First Sunday in Advent — December 2, 2018

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Good morning friends and members of Emmanuel Church, 

It’s Advent time again up on God’s hill!  We’ve had a snowy morning up here and it’s chilly outside.  We’re entering into a new church season on Sunday and it looks like we’ve entered a new season when we look out the window as well!

This Saturday, we are decorating the church, starting at 9 a.m.  
Sunday, December 2nd is the First Sunday in Advent.  At 10:15 a.m. we will have worship and welcome two new members.  The Christmas party, with carol singing and a visit from Santa Claus, is after worship.  Bring a covered dish to share.  

Monday, December 3: Choir at 7 pm.
Tuesday, December 4: NO Bible Study.
Friday, December 7: Cub Scout Meeting in Dining Hall 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 8: Assembling Fruit Baskets for Retirement Home residents and others.  9 a.m.
Sunday, December 9: Adult Sunday School at 9 a.m.
Worship at 10:15
Annual Congregational Meeting after worship to elect Consistory Members.  

A Stewardship Message from the Pastor delivered in worship on November 18th:  
            Stewardship and your giving is what helps Emmanuel Church change lives! Have you heard about our blanket ministry?  Or the volunteers who help at Salem Church in Delmont for the Tuesday night soup kitchen?  I believe that you cannot put a price on the ministry we do at Bible Study, each and every week.  Tuesdays at 10 and Sundays at 9 a.m.  Thank you for your giving in 2018.  
            Second, the Bible tells you that you are made in the image of God, which means that as you get closer and closer to becoming like God, you will have a more giving spirit and more giving attitude. If you want to get closer to God, try giving more away. 
            Third, you have heard about this Biblical tradition: the tithe.  It’s a term from the Old Testament about giving the first of what you have to God, usually first 10%.  The point of the tithe is not the 10%.  The point is the habit of giving to God before you give to anyone/anything else.  It’s about the first commandment.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  That includes material things.  10% is the goal, what you are striving for. I have met many people who have been frustrated by the tithe because they feel they can’t pay their bills now; how can they give God 10%?  So, they give up.  Well, if the 10% is a goal, that’s something different.  So, let me suggest that tomorrow you set 3% as your immediate goal.  If you feel like you can step out a little bit more, 5%.  If you feel this is your year, investments have come back, doing well, then maybe this year is a  10% year for you.  Point of the tithe is not the ten %.  It is the habit of giving to God first. 
          The fourth thing about stewardship is: you have spiritual gifts.  You were not made for just watching reruns on television.  You are a remarkably created, beloved person.  God created you with something great in mind.  But nowhere else will you be as nurtured as here to find out what your purpose and skills are.  We can help you with that.  I can help you with that.  Sheetz and Giant Eagle cannot.  Apple iphones cannot.  If you want to know, why you are here, ask me.  We will get an answer together. 
Grace and Peace, 
Pastor Joseph

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