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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Online Ministry for the Week 12/19 - 12/25 2016


Open us, O God, to hear again the message of the angels, and to go in heart and mind with the shepherds to Bethlehem to see the glorious redemption you have brought to pass through the Newborn lying in a manger. Amen.



Support Makes All the Difference

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Whether you are trying to move forward with your mental health (focus), grow spiritually (faith), make better choices when it comes to what you eat (food), or stay committed to an exercise program (fitness), community gives you the support we need (friends). Knowing you’re not alone, that others are cheering you on, will help keep you motivated. Giving that same support to others gives you joy and a sense of purpose.

—The Daniel Plan Team

—The Daniel Plan brief excerpt from The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, DMin; Daniel Amen, MD; & Mark Hyman, MD (Zondervan). © 2013 by The Daniel Plan. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


Meditation (John 1:6–9, 15)

A king was on his way. And they might have missed him, the king who would fulfill Old Testament prophecy and become the main subject of the New Testament. So John was sent as a herald. John is the bridge, the threshold between what had been and what was about to be. He is the precursor, the forerunner, the opening act, the appointed messenger, carrying the promise that the centuries of waiting and preparing and anticipating were about to come to a great and glorious fulfillment. In John, the prophecies began to be fulfilled. And a few people understood it – the early adopters, those quick to catch on. But even to these, his own disciples, he pointed to Jesus, the one whose sandal he was unfit to tie.

As great as the teaching of John the Baptist was, it was nothing compared to Jesus’ teaching. And how well John the Baptist understood his role and stuck to it. What amazing clarity of purpose. Yet we can learn from him too. We can learn that preparation for the Messiah (then as now) requires a conversion and a transformation of the heart and mind. We can learn that the focus is not on us or on anything that we have done or hope to do, not even if it is for God. We can learn that our job, like John’s, is to spread the Good News, to point all people to behold Jesus and to seek his message of salvation.


Holy Father, your grace humbles me without degrading me and elevates me without inflating me. You offer me great dignity and worth; without you I am nothing and have nothing. I am grateful that you have given me the astounding invitation to participate in something that extends so far beyond me, though I really have little to offer. I can only revel in your kindness, grace and compassion.

I know that you can accomplish what is needed in your plan without me, and yet you invite me to participate in what will last forever. I ask you to guide me and to teach me how to fulfill your unique purposes for my life. I pray that, be your grace, I will become the person you created me to be, accomplishing the works you have prepared beforehand for me. In your Son’s precious name I pray. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day 25 Days of Advent ©2017 HarperCollins Christian Publishing


Great God our Redeemer, we sing your praises. Your glorious love shines in the face of Jesus, born a babe in this dark world. We marvel that he generously humbled himself to bring salvation. How precious is your gift of love! Let the light in our sanctuary and our songs of praise spill through the windows to neighbors dwelling in darkness. May our gifts and offerings reflect the light of Christ and, as beacons in the night, draw people far and near closer to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. (Titus 2)

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