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Christmas Eve Sermon: December 24, 2018

…from Worship at Good Sam on December 24, 2018/Christmas Eve

Lessons: Isiah 9:2-7, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20

Sermon: “And This Shall Be A Sign To You…

Prayer: Almighty God, you made this holy night shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that here on earth we may walk in the light of Jesus’ presence and in the last day wake to the brightness of his glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Sunday’s Sermon: December 23, 2018, Advent IV

…from Worship at Good Sam on December 23, 2018/Advent IV

Lessons: Micah 5:2-5a, Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-55

Sermon: “Faithful Lives Always Give Birth to God’s Activity”

Prayer: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that binds us, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Fruit of the Spirit Stars – Enlightening Us to Know God’s Presence

Epiphany is discovery—not just an “a-ha” moment, but also the persistent dawning and awakening of something new in our awareness. On Epiphany, the star guides the magi to the child born King of the Jews, but there they discover the working of God in new and unexpected ways. The light of God is coming to all people.  We to are guided to discover the living presence of God working in our lives.

One of the main ways we see God active in our lives is through the gifts that the Spirit of God gives. When these gifts arise in our lives we have a better view of what God is doing. Their light reveals God’s presence and care.  These gifts are the fruit of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

On this Epiphany Sunday, we  invite you to talk about how the “gifts” of the Spirit (the star you selected last year) played out in your life over this past year or where you saw God’s plan work in your life. We also invite you to select a “spiritual gift” star as an invitation to focus on that gift in the coming year and learn how this gift might impact your life?  Perhaps this is God drawing us into his wonderful light and preparing us to carry that light wherever we go.

“Last Epiphany Sunday, I drew ‘Love’ from the basket of stars. For some time now I have been reflecting on the gift of love in my life. Mostly, that has come with Shannon, Sara and Willa. I am learning that love is a choice and that love is day in and day out a work of faithfulness.  Yes, love is a feeling but it is so much more.  God really is working in our lives through these kinds of gifts that come from God’s activity, from us to others and from others into our lives.”

                                                                                                                  –Pastor Mitch

January Highlights

Good Sam Happenings

    *read more in The Grapevine a monthly Publication of Good Sam News

Jan. 6 [Sunday Theme] “We Too Have A Star to Guide Us”

   ◊ Epiphany Parade, come get an Epiphany Star, Join us for Getting to Know Good Sam at 10:30 am

Jan. 13 [Sunday Theme] “Why Do You Like to Shower (bathe)?”

   Jan. 19 ◊ Chili Cook-off is being rescheduled for March 16, 4 pm

Jan. 20  [Sunday Theme] “The Surprising Extravagance of God”

Jan. 27  [Sunday Theme] “Discovering and Rediscovering the Living Word of God”

 

Puerto Rico Mission Trip 2019

  • WHO can go: Adults & Youth who have completed 9th grade. A team of experienced leaders, including Pastor Mark Parker, of Breath of God Lutheran Church, are working to bring together to help in the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Maria. We will be working with Lutheran Disaster Response, a program of Lutheran Social Services in Puerto Rico.
  • WHAT are we doing: The hope is for half of the group to have solid construction experience, while half of the group should be physically capable of construction work and willing to learn from and assist others. There may also be an opportunity for follow-up home visits with people who are in the case management process or who have been already served by Lutheran Disaster Response.
  • When – Dates are July 21st – August 3rd. You may choose one week or stay for both. The general timeline is fly in on Sunday morning/afternoon, fly back on Saturday evening. Monday through Friday we worked construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach/pool, relaxing and exploring the area. We may have the opportunity to take a half day to head across the island and visit El Yunque, an amazing tropical rainforest or exploring in Old San Juan.
  • Where we are staying: We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado. About 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time. Volunteers sleep in bunkrooms with twin-sized bunkbeds and communal showers–comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a very nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It’s a good home for groups like ours.
  • Why Puerto Rico– in 2017 a Category 5 Hurricane, Maria, devastated Puerto Rico. Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico, and is also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Jeanne in 2004, and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2017. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, with total losses from the hurricane estimated at upwards of $91.61 billion (2017 USD), mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record. The rebuilding efforts are far from over, and the church
  • How do we get there: Registration opens in January with a deadline of April 1. The first deposit will be due at the close of registration, the second payment will be due May 1 and the final payment July 1. The expected cost is anticipated to be less than $600 for one week and less than $900 for two weeks. Airfare is Included. We will be planning fundraising efforts as a group.

Please contact Kelly Thurber if you are interested engage@goodsam.community

Registration Deadline April 1st – but spots are limited

Feliz Navidad and Mission Ready!

It’s Christmas time and undoubtedly many of our minds are focused on our families, holiday preparations, parties and presents. We look forward to the birth of our Savior and celebrate all that He provides. In places around the country and world, especially those affected by disaster, people struggling to have the basic necessities for survival may find it hard to see a reason to celebrate. God has given us generous hearts and at this time of year, thoughts of reaching out with kindness and that generosity strongly come to our hearts and minds.

We work in our communities with and among our neighbors and now we have an opportunity to help in another area–Puerto Rico. Next summer, over the course of two weeks, from July 21 through August 3, a group of mostly adult and some high school-aged volunteers from the state will be working in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico and serving alongside our Puerto Rican neighbors in their continued process of rebuilding and strengthening communities after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, with total losses estimated at upwards of $91 billion, mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record.

A team of experienced leaders, including Pastor Mark Parker, of Breath of God Lutheran Church, Baltimore, MD is working to bring together the group of adult and youth volunteers from the region. The bulk of work efforts will focus on construction, with a mix of skilled and unskilled volunteers. Our volunteers last year ranged from age 21 to age 70. This summer we will also accept some youth who have already completed 9th grade.

Are You Interested in Being a Volunteer?

If you are interested in being a volunteer, here are a few more details. We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado–about 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time. Volunteers sleep in bunk rooms with twin-sized bunk beds and communal showers–comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a very nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It’s a good home for groups like ours.

The general timeline is fly out on Sunday morning/afternoon and fly back on Saturday evening. Volunteers will serve over the course of two weeks from July 21 to August 3. Volunteers may sign up for one or both weeks.   Monday through Friday we’ll worked construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach/pool, relaxing and exploring the area. We may have the opportunity to take a half day to head across the island and visit El Yunque, an amazing tropical rain forest or explore in Old San Juan.

Registration opens in January with a deadline of April 1. The first deposit will be due at the close of registration, the second payment will be due May 1 and the final payment July 1. The expected cost is anticipated to be less than $600 for one week and less than $900 for two weeks.

If you are interested in volunteering for this unique and rewarding opportunity, please contact Kelly Thurber, our Mission and Outreach Coordinator.  More information–including fundraising opportunities–will be forthcoming, but positions are anticipated to fill up quickly, so please let Kelly know if you are interested so she can keep the regional team up-to-date on our interest levels.

As we get together with our family and friends and share the joy and peace of this holiday season, let us keep those who have suffered loss in our hearts and minds. And look forward to the days when we will have the opportunity to give a broader set of neighbors a Merrier Christmas.  Feliz Navidad.

Sunday’s Sermon: December 9, 2018, Advent II

…from Worship at Good Sam on December 9, 2018/Advent II

Lessons: Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 1:68-79, Philippians 1:3-11, Luke 3:1-6

Sermon: “Stir Up Our Hearts”

Prayer: Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming give to all the people of the world knowledge of your salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Looking ahead is a great way to see what’s coming.

In the story of Ratatouille, Remy, the want-to-be Chef, hears the voice of his idol and Master Chef Geastau, speaking in his imagination, “If  you stay focused on what is behind–on what you have lost–you will never be able to see what is ahead, right before you.”
 
I think Advent is partly about that kind of focus.  Allowing ourselves to look to what God is doing ahead of us.  What is nice about Advent is its symmetry.  What God is doing ahead of us, is in keeping and is part of what God had done before–for us–before we came to be.  What has been done in the story of Christ’s coming contains the ingredients and the seeds of what God is drawing us into now.  Indeed, the Christmas of the past, is all about how God is still seeking to bring about the life of Christ in all our lives, in the heart of every human being that will received him. 
The shepherds hear and go to learn and see the signs that will confirm it. “A babe, lying in a manger.”  We too, can hear the good news of Christ’s coming and ourselves receive the signs that this gift has also come to us, not just in the original Christmas, but this year and now as Christmas come among us again.  What a great coming this life of Christ is for us all, people of every time who can hear and learn and receive this magnificent gift.
 
O Come all Ye Faithful, light of light eternal, Come, Lord Jesus, Come.  Happy Advent!
 
Pastor Mitch

Sunday’s Sermon: December 2, 2018, Advent I

…from Worship at Good Sam on December 2, 2018/Advent 1

Lessons: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36

Sermon: “Fulfillment of the Promise”

Prayer: Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Helping Our Neighbors Through the Angel Tree

If you would like to participate in the Angel Tree this year, please pick out a stocking located in the Narthex.  Each stocking has the name of a child, age, and gift ideas.  We received these names from the Department of Human Services.  The families were selected if the family qualifies as low income and receives assistance from the Department of social services.   The family filled out a wish list. The items listed are only suggestions so don’t feel compelled to follow the list.  We have color coded the list in family groups so you know which children live in the same household.  Write your name and phone number on the master list next to your child’s name. The number by the name matches the number on the stocking.  Go shopping.  Spend at least $25 on the gift(s).  Your gifts do not need to fit into the stocking, but all gifts must be together.  If you have more than one gift, please place the gifts in a bag or a box.  Make sure your child’s name is clearly marked on the gift.  Do not write your name on the gifts.  They are given anonymously.  Please bring your gifts to the church no later than December 16th.  When you return the gift, please take the angel ornament with your child’s name on it. If you have any questions, please speak with Diane Hay.            –2018

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