The Light Has Come

by Doug Rehberg

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

Christmas reminds us that the only answer to darkness is light. For some, darkness is a choice—they seem to enjoy it. Plato used to talk about them as those who turn from the light to live in relative degrees of darkness. He observed that some people don’t want to face the light. Others have lived in the darkness for so long they wouldn’t leave it if they could. They’re like the convict who was brought out of the Bastille in Paris where he had been confined for years. As soon as he emerged, instead of joyfully welcoming his liberty, he begged his captors to take him back. It had been so long since he had seen sunshine that his eyes couldn’t endure its brightness. He had become a captive of the dark.

Regardless of the degree of darkness, it is into darkness that THE Light has come.

That’s what putting candles in  windows symbolize. Do you know who first put candles in their windows? The Irish.

When the Irish Catholics were being persecuted by the English, one of the clear prohibitions was against assembling for worship. The Roman Catholic churches were either closed or destroyed. The priests hid in forests and secretly visited farms and homes to say Mass under the cover of night. It was the dearest wish of every Irish family to, at least once in their lifetime, have a priest arrive on Christmas Eve to celebrate the Mass. To them, Christmas Eve was the holiest of nights. When the evening came they would leave their doors unlocked and place burning candles in the windows so that any priest who happened to be in the vicinity could be guided through the darkness to their home. Silently, the priest would enter through the unlatched door. He would be received by the devout inhabitants with tears of gratitude that their home was to become a church for Christmas.

How did the Irish Catholics get away with it? Why wouldn’t the English clamp down on such a practice? Because they didn’t know! They were in the dark. The Irish explained to them that the burning candles were in their windows to help guide Mary and Joseph to their homes. The English considered it a harmless superstition and did nothing to suppress it.

Think of it. All year long the Irish hoped a priest would visit their home at Christmas. All year long they’d hope that a priest would pierce the darkness on one night and make their home a church.

Aren’t you glad that when THE  Light came it wasn’t for only one night? Aren’t you glad that when He came our hearts became a place of worship?

May walking in the Light be our choice this Christmas. May we long for a fresh visit from our great High Priest. May that be the gift for which we wish this Christmas season as we place candles in our windows this year.


Women's Ministry - WM - What Matters?

by Jen Balkey



A common sentiment heard many times is, does it really matter? That can be a really good question to ask sometimes, especially when tensions run high and resources run low. How often as women can we relate to those circumstances? Quite often probably. So while we may not have a lot of time to dissect the pros and cons of a situation to determine its placement in the grand scheme of things, we can try to keep a few things in the forefront of our minds to help us make wise choices. My hope is at the core we know at least these 2 things to be true- we are women and we have a mission/ministry to fulfill here at Hebron.

Our Words Matter - The words we use and the way we use them can have a huge impact on others. Wisely chosen, and prayerfully considered, words can bring life and healing while quick and careless words can lead to hurt and division. God knew that we would be weak in the mastery of our tongue. The Bible has many scriptures to guide us in the way we use our words. We know statistically that women use more words a day than men - so we had better heed its instruction.

Our Worship Matters - Those things that we place as priorities in our life tend to point us in the direction of what our heart is worshipping. Do you ever stop and reflect on your priorities? Where does Jesus, His church, and the ministry the Lord has called you to fall in relation to me’ time, social time, culture, sporting, or adventure pursuits? God KNOWs where our heart and worship are centered. He has also made it very clear where He wants it to be - on Him and His ministry that He has placed us here to do. So while we go about checking off the boxes of the day - are we doing it for His glory? Are we worshipping Him, rejoicing in what we have been given the responsibility to do (being a parent, worker, caregiver, spouse), and joyfully serving Him? If we keep our eyes on Jesus and see our lives as part of a bigger picture, we can worship God in all that comes our way!

Wisdom Matters - Are you quick to act and speak? Do you reflect on those things that you choose to surround you - music, media, and people? Are these things helping to focus you on the things of God, encourage you in your walk with Jesus and make things in your life brighter, or do they draw you away and distract you from the mission you have here? Daniel reminded us of the importance of wisdom in Daniel 12:3 where it says, Those who are wise [or who impart wisdom] will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. You will have eternal reward for living a life with wisdom that helps others turn to God!

We Matter- we are the church! As women we have a lot of influence. Whether it is with our spouse and children, our co-workers, friends, or neighbors, we can make a big impact. Do people know you are a Christ follower? How do they know - by your words and actions? We can continue to be a witness for Christ, as we have been called to, or we can cause confusion and doubt, driving people away. Let your light shine before others…”


Children's Ministry

by Ellen Dillard


Family Night Lights!


The place where kidz bring their parents to learn about Jesus in a fun and relevant way. The night includes music, videos, games, crafts, and dessert.

                 Date:  Friday, December 1, 2017
                 Time:  6:30—8:00pm
                 Location:  Barclay Building
                 Cost:  Free

Bring Christmas cookies that will be given to L.I.V.I.N.G. Ministry who will share them with the homeless in Pittsburgh.

Family Night Lights is open to the community.  It’s a great place to bring a family that you’ve wanted to invite to church but just haven’t yet.


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We are thankful for our Family!


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December for Preschoolers

The story we get to share with Preschoolers this time of year is so special – the story of when God gave us Jesus, the BEST gift ever! 

Memory Verse: “God has given a Son to us.” Isaiah 9:6
Key Question: How do we know God loves us?
Bottom Line: God gave us Jesus.
Basic Truth: God loves me.

Week 1, November 26
Bible Story: The Angel and Mary—Luke 1:26-33, 38,
46-49

Week 2, December 3
Bible Story: Jesus Is Born—Luke 2:1-7

Week 3, December 10
Bible Story: The Shepherds—Luke 2:8-20

Week 4, December 17
Bible Story: Happy Birthday Jesus!—Luke 2


December for  K-5th Graders

Every good and perfect gift comes from God. In fact, generosity is at the very core of God’s character – He gave us His own Son, Jesus!  Jesus showed unwavering generosity as He traded His life for ours.  And, because God gave us Jesus and Jesus gave His life, we can be generous towards others.  When we are generous towards others, we show that we love God by loving the people He loves. As kidz celebrate God’s amazing generosity, we pray that they will see how they can be generous with their family, friends and neighbors.

Memory Verse: "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”  1 Timothy 6:18
Life Application: Generosity—Making someone’s day by giving something away.
Basic Truth: I can trust God no matter what.

Week 1, November 26
Bible Truth: God gave us Jesus • 1 John 4:9-11
Key Question: What do you have to give?
Bottom Line: Because God gave, I can give.

Week 2, December 3
Bible Truth: The Parable of the Rich Man • Luke 12:13-21
Key Question: Why is it important to give to others?
Bottom Line: Don’t miss your chance to give.

Week 3, December 10
Bible Truth:  Be Rich • 1 Timothy 6:18
Key Question: What are ways you can give this Christmas?
Bottom Line: Look for creative ways to give.

Week 4, December 17
Bible Truth:  Jesus is Born • Luke 2:1-1:18
Key Question: What does Christmas mean to you?
Bottom Line: God gave us Jesus.

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Sunday Morning Calendar
December 24 and 31
Infants – 5th Grade worship with their Families


 Kidz Club Calendar

November 22—No Kidz Club
We meet November 29 and December 6
January 10 – Winter Semester Begins

Holly Alm Camp Scholarship Fund

by Diane Brown

The 7th annual Holly Alm Camp Scholarship Fund Celebration on October 8, 2017 was a huge success! More than $31,000 was raised for the fund! The rain held off nicely until 94 golfers finished playing at Edgewood Country Club (ECC). Meanwhile inside, 156 dinner guests enjoyed perusing the Basket Auction, High End Auction, and Silent Auction. The “camping” theme d├ęcor and the personal testimony from Rebecca Malek helped generate an excitement to send more kids to church retreats, camps, clubs, and elsewhere.

New this year was our “Send a Kid to Camp” campaign.  While all of the money raised goes into the same fund, donors felt a real connection to a camper by putting money or pledges into the tent for this collection. The overwhelming response was $6195! Our thanks goes out to ECC for delicious hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and assistance in making this such an enjoyable event. We are also grateful to the many volunteers who gave numerous hours of work, to the donors of the great prizes we were able to auction off, and to our Lord and Savior for blessing this Celebration.


PitCare

by Steff Knabe

PitCare’s purpose is to help break the chains of generational poverty, strengthen families, and bring hope for the next generation, through education, job training, counseling, and Spiritual guidance.

Their mission is to build relationships within the community that will provide us the opportunity to serve as advocates for those in need; to help families achieve financial independence through providing decent, affordable housing, life skills training and one on one mentoring and discipleship; and
to bring hope to the next generation through personal relationships, and programming to benefit the younger community of Pitcairn.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  James 1:27


P.R.I.S.M.

by Jennifer Fitch

The fall semester kicked off welcoming over 500 international students in Oakland at the annual garage giveaway. Students were able to obtain free household items through local donations.

They were introduced to the different social activities available and the various Bible studies being offered for those wishing to learn more about God’s Word and explore their faith. Many don’t have these religious freedoms at home. Various social gatherings have been held including weekly Friday night dinners at Bellefield Presbyterian Church in Oakland where students can socialize with local volunteers from different churches.

Students have been visiting different parts of the Pittsburgh area. Many volunteers have teamed up with a student as a friendship partner, meeting to talk and pray with them.

Several different weekly Bible studies have been offered this fall. For some students this has been the first time they have been able to study the Bible without fear of persecution. P.R.I.S.M.’s goal is to welcome these students to Pittsburgh each school year, become friends with them and show them our culture. They hope to provide them with a chance to grow their faith and relationship with Christ and hope that they will return to their home country spreading God’s Word.


Urban Impact

by Bill Kear

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’  -  Romans 10:14-15

Urban Impact is a vibrant ministry on Pittsburgh’s North Side, sharing the Gospel and building relationships in Jesus’ name through a wide variety of programs.  Started in 1995 by Pastor Ed Glover, and his wife Tammy, Urban Impact strives to invest in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and their families in order to develop responsible followers of Christ.  This is accomplished through a broad spectrum of educational, athletic, and performing arts programs.  The Education outreach involves literacy programs, tutoring, and math skills. Athletic endeavors include basketball, baseball, soccer, football, and swimming. Performing Arts entails vocal and instrumental training, theater, dance, and visual arts.

Hebron Church is directly associated with Urban Impact not only through sharing financial support as a ‘mission partner’; but also through Andrew Churchill, a fellow member and brother of the body at Hebron. Andrew is involved in the Athletics Program at Urban Impact; and is passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus, and the joy in having a personal relationship with Him.  Over the years of involvement at Urban Impact, Andrew has many stories of young lives changed by personal relationships with Jesus.

 There are a variety of ways we can continue to support and encourage Andrew in this wonderful ministry at Urban Impact. Of course we should always be praying for Andrew and for the children, youth, and families of those he is engaging. We can also share financial support, as this is absolutely crucial in order to sustain the viability of this ministry. And lastly, we can become involved as volunteers in numerous ways (by coaching, tutoring, helping with field preparation, assisting at banquets, attending performances, etc).

If you are interested in joining Andrew’s team of financial supporters, you can reach out to him via phone, text (412-719-7644) or email (churchill531@gmail.com). He is always willing to meet with those that want to find out more about the ministry! Reoccurring and special gifts can also be given online by clicking on the ‘Donate’ tab at www.uifpgh.org, then selecting ‘Give to an Urban Missionary’. When prompted, enter Andrew’s name from the dropdown list. It’s that simple, and it truly does make a difference!

To find out more about Urban Impact, please visit their website at www.uifpgh.org. There you will find all of the details pertaining to the programs, schedule of events, and how you may be able to get involved.
Urban Impact truly is changing lives, one person, one family, one block at a time. And all the glory goes to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!


Welcome to the Class of 2020

At the Congregational Meeting on October  22, the following officers were elected:

Elder: Craig Ball II, Allen DiPalma, Geoff Gehring, Margie Krogh, Janie Mason, Marty Sidlo

Deacon: Tim Kudrav, Tina Lake, Gail Niermann, Mike Ramsay, David Rosburg, Richard Wilkes

Trustee: Dan McCune, Robert Morrow, David Walendziewicz

Hebron’s new officers will be ordained and installed on December 10, and begin to serve their terms on January 1, 2018.


Thank you...

I would like to thank everyone from our Hebron Church family, for all the phone calls, cards, visits, concerns and especially for the prayers for me during my hospital stay. The surgery went well and the tumor was benign. I feel very blessed. God is good. I would also like to thank Doug, Jerry, and Bill Martin for their visits, calls, and many prayers. They were greatly appreciated. I feel very lucky to have a church family that was there for me in my time of need. We missed the Deacons’ Over 70 gathering today, but I would like to thank Patty Stuchell for delivering the flowers from the sanctuary this morning to me. That was very kind of her, and also, she delivered two dinners from the gathering today for my husband and I. The dinners were delicious. We are so pleased to belong to a wonderful church.
Sincerely, Willa Gift.

Words cannot express how grateful I am for the Hebron Church family for your wonderful support of all of Kim’s family during our time of loss. You were all so kind and welcoming, and you just took good care of us. I appreciate all that you did for us and will continue to do for Scott and the girls in the future. Thank you again for everything. You were truly the hands and feet of Christ to a hurting family.
God Bless, Melanie Green, Kim’s sister


Thanks Be to God!

by Doug Rehberg

This October 31 marks a significant anniversary in the life of the Christian Church. It was the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

“It was a time,” as Robert Farrar Capon writes, “when man went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof GRACE—bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saved us single-handedly. The Word of the Gospel—after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps—suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started...Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case…”

Of all summations of the Reformation, I’ve ever read, none are truer, nor more succinct.

But, as Pittsburghers, we have another anniversary to celebrate, along with the Protestant Reformation. Fifty years ago, at Duquesne University, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began. The story is compelling.

In the Spring of 1966, two Duquesne University professors were taking Jesus’ words of Luke 11 seriously. They were asking, seeking, and knocking. They had pledged themselves to pray daily for a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the lives of those who would gather at Duquesne in January of 1967, and the Lord answered their prayers. What began at Duquesne University swept across the country and around the world.

The unique wonder of what occurred in those two events is found in their convergence. What happened in both 1517 and 1967 is that Jesus Christ was magnified and unspeakable joy and enduring confidence in Him were the results. Instead of keeping the blessings to themselves, the lives of each beneficiary exploded in thanksgiving to God and generosity to others. And that’s as it should be, for thanksgiving and generosity are always the result of the Holy Spirit’s work. That’s the same result I see in countless lives that have discovered the power of the Gospel, propelled by the Holy Spirit. It is, indeed, as Martin Luther said:

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”


Remembering the Reformation

by Barrett Hendrickson

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther's 95 theses were nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. As much as we like to think these theses were about the Doctrine of Justification by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, that didn't come until later in Luther's study of Galatians.

"When the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." Johann Tetzel was a travelling evangelist in the 1500s who sold indulgences for the catholic church. His sing-song rhymes were hugely successful in raising funds for rebuilding St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. He would travel around Europe, backed by the catholic church, promising that giving money to the church would save dead family members from purgatory. Cash was the way to salvation.

Martin Luther saw the flaws in Tetzel’s theology. As Doug has been saying a lot lately, Luther was constantly confessing his sin and seeking proper repentance. However, the way these indulgences were sold eliminated the biblical practice of repentance. It cheapened true repentance and gave it a monetary value. This was the real scandal. And so, on All Saints' Day, November 1, 1517, Luther nailed 95 theses on the door, offering to debate any one of them.

As time went on and he studied the Scriptures, Luther began to realize things about God that had been hidden for centuries. As he studied Paul’s letter to the Galatians he saw that God has given sinners the gift of His own righteousness through faith in Christ. The Christian life is not about earning salvation through one’s own doing, but it is about receiving God's own righteousness as a gift of grace.

As Luther continued to study, he continued to write. Bucking the trend of writing in Latin, the language of academia, he wrote in the people’s German, so that ordinary people could understand the Gospel. He attacked the validity of the papal authority that controlled the interpretation of Scripture. He continued to teach of God's righteousness being His gift received in faith, opposed to the catholic church's claim that grace only flowed through sacraments administered by priests. Luther's explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that all who are found in Christ are simultaneously sinners at heart and righteous in status.

Martin Luther is credited with beginning the Reformation of the Church. As the years passed, the Reformation continued through the work of people like Zwingli, Calvin, Bucer, and the Puritans. Because of their tireless work to return the church to its New Testament roots, we now enjoy the sound worship, godly access to Scripture in the common language, salvation through faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, and the Scriptures as the only infallible rule of faith and practice, to the glory of God alone. God has given the believer his righteousness. Our works confirm that gift. 

Note: A good, quick read of the history of the Reformation: The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves. ISBN 978-143366931


Say YES to Investing in Hebron's Future - An Update

On Sunday, October 22, Keith Balkey, head of Hebron’s Vision Team reported to the congregation that $923,739 has been given and/or pledged to Investing in Hebron’s Future. This represents 57% of our $1.625 million goal. Within 24 hours the total had risen to $931,500.

Since early September, $511,500 has been committed by those seeking to move Hebron forward in its plan to provide continuity of ministry through: (1) hiring a co-pastor; (2) the initiation of a ministry initiatives fund; (3) needed renovations to the Barclay Building. This is half million dollars has been committed by only 116 families.

It’s interesting to note that nearly 1/3 of those who have already made a financial commitment  to investing in Hebron’s future regularly attend the 9:15 service—and 1/3 of our congregation regularly worship at 9:15.

Currently more than 350 families/ individuals give financially to the ministry of Hebron. This means that we have more than 200 families who have not yet responded with a pledge of support. IT IS NOT TOO LATE!

There are two ways you can make a commitment—online at hebrononline.org or through submitting a pledge card in the offering plate or by mail. It takes the whole body of Christ at Hebron to make this investment a reality!