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There's a Little Bit of Heaven Everywhere

2019-12-09 20:37:18 dporzel

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by Dean Porzel


I look forward every year to the end of October, when I transfer my IPod preferred music playlist from my ” 5 Star” or “Road Trip” mix to a playlist called “Holiday Mix”. This folder contains the best of my easy listening 5 Star playlist with a blend of my favorite Christmas selections, eventually transitioning to a folder in December of strictly Christmas music.

Because the Christmas season is a time of reflection and remembrances, the songs I find in these mixes are a blend of beautiful musical passages and lyrics that will assuredly bring a wave of nostalgia and tears to my eyes and as the words and music bring me closer to friends, family, and my faith.


What a wonderful blessing music is to our lives, and I am so happy that Christ Lutheran Church has always emphasized music in our worship experience as an important part of our spiritual connection to our God and our beliefs.


Favorites abound, from beautiful coral pieces, such as “See Amid the Winter Snow” and “Before the Marvel Of This Night”, to lyrical standouts such as “The Christmas Shoes” and “Little Alter Boy” (yes, I am a faithful Lutheran), and “Where Are You Christmas”. Inspirational up tempo tunes such as “Light Of the Stable” and “Jesus, Born On This Day” round out my playlist of the season.


In God’s grand plan, He has enriched our time on this earth with the many instruments of music, from the violin, to the piano, to the human voice and of course the guitar. He has blessed many individuals with a special talent of combining these tools in amazing ways to create the sounds of Christmas. We may not all have the talent these special composers, musicians and vocalists have, but we all have the ability to identify the sounds that inspire us and allow us to connect, if only for a few weeks a year, to our past and bring us closer to our Savior as we anticipate and then celebrate His birth.


Heaven Everywhere

“I hear the bells are ringing loud and clear

You can’t help but love this time of year

It’s Christmas time, there’s something in the air

There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere


Somehow there’s a little more of love

Maybe there’s a little less of us

Or maybe were just slightly more aware

There’s a little bit of Heaven in the air


It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope

It’s the tears of a mother whose child has come home

It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we all share

It’s a little bit of heaven everywhere”


Ben Glover and Francesca Battistelli



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0uxSVtG230 (See Amid the Winters Snow)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpkI7GW2V34 (The Christmas Shoes)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7DduTxHqt4 (Before the Marvel of This Night)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lt87fGKaSA (Little Alter Boy)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSMjgNMdzEI (Where Are You Christmas)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qln7ADh3dTA (Light of the Stable)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ow0gahAfn8 (Jesus Born On This day)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmPcMJrTL3Q (Heaven Everywhere)


Merry Christmas to all! All you have to do is……Listen

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Four Different Churches

2019-12-09 20:24:50 dporzel

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Christmas Candels Gold



by Pete Schrank


I had the pleasure of attending all four church services last week in order to deliver the yearly Stewardship message, and it made me think of the bigger picture. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church is not a Mega Church but it is a large congregation that needs to work on building one-on-one relationships. We all know that many people are creatures of habit . . . they always go to the same service, sit in the same pew and interact with the same people. Change is difficult.


I have a funny story from more than 40 years ago. When I first met my wife, we both worked for Orland School District 135. I worked during the summer, cleaning and painting, to earn money for college. My future wife was mapping out school bus routes to make sure all the children were safely picked up for school. I asked her out and after a few miscommunications, she finally said yes! I knew she attended the 9:30 service at CELC and I usually attended the 8:00 service; however, we never really saw each other at church. One Sunday, I decided to go to the 9:30 service to surprise her, and I think it worked. When she saw me, she asked “Are you stalking me?” I explained that I was a long time member and she immediately said “No you’re not, I have never seen you here before.”   She had been a member of Christ Lutheran Orland Park since her parents had moved from Oak Lawn to Orland Park approximately four years before. She sang in the Choir and helped out in Sunday School. I had been a member since I was two! I was away at college during the year, but we never crossed paths here at church. When I look at the four services, sometimes I think of it as four different churches. These four churches do get the same message and have the same goal; however, building strong personal relationships across our church is an important objective.


The point of this story is that we need to be more active in reaching out to those that are in all of the different services. This can be done by serving in one of the groups that crosses over all of the services. For example:

  • Choir (Joy and Praise or the Adult Choir)
  • Evangelism Committee or the Hospitality Committee (they support many activities that bridge all services i.e., cookie and pie baking, etc.)
  • Elder or Communion Assistant (they support all of the services with Communion.)
  • Shared worship services like Good Friday, Advent, or Lent or when we move from four services to two services are all good opportunities to connect to members we do not see every Sunday.
  • Finally, those Church-wide celebrations like youth sponsored dinners or the Church picnic can bring us all together to build the Kingdom of Christ here in Orland Park and everywhere in the community that we support.

Have a blessed Advent.

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Make Time for Jesus

2019-12-09 20:22:16 dporzel

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by Barb Mazarakos


According to the beloved Christmas hymn Silent Night, “All is calm, all is bright” on that blessed night so long ago. Unfortunately, our current climate of Do, Shop, Buy tend to make many of us feel anything BUT calm and bright as we approach December 25th. So as I do every year, I would like to once again encourage you to make time for Jesus as Christmas approaches and plan to be at some or all of the following holiday worship services to help you remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season:


Sunday, December 15- Lessons and Carols: 8am and 10am, both with Holy Communion (*There will be no Christian Education Hour or 9:30am service this day)


Saturday and Sunday, December 21 & 22: 5pm Worship (Saturday); 8am Worship and 10am Holy Communion (Sunday)


Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): 4pm Family Candlelight Communion; 11pm Candlelight Communion


Wednesday, December 25: 10am Christmas Worship with Communion


Saturday and Sunday, December 28 & 29: 5pm Holy Communion Service (Saturday); 8am Holy Communion and 10am Worship (Sunday)


Tuesday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve): 5pm New Year’s Eve Worship with Holy Communion


Thursday Advent Services (December 5, 12, 19): 11am Holy Communion followed by luncheon; 7pm Holy Communion in Duehr Chapel.


Also, to give our staff time to celebrate with their families, the Church Office will close at noon on Tuesday December 24 and 31. The office will also be closed for a full day on December 25 & 26 as well as January 1, 2020.

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No Time to Serve? That's What You Think!

2019-11-10 12:58:57 dporzel

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Time to Serve


No Time to Serve? That’s What You Think!

by Barb Mazarakos


Time. For so many of us, it is our most precious commodity. After all, we can earn more money, but we can’t get back lost time. Often when it comes to volunteering at church, we seem to think we need a tremendous amount of time to give. While it’s true that there always seem to be big roles to fill like heads of committees, there are plenty of opportunities right here around Christ Lutheran where you could be involved as much or as minimally as you can spare.


For example, there are our music programs. A variety of choirs are open to those who have the joy of song in their heart. You don’t need to have formal training; our Music Director Sandy Knopp welcomes anyone who would like to participate in the youth and adult choirs. If you like more traditional music, join the rich sounds of the Christ Choir. Prefer more modern choices? Joy and Praise might be for you with their monthly practice and leadership at services once a month.


Those who are more comfortable with the spoken word could volunteer to be a reader on Sunday mornings, worked into a rotating schedule of those who share the Old and New Testaments from the pulpit prior to the Gospel reading. Our usher teams also work on rotating schedules, helping at their designated service each week of the month before the next team takes over for the month to follow. (If you can’t commit to four consecutive Sundays, don’t worry. The holidays bring many opportunities to usher for single services at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Just look for the special sign up sheets on the narthex table).


If your forte is working with children, the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School programs could always use extra hands. Know of an older parishioner who would love to come to church if only they could get a ride? Offer to pick them up. Have a special skill in one of the trades? Things always need fixing or upgrading. If you like to drink coffee and chat with nice ladies as you assemble quilts or have a way with words or are crafty and like to work with your hands, we have spots for you as well!


The bottom line of all of this is that there is no minimum amount of time you can give that will help make a difference. When it comes to sharing the Word of God and caring for His children, there will always be room for one more. So, if you’ve been praying about a way you could get involved in this Stewardship month, talk to Pastor Ray. Ask him to direct you to the group you would like to be a part of. We would love to have your help!

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You Are Enough

2019-11-10 12:57:33 dporzel

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Thanksgiving 2

by Heather Green


When you become a parent, your time is no longer your own. When you have a baby, your schedule revolves around the baby eating and sleeping. If you also have to work, this is exhausting, but as children get older, there is even less “you” time as kids want to be involved in different activities, have play-dates, and need help with homework and school projects. Finding a balance between work, church, and family has always been a juggling act and this can be especially challenging for a single parent.


Single parents are not a widely recognized group within the church, where we tend to assume that everyone with children is married, but single parents within the church are there. Maybe one parent has to raise the children while a spouse is deployed; maybe the parents are married but one parent is “detached” from the children or disinterested in interacting or helping with any of the responsibilities that come with raising a child; maybe one parent has passed away; or maybe the parents are divorced. The single parent could be the mother or father you see sitting alone in church on Sunday, looking for a few minutes of quiet reflection and worship while their children are in Sunday School. Maybe it’s the parent who brings their child to Confirmation class and just enjoys a little time when they can relax. Maybe it’s the parent who wants to volunteer more at Church but is hesitant because they don’t know what their children’s schedules will be.


We are so quick to judge each other and the Internet, with the Pinterest perfect parents, is enough to make anyone feel inferior, but especially single parents. Every parent wonders if they are doing enough and doing right by their children, but single parents have the added bonus of guilt…”Maybe “I” could have done something different”… “Am “I” enough?”… “I didn’t plan to raise my children alone.”


Guess what? You are not alone. We see you. God knows your struggles and your fears: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10. You are doing an awesome job. To your children and to God, you are enough.

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