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The push is ‘on’ for our miracle to get involved helping Holiday Friends fulfill holiday orders for delivery on Saturday, December 5th in TCC’s parking lot with hands-free pickup.
The week after Thanksgiving, Monday, November 30th, Tuesday, December 1st, (both morning and evening hours on Tuesday), and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we need helpers willing to work with Holiday Friends to complete their projects. If you can add greens to baskets and kissing balls, help create tabletop trees, or are willing to pitch-in in any capacity please join us. Both men and women are welcome!
Morning hours are 9:00am to 12:00 noon every day and on Tuesday, a special session to create table top trees will be held. In addition to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, an evening session from 7:00 to 9:00pm has been added. If you work during the day, come that night. We will meet in TCC’s Vestry, all wearing facemasks and social distancing.
Holiday Friends cannot meet this challenge alone. We need your help. Even if you are not skilled in creating arrangements—you’ll learn and have fun doing it!
Just come, no appointment necessary! We’ll share our knowledge with you.
I'm excited to offer a 3-Week Advent Season Bible Discussion starting next month. It is a study I'm building myself so there is no book to buy! The week before each time we meet I will send participants the study guide. Here are the dates and times for each one hour teleconference discussion:
December 2nd: 7-8PM
December 3rd: 10:30-11:30AM
December 9th: 7-8PM
December 10th: 10:30-11:30AM
December 16th: 7-8PM
December 17th: 10:30-11:30AM
Please reply to this post with the days and times you would like to participate. Also, you can also drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can mix-and-match evening and morning times.
If you cannot participate due to your schedule, you can still receive the study guide and do it on your own time.
"Be still, and know that I am God!" - Psalm 46:1
Waiting for something to happen can be difficult. I remember when I was interviewing for my first job. About a month after I graduated from college, I was blessed to have three interviews to put my Management Information Systems degree to work. Anxiety increased because it took two weeks for things to fall into place. Two weeks is really not that long but it felt like forever.
One of the companies would hire another person with more experience. Another decided to delay hiring me or another person because of changes in the leadership. The third company gave me a call on a Friday and offered me the job. It was over and I was able to relax and look forward to a new and exciting season beginning. Let me say again, the wait was excruciating.
Waiting and God go hand in hand. The oft used Psalm 46:1 has popped into my head a lot lately. We are all waiting for the results of the Presidential Election as I type these words. Many that I speak to are riddled with anxiety. Some are more patient and can handle the wait a little better. Unless we are not directly involved with the decision process, we do not have control over the process and others. There is one person we do have control over. Ourselves.
What can God teach us about patience and "being still" and patience?
Psalm 46 is an eleven-verse song written for a chief musician. To me the psalm is very much about the providential nature of God. Many give our Lutheran friends credit for providential theology. The psalmist is celebrating that God is still God in times of trouble. We hear from the writer that God is in control of nature and maintains the balance of Creation that seems chaotic to us from time to time. The writer also notes that when nations are at war God can intervene as God chooses and change the course. The psalm reminds us that when things seem out of control in life, we must be patient and see what God does.
Jesus wasn't always patient. The last week of His life Jesus cleansed the Temple from vendors taking advantage of people during the Feast of Passover. This was an important example. It is recorded in all four gospels. Why is this important? Impatience is a part of life. This action by Jesus was different. It was the last week of Jesus' life on earth and God intervened during great challenges with the gift of Resurrection.
That's how it works. You "be still" and wait on God. Many moons had passed before God fulfilled prophecies and sent his only Son. Years and years passed but people still prayed and lived life. They still had hope. And then it happens.
What does patience lead to in life? We can learn a lot about ourselves in the stillness of God. It can build trust that things turn out as they turn out. Also, we can grow in love of God and of people as well. Patience can lead to great changes in our world.
One day Paul sat down and penned a letter to the Corinthian Church. We think it was the first letter he wrote to them. Part of the letter talks about the gift of love. Chapter 13 of 1 Corithians reminds us that love is patient. It can bear a lot of things. And again, one part of patience and "being still" is love. Love of God, love of people that let us down, and love of ourselves can come from the stillness God can give.
Paul also was inspired to say that love "endures." This is important. Being still requires endurance. If things don't go our way, it doesn't mean it is going to last forever. It will happen when it happens.
Let's look around and acknowledge what God is doing in our lives and around us. Being still doesn't mean things aren't happening. It just means God is putting the building blocks into place. God is always in action in our patience...and impatience.
"For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
We return to the church in Thessaloniki. I shared about this city that still exists in northern central Greece a few weeks ago. Today it is a thriving city of diversity and vibrant culture. The Apostle Paul had a great relationship with the first church planted there over 2,000 years ago.
I love the words of encouragement he gives the church in the letter he wrote to them. Paul, and the churches of his time, were still striving to understand the grace they had all received through Jesus. They were resurrected people living a new way. Jesus set a new path of salvation instead of being controlled by the wrath that surrounded them.
Reading in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, Paul reminds the church that they are "children of light" and not ones that live in darkness. Jesus revealed new things to them. Old ways of thinking are changed. Don't forget it. You are part of a blessed community that celebrates in light. You are to "encourage one another and build up each other."
There's this thing called sanctifying grace. We celebrate this after we realize what God has done for us. It's the grace of God that moves us forward, helping us to become more like Christ every day. It's not a backward thing. It's a forward thing God does that melts away the old and makes all things new. It's just not an individual change, it also happens to our church family as a collective as we move forward together.
I have a front row seat watching construction workers build our town's new fire station. Construction workers impress me because of how they can take something on paper and make it areality. One day very soon the fire station will be completed because it was built by very gifted people. I have enjoyed the build up to this day.
God and those who God works through build others up. They use their gifts to do so. Jesus always built people up. He is still doing it today.
Let us encourage and build up one another. There is a lot going on that could place us in a mindset of darkness. However, because of Jesus, we live in the light. Every day we are rescued from darkness. Let us seek to always practice actions and words that build up people...not tear them down.
The Gospel of John talks a lot about light. Jesus tells us in John 8:12 that "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
We have the light of life. Let us continue to build up each other in this beautiful revelation.
For the past several years, your generosity has provided the Tewksbury Community Food Pantry with all the potatoes necessary for their Thanksgiving baskets for the upcoming holiday, making the celebration of family so much brighter for our friends in need. This coming Sunday, November 15th, is the last Sunday to meet our goal this year to provide 120 5 lb bags of potatoes! Our collection for this wonderful project can be done in one of two ways:
You can make a monetary donation by check to TCC, by mail or drop off at church on Nov.15th. Checks should be made out to TCC with Potatoes for Pantry in the memo.
You can also make an online donation by clicking on the Online Donations page of the TCC website, tewksburycc.org, Go to One-time giving and enter your monetary donation amount and Potatoes for the Food Pantry in the boxes next to Miscellaneous.
If you would rather make a donation of a 5 lb bag (or more!) of potatoes, that would be wonderful! Please bring the bags in on the 15th so that they will be fresh for delivery to the pantry. There will be a bin available in the Narthex on the 15th.
Using the monetary donations received, Carol and Bob Sturtevant will purchase the remainder of the potatoes needed and deliver the 120 bags to the pantry. Many thanks to Carol and Bob for this wonderful service!
Thank you for helping so many families feel loved this Thanksgiving holiday!
While we have been back to in person services for roughly a month, the building has remained closed to meetings and other gatherings. Recently, the Board of Ministries voted to open the building for non-worship gatherings as long as they follow the recomendations of the Reopening Workgroup. The Board of Trustees generated a simple set of guidelines for all to follow. Beyond the specific guidelines, reserving a room will be done with the normal process. Please reach out to the Board of Trustees with any questions. Note: The Church Office will continue to function remotely through email and phone contact only.Attached File: 44COVID Reqs.pdf
This week, we find out what Nehemiah does with what he found out about the wall in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 2:11-18 we see that he took initiative and set out to fix the wall. When no one else would step up, He went straight to King Artaxerxes and took action. And it’s that initiative that inspires the entire community to get involved. Video, lesson and activity can be found here.
Bottom Line: Don’t wait for someone else to do what needs to be done. When kids see something that needs to be done, they might think that someone else will take care of it. But what would happen if our kids saw it was possible for them to be part of the job? We want kids to realize that when they see what needs to be done, God might be telling them they can be the one to do it. And if they can’t do it all on their own, they can ask someone they trust for help.
As you have heard during our Sunday morning Stewardship Moments, the 2020 Pledge Campaign is well underway. In the coming days, you should receive your Stewardship Packet that will include a large amount of information for your review as you consider not only your pledge for 2020, but also your commitment of Time & Talents. If you do not receive your packet for some reason by Monday 11/16, please contact the church office so we can get one to you immediately.
You are Beloved, please consider how you will share that Love through TCC in the upcoming year to grow the ministries of His church.
This, we see a different part of Nehemiah’s story. In Nehemiah 5:1-12, we discover that while everyone was building the wall, an issue arose. Some of the Israelites were severely mistreating each other. Even though Nehemiah was in charge of rebuilding the wall, he stopped the building of the wall to confront the issue. He cared enough about the people to help them figure out a solution. Video, lesson and activity can be found here.
Bottom Line: Don’t wait for someone else to help people in need. When kids see people in need, we pray that they take initiative to help instead of thinking it is someone else’s problem. God can use them along with the trusted adults in their life to make an impact in the lives of others.
This week, we learn of Nehemiah’s story in Nehemiah 1:1–2:9. We discover that Nehemiah was working for King Artaxerxes when his brother brought news from the exiles living in Judah. When he heard about the devastation in Jerusalem, Nehemiah was heartbroken. He recognized the huge need, but before he did anything he prayed. Nehemiah knew that whatever he would do, he’d need God’s help to accomplish it. Video, lesson and activity can be found here.
Bottom Line: Be on the lookout for what needs to be done. Before you can do what needs to be done, you have to see what needs to be done. We hope the story from Nehemiah inspires kids to be more aware of the needs around them. These don’t have to be huge either. Our homes and schools are filled with opportunities where we can show initiative, we just have to be open to seeing them.
Our own Pat Takach is working on a miracle, but she needs your help. Pat has called the members of Holiday Friends together to create arrangements to decorate our homes for the holidays. She is depending on the skills of Holiday Friends to put together colorful kissing balls, cemetery baskets, and festive table arrangements. As the coordinator of Holiday Friends, Pat needs orders from our congregation. Our prices are the same as last year: Decorated wreaths ($30), a wreath with a bow only ($20), and our traditional tabletop trees are $35.00 each. Cemetery baskets are priced at small ($15), medium ($20) and large ($25.00). Our famous kissing balls are priced at $30.00 each.
If anyone in our church family has any baskets they would like to donate to Holiday Friends or freshly cut greens, please contact Pat at 978-851-4770 or 978-828-1224.
We will work in TCC’s Vestry on these projects; each member of Holiday Friends will follow the guidelines of our church to work in a safe environment.
Knowing what our church requires of us, keeping our creative minds and hands busy, and understanding that all monies paid for our holiday arrangements will go to our church, we hope you will support our efforts. Members of Holiday Friends will work feverishly to help Pat ‘s miracle come true. When our work is done, all orders will be picked up in TCC’s parking lot—hands free!