Weekly Connections

December 22, 2023

It’s the Fourth Sunday in Advent AND Christmas Eve!


This 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. Come at 9:45am for cinnamon buns, hot chocolate, and coffee.

Come back for CHRISTMAS EVE worship in the evening!

CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP Details about each service at ShepHills.org/Christmas
This Sunday, Dec. 24
All services feature candlelight and Holy Communion. Come early to get a seat.
4:00 p.m. Courtyard (or Sanctuary if it rains) – Perfect for families. The forecast looks good for being in the Courtyard, BRING A CHAIR!
6:00 p.m. Sanctuary + Livestream – Bells, choir, strings, harp, timpani, flutes, and brass.
8:00 p.m. Sanctuary – Traditional liturgy with strings, brass, and harp.

Monday, Dec. 25
Watch the 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Livestream online at ShepHills.org/Watch!

This year’s offering supports Upbring, a change-making Lutheran organization whose mission is to create a world where all children are cherished. By giving today, or on Christmas Eve, 100% of your generosity will go to Upbring’s New Life Center in Canyon Lake and BeReal Program in Austin/San Marcos.


8:15 a.m.  | Sanctuary
10:45 a.m. | Sanctuary + Livestream
Come ring in the New Year with blessings. Pick your Star Word for 2023 and get a piece of blessed chalk for chalking your home on Epiphany (Saturday, January 6).

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.

9:30 a.m.
 | Library + Zoom
The Bible is a book that never grows old. We will not meet next Sunday, December 24. Contact Ruby Cadenhead.


Find in-depth descriptions on the website calendar at ShepHills.org/Events.

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

Sunday, January 7

12:15 p.m. | Butterfly Center, Flex 1 and Zoom
ShepHills is excited to offer two great journeys in 2024 to holy lands in other parts of the world:

Ireland, May 21-31 A full itinerary of the sights and sounds of this beautiful country will be led by an expert tour guide. We will also share insights into Celtic spirituality. This Christian expression is a down-to-earth spirituality that has been a source of faith in the lives of people for hundreds of years.
Rhine River Cruise, Oct. 24-Nov. 3 The Rhine winds through the heart of Europe with opportunities to explore many places. There is the option for local tours with expert guides. We will get to know a few relatively unknown Medival Mystics and learn from their wisdom as we travel through lands they once walked.

Both trips have had a great response but there is still room on both trips. The deadline for committing to either (or both) trips is January 28th. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact Amanda at Amanda@shephills.org or Tom Grevlos at revgrev86@gmail.com.


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.


Special thanks to Butterfly Christian Preschool for their diaper donation drive, which gathered 2,069 diapers to donate.

Heartbreaking Note: In the first three Mondays of December, Bread for All served 460 families and 2,166 individuals…an all-time high.


“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 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 – 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 do not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice.

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.

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!


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.

We pray for family and friends of Shepherd members: Katy Miller Sliwetzka & Michael Sliwetzka, daughter and son-in-law of Peter and Linda Miller.

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.