Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sermon for Christmas Day: Luke 2:1-20

Good News is for Sharing

There’s been a lot of good news flying around St. Margaret’s in the last few weeks, in the form of birth announcements. Since November three families in our congregation have been blessed with the arrival of new babies, and I’ve been amazed each time at how fast the news has travelled. Of course, in these days of Facebook and Twitter it’s even easier to share that sort of news; put up a status update and a photograph of the new baby and immediately you get a hundred messages of congratulation! But whether modern technology is used or not, I’m still fascinated by our instinctive urge to share good news. No one tells us that we should do it; we just hear a story of gladness and joy and we feel somehow compelled to pass it on. Good news is for sharing!

In our Christmas gospel reading for this morning we read about the passing on of good news. First of all we have the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds on a hillside near Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. This is what he says:
“Do not be afraid, for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger” (vv.10-12).
After this a great choir of angels appears to the shepherds, singing the praises of God.

What’s the next thing that happened? Luke tells us that when the angels had left them, ‘the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us”’ (v.15). So they left their flocks to look after themselves, and they went down into Bethlehem to search for the child.

I must admit that I chuckle a bit when I think of how they might have gone about their search. Did they knock on every door in town and ask, “Excuse me – is there a new baby in this house? Er – is he lying in a manger?” I expect they got a few strange looks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few doors were slammed in their faces! But eventually, by whatever means, they found the right house; they found the baby and Mary and Joseph, and they told everyone they met what the angels said to them about this new child. The good news had been given to them, and now they were passing it on to other people. Good news is for sharing!

What was it about the message they had heard that would have motivated the shepherds to abandon their flocks and run down to Bethlehem to see this child? It certainly wasn’t just the fact that a baby was born. I mean, I’m sure the new parents in our congregation were very excited at the arrival of their newborn babies, but they wouldn’t expect total strangers to abandon their work schedules just to come to the hospital to see for themselves how their particular baby is of course the most beautiful child ever born!

No, it was what was said about the child that motivated the shepherds to go and see for themselves. The angel said, ‘To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord’ (v.11). The word ‘Messiah’ today tends to have an exclusively religious meaning, but that wasn’t the meaning in those days. The Messiah was a deliverer, a king who God was going to send to rescue his people from oppression and violence and restore them to prosperity and peace. And when the Israelites looked back in their history, the model they used for the Messiah wasn’t a preacher like Jesus; it was a famous king, their first great king actually, David. He himself had been a shepherd boy in this very town of Bethlehem, but God had chosen him and had led him by a long and tortuous journey until he became the king of Israel and delivered his people from the threat of the powerful Philistines.

So when the angel told the shepherds that the Messiah had been born, their excitement wasn’t just to do with what we might call today ‘religious’ feelings. They believed that God was about to cause a great change in their circumstances; God was sending them the King who would deliver his people from their enemies and usher in prosperity and peace for everyone. No doubt the shepherds could imagine this having a direct impact on their own lives – hence their excitement.

Of course, we know today that Jesus confounded some of those expectations. He chose not to be a political and military ruler, because he knew that political and military solutions to human problems may work in the short term, but in the long term they don’t address our human addiction to sin and evil. And so when he grew up he chose instead the path of gathering together a group of followers and teaching them the way of life of the kingdom of God – a way based not on violence and greed, but on love for God and for your neighbour and even for your enemy. He embodied this way himself when he went to the cross, and God vindicated him by raising him from the dead. He then sent his followers out to share the good news of God’s power and love with the whole world, and they went out boldly and fearlessly to tell everyone that God has made this Jesus the true Lord and Messiah. Once again, good news was for sharing! And they did it to tremendous effect; although they had no organisation and no access to mass media, the community of followers of Jesus spread like wildfire around the Mediterranean world and beyond. And two thousand years later, here we are this morning, still celebrating the good news that the angel brought ‘for all the people’.

Note those words, ‘for all the people’ (v.10). To put it bluntly, the shepherds weren’t normally the recipients of royal birth announcements! They were ordinary working class people, making a living by the strength of their hands and the sweat of their brows. Their work forced them to break the Sabbath, and so they were often looked down on by the religious people of the day, and we can be certain that the political rulers didn’t give them a second thought. Would they have expected to get an invitation to the birth of the next royal prince of the house of David, who would grow up to be God’s anointed king? I suspect not.

But they did get that announcement, and they were invited to the birth of the new prince. And this is just one example of the way Jesus reached out to the marginalized and to outsiders and to the people who no one else cared about. When he became an adult Jesus was constantly being criticized for partying with the wrong people; instead of spending time with the righteous, he went around with tax collectors and prostitutes and other lawbreakers, and he invited them to come into God’s kingdom and learn the new way of life he was teaching. Good news is for sharing – but it’s for sharing with everyone, not just the select few who have the inside track.

And so the shepherds were excited to be invited to this event, and they willingly left their sheep and came down to celebrate the birth of God’s anointed King. And this morning you are like them. When I was a little boy growing up in England, Christmas Day services were very popular, but I’ve discovered that this is not the case in Canada in the twenty-first century! Most people, even Christians, do not include a Christmas Day service in their Christmas celebrations. And I’m sure you had lots of other options for spending this hour on Christmas morning – options involving coffee, and Christmas cake, and wrapping paper, and gathering arund the tree and so on. But you’ve left all that behind – you’ve ‘left your flocks to look after themselves on the hills’, as it were – and you’ve come down to join in the celebration.

Why have you done that? I suspect it’s because you love Jesus. You try to live with him at the centre of your life; you do your best to walk with him, listening to his word and trying to put it into practice. And the decision to be here this morning is a conscious choice to put him right at the centre of your life, even of your Christmas Day celebrations.

So here we are on Christmas morning, gathered at the manger (metaphorically speaking), and what do we find? Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, we find ‘a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord’ (v.10). The baby in the manger who looks so ordinary turns out to be extraordinary; he’s the one whom God has sent to change the world by the power of love. When we welcome him into our lives, he gives us the power to be what we can’t be by ourselves; he give us the power to change, and to live the life that God dreamed for us when he first created us. We receive that good news ourselves, and we experience its reality, and we in our turn pass it on to others, and they also are changed by it. And so the world is changed one heart at a time, and the kingdom of God comes nearer and nearer.

The invitation goes out to all of us, without exception. Some might find themselves thinking, “I’m not the sort of person God would be very interested in. I’m no one significant, and anyway I’ve done a few things I’m not all that proud of. I’m not really sure that God would welcome me if I turned up at his door; I’m sure he has more important people than me to worry about”. I’m sure that’s what the shepherds thought, but they discovered that the invitation is sent out to everyone. The good news is ‘for all the people’. It doesn’t say, ‘for all the people, except for you!’ It says, ‘for all the people’ without exception.

And so let us, who have been welcomed by Jesus into the presence of God, also in our turn welcome him - into our hearts and into our homes, into our places of work and recreation, into all that we do and say and think and feel. Let’s experience for ourselves the good news that he is our Saviour, and let’s not forget to pass it on. Good news is for sharing. I’ve passed it on to you this morning; now it’s your turn to pass it on to others. And may God bless you in the sharing of it. Amen.

Sermon for Christmas Eve 2011: Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-20

A Different Kind of King

In our Old Testament reading for tonight, from the book of Isaiah, we heard these words:
‘For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders’ (Isaiah 9:6).
Or, in the more familiar language of the King James Version,
‘and the government shall be upon his shoulders’.

When we hear these words, we ought to breathe a sigh of relief, because what we really need right now is someone with integrity who will shoulder the burden of government for us, someone who can carry our problems and find a solution. We’re tired of leaders who just aren’t up to the job. They’re faced with global terrorism, with a coming food crisis, with ongoing troubles in the global financial system, with the approaching crisis of climate change, and with so many other problems. Our leaders do the best they can, but in the long run, not much seems to change. The world is just as violent now as it was when I was born. The gap between rich and poor is getting wider. Emissions are going up, not down. And of course, everyone loves to blame the politicians for it, when the truth is that we’re all implicated, in one way or another. The burden is too much for these people to bear. Quite frankly, they’re not up to the task. No one is.

And so it comes as a great relief for us to know that God has a plan. God has sent us a leader who will be up to the task. After all, look at the names given to him in verse 6 of our reading from Isaiah:
‘…and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.

It sounds as if God himself is about to stride onto the stage of human history and take charge; surely he should be up to the task! And what will be the result of his rule? Look a little further on:
‘His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and righteousness
from this time forward and for evermore’ (v.7).

It sounds like God is finally going to sort things out!

But when we turn to the gospels, we get a surprise. It’s a surprise that had been hinted at in some of the Old Testament prophets, but it’s fair to say that most people hadn’t noticed it there. It looks very much like a change of plan on God’s part, although when we look at the whole story, we can see that it’s very much in line with God’s original purposes. And the surprise is this: God sends a king, but the king refuses to rule – at least, in the way that kings and politicians usually rule.

In our gospel reading for tonight we come face to face with two different kinds of power. In the first few verses we read about the power of big government:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David (Luke 2:1-4).

This is power! The divine Augustus sits on his throne in Rome, gives an order, and the whole empire starts to move. People’s lives are impacted, trade is disrupted, while all over the world officials start to register people – all so that Rome can be more efficient in the collection of taxes, of course! But just imagine the power that can cause this to happen! If you want to make an impact on the world, this is the sort of power that you need.

In those days the Roman emperor was the most powerful ruler the world had ever known. Like many absolute rulers, he claimed some pretty amazing titles for himself. Two of those titles were ‘Saviour’ and ‘Lord’. And yet, later on in our gospel reading, these same titles are taken by an angel and applied to the adopted son of a Galilean carpenter – one who had been caught up in Augustus’ registration and forced to take a journey far from home at the worst possible time in his wife’s pregnancy:
‘To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord’ (v.11).

This must have seemed a very strange thing to the early Christian converts who first heard Luke’s story of Christmas – that the angel would take the titles of great Caesar, and apply them to this powerless and defenceless man from Galilee. Evidently God’s idea of power is very different from ours.

So on the one hand we have the enormous power of Rome – and of governments since then, whether totalitarian or democratic. On the other hand, we have a child who was born far from home, who very quickly had to flee from his own country as a refugee from Herod’s death squads, and who was raised as the son of a carpenter in Galilee. He spent most of his life in obscurity before striding onto the stage for a brief three years of teaching and healing and exorcising, before Rome decided it was time to put him in his place by nailing him to a cross. Isaiah may have said that ‘authority rests upon his shoulders’, but the only sort of authority that ever rested on Jesus’ shoulders was the authority of Rome, symbolized by that cross they made him carry to his place of execution.

But things aren’t always as they seem. The Roman empire is long gone, but strangely enough, the movement Jesus started is still here. In the earliest days it had no power to compel people to follow it; it had no budget, no strategic plan, no access to Twitter or Facebook or anything of the kind – but in a couple of hundred years it transformed the Mediterranean world, and it’s still going strong today. At times it has been seduced by the love of power, but those times have always been looked back on as failures. The times when the Jesus movement has been most effective in transforming the world have been the times when it has looked most like its Master – the one who worked by the power of love, not the love of power -  the one who allowed himself to be crucified rather than destroying his enemies and imposing his will on others.

So Luke’s story introduces us to a different empire, a different emperor, a different kind of emperor. Jesus isn’t simply another politician on whom everyone can pin their hopes, but who will then let them down.  His way of establishing peace and justice on earth was totally different from the usual games about power and money. Today we’re hungry for just that difference, and Christmas is a good time to think about it.

How do you change the world? Not from the top down, says Luke – not by seizing control of the government and imposing your will on others. Even when that’s done with the best of motives, in the end it just seems to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths, and the results are usually disappointing.

No, you change the world from the bottom up – by transforming people’s lives, by giving them a vision of life as God intended it, and by giving them the power to live that life. You change the world through the lives of ordinary people like the shepherds of Bethlehem, and like the family of a Galilean construction worker, who meet God and are forever changed by the meeting. You don’t change the world by having the sort of authority that makes people bow before you and serve you as slaves – washing your feet when you come in from walking on the dirty roads. No, you change the world by being the one who does the footwashing, the one who serves other people in love. As you know, in the mind of Jesus there’s no contradiction between absolute authority and humble service: ‘So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you’ (John 13:14-15).

This is the slow and messy way of changing the world, because on the surface it looks weak and inefficient compared to the usual power-grab. But centuries of experience should have taught us by now that the usual power grab may look effective, but it’s really not. As one of my Bible teachers used to say, ‘a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still’. Forcing people to do something, when their hearts and lives are not really changed, will not accomplish much in the long run. It may succeed in restraining evil for a while, but it can’t establish goodness. For that, you need inner transformation.

And so God doesn’t force himself on people – he simply knocks, and waits for them to respond. As the well-known verse from Revelation has it, ‘Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me’ (3:20). There’s a risk in operating this way, of course – the risk that there will be ‘no room at the inn’ – that we will refuse to find room in our lives for God and for God’s way of transforming the world. Apparently God thinks the risk is worth taking.

So tonight, as we remember the birth of our King, let’s embrace his way of being king, his way of changing the world – the way of seemingly small actions in the lives of ordinary people, acting, as Jesus said, like yeast gradually working its way through the whole lump of flour, or like a tiny seed being planted in the ground and gradually growing into the largest of plants. Our acts of love, in obedience to Jesus, are the most potent force to change the world. So let’s leave this place tonight as followers of Jesus, doing those acts of love in the name of Jesus and by the power of Jesus, and let’s trust the results to him.

Friday, December 23, 2011

January 2012

January 1, 2012 Epiphany

Coffee between services (& after for the Baptism)

Greeter/Sidespeople: The Popps/ (L. Popp/ T. Cromarty @ Communion)

Counter: B Popp/ T. Cromarty

Reader: S. Watson

Readings:(Isaiah 60: 1-6, Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14,Ephesians 3: 1-12)

Lay Administrants: D. MacNeill/ B. Popp

Intercessor: T. Chesterton

Lay Reader: D. MacNeill (Matthew 2: 1-12)

Altar Guild (White): M. Woytkiw/K. Hughes

Prayer Team: L. Sanderson/ M. Chesterton

Sunday School (School Age): M. Cromarty

Sunday School (Preschool): M. Eriksen

Kitchen: B & M. Woytkiw

Music: W. Pyra

January 8th, 2012 The Baptism of the Lord

Greeter/Sidespeople: The Aasens

Counter: C. Aasen/ D. Sanderson

Reader: G. Hughes

(Readings: Genesis1: 1-5, Psalm 29, Acts 19: 1-7)

Lay Administrants: M. Rys/ D. MacNeill

Intercessor: C. Aasen

Lay Reader: B. Popp (Mark 1: 4-11)

Altar Guild (White): M. Lobreau/L. Schindel

Prayer Team: S. Jayakaran/ K. Hughes

Sunday School (School Age): C. Ripley

Sunday School (Preschool): M. Horn

Kitchen: D. Molloy

Music: (M. Chesterton)

January 15th ,2012 2nd Sunday after Epiphany

Greeter/Sidespeople: A. Shutt/B. Cavey

Counter: B. Cavey/ B. Popp

Reader: C. Aasen 1Corinthians 6:12-20

(Readings: 1Samuel 3:1-10,(11-20), Psalm 139:1-5,12-17, 1Corinthians6: 12-20)

Lay Administrants: D. Schindel/C. Aasen

Intercessor: M. Rys

Lay Reader: D. MacNeill (John 1: 43-51)

Altar Guild (Green) J. Mill/

Prayer Team: M. Rys/L. Sanderson

Sunday School (School Age): M. Aasen

Sunday School (Preschool): M. Horn

Kitchen: The Popps

Music: M. Eriksen

January 22, 2012 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

Greeter/Sidespeople: The Hughes (K. Hughes/T. Cromarty @ Communion)

Counter: G. Hughes/ V. Haase

Reader: T. Cromarty

(Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62: 6-14, 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31)

Lay Administrants: V.Haase/G. Hughes

Intercessor: D. MacNeill

Lay Reader: B Popp (Mark1: 14-20)

Altar Guild (Green) M. Woytkiw/ L. Pyra

Prayer Team: M. Chesterton/S. Jayakaran

Sunday School (School Age): J. MacDonald

Sunday School (Preschool): M. Eriksen

Kitchen: B. Cavey

Music: (TBA)

January 29th, 2012 4th Sunday after Epiphany.

Greeter/Sidespeople: The Schindels

Counter: D. Schindel/ D. MacNeill

Reader: R. Goss

(Readings: Deut. 18: 15-20, Psalm 111, 1Cointhians 8: 1-13)

Intercessor: T. Chesterton

Lay Reader: E. Gerber (Mark 1: 21-28)

Altar Guild (Green): M. Lobreau/MW

Sunday School (School Age): P. Rayment

Sunday School (Preschool): M. Eriksen

Kitchen: V & J Goodwin

Music: (TBA)

Dec. 26th - Jan. 1st, 2012

Dec. 26th, 2011 Office is closed.

Dec. 27th, 2011 Office is closed.

Dec. 28th, 2011 Office is closed.

January 1st, 2012 9:00 am Holy Communion

(9:45 am Combined Coffee )

10:30 am Holy Communion & Baptism

(Additional Coffee hour after the service)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas services

Services for Christmas at St. Margaret's Church

Saturday December 24th (Christmas Eve):

7:00 p.m. Family Holy Communion service
with children's time

11:00 p.m. Candlelight Holy Communion service

Sunday December 25th (Christmas Day):

10.00 a.m. Holy Communion service

Have a blessed Christmas, and we hope to have you join us for worship as we celebrate the coming of Jesus!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sermon for December 18th: Luke 1:26-38

Some of you will know a famous painting by Holman Hunt entitled ‘The Light of the World’. In it Jesus stands beside an overgrown wooden door in a high brick wall; he is wearing a crown of thorns on his head and in his left hand is a shining lantern. His right hand is raised, knocking at the door which is thoroughly overgrown with ivy and weeds, and there is no handle on the outside of the door; it can only be opened from the inside. It is the door of the human heart. This painting is based on a verse from the book of Revelation where Jesus says, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me” (Rev. 3:20).

On the face of it, when you think of who Jesus is, it seems such a strange idea! Why would the Son of God stand waiting at the door of my life while I decide whether or not I’m going to open it for him? Surely, if he’s God, all he needs to do is send in the heavenly SWAT team, break down the door and take possession of me! But the God who Jesus told us about in the New Testament does not force himself on anyone. God does not violate us. God wants our free and willing love, and so he always asks for our consent. Even when the salvation of the whole world is hanging on whether a person agrees or not, God still asks for her consent. I’m talking, of course, about Mary, whose story we read in Luke 1:26-38.

Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel came to Mary with the announcement of an incredible event; she was about to conceive a child in her womb who would be called the Son of the Most High, and he would receive the throne of Israel’s ancient king, David – in other words, he would be the long-awaited Messiah who would set God’s people free.

This would be a very special child! The word ‘temple’ literally means ‘a house of God’ - a place where God lives. For nine months Mary was literally a human temple - the creator of the universe, in the person of his own Son, came to live in her womb! But the Christian gospel tells us that what God did in Mary in a physical way, he wants to do in all of us in a spiritual way. God wants to come and live in us, in the very centre of our being, what the Bible calls symbolically our ‘heart’.

Why does he want to do this? Because by ourselves, without God’s help, we do not have the resources to live our lives to the full. A Christian doctor once gave a children’s talk in which he explained the difference Jesus makes in our lives. He took a surgical glove, held it up, flopped it around and asked if it could do any good as it was. Could it help heal anyone? Could it perform surgery? Could it remove a tumour? Of course not! But then he put his own hand in the glove and held it up again. What about now? Now, of course, with the doctor’s hand in it, the glove was a useful tool for healing the sick. And we are like that glove. Without God living in us there is an emptiness deep inside us, and no matter how hard we try we can’t make much impression on the evil in the world or in our own lives. But what if Christ the Son of God comes to live in us and makes us his human temple? Surely then there is hope!

But let’s remind ourselves that God waits for our permission to do this. At the end of the reading about Mary and the angel we read her response to God; she says “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). It almost seems as if the angel could not leave her before she had given her assent to what God wanted to do in her. And that is the truth. God would not do this thing without Mary’s consent, because the fact is that she was going to be exposed to considerable risk and danger because of what God was about to do.

Think of her situation; an unmarried girl, engaged to Joseph, suddenly becomes pregnant. The Old Testament law was strict in such cases: she was to be taken to the edge of town and stoned to death. It was true that the law was rarely applied, but it was still on the books, and if Joseph and the local magistrates took it into their heads to apply it she would be helpless to stop them. But even if the law was not strictly applied, her reputation as a good and devout woman would be gone forever. And perhaps worst of all, what would Joseph think? Would he believe her when she told him “I’m pregnant, but God did it?” Would he still want to marry her?

The truth was that Mary had a great deal to lose in this situation. Here she was, probably not more than 14 or 15, a young Jewish girl on the brink of her dream - marriage to a respectable man, family and all that. And then God came along, and in one moment his plan for her swept her own plans and dreams away. We might be forgiven, had we been in her situation, if we had felt like saying to God “Can’t you leave me alone and find someone else?”

A young Christian told the story of the days when he was still an atheist but was beginning to believe that the Christian message might be true. He saw that if it was true he was going to have to make some changes in his life, changes that he didn’t want to make. Above all else he wanted to be in charge of his own life; he didn’t want anyone else interfering with it. “I just wanted to be left alone”, he said. His name was C.S. Lewis. Maybe we’ve all felt like this. ‘Don’t meddle, God. My life might be a mess but at least it’s my mess; don’t interfere’.

The truth is that welcoming Jesus into our lives day by day is going to have a drastic effect on us. I know that in my life Jesus sees many things that are wrong, things that are spoiling God’s good plan for me and for the other people in my life, and because he loves me, he wants to do something about those things! He sees selfishness and lack of love and a host of other things, which he knows are hurting me and hurting others in my life. He wants to save me from these things. Also, choosing to follow him is going to lead me to some uncomfortable choices. It’s going to mean owning up to being a Christian when I’d much rather keep my head down and avoid the stereotypes and the ridicule. It’s going to mean doing the honest thing when dishonesty would be a lot more profitable. It’s going to mean denying myself when I’d much rather indulge myself. It’s going to mean putting myself out to love others when I’d much rather stay home and amuse myself.

Knowing the difference it’s going to make, why would anyone say ‘yes’ to God’s invitation? Well, what gave Mary the courage to say ‘yes’ to God’s plan for her? I think it was her faith that God loved her, and that his plan for her was a good plan, even though it might be a difficult one. And we, too, have to come to the place where we trust God. He loves us so much that he gave his life for us! When we begin to believe that, then like Mary we can come to him and say “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word”.

This reading tells us of a God who loves us and has compassion for us when he sees the mess we are making of our lives without him. It tells us of a God who wants to come and live in the depths of our being in the person of his Son Jesus Christ, to give us the power to live a new kind of life. And it tells us of a God who respects the freedom of choice he has given to us as human beings, a God who will not invade our lives, even for our own good, without our willing agreement.

The whole purpose of Christmas was so that people like you and me would make a free choice to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts and to ask him to drive out what is evil there and help us to do what is good. God longs for us to trust him enough to put ourselves entirely in his hands, as Mary did. He will not invade our lives unless we give him permission, even if he sees us destroying ourselves by refusing him permission. That’s the kind of God he is; the God who waits for us to say that one little word: ‘Yes’.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec 19 - 25, 2011

Dec. 19th, 2011 Office is closed.

Dec. 20th, 2011 11:15 am Holy Communion @ St. Joseph’s Hospital

December 24th, 2011 Christmas Eve

7:00 pm Holy Communion

11:00 pm Candlelight Service with Holy Communion

December 25th, 2011

10:00 am Holy Communion

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dec 5th - 12th

Dec. 5 th, 2011 Office is closed.

Dec. 8th, 2011

7:00 am Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies @ the Bogani CafĂ©

2:00 pm Women’s Bible Study @ M. Rys’ Home

3:00 - 7:30 pm Music Rental

December 11th, 2011 Advent 3

9:00 am Morning Worship

10:30 am Morning Worship, Wreath Liturgy & Sunday School