Monday, December 15

A Blessed Christmas


Christmas Eve
4:00  PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols, a fun retelling of the Christmas story using puppets, and some of St. Andrew's children participating in the leadership of worship.  This experience, designed to be less than an hour, is perfect for families with younger children, those of you who need to get home to prepare dinner, parties, and family gatherings, and those of you who are young at heart who will have your hearts stirred as we bring the innocent and wise together to praise the new born king.
7:00 and 10:00 PM - Candlelight Communion
Traditional Christmas Eve worship with familiar carols, special music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, the proclamation of the birth of our Lord, the celebration of Communion, and gathering with lit candles for the singing of Silent Night.  This is a night of reunion for many St. Andrew's families and an opportunity to bring welcome and blessing to many guests, some who are coming through our doors for the very first time.  Be sure to invite family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you for worship.  Come join us as we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, the life of his Son among us.
 Please keep in mind that there will be Christmas music before each of these services.  Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice and enjoy music of the season.  If you do not get to sing all of your favorite Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, join us on the Sunday after Christmas (December 28) at 10 AM we keep the celebration going. with a service of Lessons and Carols.
Our regular worship schedule resumes on January 4 (Epiphany Celebration) with worship at 8:15 and 11 AM, Christian Education at 9:30 AM.  Weekly 5 PM Saturday Worship resumes on January 3 as well.
On behalf of our staff and Church Council, I wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year.
Peace,


Pastor Mueller



Tuesday, December 9

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Dear Friends,

In the season of Advent, we hear voices crying in the wilderness.  The wilderness isn't supposed to have voices.  That's what makes it wilderness.  There's the howling of wild animals, the songs of a few birds, and the moaning of the wind, but not voices. Our English word wilderness means place of wild things.  The Bible's Greek word for wilderness can be more accurately translated as "place of abandonment."  The still more ancient Hebrew word for wilderness means literally "somewhere beyond words."

Most of us know that place beyond words, that place beyond what feels like home.  Words like layoff, downsizing, inoperable, terminal, divorce, accident, suicide can banish us to the wilderness, those places beyond words.  We then walk a road we we can't name in a place that is beyond description.  Perhaps this is what Jesus was experiencing as he used words of scripture, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as even He stumbled into the wordless abyss, a place where there is seemingly no answer to the question, "Why?"

There is only that word calling from the distance, "Come home.  You are my beloved child.  Your place is here."  The road home will  lead to place of beauty and grace, to people who love you and forgive you, to people who will laugh with you and cry with you.  The road will also lead to word and sacrament, prayer and song, and a community of faith. And then it leads us back again into those wilderness places where the voice we need to hear remains and we remember that we are not alone.

Holy God, speak the Word into the silence and emptiness of our lives.  Call us, gather us, enlighten us, sanctify us, and direct us by your Spirit, that we might know the home that we have in you, now and always.  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.  

Peace,

Pastor Mueller


Monday, December 1

A Love that Never Fails

Dear Friends,

Our lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures during the season of Advent remind us that, in many ways, God called  Israel as his chosen people.  However, we are also reminded that, sadly, Israel didn't always choose God.  At times, the relationship seemed woefully one sided.  More often than not, especially in times of trouble, distractions, temptations, and despair led people away.  Perhaps there have been times in your life when you felt like your relationship with God was that way too.

Yet for them and us, God's love endures.  Why?  Well, there are many parents who will tell you that when a child is disappointing and even sometimes disobedient, the underlying commitment remains.  And whether you are a parent or not, a broken heart is the price we sometimes pay for unconditional love.

In this holy season, we see God's love poured out as he sends prophets and then sends his Son in human flesh to dwell among us.  We see God's love from the manger to the cross to the empty tomb to our hearts.  We see God's love in candles and decorations, word and sacrament, prayer and song, and the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. By all of these means, God shares our burdens, reaches out with arms of love, and welcomes us home.  Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.

Peace,

Pastor Mueller  


Monday, November 10

Special Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving Service / Pot Luck Dinner: Sunday November 23 @ 6PM
Downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall

We have come to realize that our annual Thanksgiving Eve Service is not an ideal time for many individuals and families to gather for worship.  On the night before Thanksgiving many people are traveling, getting ready to travel, or preparing for guests who are arriving on Thanksgiving morning.  This trend has certainly been reflected in declining numbers at Thanksgiving Eve worship each year.

Keeping this in mind, we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with our faith community this year on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving and we will do it around a meal.  The meal, designed with children in mind, will be about an hour in length and will include hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, a scripture reading, short skit, and message.  There will also be an opportunity (for those who desire) to share your blessings or prayer requests at your table).

Reminder: There will be no Thanksgiving Eve Service @ St. Andrew's this year.
 A sign- up sheet is posted in the narthex so that we know about how many people will be attending (family and friends welcome) as well as whether you are planning to bring a salad, entrĂ©e item, or dessert.  If you do not have an opportunity to sign up at church, you can e-mail this information to Eileen in the church office (emielke@standrewslutheran.com).  Please sign up with numbers and food to bring by Monday November 17.  

We are also requesting that each individual or family attending bring at least one non-perishable food item as we continue to support local food pantries and share of our abundant blessings.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and his mercy endures forever."  See you on Nov. 23rd!



Monday, November 3

Opportunities to Grow in Faith

Thank you, everyone who worked so hard up front and behind the scenes for what was a truly powerful All Saints Celebration.  We especially want to thank our choirs for adding so much to our day together.  We are looking forward to some very special music this upcoming Sunday as well.  We hope that you will join us!

This Sunday at 9:30 AM, we will also be starting  new offerings in adult education.  Downstairs in Jerusalem Room (classroom at bottom of stairs near church office) we will be gathering for "Vocation: It's Not Just A Job," focusing on our life and faith journey beyond Sunday morning and beyond the boundaries of occupation.  Join us for this Bible Study, discussion, and some powerful guest speakers who will challenge us and inspire us to think about how we are called to serve Christ all week long.

Also at 9:30 this Sunday, we begin a series, "Walking the Road to Bethlehem" that meets in Daniel's Den (on right side of office wing hallway).  Incorporating video filmed on location on the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Adam Hamilton uses historical information, archaeological evidence, and personal encounters to shed light on a profound journey , and prepares us for the Christmas season.

Finally, an Inquirer's Class will be meeting in the Narthex (church lobby) on Sundays November 9 & 16 at 9:30 AM for those seeking more information about St. Andrew's and / or membership at St. Andrew's.  New members will be received in worship on Sunday, November 23.

These gatherings are designed so that you can drop in any week and not feel like you are "in the middle of the movie."  So grab a cup of coffee and join us as together we are enriched in faith.