January 8 – Possibilities

Happy New Year from Ivy Chapel United Church of Christ! We are thrilled to have you with us, and hope you will join us in person. Our sanctuary is open and we are ready to welcome families to worship with us. Reach out if you have any questions.


PRELUDE – Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head – Martin

One: How majestic is God’s name in all the earth!
All: Be glad, and celebrate!
One: Come; hear God’s Word for our day.
All: God’s Word is truth.
One: Let the truth set you free.
All: God’s word offers strength.
One: The Messiah that God promised is here!
All: Come and behold him; born the king of angels.

*HYMN – We Three Kings of Orient Are – #220

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign. [Refrain]

Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship Him, God on high. [Refrain]

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. [Refrain]

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Peals through the earth and skies. [Refrain]

Everlasting God; you come to life in this world as holy light, desiring to be known by humankind. During the year ahead, open our eyes and our ears and our hearts to recognize you living among us. Day by day, you are creating and leading us along the way to fullness of life. You came to earth through human childbirth. You did not send someone else. You came yourself! You were born as a little baby who grew up in a small town. We are grateful that you often come in quietly reassuring ways that do not call attention to yourself. We praise you for your abundant love, Jesus. Thank you for teaching us to live as disciples of your grace. Amen.

*PRAISE RESPONSE – The First Noel (Verse 1) – #205

The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

GOD’S WORD – Isaiah 60:1-6

SPECIAL MUSIC – What Child Is This? – Hayes

GOD’S WORD – Matthew 2:1-12

SERMON – Pastor Dan

*HYMN – The Star Carol – #201

Long years ago on a deep winter night,
High in the heav’ns a star shone bright,
While in a manger a wee Baby lay,
Sweetly asleep on a bed of hay.

Jesus, the Lord was that Baby so small,
Laid down to sleep in a humble stall;
Then came the star and it stood overhead,
Shedding its light ’round His little bed.

Dear Baby Jesus how tiny Thou art,
I’ll make a place for Thee in my heart.
And when the stars in the heavens I see,
Ever and always I think of Thee.


*HYMN – As With Gladness Men of Old – #219

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led by Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped,
To that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him, whom heav’n and earth adore,
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At the manger, rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heav’nly King.

Holy Jesus, ev’ry day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.


*POSTLUDE – Now Thank We All Our God – Kauffmann

What if… We imagined the possibilities?

July 17, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

Thanks to Judy Hertenstein, who recently presented her own “What if” moment during worship.

Imagine What’s Possible! That was the theme for the Missouri Mid South Annual Gathering last weekend. There were a multitude of What If ideas presented from the “imagine a New World” where we are all One to individual ideas. As religion has been used as an excuse for war, we need to recognize our unity and to become One body in Christ. We can share diverse gifts and talents in the common cause of serving in the name of God. What if we looked at everyone out of love? Not only those in our family or close friends but also the stranger on the street, even the drug addict, the convict…they are all children of God. What If we reached out to each other intentionally? There are many who lack Hope because of their situations…unemployment, health issues, financial worries, grieving, family dysfunction, and others. What If we really listened to what others have to say not just with our ears but with our hearts also? What If we reached out to each other with the real desire to understand each other and a willingness to work together? Giving Hope improves relationships. With LOVE and HOPE, JOY can follow as we serve Christ as ONE body. Imagine What’s Possible!

What If each Sunday we really heard the story again as if hearing it for the first time? We need to really listen, not only with our ears but with our heart. And not only on Sunday, but in our daily prayer and Bible reading, really listen for what God is saying to us. We may hear God’s plan for us. We need to realize that God’s plan is not always our plan…deep listening may give us a better picture. Imagine What’s Possible!

As we are looking at growing the vine together, we are in fact growing in numbers. We will be welcoming new members on July 24. This is good, but that is not the only way we can grow. What If on Rally Day we all wore something green or something with Ivy, not just the word, but perhaps a picture? And here’s a novel idea, What If some other Sunday we all wore hats? These are just other fun ways to say we are a family. Let’s become a true community of Christ…every member contributing unique gifts and using those gifts for the work of Christ. All things are possible through Christ. Imagine What’s Possible!

The Conference Annual Gathering was a wonderful event. Of course there’s the business of the Conference—including the annual budget proposal. The deficit is finally becoming manageable due to some restructuring, sound investing and local church support through OCWM. Then there is the good food and fellowship. It is like a yearly family reunion with members of all UCC churches across the conference reconnecting, sharing, praying, singing and playing together. I even got to play pinochle with Jeff Whitman, our Conference Minister and with a classmate from 40 years ago. What If a group of us went to the Conference Annual Gathering next year? Everyone is welcoming and caring. Imagine What’s Possible!

Other What Ifs dealt with local church…What If we changed our worship service to be less predictable…more variety in music? What If we changed the rhythm and style of some well known hymns…not all the time but occasionally…a little jazz, a little gospel, a little rock and roll? We do some of this on special Sundays, like camp Sunday and Youth Sunday, but how about other times. What If we became a part of the Creative Faith Project? Think of all the ways art…in all its many forms…drama, painting, dance, handicrafts, music…can be a part of the worship experience. This would be another opportunity to revitalize Ivy Chapel. Imagine What’s Possible!

How do you unlock what’s possible? What’s your “what if”?