December 15, 2023
Come as we light the third Advent candle for JOY. Remember next Sunday is Christmas Eve!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17
8:15 a.m. | Sanctuary
10:45 a.m. | Sanctuary + Livestream
This week’s focus is on joy that is rooted in faith. Pr. Adam Varner gives the Message, Bells and Choir are at late, and the Children’s Nativity Program will immediately follow 10:45 a.m. Worship. Livestream viewers are invited to join us in lighting an Advent wreath or candles of your own. Here is this week’s Bulletin.
Please purchase a poinsettia for $12 and help us decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas! You may purchase these online or use an envelope (available on Sunday) if you prefer to pay with cash or check.
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Activity Center
Don’t go around hungry, come fill your body and soul with food and conversation.
9:40 a.m. | Sanctuary
Come practice for the Nativity program following 10:45! We will not meet on December 24 and 31. Contact Megan Getman.
CLASSICAL MUSIC WITH ANDREI ZIMBALIST
6:00 p.m. | Doors open at 5:30 p.m. | Sanctuary
The amazing talents of Andrei Zimbalist have blessed us in Sunday worship, and now we have a chance to enjoy his music outside of worship. Join us as he and his talented young students perform a diverse selection of pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and Bartok, illustrating different periods and styles within classical music.
6:00 p.m. | Activity Center
Grades 5-8 and 9-12, come grow your faith in extraordinary ways! We will not meet on December 24 and 31. Contact Joel Timmons.
NEXTGEN PARENTS GROUP
6:00 p.m. | Solomon’s Porch
Stick around for a time of prayer, study, and community. We will not meet on December 24 and 31. Contact Pr. Lauren.
NEXT SUNDAY (CHRISTMAS EVE!)
FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Sunday, Dec. 24 | One Morning Worship @ 10:45AM
The Fourth Sunday in December is both Advent AND Christmas Eve! Join us for Advent in the morning with one worship at 10:45 a.m. and cinnamon buns, hot chocolate, and coffee at 9:45-10:30 a.m. Then come back for Christmas Eve worship in the evening (see times below).
CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP (more details at ShepHills.org/Christmas)
Sunday, Dec. 24
All services feature candlelight and Holy Communion.
4:00 p.m. Courtyard – Perfect for families. Come early for cocoa.
6:00 p.m. Sanctuary + Livestream – Bells, choir, strings and brass.
8:00 p.m. Sanctuary – Traditional liturgy with strings and harpist.
CHRISTMAS DAY ONLINE
Monday, Dec. 25
Watch the 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Livestream online at ShepHills.org/church-online!
GATHERING SPACE CHRISTMAS TREE
Capture your holiday spirit by snapping a picture at our festive Christmas photo spot in the Gathering Space on Christmas Eve or before! Don’t forget to tag us if you post it on social!
Find in-depth descriptions on the website calendar at ShepHills.org/Events.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MICHAEL SCHRADER
Monday, December 18
10:00 a.m. | Sanctuary
A memorial service will be held to remember the life of Michael Schrader, son of Inez Schrader. We commend Mike to God’s eternal love and pray for comfort for Inez and her family as we trust together in the promise of resurrection life.
YOGA AT A NEW TIME
3:30 p.m. | Room 203 + Zoom
Advent is the perfect time to embrace the spirit of peace through yoga. Join certified instructor Richard Arndt at a new time to unwind, breathe deeply, and find solace in gentle movements. Join us on Zoom if you can’t make it here, and bring a mat if you have one. Appropriate for all ages and levels. Contact Richard Arndt.
ADVENT MID-WEEK WORSHIP
Wednesday, December 20
7:00 p.m. | Butterfly Center
Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, join us for a moment of peace and reflection. Our midweek worship, centered on the timeless beauty of the Holden Evening Prayer, offers something we all need – an opportunity to pause, breathe, and recenter ourselves. This week we discuss Isaiah 40:1-11. Our Mid-Week offering is designated to the New Life Center and BeReal programs of Upbring.
Thursday, December 21
7:00 p.m. | Sanctuary + Livestream
During this special service, held on the longest night of the year when there are more hours of darkness than light, we remember that God joins us in our lament and holds us in tender care.
SIX FLAGS FIESTA
Friday, December 22
1:30 p.m. | Six Flags Fiesta
High School and Confirmation Youth! School is out for Winter Break, so join us to celebrate at Six Flags Fiesta under the Christmas lights. This was a pre-pandemic tradition and it’s back! You don’t want to miss! Register here.
CHURCH OFFICE HOLIDAY CLOSURES
Friday, December 22 | Closing at Noon
Monday, December 25 | Closed
Tuesday, December 26 | Closed
Friday, December 29 | Closing at Noon
Monday, January 1 | Closed
Tuesday, January 2 | Closed
ADVENT MEDITATIVE EXPERIENCE
Daily | Memorial Garden
Prepare for Christmas with this outdoor Advent experience from Christmas Gifts that Won’t Break – an Advent Study for Adults (James W. Moore. Abingdon Press, 2010). Come on your own or with others to reflect, explore scripture, and embrace the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. Scan the onsite QR for this self-guided meditation.
FAITH IN ACTION
TRANSFORMING LIVES IN GHANA
Megan Devaney, a senior at Austin College, found her calling in public health through eye-opening youth trips with ShepHills in San Francisco and Guatemala. Her 2023 January term trip to Ghana led her to the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS), an orthopedic hospital outside Accra, Ghana’s capital. FOCOS, a non-profit institution, provides critical care to those suffering from severe scoliosis across Africa, primarily children and young adults. Despite limited resources, FOCOS ensures top-notch treatment and support for its patients.
Megan’s class of 14 has taken a noble initiative to sponsor Gerald, an 11-year-old from Ghana, battling severe scoliosis that affects his breathing and mobility. The class has gathered $4,000 so far to cover Gerald’s surgery expenses totaling $20,000. For more information on the inspiring work of FOCOS and to contribute, please visit FOCOS’s website: FOCOS Hospital or access the FOCOS Pitch Book here. Thank you for being part of Megan’s impactful calling.
WAYS TO GIVE
“Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared.”—Henri Nouwen
END OF THE YEAR GIVING
End of the year giving is upon us! Learn about the different ways to give when considering your end-of-year tax and financial planning, including marketable securities and non-cash assets.
- Check envelopes must be postmarked prior to December 31, 2023 to be eligible for a 2023 tax deduction. Please remember that December 31 is a Sunday.
- Wires or electronic funds transfers must be sent by December 29, 2023 to be eligible for a US 2023 tax deduction (December 29 is the last banking day).
For assistance in arranging gifts to Shepherd of the Hills, please contact Kevin Marlow, Finance Controller – email – firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office – 512-327-3370. Please consult your financial and tax professionals for further information and any financial or tax advice. The above opportunities are only to suggest some possible alternatives and do not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice.
PLEDGES, GIFTS, AND DONATIONS
Giving online is a great way to stay current with your pledge or set up a recurring gift. Questions? Contact Finance Controller Kevin Marlow for help. Thank you for your continued support of our missions and ministries.
In need of prayer? Please contact a pastor to be put on the prayer list.
We pray for Rodney Varner, Elin Watkins, and Kathy Gerhardt.
God of Life, we pray for Megan Koeneman and family on the death of her grandmother, Sue Park . Surround all who mourn with the peace and promise of resurrection.
God of unity, we thank you for the many different people and perspectives that fill your world and our lives each day. We pray that our church may continue to live out true inclusion of all people, and that the welcoming love of Jesus may always be our message. As the root of conflict is so often misunderstanding and judgment of others, may we be instruments of your peace as you open our minds and hearts to see every person as your beloved.
Holy God, as war has once again broken out in the Holy Land, we lift to you prayers for peace and resolution to this age-old conflict among your people. Draw near to the victims, and inspire leaders to seek your will and your guidance.
Almighty God, you inspire and equip us to serve your people, both here in our community and around the world. We thank you for our mission partners of Austin City Lutherans and the ministries of Mariposa Family Learning Center, Bread for All, and Upbring Ministries. We thank you for our sister congregation in Aurora 8 de Octubre, Guatemala and the ministry of ILAG. We thank you for the mission of Charis in Haiti. We thank you for our Butterfly Christian Preschool and the many young minds and hearts that are formed in faith here. May we be your hands and feet!
Would you like someone to pray alongside you during troubling times? Contact Rebecca Guengerich to find (or learn more about) a Stephen Minister who can travel with you on life’s sometimes bumpy road.
*Prayers for family and friends are listed for 2 weeks unless we are notified otherwise.