Advent/Christmas 2013

advent-wreath1Visitors are expected at every worship service this season.  For longtime members, this is an especially-beautiful season to invite a friend to join you.

The Children’s Christmas program at 10:30 am on December 15 is planned as a great retelling of the Christmas story in action, song, costume and speech. Soup suppers and Holden Evening Prayer are a midweek tradition which comforts both soul and stomach. Sunday morning worship this Advent will be a combination of stirring music, candlelight, and the prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus. Then, the honored traditions and carols of Christmas Eve and Day renew hope for all who gather.

Won’t you join us in worshiping the God born to us in Bethlehem?

Days and times for worship services during Advent and Christmas can be found above by clicking the gray tab titled, “Advent/Christmas.”

If you live too far to find your way to our pews, know that KOWZ 100.9 FM broadcasts worship live every Sunday morning (8:30 or 9:00 am CST, depending on the date). Also, there will be a special re-broadcast of 5pm Christmas Eve 2012 this year; tune in at 5 pm on Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013 to catch it. We extend our warmest holiday wishes to our members stationed at a distance/overseas in the military, members who must travel for work, or members otherwise who live far away.  You are near in heart to your church family, First Lutheran Church.


At the Sunday evening ecumenical service, I referenced this story.  Click the link to read the article–but more importantly, enjoy the sublime music.

Give us this day, O Lord.  Give us the eyes, ears, and hearts to be here, fully here, in this day you have made.  In this moment, may our gratitude come to You.  Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. -pastorhh


Also referenced in the sermon was the 2013 documentary, A Place At the Table.  Here is the trailer.  The film is available for checkout from our local library.  You may stream it on iTunes or Netflix.

Gerhard Frost

To illustrate the Gospel reading from Sunday, Nov 10, 2013, here is a poem by Gerhard Frost.

She held her father’s hand

as they boarded the west-flying plane.

Skipping along the carpeted ramp,

her feet hardly touching the floor.

“Where are we going?”

he asked her affectionately.

“To Grandma’s!” was her instant reply.

She did not say:

“To Bozeman or Billings or Portland.” 

She saw a face, not a place.

… “Father,” Jesus said.

He too saw a Face.

In dying, he found his way home:

“Into your hands—your future, your presence—I commit my spirit.”

Perhaps heaven isn’t a place, but a Face.

Christ Before Pilate by Walter Beck (1864-1954)

Christ Before Pilate by Walter Beck (1864-1954)


Amazing Responses

ImageOur Wed. a.m. Bible study included the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19).  A wee little man was he (also wealthy and despised was he).  But he reacted in not such a wee manner when he came face to face with Jesus.  When Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house today,” Zacchaeus immediately said, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor.”  And then he confessed, “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”

Two amazing responses to the presence of Jesus!  We claim Jesus’ presence widely.  What did he discover about life in Jesus’ presence that we might be missing in life?