Rediscovering hope – This week at ELC

Ekklesia360_AdventGraphics_Rotator1_1600x900As we begin the Advent season which prepares us for Christmas, we are encouraged this day to rediscover the story of God’s great love for us.  Sometimes we are so consumed and overwhelmed by all the distractions and concerns of the world around us that we no longer hear that powerful word of grace and purpose that God speaks.

Worship this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. – Growing in Faith Together – a learning and sharing time for all generations!

10:30 a.m. – Contemporary worship

Devotions for this week:

Josiah discovers a new hope                 November 29, 2015

The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. (2 Kings 23:3)

King Josiah’s righteous rule was an unlikely exception, lodged amid a sequence of unfaithful kings ruling in Jerusalem and Judah. He managed to take this faithful road, somehow, without even having access to the book of the law. The day it was found must have been a mixed blessing: delight at rediscovering the holy, grief that so much had been set aside and forgotten. It was a blessed day when the people, led by their king, recommitted themselves to the Lord.

Read: Sunday, 2 Kings 22:1-10; 23:1-3, Josiah’s Reform

Monday, 2 Kings 22:11-13, Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law

Tuesday, 2 Kings 22:14-20, Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law

Wednesday, 2 Kings 23:4-14, Josiah’s Reformation

Thursday, 2 Kings 23:15-20, Josiah’s Reformation

Friday, 2 Kings 23:21-27, The Passover Celebrated

Saturday, 2 Kings 23:28-30, Josiah Dies in Battle

  • What did Josiah do to reconnect God with God’s people?
  • What Bible stories most closely reflect your community’s values? How do you live out those values?
  • Do you think you can make a difference in the world? Why or why not? How?

Do: Think of an activity that you or members of your household did as kids that you no longer do, but wish you would? Spend some time in intentional play every day this week.

Bless: May God entice you to play every day. Amen.

Old problems, new beginnings – This week at ELC

stupmThe prophet decries the unfaithfulness of the people, and tells them there are consequences for their actions.   Still God’s promise will be fulfilled in the one who is to come.

Worship this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. Sunday School and Adult Class

10:30 a.m. Contemporary worship

Devotions for this week:

November 22, 2015                                                     Isaiah’s Vineyard Song

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2)

The words of Isaiah recount an honest assessment of the state of God’s vineyard. All of the tools of the gardener have been brought to bear: watering and weeding, amending the soil, judicious pruning. As Isaiah speaks, it seems that these have been insufficient. This is not a pleasant planting: the vineyard is a wreck. God seems content to let it be overrun by chaos. But the promises are true. They will not fail. The day will come when true growth will begin once again.


Sunday, Isaiah 5:1-7; 11:1-5, Isaiah’s Vineyard Song

Monday, Isaiah 1:1-20, The Wickedness of Judah

Tuesday, Isaiah 2:1-4, The Future House of God

Wednesday, Isaiah 2:5-22, Judgment

Thursday, Isaiah 6:1-13, A Vision of God in the Temple

Friday, Isaiah 7:1-25, Isaiah Reassures King Ahaz

Saturday, Isaiah 9:1-7, The Righteous Reign of the Coming King

  • How were God’s people like a vineyard gone wild?
  • In what ways is your community like a wild vineyard? In what ways is it producing good fruit?
  • What gifts or talents has God given you that enable you to produce good fruit for the world?

Bless: Close your devotion with a blessing.

May God produce good fruits from within you. Amen.

How can I give you up? — This week at ELC



Though the people of Israel turned their backs on God, God loved the people too much to turn God’s back on them.  God continues to love each of God’s children with a tender, but powerful love, even when we may turn our backs or wander away.

Worship with Holy Communion this week:

Saturday 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday — 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m — Sunday School and adult class

10:30 a.m. — Contemporary worship

Devotions for this week:                                                                              Hosea’s message

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11:1)

The prophets issue challenging words. Where we would hear the hopeful word of grace, we need to make our way first through a wilderness of hard lessons. The prophet Hosea offers words in this tradition, beginning with a sense of rejection, which mirrors the ways in which God’s people have rejected the ways of the Lord. It does not end there. The Lord’s word in Hosea offers both judgment according to the terms of the covenant, and promises of restoration for those who call on the Lord.


Sunday, Hosea 11:1-9, Hosea

Monday, Hosea 1:1-2:23, Israel’s Infidelity

Tuesday, Hosea 3:1-4:19, God’s Love for and Condemnation of Israel

Wednesday, Hosea 5:1-15, Judgment

Thursday, Hosea 6:1-7:16, A Call to Repent

Friday, Hosea 9:1-17, Punishment for Israel’s Sin

Saturday, Hosea 10:1-15, Israel’s Sin and Captivity

  • What did Israel do that upset God? What could they have done differently?
  • How do you know if you and your community are pleasing or upsetting God?
  • What sits heavy on your heart? Ask for God’s ear, and God’s presence, justice, and love.

Do: Find out who has been exiled or ostracized from your community. Make a plan to welcome them. (Invite them for dinner or visit them.)

Bless: May God show you love and acceptance. Amen.

Divided loyalties vs. faith in God — this week at ELC

ElijahAt Mt. Carmel Elijah chides the people:   “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?”  Then in an great spectacle he shows the power of our living God.  How often do we find ourselves limping along trying to satisfy all the multiple demands for our devotion?

Worship this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. Sunday School/Adult class

10:30 a.m. Contemporary worship

Devotions for this week:

November 8                                                                                                Elijah at Mt. Carmel

Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” (1 Kings 18:38-39)

After the kingdom was divided, Israel fell into even more troubled times. The land was overtaken by drought and famine. In the north, with an Israelite king marrying a foreign queen, idol worship became the fashion, usurping the worship of the Lord. At the order of the queen, many of the Lord’s prophets were killed. One, Elijah, hid in the wilderness to escape capture. At the Lord’s command, he went back to challenge the king, confront the people, and discredit the prophets of Baal.

Sunday, 1 Kings 18:20-39, Elijah at Mount Carmel

Monday, 1 Kings 17:1-7, Elijah Predicts a Drought

Tuesday, 1 Kings 18:1-19, Elijah’s Message to Ahab

Wednesday, 1 Kings 18:41-46, The Drought Ends

Thursday, 1 Kings 19:1-10, Elijah Flees from Jezebel

Friday, 1 Kings 19:11-18, Elijah Meets God at Horeb

Saturday, 2 Kings 9:30-37, Jezebel’s Violent Death

  • Discuss the journey of Elijah as it relates to Ahab and Jezebel. When did he trust God? When did he falter in his trust?
  • What things does your community idolize that might distract you from worshiping God?
  • Do you think God still responds to people today the way God responded to Elijah? Why or why not?

Do: Volunteer to clean your church’s altar, pulpit pews, or other furniture in your sanctuary, or ask where in our ministry your help is needed.

Bless: May God hear your every word and respond with power and justice. Amen.