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Next Week's Focus

December 3, 2017

"The Light of Hope"

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

Darkness experience due to a power outage during a severe storm at night can be terrifying. With this kind of darkness can come the fear of the unknown and the unseen, and a feeling of a loss of control. In that kind of darkness, even the smallest light can make a difference: a candle, a flashlight, maybe the headlights of a rescue vehicle. Light means hope.

God created light. He spoke it into existence on the first day of creation, and separated darkness from light into an orderly rhythm of night and day. But soon, the newly created world was plunged into a new kind of darkness, not the restful, restoring darkness of God’s night, but a heavy curtain of sin and death brought into existence by human rebellion against the Creator. The darkness of sin was a place to hide, “People loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).

God loved the world He created and so He sent light, this time in the Person of His Son, the Word made flesh. Jesus is life and light. He said of Himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus descended into our darkness and, for a short time, He allowed the darkness to gain the upper hand. Jesus bore the heavy weight of the world’s darkness, the darkness of our sin, in His own body on the cross. For a time, the darkness swallowed up our Savior, but Jesus is the light no darkness can overcome. In the early light of dawn, His tomb was found open and empty. The Light of the world has risen from the dead! In Him the promise is fulfilled, that God will “swallow up … the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever” (Is. 25:7-8).

Light means hope, and Jesus is the Light that no darkness, no storm, no fear and no loss can overcome. For Him, “darkness is not dark” and “night is as bright as day” (Ps. 139:12). Jesus is the light who is always present with us in His Word and in His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. He will one day bring us out of this world still filled with darkness into the eternal light of His presence, where “night will be no more” (Rev. 22:5).


PREPARING FOR SUNDAY MORNING

Sunday Worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.
 The Rev. Bill Curington

LITURGICAL READINGS for December 3, 2017
Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

THANK YOU FOR SILENCING ELECTRONIC DEVICES DURING THE WORSHIP SERVICES.

Our St. James Prayer Ministers will be available at the Altar immediately following the service to pray with anyone desiring prayer.  Jim Hathcote—Head Usher, November, 2017


Parents’ Night Out

Friday, December 8 (5:30-8:30 PM)
Parents, here’s your chance to enjoy a night out. Whether you choose dinner and a movie, or Christmas shopping, we’ll entertain your kids here at the church. There is no charge for childcare, but registration is required. Please email Jenny Major at jmajor@sjumc.org, and include the name/age of each child who will attend.

Seeking the Savior

Sunday, December 17 (6:30-8:00 PM) Reception Following
You and your children are invited to seek the Savior through four interactive stations at the church. We’ll move in and about Bethlehem with stories, activities, and crafts for the whole family. Register by emailing Jenny Major at jmajor@sjumc.org. Please include names and ages of children, along with number of adults who plan to attend.

Quilts of Valor

Quilts of Valor would like to recognize the remainder of St. James members who served in the military AFTER the Vietnam era, or anyone else that we missed in earlier presentations. The recipient needs to be available in Athens in order to receive the quilt from us—quilts are never ‘just handed out or mailed.’ Our personal Thank You must attend each quilt. Please send names, branch of service, area of deployment, or years of service (from/to), and contact information to Ellen Nelson at ewson@mindspring or 706-353-1771. You’ll be notified when the presentation is scheduled. Thank you!

Pastor’s Discretionary Fund

Contributions for the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund are used to meet various needs of our congregation and the community. If you would like to donate to the fund, you can do so by a check to St. James marked “PDF” on the memo line, or some choose to leave a cash donation on the prayer rails during Communion. Thank you for your generosity.

Annual Greening of the Church

You are invited to join us for a great evening of fellowship and blessing as we decorate our church for Advent and Christmas. This will be Sunday, December 3rd, at 6:00 PM. We hope you will come and help us celebrate the season! Sandwiches will be provided. (No child care for this event.)

Ladies of St. James—Mark Your Calendars!!

  • Tuesday, December 12 (6:00 PM) Ornament Swap at Cracker Barrel

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Come celebrate that most Holy Night with us on December 24th for our Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Join us at 5:00 p.m. for our traditional Christmas Eve service and candlelight singing of Silent Night. This service is the perfect way to remind us of why we celebrate Christmas. 

Save the Dates

  • December 24
    8:30 AM Worship Service
    9:30-10:45 AM Fellowship Time
    11:00 AM Worship Service
    5:00 PM Christmas Eve Service
  • December 31
    11:00 AM Worship Service only (no Sunday School)

Operation Christmas Child

Many thanks to everyone who donated shoe box gifts this year! Our St. James family donated more than fifty boxes this year. According to the information at the Athens area drop off center, our boxes will be going to one of the following countries: Angola,
Belize, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Mali, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. Keep praying that these boxes are a blessing to each child to whom they are given, and that they will become a follower of Jesus Christ! Early in 2018 there will be a drop off box available for you to donate items throughout the year. If you see something great while you are out shopping (such as a really good sale on small toys, toothbrushes or school supplies), please purchase them and drop them off at the church. If anyone is interested in assisting in this ministry in 2018, please email Valerie Hinesley at vhinesley@bellsouth.net. Thanks again, and may God bless you during the
Christmas season!


WEDNESDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITIES

  • Youth Ministry
    6:00-7:30 p.m. — WednesdayInTheWord (The Jimmy)

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

Faye Boyd, Marlene Bryan, Sally Stowers, Amie Arnold, Bette Daniels, Clois Brown, Katherine Wolf, Jerry Chesness, Anna May Cobb, Laura Beck, Betty Chesness, Pat Robison

SERVING IN THE MILITARY

Corp. Shay Jennings, Major Brett Thomas, Pvt. Andrew Bryant, 2nd Lt. Wesley M. Hutto, Maj. Nathaniel Chittick

LOOKING AHEAD!

  • December 3—Greening of the Church (5:00 pm)
  • December 8—Parents’ Night Out (5:30-8:30 pm)
  • December 12—Ladies Ornament Swap at Cracker Barrel (6:00 pm)
  • December 17—”Seeking the Savior” Family Event (6:00 pm)
  • December 24—Christmas Eve Service with St. Thomas Anglican Church (5:00 pm)
  • December 31—Worship Service at 11:00 am (No Sunday School or 8:30 Worship Service)

Did you miss a Sunday?

Pastor Bill’s sermons are available for download on our Teachings page.


Attendance 



November 26, 2017




Sunday School


131
Worship (8:30)


27
Worship (11:00)


159
Total Worship


186



 Offering
General/Operating Fund Offering


$18
General/Operating Fund Offering (YTD)


$698,369

Have you remembered St. James in your will?


The Worship of God

8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

First Sunday of Advent December 3, 2017

WE GATHER TO ACCLAIM HIM

PRE-SERVICE MUSIC

PRELUDE
Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine-arr. Lani Smith

GATHERING SONG HYMN NO. 211
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

ADVENT READING AND LIGHTING OF THE WREATH
(8:30) Ken and Gaylene Campbell
(11:00) Mike and Mary Gegen

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Glenn Cole

GREETING TIME

WE WORSHIP HIM WITH PRAISE

HYMN NO. 218
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

OFFERTORY
We Shall Light a Thousand Candles
St. James Choir

DOXOLOGY
Come lift your hearts on high, Alleluia Amen.
Let praises fill the sky, Alleluia Amen.
Here, now our offering, with joyful hearts we bring,
For evermore we sing, Alleluia Amen.

READING OF THE WORD
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NIV)
Bryan Shaw

MORNING PRAYER
Glenn Cole

COMMUNION

WE WORSHIP IN MUSIC

HYMN NO. 246
Joy to the World

Children may be dismissed to Children’s Church in Room 103. Pre-K (3 years old by Sept. 1, 2017) through 3rd Grade.

WE HEAR HIS WORD

SCRIPTURE
Revelation 19:6-8 (NIV)

SERMON
“READY to Win”
The Rev. Bill Curington

OUR RESPONSE

HYMN NO. 224
Good Christian Friends, Rejoice

SENDING FORTH
Glenn Cole

CONGREGATIONAL BLESSING
May the Lord, Mighty God, bless and keep you forever,
Grant you peace, perfect peace, courage in every endeavor.
Lift up your eyes and see His face, know His grace is for you,
May the Lord, Mighty God, bless and keep you forever.

POSTLUDE
Blessed Be the God of Israel-MERLE’S TUNE
LaMurl Morris

Altar Color for Sunday, December 3—Blue

The sanctuary flowers today are given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Carla—always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts, by Tommy and Fran Thaxton.



 

WEEKLY ACTIVITIES AT ST. JAMES

  • Sunday, December 3
    • Worship Services at 11:00 a.m.
      8:30 a.m. Worship (Sanct.)

      9:45 a.m. Sunday School
      11:00 a.m. Worship (Sanct.)
    • 5:00 p.m. St. Thomas Anglican Church (Sanct.)
    • 6:00 p.m. Greening of the Church (Sanct.)
    • 6:00 p.m. Supper Club (The Jimmy)
  • Monday, December 4
  • Tuesday, December 5
    • 7:30 a.m. Men’s Bible Study (Rm. 220)
    • 6:30 p.m. Men’s Gathering (The Jimmy)
  • Wednesday, December 6
    • 6:00 p.m. WednesdayInTheWord (The Jimmy)
  • Thursday, December 7
    • 3:30 p.m. Suzuki Strings (Rms. 112, 113)
  • Friday, December 8
    • 5:15 p.m. Parents’ Night Out
  • Saturday, December 9

 

Key
FH = Fellowship Hall
Sanct = Sanctuary
The Jimmy = House beside St. James (across parking lot)

 

THE LIGHT WEEKLY ACTIVITIES

  • Sunday, December 3
    • 10:30 a.m. Sunday School
    • 11:30 a.m. Worship Service

 

Focus

Our weekly newsletter is called FOCUS, because we believe that our focus should be on Jesus. It's our hope that you will be able to find out more about the ministries and activities going on at St. James, and also that you will be able to tell more about the heart of who we are: a congregation that wants to know more about Jesus, that wants to be connected and in fellowship with each other, and that has a definite calling to serve, in both the local and global communities.

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December 10, 2017
December 03, 2017
November 26, 2017
November 19, 2017

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