Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I'm on vacation this week so I won't see you next Sunday, January 1.  Pastor Ray Venghaus will be preaching and leading worship instead.  Pastor Ray has been at Shepherd a number of times before so the service should go smoothly.

If you have an urgent need for pastoral care this week, please contact me.  I'm staying at home so will be available if needed.  You can email me at my usual address, or call me at the numbers listed in the bulletin.  Home phone is usually best if you want a quick response.

May you and your loved ones have a happy and safe New Year's Day celebration!


Lessons for Sunday, January 1, 2017
Isaiah 63:7-9
Psalm 148
Hebrew 2:10-18
Matthew 2:13-23


Wednesday    No Bible Study

Sunday         10:00 am Worship

*One service this Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

Looking ahead

Ladies Dinner
January 3
6:00 pm
Bugatti's at Tanasbourne
Please RSVP to Tammy

Men's Night
January 5
6:00 pm
Lil' Cooperstown

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Sometimes I'm not that excited about Christmas but this year I am.  Not sure why.  Frankly, I don't care.  These things can be over-analyzed!  It's enough just to feel happy and grateful — then we can look for reasons why.  But somehow I can't stop wondering.  Maybe this year I'm taking the message of Christmas more seriously.  The Word of God made human, God with us.  Giftedness.  Because God was born human as baby Jesus, humans are gifted.  Jesus had a body, mind, spirit like ours.  So all our bodies, our minds, our spirits are chosen, blessed, special.  That's the gospel truth.  Jesus' birth makes us able to receive God.  And we do.  God deep in our flesh and bones.  God among our feelings and thoughts.  God in our dreams.  Radiation treatment, it is said, changes our cells, our chromosomes.  The radiance of God's glory in Jesus irradiates us.  Deep down.  We are changed "from one degree of glory into another." (2Cor. 3:18).  We put up lots of lights at Christmas to express that deeper light we feel in our spirits as gift by Jesus' birth.  Is it crazy to feel happy as I meditate on these things?  Well, then, call me crazy.  But at least I'm happy and grateful to God for Christmas.  I hope you can feel happy and grateful, too, for all God's gifts to you.

Practical Christmas info: Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24, two services, 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.  Christmas Morning, Sunday December 25, one service at 10:00 a.m.  Come ye, O come ye, to SOV!

Merry Christmas!

* * * * * * *


Wednesday     No Bible Study

Saturday        Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
                       4:00 pm and 6:00 pm

Sunday          10:00 am Christmas Day Service

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I love watching British murder mysteries.  I've seen every episode of "Inspector Morse" and its descendants ("Inspector Lewis," "Endeavor").  "Vera" and "George Gently" are also favorites.  I've read far fewer detective novels by English authors.  But some time ago I read a book by P.D. James, author of the Inspector Dalgliesh mysteries.  It's called The Children of Men, and I think of it every year late in the season of Advent.

The book is a spiritual meditation in the form of a murder mystery; the title comes from Ps. 90:3 in the King James Version, where the Psalmist, addressing God, says:

"Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men."

The plot turns around one stunning development: in 1995 human reproduction ceased.  No women get pregnant.  No more babies are born.  By 2021, the "Omega generation" had begun to reach maturity.  Despair prevails.  No babies, no future for the human race.  People turn to weird religious cults or waste their lives in dissolute living and drug-induced numbness.  They check out of life in a variety of ways.  Where is meaning and hope when likely extinction stares you in the face?

But then, among a small bunch of rag-tag revolutionaries who oppose Britain's fascist government, a woman becomes pregnant.  The father's identity is unclear — no likely suspects are known.  Government intelligence agencies discover she's with child.  State security forces begin the hunt.  Can this small group of revolutionaries find her a refuge where the baby will be born free to inspire hope? Or will the police capture her so the government can use the baby for propaganda purposes?

I won't tell you how it turns out — you'll have to read and discover the truth for yourself.

But this story shows me what is at stake in the birth of the Christ child.  The babe of Bethlehem is not sentimental kitsch.  The birth of Jesus is a world-shaking, history-making blessed event.  Now is the time to turn your attention to the Christmas story and think on what it means for days yet to come.

Psalm 90:11-17 (KJV)
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, December 18, 2016

Isaiah 7:10-16
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25


Thursday    10:00 am LLL
                   12:00 pm All Church Luncheon

Friday        9:00 - 12:00 pm KOK preschool
                  7:00 - 9:00 pm Private Event

Saturday   9:30 & 11:30 am SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday      8:30 & 11:00 am Worship Service

Join us for caroling
Sunday, December 18th, meeting at SOV at 5:15 pm
Followed by a chili potluck supper

Christmas Eve Candle light Services
4:00 pm & 6:00 pm

Christmas Day Service
Service of Lessons and Carols
December 25
10:00 am

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

CANCELLED: Wednesday evening Advent soup supper and devotion for December 14

NO Advent soup supper and devotion for Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

Due to the definite chance of snow forecast for this afternoon the Wednesday evening Advent soup supper and devotion gathering will be cancelled.

Be safe and stay warm~

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

What would Christmas be without a Children's Christmas Program at church?  Well, we won't have to find out this year, thanks be to God and to the Parish Education team.  The kids will put on a skit with songs and other surprises during the late worship service.  If you don't already know the Gospel of Jesus Christ, come to the late service on December 11.  You'll surely hear it from our children!

Also: we are just beginning to realize that some really bad and traumatic things happen to men — just as they do to women.  Our awareness of traumatic brain injuries (car crashes, explosions, football, stroke) is beginning to open up a deeper understanding of trauma in the lives of men, and what it takes to help men heal.  So, for Adult Education on December 11, Mr. Matt Burton will talk about his non-profit organization, Helping Men Heal.  HMH is dedicated to helping men from all backgrounds and beliefs heal from trauma and loss.  By supporting research, training, prevention, and early intervention, HMH helps men break the cycle of trauma and loss so they can rebuild lives.  Mr. Burton has a great personal story to share about how he came to this work.  And of course there are opportunities to partner with HMH if the Spirit moves you.  This is really worth hearing.  I hope that lots of you will attend the Adult Education session this Sunday to look more deeply into this issue.

Finally: today is the 75th anniversary of the attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  We still remember.  And we still thank God for the courage of so many who gave their lives during that awful global conflict.  But we also thank God that the Japanese and Americans are now friends, mostly, and friendly competitors on the world stage.  Paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward peace on earth."  Read Luke 2:13-14.  And pray that peace comes as quickly as Christmas.

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, December 11, 2016
Isaiah 35:1-10
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11


Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK preschool/chapel
                   10:00 am Bible Study
                    5:30 pm  Advent Soup Supper
                    6:00 - 7:00 pm Advent Devotion

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK preschool
                    6:00 pm Men's Night
                    7:00 pm  LLL

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 pm KOK preschool

Saturday      9:20 - 11:30 am SOV choir rehearsal
                    5:00 - 8:00 pm Private event

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 am Worship
                   11:00 am  Childrens Christmas Program
                    9:45 am Sunday School for all ages
                    1:00 pm Confirmation Class
                    1:30 pm OEC

Wednesday's in Advent

5:30 pm Soup/bread supper
6:00 pm Advent Devotion

Children's Christmas Program
Sunday at 11:00 am

All Church Christmas Luncheon
Thursday, December 15th at 12:00 pm
All are invited to attend

Christmas Caroling
Sunday, December 18th
Meet at SOV at 5:15 (to carpool to local retirement facilities) followed by Chili supper at SOV
All are welcome!

December Newsletter