Word of God.  This provides us spiritual support as well as spiritual nourishment.  Additionally, our fellow church members provide accountability for us.  They are there to support us when we find ourselves in difficult times and they are there to lift us up when we stumble.

Worshipping at church together with a congregation also is expression of our love for God.  Additionally, it is a sign of obedience to God.  God has commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy.  While there is more to the Sabbath than church, by starting our day and our week in worship, it helps us remember to set aside time for God.  We are also told in the book of Hebrews that we should not “forsake assembly together”.  We are called to gather together for worship on a regular basis.

There are many other reasons why people go to church.  If you haven’t been to church in a while, maybe this will persuade you to return.  If you are one of our faithful who we see every week, then maybe like me, you have had people ask why they go to church.

As we enter into the new year, it is a good time to rededicate ourselves.  It may be deciding to go to church again or increasing your prayer time or trying to read the Bible daily, we all have room to grow.

January 5th News and Notes

Sunday School

Sunday School will resume this Sunday for the children.  There will be no adult Sunday School this Sunday.

De-Greening of the Church

We will be removing the Advent/Christmas decorations from the church this Sunday immediately following worship.

Interfaith Service

The Interfaith Council of Southern Maryland will hold a Martin Luther King, Jr service at Christian Community Presbyterian Church (CCPC)  on January 15th at 10:00.  There will be a workday to follow at Champ House.

Seeds

Seeds will return Wednesday, January 18th at 6:00

Congregational Meeting and Chili Cook-off

We will have our annual congregational meeting on Sunday, January 22nd following worship.  We will also have the chili and dessert cook-off, benefiting the Mars Hill mission trip on that day.

Officer retreat

We will have an officer retreat on Saturday, January 28th.  All current and previous committee chairs are invited from 9-12 and board members from 9-3.  We will be looking at our current committee structure.  Please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com to confirm you are attending.

Two Week Outlook

Sunday, January 8th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Chat & Chew immediately after worship
  • Childrens Sunday school immediately after worship
  • Removing Christmas/Advent decorations immediately after worship

Wednesday, January 11th

  • Choir Practice, 7:30

Thursday, January 12th

  • Mens Breakfast, 7:45 AM, Nautilus Diner

Friday, January 13th

  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30 AM

Sunday, January 15th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Sunday School immediately following worship

Wednesday, January 18th

  • Seeds, 6:00
  • Choir Pracitce, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • January 22nd: Annual Meeting
  • March 1st: Ash Wednesday, Lent begins
  • April 16th: Easter
  • June 25th: Church in the Park
  • July 9th-15th, 2016: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 24th-28th, 2016: Art & Music Camp

Dec 15th News and Notes

Christmas Play Practice

The Christmas Play Practice for this Saturday, the 17th, has been moved to 1:00.

Children’s Christmas program

The Children’s Christmas program will be during worship on December 18th at 10:00.  Come see the hard work that the children have put into telling the Christmas story in a new way!

Christmas Eve service

The Christmas Eve service of Lessons & Carols will be December 24th at 7:00

Open House

Pastor Chris and his family invite you to their home for their Christmas Open House, Dec 18th from 3-6:00.  Please consider stopping in for some good food and good fellowship!

Christmas Eve readers

We are looking for people who are willing to read during our Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24th at 7:00.   If you are interested, please let Chris Deacon know.

Poinsettas

If you ordered poinsettas and have not paid for them, please do so.  There is an evenvelope in the Narthax.

Christmas Service

Keep the Christ in Christmas!  We will worship on December 25th at 10:00.  It will be a casual, interactive, intergenerational service (come in jeans or even your pajamas!) with hymns and communion.

Sunday School

There will be no Sunday School on December 18th, 25th, or January 1st.

Two Week Outlook

Saturday, December 17th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 18th

  • Christmas program, 10:00
  • Deacons’ Christmas Open House 3:00-6:00

Wednesday, December 21st

  • Choir Practice, 7:30 PM

Thursday, December 22nd

  • Mens Breakfast, 7:45 AM, Nautilus Diner

Saturday, December 24th

  • Lessons and Carols, 7:00 PM

Sunday, December 25th

  • Christmas worship, 10:00 AM

Looking Ahead

  • December 18th:  Christmas program
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve candlelight service
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • January 22nd: Annual Meeting
  • June 25th: Church in the Park
  • July 9th-15th, 2016: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 24th-28th, 2016: Art & Music Camp

December 8th News and Notes

Caroling

We will meet at the church at 5:30 this Sunday, December 11th for Christmas Caroling.

Board Meeting

The Board will meet on December 13th at 6:30 at Sue Kennedy’s house for their December meeting.

Children’s Christmas program

The Children’s Christmas program will be during worship on December 18th.

Christmas Eve readers

We are looking for people who are willing to read during our Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24th at 7:00.   If you are interested, please let Chris Deacon know.

Christmas Service

Keep the Christ in Christmas!  We will worship on December 25th at 10:00.  It will be a casual service (come in jeans or even your pajamas!) with hymns and communion.

Sunday School

There will be no Sunday School on December 18th, 25th, or January 1st.

Two Week Outlook

Friday, December 9th

  • Women’s Luncheon, 11:30 AM

Saturday, December 10th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 9:30 AM

Sunday, December 11th

  • Worship
  • Chat & Chew, following worship
  • Sunday School, following worship
  • Christmas Caroling, 5:00

Wednesday, December 14th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 5:45 PM
  • Choir Practice, 7:30 PM

Thursday, December 15th

  • Mens Night Out, 6:30 PM

Saturday, December 17th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 9:30 AM

Sunday, December 18th

  • Christmas program, 10:00

Wednesday, December 21st

  • Choir Practice, 7:30 PM

Looking Ahead

  • December 18th:  Christmas program
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve candlelight service
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • January 22nd: Annual Meeting
  • June 25th: Church in the Park
  • July 9th-15th, 2016: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 24th-28th, 2016: Art & Music Camp

December 2nd News and Notes

Congregational Meeting

We will have a congregational meeting following worship on this Sunday to elect officers for the coming year!

Caroling

We will meet at the church at 5:30 on December 11th for Christmas Caroling.

Worship Team

The worship team will meet Monday, December 5th at 4:00.

Board Meeting

The Board will meet on December 13th at 6:30 at Sue Kennedy’s house for their December meeting.

Children’s Christmas program

The Children’s Christmas program will be during worship on December 18th.

Christmas Eve readers

We are looking for people who are willing to read during our Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24th.  If you are interested, please let Chris Deacon know.

Sunday School

There will be no Sunday School on December 25th or January 1st.

Two Week Outlook

Saturday, December 3rd

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 9:30 AM

Sunday, December 4th

  • Worship, including celebration of the Lord’s Supper, 10:00 AM
  • Congregational Meeting, following worship
  • Sunday School following worship

Monday, December 5th

  • Worship Team Meeting, 4:00 PM

Wednesday, December 7th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 5:45 PM
  • Choir Practice, 7:30 PM

Thursday, December 8th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 7:45 AM, Nautilus Diner

Friday, December 9th

  • Women’s Luncheon, 11:30 AM

Saturday, December 10th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 9:30 AM

Sunday, December 11th

  • Worship
  • Chat & Chew, following worship
  • Sunday School, following worship
  • Christmas Caroling, 5:00

Wednesday, December 14th

  • Christmas Play Rehersal, 5:45 PM
  • Choir Practice, 7:30 PM

Thursday, December 15th

  • Mens Night Out, 6:30 PM

Looking Ahead

  • December 18th:  Christmas program
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve candlelight service
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • January 22nd: Annual Meeting
  • June 25th: Church in the Park
  • July 9th-15th, 2016: Mars Hill Mission Trip
  • July 24th-28th, 2016: Art & Music Camp

12-25 Christmas Devotional

The Best Gift

Allison Byerly

Luke 2:8-20

 An American couple worked with orphans in Russia, sharing with them the story of Christmas. Many of the children were hearing it for the first time. After they finished, the couple gave the children a craft to make their own manger with the baby Jesus. They walked among the children, offering help and praise.

They came to one little boy named Misha. They were startled to see that there were two babies in the manger and asked him about it. Solemnly, he retold them the Christmas story, but when he got to Mary putting Jesus in the manger, he ad libbed.

“Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no momma or poppa and no place to stay. Jesus said I could stay with him, but I told him no because I have no gift for him. But I wanted to stay so much that I asked, ‘If I keep you warm, will that be a good gift?’ And he said, ‘That would be the best gift.’ So I got in the manger with him and Jesus said I could stay with him always.”

Misha reminds us that we received the best gift on Christmas – Jesus. On this Christmas Day, spend some time with Jesus who invites us to abide in his love always.

Rev. Dr. Allison Byerley is the Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Hawkins, TX.

©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

12-24 Advent Devotional

God’s Census

Mary Austin

Luke 2:1-7

 The story of Jesus’ birth opens with a display of the emperor’s power, but the power of God is at work in even deeper ways. God’s plans are unfolding for people who have been waiting for centuries. A ruler now long forgotten issues an order, and his plans gets Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to be part of God’s plans. God’s power is revealed, as the unlikely heir to David’s throne is born in the city of David.

History preserves the names of kings and queens, generals and inventors, but the Bible gives us the names of everyday women and men who are part of God’s plans. Mary. Joseph. Rahab. Ruth. Daniel. Lazarus, and so many more. If God were having a census, the registering of names would be completely different.

As the Christmas story is read, we can be sure that our names are counted in God’s registry, too. We each have a place in the Christmas story. In the year that Grace was an accountant, God was born into the world again. In the year that Bob was a teacher, Juan was an engineer, Darya was elected to the state house, God chose to be born into our world again. In the year that you or I took our place in God’s plans, the time came and God was born into the world again.

Faithful God,

Behind all of our waiting,

We know that your plans are growing to fulfillment.

Use our lives, we pray,

To be part of your story of love, grace and welcome.

In the name of the Christ Child, Amen.

Rev. Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church, a diverse Presbyterian congregation in Detroit.

©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.