Posts from December 2014

Christmas Joy All Year Long

This is a guest post by Sandra Brese Rice. It is meant to be a devotion for use on New Year’s Eve, or for the days leading up to it. For more great devotional resources, check out Bethesda Lutheran Communities. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ…

Christmas Joy

There’s an old idiom you’ve probably heard before: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We see this all the time as we shop at garage sales, or have our own. Inevitably, someone will inexplicably be selling the most amazing thing, or be overjoyed at the junk I have for sale. It’s fascinating that this is true of Christmas too. The birth of Jesus was a great treasure for many, but some saw it as trash. Consider King Herod: Then…

Welcoming Peace in the Emergency Room

And he will be our peace. Micah 5:5a When I had my first panic attack, I had no idea what was going on. Confused and terrified, I spent most of that night in the ER. While I waited to be admitted, I noticed a young man with red hair who was also waiting. We were the only two in the waiting area, and we were both there for at least half an hour, me experiencing the end of a three…

Counting Down to Christmas

I don’t know about you, but there’s some excitement in our house about Christmas. In fact, we’re so excited about Christmas that we have four different countdowns going. There’s the Lego™ Advent Calendar, the digital advent calendar, a paper chain from Eli’s preschool class, and an Advent devotional book in the evening. As we flip pages, build creations, or tear strips from the chain, the excitement grows. Soon, it will be Christmas day. There will be presents to open, family…

Worship Survey: Sharing the Peace and Verbal Announcements

Several weeks ago, we talked about some changes we made in worship. You can read some of the background about that here. We’re interested in hearing your thoughts about how we’re doing with the recent changes. Providing a name in the form below helps us follow-up with clarifying questions and address your concerns. All feedback will be shared with the Executive Ministry Team (Pastor Chuck Whited, Jason Christ, Marsha Peth, Sue Steege, Tim Hartnett) and the Worship Planning Team (Jason,…

The Accidental Pizza

I lay in the brown leather recliner in our attic, the chair where I have fed my three babies these last six years and spent countless nights with each newborn, rocking, nursing, snacking with the hunger of a new mother, and dozing when I could. Because of this, I always think of that chair sentimentally, but this August weekend it would be drained of nostalgia. This weekend I spent three days in that chair, coughing and wheezing as I fought…

Noticing the Needs Around You

During the Advent Conspiracy, we explored the four basic tenets of the program. They are: Worship Fully Spend Less Give More Love All “Spend Less” and “Give More” are usually in tension with one another. God calls us to Spend Less on things that don’t point people to Jesus and Give More to the things that do. It’s not that those other things are bad, but if we only have so much time and money, where can we invest it…

Simple Blessing

Have you ever been overwhelmed with someone’s response to your act of service? I had this experience several times. The specifics are different each time, but the core part of the story is the same: I help by doing something relatively minor, they respond as if I’d just done the most difficult thing in the world. It’s jarring to me because I don’t see what I did as particularly significant or noteworthy. In fact, I often will play it down…

An Upside-Down Christmas Party

Each year, our youth used to get together for an annual Christmas party. There would be games and activities, food, and of course: a gift exchange using the “white elephant” format where you can either pick presents from the middle or steal someone else’s gift. The exchange was always a lot of fun, but the gifts slowly devolved into gift cards and snack products. It’s hard to give good gifts when you don’t know who will end up with the…

Worship Preview: Give More – Simple Blessing

We continue our Advent Conspiracy this week with Give More – Simple Blessing. When you give of yourself to others, you become a blessing to them. Changing how we celebrate Christmas starts with simple acts of blessing, as we Give More of our selves this year. We also get to hear our Preschool kids sing during the Contemporary service. (Worship Schedule, Series Page) Readings (Click to read or listen) Old Testament: 1 Kings 17:7–16 New Testament: Acts 10:1–4 Gospel: Mark 6:33–44…
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