Church News for Thursday, Dec. 19By Staff Reports Published 10:49am Friday, December 27, 2013
Rocky Mount UMC
Our scripture for this, the third Sunday in Advent, came from Matthew 11:2-11. Our sermon was about something that we all know too well, a virus. We all know how easily a virus can spread like wildfire and it can be terribly hard to stop. We usually do anything we can to stay clear of them.
This sermon, though, was about the “Advent Virus.” This is a virus that we all need to catch and spread as best we can. We need to expose ourselves and everyone else we can. It really isn’t hard. We can spread it through joy, thoughtfulness, the love of Jesus Christ, inner hope, peace and love for others. Wouldn’t it be grand if this “Advent Virus” spread all over as fast as other things do? Try the above, as well as enjoying each moment, not judging others, avoid conflict, try to worry less, have your own episodes of appreciation and of smiling. Jesus has told us that all we have to do is believe. It only takes a second to give your life to Jesus, but in that second, your life can change in a good way that can last a lifetime. If scientists can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then Jesus can for sure make something out of you. Believe!
Mars Hill Baptist Church
In just a few days, it will be Christmas, the day we celebrate our Lord’s birth. The children are excited because they have been working hard on a special program for us. The adults have been practicing their cantata since October in anticipation of Christmas. But what does Christmas really mean to you? Is it just a play, a song or giving and receiving gifts? Look deep into your heart for the true meaning of Christmas this year. Give Jesus first place in your life.
This Sunday, Bro. William Short read to us the Christmas Story, as told in Luke 2:1-14:
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was great with child. So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you; you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
This is where life began for Jesus, and he lives today in our hearts. How we worship him is very important to God, and the meaning of the true reason for Christmas has never been more important than it is today. This world has turned upside down, and even the very things we decorate our houses and lawns with at this time of year can send the wrong meaning out to a world that doesn’t believe in Christ. I will try to bring out the message to you as our pastor brought it to us, and I hope that you find Jesus in this message.
Christmas: The world sees the “C” in Christmas as candy canes; the saved person sees the “C” as Christ the Lord. Christmas begins and ends with Jesus. The “H” to the world means having a party; the Christian sees the “H” as heavenly hosts praising God. The worldly “R” means racing toward the sales; the holy “R” means making room for Jesus in our hearts. People need to see Jesus in our rooms (hearts). The “I” can only mean I got, I got, I got! But to the man of God, the “I” means that we should be in the fields, going to church, celebrating Jesus’ birthday in his house. The “S” is for shining lights: the reds, greens, golds and blues of the lights we string on our houses. The “S” to the people who call Jesus Savior is the sign to us: a babe in swaddling cloths. Wake up and see the “signs” in heaven. What is God trying to show us? The awful “T” means too much spending on things that will be forgotten in just a few days. But the “T” for the child of God means that we heard the tidings of great joy, a Savior is born! What can you buy that will bring you joy forever? Nothing. But Jesus is joy in this life and for the one to come. The “M” is for mad: mad at everyone because nothing goes the way you want it to. But the “M” for the Christian is for manger, the bed of Jesus, our Savior. The awful “A” is for angry. But the “A” in Christmas is for the angel of the Lord, who told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus. There are angels all around us, watching over us, because God loves us and cares for us. To the world, the “S” means Santa Claus, the big fat man in the red suit that somehow comes down a chimney every year and leaves toys for all the good little boys and girls. But my friend, the “S” in Christmas means Savior, which is Christ the Lord, the one who will never leave us nor forsake us.
So, do we worship Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, or Santa? This question you will have to answer in your own heart. Make room in your heart (inn) for Jesus this Christmas season and you will never be the same. Jesus loves you!
Please join us on Sunday, Dec. 22 for our adult Christmas cantata at 11 a.m. Our children’s program will be at 6 p.m. on Dec. 22. You are sure to receive a blessing from both our adults and children this year. We will have a special Christmas service on Wed., Dec. 25 at 7 p.m. Please plan to be with us and worship the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in his house.
Please continue to pray for our church, our pastor, the sick, the lost, the hurting, our children, our troops and our government.
We welcome you to come and worship with us each Sunday. God is good, all the time! Amen.