Archive for December

Worship in December

The season of Advent begins this year on November 27. Advent is a season of remembering God’s presence in the person of Jesus and preparing for Christ to come into our lives every day. In addition to our regular worship schedule there will be several special worship events to recall the events of salvation and prepare our hearts for Christ’s return.

Sunday, December 11 at 9:45 & 11:00: Youth Christmas Sunday – Jesus is Born. Youth from the SS Discipleship and Praise Island Sunday School programs will present the story of Jesus’ birth in readings and song.

Saturday, December 24 at 3:00, 5:00 & 7:00 – Service of Lessons and Carols. Join us for a traditional Christmas Eve worship service that includes readings from the prophets and gospels, beloved Christmas hymns, a candlelight version of Silent Night and Holy Communion.

Sunday, December 25 at 9:45 – Christmas Day Worship. Celebrate Christmas Day with a special worship centered around the newborn Christ. Add you voice to the choir of angels that sing throughout time to herald the presence of God among us. (Our regular Sunday morning worship schedule will not be observed on this special day.)

December 2010 Crosstalk & Calendar

A PDF version of the  December 2010 church newsletter Crosstalk and the monthly calendar of events is available for download.

December 2010 Crosstalk newsletter

December 2010 Calendar of Events

Worship in December

December 05 & 08, 2010
Justice on Earth as in Heaven

John the Baptist calls for repentance and renewal in preparation for the One who is  to come. This coming Messiah will fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah. This One will join heaven and earth, and bring about  a new living reality of righteousness and justice.

December 12 & 15, 2010
Restoration on Earth as in Heaven

From a prison cell, John the Baptist wonders if Jesus can really bring the restoration promised by the prophet Isaiah. In Jesus’ vision the Kingdom of heaven is among God’s people restoring all of creation. In the coming reign of Christ, everything is straightened out and made right.

December 19 & 22, 2010
Incarnation on Earth as in Heaven

According to Isaiah: “the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” God is with us. God is near to us. The Kingdom of heaven comes to earth in the One named Immanuel.  Because Christ comes to be among us, everything is changed.

December 24, 2010 Christmas Eve: 3:00, 5:00 & 7:00pm
The Service of Lessons and Carols will be the format for worship on Christmas Eve as we hear the prophecies and retell the story of Jesus’ birth from scripture and sing traditional Christmas Carols. A special candlelight rendition of Silent Night and Holy Communion will be observed at all three services.

December 26 & 29, 2010
Glory on Earth as in Heaven

God chose to reveal his glory in the newborn Savior, Jesus Christ first to common shepherds, who then share the good news  of Jesus’ birth with others. The glory of  God shines in the humble, serving nature of Christ.

Note: December 26 there will only be two worship times: 8:15 & 10:00. There will be a special Christmas Cookie Fellowship from 9:00-10:00. People are encouraged to bring Christmas cookies and other holiday baking to share.

Christmas Program Tryouts

Tryouts for 3rd – 5th grade students who wish to have an individual speaking part in the Christmas Program will be held this Wednesday and Thursday from 6 – 7 pm.  The program will be December 12th at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

Please contact Tammy or Jill if you would like to set up a time for your child to try out.  E-mail us at tammy@lcrmarion.org or jill@lcrmarion.org  A preview of the tryout reading will be e-mailed to you along with the tentative practice schedule if your child is interested. Thanks!

Daily Walk for Dec 28- Jan 3

Monday, December 28, 2009: Colossians 2
Read Colossians 1:3-6, 1:9-14, 2:2-3, and 2:6-7. Pause and pray that God’s word will take root in your heart and that the Spirit will build you up in faith, hope, and love, so that you will live a life pleasing to God in every way. Now read Colossians 2:1-10. Reflect on the wonder of Jesus (2:9). Paul’s words are rich and merit reflection. Consider Colossians 2:11-14 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 with Ezekiel 36:25-27, which embraces promises for Israel and for believers. Now read Colossians 2:16-23. Compare 2:2-3 and 9-10 with 2:17. How do these teachings about Jesus help us stand against the spiritual forces that might lead us astray? Pray with a grateful heart (2:7), rejoicing in Jesus.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009: Colossians 3
Read Colossians 3:1-4 with Hebrews 12:1-3 and 1 John 3:2-3. Pause and pray. Read Colossians 3:1-17. How does Paul define greed (3:5)? Do we see sin in others more easily than in ourselves? Read 3:5-14 again; confess your sin and pray that you will be clothed with the characteristics of Jesus (3:12-17). Now read Colossians 3:18 – 4:1. How do these directives for Christian households, which speak of selflessness, reflect the heart of Jesus (Philippians 2:6-8)? Side note: Though slavery was prevalent in biblical times, God continually sets captives and slaves free. God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt; God spoke to the issue of slavery (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; 23:15-16); and God frees us from the greatest enslavement: slavery to sin (John 8:34-36). Pray.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009: Colossians 4
Paul wrote Colossians while imprisoned, yet he doesn’t ask the Colossians to pray for his freedom. For what does Paul ask them to pray (4:2-6)? In the context of 4:2-6, what does it mean to make the most of time and every opportunity? Paul’s passion is to share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Pause and pray that this will also be your desire. Read 4:7-18. What does Paul write about Epaphras (4:12)? For what does Epaphras pray? Let his prayer concerns guide your time of prayer fellowship with the Lord.

Thursday, December 31, 2009: Hebrews 1
Many believe that Hebrews was originally written to encourage Jewish Christians facing suffering and persecution. They must not turn back to the old covenant, but rather stand strong in their faith, fixing their eyes on Jesus (12:2). Begin by reading John 1:1-3, 1:14, and 1:18; Colossians 1:16, 1:19a and 2:9; and Hebrews 1:3 and 1:8. What glorious truths these are for meditation on the brink of a new year! Now read all of Hebrews 1. Bask in the wondrous glory of Jesus. Notice the promise and prophecy of 1:10-12. Thank God for the comfort of 1:14 (see also Psalm 91:11). Pray!

Friday, January 1, 2010: Hebrews 2
Yesterday we read about the glorious identity of Jesus, who came to die to pay the penalty for our sin, that we might live in God’s presence forever. Today’s text begins with a warning. What is it (Hebrews 2:1)? How, or through whom, did God testify about salvation (2:2-4)? Read Hebrews 2:5-9. Some versions translate the pronouns in 2:7-8 as “them/their;” some as “him/his.” Read 2:10-18. Ponder 2:9, 2:14-15 and 2:17 with Romans 5:12, 5:15-19, and 2 Corinthians 5:21. With a thankful heart, tell Jesus of your love for him. Spend time in worship and praise.

Saturday, January 2, 2010: Hebrews 3
Read Hebrews 3:1 and 12:1-2a. Pray you will fix your thoughts and eyes on Jesus. Read Hebrews 3:1-6. The writer of Hebrews explains (and will continue to explain) that Jesus is greater than Moses (the New Covenant, sealed with Jesus’ blood, is greater than the Old, sealed with the blood of animal sacrifices). “Christianity grew out of Judaism just as the flower grows out of the root. Hidden away in the ritual of the root was the color, the fragrance, and the beauty of the flower of grace.” (Real Faith, C.S. Price). Hold this image as we continue to read through Hebrews. Read Jeremiah 31:31-33, Matthew 5:17-18, 26:26-29, and 1 Corinthians 11:25. Hebrews 3:7-19 warns about the danger of hard hearts. Read 3:7-19, and pray your heart will stay tender and true.

Sunday, January 3, 2010: Psalm 146
Read Psalm 146:1-2 aloud. Consider that God is worthy of all honor and praise. Ponder Psalm 22:3 (NKJV): “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel (your people),” and Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Notice the transition from thanksgiving to praise as the worshiper nears the presence of the Lord. Now read all of Psalm 146. In whom alone should we trust and put our hope? What does it mean for you to know that God is faithful forever (146:6b)? Spend time in worship and praise.

Daily Walk for Dec 21-27

Monday, December 21, 2009: Luke 1:1-25
During this blessed week, we must take care not to worship Christmas, but to worship Jesus, God incarnate, who came that we might know and be reconciled to God through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. When you look in the manger, remember the cross. Read 1 Peter 1:18-20. Pause and pray. Now read Luke 1:1-25. Luke is precise and shares many details about the miraculous coming of the one who will herald the Messiah. What does he reveal about John the Baptist, even before John’s conception? Did you notice that John was to be filled with the Spirit even before his birth, and that he would be a Nazarite (Luke 1:14-15; Numbers 6:1-8)? Spend time in prayer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009: Luke 1:26-56
If possible, read the lyrics or listen to the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Greene and Lowry. Now read Luke 1:26-56. Meditate on Isaiah 40:8; 55:11; Luke 1:37; and 2 Corinthians 1:20. How do these truths affect your faith walk? Ponder Mary’s response to the angel (Luke 1:38) and Elizabeth’s blessing for Mary (1:45). How did God confirm the angel’s message to Mary when she came into Elizabeth’s presence (1:41-45)? Notice that this happened before Mary shared her story. Read Mary’s song of praise again (1:45-55), and worship the Lord.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009: Luke 1:57-80
Read Luke 1:57-80. Reflect back on all of Luke 1, remembering Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth, and the moments of faith, doubt, fear, joy, proclamation, and praise. Did you notice the Spirit’s presence and activity (1:15c, 35, 41, 67, 80)? Think how Zechariah’s words of praise and prophecy (1:67-79) must have sounded to hearts hungry for a word from the Lord. With Zechariah’s words, 400 years of prophetic silence ended. Meditate on 1:77; do you equate salvation with the forgiveness of sin? Read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and pray.

Thursday, December 24, 2009: Luke 2:1-20
Ponder the Gift as you read Luke 2:11-12; John 3:16; and 2 Corinthians 9:15. Pause and pray that you will not focus on the wrappings of the Christmas season, but that you will have a heart and eyes only for the Gift, who is Jesus. Realizing that you are standing on holy ground, read Luke 2:1-20. Jesus was not born into wealth and power; he did not come as the mighty, conquering Messiah many expected. Why might God have chosen for his Son to be born in the most humble of dwellings, and his birth first announced to lowly shepherds? Spend time in silent wonder as you reflect on the magnitude of God’s love and the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Pray and praise.

Friday, December 25, 2009: Luke 2:21-52
In your heart or aloud, sing “Joy to the World.” Our Christmas text is Luke 2:21-52. Consider adding Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 1:1-20 to your Scripture reading today. Bask in the wonder and glory of the birth of our Savior. Spend time in prayer and praise. Now look again at Luke 2:21-52. What is the meaning of the name Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew)? See Matthew 1:21 and Luke 2:21. Imagine Simeon’s joy (Luke 2:25-35). Is Jesus your light and your glory (2:32)? Use “What Child is This?” by Allen and Dix, or your favorite Christmas song, as your hymn of praise.

Saturday, December 26, 2009: Colossians 1
Use the thoughts that guided Paul’s prayers for the Colossians (1:9-14) to guide your prayer as you begin your time with the Lord. Now read Colossians 1:1-14. For what does Paul commend the Colossians? Meditate on the deep truths of Colossians 1:15-20 (John 1:1-18 will add more insight). Does the realization that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:16) move you to worship? “First born of all creation” refers to Jesus’ preeminence, not birth order. Reflect on Jesus’ supremacy, his relationship to the church, and the importance of his death and resurrection. Read Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 with John 1:1 and 18. Now read Colossians 1:21-29. Meditate on 1:27 (also John 15:4-5). Dwell in Colossians 1 for as long as you are able. Pray.

Sunday, December 27, 2009: Psalm 65
Do we sometimes think our faith is all about us? Read Psalm 65, if possible, in several translations. On whom has David fixed his eyes? In the NKJV, 65:3 reads, “As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.” Ponder the greatness of God’s salvation plan as you read Genesis 22:8, John 1:29, and Revelation 5:9-10. Reflect again on the Gift of Christmas. Pray you will worship the Lord with your every breath.

CrossTalk December 2009

A .pdf version of our monthly newsletter, CrossTalk,  is available by clicking the link below. The newsletter will open in a new window.

December 2009 CrossTalk

Daily Walk for Dec 14-20

Monday, December 14, 2009: 1 John 3
It is as we experience the eternal, infinite, measureless love of God that we are able to reflect it selflessly to others. Read John 1:12- 13 and 1 John 3:1-3. Ponder what it means to be a child of God. Scripture tells us we are sinners (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). John tells us that, as God’s children, we still sin, but we cannot continue to intentionally wallow in sin (1 John 3:4-10). Consider that sin is the fruit of self-love and glorification. True love, which is rooted in truth, seeks to love, obey, and glorify God, and to love and bless others. Read the rest of 1 John. Read 1 John 3:16-18 again. Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord how you can live into this today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009: 1 John 4
What we believe about Jesus is of utmost importance! This Advent, embrace anew the mystery of the Incarnation: Jesus, fully God and fully human, came as God’s perfect, atoning sacrifice for our sin. Read 1 John 4:1-6. Satan is stronger than we are, but notice the assurance we have in 4:4. Read 4:7-21, noting that love is not simply an emotion; it is primarily action and choice. How does God demonstrate love for us (Romans 5:8)? Meditate on 1 John 4:8 and 4:16. Memorize 4:19, and pray that God’s love will be manifest in and through you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009: 1 John 5
Read 1 John 5:1-5. According to John, how do faith and obedience interface with each other? Read 5:6-12. Notice that the Spirit testifies, and the Spirit is truth (5:6). Do you only hope that you have eternal life, or do you have the “blessed assurance” of knowing? Prayerfully, and with gratitude, read 5:13-15. Now read Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:8-9. Even faith is a gift (Hebrews 12:2a). Ponder God’s great, glorious, and totally sufficient love. Read 1 John 5:16-21. Anything that preempts God in our lives is an idol. In 5:18, is John saying believers don’t sin (see 1:8-10)? We are not to dwell in sin/darkness (1:5-7). Pray, “Lord, in my life, ‘thy will be done.’”

Thursday, December 17, 2009: 2 John
John writes 2 John to the “chosen” woman and her children; this might refer to a specific woman and her family or to a church. Read the epistle and note the references to truth and love. Compare John 14:15, 14:21, 14:23 and 15:10-13 with 2 John 6. How do we demonstrate our love for God? In 2 John, John warns against deceivers. In 3 John, John speaks of hospitality; why here, in 2 John, does he warn against inviting a deceiver into one’s home (see Matthew 24:24; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:14)? Read John 1:14, 1 John 4:8-11 and 4:19. Ponder truth and love. Pray that your life will be characterized by truth and love, and that, in this, you will glorify God.

Friday, December 18, 2009: 3 JOHN
John’s third epistle is written to a believer named Gaius, whom John commends for his hospitality and his consistent faith walk. Read 3 John, noting what John has to say about Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius. What brings John joy (4)? How important is hospitality? What are John’s complaints about the church leader Demetrius? Do your words and actions make people want to know Jesus? Much of the letter is about encouraging and blessing those who are sharing the gospel with others. How will you be a blessing to those who share God’s truth? Spend time praying for your pastors, missionaries, and others who share Jesus.

Saturday, December 19, 2009: Jude
Jude, a variation of the name Judas, is thought by many to be a half-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55). In Jude’s epistle, he calls followers of Jesus to live godly lives, flee from temptation, persevere in the faith, witness to the truth, and pray. Jude begins his epistle by identifying himself as a servant/bondservant/slave of Jesus. Does this also describe you? Read Jude. What does it mean to “contend for the faith” (3)? Consider Jude’s warning about the perversion of grace and the danger of sin. Like Jude, we also live in a world where sin and apostasy are rampant. What does it mean to show mercy mixed with fear (23)? Read Jude 20-25 again, and pray.

Sunday, December 20, 2009: Psalm 77
Have you ever felt like God was not hearing your prayers and didn’t care about your circumstances? The writer of Psalm 77 understands. Read Psalm 77:1-9. Do you hear the Psalmist’s anguish? Now read 77:10-20. What changes beginning with 77:10? What was the focus in 77:1-9; what/who is at the center of 77:10-20? Notice how the Psalmist recalls the Lord’s greatness, holiness, power, faithfulness, and deliverance. In these, he finds hope. Recount how God has been faithful to you; express your gratitude. Read 2 Corinthians 1:20 and continue in prayer.

Victorian Carolers

The Victorian Carolers, a seasonal vocal group from Resurrection, has been singing their way through the community again this holiday season. December 3rd the group brought their cheer to Marion Christmas in the Park (singing in the foyer of the Marion Library for warmth). On Thursday, December 10, the group gathered to sing for the residents of Summit Pointe (pictured above).

The Carolers, who rehearse Sundays at noon, still have several community and church events scheduled.  On Sunday, December 13 they will be at the Marion HyVee  at noon and then will be singing before the Sunday School Christmas Programs in the Gathering Space at Resurrection (1:40 and 3:40). A final appearance is scheduled for the residents of Village Ridge on Sunday December 20th at 1:00pm.

Daily Walk for Dec 7-13

Monday, December 7, 2009: 1 Thessalonians 5
We have been speaking of Advent as a time to remember the Incarnation, anticipate Jesus’ return, and live to honor him. Remembering this, begin by reading Mark 13:26-27, 32-37 and Acts 1:7-11. The Thessalonian believers wonder about these things; Paul reminds them of truths they have previously been taught; and he exhorts them on how they should live each day with faith, hope, devotion to the Lord, and love for others. Read 1 Thessalonians 5. Ask the Lord to help you live faithfully and with love. Ponder 5:19 with Ephesians 4:30. What does this mean for you? And how can we give thanks in all circumstances (5:16-18)? Memorize 5:16-18. Pray.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009: 2 Thessalonians 1
Is your heart and life open to and aware of Jesus’ abiding presence (John 15) throughout the day? In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Paul wrote, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing.” Pray that you will live in this fullness. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians to correct wrong behavior that resulted from misconceptions about Jesus’ return. Yet Paul also commends the believers for their faith, love, and perseverance in the midst of persecution and trials. Read 2 Thessalonians 1. The words “the name of our Lord Jesus” (1:12) refer to more than a moniker. Jesus’ name embraces his nature, character, attributes, holiness, love, and submission to God’s will. Pray using 1:11-12.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009: 2 Thessalonians 2
The Thessalonians had been misled by a letter, supposedly from Paul. In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul corrects their misconceptions about the second coming of Jesus, assuring them that it is still future. He reminds them of events that will happen before Jesus’ return for his people. Read Chapter 2, not with trepidation, but with confidence, rejoicing in the faithfulness, power, and glory of our Redeemer (2:8). Ponder Paul’s words about the truth and the lie (2:9-12 with John 8:28-32, 44-47). Reread 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 and spend time in prayer.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 2 Thessalonians 3
Paul asks the Thessalonian believers to pray, and he warns them about idleness. Read 3:1-5 and let Paul’s words in 3:5 guide your prayer right now. How is the Lord speaking to your heart in regard to sharing God’s love? In what way(s) do you need to embrace Christ’s perseverance/steadfastness? Read 3:6-18, noticing that Paul begins with a reference to the name of Jesus. Recall what this means. Consider Paul’s instructions about persevering in doing good and longing to restore those who are walking in disobedience. Pray.

Friday, December 11, 2009: 1 John 1

As the first epistle/letter of John begins, John testifies both to Jesus’ eternal and human natures. Begin by reading Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-18; and 1 John 1:1-4. Sit in prayerful wonder, stand amazed, or prostrate yourself as you realize anew that Jesus, whom John saw and touched, is eternal God, God incarnate! Ponder Jesus’ glorious, nail-pierced hands as you read John 20:27-29. Now read 1 John 1:5-10. John says he is sharing with us what he heard from Jesus (1:5a); read 1:5-10 again. Ask Jesus what he is saying to you, today, this moment. Worship and pray.

Saturday, December 12, 2009: 1 John 2
Read 1 John 1:5-2:2. The problem is sin! Who is the answer (1:7; 2:1-2), and how are we to respond (1:8-9)? Pray, asking the Lord to prepare your heart to encounter him in his word. Read 1 John 2:3- 11. Compare John’s words here with Jesus’ words in John 13:34-35; 14:15,21. What commands of Jesus is John reiterating? Now read the rest of 1 John 2. Are you encouraged through 2:12-14? Does the admonition in 2:15-17 challenge you? In 2:18ff, we are warned about denying Jesus. John refers to those who do so as antichrists, pre-figuring the one who will deceive many (2 Thessalonians 2). The anointing from the Holy One might well be a reference to the Spirit (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15). This Advent and always, pray that Jesus will be your joy and fulfillment.

Sunday, December 13, 2009: Psalm 85
In 1 John 1:1-2:2, we read that God is light and Jesus is God Incarnate. We read about the curse of sin and the cleansing from sin that is found in Jesus. As you read Psalm 85, look for some of the same messages. We live in a world that often winks at sin and refuses to bow to God’s sovereignty. But God, in love, continues to reach out to us. Read Psalm 85 again, looking for affirmations of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. Ponder God’s love made manifest in Jesus. With the eyes of your heart, see his glorious, nail-pierced hands. Worship the Lord.