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December 21, 2014

Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

We invite you to join us for a special time of Advent Hymnsing this Lord’s Day at 10:15 AM. Let us “prepare him room” and start our worship with a joyful celebration of our King’s Advent!

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The Coventry Carol is an old and well-known song from the 16th century. A haunting tune accompanies the words:

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his owne sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

In the song mothers are mourning and singing their last lullaby to their babies slain by Herod, who wanted to eliminate the threat that the birth of Christ posed for him. Herod was raging against the Lord’s Anointed.

This week we received the terrible news of the Taliban massacre of school children. This Christmas, like the first one, is set in the undeniable reality of sin and evil. Then as now, and indeed, as it has always been since the Fall, joy in this world is too fleeting, and sorrow too deep. So we sing this Christmas, “Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.” For we celebrate not only that Christ once did come, but that he will come again. And it is that hope, the promise of his return, that gives us the strength to stare in the face the worst of this world, and not be shattered by it. The hope of Christ’s return at once both intensifies the pain we feel in this fallen world, and also purifies it. For in the midst of darkness we have seen a great light. In sorrow we rejoice. For Christ has come, and he will come again.

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Call to Worship

Isaiah 42:1–9 (p. 602)

TH #196 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Luke 1:46–55 (p. 856)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 ESV)

TH #195 “Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

John 1:14–18

He Gives Us A Brown Christmas

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #211 “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” stanzas 1–2 during the distribution of the bread, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #214 “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 78. First Catechism Q. 150. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 107. Do you struggle to pray? (Who doesn’t?) Do you need encouragement? (Who doesn’t?) We encourage you to read this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson on the third and fourth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

Do you struggle with depression? Do you care for someone who does? I encourage you to take advantage of Edward T. Welch’s very useful book “Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness,” the Kindle version of which is available for $2.51. You can read a Kindle book on a Kindle device, using apps on your iPhone, iPad, other mobile devices, on your Mac, PC, and on the web. Even if depression is not a present concern for you, it is helpful to recognize that discouragement and depression exist in a continuum, and many will find this book helpful in varied settings. I certainly did. KH.

Upcoming Events and Notices

December 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for a time of Advent celebration and fellowship.

Nursery Volunteers

December 21: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers


December 14, 2014

Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

We invite you to join us for a special time of Advent Hymnsing this Lord’s Day at 10:15 AM. Let us “prepare him room” and start our worship with a joyful celebration of our King’s Advent!

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Well, it’s that time of the year again. And, sure enough, here is my annual anti-Santa diatribe. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? I hope, however, your response is not, “Gosh, you’re no fun!” Rather, may we all appreciate afresh the true joy of Christmas!

Everywhere we go it is sung with such cheerfulness:

You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town … He’s making a list And checking it twice Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice Santa Claus is coming to town.

Such a cheerful tune for such a dreadful message! Indeed, Santa’s message is Karma: “You will get what you deserve!” The omniscient Santa knows the secrets of our hearts. And he brings his judgment on earth on Christmas Eve. If you have been good, you will be rewarded. If you have been bad, you will be punished. No wonder there is an epidemic of gospel-ignorance in this country! We have trained generations of children to embrace Karma (which is just another trendy word for legalism). The tragedy, of course, is that long after children have stopped believing in Santa, they still believe in legalism: “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” “If I am good God will love me.” “I’ve been good. God owes me.”

Can you see how utterly out of step this message is compared to the good news of Jesus Christ? He was born that we, though deserving death, might live. He came that we, though deserving wrath, might know the love of God instead. Indeed, no one has ever written a song called “Amazing Karma!”

The true joy of Christmas is grace. “Hark! the herald angels sing…God and sinners reconciled…Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die…” No, Jesus most certainly did not receive what he deserved. He deserved to be born in a palace, but the manger was his cradle. He deserved to be rich, but he had no place to lay his head. He deserved to be served, but he washed his disciples’ feet. He deserved royal treatment, but he carried the cross, a criminal’s punishment. But because of what he did, there is no longer a written record of our sin and rebellion. God does not check it twice, or even once. Our records? Erased! Our sins? Pardoned! For when we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we celebrate the grace we have not deserved, gift we have not earned, and the love of which we are unworthy. Now, that is worth celebrating!

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Call to Worship

Micah 5:2–5a (p. 779)

TH #208 “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Galatians 4:4–7 (p. 974)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13–14 ESV)

TH #232 “O Jesus Sweet, O Jesus Mild”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

John 1:6–13

He Gives Us New Birth

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #197 “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People” stanzas 1–2 during the distribution of the bread, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #203 “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 78. First Catechism Q. 150. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 107. Do you struggle to pray? (Who doesn’t?) Do you need encouragement? (Who doesn’t?) We encourage you to read this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson on the third and fourth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

Do you struggle with depression? Do you care for someone who does? I encourage you to take advantage of Edward T. Welch’s very useful book “Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness,” the Kindle version of which is available for $2.51. You can read a Kindle book on a Kindle device, using apps on your iPhone, iPad, other mobile devices, on your Mac, PC, and on the web. Even if depression is not a present concern for you, it is helpful to recognize that discouragement and depression exist in a continuum, and many will find this book helpful in varied settings. I certainly did. KH.

Upcoming Events and Notices

December 14 (Lord’s Day): Please note that there will be no fellowship potluck meal. You are instead invited to the Christmas dinner on December 21.

December 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for a time of Advent celebration and fellowship. There will be a sign-up sheet on the information table for the various items you can help with.

Nursery Volunteers

December 14: Yoori Han & Mari Nienhuis

December 21: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers


December 7, 2014

Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

We invite you to join us for a special time of Advent Hymnsing this Lord’s Day at 10:15 AM. Let us “prepare him room” and start our worship with a joyful celebration of our King’s Advent!

Please look below under Growth Resources for a book recommendation which is currently available free of charge.

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Our intern Sean Severns encourages us this week with the following:

With Christmas fast approaching, stop and ask yourself, “What is Christmas all about?” Is it about family and presents and delicious food? While all of these can certainly be good things during this season, they are not what Christmas is ultimately about. Christmas is about the virgin birth of a child miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. Christmas is about the Son of Man who, “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Christmas is about the coming of the Messianic King.

The prophecy in Isaiah 9:6–7 looks forward to the coming of this Messianic King. And the perfection of this King is seen in his qualifications for ruling (Wonderful Counselor), his person and power (Mighty God), his relationship to his subjects (Everlasting Father) and the security his rule creates (Prince of Peace). Far from being like all of the unfaithful and corrupt kings, princes, and rulers of this world, this Messianic King is faithful and righteous. Well, beloved, this faithful and righteous King is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus is what Christmas is all about! With this in mind, let us prepare our hearts for worship this Lord’s day, for Jesus is the greatest gift from God, and we have already received him!

— Sean Severns —

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Call to Worship

Isaiah 9:6–7

TH #194 “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

2 Peter 3:1–4

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16–17 ESV)

TH #218 “Angels, from the Realms of Glory”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

John 1:1–5

He Gave Us Light

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #196 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” stanzas 1–2 during the distribution of the bread, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #233 “To Us a Child of Hope Is Born”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 78. First Catechism Q. 150. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 107. Do you struggle to pray? (Who doesn’t?) Do you need encouragement? (Who doesn’t?) We encourage you to read this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson on the third and fourth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

Do you struggle with depression? Do you care for someone who does? I encourage you to take advantage of Edward T. Welch’s very useful book “Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness,” the Kindle version of which is available for free for a limited time. You can read a Kindle book on a Kindle device, using apps on your iPhone, iPad, other mobile devices, on your Mac, PC, and on the web. Even if depression is not a present concern for you, it is helpful to recognize that discouragement and depression exist in a continuum, and many will find this book helpful in varied settings. I certainly did. KH.

Upcoming Events and Notices

December 6 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship at the Summers’ home.

December 7 (Lord’s Day 10 AM): Please come and join us for prayer meeting.

December 7 (Lord’s Day): The children’s Bible Lesson will meet after the worship service.

December 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for a time of Advent celebration and fellowship. More information will be forthcoming. There will be a sign-up sheet on the information table for the various items you can help with.

Nursery Volunteers

December 7: Michelle & Michael Kay

December 14: Yoori Han & Mari Nienhuis


November 30, 2014

Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

Please join us for Hymnsing 10 minutes before the start of the worship service. It will be a time of preparing our hearts for worship, as well as a time to learn new psalms and hymns.

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Have you noticed how the Thanksgiving Day is a day of wondering the difference between the outward appearance and the internal reality? “Is the turkey done? It looks like it is, but I’m not sure.” Indeed, what sets apart a skillful chef from a novice? It is knowing that the golden and scrumptious-looking outside of the turkey can be misleading. What seems quite done on the outside may not indeed be ready.

Maybe we are all a little bit like the turkey. We all start out frozen, disgusting, and unappetizing. Then the fires of God begin to work on us. Then, by degrees (pun intended) we begin to change on the outside, and, more importantly, also inside. Gradually, the stench of a dead flesh becomes the aroma that makes us give thanks.

Some of us today will find giving thanks very easy. God has richly blessed you. You feel his presence near. Others among us, however, will not find it so easy. Life has been hard. You have experienced grief. You have stumbled. And, maybe, you feel there is nothing for which you can really give thanks. So where do you find the reason and the strength to give thanks today (and every day)?

We turn our hearts to Jesus, who gave thanks as he awaited his suffering and death. On the night of his betrayal and arrest, he gave thanks as he gave the cup to his disciples (Mt 26:26–29). Thus we are assured. Jesus certainly knows the difficulty of giving thanks in hard circumstances. But Jesus also knew the joy that awaited him (Heb 12:2). Indeed, we also know, because of Jesus, the fires of God will not destroy, but will bring us the place of joy and blessing. So we give thanks, both when thanksgiving is easy, and when it is hard. We give thanks, and in doing so take hold of God’s promises. “I thank my God…And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:3–6)

Indeed, let us give thanks!

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Call to Worship

Philippians 1:3–6 (p. 980)

TH #98 “Now Thank We All Our God”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Micah 6:6–8 (p. 779)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Psalms 103:13 ESV)

TH ##627 “Behold the Throne of Grace”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

1 Samuel 7 (p. 230)

Ebenezer

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #647 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” stanzas 1–3 during the distribution of the bread, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #635 “How Good It Is to Thank the Lord”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 77. First Catechism Qs. 148–149. For adults: Shorter Catechism Qs. 105–106. Do you struggle to pray? (Who doesn’t?) Do you need encouragement? (Who doesn’t?) We encourage you to read this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson on the third and fourth petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

Upcoming Events and Notices

November 30 (Lord’s Day 10:20 AM): Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.

December 6 (Saturday 7 AM): All men are invited for a time of study, prayer, and fellowship.

December 7 (Lord’s Day 9:30): The children’s Bible Lesson will meet after the worship service.

December 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for a time of Advent celebration and fellowship. More information will be forthcoming.

Nursery Volunteers

November 30: Liza Beede & Amanda Severns

December 7: Michelle & Michael Kay


June 29, 2014

Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship

The Han family has been living through a mild inconvenience of sorts. Due to a water leak under the sink that went undetected, much of our kitchen needed to be demolished and reconstructed, along with areas connected with the kitchen. Now that the work of reconstruction is in full swing, we have been treated to some spiritual lessons. When we moved into this house in 2008, we found Roman Catholic saint medals taped to every single window sill in the house. The previous occupants, apparently, were very superstitious. It seems they placed these medals at every window, perhaps, to ward of evil spirits.

This week the workers have been removing our damaged floor. In the process they have discovered Roman Catholic saint medals placed in the hollow chipped out of the concrete slab beneath the floor. They have also found more taped behind the baseboard at various places around the house. Interestingly, they have also found some coins with Chinese inscribed in them. I can only guess they are amulets of some sort. I guess they weren’t such devout Roman Catholics, after all; they were hedging their bets! Or, maybe they were great Roman Catholics; Roman Catholicism has always had syncretistic bent, adopting, and adapting to, prevalent customs and habits of its surroundings. Indeed, one of the reasons Roman Catholicism has spread so widely is that it never challenged too seriously the native superstitions and faiths, but instead absorbed and incorporated them into its piety and practice.

In contrast, the heirs of the Protestant Reformation have insisted on the utter superiority of Christ over all faiths and religions. In this regard we are utterly inflexible, and therefore hopelessly out of touch with the mores of the present culture. We insist there is no salvation apart from Christ. It also means we do not hedge our bets. While the world runs after the trendiest guru and expert, we know that when we have Christ, we have everything. Yes, the exclusivity of Christ means utter sufficiency of our Savior. If we have him, we have him. He is not a half-savior, but the complete and sufficient Savior.

Call to Worship

Psalms 71:17–21

TH #94 “How Firm a Foundation”

Prayer of Invocation

Reading of the Law and Confession of Sin

Romans 1:16–17

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of Pardon

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4–7 ESV)

TH #77 “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”

Presentation of Tithes and Offering

Pastoral Prayer

The Proclamation of God’s Word

James 2:20–26

Faith Alive? Don’t Be An Airhead

Rev. Ken Han

The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper

Baptized Christians who are members in good standing in Reformed or evangelical churches are invited to participate. Otherwise, please let the bread and the cup pass you by. During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #56 “When All Your Mercies, O My God” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.

TH #731 “Doxology”

Benediction

Growth Resources

Family Devotion for the Week

For children: Long Story Short and Old Story New: chapter 60. First Catechism Qs. 116–117. For adults: Shorter Catechism Q. 81. In this week’s Shorter Catechism lesson we consider the Tenth Commandment, or, doing all things for Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Events and Notices

June 27 (Friday 7 PM): The Session will meet at the Summers’ home.

July 7 (Lord’s Day 9:30 AM): Please join us for prayer meeting.

Nursery Volunteers

June 29: Michelle Kay & Amanda Severns

July 6: Kelly & Rebecca Rogers


Marcia Hoel Update (April 15, 2014)

Dear Church,

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." (Psalms 116:15 ESV)

Marcia Hoel entered into glory 12:40AM, April 15.

As I sat beside Marcia and saw Marcia in decline, I often thought about the hymn "A Debtor to Mercy Alone." This hymn ends with the line:

Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv'n;
more happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in heav'n.

How full of the gospel comfort is this song! The "earnest" is the Holy Spirit, who was given to help us in our weakness. When Marcia became too weak to speak or to pray, the Spirit interceded for her with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26ff). And the Spirit in you was praying through you for Marcia as well. As your pastor I am grateful for your prayers, and the Spirit who dwells in us.

The hymn also speaks of the saints in heaven as “more happy, but not more secure.” This is a great encouragement for us as we fight our daily battles. So often it feels as though we are perishing. But the glorious truth is that God holds us faithfully in this life, and we are as safe and secure as the glorified spirits in heaven.

And how sweet for Marcia. For she is now a glorified spirit in heaven. She is now, indeed, “more happy.”

We all loved Marcia and we mourn her suffering and death. Yet we do so with the sure knowledge that Marcia fought the good fight until the very end (I saw with my own eyes), trusted and loved her Savior, and has entered into her reward and rest. Jesus comforted Marcia through her last trial, and may he now comfort all of you who loved her.

I had a chance to visit with Marcia’s family today. Most of Marcia’s children live in Colorado, and need to return. Thus it seems best to the family to hold a memorial service for Marcia in a few weeks’ time. Marcia’s family is deeply grateful for all your prayers and offers of help.

I will forward details concerning the memorial service, and what help we can offer her family, in due time.

In Christ,

Pastor Ken