Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sing, choirs of angels, Dec 30,2018

Worship on Sunday, December 30 …

We celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas with a special focus on music of the season.  The sermon portion of the service will include exploration of the history of some of our favorite Christmas hymns and singing them together. 

╬ Sing, choirs of angels! 
People of faith everywhere gather to celebrate a new day dawning. The long-awaited light has come. Emmanuel – God with us – has come into the world to show us a way and a truth and a life that leads to the very heart of God.  We come together to raise our voices in songs of praise, to celebrate with the songs that have given meaning to our lives, that express our joy in this day of days, and give voice to our hopes for a future of peace on earth and unity among all people.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

Nothing like a hymn sing to celebrate Christmas!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------
God of light, fill our hearts this day with the power of your Spirit as we welcome the gift of your Christ into the midst of life.  Fill us with the peace, hope, love and joy that he brings.  Fill us with songs to praise the One who comes to make all things new.  Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 52:7-10
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."  8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.  9 Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.  10 The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Psalm 98
1 O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
2 The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.  All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord,
9 for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Second Reading:  Hebrews 1:1-8
1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you"?  Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"?  6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire."  8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 

Gospel:  Luke 2:15-21
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Waiting for the Light - LOVE

LOOKING AHEAD  to worship on Sunday, December 23 …

We complete our season of Advent series – “Waiting for the Light” – with a focus on LOVE! 
click here to listen to the late service 

click here to listen to the early service 

click here for Sermon Audio Only

╬ Love
It all comes down to this.  Love one another, Jesus says.  “As I have loved you, so you should love one another.”   Jesus says it is by our love alone that world will know we are his followers, his disciples.  He says that his single, new commandment – that we love one another – sums up all the law and the prophets, all the wisdom and teaching of God.  Scripture challenges us that “one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7)  When we love, we dwell in the very nature of God.  Love is the Gospel in a single word.  And the One God sends is coming into the world to embody that word for all to see.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

Let us love one another as God has first loved us!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY --------------------

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  Free us from the sin that would obstruct your blessing, that willingly we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 7:10-17
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

Psalm 80:1-7,17-19
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!  You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Second Reading:  Colossians 3:12-17
12 As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Gospel:  Luke 1:39-56
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."  46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.  54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."  56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Worship on Sunday, December 24 …

We prepare for the evening Nativity gatherings.

The prophet proclaims that the Lord dwells not in rich palaces or elaborate temples, but in a tabernacle, a tent among a people wandering in the wilderness.  The angel of God announces that the messiah – the anointed deliverer – is born not in royalty and dynasties of power, but to a lowly, unwed provincial peasant girl.  The One God sends comes not to the halls of the high-born, but humbly … born in a stable, laid in a manger, because there was no room for him in places of wealth, privilege and security.  Forever after, the ongoing story of the Incarnation is one of glory shining forth in the humblest of circumstances.

click here to listen to the 4 pm service 
click here to listen to the 8 pm service 

The time of waiting will soon be over.  The gift of Christmas is at hand!

Blessings to all,
- Pr. Brad Highum

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Waiting for the Light-PEACE

LOOKING AHEAD  to worship on Sunday, December 16 …

We continue in our season of Advent series – “Waiting for the Light” – with a focus on PEACE!


“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus says.  At Jesus’ birth, the voices of angels ring in the heavens singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill among all people.”  Hebrew Testament proclaims “Jehovah-Shalom;” the very name of God is ‘peace.’ But Scripture also rails against those who deal falsely saying, “ ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace!” (Jeremiah 6:14).  Real and lasting peace remains both the greatest hope and the greatest challenge for humanity.  And peace will not be achieved passively, will not come about on its own.  Jesus blesses peace-makers for they are, he says, “the children of God.”  All creation is waiting with eager longing for the revealing of the peace-makers. 

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

The peace of God be with you all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------

God of peace, make us peacemakers.  Guide us in the way of peace.  Call us forth as your children, to live peace, so that all the world might come to know your Great Shalom … a world ordered according to your goodness, grace and peace.  Amen.

READINGS ---------------------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 11:1-10
11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 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. 3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Psalm 122
1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem — built as a city that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  "May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers."
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Second Reading:  James 5:7-11
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Gospel:  Matthew 11:2-11
2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."  7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?  8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'  11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cantata-Celebrate the Child Who is the Light

Worship on Sunday, December 9 …

We continue in our season of Advent series – “Waiting for the Light” 
click here to listen to the late service 

click here to listen to the early service 

Advent Worship with Musical Cantata
8:30 & 11:00 am

"Celebrate the Child Who is the Light"
                                                             by Tom Fettke
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: On those living in a land of deep darkness, a light has dawned...For unto us a Child is born, 
unto us a Son is given." 
                                                                         Isaiah 9:2,6

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Waiting for the Light-Hopefulness 12-02-2018

LOOKING AHEAD  to worship on Sunday, December 2 …

We enter into the season of Advent, beginning with our focus on the Gospel call to HOPEFULNESS! 

╬ Hope

Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops – at all –”  She captures the essence of this fluttering of the Spirit in the hearts of people of faith.  It is a force – at once fragile and gentle, but unwavering and unstoppable –  that ministers to our souls.  It speaks to us of goodness when all about seems threatening.  It speaks to us of persistence when despair gnaws at us.  It speaks to us of a light, growing brighter, when shadows crowd round us.  It is the song that accompanies us in the night, promising the dawn.  It is fitting that we begin our Advent journey here – in the place of hope – as we await the light that is coming.

 Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.

The New Year in the Kingdom of God has already begun as we enter into the season of Advent.  Blessings to you all, as we make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------
Creating God, we are unafraid and undeterred, for our hope is in you.  Our trust is in your grace, and your goodness.  Hope in you is a light that grows in us, leading us to the fulfillment of your promise of deliverance, redemption and peace.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------

First Reading:  Job 11:13-19
13 "If you direct your heart rightly, you will stretch out your hands toward him.  14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness reside in your tents.  15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear.  16 You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away.  17 And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.  18 And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.  19 You will lie down, and no one will make you afraid;
many will entreat your favor.

Psalm 33:1-5,18-22
1 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright.
2 Praise the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
18 Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who revere him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield.
21 Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Second Reading:  Rom 8:18-25
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Gospel:  Matthew 12:15-21
15  Many crowds followed Jesus, and he cured all of them, 16 and he ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  18 "Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.  I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  19 He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.  20 He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory.  21 And in his name the Gentiles will hope."

Sunday, November 25, 2018

King Jesus 11-25-2018

Worship on Sunday, November 25 …

Our Thanksgiving focus and the liturgical year culminate in the Feast of Christ the King! 

╬ King Jesus

Magi follow a star seeking the birthplace of the one born “king of the Jews.”  “Hail, king of the Jews … save yourself!”  becomes a taunt of derision.   We proclaim him this day “Christ the King” … even as he his crucified between two thieves.  Here on the cusp of a new year in the life of the church we once again celebrate “Christ the King.” Yet we come to understand that Jesus is a different kind of king.  He says things like, “the one who would be ruler of all must become the servant of all.”  The one who would “rule over all the kings of the earth,” clothes himself like a household slave and washes feet.  And he calls us to do likewise. 

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

At the turning of the year we celebrate the Kingdom of God and enter into the blessed time of Advent once again.  Blessings to you all, as we make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------
God of all, we proclaim your Son king in a world struggling with oppression and fear, injustice and violence.  Keep your Christ ever before us that his light and love might guide us as we seek his rule and reign in our lives, for the healing of the world.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------

First Reading:  Daniel 7:9-10,13-14
9 As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.  10 A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence.  A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.  The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.  13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven.  And he came to the Ancient One  and was presented before him.  14 To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

Psalm 93
1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2 your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord!
5 Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.

Second Reading:  Revelation 1:4-8
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:  Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.  So it is to be. Amen.  8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Gospel:  Luke 23:33-43
33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."  39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rejoice in all circumstances

Worship on Sunday, November 18 …

We continue in our Thanksgiving focus, with the calling of faith to Rejoice, in all circumstances, for the goodness of God! 
╬ “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!”  Easier said than done?  Paul’s exhortation is to the struggling community in Philippi, a Roman military outpost, arguably one of the hardest places you could choose to do “church development.”  “Rejoice in all circumstances!”  Easy for you to say, Paul!  Until we know the whole truth … Paul writes this letter from prison!  He first gathered the community at Philippi and wants them to know that despite his imprisonment for preaching the Gospel, his joy and exuberance is undiminished.  Our calling takes us beyond songs and prayers of praise to live daily in gratitude, sharing the blessings of grace and compassion we have received, regardless of circumstances.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  
PLEASE NOTE – I’ve amended the Gospel reading for the day!!

Let’s give thanks together!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------

God of life, we gather in praise and thanksgiving to you.  Lead us in living gratitude for the gifts of grace and blessing that flow in abundance from you.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------

First Reading:  Ezra 3:10-13
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David, king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:  "He is good; his love to Israel endures forever."  And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

Psalm 95:1-7
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 9:10-15
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Gospel:  Mark 14:22-26
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." 23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.  24 "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25 "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."  26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Attitude of Gratitude

Worship on Sunday, November 11 … We focus on giving thanks, in all circumstances, for the goodness of God!

╬ Attitude of Gratitude! 
 Ana├»s Nin famously said, 
“We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.” 
 The way we approach the world has a lot to do with our experience of life. Paul encourages the early Christian community to approach all of life from a place of thankfulness, “giving thanks in all circumstances … holding fast to what is good.” (1Thess.5) He calls us, as people of faith, to focus always on what is good and honorable, just and true. (Phil.4) The intention here is not pie-in-the-sky self-delusion. Rather, it is to see the world as it is, but from a place of gratitude … gratitude for a loving God, for the gift that life is, and for the hopefulness of fresh possibility. Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. Let’s give thanks together! 
 - Pr. Brad Highum 

PRAYER OF THE DAY -------------------------------- 

 Lord, inspire us by the power of your Spirit to see the world through eyes of hopefulness. Help us to engage life from a place of gratitude, giving thanks in all circumstances for your goodness, grace and love. Amen. 

 READINGS ---------------------------------------- 
 First Reading: 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 
11 Now when the priests came out of the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to their divisions), 12 all the levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kindred, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with one hundred twenty priests who were trumpeters. 13 It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever," the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. 

 Psalm 100 
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 
2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. 
3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. 
5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. 

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:13-24 
13 Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. 

 Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

Sunday, November 4, 2018

For All The Saints - Nov 4, 2018

Worship on Sunday, November 4

We began our seasonal focus on Thanksgiving – “An Attitude of Gratitude” –  with the Festival Sunday of All Saints! 

For All The Saints!

In our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” – we dive deep in understanding the fullness of self-giving love, even as it expresses itself in the lives of Christian martyrs.

╬ All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, is a day of remembrance.  In the life of the church it has traditionally been a time to celebrate the lives of people of faith who have passed into glory.  Scripture is clear in naming all the host of believers – especially those living today – as “saints.”  Paul says it is the “great cloud of witnesses” that are the saints of God.  So our celebration is expanded with remembrance of those who have gone before us, those of the living Body of Christ today, and the generations to come, as well.  Today we remember, we hallow, and we give thanks for this cloud of witnesses of which we are a vital part!

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 

Looking forward to celebrating with you in a time of remembrance, of thanksgiving and of hope for the years to come!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------
God of every time and place, we give you thanks for the saints who dwell with you in light. We give you thanks for the saints who form the living Body of Christ in the world today, and we give you thanks for the saints who will live for you in the time to come.  Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 25:6-9
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.  7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever.  Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.  This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Psalm 34:1-8
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
3O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble.
7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who revere him, and delivers them.
8O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Second Reading:  Revelation 7:9-10,15-17
9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  15For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.  16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Gospel:  John 3:11-21
11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Loving God, Loving Others - 10-28-2018

Worship on Sunday, October 28 …

Our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” –  reaches its conclusion on Reformation Sunday as we rejoice in the unmediated love of God!

In our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” – we dive deep in understanding the fullness of self-giving love, even as it expresses itself in the lives of Christian martyrs.

╬ “You have seen him and know him!” Jesus gets exasperated with his disciples.  Philip asks, “Lord, show us the father.”  To which Jesus replies, “What have I been doing this whole time ?!?”  All along Jesus has been inviting people into a closer sense of living presence with God.  “Draw close to God,” says his brother James, “and God will draw close to you!”  One of the principal accomplishments of the Reformation was to dispel the notion that approaching God required an “intercessor,” a go-between to interface between us and the source of life.  God’s love is unmediated; no intercessors required.  Through the Prophet today, God proclaims, “No longer will anyone say ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me.”

 Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.

Looking forward to celebrating with you on this festival Sunday!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------
God, we give you thanks for all of the ways you reveal yourself in love and goodness to your children. We seek to know you and to live in vital presence with you always.  Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------

First Reading:  Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt — a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Psalm 105: 1-10
1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.
3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.
5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

Second Reading:  Romans 3:19-28
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.  21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.  27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Gospel:  John 8:31-36
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"  34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.