RELIGION: Special Christmas Eve services planned at several local churches

BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCHHere it is, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, the day the world is supposed to end. I am guessing that if you are reading this, it really didn’t happen. A friend of mine said, as we were talking about our plans in 2013, “It won’t matter because, according to the Mayans we won’t be here.” I replied, “I’m not worried about it, because I’m not ‘Mayan, I’m His’n!” And I pointed toward heaven.Just because it did not happen today, doesn’t mean it won’t. One day Jesus Christ will return and receive us unto Himself that where He is we will be also. What a glorious day that will be, and the Bible reminds us that no man knows the day or the hour, so we need to ready now. That’s why Paul declared, “Today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time.” Are you ready? One of my favorite songs says, “It could happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” I pray that you are ready for that moment. If not, trust Christ today and have the greatest Christmas ever.We at Broadway would like to give you an invite to come to our Cantata: “Mary Did You Know?”. It will be performed by our adult choir this Sunday, Dec. 23, during the morning service. We hope to see you there.If you don’t have a church home, we would like to welcome you to come and visit us this Sunday. Our Life Groups, which is for all ages, starts at 10 a.m.  Our morning service is at 10:50 a.m. and our evening service begins at 6 p.m. Come and let us be a blessing to you as we worship the Lord together.EMMANUEL FELLOWSHIP CHURCHWe invite you to join us this Sunday at Emmanuel Fellowship Church! Our Sunday morning services are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Both morning services are filled with the same warm fellowship, dynamic worship and life-giving messages, as well as top-notch children’s ministry and nursery care for children up to fifth grade.This Sunday, Pastor Eric will be continuing our Advent Sermon Series, entitled “Following the Scarlet Thread: From The Garden to the Manger.” Come listen to this week’s message as we prepare our hearts for the beauty of Christmas.We also invite you to step into The Growth Central Bookstore when you visit EFC. It’s stocked with Bibles, study aids, devotionals, marriage and parenting resources, worship music, inspirational gifts, original art and fiction books — there’s something for everyone! The bookstore will be open between Sunday morning services, from 10:30-11 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. For more information about the ministry of EFC, log onto the church website at LUTHERAN CHURCHFaith Lutheran MS members this advent have been learning what Isaiah, the prophet, had to say about the coming of the Messiah. His words told us that we could walk in the light and spirit of the Lord and took us on a journey to Bethlehem. Candle light Christmas Eve service, 7 p.m., we will sing carols for the special event of Christ’s birth. Anyone is welcome to attend and rejoice with us. The Sunday morning services began with devotion at the Sweetwater Healthcare Center at 9 a.m., Sunday school, 9:45 a.m. and worship service at 10:45 a.m. Newcomers to Sweetwater are welcome. Blessed Christmas to all.FIRST BAPTIST CHURCHFirst Baptist Church invites you and your family to join us on this Sunday, Dec. 23, for Bible study, beginning at 9:15 a.m. for all ages, followed by the Sunday morning service which begins at 10:30 a.m. First Baptist Church is located at 213 East Third Street, next door to the Post Office. All are welcome.Your presence will enhance our worship experience and our fellowship together!Many events are planned during the month of December. If you have a class party planned, please notify the church office so that it can be placed on the church calendar and bulletin. Also, please contact the church office if you would like to order a poinsettia “In Memory Of” or “In Honor Of” someone dear to you.Christmas Eve Service will be held Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. You, your family and friends are invited to this special Christmas Eve service. Please join us for this special service that celebrates the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.Sign-ups for the photographer will begin next week in preparation for our new Church Directory. Please select a time for your family to be photographed on either Jan. 9, 10, 11 or 12. The photographer will be here from 2 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on each of the days listed. We want everyone to be represented in this new directory so please go to our website and sign up online.We want everyone to enjoy this wonderful time of the year as we reminisce and fellowship together. We will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift ever to walk this planet. We will celebrate in unity with hope, love, joy and peace for in our Lord is unfailing love and full redemption. Join us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!For in depth information, find us on Facebook and check the website UNITED METHODIST CHURCHSweetwater First United Methodist Church wants to invite you to join us on Sunday mornings to worship and praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The United Methodist Church is open to all persons and is a place where all are welcome and encouraged to “come as you are” with the expectation that by the grace of God you will leave different. The change that a relationship with Christ brings about is a life-changing encounter and we believe that while God accepts us as we are He loves us enough not to leave us in our sins. We believe that Scripture informs all aspects of our lives and should be our rule and authority.The first service begins at 8:45 a.m. and is built around a traditional model with great hymns of the church. This service uses a more liturgical framework and often employs a wonderful choir. Immediately following the first service we have Sunday school classes for all ages and stages of life. We invite you to try one of our many opportunities to come together and seek God in small groups that emphasize God’s Word and proclaim His glory. At 10:50 a.m. we have a second worship service that has a decidedly contemporary flavor and incorporates more of progressive style and pace. This second service also has a children’s time and “Children’s Church” for kids in preschool through second grade.Sweetwater FUMC also has youth activities on Sunday nights beginning at 6 p.m. Every Tuesday and Wednesday FUMC hosts the Gaylord’s Pantry and a clothes closet. Both of those ministries operate from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Please enter through the North (4th street) entrance if you would like to receive God’s blessing through either of these ministries.News this week: This Sunday FUMC will have only one service at 10:50 a.m. We will be having an all-church breakfast in the fellowship hall at 9:45 a.m. Bring a breakfast dish to share and come join us for a time of singing and celebration. On Monday, Christmas Eve, FUMC will have its annual Christmas Eve services at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. We would love for everyone to join us as we celebrate the birth of our Savior with a service to honor Him.Activities this week:Sunday at 9:45 a.m. — Breakfast fellowship and singing Christmas carols. Sunday at 10:50 a.m. — ONE worship service. Monday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. — Christmas Eve candlelight and communion service. Fun activities are offered at different times during the month for fourth through sixth graders (Club 456) and first through third graders (UMKids).If you have any questions call Linda at our church office (325-236-6617) or email If you need prayer or have the need to contact our pastor you can call the same number or email him at HEIGHTS UNITED METHODIST CHURCHYou are welcome to join us for the fourth Sunday of the Advent Season in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. The sanctuary is adorned with Christmas decorations, an advent wreath and a chrismon tree filled with Christian symbols. Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m. and worship service is at 10:45 a.m., with a special guest speaker, Rev. Allen Brooks. Worship assistants are Lisa Peterson serving as worship leader, Brenda Alexander leads the congregational hymns and plays the keyboard, pianist is Eugenia Hill and our greeter for the month of December is Mary Walker. The worship service will be blessed with a musical selection presented by Susan Brooks.Return this Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. for a special Christmas play presentation by Lisa Peterson, Brenda Alexander, Jesse Riley and Jenene and Doug Taylor.During the Christmas season, we sometimes find ourselves being consumed or under stress with the hustle and bustle. Bless This House calls for prayer that God gives us the strength to stay focused and not succumb to the pressures of commercialization of the season. Pray that our daily living conveys to our fellowman the true meaning of Christmas and that God has already given his most precious gift to mankind.You are always invited to join us at 1801 Lamar Street, sharing in our vision of making Disciples of Jesus Christ, growing spiritually, fulfilling our God-given gifts, witnessing to others and ministering to ones in need.THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS (THE MORMONS)The Light of the World By Kimberly Reid(Based on a true story.)“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).Erin stood on Temple Square in Salt Lake City looking at life-sized statues of the nativity scene and waiting for the music and story to begin. Christmas lights twinkled all around her. But it didn’t feel like Christmastime.“Are you all right?” Mom asked her. Erin nodded, but she wasn’t so sure. Only a few days ago, a boy from Erin’s class at school had died in a car accident. She had seen a lot of people crying at the funeral, and she had cried a lot herself. She hadn’t known the boy that well, but Erin knew his family loved him as much as her family loved her. She felt scared to know that something like that could happen to someone her age.Now she didn’t feel excited for Christmas. She felt worried all the time—scared to get in a car, scared to be apart from her parents, scared to leave her house in case something bad happened to her while she was away. All the Christmas lights on Temple Square couldn’t erase the worried feeling inside her. How could she be happy in a world where she wasn’t always safe?“It’s about to start,” Dad said. He pointed to the nativity scene.The loudspeakers crackled to life, and a voice began speaking. Music played and spotlights shone down on statues of shepherds, Wise Men, Mary and Joseph. Erin listened to the familiar story. The baby Jesus was born and laid in a manger. Angels sang. Shepherds worshipped. Wise Men rejoiced.Erin looked at the faces of her parents and the crowd gathered around the nativity scene. They all seemed happy. But why was everyone so happy about the baby Jesus if His birth didn’t stop bad things from happening? Erin didn’t like the question circling through her head. All she wanted was to stop feeling afraid.The story ended, and a recording of the prophet’s voice came over the loudspeaker. He bore his testimony and read a scripture from the Bible: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).Erin’s heart beat faster. She said the words again in her mind, trying to remember them. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.The scripture said that everyone would die—young people, old people—everyone. Erin knew that, of course, but she hadn’t thought about it much before. She thought she was too young to think about such things. But she wasn’t too young to have a testimony of the truth: because of Jesus Christ, everyone would live again. That’s why the shepherds and Wise Men rejoiced. They understood what Jesus had come to earth to do.Erin looked from the little stable to a window in the visitors’ center behind the nativity scene. Inside the building a light shone on a large statue of Jesus stretching out His scarred hands. Erin thought about the little baby in the manger and how He grew into someone who had all power. And yet He chose to sacrifice His life for her. He had been born so she could live again. No matter what happened, Erin could feel safe in Jesus’s love.Peace washed over her. She couldn’t quite explain how, but her worry disappeared. When she looked at the statue of Jesus Christ, shining brighter than twinkling Christmas lights, she barely noticed the dark night sky. She was too busy feeling the warmth of hope flickering inside her.“Jesus Christ is … the light of the world because his example and his teachings illuminate the path we should walk to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.”First Presidency expresses condolences in wake of Connecticut shootingSalt Lake City — The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Friday:“We are profoundly saddened by the events this morning at a school in Connecticut. We grieve with all those affected by this tragedy and especially for the families of these little children.“In this hour of great sorrow we pray the Spirit of our Father in Heaven will provide comfort and peace to all.”Sweetwater Branch Calendar• Sunday, Dec. 23 — Church services at 9 a.m. Visitors are welcome.Monday, Dec. 24 — Family home evening “Christmas Eve.”Tuesday, Dec. 25 — Christmas celebration.Wednesday, Dec. 26 — Cub Scouts and young men/young womenSunday, Dec. 30 — Church Services 9 a.m. Visitors are welcome.Monday, Dec. 31 — Family home evening.Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 — New Year’s Day celebration.We are located at 910 Elm Street in Sweetwater. If you would like to talk with representatives of the church about the Savior’s teachings, call 1-800-622-5595.Missionaries serving in this area are Elder Weldon and Elder Rose.If local questions, call (325) 864-2999.ST. STEPHEN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCHWe will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Nativity on Monday, Dec. 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m. There will be no service at the church on Sunday, Dec. 23.TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH Trinity’s annual Christmas Eve candlelight service begins at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. This service features singing, candles and The Lord’s Supper. If you haven’t yet started a tradition of attending Christmas Eve Services, why not begin this year? We would love to have you. Services generally last from 45 minutes to one hour, so you will be back home in plenty of time for Christmas Eve activities. Childcare is provided for children up to age three.Trinity Baptist Church, located at the corner of Hailey and Santa Fe here in Sweetwater, invites you to worship with us at any time during this beautiful Christmas season. Our church family consists of people from all walks of life and people who are at different places in their walk with God. The casual, family atmosphere works well with our weekly worship services, which include both traditional and praise music. If you are looking for a church home, please give us a try. Our service schedule is:Sundays• 9:30 a.m. — Sunday school (for all ages, nursery through senior adults).• 10:45 a.m. — Morning worship.• 6 p.m. — Adult and youth Bible studies Wednesdays• 6:30 p.m. — Adult prayer time; youth Bible study.This Sunday, Dec. 23, the Richard Acuña family will light the Advent Candle and our new youth pastor, Bro. Emmanuel Jimenez, will be preaching. There will be no evening services at Trinity this Sunday in order for our families to travel to their Christmas destinations. Services for Wednesday, Dec. 26, will also be suspended. All regularly scheduled activities will resume on Sunday, Dec. 30.It is our prayer that you find hope this Christmas Season…hope in the form of Jesus Christ, born in a lowly manger in Bethlehem, and dying on the Cross for all our sins. If you would like more information on how to accept Christ as your Savior, drop by our offices (located on the Crescent Street side of our facility) or call our church at 235-2991. We would be happy to share the plan of Salvation with you. May God bless you all.WORD OF GOD CHURCHHosea 4:6 God’s scripture says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” If you are reading this, obviously the world has not ended. Once again, we allow worldly wisdom and knowledge to convince us that it might happen. Don’t know if the Mayans were just false prophet’s or if the calender never got finished because the people perished away and no one could finish the calender. So the ones that tried to convince us may be the false prophets. Yet we still get uneasy concerning these things they tell us will happen. The scriptures in Hosea 4 are telling us that those who are God’s children will be destroyed for lack of knowledge. Not the knowledge of the world or man, but the knowledge of God. We are all looking for something to tell us when the world will end. We look at man’s knowledge to understand, but we miss it because we don’t know God’s knowledge. God’s knowledge doesn’t speak of the Mayans. But it does tell us what to look for when Christ is coming back. The reason we look to the world’s knowledge is because we don’t know God’s. This comes from the lack of reading God’s Word and having the Holy Spirit to teach spiritual knowledge and to give understanding, instead of being fooled by men. Luke 21:29-31 Jesus said Behold the fig tree and all trees. When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now close at hand. So likewise, when you see these things come to pass know you that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.So what does “when you see these things” mean? Well “these things” are spoken of in the scriptures. I can tell you there is nothing in there about the Mayans and their calender. But if you don’t have God’s knowledge or His understanding you would not know that and you would also not know when the signs are being shown to us by God. Read Matthew 24:1-25:46 these are signs given to us by Jesus. Do you see the trees shooting forth? Remember God’s word said that “you see and know for your own selves.”Are you getting taught God’s truths or just a prepared message for church? Are you reading His word or depending on someone to tell you? Many will be deceived for lack of the full truth of God. Look up, salvation might be coming or maybe not. Only the ones that have the knowledge of God’s scriptures and what He says about the end will know that the time is at hand. Will you?Word of God service times: • Sunday mornings at 10:30.• Adult Bible study is Thursday nights from 5:30-8 p.m.• Youth church is Wednesday nights from 6:30-8 p.m.• Youth hang out night is Sunday nights from 6:30-8 p.m.Transforming ordinary people into passionate followers of Christ, through God’s Word growing them into mature Christians to be Jesus’ lights in this world and witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus and the kingdom of God seeking the lost for the glory of God and His kingdom.