Enlarge your tent! Clear lots of ground. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope, drive the pegs deep,
You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. Isaiah 54:2 (Message)
Metaphors and contrasts were the Prophet Isaiah’s favorite method of communicating God’s message of our redemption through the suffering, saving, sin-bearing Servant Jesus. God first promised our rescue in the Garden of Eden; and hundreds of years later, when His children’s unfaithfulness landed them in Babylonian captivity, Isaiah reminded them that God keeps His covenants. As Israel despaired in barren exile, Isaiah recalled that according to God’s covenant with Abraham to make his descendants as many as the stars in the heavens, the patriarch’s childless wife Sarah became the mother of a great nation, as vast as “the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.” (Genesis 32:12) Today, just as Sarah’s son Isaac represented God’s special promise, so the 21st Century body of believers will be blessed by sons and daughters who will grow in numbers, expanding on all sides to make room for the children of promise who will be born into the family by faith. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. (Isaiah 2:2)
This is wonderful news! To keep our part of the covenant let’s stay alert, in constant communication with God through prayer and consulting His Word. “Church growth can be messy. There will be opposition of winds and storms that have the potential of blowing down the tent and reversing the progress made. Since there is more fabric to catch the wind, the potential for the tent collapsing increases. So God commands the church to prepare and anticipate the winds of adversity, and to not be surprised by them. Strong cords of love need to be added and stronger stakes that anchor us in Christ and in His grace need to be pounded into the ground if the new growth and the expanded tent are to last. . . . Don’t wait for the miracle to happen before taking the steps of faith. Take the steps of faith now to be a receptive and outreaching congregation. Let’s make that commitment as we come to the table.” (kaysercommentary.com)
You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:12, 13)
All are invited to a very special Christmas program this evening in our Sanctuary at 7:30! Southwestern Adventist University’s Music Department will present “All is Well,” featuring the University Singers and Concert Choir and the Southwestern Chamber Orchestra. Bring your families and friends and be inspired by our musical scholars as they remind us of the true meaning of the season. Full choirs, orchestra, and some favorite carols as well!
Your Senior Pastor, James Winegardner, will preach for our 9:00 and 11:30 Sanctuary worship services. Southwestern Adventist University Music Department Chair Devon Howard, Lindsey Johnson, and Keene Youth Strings will provide our worship music. T’resa Weaver will tell the children’;s story. Our Pastor for Young Adults, Michael Gibson, will call for the offering, which will support North American Division Community Services. (We invite you to place your Christmas Tree offering on the trees at the front of the Sanctuary during the hymn.) Sipho Ndebele will offer congregational prayer. Steve Bradley will serve as Deacon in Charge.
Young Adults will continue your study of the Beatitudes during Elevate in the Sanctuary at 10:15. This Sabbath’s message is from Matthew 5:10: “Blessed are the Persecuted.” Enjoy breakfast in the Fellowship Hall at 9:15, and you won’t want to miss The Bible Lab at 11:30 in the Chapel!
Our 2019 Christmas Tree offering will add a family-friendly, handicap-accessible restroom and will remodel the men’s restroom near the fellowship hall. Thank you so much for your generous Christmas Tree gifts that supported a beautiful renovation for the women’s restroom in the fellowship wing a few years ago. Let’s do the same for our men and for those in our Forever Family who need a family/handicap-friendly restroom!
We are making a final push to get as many pictures for our Church Directory as we can in December. Please stop by the table in the lobby to get your picture taken and to see how to access the directory on your smart phone. You can also submit a photo to add to the church directory at http:/bit.ly/KeeneChurchPhotos
Thank you for picking up names from our Angel Tree in the Gathering Place. All gifts need to be delivered to the church this Sabbath!
A memorial service for Larry Barton, son of our church member Betty Brown, will be held in the Chapel this afternoon at 2 o’clock. We apologize that the time given in the bulletin is incorrect.
Bible by Design will not meet this afternoon.
Thank you for your contributions of sleeping bags, coats, blankets, and socks for our homeless ministry. We will meet this Sabbath at 3 p.m. in the church’s north parking lot to distribute everything in Fort Worth. Come join us!
“The Professor Says” will feature Southwestern Adventist University Theology faculty Buster Swoopes at 4 p.m. in room 104.
Family Ministries Christmas Caroling: Knock. Sing. Smile. Wave. Just come and spread cheer to others! Dress warm. Meet at 5:00 in the Upper Room.
Chisholm Trail Academy’s Christmas Concert is this Saturday night at 6 o’clock in our Sanctuary. Come out and support our amazing Academy musicians!!
Come to Elevate’s annual Christmas party Saturday night, December 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Coyote Creek Ranch (5000 FM 3136 Cleburne, TX 76031). There will be food, games, prizes, Christmas music, fellowship, and more. All are welcome!
Sewing/Quilting group meets at Chisholm Trail Academy this Sunday, 3 p.m.
The Retirees Fellowship group will meet Thursday, December 19, in The Annex at 5 p.m. The meal will be catered by Dean Allgood, and entertainment will be provided by Ysis Espana.
Keene Worship Choir will present its Christmas concert, “Forever Gloria,” on Friday, December 20, 7:30 p.m. and on Sabbath, December 21, 5:30 p.m. in our Sanctuary.
We invite you to an Agape Feast and Communion Service on January 3 at 5 p.m. in the Annex. Please bring your favorite soup or bread and join us for this special ceremony as we begin the year 2020 together.
Grief Recovery Group will resume after the holidays on January 9, 7 p.m. in room 106. Please contact Sonia Vergel at email@example.com for additional information.
You can still ADOPT A COLLEGE STUDENT for the 2019-2020 school year! More students have signed up for this popular ministry! Are you willing to open your home to one or more college students over the next school year, be adoptive parents, and provide a warm meal and kind words? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 Life Groups – We are in the process of planning Life Groups for the new year. If you are interested in leading a small study group (we can supply all the materials), having one at your home, or have an idea on an activity small group, email Mary Ellen at email@example.com.
View our church events calendar online! www.keenechurch.org
Are you having trouble keeping track of all the wonderful things happening at Keene Church these days? Go to our Keene Church website and click on “Calendar” in the menu provided at the top of our home page. You’ll see everything that’s happening, continually updated!
Keene Adventist Elementary School
- Bands and Marimbas concert – December 15, 5 p.m. at the KAES Gym
- Join the PK-3rd grade classes on December 19 from 9-11 a.m. for a Winter story walk. Each class will travel to three different teachers to hear a winter story, and do a small activity relating to the story!
- KAES is proud to announce the start of a new preschool three-year-old program starting in January. Please call 817-645-9125 to find out more information. Space is limited.
Chisholm Trail Academy
- Christmas concert – Sabbath, December 14, in the Sanctuary
- Chisholm Trail Academy is selling oranges and grapefruit in 20lb and 40lb boxes. Please call the Academy at 817-641-6626 for prices and to place an order. The fruit will be delivered the second week of December and orders are first come, first served, as quantities are limited. Proceeds benefit the senior class. donations are welcome.
Southwestern Adventist University
- The Southwestern Chapter of the Adventist Theological Society invites you to hear Thomas R. Shepherd, who will present on “When the Enemies of Jesus Help Preach the Gospel” this Sabbath afternoon, 4 o’clock at the Mabee Center. Info: Michael Campbell at 817-202-6479.featuring
- Southwestern Adventist University invites you to a retirement celebration for Dale Hainey in appreciation of his many years of service. Please join us in Hopps Museum and Welcome Center between 4 and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 17.
Benefit breakfast – We invite you for a country-style breakfast this Sunday morning between 8 and 10. We will serve you in the cemetery chapel. Hope to see you there!
Hopps Museum Bake Sale: Come get your Christmas goodies for the holidays on Sunday, December 15, from 12-4 p.m.!
Thank you for your contributions of sleeping bags, coats, blankets, and socks for our homeless ministry. We will meet this Sabbath at 3 p.m. in the church’s north parking lot to distribute your gifts in Fort Worth. Come join us!
“God’s covenant of peace with His Church is as sure as His covenant of preservation with His creation. Neither has ever been canceled; neither has ever been broken. Even when the Church has become the home of martyrs, the covenant of peace has held. God’s oath links back to the Servant’s suffering. We have peace because of His chastisement (Isaiah 53:5). Following His example, then, we need not defend ourselves under persecution. God will be our Advocate and our adversaries will lose their case because we have done no violence or spoken no words of deceit. God’s oath and Christ’s gift assure us of the covenant of peace in our spiritual inheritance.” (The Communicator’s Commentary, David McKenna, p. 552).
Jesus added to our legacy when He promised, ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27)
Peace and goodwill to you, Forever Family!
Your Keene Church Pastors
It came upon the midnight clear
It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats
o’er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains,
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o’er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!