Greetings, everyone –

You will be pleased to hear that all three congregations in our “shared ministry” conversation have agreed to pursue a relationship that helps enhance ministry and reduce costs. The three councils will be meeting this Saturday morning at Messiah to begin to formulate the way forward. Good work has already been done since November’s congregational meetings as the pastors involved, along with Synod staff, have talked about the formalities of the process and discovered that there is little that prevents moving smoothly ahead. Likewise, with the help of our ELCA Region 1 Financial Services Office, we have a pretty good idea how the finances will work with little to no disruption of our usual processes. And Intern Eric and I have chatted over coffee about how we will work together to cover the necessary pastoral ministry tasks and believe that it will be easier to actually do than it is to try to imagine right now.

 

So, if you think of it around 11am on Saturday, say a prayer for those meeting and ask God to bless the way forward for our three congregations. We’ll have more to report to you in next week’s update.

 

THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL

 

Education Hour: We continue our study of the book of Revelation by looking at chapters 1-3: John’s greeting, first vision, and messages to the seven churches. If you can read the first three chapters ahead of time, it will be helpful for you. (Check the whiteboard in the room for your “instructions.”)

 

Coffee Hour: We don’t have a coffee hour host for this Sunday but we’ll try to have at least some coffee out just the same.

 

In Worship: Pr. Kent Schaufelberger leads us in worship once again. (Pr. Dave and Theresa are in Seattle seeing their son, Jason, in a “one-weekend-only-sold-out-show-that-they-were-given-free-tickets-for-months-ago.”)

 

Forerunners and messengers advance the advent of our God. While John the baptizer’s voice in the wilderness may be the principal focus of the day, Malachi’s prophecy could as easily herald the coming Lord Jesus as forerunner of the Lord of hosts. Finally all the baptized are called to participate in the sharing of the gospel. In so doing we prepare the way for the coming of the Lord and assist all flesh in capturing a vision of the “salvation of God.”

 

Readings and Psalm

Malachi 3:1-4

My messenger is a refiner and purifier

Luke 1:68-79

In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us. (Lk. 1:78)

Philippians 1:3-11

A harvest of righteousness on the day of Jesus Christ

Luke 3:1-6

Prepare the way of the Lord

 

Your Kingdom Come on Earth

Luke sets the preaching of John the Baptist clearly in the midst of the political and religious environment of his day. We are told the names of the emperor, governor, and other political rulers of the day. They are the ones who are supposed to care for the welfare of the citizens of their territories. Although John gave his message while he was in the wilderness, it was intended to have its impact in the farms, villages, and cities where the ordinary and the powerful live out their daily lives. John is not satisfied with the way things are, and his words help prepare us for the coming of one who will turn the world upside down. John’s words tell us to examine our own lives and the world around us. We should not be complacent in the face of injustice, but instead seek forgiveness and strive for lives that bear fruit according to God’s vision for the world.

 

We all have the potential to “over-spiritualize” the Bible and our faith, so that they become disconnected from the real needs of the world around us. This potential can be even greater in the days around Christmas, as we may seek to justify over-spending on gifts, excessive eating and drinking, or simply desire to escape from the difficulties of ordinary life for a time. John provides a warning about ignoring the truth about our sinfulness and the brokenness in the world. But John also repeats the promise that God ultimately will not settle for the way things are in the world, and that God’s salvation will be made known in the one who is to come: Jesus.

 

CHRISTMAS SERVICES

You have a choice of Christmas services this year.

Monday, Dec 24 – Christmas Eve

7:00pm – Communitas is holding their family Christmas Eve service. Anyone is welcome to attend.

10:00pm – Central is holding its Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of readings and carols.

Tuesday, Dec. 25 – Christmas Day

10:00am – Central is holding its Christmas Day service with Holy Communion.

 

ONE MORE REMINDER

If you haven’t made a note of it yet, please do…the new email addresses for Central Lutheran are:

Office: clspokane@comcast.net">clspokane@comcast.net

Pastor: clpastor@comcast.net">clpastor@comcast.net

 

UPCOMING CHANGE FROM VANCO TO TITHE.LY

Okay, so one more reminder. At the end of December, we will be discontinuing the use of Vanco for electronic giving and switching to Tithe.ly which gives us more options and better rates for its services. For those of you who have been using Vanco to send recurring offerings, you may now do so with Tithe.ly. In fact, it’s easier. Simply follow these steps:

-          You can download the ELCA Giving Tool app from Android’s Play Store and the Apple Store. Once you download and open it, simply select your church, Central Lutheran Church, Spokane, WA. Once you’ve done that, the fun begins. You can:

-          Make a gift to Central directly from your phone, one time or recurring, checking or debit/credit card, to the fund of your choice

-          On the menu bar at the bottom, you can…

  1. oFollow the ELCA’s twitter feed, staying on top of the latest word,
  2. oAccess “Living Lutheran” magazine and all its feature articles
  3. oOpen the latest news releases from the ELCA
  4. oUnder the “More” menu, you can even connect with the ELCA’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube channels

 

If you are currently using Vanco/Simply Giving, log into your account and cancel your payments. Then open the app and set up a new one right from your phone. (If you need helping making the change over, call Lisa.) If you’re using a bank account to automatically send your offering to the church, do nothing. That can continue as usual. The app will give you the flexibility to make additional offerings at special occasions or if the Spirit moves you.

 

OPEN THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART

It’s December and preparations for Christmas are underway. Unfortunately, for some, this is a period of great stress, inadequate sleep, and too much busyness. Is this what Advent is all about? Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). What a pleasant request! Shut the door of the world. Open the door of your heart. Let the King of Glory come in! He is the one we honor and proclaim! He is the one due our allegiance and our service. Enjoy fellowship with Jesus! 

 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending your Son to show me how much you love me. Help me to respond faithfully to your love. Help me to minimize the distractions during my Christmas preparations so that I can focus on you. In your name precious name I pray. Amen.

Blessings on your stewardship Journey!

 

Happy Advent!

 

Peace,

Pastor Dave

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