God’s Word for Today: The coming of Christ into the world the first time created joy like none other. His reappearing will bring unimaginable joy to all who really know him and trust in him. The better we know God’s grace to us in forgiving all our sins and his concern for all our needs, the more we will seek to serve him and help others. Again, then, we will rejoice.
Bible Class Sunday Adults: Advent Bible Study Wednesday Men: Various Bible accounts, 6:30 pm Women: “Letters from John”, 6:30 pm. Saturday Men: "Sanctification: Alive in Christ“, the 2nd and 4th Saturdays 8:30–9:30 AM.
Remember in your Prayers: Prayer Chain: Please call 637-8673 or 637-2450 if you have a prayer request. Vickie Balza Edna Bartholomew Anna Gerome Jennie Johnson Rev. John Kenyon Roy Knittel Marsha McDowell Evelyn McNatt Leo Shurr Avis Spencer Jim Thomas Gladys Winkel Harriet Yeider
Cry Room: If your little one is having a hard time in worship, we encourage you to make use of our cry room located immediately to the left as you exit the sanctuary. It’s equipped with audio so you can still follow along with the service. Nursing mothers can use the pastor’s office. Tape-Recorded Services: Our service is recorded on audio cassette tapes. If you would like a copy please contact pastor or Don Holzhueter. Hearing Assistance: Hearing assistance devices are available. Please speak to an usher if you would like to use one.
Congregational Christmas Greeting: A large Christmas card has been placed in the narthex. The purpose of the card is to give our members an opportunity to send Christmas greetings to each other without having to send individual cards. It also gives us an opportunity to respond to the gift which our Heavenly Father gave to us by putting an offering in one or both of the pockets. Put your gift in an envelope and deposit it in the mission box of your choice--Christian Aid and Relief or Christian Life Resources --Pregnancy Counseling Center. Then be sure to sign your name to the card. THANK YOU!
Thrivent Gift: We acknowledge with gratitude a gift in the amount of $100 from our local Van Buren/Cass County Chapter of Thrivent for Lutherans. As in the past this money will be used to supply coffee, cups, napkins, etc. for the various events at our church and school throughout the year. Don Holzhueter Church Coordinator
2013 ENVELOPES: Your 2013 envelopes are on the table in the narthex. Please pick them up today. If you have any 2012 envelopes left at the end of the year, please discard them as your number may have changed for 2013. Also, I will be putting your individual contribution report in your mailbox on 12/26/12. If you have any more contributions before the end of the year, please add them to it. If you have any questions about your contributions, please contact Peggy Hansen.
Poinsettia plants: Anyone who is interested in ordering a poinsettia for use during our Christmas service can sign up on the sheet in the fellowship room or speak to Becky Landry. The MLHS Alumni Association is now accepting items and donations for their Silent Auction being held during the Winterfest 2013 weekend festivities on February 15th & 16th, 2013. Items or donations can be dropped off at MLHS during regular operating hours or with any alumni officer. When donating an item(s), please clearly mark your name and phone number on the donation(s). As new or unused items always sell better, the Alumni Association would ask that you respect our judgment on placing used donated items in the auction. (continue on next slide)
If you plan or would rather make a monetary donation, please make checks out to "MLHS Alumni Association". Checks can also be mailed to the MLHS address - 615 E. Marquette Woods Rd., St. Joseph, MI 49085. For list of Winterfest 2013 events you can contact the school office or go to the school website: www.michiganlutheran.orghttp://www.michiganlutheran.org/ Due to your generous donations and bids at last year's silent auction, we were able to contribute over $8,000 to the Tuition Assistance Program. THANK YOU for your continuous support. MLHS Alumni Association (Officers - Ken Kruck, Sue Kruck, Kim Partridge & Keith Hafer)
The Season of Advent There are three major themes to Advent: 1) the coming of Jesus into the flesh at Christmas, 2) the coming of our Lord in his Word, and 3) the coming of our Lord at the end of time. Advent is a time of repentance, but also a season of joy-filled anticipation. May our Lord richly bless you as you prepare to greet Jesus this Christmas!
Advent Wreath The Advent Wreath is a combination of two very common symbols: light and the fir tree. From the early centuries of Christianity it has been the practice to represent Christ by a burning candle. No doubt the Advent Wreath was suggested by the Christmas tree. It seems that the Advent Wreath originated a few hundred years ago among the Lutherans of eastern Germany. A wreath of evergreens, made in various sizes, was either suspended from the ceiling or placed on a table. Four candles representing the four Sundays of Advent were fastened to the wreath.
Advent Wreath (continued) Eventually the use of the Advent Wreath became wide spread and moved also from the home into the church. The general symbolism of the Advent Wreath lies in the growing light of the wreath, increasing each week as we approach the birthday of Jesus, the Light of the world.
December Ushers: Art Frank – Head Usher Jeff Landry Roger Stokes Mike Seroke Elder: Rich Miller Altar Committee: Susan Rogas and Linda Bollwahn
Upcoming Schedule: Dec. 16Worship 9:00 AM Bible Study 10:30 AM Dec. 18Church Council 6:00 PM Dec. 19Men’s/Women’s Bible Study 6:30 PM Dec. 22Men’s Bible Study 8:30 AM Dec. 23Worship with Communion 9:00 AM Bible Study 10:30 AM Dec. 24Christmas Eve Worship 7:00 PM
Church Cleaning Schedule Week of Dec. 17Hinz, Brett Week of Dec. 24Hinz, Charles & Linda Week of Dec. 31Hinz, Bill & Judy Week of Jan. 7Hollis, Chris & Amanda Week of Jan. 14Holzhueter, Don & Sue
Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers Hymn 7, Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers Verse 1 Rejoice, rejoice, believers, And let your lights appear; The evening is advancing, And darker night is near. The Bridegroom is arising And soon is drawing nigh. Up, pray and watch and wrestle; At midnight comes the cry. Verse 2 The watchers on the mountain Proclaim the Bridegroom near; Go forth, as he approaches, With alleluias clear. The marriage feast is waiting; The gates wide open stand. Arise, O heirs of glory; The Bridegroom is at hand.
Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers Hymn 7, Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers Verse 3 You saints who here in patience Your cross and suff'rings bore, Shall live and reign forever When sorrow is no more. Around the throne of glory The Lamb you shall behold; In triumph lay before him Your shining crowns of gold. Verse 4 Arise, Desire of nations; O Jesus, now appear, The Hope and Expectation Of ev'ry Christian here. With hearts and hands uplifted We plead, O Lord, to see The day of earth's redemption That sets your people free. Text and Tune: public domain. Setting: c 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship. Reprinted by permission of Augsburg Fortress.
STAND M:The grace of our Lord † Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you. C:And also with you.
C ONFESSION OF S INS M:We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy. C:Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.
M:God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will. C:Amen.
P RAYER AND P RAISE M:In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord. OH, TASTE AND SEE C:Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Bless – ed are they who take refuge in him. Your Word, O Lord, is e – ter – nal; it stands firm in the heav – ens. Your faith – ful – ness con – tin – ues for – ev – er. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Bless – ed are they who take ref – uge in him.
PRAYER OF THE DAY M: Let us pray. Hear our prayers, Lord Jesus Christ, and come with the good news of your mighty deliverance. Drive the darkness from our hearts and fill us with your light; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. C:A – men BE SEATED
Zephaniah 3:14–17 F IRST R EADING : Zephaniah 3:14–17 M: 14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The L ORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the L ORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The L ORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Refrain Refrain Re-mem-ber your mer-cy, O Lord; re-mem-ber your mer-cy and love. Out of the depths I cry to 'you, O Lord;* O Lord, 'hear my voice. Let your ears be at'tentive* to my cry for 'mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a rec'ord of sins,* O Lord, 'who could stand? But with you there is for'giveness;* therefore 'you are feared.
Refrain Refrain Re-mem-ber your mer-cy, O Lord; re-mem-ber your mer-cy and love. I wait for the Lord and in his Word I 'put my hope*. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the 'morning. O Israel, put your hope 'in the Lord,* for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full re'demption.
Refrain Refrain Re-mem-ber your mer-cy, O Lord; re-mem-ber your mer-cy and love. Refrain, Tune and setting: Michael Joncas. c 1986 GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago IL. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Psalm Tone *Tune and setting: c 1993 Kermit G. Moldenhauer. Used by permission. Glory be to the Father and 'to the Son* and to the Holy 'Spirit, as it was in the be'ginning,* is now, and will be forever. 'Amen.
Philippians 4:4–7 S ECOND R EADING : Philippians 4:4–7 M: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES These sentences may be spoken and the Advent candles lit in place of the Verse of the Day. ADVENT 3 L:We light three Advent candles remembering Jesus, the Light of the world. He came to defeat the prince of darkness. C:We remember Jesus, who came in answer to his people’s prayers. John proclaimed him the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. L:We hear his call to see the light. C:We light three Advent candles as a sign of our trust and confidence. L:Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. C:Through your Word and Spirit may our souls be blessed. Three Advent candles are lit.
Luke 3:7–18 G OSPEL R EADING : Luke 3:7–18 M: 7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Luke 3:7–18 (continued) G OSPEL R EADING : Luke 3:7–18 (continued) 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” 15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Luke 3:7–18 (continued) G OSPEL R EADING : Luke 3:7–18 (continued) 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. C:Praise be to you, O Christ! BE SEATED
Hymn Of the Day H YMN 11, Comfort, Comfort All My People
Comfort, Comfort All My People H YMN 11, Comfort, Comfort All My People Verse 1 "Comfort, comfort all my people; Speak of peace," so says our God. "Comfort those who sit in darkness, Groaning from their sorrows' load. Speak to all Jerusalem Of the peace that waits for them; Tell them that their sins I cover, That their warfare now is over."
Comfort, Comfort All My People H YMN 11, Comfort, Comfort All My People Verse 2 All their sins our God will pardon, Blotting out each dark misdeed; All that well deserve his anger He no more will see or heed. They have suffered many a day; Now their griefs have passed away. God will change their aching sadness Into ever-springing gladness.
That's the Spirit! Children’s Sermon Theme: Christmas is a time of sharing. Third Sunday of Advent That's the Spirit! Children’s Sermon Theme: Christmas is a time of sharing. Third Sunday of Advent Scripture: 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Lk 3:9–11)
Comfort, Comfort All My People H YMN 11, Comfort, Comfort All My People Verse 3 John the Baptist's voice is crying In the desert far and near, Calling people to repentance For the kingdom now is here. Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way; Let the valleys rise to meet him And the hills bow down to greet him.
Comfort, Comfort All My People H YMN 11, Comfort, Comfort All My People Verse 4 Straighten out the crooked highway; Make the rougher places plain. Let your hearts be true and humble, Ready for his holy reign. For the glory of the Lord Now o'er earth is spread abroad, And all flesh shall see the token That his word is never broken. Text, Tune, Setting: public domain.
29 Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. (Lk 2:29–32) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Mt 22:37) God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Nu 23:19) He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Ge 3:15) In your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (Ge 22:18)
There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (Lk 2:25) It had been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit that I would not see death before I had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Lk 2:26) 30 seen the Lord’s salvation 31 that he have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to his people Israel. (Lk 2:30–32) called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is 9:6) upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed (Is 53:5)
34 … to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. (Lk 2:34–35) A sword will pierce your own soul too. (Lk 2:35) I am the Resurrection and the Life. (Jn 11:25) To this vale of tears he comes, Here to serve in sadness, That with him in heaven’s fair homes We may reign in gladness. We are rich, for he was poor; Is not this a wonder? Therefore praise God evermore Here on earth and yonder. CW: 64.
30 the Lord’s salvation … 32 the light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to his people Israel. (Lk 2:30–32) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Lk 2:11) 30 My eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people. (Lk 2:30–31)
APOSTLES’ CREED A:I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus, Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. BE SEATED
Offering December 16, 2012 (The members of St. Paul Lutheran congregation have joined together to spread God’s message both in this community and around the world. If you are a visitor you are welcome to give an offering, but please do not feel obligated to participate. You are our guests and we thank you for giving us the opportunity to share God’s Word with you!)
STAND PRAYER OF THE CHURCH M:(read by minister) LORD’S PRAYER (p. 43) C:Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen. BE SEATED
O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Hymn 205, O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Verse 1 O Lord, look down from heav'n, behold, And let your pity waken. How few are we within your fold, Your saints by all forsaken; True faith seems quenched on ev'ry hand; Your Word is not allowed to stand. Dark times have us o'ertaken.
O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Hymn 205, O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Verse 2 O God, root out all heresy, And of false teachers rid us Who proudly say, "Now where is he Who shall our speech forbid us? By right or might we shall prevail; What we determine cannot fail; We want no lord and master!"
O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Hymn 205, O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Verse 3 Therefore said God, "I must arise - The poor my help are needing. To me ascend my people's cries, And I have heard their pleading. For them my saving Word shall fight And fearlessly and sharply smite, The poor with might defending."
O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Hymn 205, O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Verse 4 Defend your truth, O God, and stay This evil generation, And from the error of its way Keep your own congregation. The wicked ev'rywhere abound And would your little flock confound, But you are our salvation! Text and Tune: public domain. *Setting: c 1993 Bruce R. Backer. Used by permission.
STAND M:O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour our the Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. C:A – men.
M:Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look on you with favor and † give you peace. C:A – men. A – men. A – men. BE SEATED
O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are H YMN 27, O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are Verse 1 O Jesus, Lamb of God, you are My comfort and my guiding star; I come, a sinner, trustingly And bring my many sins with me. Verse 2 O Lord, my sin indeed is great; I groan beneath the dreadful weight. Be merciful to me, I pray; Take guilt and punishment away.
O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are H YMN 27, O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are Verse 3 Saint John the Baptist points to you And bids me cast my sin on you, For you have left your throne on high To suffer for the world and die. Verse 4 Help me to change my ways, O Lord, And gladly to obey your Word. While here I live, abide with me, Then take me home eternally. Text, Tune, Setting: public domain.