God with us — This week at ELC

emmanuel

 

At a time when Joseph likely felt completely isolated and alone, God sent God’s presence in the form of an angel, and promised God’s continued presence in the form of a child.  We gather in anticipation of God’s presence with us again at Christmas.

Join us for worship this week:

Saturday  – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 Sunday School and Fellowship

10:30 a.m. – Sunday School Christmas program

Devotions for this week:  Jesus as Emmanuel – December 23, 2018

SHARE:   What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?

READ: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding

Monday, Luke 2:1-14, [15-20], Birth of Jesus

Tuesday, Luke 2:8-20, Shepherds Visit

Wednesday, Genesis 15:1-21, God’s Covenant with Abram

Thursday, Isaiah 7:10-17, A Sign of Immanuel

Friday, Isaiah 7:18-25, A Sign of Immanuel

Saturday, Acts 13:38-39, Jesus Frees

Go to clergystuff.com/daily-devotions for devotions on the daily readings.

  TALK:  Consider some of these ideas:

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)

Joseph’s life is going just according to plan. He’s made a fine engagement to a girl from a good family. But now she’s got some surprising news for her husband-to-be. How is an honorable man supposed to respond?

  • How does God work through the marginalized in your community? Is their message or service received differently because they are different?
  • How does Immanuel show up in your life?
  • For the littles: What’s been the greatest surprise of this Christmas season so far? God loves surprises!

PRAY:  God, your servant Joseph remained obedient despite challenges and uncertainty. Give us his steady trust in the unfolding of your plan for us, that we might be found your faithful servants, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Emmanuel. Amen.

BLESS: May God surprise you with joy! Amen.

A light to the nations – this week at ELC

light to the nations

Isaiah promises one who will bring new hope to people, like us, who feel overwhelmed by the world around them.  As we prepare to receive this word of light and hope, how do we share it with others?

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 fellowship

10:30 a.m. – Contemporary Worship

Devotions for this week:

Light to the Nations – December 16, 2018

SHARE:   What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?

READ: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding

Monday, Isaiah 42:10-20, A Hymn of Praise

Tuesday, Isaiah 42:21-25, Israel’s Disobedience

Wednesday, Isaiah 43:1-7, Restoration and Protection Promised

Thursday, Isaiah 43:8-21, Restoration and Protection Promised

Friday, Isaiah 43:22-28, Restoration and Protection Promised

Saturday, Isaiah 44:1-8, God’s Blessing on Israel.

Go to clergystuff.com/daily-devotions for devotions on the daily readings.

TALK:  Consider some of these ideas:

He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. (Isaiah 42:2-4)

Isaiah’s people are exiled and understandably discouraged. But the prophet can see beyond their present trials, to a future where they will be led with wisdom and justice.

  • Who in your community lives in darkness? How can you shine light on those living in darkness?
  • How does God’s light shine through you? How do people know you follow God?
  • For the littles: Are you afraid of the dark? Why or why not?

 PRAY:  Lord, your promises stand fast throughout our trying times. Hold the hope of your deliverance ever before our eyes, that we might continue to put our trust in you, for the sake of your son Jesus. Amen.

BLESS:  God of all creation, through your word open our eyes to see the new things you are doing. Help us rejoice in your faithfulness in the past and look forward to it in the future. Amen.

The Promise of the Good Shepherd — This week at ELC

sheep

 

During this Advent season we look ahead to the coming of the Good Shepherd who will care for all of us from the least to the greatest.

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 Bible Study and fellowship

10:30 a.m. – Contemporary Worship

Devotions for this week:  The promised Good Shepherd – December 9, 2018

SHARE:   What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?

READ: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding

Monday, Psalm 23,  The Lord is my shepherd

Tuesday, Isaiah 40:11 The Lord will tend the flock

Wednesday, Psalm 28:8-9  The Lord will save his flock

Thursday, Jeremiah 23:1-4 The Lord will replace bad shepherds

Friday, John 10:11 Jesus the Good Shepherd

Saturday, Matthew 2:4-6  Herod is told of the coming shepherd

Go to clergystuff.com/daily-devotions for devotions on the daily readings.

TALK:  Consider some of these ideas:

    I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak    — Ezekiel 34:15-16

God speaks against abusive rulers or “shepherds.” God will be the good shepherd who brings back the lost.          

  • God holds a high standard for those who lead, mostly focused on the care of the ‘least of these’. How are leaders judged in our society?
  • In what way can we embody the characteristics of our ‘shepherd’ in seeking the lost, and healing the injured?
  • For the littles: What do you do that shows kindness to others? God asks us to be just (fair), kind, and humble (not selfish).

PRAY:  God, you have sent Jesus to be our shepherd.  Even as we prepare for his coming into our world, help us to embody his loving care for others.

BLESS:  May you know the promised presence of the Good Shepherd.

Living in Faith — This week at ELC

Habakkuk

The people of Israel have been exiled, and their pain runs deep, but they kept faith and also worked hard for justice in their own corners of the world. We also may endure hard times, but we are to still be active in God’s mission of mercy, justice, and peace as we await the coming of our Savior!

Worship this week with Holy Communion:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. – Sunday School, Adult Bible Study, Fellowship

10:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship

Devotions for this week:  December 2, 2018 – Habakkuk

SHARE:   What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?

READ: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding

Monday, Habakkuk 1:5-11, The Prophet’s Complaint

Tuesday, Habakkuk 1:12—2:1, The Prophet’s Complaint

Wednesday, Habakkuk 2:5-14, The Woes of the Wicked

Thursday, Habakkuk 2:15-20, The Woes of the Wicked

Friday, Habakkuk 3:1-7, The Woes of the Wicked

Saturday, Habakkuk 3:8-16, The Woes of the Wicked

TALK:  Consider some of these ideas:

2Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.                                                 Habakkuk 2:2-3

Habakkuk cannot bear the injustice he sees in the world, with seemingly no relief in sight. Where is God when one needs a swift and almighty solution? We might well ask the same.

  • In what ways is your community in exile? Where do you feel your community is isolated from God? Where do you feel it is close to God?
  • When has your faith in God been tested? In what ways have your beliefs changed as you learn and grow?
  • How can you stand out as a sign of God’s promise to those around you?

PRAY:  God, we are sometimes impatient for you to act according to your vision for the earth. Give us wisdom to see your will unfolding, and boldness to be a part of your solution. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

BLESS:  May God lift you up on sad days. Amen.