It’s almost our favorite time of year…Winter! When snowstorms happen leading into Sunday morning, we will update the church by 7p on Saturday Night via the following channels:
Church Voicemail: 508-358-7717
News: WBZ Radio and CBSboston.com
On Sunday mornings, we may potentially cancel the 9:30 service (along with all LTA and Student Ministry Programming) and just have the 11a service. In this case, there would not be any Student Ministry or Children’s Programming at the 11a service.
As always, please use your own discretion before traveling in any questionable weather. If you are scheduled to serve on a Sunday morning but are unable to safely travel to church, please contact your ministry leader.
Pastor Tom’s Note
Ancient Promise Fulfilled: The King has Returned
In the movie The Lion King, Simba is banished from Pride land for something he didn’t do (much like Joseph in the Bible). In The Chronicles of Narnia, exile is represented by winter. When Aslan is “on the move,” winter gives way to warm weather. When Simba returns and defeats Scar, Pride Lands goes from desolation to lush and green.
In the book of Isaiah, the return from exile is also expressed through a transformation of a dry wilderness into irrigated and fertile soil (Isa.35:1). The one thing that characterizes the “return of the King” in Isaiah is resounding joy and singing (Isa. 35:2, 10). The Advent of the Lord calms the “anxious heart” (Isa. 35:4). Paul brings these ideas together in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” This joy in the Lord (apart from our circumstances) becomes the basis for ‘anxiety management’ in our lives. “Don’t be anxious about anything” Paul tells us. The outcome of this posture is “the peace of God” (Phil 4:7). So joy and celebration in the Lord becomes the basis for our peace (see also Galatians 5:22).
During this Season of Advent where hurriedness and anxiety seem to take us so far away from the ideals of the season of Peace and Joy, we choose to rejoice in the Lord with singing: Joy to the world, the Lord has come! He alone will bring peace to our anxious hearts. The Prince of Peace Himself with fill us with a peace that He alone can give us.
Artwork needed for Christmas Eve!
Help us tell the Christmas story with your child’s artwork! We use the Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB) during the Christmas drama and need the following scenes illustrated:
of the following scenes:
Luke 1:26 – Luke 2:7 – The Birth of Jesus
• Angel Visiting Mary (JSB p. 178)
• Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem (JSB p 180)
• Jesus is Born (JSB p. 182)
Luke 2:8-20 – The Shepherds and the Angels
• A Bright Star Appears in the Night Sky (JSB p. 184)
• Shepherds with their sheep (JSB p. 186)
• A bright angel appears (JSB p.188)
• Shepherds visit Jesus in the manger (JSB p. 190)
Matthew 2 – The Story of the Wise Men
• Picture of three wise men (JSB p. 192)
• Wise men going on a long journey (JSB p. 194)
• Wise men arriving in the town of Bethlehem (JSB p. 196)
• Wise men bowing before Jesus (JSB p. 198)
This can be a great project for your kids to have a hands-on experience of the Christmas Story. It is also a great opportunity to read the Bible together as your child thinks about how to illustrate it. We need LOTS of artwork of many different images, so pick one and make it your own!
Submit full color drawings on letter sized paper.
Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.
Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.
Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.
(this one is important so I say it 3 times!)
Turn artwork into the CM desk by Sunday December 17th.
Thanks so much!
Gail and Adam
What is the label that you have given to Jesus?
In John 18, Pilate questioned Jesus about the label “King of the Jews.” But Jesus’ answer makes it clear that he isn’t a Jewish revolutionary. He’s not an emerging dictator. He certainly isn’t raising up an army to compete against rival nations. His “kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)
What is the label that you have given to Jesus?
Based on the evidence of our lives, we have assigned a label to Jesus’ role in our lives. Whatever you currently feel or think about Jesus, I want us to set that aside, and instead consider the past year of actions, words, decisions and priorities. How have we related to him? If we had to give a title to his function in our lives, what would it be?
I wrote down a few possibilities:
-Wisdom Consultant -My Sustaining Grace
-A Future Priority -Role Model for My Kids
-Profound Encourager -Good Friend
-Personal Therapist -Magnificent Savior
-Marriage Glue -Sunday Morning Theme
-Judge of My Mistakes -Pathway to Emotional Health
-A Growing Interest -Our Peace and Comfort
In Pilate’s world, every kingdom has a King, perhaps the most venerated position in a culture. But the worldly category of a “King” is simply too small for Jesus –like trying to fit the Pacific Ocean into a fish bowl. And our labels are too small for Jesus as well. As Theologian Miroslav Volf puts it, Jesus is not concerned with the “earthly truth of power, but the power of truth.”
Jesus is the one, true King, but any attempt to explain his Kingship must center on his mission—“to bear witness to the truth”. He is the King of truth, and his testimony to the truth is his sovereign authority. There was no need for his disciples to fight to prevent his arrest because he is not fighting an earthly battle. His cosmic enemy is falsehood…it’s “darkness”, as John puts it in John 1:5. As he says in John 12:31, He is casting out the ruler of the world—the deceiver, the father of lies.
We need to consider our labels for Jesus, but not in the same way that Pilate was convinced he stood in judgment over Jesus; not in the way he thought he had the authority to pronounce his verdict. These labels are a marker of how we have related to Jesus, not the actual definition of his identity and verification of his sovereignty (or lack thereof). We are in desperate need of intentional reflection on the identity of Jesus Christ, the purpose of his mission, the reality of his resurrection and his imminent return. We need God to help us relate to our Savior King in a new way.
Pastor Tom’s Note
Treasures in Heaven
You know the phrase, ‘miss by an inch, miss by a mile.’ This is in essence what happens to the rich man in Mark 10:17-22. He did everything right from a young age and Jesus “loved him” for that. He respected his parents, never stole or lied and he never “defrauded” anyone. He earned his money the old-fashioned way, the honest way. But he did “lack” one thing: he couldn’t part with it. So when Jesus famously said, “sell all and give it to the poor,” the man couldn’t do it. He was “disheartened” and “sorrowful” and walked away. Jesus loved the man enough to gaze upon him and squeeze his one pressure point. Had the man stayed and listened in to the lively conversation that ensued (Mark 10: 23-31), he would have heard that to give it all up would have meant to receive far more than he could have ever imagined: “treasures in Heaven.” Of course, it would be no ‘bed of roses’ (“persecutions”). However, the rich man, as a savvy handler of finances, would have appreciated the “hundredfold” return Jesus talks about: in the end to give it all up would have been ‘no sacrifice at all.’
Zaccheus in Luke 19:1-10 is also very rich. He is also seeking Jesus but instead of being sorrowful, he is joyfully giving up 50% of his wealth to the poor and give back fourfold to those he defrauded. The point of these two stories is that it’s not really about any specific amount one has to give up (see the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44), but more about the pressure point, the ‘squeeze’ of the one thing we know we need to let go.
Reflections during Stewardship Season:
During this stewardship season at TCC, members and attendants make pledge commitments for 2018.* We encourage all of you to consider how much the Lord is asking you to contribute for next year. As we seek to meet the needs of the congregation, support the staff, engage in local and world outreach, and care for our wonderful facilities, what is the Lord asking you to give up? But, this “giving up” is more like the smartest investment we will ever make: treasures in Heaven. Zacchaeus ‘got it,’ hence the tremendous joy he found in giving money away.
*The Finance Committee encourages all to return Faith Promise cards by December 1st in order to create the budget that will be approved at our annual meeting in January. These wonderful men and women serve our church faithfully and we are so grateful for their work!
Lessons and Carols,
Sunday December 3rd, 2017
at 9:30 & 11a.
Our annual Lessons and Carols service is a special Sunday in the life of our church. The service tells the story of Jesus, from Old Testament Prophesy to New Testament Fulfillment, and through readings (lessons) and songs (carols), we re-enact God’s amazing love for us in the Christmas story.
This is truly a family service in that our children’s choir will be singing, our student orchestra will accompany some carols, and scripture readers of all ages will help us tell the story from the Bible. The service is full of great music to usher in the Advent and Christmas season. Join us!
Care for infant-preK is available at 9:30am.
December at TCC: An Invitation to Connect, Grow, and Serve
Everyone knows December is a busy time of year. From holiday office parties to children’s concerts and plays it seems like sometimes church is yet another thing on our everexpanding to-do list. We don’t want that at TCC. We want the Advent to be a time when we slow down and reflect, not speed up and rush. For that reason, we want you to feel like Advent is a time to deepen your relationship with Christ – not just run from one event to the next. Continue reading
Pastor Tom’s Note:
Comfort for those who Mourn
Who can forget Elton John’s rendition of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral? The world has seen many times of mournings before and after this tragic event 20 years ago. In fact, the stark reality of life is that we are in perpetual mourning, either experienced in the distant past, the most recent present, or somewhere in between. Death has affected all of us. And if we ever forget the raw pain, all it takes is a song (like Elton John’s), a memory to bring back the sting of death to crush our hearts. We are in mourning all over again. One Day Jesus will change all that. Through His death and resurrection, when Jesus returns to finish His mission and finally destroy death (and sin, and the devil), He will put an end to the pain and suffering. Those who have believed in Him will be with Him forever. “Comfort one another with these words,” Paul tells us (1 Thess. 4:18).
In Isaiah’s vision of “the new heavens and new earth” (Isa 65:17), in the same breath, he says the End is a “day of vengeance” (= impartial judgement against all evil) and a time of “comfort [for] those who mourn” (Isa 61:2). God will bring our perpetual mourning to an end. We will exchange a “faint spirit” for “garments of praise” (Isaiah 61:3).The imagery of a “faint” spirit is one of a dim light, a flickering candle in the wind that’s about to go out. In the depth of our grief and despair when we lose loved ones, the Spirit of Jesus, called the Comforter (John 14:26) dwells in our hearts. He comes alongside as a close friend, a helper to sustain us. Our flickering light will not go out.
Our true hope is in the One who alone has defeated death. So as we put our faith in Him, we mourn and grieve but not as those without hope. Put your trust in Jesus who says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Mourning doesn’t have to be the trauma caused by death, but maybe a persistent ailment, a broken relationship, unemployment, even unanswered prayer. Whatever it is, this is the promise God makes. As we reach out to our Father in Heaven, “the God of all comforts” (2 Cor 1:3), He is certain to bring comfort to us. He will do it through the “Comforter,” the Spirit of His Son Jesus Christ, who comes to dwell in the hearts of those who believe in Him.
Do you need to be a comforter to someone who is mourning? We all need messengers of comfort in our lives. Perhaps you know someone in desperate need of God’s comfort this week. Just as God wants to reach out to us, maybe we need to reach out and comfort someone in their mourning as well.
Tilling the soil
How worship cultivates the soil of our heart
I come from agricultural stock. My grandfather was a farmer. He built his livelihood with a nursery business in southern California. Kurihara Nursery Inc., in Camarillo, California provided the many farms in California with budding plants: strawberry, celery, radish, tomato, and more. Though his product was small, just a few centimeters tall, the potential for growth, for abundance, and ultimately, fruit, was tremendous.
Fast forward a few decades. My dad inherits an old rototiller from my grandfather. The rusty beast was a struggle to start, but dad was persistent, and after several dozen cranks of the pull cord it roared to life. I remember as a child watching my parents landscape our front yard and churn up years of hardened soil, preparing to lay down fresh seed, new plants, a beautiful lawn.
This of course, begs the question: what is the state of our soil? Do you feel like your life is good soil, ready to receive the good things and grow to Christian maturity? Or do you feel stuck in rocky soil; stuck with the same sins and frustrations of your childhood? In short, are you growing? Is it time to till the soil?
Of course tilling soil is sometimes tough work, but the truth is Christian discipleship is more like manual labor than academic research. It’s more about rehearsing and remembering the things we already know than consuming new spiritual information. C.S. Lewis put it this way:
“Christ did not come to preach any brand new morality… ‘People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.’ The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.”
Jesus knew this too. When a rich man questions Jesus on what is necessary for eternal life, he answers, “You know the commandments…now go, sell all you have and give to the poor…” New information is not going to help this man. Knowledge and willpower alone does not convict us to turn away from idolatry and toward God. Only a change of our heart: a change of what we love, or what we desire, will change our way of living.
So how do we form our desires? Let’s think for a moment about how we raise our children. We teach them to say please and thank you because we want them to grow up to be kind and thankful people. We “teach” them this by reminding them to say please and thank you over and over again. Does a child fully know what it means to be thankful? Not yet, but our liturgy of thankfulness (“what do you say?”) turns out to, over time, shape our children into people who say please and thankful, because that’s what they do. They might not always ‘mean it’, but we know that by habit, they will come to mean it more and more each time they say it.
Think also of learning and growing in any other arena of life. Whether it’s learning an instrument or playing a sport, we know that practicing helps us play better. Drills and scales aren’t for nothing – they help us play more effortlessly when the time comes. In the same way our spiritual instincts can be formed, over time, with practice.
The ancient phrase, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (‘the law of prayer is the law of belief’), means that the way we pray shapes the things we believe and ultimately the way we live our lives. So why not apply the spiritual power of habit to our spiritual growth in Christ? It’s time to get our hands dirty tilling the soil of our hearts, getting ready for God to cause us to grow.
This Advent we are launching a new mid-week worship service called Evensong as a community practice for spiritual growth.
A fresh worship expression rooted in historic practices
Wednesdays in Advent (12/6, 12/13, 12/20) • 6:45-7:15pm
Evensong is a short service (just 30 minutes) of readings, prayers, songs, and scriptures seamlessly woven together in a concert of praise. It’s a beautiful, intimate, and communal gathering of the family of God that rehearses the gospel in our hearts and minds. It is a service of song, thoughtful prayers, scripture, and a short message to help us end the day well. From beginning to end it roots us in the gospel, in the Christian year (which revolves around the life of Jesus), and in a cycle of scripture readings that unites us with the church worldwide.
It is our hope and prayer that this service would be a catalyst for real heart change. A new worship experience – an ancient spiritual practice that reminds us of the gospel again and again, pointing our hearts toward Christ. Join us!
Why Evensong? For millennia, the church has rooted its life around the hours of prayer. Since the reformation, Thomas Cranmer brought the archaic Latin form into the language of the people, replacing the nine daily services with morning, evening, and night prayers. This was an effort to bring the public reading of scripture to people in the vernacular, in a form and rhythm that would connect with modern people. Today, when we are lucky to get people in church for one hour on Sunday, this short mid-week service is discipleship driven. We want people to draw closer to God and encounter him in the Word and in prayer. Furthermore:
1) We are overstimulated – Evensong is an invitation to quiet the noise and listen to scripture.
2) We are too busy – Evensong is an invitation to rest.
3) We are scattered – Evensong an invitation to focus on God.
4) We are forgetful – Evensong is an invitation to reflect and remember.
As the chaos of the “holiday season” enters our already busy lives, we choose the season of advent to re-center ourselves and remind us of what is truly important. Because Evensong happens at the transition between day and night, (the ‘even’ point) the service helps people find peace and rest after busy days.
The Details: What the service looks like:
• “Concert of praise” – songs and scripture seamlessly woven together (15 m)
• Short message following up and re-applying Sunday’s sermon (5-7m)
• “Concert of prayer” – songs and prayer seamlessly woven together (8-10m)
• Total service time of ~30 minutes
What we need:
• Authors – we need 3-5 people who have a love for words that can help us write the scripts of the services that will capture our imagination and soak into our hearts.
• Actors – we need 8-10 people who can help lead the spoken portions of the service. These people should be comfortable speaking in front of groups, and have a calm yet confident presence.
• Advertisers – we need 8-10 people who can help us spread the word everywhere and anywhere in Wayland and the surrounding towns. This fresh worship expression on a Wednesday night might be just what people are looking for during the holiday season as many non-Christians or nominal Christians are considering attending church.
• Attenders – we need 20-25 people who are curious and can commit to attending this service for Advent (3 Wednesday nights) and participate fully and boldly in our communal worship.
Would you join us? Email email@example.com and let me know how you can be involved.
Don’t miss GUATEMALA NIGHT this Sunday, November 12th, 5-7P at TCC. This family-friendly fundraiser is an open-house style opportunity to experience Guatemalan culture and support our High School Mission Trip to San Lucas Tolimán on February 16-25, 2018. Join us for a 4v4 soccer tournament (3rd-5th grade division, 6th-8th grade division, 9th-12th grade division), creative crafts, a silent auction, a bouncy house, tasty food, and much more!
As in past years, our goal is to raise enough money for an entire house (about $2000) and multiple stoves. Think about it! Through just two hours of fun and compassion, we can partner with a hard-working family to help build them a home and more! Two years ago that family was Benjamin (pictured below), his parents Maria and Idamel and their 3 girls.