Toys: soccer, basket and footballs, skateboards, dolls, stuffed animals, Legos, blocks etc… Games and puzzles Gift cards for older children (ages 12-17) – $25 for Burgerville, Regal Cinema, Amazon, Target, Old Navy, etc. One family gift like new blankets, towels,
The Blue Christmas Service is a special service offered every year in the early afternoon of Christmas Eve. It is not like the traditional candlelight services held in the evenings. The Blue Christmas service acknowledges the complexity of emotions connected to Christmas. Emotions of disappointment, loss, illness, and so much more. The Blue Christmas Service also holds on deeply to the promises of God born into the world as an innocent baby to be with us always. Please join us for a special Christmas service this year. All are welcome and all will come away deeply moved and thankful for attending the service.
Thank you again for the wonderful coats donated during our September 5th Sunday donation. Through your generous donations we were able to bless Bloomin’ Boutique, SnowCap, and Human Solutions Holiday Store with coats for children of all ages. Pastor Jen and Toby had the great honor of delivering roughly 20 coats to Bloomin’ Boutique, a non-profit serving Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. It was amazing to hear the ministry happening through this non-profit and the enthusiasm of the director. Children of all ages come with an adult advocate and they are able to select the toiletries and clothing that they need. Your generous donations will make a positive difference in the lives of children throughout our region.
Several years ago, Betty Caramella gave me a box of ripe peaches and several blue mason jars. She was excited for me to see those mason jars filled with preserved fruit sitting beautifully on my shelves. She was right, those jars did look beautiful and the fruit was worth the effort. Each year as I pull down my mason jars to can the pears from my tree I think of Betty and her excitement over my beautiful mason jars filled with the blessings of God. A mason jar is a simple way to preserve the rich bounty of God’s blessings to us. Whether it is pickles, pear butter, or green beans, mason jars allow us to preserve and enjoy God’s blessings throughout the dark and cold months of winter. Opening up a jar and tasting the contents inside brings such rich joy. This Advent you are invited to prepare for the birth of Jesus through A Mason Jar Advent. This devotional is a way to make Advent simple and focus on what truly matters in life. Each day you will pull a tag out of the jar. The tags invite you into conversation or to take action. Pick up a Mason Jar Advent today in the Narthex (church entryway) or in the office. It is my prayer that you will be richly blessed through this devotional.
By Pastor Jen
Over the past four months I have challenged you to take bite-sized steps towards inviting someone to a Christmas Eve service. This month is our final challenge: invite someone to a Christmas Eve service. Better yet, invite several people. Christmas Eve and Easter are the two times each year that people are most interested in attending a worship service, so go ahead and invite everyone to join us in celebrating the birth of our savior. As I write this article it is barely November (sorry for the late posting on my end from the web guy) and I will be leaving in a few short hours for the Holy Land. I will see where Jesus was born and the field where shepherds were first told the good news of Jesus’ birth. I will look to the stars at night and wonder at the star that led the Wise Men such a great distance to see a newborn king. What would have happened if no one had told the good news of Jesus’ birth? What if a star had not pointed the way? What if angels had not come to the shepherds or the shepherds had not gone and told Mary all the angels said? What if no one proclaims the good news for the world to hear? Throughout Advent we anxiously await the arrival of the greatest gift ever: the savior of the world. While the world is focused on Santa and extravagant Christmas spending, a newborn king enters the world in the most humble of ways. While the world hangs lights inside and out and dons their fanciest clothes, the true light of the world enters to vanquish darkness. While the season says to be happy and jolly, God’s son comes to give comfort and peace to those who feel alone, anxious, or depressed. The world needs Jesus just as much today as it did some 2000 years ago. So, go and tell that Jesus Christ is born. Go and invite them to hear the good news on Christmas Eve.
“Would you like to join me at church this Christmas Eve?” Invite someone you know to come to worship with you. This seems to be the most frightening invitation for many to make. Remember, the basis of our identity as people of God is our new life given to us in Jesus Christ. When we quit pushing that on others and simply be that through caring relationships, we reveal the love of God. And who knows? The neighbor you invited to church might just reveal something about God that you didn’t know before.
Pastor Jen Beil
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar — when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrach of Abilene — during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the way Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rought ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.'”
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnershop in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth insight, so that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes though Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a hord of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us — to show mercy to our fathters and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their ins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to this temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit like a refinerer and a purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have the men who will bring offerings who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.