Third Sunday of Advent - Candle of Joy 
First Church News & Updates - December 15, 2017

Did you participate in  Gather 'Round or The Winter Rose Cantata last Sunday? Both were beautiful and inspiring. We appreciate the many singers and musicians. They put in a lot of rehearsal time to bring us this wonderful Advent worship experiences.

There is more great music in store this weekend. The Senior Access community concert will be in our sanctuary this Sunday evening. Meanwhile enjoy  Danse Russe Trepak, performed by Council Oak Bells at   Ring Noel 2017.

Danse Russe Trepak - Ring Noel 2017

Special opportunity: First Church families have been offered free tickets to the Austin Spurs basketball game on Sunday, December 17 at 2 pm at the HEB Center in Cedar Park. Click here to reserve your free tickets!

Enjoy this First Church news.
This week in worship...
Advent Sermon Series

Cultivating Hope 
Jesus came to a broken and hurting world on that first Advent and Christ still comes to us today. People will choose to cultivate lots of things this Advent: fear, anger, revenge, despair, hate.  We choose to cultivate hope - a hope that is true and lasting in Jesus Christ!

Sermon Title: Hope at First Sight!
Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10

Dr. Will Cotton will preach at all three worship services. The Alleluia Chorus children's choir will provide special music at the 8:30 and 11 am services.

The Source, our weekly devotional guide, is available on the church website.

Please join us in worship this weekend...Sunday at 8:30 am (Sanctuary), 9:40 am (Family Life Center) or 11 am (Sanctuary).
Words from Will...
Hark the Herald People Sing
The title is not a misprint! The most important ones to herald (proclaim in the public) the hope
Singing Angels
of Advent/Christmas in our day are not angels, but rather you and me. Furthermore, the most important place we are called to herald that hope is outside the walls of the Church.
This week, I was in a local convenience store when a man came in to complain about how slow the gas was pumping into his gas tank. 
"I don't have an hour and a half to fill my tank!"  He asked for a refund and became more agitated and belittling after the cashier told him he did not have the authority to do so. The man left slamming the glass door so hard, I was afraid it would shatter. His tires squealed as he angrily drove away. I was the next one to meet that cashier. It became important that I communicate a sense of value and care to that cashier. But 'tis the season for us to be short with each other! Or am I the only one who continually chooses the line at the grocery store where a problem develops? Bah, humbug!

I find that heralding hope is something that takes some intentional effort that springs from a prayed up heart. But never has the message been more needed in our fractured and fearful world than now.
Let's choose now to be God's herald people.

Sincerely in Christ,
Will Cotton Signature

Dr. Will Cotton
Senior Pastor

P.S. Give yourself the best Christmas gift of all. Invite someone to church with you on Christmas Eve to enjoy the great good news of the newborn King!
Giving Matters...
Giving Matters

216 Pledges for a total of $1,102,211
The Finance Campaign will close this Sunday and final plans for the 2018 budget will be made.  Feel free to make your pledge online or drop it in the offering plate or in the mail.
End of Year Giving at First Church
Crucial ministries await our full support as we close out 2017!  Any gift received by December 31 st can provide an important tax advantage as well as touch lives locally, regionally and around the world. Let's have our strongest finish yet! Thanks for your generous support in the name of Christ!
23rd Annual Christmas Concert...a holiday favorite!
Christmas Concert

Share the Light...23rd annual Christmas Concert
First Church is proud to host the annual Christmas Concert for Senior Access (formerly known as Drive-a Senior), one of our valued Friends of First Church. This holiday tradition will feature holiday music, Christmas carols and the Hallelujah Chorus performed by church choirs from Round Rock, Pflugerville and east Austin. The concert will be this Sunday, December 17 at 6:30 pm in our sanctuary. Admission to the concert is free. A free will offering will be collected and all donations received will help provide free transportation and support services to older adults in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto and East Austin.
Ministry Focus...
Children's Ministry
Nativity Experience
A Nativity Experience for Families
Children's Ministry invites families to join us on December 17 for this brand new Christmas Event! The event will be held in the Family Life Center. The program will begin shortly after 3 pm, so make sure you arrive on time so you will get the full experience. During the program, families will hear from Mary, Joseph and the angel. Registration for the craft portion of this event is now closed. You are still invited to attend the program. However, we may not have enough supplies for your family to make a children's nativity to take home.
Student Ministry
Christmas Party
Christmas Parties this Sunday, 12/17
We invite Middle School and High School students to our Fusion Christmas parties on  Sunday, December 17. Parties will be hosted in family homes. Contact Jodi Marfell,  for host home names and addresses. Every student needs to bring a wrapped pair of socks for our White Elephant Gift Exchange. Students will need to be dropped off and picked up at the host home.
D-Now will be February 23 - 25
Disciple Now or D-Now is a weekend for our youth that is full of worship, spiritual growth, community service, and fun! It's all led by people who love the Lord and want to pour into the lives of our youth. Students will stay in host homes with students of the same age and gender. Each host home will have between 8-10 students on average and will be led by two college or young adult leaders. 

During our evening rallies we will be led in worship by Tyler Murphy. Our speakers are Keta and Edward from Somebody Cares Ministry in Malawi, Africa. This is a great event...invite your friends!  On Saturday the students will participate in a mission opportunity and have recreation time with their host home groups. The event concludes on Sunday morning at our 9:40 am CrossRoads worship service. 

We will have a meeting on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 pm in Bldg. 3/FLC with all host families, parents and students.
Cost: $60 by February 4. $70 after February 4. ($150 max for one family). We never want a student to not participate because of financial burdens. Please contact Jodi Marfell at if you are interested in a partial or full scholarship.
Adult Ministry
Disciple Bible Study

Register now for DISCIPLE Short Term Bible Studies beginning in January
  • Invitation to the New Testament explores the writings of the New Testament with Jesus as the starting point and looks at how the early church took shape. Wednesdays at 9:30 am beginning January 10. Click here to register.
  • Invitation to John looks at Jesus differently from the other Gospels. Hear him speak, to see his signs-and to consider anew what it means to be his followers. Monday evenings at 6:30 beginning on January 8. Click here to register.
  • Invitation to Psalms studies these ancient texts and invites us to engage them at the deepest level. Tuesday evenings at 6:30 starting January 9. Click here to register.
New Book Study
New book study begins January 7
In his classic book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller uses his experience as a sheep rancher in East Africa to share insights into the life and character of sheep and of the Good Shepherd who watches over them. Rediscover Psalm 23 and uncover an uplifting perspective of Christ as our protector, guide, provider, and faithful keeper. Location/Time: Sundays, 9:40, Bldg. 5-136. Contact Rev. Dr. Beverly Jones ( or Debby Utley ( for more info. All are welcome! 
Bible Study
Wednesday Women's Bible Study: New Study begins January 10
The Wednesday Women's Bible Study invites you to  a new book study beginning January 10. The morning class meets at 9:30 am and the evening class meets at 6:30 pm, in Bldg. 5-232/234.

This will be a six week study of The Family of Jesus, by Karen Kingsbury. For registration or more information contact Janet Reynolds at 512.255.7198 or
Mission Focus...
Cookies for the Troops
Mission Panama

Mission Panama Trip: August 25-September 2, 2018
Our fourth Mission Panama trip is scheduled! The trip is open to 20 people. We are returning to Santiago, Panama to work with Missionaries David and Cindy Ceballos. If you're interested, plan on attending an informational session on Sunday, January 14 in Bldg. 5-127. Application deadline is February 4, 2018. Questions? Contact Jennifer Glasgow, or  512-739-8249.
How can you serve your church?
Office volunteer

Share your time...volunteer in the Church Office 
Have you ever wanted to help your church during the week? If you are available between the hours of 
9 am-1 pm on Thursday, we have an office volunteer opportunity for you! Men and women are welcome. Email or call Wanell Soslow, or 512-255-3336.

Say it with flowers!
You may dedicate the flowers on Sunday mornings in honor or in memory of someone, or a special occasion. The arrangement costs $75 and our florist handles everything. We are booking for 2018. Call Wanell Soslow,, or 512.255.3336 to reserve your special date.

There are many more ways you can serve your church. More info on the church website...
Christmas Eve Worship Services
Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Worship at First Church
We invite you to share in the glory of the season this Christmas Eve. On Sunday, December 24, we begin with One Great Morning Service at 10 am in the Sanctuary. This will be a contemplative, carol-based service in the sanctuary.

In the evening, we will have worship services at 5, 7, 9 and 11 pm. Each is a unique and beautiful service of music and message.
  • 5 pm: A candlelight service centered on children and families, featuring children's and youth choirs, Sanctuary
  • 7 pm: A traditional candlelight service with choir and orchestra, Sanctuary
  • 9 pm: A contemporary candlelight service led by our CrossRoads Band, Family Life Center
  • 11 pm: A contemplative candlelight service featuring handbells and Holy Communion, closing at midnight to usher in Christmas Day, Sanctuary. 

So that families may enjoy Christmas Eve together, we will not have childcare during any of the services on Christmas Eve.

This week at First Church
Saturday, December 16

Sunday, December 17
  • 8:309:40 and 11 am - Worship Services
  • 8:40 am - LifeGroup-Spiritual Growth, Bldg. 4/Payne Cottage 
  • 11:00 am - LifeGroup-Parents & Families in Transition, Bldg. 5-124
  • 11:00 am - LifeGroup-Putting Your Faith in Action, Bldg. 5-136
  • 11:00 am - LifeGroup-Young Parents, Bldg. 5-148
  • 3:00 pm - A Nativity Experience Bldg. 3/FLC
  • 5:00 pm - Youth Choir, Bldg. 4/Payne Cottage-Room 2
  • 6:00 pm - FUSION Christmas parties, off campus
  • 6:30 pm - Senior Access Christmas Concert, Sanctuary
Monday, December 18
  • 6:30 pm - Vision Core Team, Bldg. 5-127
  • 6:30 pm - Christmas Eve Bells rehearsal, North Suite
  • 7:00 pm - Boy Scout Troop #157, Bldg. 3/FLC
Tuesday, December 19
  • 8:30 am - UMM Tuesday Breakfast group, Ju├írez Restaurant on South Mays
  • 9:30 am - UMW Deborah Circle, Bldg. 5-232/234
  • 6:30 pm - Outreach Team, Bldg. 5-122
  • 6:30 pm - Stephen Ministry Christmas Fellowship, Bldg. 5-127
  • 7:00 pm - Community Bible Study, Bldg. 5-223/224
Wednesday, December 20
  • 6:15 am - UMM Breakfast, fellowship, devotional - FLC/Bldg. 3
  • 6:00 pm - Heartsong Choir rehearsal, South Suite
  • 7:15 pm - Chancel Choir rehearsal, South Suite
Thursday, December 21
  • 6:30 pm - Christmas Eve Bells rehearsal, North Suite
  • 7:00 pm - Orchestra rehearsal, South Suite
  Friday,  December 22 
  • 8:30 pm - Round Rock Helpers, Bldg. 4/Payne Cottage
  • 8:00 pm - Narcotics Anonymous-Right Stuff, Bldg. 4
Saturday,  December 23
  • 10:00 am - Alleluia Choir Celebration, Bldg. 4/Payne Cottage
There is always a lot going on at First Church. Visit the  website, find us on  Facebook or Twitter, and check the  Church Calendar so you don't miss out! 

Betty Robertson
First United Methodist Church Round Rock
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