Lutheran Church News for St Luke’s and St John’s

December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon…..

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
“Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 23,  at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Advent.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us on Christmas Eve at 9:15 p.m. for our Candlelight/Communion Worship Service.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate this Fourth Sunday in Advent. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  Christmas Eve Worship at St. John’s is at 7:00 p.m.

“And the WORD Became Flesh”

When our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to…..

A devotion by Pastor Ralph J Mineo

There’s an old short story I think about every Christmas.

One night, a young child was afraid of the dark. “Mommy, Mommy,” the child called out. The mother quickly went to the child’s room. She tried to comfort her child, and eventually said, “Remember this: God is with you.” The child whimpered and whined: “But… but… but I want someone with skin on.”

The child wanted, even needed, a real person!

God knows our fears and struggles. God knows all the needs of the human heart. God knows our need to be cared for and loved by someone with skin on!

So, God sent his Son, Jesus! This is the foundation of the Christmas message, the annual celebration we’re so close to.

Jesus is God with skin on! Jesus is one of us. Jesus left his heavenly throne of glory and power to become human, eventually to sacrifice his life for our salvation.

At the beginning of John’s Gospel account, we hear: “The Word became flesh.” The foundation of our faith is that Jesus is truly divine and truly human. Jesus is God with flesh. Jesus is God with skin on.

So, when our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to: God with skin on, Jesus.



Christians are called to be the “Body of Christ” in the world around us. Christians are called to embody the presence of God. Together, as disciples of Jesus, we are God with skin on.

We do that by the way we live, by serving others, by bringing God’s love to others. Our calling as believers is to comfort others in their times of darkness. This comfort isn’t always having answers or advice. Very often it means being present with others in their darkness. Sometimes it’s called the “ministry of presence.” We could also call it “the work of God, with skin on.”

This kind of ministry, being there for others, often takes planning. It always takes energy. Why not plan today to be God with skin on for someone in darkness!

What a holy thing to remember this Christmas and always: God planned for us. God’s eternal energy and love became flesh for us and for our salvation. Rejoice! Spread this joy – to the world!

Lutheran Church News

December 16, the congregations will participate in a multi-generational worship service “Christmas Together”

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16, the congregation will participate in a multi-generational worship service “Christmas Together” based on 1 Peter 1:22, 4:7-11 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  The third candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Third Sunday in Advent.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us on Christmas Eve at 9:15 p.m. for our Candlelight/Communion Worship Service.  

Christmas Together

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16, the people of St. John’s Lutheran Church (McComb) and the McComb United Methodist Church (MUMC) will join together for a Christmas program, “Christmas Together,” based on 1 Peter 1:22, 4:7-11 during worship. The children, youth, and leaders will be attending and presenting at BOTH services on December 16 at 8:00 a.m. at St. John’s and 10:30 a.m. at MUMC.  The third candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Third Sunday in Advent. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church befgins at 9:15 a.m.  Christmas Eve Worship at St. John’s is at 7:00 p.m.

A Christmas Devotion

The first to hear the news of the Christ child were the shepherds.

Shepherds Worship Baby Jesus: a devotion by Ann E. Broughton

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11 NIV

The first to hear the news of the Christ child were the shepherds. The scripture says that they hurried off to find the baby, and then they went and told everyone about what the angels told them. Maybe the angels told the news to the shepherds because Jesus would become our shepherd. These shepherds bent their knee to worship the Christ child and later they would be saved through this little baby when He grew up to be the great Shepherd. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15 NIV).

He sacrificed His life to save us from the enemy (Satan) and death. Just like a shepherd who would lay down his life for his sheep, so did Jesus become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus is our shepherd who loves us. “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV).


 I like to imagine Jesus holding me close to His heart when I am having struggles or when life’s burdens threaten to overwhelm me. I picture myself in His arms safe and sound, away from the enemy(Satan) and secure in His love. Jesus calls us by our name and leads us.”He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4 NIV).

We are referred to in scripture as the sheep…”We all like sheep have been led astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV). Jesus is our shepherd calling us by name while we wander in the wilderness of sin and hopelessness.It is up to us to listen to His voice and run to his arms to receive his forgiveness and grace. In order to hear His voice we need to be still long enough to meditate in prayer.

This is a busy season and sometimes it is easy to be all caught up in the shopping and parties and forget about the baby Jesus the shepherds went to see.Let us remember why we celebrate Christmas and listen to our Shepherd’s voice.He is calling to all of us to serve Him.

Dear Lord, Thank you for sending us Jesus as our shepherd. Help us to listen to His voice and come running to Him when we are lost. Let us never go so far away from Him that we can’t hear His voice anymore, because it is then that the enemy will sneak up on us and steal away our peace. Thank you for saving us and holding us close. May we remember that the baby born on Christmas became the shepherd who sacrificed himself so that we can live forever.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Community Choir Presents “A Journey Through Advent”

December 16th at 7:00pm at Holy Family Church.

The North Baltimore area community is invited to a special presentation by the recently formed Community Choir of “A Journey Through Advent”


Come, listen, enjoy!


         

 Don’t miss this one!

You won’t believe your ears!

December 16th  at 7:00 pm

  Holy Family Catholic Church

115 E.Cherry St., NorthBaltimore, OH

Refreshments served right after the performance!


“Rag-Tag Army”


By Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

There are a lot of possible images of the church: Body of Christ, Bride of Christ, Household of Faith, Family of God, the Lord’s Vineyard, to name a few. One image that can sometimes be difficult (because it’s sometimes been used wrongly) is that of a fighting army. But it’s a good scriptural image. In Ephesians 6, for example, there’s the image of putting on armor for spiritual battle.

It takes all kinds of people, and personalities, and gifts to make up Christ’s church. Saints and sinners. Active and inactive. Sick and well. Happy and sad. Some have wandered off for a while. In other words, the church isn’t perfect!

One of my favorite images of the church is “A Rag-Tag Army” a parable from a 1968 book by Pastor Martin Bell.

Here are some excerpts from Pastor Bell’s parable: “God has been on the march in his general’s uniform a long time, you know. And look at God’s rag-tag little army! All God has for soldiers are you and me. Dumb little army.

“Listen! The drum beat isn’t even regular. Everyone is out of step. God keeps stopping along the way to pick up one of his tinier soldiers who decided to wander off and play with a frog, or run in a field, or whose foot got tangled in the underbrush. God will never get anywhere that way. And yet, the march goes on.

“Do you see how the marchers have broken up into little groups? Look at that group up near the front. Now, there’s a snappy outfit! At least they’re in step with each other. But they won’t get far before God will have to stop again.

“Or how about that other group over there? They’re all holding hands as they march — marching around in circles. The more people holding hands the bigger the circle. And of course, a bigger circle is deceptive because as we march along it looks like we’re going someplace, but we’re not. And so, God must stop again. See what I mean? God will never get anywhere that way!

“If God were sensible, he’d take his little army and shape them up! Whoever heard of a soldier stopping to romp in a field? It’s ridiculous! And even more absurd is a general who will stop the march of eternity to go and bring him back!

“But that’s God for you! God means to take every last one of his tiny soldiers with him. Even though our foreheads have been signed with the sign of the cross, we are only human. Most of us are afraid and lonely, or would like to cry, or run away. We can’t seem to trust God when it’s dark and we can’t see him! But God won’t go on without us. And that’s why it’s taking so long.”

Basic Truth Church’s “Christmas in the Country”

Come out and share in the joy and message of Christmas through music…


Come out and share in the joy and message of Christmas through music at Basic Truth Church’s “Christmas in the Country” Program on Sunday, December 9th, at 7 pm.

Basic Truth Church
12389 Tank Farm Rd.
Cygnet, OH  43413

https://www.basictruthchurch.com/

 

Lutheran Church News for Sunday

On December 2, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Signs of the Times”


St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

On the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Signs of the Times” based on Luke 21:25-36 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m. Please join us. Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb

On the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Signs of the Times” based on Luke 21:25-36 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in McComb at 8:00 a.m. Please join us. A joint adult Sunday School class with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.

Lutheran Church News for November 25

Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “The Rain of God” based on John 18:33-37……………


St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

On Christ the King Sunday, November 15, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “The Rain of God” based on John 18:33-37 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m. Please join us. Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb

On Christ the King Sunday, November 15, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “The Rain of God” based on John 18:33-37 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in McComb at 8:00 a.m. Please join us. A joint adult Sunday School class with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.

Community Christmas Tree Lighting Scheduled

Collecting non-perishable food and toiletry items to support local needs………….


The Bridge Fellowship announces the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree located at 123 East Broadway, NB on Sunday, December 2 at 7:00pm.

Come enjoy the fun and enjoy hot chocolate and caroling, too.

The Bridge will be collecting non-perishable food  and toiletry items to support local needs.