Greetings from gorgeous AZ on this beautiful day!

 Howdy again from Tucson.  I trust that you had a marvelous Thanksgiving Day at your place.  We surely did here.  Yesterday was a sleepy recovery weekend after all the turkey & trimmings.  It seemed to me that folks were drowsy in the morning service.  It may have been just my perception, but just saying.  Our attendance was way down with illness & holiday weekend syndrome, but the Lord was in our midst & some very special people worshipped the Lord together.  We had a returning snowbird couple with us.  Also a single older man came to both the morning & evening service.  So there were definitely some bright spots too! 

One of them was the opening song segment.  Pastor Seth had the congregation sing some Christmas carols with the choir & then had the choir spice them up with beginnings & endings that added so much.  The church family LOVES to do that & responded accordingly.  It was a special treat for those who love to sing.  Then Miss Anna Carpenter’s piano solo offertory of “Ding Dong Merrily on High” had such a delightful sound.  The happy tempo  was enjoyable to all & a blessing indeed.  I preached from II Samuel 13:3-6 on “Beware of Wrong Friends.”  Folks seemed to be tuned in, at least the ones who were awake.  

The evening service featured the choir singing a new song preview to the coming Christmas cantata, “Shepherds & Angels.”  WOW!  The rich sound & enthusiastic vocal tone was a wonderful treat to all present.  Then Mrs. Emily Blewett’s piano offertory solo of “Silent Night”  in its sublime simplicity & sweet arrangement was precious indeed.  Our hearts were warmed.  The testimony time was replete with male & female, old & young, visitors & regulars.  The spontaneous testimonies were sweet indeed to the glory of God.  Pastor Seth then preached from James 5: 16-21 on Prayer.  Some quotes from it are:

“My circumstances are not wrong; my responses in my flesh are wrong.’
“If my first response to my trial is not prayer, then what kind of faith am I showing?”
“Prayer is the proper response to trials.”
“Trials show me where I am in my faith with God.”

So yesterday although low in attendance was high in blessings.  And for that I am so thankful.  One of the children in the testimony time said, “I am thankful for this nice church & people.”  She & her family were recently baptized & joined the church.  Her juvenile words however struck a chord with the church family that we indeed have much for which to be thankful together.  PTL for the sweet words of a child to remind of important truth!

Pastor Stertzbach