Sunday Morning, December 24, 2006

Daily Devotionals are being published on the Worship & Spiritual Growth Blog.

Important Note: There will be no Adult Forum or Sunday School Classes on December 24 or December 31. Classes will resume on January 7.

Morning Worship begins at 10:30 am
All are

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Surprising Joy!

Come sing carols and celebrate the good news!
Focus Scripture: Luke 1:39-55
Prayer for the Weekend as You Prepare for Worship: O God, we delight in your amazing and surprising ways. Open our hearts this Christmas season to sing with Elizabeth and Mary your song of justice and salvation to all the world.
Preaching: Greg Ledbetter; Worship Leader: Jennifer Davidson; Adult Choir: Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah and A Child of Peace.

God's work of salvation is full of surprises. God chooses young Mary to be the mother of Jesus. God chooses the elderly Elizabeth to bear a son, John. God chooses little Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah. The prophetic voices of Mary and Elizabeth invite us to rejoice in the surprising joy and justice of God's reign and to bear this news to the world.

Though it may seem surprising and, at times, hard to believe, God also chooses to act in our lives. We are called to sing along with Mary and Elizabeth -- to rejoice in God's Messiah and prophesy to the reign of justice and hope that Christ brings. God's Spirit fills us with power, that ordinary lives might bear God to the world. In what ways can we encourage each other as we proclaim the reign of God in word and deed?

Sunday Evening
Christmas Eve Service begins at
5:00 pm
A Time of Meditation and Music

All are welcome!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Daily Advent Devotionals are being posted on the Worship & Spiritual Growth Blog.

Adult Forum 9:30 a.m.
What Should We Do?
Opening Ourselves to the Challenge of Deeper Intimacy with God
Focus Scripture: Luke 3:7-18
Additional Scripture: Isaiah 12:2-6; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7
Preparing the way for God’s Messiah relies on openness to change. Intimate relationship with God moves us through questions into expectations, through repentance into actions of sharing. The good news does not consist of promises limited to a distant future. God is near. God rejoices over us. In love, God invites us all into renewed relationship.
Discussion Leader: Doug Davidson

Worship 10:30 a.m.
Third Sunday of Advent
Scriptures: Isaiah 12:2-6; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Luke 3:7-18
Prayer for the Weekend as You Prepare for Worship: What should we do, O God, to open our lives to you? What changes of mind do you have in mind? Break open to us the good news of your coming, that we may open wide the way for your grace and justice—and deeper relationship with you. In Jesus Christ, amen..
Preaching: Jennifer Davidson; Worship Leader: Doug Brown; Sacred Dance: The Ramblers with Angela Yarber; Adult Choir: Calypso Christmas; Logos Kids: Donne Moi Le Main

Words for Meditation

What good is it to me
if this eternal birth of the divine Son
takes place unceasingly
but does not take place
within myself?

what good is it to me
if Mary is full of grace
and if I am not also full of grace?
What good is it to me
for the Creator to give birth to his/her Son
if I do not also give birth to him
in my time
and my culture?
This, then,
is the fullness of time:
When the Son of God
is begotten

in us.

This is the fullness of time –
when the Son of God is begotten in you.

–from Meditations with Meister Eckhart

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Daily Advent Devotionals are being posted on the Worship & Spiritual Growth Blog.

Coffee Time begins @ 9:15 a.m.
Adult Forum & Sunday School begin @ 9:30 a.m.
Worship begins @ 10:30 a.m.
All are welcome!

Adult Forum
And You, Child

Focus Scripture
: Luke 1:69-79
Additional Scripture: Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6.
Zechariah blesses his newly born child. The blessings cascade into promises of hope for the people and a call to ministry for John. The role cast upon John recalls the prophecy of Malachi and anticipates God’s reign. The immanence and hope of God’s reign must be announced. The way of God’s Messiah must be prepared. What do you hear Zechariah’s song affirming about life, self, vocation, and God: as they relate to John; as they relate to you? In what ways do we strike a faithful balance between relying on God to bring the ‘not yet’ of God’s reign, and our bearing witness to God’s reign already among us?
Discussion Leader: Doug Davidson

Advent Choir Sunday—Come, Celebrate the Good News in Song!
Scriptures: Malachi 3:1-4 and Luke 1:68-79
Prayer for the Weekend as You Prepare for Worship: Blessed are you, O God, for the gifts of children and future—and for the time you entrust into our hands to be stewards of these gifts. May we speak well, in word and deed, the grace of our saving, and thus prepare others to carry that word forward.
Preaching: Greg Ledbetter; Worship Leader: Angela Yarber; Good News of God-With-Us: Mary Hogan

Words for Meditation

Now, it is the nature of a word
to reveal what is hidden.

The Word that is hidden

still sparkles in the darkness

and whispers in the silence.

It entices us to pursue it,
to yearn
and sigh after it.
For it wishes to reveal to me
something about God.

–from Meditations with Meister Eckhart

The key for understanding incarnation
is to think small.
How ironic,
in a culture that prides itself
on thinking
big, bold, and brash
—especially at this time of year—

we have to retrain ourselves
to look for the God

in the small and unexpected.

Craig Kocher, preacher at Duke University Chapel.

Sunday, December 6, 2006

Coffee Time begins @ 9:15 a.m.
Adult Forum & Sunday School begins @ 9:30 a.m.

Worship begins @ 10:30 a.m.

All are welcome!

Adult Forum Kairos Prison Ministry
We are privileged to welcome Darrell Wise from Kairos Prison Ministry as our special guest this Sunday. The purpose of Kairos is to establish strong Christian communities among the population of correctional institutions. Through a systematic, structured program, the residents of correctional institutions are given the opportunity to experience a religious renewal and to accept God’s call to a life of Christian witness and service to one another during their stay in the institution and beyond.This is done by small prayer and share groups of the residents through the example of their transformation, their silent witness and their Christian love. Come find out more about this amazing program. Discussion Leader: Darrell Wise

First Sunday of Advent

The Days are Coming

Scripture Readings
: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36
Prayer for the Weekend as You Prepare for Worship: God, help us to trust our way into your future. Let these coming days transform our practice of discipleship now. And may we find in you the hope that sustains, the vision that renews, the Spirit who empowers. Amen.
Preaching: Greg Ledbetter; Worship Leader: Jennifer Davidson; Choir: Carols for Advent

Words for Meditation

The earth is at the same time mother.
She is mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
She is mother of all,
for contained in her are the seeds of all.
The earth of humankind contains all moistness,
all verdancy, all germinating power.
It is in so many ways fruitful.
All creation comes from it,
yet it forms not only
the basic raw material for humankind
but also the substance
of the incarnation of God’s Son.
--from Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen.

God wills all persons to be saved.
Pray for the whole world,
bid this very earth to become a heaven.
Pray especially to be freed from the evil of greediness.
Pray to recognize others who are in need—
for there is no such thing as “my” bread.
All bread is ours
and is given to me,
to others through me
and to me through others.
For not only bread
but all things necessary for sustenance in this life
are given on loan to us
with others
and because of others,
and for others
and to others through us.
–from Meditations with Meister Eckhart