December 2013
Church Press Newsletter
A Healthy Church

12 Pillars of a Healthy Church
by Dr. Waldo Werning (LCMS). People are searching everywhere for answers and encouragement for church ministry. 12 Pillars will give you a vision for church growth and will broaden it. Rev. Stephen Hower (LCMS) says, "I especially recommend this book for those who are frustrated with their ministries and are looking for insights that will help them understand important principles of health." 130 pages, #303 $12.00. Order on website or email us.


Christmas Traditions
Many churches try to do something different and nontraditional for Christmas, but visitors and members have certain expectations of what Christmas at church should be. So even if you're trying something different this year, work in some of the traditional songs or customs along the way. - Outreach November/December 2013

God Isn't Deaf

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest began praying at the top of his lungs. "I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..." "I PRAY FOR A NEW IPOD..." "I PRAY FOR A NEW LCD FLAT SCREEN TV..." His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't deaf." To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"

Suggestion for Elders

They should be active in December. Ask each elder to contact (personally or by phone) several non-attending members giving a word of encouragement and inviting them to your special worship services. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25)

What Friends Do

Poll a cross section of people about how they came to faith and participation in the church and about 80% will say, "I was invited by a friend, neighbor or a relative." That's amazing. What do friends do? Friends invite friends to church and to Jesus. Share this thought with your people frequently.

For Pastor's Eyes  Only

Deep & Wide - Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend by Andy Stanley. He writes: "Our goal is to create weekend experiences so compelling and helpful that even the most skeptical individuals in our community would walk away with every intention of returning the following weekend... with a friend!" Hard cover. 350 pages. New. Retails for $24.99. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us. Note: You should really read this book. If you are not first, buy it anyway on Amazon.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

The Glory of Christmas, inspirational writings by Charles Swindoll, Max Lucado, and Charles Colson. Hard cover. 144 pages. New. Retails for $13.99. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

Faith or Experience?

Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, "I haven't had this experience or that experience"!

Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides - He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith "in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption . . ." (1 Corinthians 1:30) . . .

We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ - not a "prayer meeting" Jesus Christ, or a "book" Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate. - Oswald Chambers
Good Church Website

We like the attractive and informative website for Peace With Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS), Aurora, CO, Rev. Michael Hiller, lead pastor. Excellent job of identifying all the programs and activities of the Church. Click Peace With Christ for ideas.

Charles Colson

"I had spent my first forty years seeking the whole world, to the neglect of my soul. But what I couldn't find in my quest for power and success - true security and meaning - I discovered in prison where all worldly props had been stripped away. And by God's grace, I lost my life that I might find true life in Christ." (A good quote for a Christmas Eve sermon)

Welcome! Please come in. We invite you to hear the music and read the words to Mary's Boy Child by Jose Mari Chan, a beautiful presentation of what happened on Christmas Day. Take a moment to reflect on Mary and especially on the Child and the very good news it brings to you. 


Christmas Is For "Children"
By Pastor Don Ginkel 

I've had the opportunity to present the Gospel of Jesus to many hundreds of people. Some times there are children present, and I've never had a child under the age of 12 turn it down.

One time I was talking to a little girl in her home at Hobart, IN. I was explaining who Jesus is. She interrupted me for a moment, ran into another room, and hollered at her little brother, "Come in here and listen to this man who is telling me about Jesus." This boy and girl, 5 and 6 years of age, made no demands. They listened and they believed what Jesus said to them. Two weeks later it was my privilege to baptize both of them at church.

Some years ago I was at a roller skating rink and observed a little girl who was roller skating for the first time. As soon as she would get up she would fall down again. After awhile she was rescued by the owner of the rink. She looked up to him with tears coming down her cheeks and said, "I've been trusting Jesus to help me skate. Do you trust Jesus, too?" You see, no questions, just trust - no demands, just believing - that Jesus loves her so much that He can even help her roller skate.

"Jesus called a little child and He had him stand among the disciples. And He said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'" Remember, these men were to be no less than the initial twelve leaders of the New Testament Church! But a change was necessary! A child-like faith is absolutely necessary. Trusting Jesus for this life and the life to come takes the faith of a humble man. It takes the faith of a humble woman - and then Christmas becomes ours because it is for children of all ages who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Come to Jesus today and every day. Come to Him with a child-like faith that believes like a child that He came to the cradle and then to the cross to save you from your sins. Then you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ and Christmas is for children because you are a child of the King. I'm 81 years old now. From one child to another, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

"Ringing the Joybells of Life"

Here is an excellent sermon for any Sunday in Advent by the late Dr. Arthur E. Graf (LCMS) on Philippians 4:4-7. It's a two part sermon: I. Why Ring the Joybells of Life. II. How to Ring the Joybells of Life. People will identify with the theme and message. Click "Ringing" to view the sermon and run off a hard copy. It's taken from the sermon book, Joybells of Life #185, $10.95. It has 24 sermons from Advent to Lent and is carried by Church Press. To order this book and other sermon books click our website or email us.

Going to Church Alone
By Jason Johansen, Leadership November 1, 2013

About 10 years ago I grew disillusioned with the church I had attended all my life. I continued to attend, but I avoided the people there. I kept greetings brief and conversations superficial. I came late and left quickly after the service. It surprised me how easy it was to hide in plain sight in church.

What surprised me even more since then is how common this experience is . . . These reclusive congregants neither give nor receive hospitality, share no burdens, do not assist the weak, receive no prayer for discernment over major life decisions, no repentance for grudges or grievances, no healing of estranged relationships, no rejoicing with anothers joy, no sorrow in anothers tears . . . You cannot have intimacy with Christ and remain aloof from His body . . . Now I'm a pastor, and this phenomenon is no surprise to those of us in ministry. (Note: To read more click Alone. Jason offers some great suggestions)

Stack of Stuff

Very special people: At least one group of people deserves your special attention this December - those who are guests at worship. The "Thank You For Visiting Us In Worship" (#404) is great for letting these people know that you care about them. Email us and we'll send you a free sample card. Hundreds of churches use these cards to great advantage. $12.95 a dozen. You can email us your order or go to our website.

The Assemblies of God
continues to grow and diversify at an enviable rate. Today, one-third of its 3.1 million U.S. members are under 25. - Christianity Today, November 2013, p. 23 (What do you suppose accounts for this kind of growth and especially with young people?)

Perhaps your church
should consider having a worship service for teenagers in your community that is specifically styled with their language and music in mind. Adults don't have to like it, but maybe they should eagerly support.

This may be the last Christmas Eve sermon some worshipers will hear. For a few people it may THE LAST sermon they will hear. Prepare your Christmas Eve message accordingly.

One cause of spiritual narcolepsy
(spiritual sleepiness): We gradually allow our relationship with God to become more defined by habit and ritual than desire and intimacy - Outreach, November/December 2013

Does the LAW
in our preaching truly convict our people of their sins and does the GOSPEL we preach truly acquit them? Think about your answer carefully.

"Relationships are not sporting events.
Stop wrestling for control. No one ever wins this kind of match except divorce lawyers." - Leo Buscaglia

35 Arab Christians enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces in 2012. 100 Arab Christians enlisted so far in 2013. They must know something that we should know.

Luther's Small Catechism App for iPhone is now available. Read, study, and explore the 1986 version wherever you go. Click Catechism.

Church newsletters are more important than ever whether it's a hard copy or an email. If your church does not have one, why not decide now to start 2014 with one. Put someone in charge. The pastor should write one brief article for each newsletter.

Psssst . . . Pass this Newsletter on to a friend. Click "Forward" at the bottom of this page.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Meetings
By Dr. Thom S. Rainer

I confess. I used to hate meetings. In fact I was very vocal about meetings being a waste of time . . . Over time I would discover the problem was not the meeting per se, but the way the meeting was managed.

Today I am a shouting proponent of meetings, at least the productive ones . . . Though all of the good meetings have several diverse characteristics, I found seven characteristics consistent in the highly effective meetings. They are: [read more]

Special Helps for Advent and Christmas
  • Worship service for the Third Sunday in Advent (could be used for other Sundays also). Click Advent Service.
  • A special hymn of thanksgiving to the Trinity for Advent or Christmas. Click special hymn.
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Click Christmas Eve.
  • Special paragraphs for Christmas Eve concerning the nursery, New Year's Eve Service, and next Adult Membership Class. Click paragraphs
5 Ways, Pastor, To Encourage Your Wife
By Rev. Ken Whitten, On Mission, Fall 2013

Ever wondered how you know when someone needs encouragement? Here's a simple test. It works every time. Check and see if they have a pulse.

Pastor, one of the members in your congregation whose heart beats regularly for you is your wife. She's your No. 1 fan and your No. 2 responsibility after your relationship with Jesus. She needs encouragement. Here are five practical ways you can do that: [read more]

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Sets

Each set has the needed candles and accessories. All worshipers can participate. Includes Pastor's Candle, 6 Usher's Candles, 125 Congregation Candles (#341 $51.55) or 250 Candles (#342 $78.60) or 425 Candles (#343 $113.55), and drip protectors. Just click candles to order on the website or email us or call 888-772-8878.

Out of the Darkness
The church is filled with difficult marriages - and we need to stop hiding it. By Elisabeth K. Corcoran, Leadership Journal, November 28, 2013

Picture a closet, bursting at the seams. Now picture a girl, back to the door, doing everything she can to brace herself against it to keep the contents from tumbling out all over the room. I was that girl. And I'm going to tell you about the dirty little secret that was in my closet.

I'm a Christian. I don't mean "Christian" in the cultural sense. I mean that I'm a born-again, church-attending, asked-Jesus-into-my-heart, used-to-be-on-staff-at-a-church, quiet-time-having kind of Christian.

And this is my secret: I was in a very difficult Christian marriage. And I don't mean he didn't bring me flowers anymore. Or the toothpaste cap was always off. I mean there was more fighting than peace, more crying than laughter, more hiding than truth, sobbing-on-my-bathroom-floor-asking-Jesus-to-kill-me-because-divorce-wasn't-an-option kind of very difficult. [read more]

For Worship Services this December

THE LORD'S PRAYER (Tune: "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear")

Our Father, Lord on heav'ns high throne, Most holy be Your name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done On earth - in heav'n the same.
Give us this day the food we need; Forgiven may we be;
Into temptation do not lead; From evil set us free.

Your's is the Kingdom; unto You In grateful love we bow;
And Your's the pow'r; Lord, let us view Your mighty presence now.
The glory Your's; Your praise be sung By angel hosts and men
In ev'ry land, by ev'ry tongue Forevermore! Amen.

THE BENEDICTION (Tune: "Adeste Fideles")

Pastor: The Lord bless and keep you, Look with love upon you, Be gracious and cause His face to shine with peace!

People: Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Savior close beside us, God's love from harm to hide us. The Spirit's pow'r to guide us evermore!

 Happy Birthday Jesus!
A children's talk for the last Sunday before Christmas or for Christmas Eve by Pastor Ginkel

Ask an older child to read Luke 2:10-12 to the children: "The angel said to the shepherds . . . Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Okay, Sean, you have something special for us. (A birthday cake with a single large candle) Bring it over to us. Boy and girls, what is this? (A birthday cake) What does it say? (Happy Birthday, Jesus) [read more]

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