Worship Service – December 4, 2022

For many, the second Sunday of Advent is when we light the candle of PEACE.  This is a time of coming together, of building a community of faith that is open to all.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent

Scriptures; Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:1-12 and Roman 15:4-13

Message; “Bethlehem”

Isaiah 11:1-10

The Branch From Jesse

(1) A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
(2) The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord -
(3) and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
(4) but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
(5) Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
(6) The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
(7) The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
(8) The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
(9) They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
(10) In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

(1) In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea (2) and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (3) This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “
(4) John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. (5) People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. (6) Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
(7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (9) And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (10) The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
(11) “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Romans 15:4-13

(4) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(5) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, (6) so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(7) Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (8) For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs (9) so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”
(10) Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
(11) And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.”
(12) And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”
(13) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

This being the second Sunday of Advent we normally light the candle of peace, which symbolizes faith. A faith to which we can come to realize by the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. So today we light the Bethlehem candle.
Bethlehem is a town in the West Bank, situated in the Judaean Hills 5 miles south of Jerusalem. And as most of you know Bethlehem according to the Gospels in Matthew 2; and Luke 2, was the site of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever looked up the meaning of Bethlehem? Well I did in preparation for the message today. Bethlehem, in Arabic translates to “House of Meat”. The Hebrew translation of Bethlehem is “House of Bread”.
Thanksgiving has passed with the turkey and all it’s dressings and our focus is on Bethlehem, The House of Meat, The House of Bread. We should take time today and focus on the “Meat of the scriptures” and the “Bread of life” given and revealed to us at Bethlehem so that as Paul writes: “the God of hope (will) fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 4:13).
Bethlehem brings us an understanding of the Scriptures foretold the “Meat” of the Bible. The prophecies. It’s all about the “Bread of Life” which all can receive,by faith.
Last week Mary and Joseph were added to our nativity scene this week we have added “The Magi”, “The 3 Kings.”
“The Magi”, The 3 Kings were only briefly mentioned in Matthew 2:1 heading to Bethlehem. The significance of these Magi, these Kings coming from different cultures and different countries to join together in worship of the Messiah is the focus of today’s message of “Bethlehem”.
In the later telling of the story, biblical scholars-identified the magi by name and identified their lands of origin: Melchior hailed from Persia. Gaspar (also called “Caspar or “Jasper”) from India and Balthazar from Arabia none of them of Jewish heritage, but Gentiles. They were identified in this way in order to give the nativity scene in Bethlehem a sense of inclusion. Matthew recorder for us in Matthew 2:1, that they were from the east. Letting us know that they were gentiles. Paul in his writing to the people of Rome wanted them to know that Christ came for all, not just the Jews.
There’s an old story of a visiting admiral chatting on the deck of a U.S. Navy ship with some enlisted men.
He asked them; “What would you do if another sailor fell overboard?”
A sailor promptly replied: “I would raise the alarm and toss him a life preserver, sir.”
The admiral asked a second question: “What would you do if it were an officer?”
At this, the enlisted man paused and thought before answering: “Which one, sir?”
We choose which ones we save, which ones we love, which ones are worth throwing the life preserver at. The apostle Paul in this week’s epistle says that God changes all that.

We come to Bethlehem this advent season first of all knowing, that it’s the place where all , that’s capital, ALL !! Can find Peace and Hope by Faith for our world and our lives.
H.G. Wells once wrote a story titled “In the Days of the Comet.” Well’s story is a somewhat typical science fiction fantasy. A mysterious green vapor of unknown origin descends from the clouds and covers the earth. The vapor has the immediate effect of putting all the earth’s people into a deep sleep for three days.
When they finally awake, something amazing has happened. Their inner nature is radically transformed. Petty quarreling comes to an end. Instead of seeking fame, power and wealth the people of the world seek to serve one another. Love, kindness and generosity become more important than greed or success. In short, the perfect society emerges. A society in which the dignity of every human being is honored.
The prophet Isaiah looked forward to that kind of day. He looked forward to a day when “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6).
Of course, Isaiah was not anticipating a green vapor that would come down out of the clouds. He was prophesying “a shoot (that would come) from the stump of Jesse . . .” That is Isaiah’s way of saying that there was a Messiah coming, who would establish a new world order, who would bring into being a New Kingdom in which love is more important than power and service is more important than domination.
John the Baptist saw himself as the herald of that Messiah–the one whose job was to prepare the way for the Messiah. The concern of the prophets, however, was not only one of personal salvation but also the salvation of Israel, and through Israel, the salvation of the world.
What good is it if we save the individual but leave him in a world that tramples upon his dignity and crushes his aspirations? We need to affirm that when the Messiah, the Christ, who was born in Bethlehem, who came into this world bringing with him the hope of a New Kingdom. A Kingdom that is still alive and still at work whenever the name of Jesus is on the lips of believers. That’s why John said, ”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”.
John was proclaiming to us today that the kingdom to come will dispelled darkness, ignorance, exploitation and human slavery everywhere if we repent and faithfully proclaim the good news.
It’s no wonder that John spoke of the wrath which was to come. The gates of hell itself cannot prevail against the kingdom which came into the world with the birth of the Christ child, in Bethlehem.
No wonder the angels sang in the heavens and wise men bowed in adoration.
Phillip Brooks was right when he wrote of the events that occurred in, O Little Town of Bethlehem:  “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
We come to Bethlehem this advent season not only with hope for peace in the world but also for us as individuals, without exclusion. Once again the words from Phillip Brooks reach out to us: How silently, how silently. The wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven. No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin. Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
Bethlehem beckons us to proclaim the name of Jesus and pray as Philip Brooks prayed in his final verse: O holy Child of Bethlehem. Descend on us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas Angels, the great glad tidings tell. Oh come to us, abide with us. Our Lord Emmanuel!
In His Service
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20221204
Listen To Audio: Service 12042022
Call to Worship:L:  We are the followers of that root of Jesse Isaiah spoke of.P:  We are the ones who are now called to stand as a signal to the world, to all of creation,

L:  that PEACE is the will of the one who created us.

P:  PEACE is the knowledge of the Lord that we proclaim.


Prayer of Confession:   Compassionate God, as the calendar gets more crowded, help us to focus ever more on watching and waiting for the refinement you seek to do in us and through us. Help us to be a blessing to our family and friends as we strive to be people who embody forgiveness and repentance. Amen.





Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday morning from 11 to 1.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Social Hour TODAY following church.  Greeting cards for signature are in the Community Building.

Our mission for the Children’s Home in Binghamton (Bill’s Kids) ends today.  

Loose change goes to General Fund

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 1:00! 

Presbyterian Women will meet on Thursday, December 8th at 10.  Secret Sister reveal.  All women invited. 

Session and Trustee Meeting Tuesday, December 10, at 9am

LADIES’ CHRISTMAS TEA at the Montrose Bible Conference, December 13th 2022.  11am to 1 pm

Men’s Breakfast, Wednesday December 21st at 8:00 A.M.

Saturday, December 24th – Candlelight Service – 7pm

Sunday, December 25th – Hymn Sing – 9:30am

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday December 27th, 2022.

Ladies are reminded of the Meadow View donations of any of the following:   Shampoo, body sprays, body wash, nail polish remover…..they have plenty of polish.  Items can be brought to the church or community building   Remember, men live there too!

The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton – Lessons and Carols – on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 4:00, Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, Main St. Binghamton.  Find more info on Line – Madrigal Choir of Binghamton

Vestal Community Band, Christian Alliance Church 7:00 on Dec. 8, and in front of J.C. Penney’s in the Oakdale Commons (Oakdale Mall) on Dec. 15 at 7:00.  

Sunday, Dec. 4, Locally, at First Pres. in Montrose, the Christmas Chorale at 3:00

Listen to WPEL 96.5 for church cancellation if your internet is down during a storm this winter.




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