CHRISTMAS SEASON EVENTS
Join us in the EM for a Christmas season full of fun and joy! We have a lot of great events coming up to fill us with the joy and excitement of Christmas. So mark your calendars and watch for more details:
• 16 December (Sat.): EM Christmas Carols/Play and Party
• 17 December: Christmas Paper Crafts
• 23 December (Sat.): Carols singing for children at Mackay Hospital
• 24 December: EM Christmas Service
• 24 December (4:00pm): German language Christmas Service
• 28 December (Thu.): Innocents Service
• 7 January: Epiphany Service
CAROLS SINGING AT MACKAY HOSPITAL
On the morning of Saturday 23 December, we will bring some Christmas cheer to sick children on the wards at Mackay Hospital. We will sing songs and hand out small gifts. If you would like to join us, please sign up at the Welcome Table on Sundays before 17 December.
GERMAN CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
On 24 December at 4:00 pm, we will hold a Christmas Eve service in German especially for the German community and German-speaking friends in Taipei. Everyone is invited to join!
“HIGH FIDELITY”: EM YOUTH GROUP
The EM has a fun new group for young people aged 12+. High Fidelity meets Sunday mornings 10–11 a.m. for breakfast, games, Bible study, and music sharing. Sign up by sending your details to Yvette at email@example.com
EM ENGLISH KIDS' CLUB!
The EM English Kids' Club is for kids from 0–11 years old. It's a fun time when kids can get together to sing songs, play together, and learn about God. Join us from 11:00–12:00 every Sunday in the 7F Kids’ Room. Please send your child’s name and age to Yvette at firstname.lastname@example.org
CARE CELL NEWS
Join a mid-week Care Cell to study the Bible and share time together!
SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE COURSES
Do you want your faith to grow and develop? Deacon Amos Lu is offering a range of 1-on-1 courses in spiritual direction and guidance. Courses normally run from 5 to 8 weeks, and can be planned to suit you. These courses are free! For more details, email Amos directly at: email@example.com
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Bible Verse for the Week
"Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, 'Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’"
In Isaiah 57 we find another example of God’s fierce criticism of Israel and all the evil they had been doing. Straightaway in verse 3 we get a sense of how deeply hurt God is by Israel’s behaviour, as he accuses them of being “witches’ children”, and the “offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!” What has made God so angry?
In vv. 4–13 we get a long description of Israel’s sins. God’s main criticism here is that Israel has been leaving behind what is good and right and true, and instead turning to useless idols. And Israel didn’t just do this accidentally, they did it purposefully and with passion. They threw their whole hearts into worshipping useless idols, and did it with all their energy. What’s worse, they even sacrificed their own children to those false gods (v. 5).
So what should God do about this? Should he destroy Israel? Surprisingly, even though Israel does all this great evil, God doesn’t abandon them or give up on them at all. That’s because God is a God of love and mercy, not a God of revenge. So instead of destroying Israel, God loves them and he calls them to come back to him.
In vv. 14–21, God tries to encourage Israel to repent. If only they would put their evil behind them and come home to him, everything would be good. God even tries to reason with Israel and show them the stupidity of their actions. In vv. 20–21 God says that those who reject him are doomed to live their lives forever like the restless sea, never finding peace, never stopping, never finding quiet or rest. But when sinners come back to God, when they return to God with a humble and repentant heart, then God will bless them with comfort and healing, filling their lives with peace and their mouths with praises (vv. 18–19).
That’s good advice for our own lives too. Why should we always be fighting against God, pushing back against his love, and therefore doom ourselves to a life without calmness and rest? Instead let’s choose today as the day to stop fighting, and to turn back to God. Let’s turn away from the wrong things we have been doing and come home to God. Let’s finally find our rest and peace together with him.
With blessings for the week ahead,
Pastor Stephen Lakkis