RELIGION: The true meaning of Christmas

December 7, 2012

This week's church news and events

AGLOW INTERNATIONAL
Aglow International Sweetwater Community Lighthouse invites you to come join us for worship and testimony on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Holiday Inn Express. The guest speaker will be Irene Escobar from Roby, Texas.

AVONDALE BAPTIST CHURCH
Greetings from the Avondale Baptist Church family! We would like to invite everyone to come and worship with us and enjoy some good Christian fellowship! We are located at 1405 Hoyt Street. Our regular Sunday schedule is coffee fellowship at 9:20 a.m., Bible study at 9:45 a.m., worship services at 10:50 a.m. and 6 p.m. and choir practice at 7 p.m. On Wednesday evening we have On-Mission groups for all ages at 7 p.m. Please join us for Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. every Sunday.

BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH
I read about a little boy whose family was very poor. During the Christmas Holidays this boy would spend hours window shopping, but never received any gifts. He would always look at the toy soldiers and try to touch them through the window, but could not. One day he became very ill and was put in the hospital. The nurses got together and bought a Christmas gift for him. They bought a troop of toy soldiers. As he awoke and saw them, he immediately reached out to touch them and exclaimed, “There’s no glass between!” 
Two blessings were realized that day. First, the nurses were blessed by giving. Second, the boy was blessed, because there was no glass between.
Today, according to Paul, we see through a glass darkly, but there will be a day, when there will be no glass between. Fanny Crosby, who was blind, wrote,
“Face to Face with Christ my Savior,
Face to Face what will it be?” 
Some day we shall see Jesus face to face. Are you ready for that day?
We at Broadway Baptist would like to give one and all an invite to come to our two Christmas programs that will be performed this month: The first invite is to our Children’s program called: “Celebrate The Gift”. It will be performed on the 16th during the morning service. The second is our Cantata: “Mary Did You Know?”. It will be performed by our adult choir on 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 CHURCH
With the Sanctuary phase of our renovation project complete, we are worshiping together this Sunday at 1418 Hailey Street, with services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We invite you to join us! 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, we will be continuing an advent sermon series entitled “Following The Scarlet Thread…From the Manger to the Cross.” This series follows the eternal plan of the cross through the Old Testament right up to the birth of Christ, preparing our hearts for the beauty of Christmas. You won’t want to miss it!
“Worldchangers,” EFC’s Wednesday evening children’s ministry is in full-swing, with children ages birth through fifth grade exploring what living life with Jesus really looks like! They meet Wednesday evenings from 6:45-8:30p.m. Our kids have begun working on our annual Christmas pageant, so come join the fun!
The Salvage Yard youth ministry, for grades 6-12, meets Wednesday evenings at 6:45 p.m. for their worship service and again on Sundays at 6 p.m. for small group discipleship.
Lifegroups for adults meet Monday evenings (Young Adults Group) and Wednesday evenings (Family Groups and Women’s Group) at 7 p.m. For more information on how to connect with a small group, check out the Lifegroups display in the church foyer, or log online to www.efcsweetwater.com. We also have a new lifegroup at EFC focused on recovery from addiction, which has just been launched on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Sweetwater Prayer Center. This recovery group is open to anyone in the community! For more information, please call the church offices at 236-9200.
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 is open between Sunday morning services, from 10:30-11 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. It is also open on Wednesday evenings from 6-7 p.m.
For more information about the ministry of EFC, log onto the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.

FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH
Faith Lutheran welcomes you to attend the Advent services on Wednesday, Dec. 12. It begins with a soup supper at 6 p.m., with services starting at 7 p.m. The theme of the service is "Interviews with Isaiah". The first lesson will be The Light; next week's lesson is The Spirit. Each week an Advent candle is lit to remind us that we walk in the Light of the Lord.
Please join us for 9 a.m. devotion at Sweetwater Health Care, then at 9:45 a.m. for Sunday school and 10:45 a.m. for worship service.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
First Baptist Church invites you and your family to join us on this Sunday, Dec. 9, 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.
The children’s Christmas program, “The Christmas Shoe Tree,” will be presented during the morning church service on Dec. 9. The presentation of the Worship Choir Christmas Cantata, “A Christmas Prayer,” will be presented at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16.
The Women On Mission will be meeting on Dec. 10, at 10 a.m. Guest Speaker will be Larry Searcy from Big Country Baptist Assembly in Lueders.
Kid X will finish the Fall season with a Christmas party on Dec. 12. Come ready to celebrate this Christmas season with fun for all.
Shoeless Sunday will also be conducted during the morning service of Dec. 16. This will be the time we will remember those less fortunate by bringing new pairs of shoes for the Buckner’s Shoe Drive. These shoes will then be presented to needy orphaned children across the world. Also, there are still spots open for gifts for local needy children on our church’s Angel Tree.
Church-wide Christmas Caroling will be held on Dec. 19. The church office Open House will be held on Dec. 20. The Christmas Eve service will be held on Dec. 24.
We want everyone to enjoy this wonderful time of the year as we reminisce and fellowship together. We 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!
Mark your calendars for the new Church Directory! Sign ups will be coming soon! The photographer will be here Jan. 9-12.
For in depth information, find us on Facebook and check the website www.fbcsweetwater.org.

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Sweetwater 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 Sundays 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 we will continue our look at the first chapter of Luke — especially how the “Spirit of Christmas” is bound up in finding our place in God’s Kingdom.
Sunday evening join us for caroling from 4-5:30 p.m. Immediately after we will gather in the fellowship hall for snacks and cocoa.
Next Saturday (Dec. 15) there will be a breakfast with Santa from 9-11:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall. The cost is $5 per person and includes a pancake breakfast and an audience with Santa. All of the proceeds go to support a mission trip to Malawi, Africa. Parents — bring your camera and take lots of pictures.
Also on the 15th, the youth will be having a lock-in fellowship starting at 7:30 p.m.
Activities this week:
Sunday from 4-6 p.m. – All Church Caroling.
Sunday at 6 p.m. – Adoratio prayer and praise service.
Sunday at 6:30 p.m. – Beth Moore Bible study.
Wednesday Bible study at 10 a.m.
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 churchoffice@fumcsweetwater.org. If you need prayer or have the need to contact our pastor you can call the same number or email him at pastor@fumcsweetwater.org.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
You are welcome to join us for the second 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.
On Monday, Dec. 10, the evangelism committee will meet. Following coordinators reporting on their respective outreach ministries, decorative snack sacks will be compiled for the West Texas Children’s Advocacy Center.
Come and celebrate “Christmas Joy” on Sunday, the 16th of December, as our church family observes the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Beginning at 2 p.m., our church wide fellowship starts with compiling Christmas remembrance sacks for our Homebound Ministry. In spreading “Christmas Joy” to our shut-ins, church family carolers will deliver the sacks. Upon our return to the fellowship hall, at approximately 5 p.m., activities will continue with singing, including special musical selections by one or more individuals, the reading of a favorite Christmas story, or the sharing of any other activity celebrating Christ’s birthday. For refreshments, bring your favorite finger or snack food and/or sweet. The celebration will conclude with a Christmas tree for the children and youth. Come and enjoy wholesome Christian fun and at the same time, sing praises and worship our Lord and Savior.
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 True Meaning of Christmas
A Babe, born in Bethlehem
The Christmas season is a time to celebrate the priceless gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His birth, which we commemorate during this season, is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God, the Redeemer of all mankind, the King of kings, the Prince of Peace and our joy and salvation. This Christmas season will have greater meaning as we seek to follow His example and live His teachings.
"With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment — a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to become the King of kings and Lord of lords, the promised Messiah — Jesus Christ, the Son of God." — Thomas S. Monson
This Christmas season the Sweetwater Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is presenting the beautiful music production of our Savior Jesus Christ “Greater Than Us All” by Kenneth Cope. It will be presented Sunday Dec. 9, 2012 at 6 p.m. The community is invited. Please come and enrich your Christmas holiday. Refreshments will be served.
Calendar:
• Sunday, Dec. 9 – Church service 9 a.m., visitors welcome; “Greater Than Us All” musical.
• Monday, Dec. 10 – Family home evening.
• Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Mutual and Cub Scouts.
We are located at 910 Elm Street in Sweetwater. If you would like to talk with representatives of the church about the Saviors teachings, call 1 800 622-5595.
Missionaries serving in this area are Elder Weldon and Elder Rose. Call 325 864- 2999.

LAMAR STREET BAPTIST CHURCH
Join us Sundays at 9:30 a.m. for Sunday school, followed by our 10:40 a.m. service featuring hymns, a Children's Sermon, and Dr. Larry Baker, professor of pastoral ministry and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Hardin Simmons University, will bring a message from the Bible. Come again at 6 p.m. for our Sunday night service.
On Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. we offer Mission Friends, GA's — Girls in Action, and RA's — Royal Ambassadors, youth activities for 7th-12th graders, and Bible study and prayer for adults.
The GAs and RAs are selling 2013 God Creation’s calendars. Wall calendars are $8 and pocket calendars are $6. These make good Christmas gifts.
Our poinsettia plants will be arriving soon to help decorate the sanctuary; purchase one for $7 in memory or in honor of someone. Contact Dorothy Young.
The choir is preparing for a Christmas special the morning of Dec. 16; come practice with us following the service on Wednesday evenings.
To learn more about Lamar Street Baptist Church, visit us at 513 Lamar, find us on Facebook or call the church at 235-1779.

WORD OF GOD CHURCH
Know that in the last days dangerous and risky times will come. II Timothy 3:1
We are taught by the disciple Paul in this scripture that there will come the last days and that they will be dangerous and risky (or perilous in King James) for the people that believe in God. How will we know that the last days are here. Paul goes on to say in the rest of the letter, for people shall be selfish, over desire for money and greed, they will become braggers of how great they are, they will be full of pride, they will talk bad about God and man, they will become disobedient to parents, they will be unthankful people, wicked as worshipping evil, there will be no real love in them, they will destroy the peace they have with others, they will accuse people of false things, they will lack self control, they will become fierce and angry people, hating those who do good, people will be traitors and back biters to those who trust them, they will be high minded or headstrong, lovers of the pleasures of the world rather than lovers of God. They will have a form of godliness but they will deny God's very power at work. We are told to turn from these people because they are always learning but never able to come to the truth.
Paul teaches in Chapter 3 verse 12, yes all that will live to walk the walk of faith with God as your guide will suffer persecution, but there will be evil men and people that will be imposters that will get worse and worse and they will deceive Christians because they too have been deceived themselves. But we should hang on to what we were taught out of the Scriptures because they were inspired by God and the Scriptures are profitable to use for our teachings, to help us find our faults, to correct us in our non-understanding of the truth and to teach us the right way so that we can become what God wants and we can be used as a tool by Him. But pay attention, Chapter 4:3, the time will come when Christians will not want the real truth, but will for their own desires of what they want and to satisfy what they would rather hear, will search and find those who will please and preach what their ears want to hear and they will turn from the truths of Scripture and turn to fables (a story made up with a moral at the end) instead of the word that Paul told Timothy to preach only, Chapter 4:2. Remember these times will be dangerous times for Christians because the Word is not being preached and through the message created man, people will be deceived and will turn from the truth that will correct us and turn to a message that doesn't. 
This all comes from scriptures in II Timothy, Chapter 3 into Chapter 4:4 (King James). Don't be deceived, a made up and practiced message can never have the impact of the adulterated word of God spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit. That kind of message is built upon sinking sand, which will stand for a short time but when hard times come there is no solidness to stand on. Matthew 7:24-27
Word of God service times: Sundays at 10:30 a.m., adult Bible study is Thursdays from 6:30-8 p.m.; youth church is Wednesdays from 6:30-8 p.m.; and youth hang out night is Sundays 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.

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