The Second Sunday in Advent
December 5, 2010
Redeemer, come! I open wide
My heart to you; here, Lord, abide!
Oh, enter with your saving grace;
Show me your kind and friendly face.
Your Holy Spirit guide us on
Until our glorious goal is won.
Eternal praise and fame
We offer to your name. (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 4:5)
Worship Focus: Prepare your hearts for Jesus
Order of Worship: Advent Opening, see Insert
Hymns: 16; 18; 4:4, 5
Personal Preparation for Holy Communion, p. 156
First Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-10
Behold a Branch is growing. Isaiah pictures the coming of Christ and the peace he brings for our hearts.
Psalm 130, p. 114
Jesus comes to rescue us.
Second Lesson: Romans 15:4-13
The hope the Scriptures give brings us joy and peace.
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. Repentance prepares our hearts.
Sermon available on the website or in the narthex
At St. John’s we observe the biblical practice of “close communion,” since the Bible teaches that communing together is an outward sign of the inner closeness of faith that seeks to agree in all that the Bible teaches. Therefore, we ask that only those commune who are confirmed members of our church body and of those churches which have declared fellowship with the WELS. If you have further questions about this, please talk with the pastor.
Prayers: We ask our Savior to watch over the family of Lou Martens who passed away this last week. Lou was the son-in-law of Verree Fox, married to Bonnie.
Next Sunday's Focus: Jesus is the One -- Matthew 11:2-11
December ushers: Don Spencer (capt.), Jeff Flaten, Chuck Nelson, Evan Nelson, Kevin Zeltwanger
December cleaners: David & Connie Paul; Doug & Leah Nelson
Greeters today: David and Connie Paul
High School Narrators: Any high school student who would like to be a narrator in the Christmas Eve program, please tell Pastor Bitter this week. Practices will be the next two Sundays (Dec. 12 & 19) from 9:15am until 10:15am.
Council Notes: The council met briefly after church on November 21. After the opening prayer the following items were approved: 1) Renewal of the annual OneLicense for $110 which allows us to distribute for congregational use various hymns and liturgies copied from Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal: Supplement; 2) Renewal of the annual subscription of the WELS Connection for $95.
Also discussed were the use of Al Tonn's memorial for plant stands in front of church and the names of possible candidates for the annual election. The following council terms are up: Elder (Scott Boettcher), Trustee (Duane Hausmann), Secretary (Barry Nelson). The next meeting will be December 13 at 7:00pm.
Musical Christmas Card: On Sunday, December 12 at 6:30pm at the Morris Area Concert Hall, Luke Fiskness will present an evening of classical piano music, Christmas carols, and heartwarming stories. No charge to attend. A free-will offering will be received for the Pamida Giving Tree and the Stevens County Food Shelf. More information is posted in the narthex.
Great Plains Update: As the winter landscape temporarily covers the dirt and grime of the earth, we rejoice that the babe of Bethlehem has forever removed all the dirt and grime from our lives -- we are white like snow, washed clean in the blood of the lamb of Bethlehem, this is cause to celebrate with great joy. May your focus be on this blessing as you prepare for and celebrate the first coming of our Savior and anticipate his glorious return.
Great Plains Update (cont.): God is using his powerful message to impact the lives of students and their families at GPLHS. Students are exerting positive peer pressure, faculty are grasping and responding to individual needs and parents and donors are thankful. GPLHS is truly a gift of his grace that has been going great for 15 years.
Enrollment continues at the highest level in our 15 years with 124 students currently in attendance. We anticipate this number to move up by one or two in the second semester. The number of potential students referred to us for next year is greater than the number we had last year at this time. We ask you to pray that the Lord lead all of those who are being confirmed this year to seriously consider the value of a Christ-centered education that equips for time and eternity.
Many hours of preparation by our choirs and band suggest that once again we’ll be treated to a marvelous presentation of the Christmas message with joyful sounds in gratitude for all that Jesus’ birth means. If you are within driving range, please invite a friend or two and come Sunday, December 12 at 4:00pm. A freewill offering will be received.
The number of gifts that we receive by God’s grace is always cause for thanksgiving. So far this fiscal year we have received about $200,000. This means that we only need about $110,000 in December to meet budget. This is no small amount but when compared with other years we can anticipate receiving this much and more (the more is so necessary to help us through January when we normally get very little). We ask you to begin praying that the Lord guide your response to the Christmas gift request that will go into the mail this coming Monday.
The process of calling a second development director is in the nomination process with various names being submitted to the Dakota-Montana district president, Pastor Naumann. He will seek the Spirit’s guidance and present the list to the board on Dec. 12 when a call will be issued. This second member of the Ministry Advancement Office will work along side Pastor Geiger and enhance our ability to connect with more people to encourage giving to the Lord’s work.
M: In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
C: (sung) Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel! (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 23:1)
M: Advent means coming.
C: (spoken) Come, Lord Jesus!
M: God the Son came into our dark world as a tiny baby to be our Savior from sin and death. He is the eternal Word made flesh, full of grace and truth.
C: Jesus is coming.
M: Our Savior comes to us through his Word and Sacraments to reign in our hearts as our King. He is the Light who brings us life.
C: Jesus is coming.
M: He will come again in glory with his holy angels to judge the living and the dead. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
C: Jesus is coming.
M: We light the Bethlehem Candle today. How unprepared that little town was! They had no room in the inn but only a manger for the Savior of the world. But the light of God's Word prepares our hearts to welcome him aright with humble repentance and joyful hope.
C: (sung) Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel.
M: Let us confess our sins with repentant hearts as we heed the words of John the Baptist, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2 NIV).
C: Holy and merciful Father, I do not deserve the gift of your Son. I began life hostile to you and dead in sin. My sin corrupts my thoughts, words, and actions. I have failed to continually watch for the coming of your Son. I have let the busyness of life leave my heart unprepared. I have often let other people and things take my focus off my Savior. I deserve your anger and punishment, both now and forever. In your mercy, forgive me for the sake of your Son, who came to redeem me by dying in my place.
M: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2 NIV). “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4 NIV). The Father gave his Son as the sacrifice to ransom you. In Jesus, you are God's blood-bought child, reborn through the water and word of Baptism. Your sins are forgiven. Be at peace with God.
C: (sung) Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Prepare a bed, soft, undefiled
Within my heart, made clean and new,
A quiet chamber kept for you.
My heart for very joy must leap;
My lips no more can silence keep.
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle song:
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto us his Son has given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 38:13-15)
Prayer of the Day
Continue on page 29 in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal.