DUE to the COVID-19 pandemic
WELCOME TO OUR VISITORS: Like everyone else, we are trying to avoid COVID-19 among all of us. Some of us are more vulnerable than others. We ask everyone to keep six feet from others and wear a mask so that no one becomes ill by attending worship. Some of us will be participating virtually through Zoom at home and others will be in the building. If in the future you wish to participate on Zoom at home contact Karl Marcussen and he will help you join us.
PLEASE DO NOT allow the pandemic to interfere with your relationship to God. If you do not come to the building for worship, join us on ZOOM. If you need a songbook let us know and we will get one to you. If you do not have the elements for communion, we can supply you with a packet that has all you need. If you do not join in the communion when the congregation celebrates together, have a communion service in your home with family or by yourself. We need to focus on the sacrifice of Jesus and on the shedding of his blood which washes away our sins, and this time of isolation should not interfere with that.
BIBLE STUDY AT HOME Several have expressed to me how much they miss the Bible study classes that we have always had on Wednesday and Sunday. Of course we encourage you to pick up your Bible daily and study. Take some time to read spiritual growth books which you can also borrow. Keep growing in your knowledge of the Lord and his Word (Matthew 4:4).
We have eight correspondence courses that are straight Bible studies that you can take free of charge and with postage paid. We have two basic courses, a special needs course for understanding substance abuse, three general Bible study courses and two advanced courses. Just let us know which kind of course you want and we will send you the lessons.
INTRODUCTION — John referred to this song, which was sung before the lesson: “Silent Night.”
A. Skeptics claim that Matthew and Luke contradict.I. MATTHEW — A JEW WRITING TO JEWISH CHRISTIANS
1. Much of what we hear at Christmas contradicts fact.
2. Statements are often not possible.
A star cannot stay over a manger or lead.
B. Anything you read you have to ask who wrote it, to whom, why, and how would people of that time have understood it.
A. Presents Jesus as the New MosesII. LUKE — A GREEK WRITING TO A GENTILE AUDIENCE
Notice parallels between Joseph in Genesis and Joseph in Matthew.B. Shows Jesus had significance for Jews & Gentiles.
A. Begins by relating Jesus to John — Luke 1:76-77.III. THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION IN THE GOSPELS
B. Luke 2:1-5 — Explains how Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem.C. The birth of Jesus has different players.
1. Luke 2:8-12 — Angels announce to shepherds.
2. Luke 2:13-14 — Angels and heaven's celebration.
3. Luke 2:16-18 — Shepherds visit family.
4. Luke 2:28-32 — Jesus is taken to Jerusalem.
5. Luke 2:40-52 — Jesus as a teen.
A. Matthew — a Jewish view of Jesus — the new Moses.IV. WHAT CAN YOU TRUST?
B. Luke — Gentile view of Jesus, the universal Savior.
C. John — The meaning and history of spirituality
No nativity story.D. Mark — The ministry of the adult Jesus
E. Hebrews — the fifth gospel, the encourager
A. The Bible in the original language — 2 Timothy 3:16-17
1. Look at the context, the author, the purpose.B. Acts 2:38 — The Holy Spirit helps us.
2. A good concordance when there is a question.
C. Do you feel the Holy Spirit move you?
John referred our concluding song “Joy to the World”
THE BACK PAGE
It is always interesting to me that about this time of year we begin to see church bulletins blasting Christmas. For some reason there are a lot of folks in the restoration church movement that seem to feel it is necessary to denigrate Christmas. What they say is true, but unnecessary. Jesus certainly was not born in December. The shepherds would not be in their fields in December. The inns and hotels would hot have been full in December. The biblical narrative certainly does not tell us that we should make December 25 a special religious celebration, and the secular history of the December solstice was adopted for political reasons.
The question remains then; why we have brothers and sisters who will not put up a Christmas tree, sing songs about the birth of Jesus, exchange gifts, etc. Is it not a good thing that for once people are thinking about giving to others, and do so as a celebration centered around Christ? Is it not wonderful that we have a day set aside when everyone pauses from the chaos of their regular schedule and spends time with family and in sharing with others?
In Romans 14:5-8 Paul deals with this subject: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord, … For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. … So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Most people have no idea why December 25 was chosen as the day everyone celebrates the birth of Christ. When someone puts up a Christmas tree they have no notion of where that tradition came from. The tradition of giving presents on the day that the birth of Christ is celebrated has an interesting historical root, but few of us know where that came from.
The year 2020 has been a year that will go down in history as the year of the modern pandemic. Certainly stopping at the end of it and reflecting on what has happened and what is really important in life is not a bad thing, no matter what your feelings about the holiday are. Let us be safe and enjoy the holiday.
— John Clayton
Our sign by the street!
Sign saying from www.sayingsforchurchsigns.com.
Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.