TCC Flash - Weekly News
Are You The One?| Rev. Baxter Chism.
"When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" - Matthew 11:2-3
I knew this guy who always seemed to have terrible luck. A well-educated gent with a lot to offer the world, it seemed that nothing ever went his way. He seemed to have bad luck in relationships. Financially things seemed to work against him and he was often broke. Even his parents were troublesome.
I remember him saying, "Is this ever going to end?" It did eventually end but it took a while.
John the Baptist was in prison. He "had done stirred the pot too much", I guess you could say. John had been critical of Herod's marriage to Herodias, which he felt was unlawful (Matthew 14:3-5). Herod had divorced his wife to marry Herodias. Not everybody loves a critic.
It wasn't a good time for John, needless to say. Where is the one that I have been making a way for in my ministry that is supposed to make all this better? Imagine John in prison thinking about his life and ministry. No more would he feel the water of the River Jordan and perform the baptisms on people from near and far. Had his purpose in life been for nothing?
Years had passed since John's mother, Elizabeth, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both together pregnant. This is called The Visitation and most likely took place in a village named Ein Karem, which is southwest of Jerusalem. This would have been where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived. Rev. Adam Hamilton, in his book, "The Journey," discusses that Mary and Elizabeth were most likely cousins.
John leaped in Elizabeth's womb when Mary greeted her during the visit. Years would pass and John would be out of the womb and would baptize Jesus. We don't know about the years in between these meetings. If Mary and Elizabeth were cousins, maybe their families would come together every once in a while? We simply don't know.
John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one. It was crunch time for him. If you are not the one we need to move on to another. For you see, the Jewish people had lived through many who said they were the Messiah. Their hopes had been dashed before Jesus. Within these disappointments, they found a way in faith to move on. John was hoping Jesus was the one...but was willing to move on and hope.
Jesus responds to John we read in Matthew 11:4-6 (from The Message), "Go back and tell John what's going on: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side."
Jesus would go on to compliment John and his ministry. Unfortunately, we do not have John's response. If I could read between the lines, I would hope that John's hope was restored. It probably didn't go the way he had planned it. But maybe he was restored to wonderful hope before he died. I hope in my heart he realized that he had completed his service to God in wonderful ways. Even in prison, I hope he found contentment.
Those of us today remember John the Baptist at least once a year and celebrate his ministry. His life and testament still live on.
As John prepared the way for Jesus, it is you and I who prepare the way for others. All together we are called the Church. I would hope that people looking for salvation and purpose would not bypass us and avoid the question, "Are you the one? Or do I move on to something else?"
Hopefully, through us every person we encounter would know that Jesus is the one and have the question answered in their soul.
Alternative Giving!| Joanne Kenney.
As I go through the pile of year-end Missions Committee mail and find all of the solicitations for those in real need, I am reminded of the Alternative Christmas gift list, put together by Beth McFadyen several years ago. I believe there are still some hard copies attached to the Missions bulletin board in fellowship hall. Please take a look, for those on your list who you'd like to acknowledge, but who really need nothing. I think that is a lot of us!
I also received these gift-acknowledgment cards from Heifer International. I am using one for a gift in Jess' honor, but have 2 others here. Please let me know if you would like one of them and I will deliver! Happy Giving!
And, on this giving note, I would just like to make a special mention of how generous you all were with our Giving Tree! Each year is the same. Each year, JoJo and I, as well as the folks from the organizations, are floored by the outpouring of LOVE!. <3 Praise God!
Attached File: 18AlternativeChristmasGiftIdeas2015.pdf
Spread Some Cheer Before Christmas!| Mercy Delgado.
How would you like to be one of Santa's Helpers? We need help delivering a few Christmas gifts to our TCC Seniors. If you would like to help out, please contact the church office and be part of this very special ministry!
2020 Offering Envelopes Are Here!| Mercy Delgado.
You may pick up your Offering Envelopes for 2020 in the Narthex.
If there is no box for you, please contact Pam Dooley at email@example.com.
In order to access the Sunday School curriculum information, important dates to remember or about particular programs designed for youth, please visit our Crib Sheet page.
Shop and Smile as you support TCC!| Board of Ministries.
Amazon has a shopping program that benefits non-profits and the Tewksbury Congregational Church is now registered! It's called Amazon Smile and will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to our church. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know, same products, same prices, same service. You are able to support TCC with your AmazonSmile purchases for no extra cost to you! Feel free to share this info with your friends and family, too.
Simply visit smile.amazon.com and enter "Tewksbury Congregational Church" as the charity you wish to support. For TCC to get credit, all your purchases must be made through the 'smile.amazon.com' site...so be sure to bookmark it to make future purchases easier;-)
Tareila Trust News| Tareila Trust Bldg Committee.
The Tareila Trust Building Committee would like to invite the congregation to an informational meeting regarding our progress thus far with the audio upgrade in the Sanctuary. We have a vendor chosen and would like to move forward with the work once we've met with the congregation.
The meeting will take place on December 15th after church in the Vestry.
Called to Care
As a community of Faith, we are Called to Care for one another. Please visit our Called to Care page to learn how you can offer or request care for yourself or for a member of our church family.
Women’s Evening Group Update| Mary Lou Adams.
Please be reminded there is no meeting of our new Women’s Evening Group in December. We will resume on Wednesday, January 14, 2020.
UCC Happenings| Christopher Jenkins.
LOCAL CHURCH PUBLIC EVENTS
Friday – December 13, 2019, at 7:00 PM
Christmas Festival at CCU-Dracut
Click HERE to view all TCC Sign-ups!| Church Secretary.
Click HERE to launch our TCC Sign-up Genius page. Use the tabs to switch between the sign-ups. Thank you for lending a helping hand!
Repentance During Advent| Rev. Baxter Chism.
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." - Matthew 3:11
Here we go meeting up with the odd ball, John the Baptist, out in the wilderness again during the Advent Season. His attire was a little different...camel hair clothes and a leather belt. If we literally accept what the Gospel of Matthew reports all John ate was locusts and honey. I'm sure all of you are interested in what a locust tastes like (Please let me know. I'm not doing that!).
People were flocking to be baptized by John from Jerusalem and all of Judea. Matthew reports this was foretold by quoting Isaiah 40:3, which tells us a "voice" in the wilderness is calling. This person would "make straight paths" for the coming Messiah. It was a voice calling for repentance.
To what can I compare a "voice" like this today? Think of ways God is calling you right now. How does it make you feel? What needs to be done?
We are in the Season of Advent, preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus once more. Preparation is a big part of the season.
All throughout the life we live, we are preparing for one thing or the other. As John the Baptist was preparing a path for Jesus, I guess you could say the various preparations we commit to in life are preparing us for many things.
But how does repentance prepare us for something?
Repentance is taking another direction or path unlike the one you have been on. The focus is not on the wrong we have done but on the right we are going to do. We admit to our sinful behavior or behaviors. In many ways we simply start over. As Christians we start a new way with God.
The Rev. Dr. David Lose said this about repentance as well:
"Repentance also underscores that change isn't necessary for change's sake, but rather that change is necessary because we've become aware that our actions are out of step with God's deep desire for peace and equity for all God's people and - taking Isaiah's (Chapters 11 and 40) vivid imagery...for the whole of creation. Repentance, in short, is realizing that God is pointing you one way, that you've been traveling another way, and changing the course."
We repent in many ways. Maybe as Rev. Dr. Lose said, our actions are not in alignment with what God wants for us and for all people. Sometimes our actions not only hurt us as individuals, but others as well. We repent, seek reconciliation with those we have hurt, and start over with them. Maybe we realize that our consumerism or lack of love for the environment needs to change. Repentance can also be stepping up and serving in some way. This means we aren't just going to sit at home hoping or assuming someone else will do it.
What do you need to repent of this Advent Season?
So an oddball kind of guy, John the Baptist, is out in the middle of nowhere calling for repentance. He is preparing the way for Jesus and His ministry. Repentance has a way of preparing us and making a new path so we grow closer to God. Repentance is the beginning of something new and glorious.
Do you hear John calling you out in the wilderness?