Sermon: “God Sent His Son” from Gal 4

In our Advent 2019 series, God reveals three glorious byproducts He accomplished when He sent His Son. Need more patience, contentment, zeal, or assurance? Learn with us from Christ in Galatians!

“God Sent His Son”
Galatians 4:4
December 8, 2019
Advent 2019

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December Update & Calendar

Zion_NewsletterOur December edition of the Update can be viewed and downloaded here. The Zion calendar for the month of December can be viewed here.

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Advent 2019

ZionAdvent2019_600Christ has come! Christ is coming again!

The Latin word adventus simply means “coming;” it refers to the appearance of God incarnate and bringing the Kingdom’s salvation to planet Earth. This Advent season, we want to focus on the Gift the Father has sent in the coming of Jesus, and that He is coming again! The Old Testament believers awaited their coming Messiah. We join in their spiritual longing when we sing Advent hymns like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” However, our lives have been transformed because Jesus has come; and in Him we live and move and have our being.

To help us focus on God sending His advent Gift, we will be focusing on the verses from Galatians 4:1 – 7:

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God has sent His Son, He has sent His spirit, and we are His sonship!

Our worship service has a slightly different order and feel during Advent as well. Read about the liturgy here.


Here are some of the events that our Advent season brings. Please be sure to get these on the calendar!

Date Event
December 1st Advent Party

Meet at the church at 3 PM for caroling, decorating, Christmas carols, and a light supper.  Fun for the whole family!

December 7th   Women’s Fellowship Christmas Brunch

Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., for a hosted brunch and program.  Invite your friends and get your tickets!

December 15th Zion Christmas Cantata

Join us Sunday evening for a special Zion tradition, and stay after the beautiful music for refreshments and fellowship.  Begins at 7p.m.

December 24th Christmas Eve Service

The prelude begins at 6p.m., and you won’t want to miss hearing our youth recount the meaning of the Christmas story!

December 25th Christmas Day Service

Service begins at 9a.m. with Holy Communion.

Other events, like the College Parsonage Party, Youth Sledding, will be announced as weather permits.

Advent Resources Here

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Happy Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving2012From the whole church family, Happy Thanksgiving! It is our prayer that this encourages you to “give thanks in every situation” (I Thessalonians 5:18) and to “abound in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7).

Don’t forget to join us as we host the Community Thanksgiving Dinner today at noon!

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we Thine unworthy servants do give Thee most humble and hearty thanks for all Thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men. We bless Thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for Thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we beseech Thee, give us that due sense of all Thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth Thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to Thy service, and by walking before Thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer

How To Lay Aside Thanklessness

“Heavenly Father, please let me know your will. I really need to know what you want me to do about . . .”

This is my will for you: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Thank you, Lord, for this reminder. I really do need to be more thankful — but getting back to my request, I’m not sure what you want me to do about . . .”

I want you to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

“I know, Lord, I know. That’s important and I can see where I have neglected that. But thankfulness is sort of a constant need, isn’t it? I mean, everyone needs be more thankful, right? Seriously, this is urgent, and I don’t have clarity from you. I need your direction. What do you want me to do?”

I am being serious and specific. I want you to “give thanks in all circumstances,” and right now, in this particular circumstance.
Continue reading “How To Lay Aside” at Desiring God

Instilling Gratitude In Your Family

With the approach of Thanksgiving, I am often struck with how people—young and old alike—lack an important attribute: gratitude. I’m not looking for a warm fuzzy thank you for a gift, but a deep rich appreciation for life and what we’ve been given. Why is this? What gets in the way of gratitude?

Here are two thoughts.

First, our society cultivates discontentment. Consistently, we hear a message of want. Mass media, advertising, and holiday seasons all capitalize on the misconception of necessity and the hungering for more…
Continue reading “Instilling Gratitude” at CCEF→

Giving Thanks When Your Family Is Struggling

Soon after graduating high school, our son had his first psychotic break. Eventually, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a variant of schizophrenia. The past few years have been incredibly difficult for him. They have also been hard for us, his family. As his mother, I spent five years crying, and praying, and struggling to understand what had happened.

During that time, the Thanksgiving holiday was particularly trying. Of course, I had things to be thankful for. Food, family, friends, a roof over my head. But these blessings seemed insubstantial compared to the hollowing-out of my beloved son.

I knew believers are called to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). But how could I fight my way to a place of gratitude? Would I ever find joy again?
Continue reading “Giving Thanks” at TGC→

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Annual Meeting This Sunday!

AnnualMeetingThis Sunday is our Annual Meeting!

As we consider all the ways God has shown His faithfulness to us in the last year, it is important that we give thanks for His blessings and commit ourselves to His grace for the year ahead. Immediately after worship, we will begin our annual meeting. We are asking all covenant members to prioritize being present for the meeting!

To assist our congregation, and Annual Report has been prepared and is available to all in the narthex. We kindly request a limit of one per family.

Following the meeting, a pot bless meal will take place in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring a dish to share with all!

Thank you God from Whom all blessings flow!

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Happy Reformation Day!

ReformationSunday2019On this day we celebrate Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenburg, and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

The benefits we enjoy from the Reformation are almost too many to count. Reading and hearing the Scriptures in our native language, the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, assurance of salvation, liberty of conscience, the priesthood of all believers, participating in worship, receiving both the bread and the cup in the Lord’s Supper, and so much more comes to us because of God’s shaping of history in the Reformation.

There are many resources to take advantage of as well!

Luther Video

Ligonier Ministries has made the Luther video available for free this week on Youtube. Don’t forget their Reformation sale as well.

Alliance Resources

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is giving away several resources for free. Receive the free conference audio of What the Church Needs Now Is… Reformation! Similarly, a PDF of the book The Doctrine of Justification Opened and Applied can be gotten for free here.

Desiring God and John Calvin Books

Desiring God has the following books on John Calvin as free downloads:
Portrait of Calvin by T.L. Parker
With Calvin in the Theater of God’s Glory
John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
both by John Piper


If you have never used the resources at the website Monergism, now is the time! Here is a link to literally thousands of free resources on Reformation Day! But one of the best parts of Monergism is that this is just one of countless categories. Whenever you have a question about Christian faith or belief, make sure to make Monergism one of the first places you check!

Reformation Day for Kids

A former classmate and church member of Pastor Brian has lots of resources for kids! You can find many more, for example, here, here, and here.

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“Misfit to Missionary” From John 4

Jesus transforms us and then uses our lives to transform those around us. Where is the Lord calling you to leave behind sin and follow Him to spread His message?

“Misfit to Missionary”
John 4:28 – 42
October 20, 2019
John 4: Woman at the Well

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Serve In Faith: Outerwear Drive

5Loaves_logo_v2We have a wonderful opportunity to bless others as we serve in Jesus’ Name!

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:15 – 17

This winter will – like all Iowa winters – be cold.Outerwear-1-1 This winter clothing/outerwear drive will be a blessing to local kids and families to get through the bitter temperatures. Zion is partnering with 5 Loaves for their outerwear drive.

From now until November 5th, please bring new or gently used clothing, such as hats & gloves, scarves & socks, winter coats, snow pants, waterproof boots, or blankets. A large collection box provided by 5 Loaves is in the narthex just outside the sanctuary. Distribution will take place Nov 9th at 9am. If you need help with delivering your outerwear, please contact Pastor Brian.

Whether you help with this outerwear drive, or pursue good works at your job, in your home, or elsewhere, make sure to do so trusting in Jesus! It is only through His atoning sacrifice that our works can be accepted by God, as even our evangelical obedience is justified in Christ’s righteousness and sanctified by His Spirit. Please pray for the individuals who will receive these articles of clothing; intercede for other Christians, that God would motivate them to generously give; and request that God’s Name would be glorified in Garner through this opportunity!

Would you like to help in other ways? Check their website, or contact 5 Loaves!

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More Resources On Biblical Worship

WorshipST5In our most recent sermon from John 4 in our series on The Woman at the Well, we considered Jesus’ words about “true worshipers” that “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” WomenWellJohn4_800While much of our sermon and service are meant to unpack those ideas, there is so much more to say!

As we have focused on the Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, we have recognized the importance of seeking: God is seeking worshipers, and this woman is seeking all the wrong things. She is seeking relational intimacy in her five marriages and promiscuous love. She is seeking soul satisfaction, the water from which we will never again thirst. But as Abraham sent for Rebekah at the well as a bride for his son, Isaac, so we see in John 4 that God the Father is seeking worshipers for the True Bride, the Bride of Christ as Jesus meets this woman in her spiritual need.

How does this affect how we see worship? Continue reading

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Can We Get Along With Lutherans?!

adult_bible_study_600This Sunday, our adult Bible study will gather, and we want to ask an important question: can we get along with Lutherans?!

With tongue firmly in cheek, many of us work, live, and labor alongside Lutheran relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. What separates Reformed teaching from Lutheran? Is there any hope for unity in the future?

One area of Christian thinking and practice that have separated Lutheran and Reformed churches is the Lord’s Supper. But why? What is the difference between the views, and how do these differences practically affect us?

We will look together at God’s Word, the Lutheran standards (Augsburg Confession, and the Book of Concord), and our doctrinal beliefs, to appreciate what God’s Word says, and to learn how these truths work themselves out in the lives of Christians and congregations. We hope you will join us!

BWGOne resource that can benefit us is Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation, a book by two respected theologians. Robert Kolb is an amazing Lutheran scholar at Concordia Seminary, and Carl Trueman is a Reformed professor and pastor. Writing this book together, both scholars help Christians from different traditions understand each other and their own churches better.

Here are some other resources that might help you in the mean time:
“The Most Dangerous Man in Christendom?” First Things Carl Trueman helps us understand Luther better.

“A Lunchtime Conversation with Carl Trueman” Reformed Faith & Practice A casual interview allows Dr. Trueman to explain more about Luther.

Dr. Trueman explains the Christian Life with Reformed insights into Luther.

Join us Sunday night!

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