RELIGION: This Sunday marks the first day of the Advent Season

BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCHAs the month of November comes to a close and the Holiday season begins, looking back I have found this to be a November to remember. It has been a time of trial and tribulation as well as victory in the valley. I ask myself, “What do I need to remember?” Romans 8:28 says, “And we KNOW that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”That is the picture we need to keep in our hearts and minds while walking through the valley. Whether or not we let God assemble the pieces determines whether it will be a picture or a puzzle. At times we are perplexed and frustrated over the things that come our way, but we cannot take them out of God’s hand. We must let Him work it into His plan and purpose for our lives. God sees the picture from start to finish, and when we can’t see His hand, we must trust His heart.This Holiday season, gather up the jumbled pieces of your life, and lay them at the feet of Christ. Consent to His purpose, cooperate in His plan, and completely trust Him. Today, we may see a puzzle, but soon we will see the picture.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 CHURCHWith 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, Pastor Eric will be launching an advent sermon series entitled, “Following The Scarlet Thread…From the Manger to the Cross.” This series will follow 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 6:45-8:30 p.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 Wednesdays 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 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 LUTHERAN CHURCHMembers of Faith Lutheran Church invite you to join us for Advent services. This year’s special services are “Interviews with Isaiah”. In each service the character of Isaiah will address the congregation and explain the meaning and background behind his most well-known prophecies about the coming of Christ.First Sunday in Advent is Dec. 2; worship services are at 10:45 a.m. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, services begin with a soup supper at 6 p.m. and worship at 7 p.m.Faith conducts a devotion service at Sweetwater Healthcare Center every Sunday morning from 9-9:30 a.m. for the residents.Sunday school lessons are from 9:45-10:30 a.m. You are welcome to any or all of the services.FIRST BAPTIST CHURCHFirst Baptist Church invites you and your family to join us on this Sunday, Dec. 2, for Bible study, beginning at 9:15 am 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.Kid X continues on Wednesday nights at 5:45 p.m. Kid X is a fun and exciting way for Pre-Kindergarten up to sixth grade to learn about Jesus. All children are invited to attend. The Kid X Christmas party will be held on Dec. 12.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. 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.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 Buckners Shoe Drive. These shoes will then be presented to needy children.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 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!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 PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHVisitors are always welcome at First Presbyterian Church. The church is located at 14th and McCauley. Adult Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m. Worship service is at 10:45 a.m. A nursery is provided for all church activities for children kindergarten age and younger. Our sanctuary is decorated for the season! The Chrismon Tree is up and the greens are hung as we begin the celebration of this glorious season. Pastor Kary’s sermon title is “Promise: Confined Expectation”. The lectionary is I Thessalonians 3: 9-13; Luke 21:25-36. Communion will be served by the Class of 2014. The worship assistant is Anne Wilson and the greeters are Richard Gesin and Dorothy Stroman. There will be a Congregational meeting immediately following worship, for the purpose of voting on a nominating committee.Our high school seniors will be lighting the advent candles this year. Cole Maxwell will be reading a devotional on this first Sunday of Advent, “Promise of What is to Come”. Jeremiah 33:14-16 says, “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’.” Coming Up:Presbyterian Women will be having their Christmas pot luck supper on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Business meeting will be at 5 p.m. and Bible study will follow the meal.Kirk Stroman presents his 2012 “Christmas Reflections concert on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. Bring your family and friends to enjoy the music of the season.The Angel Tree is in the foyer of the church beginning Sunday, Dec. 2. Take an angel and bring the gift on her back to the church by Dec. 12. A committee member will deliver the presents.The Joy Gift Offering will be collected at the Christmas Eve service on Dec. 24.If you would like to purchase a poinsettia for the sanctuary the cost is $5. Call the church office 235-5491.Remember:Noisy and reverse offering is always the last Sunday of the month.Plarning will meet every Wednesday in the fellowship hall at 1 p.m.Choir practice is Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.Presbyterian Women meet the first Wednesday of each month. The business meeting is at 5 p.m. and the Bible study begins at 5:30 p.m.HIGHLAND HEIGHTS UNITED METHODIST CHURCHYou are welcome to join us for the first Sunday of the Advent Season. This is a time for preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. The sanctuary will be 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. Kiefer Cauble. 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. This Sunday we will be observing the “Sacrament of Holy Communion.” Remember to bring your altar rail offering that is applied to our family funds as directed through the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.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, Dec. 16, 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 as Christians sometimes find ourselves being consumed or overpowered 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)Getting Ready for ChristmasAs an old tradition, our family has always celebrated the Advent of Christmas. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we would get together on Sunday afternoons, light wax candles on a pine Advent wreath, enjoy delicious homemade cookies and read passages of scriptures that center on the Christ.We read accounts of ancient prophets who yearned for the coming of the Messiah. We read scriptures that proclaim the wondrous story of His birth. Each week by singing beautiful Christmas songs and having a fun time together, our family tried to refocus on the true meaning of the season. I must admit that delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider and tasty homemade cookies helped a lot to catch the joyful feeling of the Christmas season!While celebrating the Advent of Christmas is not part of all cultures around the globe, there is something we can learn from this widespread Christian tradition. Perhaps even this year we might carve from our busy schedules some time to study and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas—personally and as families.When we prepare for Christmas by pondering its real meaning, we prepare to experience the Christ and His message. May I suggest three things we may want to study, ponder and apply in this season of preparation.First, rejoice in the birth of our Savior.Second, ponder His influence in our lives today.Third, look steadfastly for His coming.I pray that each and every one of you will have a wonderful and merry Christmas season.President Dieter F. UchtdorfCalendar:Sunday, Dec. 2 — Church Service at 9 a.m. Visitors welcome. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Worldwide Christmas Devotional at 7 p.m.Monday, Dec. 3 — Family home evening.Wednesday, Dec. 5 — Mutual activity, Cub Scouts, choir practice.Saturday, Dec. 8 — Stake Temple Day.Sunday, Dec. 9 — Church service at 9 a.m. Visitors welcome.“Greater Than Us All” Choir performance Community invited.We are located at 910 Elm Street in Sweetwater.If you like to talk with representatives of the church about the Saviors teachings, call 1 800 622-5595.Missionaries serving in this area are Elder Holt and Elder Weldon. Call (325) 864-2999.LAMAR STREET BAPTIST CHURCHOur church-wide breakfast is in the morning at 8 a.m. and everyone is welcome. Come enjoy a great meal and good fellowship.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 a message from the Bible. Come again at 6 p.m. for our Sunday night service.The Christmas parade will be on Monday, Dec. 3, at 4:30 p.m., line up will be at 4 p.m. in the Higginbotham parking lot. The church will have a float for any members that want to ride. Contact Clint Parks or Linda Kite.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. Proceeds will help the kids attend camp next summer.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.TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH Trinity Baptist Church, located at the corner of Hailey and Santa Fe here in Sweetwater, invites you to join us as we worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our church family consists of people from all walks of life and people who are at different places in their walk with God. Our casual, family atmosphere works well with our weekly worship services, which consist of both traditional and praise music. If you are looking for a church home, please give us a try. Our service schedule is:Sundays9:30 a.m. — Sunday school (for all ages, nursery through senior adults).10:45 a.m. — Morning worship.6:00 p.m. — Adult and youth Bible studies. Wednesdays.6:30 p.m. — Adult prayer time; youth Bible study.This Sunday, Dec. 2, will begin the Sundays of Advent. The first candle of Hope will be lighted by the Shea Baucom Family. Bro. Ward will continue from Acts 1:8 with his message entitled “Can I Get a Witness?” This Christmas Season, we are placing emphasis on Missions. Not only will we focus on the regular Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, but also on the two missionary families that Trinity supports — the Baileys who minister in Mexico and the Lees who serve in Macedonia. We are challenging our families to seek “alternative gifts” this season…perhaps you could give a goat or a chicken or support a child through World Vision or Samaritan’s Purse. There is also a “Benevolent Fund” available through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. All three of these opportunities can be found on the internet. While most of us have all we need, there are people who do not. Please remember them this Christmas season.Trinity will offer DivorceCare’s Surviving the Holidays on Friday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m. here in our Family Life Center. The holidays are hard enough at times, but they can be extremely difficult for those who have gone through a separation or divorce. If you know someone who could benefit from this event, please have them call the church office (235-2991) to register. Childcare will be provided on request, which can also be made through the church office.We are singing our way through the Christmas Season this year. The children’s choirs of Trinity will perform during our morning services on Sunday, Dec. 9. Gather up the grandparents, aunts and uncles and come hear these sweet little angels sing! The Trinity Sanctuary Choir will present their Christmas Cantata, All is Well, on Sunday morning, Dec. 16. Everyone is invited to hear their presentation. We will be caroling at the local nursing homes on Wednesday evening, Dec. 19, beginning at 5:30 p.m. After caroling, we will return to the church for hot chocolate and gingerbread.Please mark your calendars for our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, this service is tailored for families and 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.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 the facility) or call our church at 235-2991. We would be happy to explain the Plan of Salvation to you. May God bless you all!WORD OF GODJudgement is very dangerous for Christians. Judgement puts us on a level above other creations of God and elevates us to the level of God. Judgement is when we think our opinions and thoughts can decide what is right and wrong in another’s life. There is a very dangerous thing that happens in churches and in Christians' lives when we can make judgement on any other person. Jesus himself said in John 12:47: "I come not judge the world, but to save the world". Even Jesus did not give His opinion on other men, nor did He look down on or against someone for being a sinner because He knew that all people fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. In the Christian world, we are misled to elevate ourselves to a "holier than thou" status to think that our lives are right when even Jesus called the religious pious people of His time hypocrites because even they are guilty of doing what they judged others guilty of. They judged Jesus as gluttonous and a wine bibber unworthy to be a part of their religious gatherings. But let us not forget that as we judge others, is how our Father will judge us. The reason most don't want to go to church to find hope is because of the people that judge them to be unworthy to come to their church and often the guiltiest of these are the ones standing behind the pulpits that go along with the sin of judgement. I Peter 4:17: "God's judgement will begin at the house of God". We as a ministry at the Word of God are non-judgemental. It is not the people that are non-judgemental for they too are learning to understand God's word, but the leading in the ministry is non-judgemental. I, as a Pastor, will judge no one because I have been judged by others. I don't care where you are at in life, nor where you have been, just where you are headed. All are welcome in this ministry, especially sinners. If you need healing or hope and you have been made to feel you are unworthy to be a part of what Christ has done for the world because you don't fit the mold of the judgement of churches, you will be welcomed with open arms even if your sin is judgement. How can the churches say they are for healing when they put judgement on anyone. That contradicts the whole purpose of Christ Jesus. There is one that judges, the word that Jesus has spoken, the same shall judge him that rejects and receives not His words. Sunday service time is at 10:30 a.m. Come receive the unadulterated word of God. SINNERS welcome.  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.