Category Archives: Worship

Why We Use Four Purple Candles

We’ve been asked why we use four purple candles in the Advent wreath instead of three purple candles and one rose. That’s a good question. The following explanation is taken from The United Methodist Book of Worship which serves as a source of authority in matters of worship.

The Advent wreath is a simple circle of evergreen branches, a sign of life without end; its four Advent candles encircle a central white Christ candle. Some traditions use the color rose on the Third Sunday of Advent and for this reason use three purple candles and one rose candle. United Methodists, however, encourage purple for the whole season of Advent and therefore use four purple candles. [1]


[1] United Methodist Church, The United Methodist Book of Worship (Nashville, TN: United Methodist Publishing House, 1992), 261.

Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Hymn Schedule

Below is the 2017-2018 Advent-Christmas-Epiphany hymn schedule. This is a working document and changes may be made.

December 3, 2017 — First Sunday of Advent
202 People Look East
3047 God Almighty, We Are Waiting
211 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
196 Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

December 10, 2017 — Second Sunday of Advent
206 I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
234 O Come, All Ye Faithful
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory
203 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

December 17, 2017 — Third Sunday of Advent
238 Angels We Have Heard on High
203 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
198 My Soul Gives Glory to My God
249 There’s a Song in the Air

December 24, 2017 — Fourth Sunday of Advent
196 Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus
227 The Friendly Beasts
230 O Little Town of Bethlehem
221 In the Bleak Midwinter
3052 God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
228 He is Born, the Holy Child
218 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
219 What Child is This
251 Go Tell it on the Mountain

December 24, 2017 — Christmas Eve
240 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
246 Joy to the World
217 Away in a Manger
239 Silent Night

December 31, 2017 – Covenant Renewal Service
224 Good Christian Friends Rejoice
236 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
229 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
606 Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine

January 7, 2018 — Epiphany
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory
237 Sing We Now of Christmas, verses 1, 3, 4, 5
254 We Three Kings
245 The First Noel

We had a request for O Holy Night, a carol that I love, but it is not in the hymnal nor in the supplements, probably because it is too difficult for congregational singing. Clark is at work attempting to arrange a soloist.

It’s Fair Sunday

All week long I’ve been trying to think of ways to observe fair Sunday today (July 30, 2017). And all week long, I’ve been forgetting that we normally just encourage people to wear their western wear to church. My apologies for the (very) late notice.

Kansas Kudzu

I just polished off a big bowl of Malt-O Meal* and I’m settling into work on next Sunday’s sermon. I had great success crowdsourcing part of this morning’s sermon and I want to try it again. Here’s my question: is there a Kansas version of kudzu?


*A reference to this morning’s sermon.

A Note About Funeral Services

Recently there has been a question about whether or not previously appointed pastors can come back and participate in a funeral at Abilene First United Methodist Church. The answer is yes. We were given some great guidance in this matter by former Bishop Scott Jones. Our practice is for at least one of us to serve as host for all funerals held at Abilene First United Methodist Church, but we gladly welcome former pastors, other United Methodist pastors or pastors from other denominations to come and participate in the service (including the delivery of the sermon). We will happily issue an invitation under ¶341.4 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline (2016).

This Coming Sunday

This coming Sunday, July 9, 2017, I’ll be preaching on Matthew 11:25-30, but that’s not what will get me out of bed in the morning. Instead, I’m really excited that we’ll have Braden Adams accompanying the congregation on drums (I believe for the first time) and special music by Emily Shrader. (Emily has been worshiping with us while playing “Dainty June” at the Great Plains Theatre.)

Find Us Faithful Lyrics

Clark Williamson, director of music ministries, has asked me to share the following:

For the special music this Sunday, I’ve invited Nick Wright to return and play a flute solo. The selection is called “Find Us Faithful,” an arrangement by Stan Pethel. The words and music are by Jon Mohr. The lyrics are so inspirational, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share them with you.

We’re pilgrims on the journey of a narrow road.
And those who’ve gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary.
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
Let us run the race not only for the prize.
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us.

The heritage of faithfulness, passed on through godly lives.

(Chorus)
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe.
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone.
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind.
May the clues that they discover, and the memories they uncover.
Become the light that leads them, to the road we each must find. (Chorus)

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