Monday, December 26, 2011


New Years Eve -
Have a reasonably good time!

ISAIAH 60:1-6
(The Message)
Isaiah offers a word from the Lord to exiles or
new returnees to their homeland after at least a
39-year absence. They knew to expect ruins on
their return, and that is exactly what they had
found. Thick darkness (verse 2) in the world
they knew; in their ruined homeland and their
destroyed capital, Jerusalem. The prophet
declares the coming of the glory of the Lord
into this atmosphere. Not long after the Judeans
were set free to return to their homeland, the
new Persian government sent orders to have
supplies and building materials sent to rebuild
and furnish the city and its temple. Among these
materials were gold and frankincense
(Isaiah 60:6). Isaiah reminded the returned exiles
that if they watched, they would see other
nations bringing camels, gold, and frankincense
into Jerusalem.

1 "Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your
face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for
2 The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all
people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on
you, his sunrise glory breaks over you.
3 Nations will come to your light, kings to your
sunburst brightness.
4 Look up! Look around! Watch as they gather,
watch as they approach you: Your sons coming
from great distances, your daughters carried by
their nannies.
5 When you see them coming you'll smile - big
smiles! Your heart will swell and, yes, burst! All
those people returning by sea for the reunion, a
rich harvest of exiles gathered in from the nations!6 And then streams of camel caravans as far as
the eye can see, young camels of nomads in Midian
and Ephah, Pouring in from the south from Sheba,
loaded with gold and frankincense, preaching the
praises of God.———————————————————————
PSALM 72:1-7, 10-14 (UMH 795)
(The Message)
PSALM 72:1-7
1 Give the gift of wise rule to the king, O God, the
gift of just rule to the crown prince.
2 May he judge your people rightly, be honorable
to your meek and lowly.
3 Let the mountains give exuberant witness; shape
the hills with the contours of right living.
4 Please stand up for the poor, help the children of
the needy, come down hard on the cruel tyrants.
5 Outlast the sun, outlive the moon - age after age
after age.
6 Be rainfall on cut grass, earth-refreshing rain
7 Let righteousness burst into blossom and peace
abound until the moon fades to nothing.
PSALM 72:10-14
10 Kings remote and legendary will pay homage,
kings rich and resplendent will turn over their wealth.
11 All kings will fall down and worship, and
godless nations sign up to serve him,
12 Because he rescues the poor at the first sign
of need, the destitute who have run out of luck.
13 He opens a place in his heart for the down and
out, he restores the wretched of the earth.
14 He frees them from tyranny and torture - when
they bleed, he bleeds; when they die, he dies.
(The Message)
It was typically evangelism that got Paul locked
away. And being locked away, Paul never
stopped evangelizing about God's kingdom and
Jesus Christ to everyone he could, even to the
point, reaching the whole imperial guard in Rome.
That is part of what Paul refers to here when he
speaks of the mystery of the gospel now being
made known to "rulers and authorities in
heavenly places."

1 This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having
taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called.
2 I take it that you're familiar with the part I was
given in God's plan for including everybody.
3 I got the inside story on this from God himself,
as I just wrote you in brief.4 As you read over what I have written to you,
you'll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery
of Christ.
5 None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our
time has it been made clear by God's Spirit through
his holy apostles and prophets of this new order.
6 The mystery is that people who have never heard
of God and those who have heard of him all their
lives (what I've been calling outsiders and insiders)
stand on the same ground before God. They get the
same offer, same help, same promises in Christ
Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming
to everyone, across the board.
7 This is my life work: helping people understand
and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer
gift to me, a real surprise,
God handling all the details.
8 When it came to presenting the Message to
people who had no background in God's way, I
was the least qualified of any of the available
Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but
you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my
natural abilities.
9 My task is to bring out in the open and make
plain what God, who created all this in the first place,
has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all
10 Through Christians like yourselves gathered in
churches, this extraordinary plan of God is
becoming known and talked about even among
the angels!
11 All this is proceeding along lines planned all
along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus.
12 When we trust in him, we're free to say
whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever
we need to go.
MATTHEW 2:1-12
(The Message)
We see the three kings, their gifts, and perhaps
the use of incense.

• In the midst of our own economic freefall,
impending threats of global climate change,
and the ongoing uncertainties about the price
and availability of energy sources, we may hear
and experience this story in ways that take
seriously the notion of threat and subversion
that were clearly part of its first tellings. Iraqi
or Iranian astrologers would not normally go
waltzing into Jerusalem looking for a newborn
child destined to become the new ruler of that
nation. Matters of state like this would usually
have been handled by an official delegation
working through all the "right" channels. What
these men did in Jerusalem was bound to draw
suspicion from the powers that be.

• What we know of Herod we know primarily
from a historian (Josephus) who did not like
him, as well as from testimony in Matthew.
Herod was, by their testimony, insecure,
paranoid, and ready to act violently if he felt
threatened. Herod is a maniacal figure and a
stand-in for powers of the world that deny
access to truth they don't want accessed, and
then try to spin the truth, if it is discovered.

(Sound familiar?)
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah
territory - this was during Herod's kingship - a band of
scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East.
2 They asked around, "Where can we find and pay
homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We
observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his
birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him."
3 When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was
terrified - and not Herod alone, but most of
Jerusalem as well.
4 Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high
priests and religion scholars in the city together and
asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
5 They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The
prophet Micah wrote it plainly:
6 It's you, Bethlehem, in Judah's land, no longer
bringing up the rear. From you will come the leader
who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel."
7 Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the
scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout
as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when
the birth-announcement star appeared.
8 Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem,
and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone
unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and
I'll join you at once in your worship."9 Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star
appeared again, the same star they had seen in the
eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the
place of the child.
10 They could hardly contain themselves: They were
in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!11 They entered the house and saw the child in the
arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled
and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage
and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to
Herod. So they worked out another route, left the
territory without being seen, and returned to their own
Pastor Bob's and Naomi's day off.
The office will be closed today.
Back to school, kids.≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
Behavioral Covenant Workshop at

2011 is nearly over. In summation, this has been
quite a year! We have had flooding.
We had hundreds of tornadoes.We had a number of wildfires in the southwest.We have had a considerable number of protests,
both in the United States and abroad in countries
connected with Arab Spring, and now in Russia.

Japan experienced an incredible earthquake and tsunami.
Countries in Africa are enduring continued hunger.
Nearly 3,000,000 Americans have been evicted
homes during our ongoing mortgage fiasco.
• We have had many good experiences as well.
Bringing our military people home from Iraq.
Time we have spent with family and friends. Therein
lies the golden moments.
We are very grateful for the hard working benevolent
people who gave incredible amounts of time, energy,
and monetary contributions to fix all of the staggering
problems that we have had this year. No, everything
is not fixed. Many problems will take much time, so
don't give up.
God Bless and Keep You,
Pastor Bob

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


• Advent Bible Study at 2 P.M. in Casey U.M.C.
“What I Want for Christmas.”This is the Longest Night of the year.
• • • There will be a Blue Christmas Service —in Adair U.M.C. at 7 P.M. Everyone is welcome,
but it is directed toward anyone
who has
experienced intense loss
this year. It can be in
the realm of
death, severe illness, family
disagreements, job security
, or some entirely
different adjustment. Many transformations in
life can shake us to our very foundations, and
cause a sweeping
change in our sense of well
• Advent Bible Study at 7 P.M. in Adair U.M.C.
“What I Want for Christmas.”≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
A-C School's Winter Break begins today.Don't forget to go back to school January 3rd!
Adair U.M.C. at 5 P.M.
Casey U.M.C. at 9 P.M.
Communion in both churches.
Regular services at both churchesSCRIPTURE READINGS:
ISAIAH 52:7-10
(The Message)

These specific readings for Christmas Day have
a history that stretches far back into Christian
history, at least to the seventh century in the
Isaiah calls the ruins of Jerusalem to give
thanks for the coming of the Lord because
God's people are returning to their homeland to
rebuild them. Those of you who live in or near
places of devastation - - by floods, earthquakes,
hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or other means- -
know what it is like to see the ruins around you
and know the people are gone.
Isaiah announces
the return of the LORD to Jerusalem, a sign of
the end of exile. "All the ends of the earth shall
see God's salvation."

Restoring destroyed communities is certainly
familiar to our contemporary world. Today we
have our own experience, whether the coasts of
the Gulf of Mexico, the floodplains of our Upper
Midwest and Thailand, the regions of Haiti,
territories in Japan devastated by tsunami, the
wildfires in Texas, the rice fields of Burma, the
ruins from long wars and strife in Afghanistan,

and Palestine . . . or economic collapses
continuing to drive millions of people around
the world
into unemployment. It is all mind
numbing devastation for the people forced to
experience it. Sweeping change from a sense
of well being.

7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the
messenger bringing good news, Breaking the news
that all's well, proclaiming good times, announcing
salvation, telling Zion, "Your God reigns!"
8 Voices! Listen! Your scouts are shouting,
thunderclap shouts, shouting in joyful unison. They
see with their own eyes God coming back to Zion.
9 Break into song! Boom it out, ruins of Jerusalem:
"God has comforted his people! He's redeemed
10 God has rolled up his sleeves. All the nations
can see his holy, muscled arm. Everyone, from
one end of the earth to the other, sees him at work,
doing his salvation work.

PSALM 98 (UMH 818)
(The Message)
A song of praise for God's intervention to save
God's people. "For the Lord comes to judge the
nations with righteousness, and the peoples
with equity."

1 Sing to God a brand-new song. He's made a
world of wonders! He rolled up his sleeves, He set
things right.
2 God made history with salvation, He showed the
world what he could do.
3 He remembered to love us, a bonus To his dear
family, Israel - indefatigable love. The whole earth
comes to attention. Look - God's work of salvation!
4 Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose
and sing! Strike up the band!
5 Round up an orchestra to play for God, Add on a
hundred-voice choir.
6 Feature trumpets and big trombones, Fill the air
with praises to King God.
7 Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.
8 Let ocean breakers call out, "Encore!" And
mountains harmonize the finale -
9 A tribute to God when he comes, When he comes
to set the earth right. He'll straighten out the whole
world, He'll put the world right, and everyone in it.

HEBREWS 1:1-4; 5-12
(The Message)
The full text of Hebrews speaks at some length
about Jesus being the imprint of God's
"ultimate essence" (hypostasis, in Greek) and
far superior to angels. In Jesus, God has given
us no mere angel or messenger, but "the
radiance of God's glory and the exact imprint
of God's very being. Look at all the clothing
references in Hebrews, and see how you might
elaborate on these in your worship space as
well. The images here are not at all those of a
helpless baby, but of a powerful and
awe-inspiring Lord.

1 Going through a long line of prophets, God has
been addressing our ancestors in different ways
for centuries.
2 Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son.
By his Son, God created the world in the beginning,
and it will all belong to the Son at the end.
3 This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped
with God's nature. He holds everything together
by what he says - powerful words! The Son Is
Higher than Angels
4 far higher than any angel in rank and rule.
HEBREWS 1:5-12 (The Message)
5 Did God ever say to an angel, "You're my
Son; today I celebrate you"? Or, "I'm his
Father, he's my Son"?
6 When he presents his honored Son to the
world, he says, "All angels must worship him."
7 Regarding angels he says, The messengers are
winds, the servants are tongues of fire.
8 But he says to the Son, You're God, and on the
throne for good; your rule makes everything right.
9 You love it when things are right; you hate it
when things are wrong. That is why God, your God,
poured fragrant oil on your head, Marking you out
as king, far above your dear companions.
10 And again to the Son, You, Master, started it all,
laid earth's foundations, then
crafted the stars in the sky.
11 Earth and sky will wear out, but not you; they
become threadbare like an old coat;
12 You'll fold them up like a worn-out cloak, and
lay them away on the shelf. But you'll stay the
same, year after year; you'll never fade, you'll
never wear out.

JOHN 1:1-14
(The Message)
John provides the heart of the good news for
today - - that the Word of God was God from
the beginning and the Word became flesh and
dwelt (pitched a tent) among us in the person
of Jesus. Light shining in the face of darkness,
and though appearing to fade for a time, not
overcome, but transformed from one light
(the sun) to billions of lights
(the moon, planets and stars)
1 The Word was first, the Word present to God,
God present to the Word. The Word was God,
2 in readiness for God from day one.
3 Everything was created through him; nothing -
not one thing! - came into being without him.
4 What came into existence was Life, and the
Life was Light to live by.
5 The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the
darkness couldn't put it out.
6 There once was a man, his name John, sent by
7 to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came
to show everyone where to look, who to believe in.
8 John was not himself the Light; he was there to
show the way to the Light.
9 The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person
entering Life he brings into Light.
10 He was in the world, the world was there
through him, and yet the world didn't even notice.
11 He came to his own people, but they
didn't want him.
12 But whoever did want him, who believed he was
who he claimed and would do what he said, He
made to be their true selves, their child-of-God
13 These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.
14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved
into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our
own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like
Son, Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
Pastor Bob's and Naomi's day off.
Office Closed today.
Naomi will be in and out of the office all week
so please call
before making a trip there.
New Years Eve - Remember, if you fly too high,
your wings might melt.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2012 — HAPPY NEW YEAR!The U.S. Government offers a list of the most
popular resolutions.
• Drink Less Alcohol

• Get a Better Education
• Get a Better Job
• Get Fit
• Lose Weight
• Manage Debt
• Manage Stress
• Quit Smoking
• Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
• Save Money
• Take a Trip
• Volunteer to Help Others
I don't see a clinker in the bunch.
Behavioral Covenant Workshop at

God Bless and Keep You,
Pastor Bob

    Monday, December 12, 2011


    Prayer Breakfast at Happy Chef - 7 A.M.
    • • • ADVENT BIBLE STUDY • • •“What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Casey U.M.C., - at 2 PM.

    • • •“What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Adair U.M.C., - at 7 PM.


    2 SAMUEL 7:1-11, 16
    (The Message)
    Nathan brings good news and a “reality check”
    to David. The good news: God intends to
    establish David's lineage permanently, though
    conditionally. David, Israel's hero-king, had
    spent his life and the nation's resources
    defending and expanding the kingdom and its
    capital, Jerusalem. There he had built a lavish
    royal palace complex for himself and his heirs
    in Jerusalem.
    Having done all of this, he noticed that he had
    invested nothing on building projects for the
    religion of his people. The chief place for
    religious gatherings was still, literally, a tent.
    So he began to lay out a plan to build a majestic
    temple to honor the God of his people.
    The reality: God has been present with God's
    people by being in their midst as they have
    traveled. There is no need for David to build a

    • God did allow Solomon to build a temple; a
    facility which ultimately became the largest
    religious campus of buildings on the planet in
    that or any time so far.

    2 SAMUEL 7:1-11
    1 Before long, the David made himself at home and
    God gave him peace from all his enemies.
    2 Then one day King David said to Nathan the
    prophet, "Look at this: Here I am, comfortable in a
    luxurious house of cedar, and the Chest of God sits
    in a plain tent."
    3 Nathan told the king, "Whatever is on your heart,
    go and do it. God is with you."
    4 But that night, the word of God came to Nathan
    5 "Go and tell my servant David: This is God's word
    on the matter: You're going to build a 'house' for me
    to live in?
    6 Why, I haven't lived in a 'house' from the time I
    brought the children of Israel up from Egypt till now.
    All that time I've moved about with nothing but a tent.
    7 And in all my travels with Israel, did I ever say to
    any of the leaders I commanded to shepherd Israel,
    'Why haven't you built me a house of cedar?'
    8 "So here is what you are to tell my servant David:
    The God-of-the-Angel-Armies has this word for you:
    I took you from the pasture, tagging along after
    sheep, and made you prince over my people Israel.
    9 I was with you everywhere you went and mowed
    your enemies down before you. Now I'm making you
    famous, to be ranked with the great names on earth.
    10 And I'm going to set aside a place for my people
    Israel and plant them there so they'll have their own
    home and not be knocked around any more. Nor will
    evil men afflict you as they always have,
    11 even during the days I set judges over my people
    Israel. Finally, I'm going to give you peace from
    all your enemies.2 SAMUEL 7:16
    16 Your family and your kingdom are permanently
    secured. I'm keeping my eye on them! And your
    royal throne will always be there, rock solid."
    LUKE 1:46-55 (UMH 199)
    (The Message)
    The Song of Mary. Listen to this song and hear
    in it the signs that Mary is pregnant with the end
    of this age and the hope for the coming one!
    And the worship we offer is of the One who is
    as Mary sang in her song at Elizabeth's house.

    46 And Mary said, I'm bursting with God-news;
    47 I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.48 God took one good look at me, and look what
    happened - I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
    What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    49 the God whose very name is holy, set apart
    from all others.
    50 His mercy flows in wave after wave on those
    who are in awe before him.
    51 He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
    52 He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled
    victims out of the mud.
    53 The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the
    callous rich were left out in the cold.
    54 He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he
    remembered and piled on the mercies,
    piled them high.
    55 It's exactly what he promised, beginning with
    Abraham and right up to now.
    Quoting from the King James (since so many
    settings of this song have used that version):

    • He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden
    • and his mercy is on them that fear him from
    • generation to generation.
    • He hath shown strength with his arm;
    • he hath scattered the proud in the imagination
    • of their hearts.
    • He hath put down the mighty from their seat
    • and hath exalted them of low degree.
    • He hath filled the hungry with good things;
    • And the rich he hath sent empty away.
    (Luke 1:48-53).
    ROMANS 16:25-27
    (The Message)
    A concluding doxology that joins the eternal
    praise of God for revealing the mystery of

    salvation intended for the whole world in
    Jesus Christ.
    25 All of our praise rises to the One who is strong
    enough to make you strong, exactly as preached
    in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the
    mystery kept secret for so long
    26 but now an open book through the prophetic
    Scriptures. All the nations of the world can now
    know the truth and be brought into obedient belief,
    carrying out the orders of God, who got all this
    started, down to the very last letter.
    27 All our praise is focused through Jesus on this
    incomparably wise God! Yes!

    LUKE 1:26-38
    (The Message)
    The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she
    will become with child by God and bear the Son
    of the Most High whose throne will be eternal.
    She consents and thus fulfills God's intention
    to establish David's line forever.

    26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God
    sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of
    27 to a virgin engaged to be married to a man
    descended from David. His name was Joseph, and
    the virgin's name, Mary.
    28 Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good
    morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty,
    Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.

    29 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what
    was behind a greeting like that.
    30 But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have
    nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you:
    31 You will become pregnant and give birth to a
    son and call his name Jesus.
    32 He will be great, be called 'Son of the Highest.'
    The Lord God will give him the throne of his father
    David;33 He will rule Jacob's house forever - no end, ever,
    to his kingdom."
    34 Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never
    slept with a man."
    35 The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come
    upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you;
    Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called
    Holy, Son of God.
    36 "And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth
    conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called
    her barren, and here she is six months' pregnant!
    37 Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."
    38 And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I'm the
    Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just
    as you say. Then the angel left her.
    Blessed Among Women.

    This is Pastor Bob's and Naomi's day off.
    The office is closed today.
    This is the Longest Night of the year . . . . . and
    tomorrow we can look forward to the night being
    a couple minutes shorter. Well, that certainly
    lifts my spirits!
    • Advent Bible Study at 2 P.M. in Casey U.M.C.
    “What I Want for Christmas.”

    • • • There will be a Blue Christmas Service —
    in Adair U.M.C. at 7 P.M. for those of you who
    have experienced a profound loss
    this year.
    • Advent Bible Study at 7 P.M. in Adair U.M.C.
    “What I Want for Christmas.”
    A-C School's Winter Break begins today.
    forget to go back to school January 3rd!
    We will take Communion in both churches.
    Services will be at the regular time.
    • May Peace be your gift at Christmas
    and your
    blessing all year through!

    • The joy that you give to others
    Is the joy that comes back to you.

    • “A little smile, a word of cheer,
    A bit of love from someone near,
    A little gift from one held dear,
    Best wishes for the coming year.”
    —— John Greenleaf Whittier

    • The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most
    significant event in all history, because it has
    meant the pouring into a sick world, healing
    medicine of love, which has transformed all
    kinds of hearts for almost two thousand years

    God Bless and Keep You,
    Pastor Bob

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011


    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    • ADVENT BIBLE STUDY —“What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Casey U.M.C., - at 2 PM.

    “What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Adair U.M.C., - at 7 PM.

    — CHRISTMAS MALL Casey U.M.C. — East Wing, Social Room
    • • • • • 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M. • • • • •

    ISAIAH 61:1-4, 8-11
    (The Message)

    Different scholars propose two different time
    frames for this week's reading from Isaiah.
    Some believe the prophet was announcing
    good news of deliverance to the Judean
    people in exile in Babylon. Others argue the
    message was instead for those same people
    to cheer them up after they had returned home
    and found just how destroyed it had been.

    The Spirit of the Lord anoints a prophet to bring
    good news to the oppressed, the brokenhearted,
    the captives, the prisoners, and the mourning - -
    good news that includes "the day of vengeance
    of our God" that will destroy the social order that
    keeps them in their oppressed state. When the
    current order is destroyed, rebuilding of God's
    "ancient ruins" will begin.

    ISAIAH 61:1-4
    1 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because
    God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news
    to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce
    freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.2 God sent me to announce the year of his grace -
    a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies -
    and to comfort all who mourn,
    3 To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give
    them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages
    of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart
    instead of a languid spirit. Rename them "Oaks of
    Righteousness" planted by God to display his glory.
    4 They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of
    the wreckage. They'll start over on the ruined cities,
    take the rubble left behind and make it new.ISAIAH 61:8-11
    8 "Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate
    thievery and crime, I'll pay your wages on time
    and in full, and establish my eternal covenant
    with you.
    9 Your descendants will become well-known
    all over. Your children in foreign countries Will
    be recognized at once as the people I have
    10 I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise
    from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a
    suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of
    righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on
    a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.
    11 For as the earth bursts with spring wild
    flowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
    So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full
    bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.
    PSALM 126 (UMH 847) (The Message)
    A Psalm of Ascent, one of the Psalms sung by
    pilgrims as they made their way to the temple
    after it was rebuilt after the return from exile, as
    prophesied by Isaiah.
    1 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when
    God returned Zion's exiles.
    2 We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our
    good fortune. We were the talk of the nations -
    "God was wonderful to them!"

    3 God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.
    4 And now, God, do it again - bring rains to our
    drought-stricken lives
    5 So those who planted their crops in despair will
    shout hurrahs at the harvest,
    6 So those who went off with heavy hearts will come
    home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
    1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-24
    (The Message)
    Concluding his letter, Paul offers specific
    practices commended for living now as those
    who rejoice in God's salvation in full view of the
    end to come. Those practices include regular
    rejoicing, constant prayer, persistent thanksgiving,
    openness to the Spirit's voice through prophets
    and the life of the community, and discernment
    about what is good, keeping the good, discarding
    the rest.

    16 Be cheerful no matter what;
    17 pray all the time;
    18 thank God no matter what happens. This is the way
    God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
    19 Don't suppress the Spirit,
    20 and don't stifle those who have a word from the
    21 On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out
    everything, and keep only what's good.
    22 Throw out anything tainted with evil.
    23 May God himself, the God who makes
    everything holy and whole, make you holy and
    whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body -
    and keep you fit for the coming of our Master,
    Jesus Christ.
    24 The One who called you is completely
    dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!
    JOHN 1:6-8, 19-28
    (The Message)
    The witness of John the Baptizer concerning his
    own identity. "I am not worthy to untie the thong
    of his sandals." He was clear he was "not the
    light," but equally clear that his life was all about
    testifying to the light to come and announcing
    his arrival.

    JOHN 1:6-8
    6 There once was a man, his name John, sent by
    7 to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to
    show everyone where to look, who to believe in.8 John was not himself the Light; he was there to
    show the way to the Light.
    JOHN 1:19-28
    19 When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of
    priests and officials to ask John who he was, he
    was completely honest.
    20 He didn't evade the question. He told the plain
    truth: "I am not the Messiah."21 They pressed him, "Who, then? Elijah?" "I am
    not." "The Prophet?" "No."
    22 Exasperated, they said, "Who, then? We need
    an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something -
    anything! - about yourself."
    23 "I'm thunder in the desert: 'Make the road straight
    for God!' I'm doing what the prophet Isaiah preached."
    24 Those sent to question him were from the
    Pharisee party.
    25 Now they had a question of their own: "If you're
    neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why
    do you baptize?"
    26 John answered, "I only baptize using water. A
    person you don't recognize has taken his stand in
    your midst.
    27 He comes after me, but he is not in second place
    to me. I'm not even worthy to hold his coat for him."
    28 These conversations took place in Bethany on the
    other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at
    the time.≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
    This is Pastor Bob's and Naomi's day off.
    The office is closed today.
    Prayer Breakfast at Happy Chef - 7 A.M.
    • • • ADVENT BIBLE STUDY • • •
    “What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Casey U.M.C., - at 2 PM.

    • • •
    “What I Want for Christmas.”
    In Adair U.M.C., - at 7 PM.

    • 5 P.M. Christmas Eve Service in ADAIR U.M.C.
    • 9 P.M. Christmas Eve Service in CASEY U.M.C.
    We will have Holy Communion at both services.
    May you have peace this Christmas season.
    That may sound like a very small gift, but think of all
    the places on this earth where people would give
    almost anything to enjoy some peace. Pray for
    those who are hungry, for those who are frightened,
    those who are captive, and oppressed.
    Many of us can hardly envision such affliction, but it
    is real, though perhaps not in central Iowa.
    It is a very big world, and pray for all who need peace.

    God Bless and Keep You,
    Pastor Bob