Weekly Connections

December 16, 2022

Prepare the Way! The birth of our Savior is near. Join us for the Fourth Sunday in Advent.


8:15 | Sanctuary
10:45 a.m. | Sanctuary + Livestream
Where is God calling you to look with new eyes this season?
Join us in celebration at 8:15 as we baptize William O’Brien, grandson of Mark and Kathy Gerhardt, or at 10:45 for an annual favorite-the Children’s Christmas program!

9:15 a.m. | Activity Center
Food for Fellowship invites all for breakfast every Sunday.

9:30 a.m. | Activity Center
Come hear about summer camps, retreats, the Guatemala Trip, and more! This meeting will focus on the intergenerational Guatemala Trip and the Boundary Waters Youth Trip and will have takeaways for the summer camps and retreats. Contact Joel Timmons!

9:45 a.m.
| Library + Zoom
Great discussions of the Good Book.  This week we will discuss the first chapter of Titus. Contact Ruby Cadenhead for more information.

7:00 p.m. | Activity Cente
Gingerbread Wars for grades 5-12. Contact Joel Timmons, Student Ministry Coordinator.


Music, candles, JOY! Come and worship Christ, the newborn king!

Saturday, December 24
“God Immanuel in Bethlehem, Austin, Buda, EVERYWHERE!”

Visit www.ShepHills.org/Christmas-Worship for details about each service.

Courtyard Worship: 4:00 p.m. Inclement weather arrangements, if needed, will be announced by Friday at noon. Come early for cocoa and coffee by Land of Legends Coffee at the 4 pm service!
Sanctuary Worship: 6:00 p.m. + 8:00 p.m. + 10:00 p.m. Come early for cocoa and coffee by Land of Legends Coffee at the 6pm service!
Livestream: 6:00 p.m.

Our Christmas Eve offering will go to support our ministry partner Upbring. 100% of your generosity will go to Upbring’s New Life Center in Canyon Lake and BeReal Program in Austin/San Marcos. Thank you for being a community that cares for God’s children.


Sunday, December 25
9:30 a.m. | Christmas Breakfast and Fellowship in the Activity Center
10:45 a.m. | Sanctuary Worship
10:45 a.m. | Online rebroadcast of 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship

Come for a beautiful Christmas Day full of carols, a special Christmas video, and the Christmas reflection, “Touch Down!” We will have just ONE worship. Come for breakfast and fellowship at 9:30 a.m.
ALL ARE WELCOME – even in your pajamas!


Check the calendars on Realm or the website for a complete list of events!

This Sunday, December 18
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | 403 Vargas Road
Mariposa, the childcare facility established by Austin City Lutherans, is holding an “ACL Workday.” It will be inside work mostly, as renovations continue at Mariposa’s campus. Consider joining us and click here to learn more.

This Wednesday, December 21
7:30 a.m. | Early Riser’s Study on Zoom
10:00 a.m. | Late Riser’s Study in the Library + Zoom

Two times, same great study! Both are Pastor-led. Contact Pr. Lauren or Pr. Tom with questions.

This Wednesday, December 21 + Livestream
7:00 p.m. | Sanctuary

A special worship of longing and lament for the grieving who struggle with the season. Childcare will be provided in the Library/Family Room.


April 28-30
Dilworth Inn | Gonzales, Texas
The entire Inn has been rented so that we may rest, breathe, connect, explore, and expand our imaginations – together. More information to come in January! Contact Rebecca Guengerich.



Here is a reminder about the different ways to give for consideration with your end-of-year tax and financial planning:

Donations via US Credit Card, PayPal or other merchant processors must be made by midnight on December 31 in your time zone (statement must be stamped with a 2022 date) to be eligible for a 2022 tax deduction;

Check envelopes must be postmarked by December 31, 2022 to be eligible for a 2022 tax deduction;

Wires or electronic funds transfers must be sent by December 30, 2022 in order to be eligible for a US 2022 tax deduction (December 30 is the last banking day);

Gifts of Appreciated Stock – Must be transferred out by your broker no later than December 31, 2022.  The option of giving of qualified appreciated stock held for over 1 year is becoming more popular. Shepherd maintains a brokerage account where it is very easy to transfer the appreciated stock as a gift. This is beneficial to both Shepherd and the giver as the giver may be able to deduct the appreciated value of the stock and avoid capital gains tax on the gain of the stock.

Gifts from Required Minimum Distributions – For those in a situation that requires minimum distributions from a retirement account (called required minimum distribution or RMD), there is an option called “Qualified Charitable Distribution” or QCD. Individuals turning 72 and those that turned 70 ½ in 2019 should verify they are making the proper RMD and consider the QCD as a possible way of avoiding paying tax on the RMD. The QCD must come directly from the retirement account custodian. If you are giving to Shepherd (or other qualified charities) and taking a RMD directly, please consider the QCD as this could potentially save you in additional taxes.

Donor Advised Fund (DAF) Giving – If you participate with gifts to a DAF, please consider including Shepherd of the Hills as a designee of your DAF gifts. If you are interested in setting up a DAF that may have significant tax benefits, the ELCA Foundation may be a viable option for you. More information about DAF and setting it up is available here. – (www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-Foundation)

Charitable Remainder Trust – If you have set up a CRT, please consider adding Shepherd of the Hills as a beneficiary of the trust. The CRT is a good option if you want an immediate charitable deduction, but also have a need for an income stream to yourself or another person. It is also a good option if you want to establish one by will to provide for heirs, with the remainder going to charities of your choosing. Please consult your financial adviser regarding setting up a CRT or adding Shepherd of the Hills as a beneficiary.

For assistance in arranging gifts to Shepherd of the Hills, please contact Kevin Marlow, Finance Controller – email – kmarlow@shephills.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 does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice.


Giving is an expression of joy and gratitude for the bounty of God’s goodness! There are so many ways to give-both financially and through serving.

Our Christmas Eve offering will go to support our ministry partner Upbring. 100% of your generosity will go to Upbring’s New Life Center in Canyon Lake and BeReal Program in Austin/San Marcos. Thank you for being a community that cares for God’s children.

Gathering Space
Bread for All is requesting canned fruit, sugar, and oil this week. Thanks for keeping their shelves and our neighbors’ stomachs full!

If you have not yet done so, prayerfully consider making a gift in support of our Mission and Ministry Fund and/or Facilities and Campus Care Fund for 2023. Use a printed pledge card found in the hymnal holders in the Sanctuary, or make a pledge online. Thank you for helping us do God’s work in the world!

Keeping current with your pledged or regular giving has never been easier because you can do it all online!

Please consider a gift to the Beyond Capital Fund Appeal as part of your finance and tax planning.  The more we collect early, the less we pay later!  Learn more about Beyond here.

Serving is a great way to give back and get to know others in our community. Whether you are interested in serving locally, being part of a global mission, or volunteering to help in a variety of ways on Sundays, we have a place for you!

This Sunday’s Altar Flowers are given by Jan Wilson in memory of all the holidays spent with her parents, J.O. and Lillian Stewart.

If you would like to give Altar Flowers, find more information and sign up by clicking here.


In need of prayer? Please contact a pastor to be put on the prayer list.

Would you like someone to pray alongside you during troubling times? Contact a Stephen Minister who can travel with you on life’s sometimes bumpy road.

We pray for Rodney Varner and Callie Ray Bell.

We pray for family and friends of Shepherd members: DeeAnna Frounfelter, mother of Amanda Forsberg. Adryana Aldeen, Director of Advancement at Mariposa. Sheila Pharis, Director of Mariposa Family Learning Center. The family of Jim Ernst on his death.

We pray in celebration of the baptism of William Paul O’Brien. He is the son of Jenna and Robert O’Brien, brother of Eloise, and grandson of Mark and Kathy Gerhardt.

We pray for the people of Ukraine caught in the middle of war and violence. Our hearts break when women and children are displaced and families torn apart by the evil actions of others. May you break open hearts so that swords may be beat into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks.

We pray for our global ministry partners: Rev. Karen Castillo in Guatemala; Iglesia Luterana Augustina Virgen del Rosario, Aurora 8 de Octubre, Guatemala. We pray for Malcolm and Joy Henderson and the ministry of CHARIS in Haiti. 

We pray for our local ministries: Mariposa Family Learning Center, Bread For All and Upbring Ministries.

We pray for our faith community, that we may be a church without walls and live out loud…faithfully!

*Prayers for family and friends are listed for 2 weeks, unless we are notified otherwise.