Our old lives are dead and gone; we have new lives in Christ.
Why is baptism so important to Christians? The answer is simple. Baptism portrays the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without them, there would be no promises of God worth trusting. If Christ did not die and then rise from the dead, then a Christian’s faith is futile.
But Christ did indeed die and is risen from the dead! His crucifixion and resurrection have launched the fulfillment of God’s promises. And first among those promises, the most wondrous of all, is our forgiveness of sins. As God puts it, your sins and transgressions I will remember no more!
A dear friend of mine and former pastor here at Stone Hill compares baptism to theater:
Who doesn’t enjoy the experience of going to the theater? People love being spectators of beauty, imagery and story. This morning we have the privilege of being in a gospel theater, and baptism is our spectacle. When we witness a baptism, we see a demonstration of the gospel. Consider the words from the Apostle Paul, all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:3-4). As a church audience, we hear from people who profess faith in the gospel of grace and then willingly enter the waters of baptism. As they are submerged into the waters, they become a picture of Jesus Christ, who willingly went to the cross to die and be buried in the earth. As they are brought up from the water, imagine Jesus bursting forth to the newness of life! The act of baptism is a sign of union with Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection – and as surely as Christ is alive, those with faith will remain with Him. Amen.
Amen indeed! My appeal to all of you on this Baptism Sunday is to put your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Then you can be assured of God’s forgiveness, a forgiveness that is measured by an empty tomb and a Risen Savior.
Adult Ed: “Commitment to one another” meets at 8:30 am in the Adult Ed room. This is the last class in this series.
Adult Ed: Theology Class will not meet this week.
Adult Ed: 1 Corinthians Class will meet at 9:30 am in the Library.
Service of Thanksgiving: We will gather in the sanctuary for a one-hour service at 5:30 p.m. Its purpose is for God’s people to offer thanks to God together. We’ll sing and hear testimonies from one another of how good God has been.
Crock-Pot Potluck Dinner: A potluck dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. in Harris Hall, allowing us unhurried time to enjoy rich fellowship and good food. Make your favorite crock-pot dish (serves 10-12 people) or bring a dessert or side dish to share. Contact email@example.com for more information. Hope to see you there!
Benevolence Fund: During our Service of Thanksgiving this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. an offering will be taken to support the Stone Hill Benevolence Fund which is used to help those in need.
No Empty Stocking: Our “No Empty Stocking” Christmas tree will be appearing in the atrium, starting today. We are again partnering with Princeton Human Services to provide gifts for needy kids in our town. Just stop by the tree and pick up a tag, purchase some of the requested items ($50-$75 total) and return the gifts to the tree by December 5. Feel free to create a group to support a child. Some of our congregants have had the opportunity to participate in parent pick-up day and the gratitude of the parents is almost overwhelming.
Church Financial Update: Thanks be to God! The Second Offering conducted last Sunday brought in just over $70,000. This helps us a great deal. Further, you will recall that we had set a goal of $300K general fund income for October and November combined in order to be well-positioned for a strong finish to the year. Since October 1st, we have received $209,095 in income (not counting the Second Offering). To hit the $300K goal, we will need to average $45,450 in the last two weeks of November. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Members of Stone Hill are encouraged to nominate Elders and Deacons: You must be a church member to nominate and all nominees must be church members. An Officer Qualifications sheet will be available to help as you make your nomination(s). To nominate, fill out the form found in the Westerly Prayer Chapel, and place it in the Nomination Box, bring it by the church office, or email your nominees to firstname.lastname@example.org. All nominations will need to be in by the 4th of December.
Casseroles needed for ISI Christmas Banquet: International Students (ISI) ministry is holding their Annual Christmas Banquet on Saturday, December 2. They are asking for 20 casseroles to be provided by Stone Hill Church.
· Suggested casseroles: chicken, beef, turkey, vegetable, rice and potato
· Size: 10-12 servings each casserole
· Label the dish "ISI" and include heating instructions
· Bring casserole in a disposable dish
· Not needed: dessert, salad and dinner rolls
· Deliver to Stone Hill Church kitchen before noon on December 2
· Contact Connie Darrow (email@example.com) with questions
John & Aruna Desai with International Students ministry share the good news of Jesus Christ to international students at Princeton University. This is their 40th Annual Christmas banquet. For more information about ISI, please visit their website at isionline.org.
Haiti Trip Application: The deadline to apply for the Haiti trip next March has been extended to November 30, 2017! Have your passport and health insurance info at hand.
New Support Group: We are launching a new support group for those dealing with mental health challenges such as Anxiety/Depression. The group is intended to encourage one another, help provide hope and empower individuals to live purpose-filled lives for God. This group is not intended to replace professional guidance, treatment or in-depth counseling.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." The first meeting is on Monday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Adult Ed room. Contact Praveen Sekar (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Christmas Choir Concert: Celebrate the season with A Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 10 at 6:30pm. Enjoy refreshments after the concert. Invite a friend!