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Pastor's Weekly Devotions

Devotions - December 2019

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” Matthew 3:1-2


Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

If it is John the Baptist time, it must be the season of Advent. John the Baptist is in many ways the anti-Christmas representative. He was not caught up in materialism, he is an odd dresser, and Christmas treats were not part of his diet. His life’s calling was to point others to the one more powerful than he and whose sandals he was not worthy to untie. While I would not suggest his diet or even his wardrobe (especially during this cold time of year) his message of being unabashedly truthful about ourselves, and our need for the Savior is good for us hear. For example, we often see ourselves doing well on staying away from “blatant” sins (sins of commission), and then John the Baptist comes along and points out that our big problem is failing to assist those whom we could help (sins of omission). Yet, his message is not just one of uncovering our sins……but also one of pointing to the Savior who John the Baptist described as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Thank the Lord for this second message. Many blessings as you continue your celebration of Advent.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

Weekend Worship Theme: “Living together in hope, harmony, and peace”. Romans 14:4-7. The other readings are Isaiah 11:1-10, and Matthew 3:1-12.

Wednesday Advent Worship: 12/11 “Christ our Joy” 11am & 6:30pm.

Sunday Morning Bible Class: The 9:45am Re-Vitality Bible class will continue to look at the Re-Vitality series titled “Serving in God’s Mission”. This week we will be looking at the blessing of having people with a variety of gifts in the body of Christ, and the Biblical basis for making collective decisions

The Sunday School Christmas Program will be held during the Sunday morning service on Dec. 22 at 9:00. This will be the only service that day. Practices will be held Sundays, Dec 8, and Dec 15 during the Sunday School hour

Re-Vitality Long Range Planning Update: The Surveys have been completed, and right now we are looking to form a core group that can meet and review the survey results and meet monthly for up to nine months to work through the long-range planning process for our congregation.

Rummage Sale Date: The youth group’s annual rummage sale will be Saturday, March 21st from 8am-noon. Drop of Thursday (3/19 4-8pm and Friday 3/20 from 10-7pm. No computers or televisions please. Any questions please ask Lillian Koenigstein or a youth group student.

The Giving Tree is ready! Please help bring the joy of Christmas to children of families in need this year. Take a tag from the tree & return a wrapped gift with the tag attached no later than Sunday, December 15th. The gifts will be distributed during normal Food Pantry hours later that week. If you have any questions, contact one of the members of the Board of Christian Caring (Barb Ries, Marilyn Snider or Kendra Nowak

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS! There is a supply of a “Chocolate Advent Calendar with Bible Text” in the narthex for those who want one.

Have fun decorating a gingerbread house with Kathy Monte. The houses are already built and ready to decorate. Lots of candy and icing provided. The date is Sunday, Dec. 21st at 1-3:00pm. The cost is $30 per house and you can have as many people work on one house as you want. Please sign up on the sheet in the narthex or call Kathy at 618-363-9981 to make a reservation or ask questions.

St. Paul’s Singers will gather one Wednesday night per month and sing in the service the following Sunday. We will meet again on Dec. 11 at 7:30pm. Please consider joining our group just for the joy of singing and praising the Lord. Be sure to mark your calendar.

COMING SOON!!! Annual Family Bowling Night, Sunday, Jan. 26, 6-8pm.  $40/lane ($ collected that night). Sign up soon. Audience members welcome free of charge. Feel free to invite non-church members.

On Nov. 20th the Food Pantry served 14 households including 38 adults and 10 children. Currently our only needs are flour and sugar.

Area Events

The Gateway Ringers will present “Christmas Is Coming” on Sun., Dec. 22, at 3:00pm at the Kirkwood Baptist Church, 211 N. Woodlawn Ave.

German Christmas Service at Olive Branch, 11235 State Route 177, Okawville, IL, will be on Dec. 15th at 3:00pm. Pastor Darwin Schrader will be preaching. Pastor Arthur Eichhorn will be playing organ. All are welcome to attend to hear the Gospel proclaimed in German.

Shop Fair Trade at St. Paul United Christ, Columbia on Sat., Dec. 14, and Sun., Dec. 15, both days 8am-4pm. See www.plowsharing.org for more info on Fair Trade – Artisan Gifts From Around the World.

Cynthia Hill is renting the Historic School for the next six months for her retail shop “A Fresh Look by Cynthia”. She sells cabinetry and resale items. The business phone is 618-719-2330. Hours are M-T-W by appointment only; Thur-Fri 9:30-5:30pm; Sat. 10am-4pm. The Historic Church is still available to rent for special occasions.

Zion, Belleville invites all to attend “Handel’s Messiah”, Sun., Dec. 22, 3:00pm, 1810 McClintock Ave.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Sugar Loaf is selling apple butter made by the church members, $7/pint; $9.50/quart. Contact Judy Kremmel to make arrangements for pick up at 618-531-6999.

Christ Memorial, St. Louis, is hosting a free event, “A Song for Christmas” with a live orchestra and talented singers from around the area, the final presentation to be Dec. 8 at 2:30pm at 5252 S. Lindbergh Blvd. For more information please see http://cmstl.org/mission/christ-memorial-productions/.

First Baptist Church of Columbia Presents “Journey To Bethlehem”, a free, live, outdoor telling of the Christmas story. Dec. 13, 7-10pm; Dec. 14, 6-10pm and Dec. 15, 5-9pm. See www.facebook.com/JTBColumbia.

All are invited to a Christmas cantata featuring “What Child Is This” presented by the musicians of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Collinsville, on Sun., Dec 29, at 3pm. For more information call 618-344-3151.



“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall fell away.” Isaiah 35:10.


Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Art was never my cup of tea. Not only am I not gifted in drawing, it has been difficult for me to understand the various meanings of an artistic peace. However, as I read again the Old Testament assigned for Sunday (Isaiah 35:1-10), and began to take in the “whole of it”, I see that God is painting with words a picture of the transformation he brings through Christ. It is a transformation that has occurred, is occurring, and will reach its fulfillment when he comes again. What does that look like? He says that deserts become places of lush growth, and those who are blind, deaf, and paralyzed shall see, hear, and leap like a deer. He describes a wilderness where ravaging animals prowl being changed to a lush oasis where there is no chance of any harm. He sums it all up, by relating that gladness, joy, sorrow, and sighing shall “flee away” (The Hebrew implies run hastily away). I suppose one can chalk this up to a hyperbole (an exaggerated statement not to be taken literally). The casual observer and certainly the unbeliever would see that in such a text. As believers, we are also tempted to think things are being overstated in this vision. Yet, what if this imagery is true, and our future with Christ involves such a reshaping of our world and lives? Simply put, there could not possibly be a greater reality. So go ahead read these words and let them wash over you…hear them again this weekend….and know that glorious change is a coming!

Blessings,

Pastor Krenz

Weekend Sermon Theme and Readings: “A Funny Way to Prepare for Christmas” Matthew 11:2-15. The other readings are Isaiah 35:1-10, and James 5:7-11.

Christmas Program/One Service next Sunday: Next Sunday (December 22nd) the Sunday School Christmas program will be held during the service on at 9am. Following the service all are invited to the fellowship hall for doughnuts/fruit and other refreshments.

Bible Class: On Sunday we will continue our Re-Vitality Bible Class titled “Serving in God’s Mission”. This week we will finish our study by making the Biblical case for collective decision making in the congregation, and why identifying strengths and weaknesses in a congregation can help us carry out God’s mission in this place. There will be no Bible Class next week so that all can participate in a time of fellowship and light refreshments in the fellowship hall after the children’s program.

Core Planning Group: The core planning group for the Re-Vitality process will be meeting on Tuesday, January 7th at 7pm. This will be the first meeting in a possible nine month planning process. So far we have eight people who have agreed to be part of this core planning group. If you would like to be part of this long-range planning core group contact Kevin Koenigstein. One of the first tasks of this group will be to review the surveys that were taken in October/November of this year.

Why is there no 11pm Christmas Eve Service? As you may have noticed in the Christmas Schedule we are having only one Christmas Eve Service at 5pm. The decision to not have the 11pm late service this year was made due to lower attendance at the 11pm service in recent years. In addition, if we would have had the 11pm service, our organist, Jeanine, would have played three Christmas Eve Services including the Christmas Day service. While she was willing to do this, it was felt having one less service, the member and friends would still have plenty of opportunities to receive God’s gifts in worship on Christmas Eve (5pm) and Christmas Day (9am) . Pastor Krenz and the Elders.

All children are invited to participate in the Sunday School Christmas Program which will be during the Sunday morning service on Dec. 22 at 9:00. This will be the only service that day. The last practice will be held Sunday, Dec 15 during the Sunday School hour.

Monday Service Update: There will be no Monday services on the 23rd and 30th of this month.

Have fun decorating a gingerbread house with Kathy Monte. The houses are already built and ready to decorate. Lots of candy and icing provided. The date is Saturday, Dec. 21st at 1-3:00pm. The cost is $30 per house and you can have as many people work on one house as you want. Please sign up on the sheet in the narthex or call Kathy at 618-363-9981 to make a reservation or for more information. (this was mistakenly noted as happening on Sunday in previous announcements. Please note the correction).

Portals of Prayer January through March are available in the narthex.

Save the date: the youth group's annual rummage sale will be Saturday, March 21, 8 am - noon. Drop off Thursday (3/19) 4-8 pm, Friday (3/20)

10-7 pm. No computers or televisions please. Any questions please ask Lillian Koenigstein or a youth group student.

Annual Family Bowling Night, Sun., Jan. 26, 5:45-8:00pm at West Park Bowl hosted by Family Ministry. Audience members welcome. Sign up soon on the sheet in the narthex. Invite non-church members and youth. $40/lane payable that night includes 1 large pizza and a pitcher of soda. Other menu items available. Arrive by 5:45 so we can possibly release lanes if needed.

The Gateway Ringers will present “Christmas Is Coming” on Sun., Dec. 22, at 3:00pm at the Kirkwood Baptist Church, 211 N. Woodlawn Ave.

St. Paul’s Singers will meet after the 9:00 service on Sun., Dec. 22 (approx.. 10:30am) to practice singing for the Christmas Eve service.

Handbell Rehearsal will be held on Tues., Dec. 17 at 6:30pm

Please pick up your 2020 contribution envelopes in the narthex

German Christmas Service at Olive Branch, 11235 State Route 177, Okawville, IL, will be on Dec. 15th at 3:00pm. Pastor Darwin Schrader will be preaching. Pastor Arthur Eichhorn will be playing organ. All are welcome to attend to hear the Gospel proclaimed in German.

Shop Fair Trade at St. Paul United Christ, Columbia on Sat., Dec. 14, and Sun., Dec. 15, both days 8am-4pm. See www.plowsharing.org for more info on Fair Trade – Artisan Gifts From Around the World.

Cynthia Hill is renting the Historic School for the next six months for her retail shop “A Fresh Look by Cynthia”. She sells cabinetry and resale items. The business phone is 618-719-2330. Hours are M-T-W by appointment only; Thur-Fri 9:30-5:30pm; Sat. 10am-4pm. The Historic Church is still available to rent for special occasions.

Zion, Belleville invites all to attend “Handel’s Messiah”, Sun., Dec. 22, 3:00pm, 1810 McClintock Ave.

All are invited to a Christmas cantata featuring “What Child Is This” presented by the musicians of Good Shepherd Lutheran, Collinsville, on Sun., Dec 29, at 3pm. For more information call 618-344-3151.

Address

227 North Good Haven,
Columbia, IL; 62236

Service Hours

Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 10:30 AM
Monday 7:00 PM