Second Reading – Christmas Eve

nativity-scene-clip-art-7Nativity of the Lord – Proper II (December 24, 2014)

The Lord is king!
    Let the earth rejoice!
    Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
Dark clouds surround him.
    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire spreads ahead of him
    and burns up all his foes.
His lightning flashes out across the world.
    The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
    every nation sees his glory.
Those who worship idols are disgraced—
    all who brag about their worthless gods—
    for every god must bow to him.
Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced,
    and all the towns of Judah are glad
    because of your justice, O Lord!
For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.

10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He protects the lives of his godly people
    and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the godly,
    and joy on those whose hearts are right.
12 May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
    and praise his holy name!

Lessons and Carols Service | Christmas Eve 2014

2011-LS-PageBannerCall to Worship

Opening Songs

O Come All Ye Faithful

Here I Am to Worship

Once In David’s Royal City

Lighting of the Advent Candles

First Lesson: Genesis 1:1-2, 26-28

The Creation

Song: Glory In the Highest

Second Lesson: Genesis 3:8-15, 17-19

The Fall of Man

Carol: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Third Lesson: Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:14–16

A King is Promised

Carol: Joy to the World

Fourth Lesson: Isaiah 9:2-7

The prophet announces the birth of a king to a people in darkness

Carol: O Come O Come Emmanuel

Fifth Lesson: Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel announces to the virgin Mary that she will give birth to God’s promised son, whose kingdom will never end.

Carol: What Child is This?

Sixth Lesson: Luke 1:39-56

Mary’s Song

Song: Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)

Seventh Lesson: Luke 2:1-20

Jesus is born!

Carol: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Lighting of the Christ Candle

Carol: All Is Well

Eighth Lesson: Matthew 2:1-11

The wise men follow a star to find the child Jesus, the King of the Jews

Carol: Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

Ninth Lesson: John 1:1-14

John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation

Carol: Joy Has Dawned


Carol: Silent Night


Christmas Eve

Nativity of the Lord – Proper I (December 24, 2014)

Sing a new song to the Lord!
    Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
    Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
    Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
    He is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of other nations are mere idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens!
Honor and majesty surround him;
    strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
    recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
    Bring your offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
    Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
    The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
    He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
    Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he is coming!
    He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
    and the nations with his truth.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

Wow! What a day – and I mean that in a very good way.  It has been a long, but very rewarding day.  This morning our teen Sunday School class had breakfast.  It is a Sunday before Christmas tradition.  This was the first year that I helped.  I make Cheesy Sausage Scrambles and we also had Biscuits and Gravy and Pancakes.  It was quite the Sunday morning feast.  Following that – and I was surprised that I could even sing – we had a wonderful worship service this morning.  God is moving and God is working.  This evening we had our 2nd annual Christmas Dessert Theatre.  It was a wonderful time.  Everyone did so well.

Just so that you know, I will be taking some time off from the blog – meaning there will be no regularly scheduled posts (except for some Bible readings) for the next 10 days or so.  I may be sharing things as they come to mind, but my brain needs a rest, so we will see you sometime after the new year.

Speaking of taking a rest, I am also giving my body a rest and a chance to heal – see if I can get that ankle feeling better.  I’m planning on taking a two week rest and then get back to it after the new year as well.

We are looking forward to spending some time with family before the holidays and then we will be heading south to Hephzibah Ministries located in Macon, GA.  We are looking forward to ministering there.

I hope you have a great week, and if I don’t get back here – Merry Christmas!

Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List MainDecember 21, 2014
Fourth Sunday In Advent
Welcome and Announcements
Advent Candle Lighting

Songs of Worship
Lord I Lift Your Name On High
O Come All Ye Faithful
     Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)
Worship Through Prayer
Songs of Worship
 Angels We Have Heard on High
Joy Has Dawned
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment
   Christmas Offering

My Soul Magnifies the Lord

Marys-magnificatFourth Sunday of Advent (December 21, 2014)

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

This morning’s reading comes from what we know as the Magnifcat.  We also know it as Mary’s Song.

From Wikipedia:

The Magnificat (Latin for: [My soul] magnifies) —also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and in Byzantine tradition the Ode of the Theotokos; Greek: Ἡ ᾨδὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου—is a canticle frequently sung (or spoken) liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the first word of the Latin version of the canticle’s text.

The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55) where it is spoken by the Virgin Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with the future John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth’s womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings what is now known as the Magnificat in response.

Within Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers within Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) within Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Among Protestant groups, the Magnificat may also be sung during worship services.

I encourage you to read through this passage of scripture with fresh eyes – see what Mary really says.  It is quite amazing, especially if we think that this is a 16 year old girl.  Powerful stuff.

I’d like to share to videos with this post this morning.  The first is Todd Agnew’s version

The second comes from the songwriting team of Keith and Kristyn Getty

You’re Not Too Cool For Traditional, or Too Mature for Contemporary

Great thoughts from our friend Trent Smith today.
“I am so grateful to lead worship for a church community that embraces both classic hymnody and current worship music. True “blended worship” is not a constraint, but a liberty.

“I’m too cool for traditional music, but I’ll throw in a hymn to pacify you” is a selfish and condescending attitude that has no place in ministry.

“Current music is tainted and juvenile, but then–so are you” is an equally prideful and condescending attitude. Worship leaders: stop posturing and minister.

It grieves me that the evangelical church in America has so largely given up on multi-generational worship. We need to re-think our priorities.” – Trent Smith

Our Mastery of the Present…

“It’s all too easy to live life in the future or in the past. When this happens we relive the glories and missed opportunities of years gone by or we yearn for the better days ahead. In either case, we fail to experience life as it happens. There is nothing wrong with having fond memories of the past and aspirations for the future, but when they dominate your life focus, you miss the joy and richness of life as it unfolds. Anxiety and guilt keeps us from focusing on the present. When we doubt our ability to handle prospective challenges, our anxiety increases. We worry, fret, and stew over what might happen. And the more we focus on the future, the less available we are to the present. The guilt we experience about past events causes us to continue attending to them, and this preoccupation also shifts our focus away from the present. Hope for the future is built on faith in God. Our confidence in God is always based on past events. When faith is well established, we become convinced that He will guide us and help us through any future challenge. This assurance, built on faith, frees us from anxiety—and allows us to remain in the present. When we are no longer bound by the past and are liberated to live fully in the present, we will manage daily events and problems in a more thorough and thoughtful way, thereby creating less guilt. Our mastery of the present reduces our anxiety about the future.”

Neil Clark Warren