THE CARILLON - December 2019
Passing of a dear church member
I received word today, Monday, that our dear friend Teeter went to the Lord early this morning. She was in no pain, said a few words at midnight to her caregivers, and the Lord took her a little while later. Please hold her family in prayer as we praise God for the life of such a wonderful woman.
Tuesday, December 10
Psalm 118:22-23 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone: the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice and be glad.
Ephesians 2:20 Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Jesus is the rejected cornerstone whom we call the foundation of our faith.
Jesus came to us as a human in the flesh but he also was the son of God. He was rejected and persecuted for our sinful nature. Jesus died on the cross to allow our sins to be washed in his blood. Jesus is rightfully referenced here as the cornerstone or the keystone of our Christian faith. Without Jesus’ sacrifice our lives would be a chaotic swirl of selfish desires, unchecked and ever increasing. We see the ugly and dark side of life in this world that reflects the consequences of not having a belief in God Almighty. God gave us free will and we must understand the significance of that decision. God would love to have all his creation spend eternity with him in paradise, unfortunately this will not be the case. The decision is an individual one. A decision that must be made, and should be made with all seriousness, for eternity is not easy to understand or accept. Yes you will exist for eternity. But where and how you exist is a decision that only you can make. Choose wisely.
Dear Jesus, during this Holy Season let us remember you in all we do and say. Your true identity as the Son of God. All who believe in you will not perish but have eternal life. I want to live my life as you taught, but I need you in my life as I am weak. Thank you Lord for providing spiritual help to those like me, particularly during difficult times in my life’s journey. Help me to continuously grow in my faith, knowledge and personal relationship with you. Amen
Monday, December 9
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
And Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man.
Daniel is getting the vision of both the relationship of Son of Man with God, as well as the power and authority given to Him. No one else was ever given that. God’s promise of a promised land had always been taken literally as a physical place. And so it was, but because of the unredeemed nature of man, it was not the paradise expected. The genealogy of Jesus as stated in Matthew 1 shows he was descended from David the King, from Abraham, and ultimately (like all of us) Adam.
Colossians 1: 12-17 says “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
So not only is Jesus descended from Adam (the physical world), He is also the Son of God. Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law”. The Israelites wanted a physical human king to be like other nations. David was that first king. But Daniel’s vision was showing a different kind of king, one with all power and all authority over all people and nations.
Many in Jesus’ time recognized Him as the fulfillment of God’s promise of the Messiah. Some were looking for that eternal spiritual promised land, others were expecting a physical deliverance and “new” promised land to live in. But they were disappointed as Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:16). So the very people who wanted a Messiah did not want what their Messiah was offering. We are well aware of the sufferings and death of Jesus, it was prophesied in the Old Testament. The son of man, Jesus, is given all power and authority over life and death, as is witnessed in his willingness to be obedient to the cross, and gloriously rose from the dead on the third day.
Lord Jesus, You are the promise of God for me. While I live in this world, I will worship You and be obedient. You hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven, where You have prepared a place for me. Let my life reflect Your kingdom in me. Let me be a testimony to Your wonderful love for us and the fulfillment of Your promises. AMEN
Saturday, December 7
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
10 This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
These are words of prophesy from both the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament Scripture foretells the coming of John the Baptizer and Jesus. Matthew 11 describes what and how John works to accomplish his mission. John knows he is a man with a message from God and he demonstrates the courage to deliver that message, no matter what the preconceived ideas of his audience.
Is it difficult for us today to share the message of Christian faith? Do we shy away from witnessing to others about the feelings we harbor for our Savior? Jesus is speaking directly to you and I about the courage and conviction John exemplified for us. We must demonstrate that courage everyday in an ever changing society, so desperately in need of God’s message.
Lord and Heavenly Father, we ask that you make us your messengers of love, faith, and forgiveness, and in so doing may we spread your Word throughout this world. Amen.
Friday, December 6
11 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Hosea was a prophet whose life became a object lesson in how God loves us despite the wrong things we do. He married a woman who was not faithful to him, in the same way that the nation of Israel was not faithful to God. Yet he forgave her and reclaimed her just as God does with us.
God says through Hosea in this verse, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” The context here is that of God our Father loving the people Israel as his children. God rescued them from slavery in Egypt, bringing them into the Promised Land to live as his people. God brought them forth with miracles – the oldest child in each Jewish family was spared death when all the rest of Egypt suffered loss. God parted the waters of the sea to allow the Jews to cross over on dry land. God initiated these miracles out of love for his people.
After Jesus was born, Joseph was told in a dream that there was a threat against the life of his newborn son, and the angel of the Lord urged him to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt to protect their lives. This he did, and that experience for them was like what happened to the people of Israel so long ago when they were called out of Egypt.
You and I are also called by God, out of places that were like Egypt, that were like our own personal brand of slavery. We were rebellious. We were going along our own paths but not God’s way. We needed the hand of God upon us, leading us to a place where we could be made new by faith in him. God’s love rescues us, forgives us and transforms us.
Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord from his dream. Because he listened, he saved Jesus from the murderous rage of Herod. Help us, Lord, to listen to you and perceive your loving hand upon our lives.
Gracious God, how we want to draw near to you and walk in your loving paths! You always intend our good. You beckon us and rescue us from dark places where we are prone to wander. Keep us safe, Lord. Keep us close in your embrace. Let us give you all praise and glory, for your love to us in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, December 5
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is as Micah prophesied.
The world applauds those who have risen to prominence through a variety of endeavors. One has engineered a breakthrough in medicine, to cure a life-threatening disease. Another has invented something so significant, that we cannot envision life without it once it has come. There are persons who are leaders within our country or around the world. Some of them are infamous; others are lifted up for their ethics and courage through a difficult era.
But then there’s the rest of us. We muddle along, sometimes doing good things and other times failing miserably. The world will not remember us, and that’s okay most days. When I despair of living out the purpose for which God placed me on this earth, I think of this prophecy about Bethlehem. God sees me, not for how prominent I am as a leader, not for any earth-shattering accomplishments I have made, but for the person I am becoming with God’s help, and how I well I may serve my God.
Little Bethlehem – a town outside Jerusalem. It was insignificant in comparison to the other clans of Judah, and that’s us as well. Yet God had a plan for Bethlehem, and God has a plan for us. I don’t want to move outside God’s plan, either to presume I can do more or miss the mark and do less. I want to listen to be faithful to what God wants for me. Maybe there’s only one or two people I will influence in my lifetime, but by my faithfulness, these other people may come to embrace faith in Jesus Christ. And who knows what God has in mind for them?
God said from this town shall come the savior, as little as it was. God’s plan is always good – for Bethlehem and for us who seek to be faithful to God in Jesus Christ.
Eternal God, giver of all good things, thank you that you have blessed me to accept Jesus as my savior, and to seek to follow him by faith. Free me from thinking that I have to attain a certain level of fame or fortune to be deemed a success, for the world’s standards are not like yours. What you want for me is to be the person you created me to be. Any good I do is by your grace, so I give you all praise in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, December 4
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
The virgin birth is a foundational truth of our faith – God with us, truly man and truly God.
God gave us this prophecy in Isaiah that was fulfilled in Jesus, as recorded in the gospels. This from Matthew 1:22-23: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us.’”
There had to be a virgin birth. If Jesus was born in the ordinary, regular way of having a baby, then he would have been infused with the same innate tendency to sin as the rest of us. This is our legacy from Adam, and from him we have become a race of people who cannot refrain from doing wrong. Jesus was truly human in being born a baby. He was born without sin so that he could take upon himself all our wrongs through the cross.
Through him we see God’s perfect justice and God’s perfect love. God’s justice means that there needs to be a consequence for wrongdoing. That was accomplished in the cross. God’s love means that God provided all that was needed for our forgiveness. As we believe in Jesus Christ, calling him savior, and trust in him to be considered blameless before God, so everything has been done on our behalf.
Jesus was born, fully God and fully human. If Joseph was his biological father, how could Jesus be anything but human? How could he be God’s Word as written in the prologue to John’s gospel, eternally present with the Father?
The virgin birth has to be at the center of all God’s plan for humanity. How could Jesus save us if he needed saving himself from the scourge of sin? If the virgin birth did not happen, what was prophesied in Isaiah did not happen, or Bible prophecy cannot be trusted.
God our Father, we make mistakes, for we are human, infused with the same predisposition for doing wrong like every other person before us. Maybe we don’t mean to hurt others, but it happens. We get angry and say or do things we regret later. We’re sorry for wrongs we have done. We need your forgiveness. Thank you that Jesus Christ has taken our wrongs upon himself, cleansing us through the shedding of his blood. Make us new through your Holy Spirit living in us by faith in Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, December 3
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
God sent his son Jesus to this world to show us the new covenant. God promises to put his love into our hearts – in a new way – and to give us eternal life, as long as we live up to our end of the deal. But I am human and it is often hard to keep my faith strong and easier to let selfishness and opinions of others get in the way of keeping the Lord as my #1 priority.
Before Jesus, the written laws of God, outlined in the Torah, guided worship and daily living for the Jews. But Jesus came to show us that following all those written laws are not as important as the love God places in our hearts for Him and for others. And all we have to do is to love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength first, and love our neighbors as ourselves, and have the faith that He will lead us to Peace. Then we will be fulfilling our part of the covenant. And He will forgive our sins and we will be His people.
Dear God, please help me to remember that I will never be perfect, and will always need your forgiveness. I realize that I don’t always put you first in my life and need your help to follow the path that Jesus walked, to try and hold up my end of the covenant. Help me to love you with my whole being and use that love to help others where they are in this world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen
What We Believe
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son and our savior, who lived among us to teach us and die for us. He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life in him John 3:16. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God dwelling in us John 14:15-17. We seek God’s word in the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Our mission as a church is to proclaim the good news of Christ to all. We honor Christ through worship and fellowship, encouraging one another in faith, hope and love 1 Corinthians 13:13, and serving our neighbors with compassion and justice.
We belong to the United Church of Christ. As a congregation we are granted the autonomy to govern our local church, and prayerfully make the best decisions we can on how to live out our calling as believers. Each person has the freedom and responsibility of discerning for themselves how faith in Jesus Christ impacts their daily walk and their worldview. We respect one another’s differences because even though we are diverse, we are still part of Christ’s body.
We look forward to welcoming you some day soon. Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
10:00 am Worship Service
10:00 am Children's Adventure Hour