Preparing for Worship

topper-head-only.jpegWhen the research professor Brené Brown studied joy, she found a correlation between joy and gratitude. That makes sense to my untrained ear. People who have a lot of joy in their lives have a lot to be grateful for, right? 


Brown found it actually works the opposite way. People who practice gratitude experience more joy in their lives as a result. Joy is the fruit of the spiritual practice of gratitude. 

When I’m healthy, my joy doesn’t come from being healthy in and of itself. My joy comes from my awareness that I am healthy and my willingness to be grateful for it.

Modern neuroscience is now arguing that a regular practice of gratitude can rewrite our brain synapses to make us happier, healthier people. Popular apps like the 5 Minute Journal have capitalized on these recent findings by creating regular opportunities for people to record their gratitude. 

Science has finally caught up with what religious and spiritual teachers have said is true for thousands of years. Gratitude is a powerful spiritual practice that yields dramatic results when practiced regularly.

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we remind ourselves of all of the many things we have to give thanks for. Things that may go overlooked far too often. And as we practice gratitude, God is transforming us from the inside out. 

One trick that has helped me is being specific rather than general in my gratefulness. Instead of giving thanks in general for my family, I give thanks for the kind words of affirmation my wife spoke to me yesterday morning. I give thanks for a brother who still answers my calls and is excited to plan a camping trip together. 

So as we prepare for worship today and prepare for all of the work that goes into Thanksgiving this week, let us also begin to reflect on all we have to thank God for. Let today’s worship service open our eyes to the presence of God and good in all of our relationships and guide us into a spirit of thanksgiving. 

And maybe as we take inventory of our lives and our hearts are filled, we’ll find ourselves asking, “How would you have me give back, Lord?” 

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Women's Retreat 2018

wr-bird-logo-sm.jpgFinding You

February 23-25, 2018

Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose, Texas

Come, get away with other women and find community, encouragement and time with God. Uncover what nurtures your heart and soul. Enjoy meeting and spending time with other women of all ages. Worship together, create art, learn, relax, laugh and have fun in nature. Cost is $180 per person with a $50 deposit due by Dec. 17. Remaining balance may be paid in one or two payments by Feb. 11.

Register at


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2018 Senior Adult Camp


For all senior adults including Wilshire Adventurers and New Song Senior Adult Community Choir.

Pick up a brochure in the church office for details of the April 16-20 senior adult camp in Branson, Missouri. All-inclusive costs are $660 per person double occupancy or $860 single occupancy. 

Activities include:

  • Daily Bible studies and worship led by Pastoral Resident Jakob Topper
  • Music led by Jeff Brummel and Sarah Stafford
  • Opportunities for New Song Choir to sing 
  • Dinner and worship at College of the Ozarks
  • Cave tour, museum tour and lunch at Top of the Rock
  • Attend a performance of “Sampson” at Sight and Sound Theater
  • Silver Dollar City
  • Explore downtown Branson and Branson Landing
  • Lunch at an Amish farm in Oklahoma
  • Lunch and concert at Hot Springs Village in Arkansas
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2017 Advent Service Schedule

theworkofchristmaslogomedium-sm.jpgSunday, Dec. 3 
First Sunday of Advent

Morning worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Hanging of the Green at 6:30 p.m. with cookies and cocoa reception afterward

Tuesday, Dec. 5

JazzStand on Abrams Advent concert at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 10
Second Sunday of Advent

Morning worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

 Tuesday, Dec. 12

JazzStand on Abrams Advent concert at 7 p.m.

 Wednesday, Dec. 13

Children’s choirs and handbells program at 6:15 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 17 
Third Sunday of Advent

Morning worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 19

JazzStand on Abrams Advent concert at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 20

Wilshire Winds and Carillon Ringers Advent concert at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve

Morning worship service at 10 a.m.

No Sunday School

Family friendly candlelight Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m.

Liturgical candlelight Christmas Eve service at 11 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve

One combined morning worship service at 10 a.m.

No Sunday School

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News Briefs

All In Commitment. Did you receive a square envelope in the mail recently? In that envelope, you’ll find a small storybook explaining this fall’s “All In” campaign. And you’ll also find two commitment cards—one to turn in on Nov. 26 or Dec. 3 and one to keep as a reminder of your commitment. If you have not received a packet in the mail, look for extra copies at the entrances to the Sanctuary on Sunday. Find out more about the "All In" campaign here.

Adventurers Christmas dinner. The Wilshire Adventurers Christmas dinner will be Friday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in Community Hall. The program will feature actress Sandra Wakefield portraying Mary, the mother of Jesus. The story begins with the annunciation by Gabriel, and what it cost Mary to bear God’s Son, then progresses to her view of Jesus’ public ministry, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The dinner menu is peppercorn-crusted pork loin with bacon-port demi-glace, tricolor new potatoes, green vegetables medley, field greens and spinach salad with pears and candied pecans and French vanilla crème cake with fresh fruit and shaved chocolate. Cost is $22 per person. Sign up at the Adventurers table in the South Lobby on Sunday mornings or in Community Hall on Wednesdays at noon.

Men’s ski trip. Wilshire’s annual men’s ski trip will be Feb. 4-8 in Copper Mountain, Colo. Trip costs vary depending on whether equipment is needed, food, airport shuttle and other factors. The lodging, lifts and ski equipment rental package is $509 per person, not including airfare. Lodging for non-skiers is $329 per person, not including airfare. A $250 deposit is due at signup. To learn more or to register, contact Mary Ann Hill at (214) 505-7404.

Auditions set for Working. Wilshire’s 2018 Faith in 3-D presentation will be staged April 6 and 7 in Community Hall. Applications are requested by Thursday, Nov. 23 auditions will be Nov. 27 and 28. Find the application here or on the Wilshire registration page. The annual event will combine drama, dessert and discussion by presenting the musical Working. Written by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Wicked), James Taylor, Mary Rodgers and others, the show opened on Broadway in 1978. In 2012, a revised version was released with additional songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). The musical is based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers from all walks of life, and through words and music the production examines the relationship of people to their jobs. Remembering that not everyone in a musical will sing a solo, men and women who can depict characters from age 20 through retirement years are encouraged to apply for the audition. Rehearsals begin mid-January. 

Wednesday schedule change for Thanksgiving week. All Wednesday activities (morning, noon and evening) will be suspended this week, on Nov. 22, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Regular programs and meals will resume the following Wednesday, Nov. 29. However, church offices will be open on Nov. 22.

Upcoming. On Wednesday evening, Nov. 29, Mark Wingfield will begin a two-week adult study titled “How to Help and Not Hurt in Holiday Giving,” discussing the pros and cons of charitable giving. The class will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. On the second week, Daniel Roby of Austin Street Center will be present to talk about Our Calling, a free app that provides a directory of services for those experiencing homelessness and ways to report needs. 

Service of Light. George Mason will be one of the liturgists for a Service of Light at Thanksgiving Square on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. This multifaith event is part of the Community Tree of Remembrance for those who find their grief to be intensified during the upcoming holiday season. A second event marking “The Longest Night” will be held Thursday, Dec. 21, also at 6:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Square is located in downtown Dallas.

The King and I. Join a Wilshire group to see the touring Broadway production of The King and I at the Winspear Opera House on Friday afternoon, Dec. 29. Tickets are located in the Dress Circle, are $45 apiece and include roundtrip bus transportation between Wilshire’s north parking lot and the theater. The bus will depart Wilshire at 1 p.m., and the show begins at 2 p.m. Contact Mark Wingfield at (214) 452-3128.

Decorate Sanctuary with poinsettias. Help decorate Wilshire’s Sanctuary with poinsettias for the upcoming Advent season. Each year, the festive flowers are provided by congregants in honor or in memory of loved ones, friends, family members and teachers. All dedications will be listed in the worship folder on the second Sunday of Advent. Each plant costs $10. Donors are invited to take the plants home after the Christmas Eve services. Place your order using forms available in the church office or online at Deadline is Sunday, Nov. 26.

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Holiday missions opportunities

White Rock Center of Hope: 

Canned Food Collection. Through Nov. 19, pick up a brown bag with a list of canned food items needed for White Rock Center of Hope and fill it. Bring the filled bag to worship on Sunday, Nov. 19, and place on chancel steps. Items needed in each bag include: Canned Fruit; Canned Tomato Products; Canned Vegetables (Green Beans, Canned Corn); Dried Beans; Canned Meat (Ham, Chicken, Tuna); Macaroni & Cheese; Cake Mix and Frosting.

 Gateway of Grace: 

Thanksgiving Feast. On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, Gateway of Grace will host a dinner for refugees new to America. Donate food or gift cards. Gift cards may be dropped off at the church office. See the full list of needs at Help also is needed Thanksgiving morning to provide transportation for refugee families.

Cornerstone Baptist Church: 

Thanksgiving Feast. Spend Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, serving a meal to those experiencing homelessness. Spaces are limited. Email Heather Mustain for more information.

Rise Against Hunger: 

Black Out Hunger Event. On Friday, Nov. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon, pack meals at the Rise Against Hunger Warehouse at 807 S. Great Southwest Pkwy. in Grand Prairie. Suggested donation of $20 per person or $60 per family. Register online at

Giving Tree in James Gallery. 

From Nov. 26 through Dec. 10, pick a tag from the Giving Tree in James Gallery, then purchase the gift items needed for families served by our local missions partners, then purchase the items and bring them back to the church.

Wilkinson Center: 

 Christmas Store. Help is needed on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Wilkinson Center’s annual Christmas Store, where parents select gifts for their children. Must be age 12 or older. Sign up at

Gateway of Grace: 

Christmas Party. On Saturday, Dec. 16, Gateway of Grace will host a Christmas party for refugees who are new to the United States. They will hear the Christmas story and receive gifts, along with lunch. Donations of food and gift cards are needed as well as transportation for refugees attending the party. [Sign up link not yet available]. Contact Heather Mustain for more information.

Cornerstone Baptist Church: 

Christmas Eve Lunch. Serve a meal to those experiencing homelessness the morning of Christmas Eve. Space is limited. To learn more, email Heather Mustain.

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Men's Ski Trip 2018


Wilshire’s annual men’s ski trip will be Feb. 4-8, 2018 in Copper Mountain, Colo. Trip costs vary depending on whether equipment is needed, food, airport shuttle and other factors. The lodging, lifts and ski equipment rental package is $509 per person, not including airfare. Lodging for non-skiers is $329 per person, not including airfare. See pdf below for more options.

A first deposit of $250 is due Nov. 1 and is payable by online through Wilshire. For more details, questions, or to pay the balance or purchase air fare, call or email Mary Ann Hill at (214) 505-7404.

More information and prices (pdf)

Registration form (pdf) - mail or fax it to Sports Travel

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Devotional books for sale

Perhaps you’ve wanted to obtain a daily devotional resource but the sheer volume of options available overwhelms you. Perhaps you’d like to give a devotional resource as a gift but you don’t know where to begin searching. Fear no more. Over the next few weeks, beginning Oct. 29, Wilshire is offering carefully selected devotional resources for purchase. Staff members have culled through new offerings from Christian publishers and settled on six to recommend. Find the one that’s best for you or for a friend, and pick it up for only $10 at the table in the South Atrium this Sunday.

Disciplines 2018: Each year The Upper Room offers this best-selling book of insightful devotions to help people spend daily time with God. Fifty-three writers from diverse Christian backgrounds encourage us to immerse ourselves in Scripture and apply its truths to our lives. Each day of this devotional guide offers a selected Bible reading, a meditation on the Scripture passage and a prayer or suggestion for reflection. 

St. Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book: In the tradition of The St. Francis Prayer Book, Jon Sweeney offers an ancient-medieval way of understanding the gospel: The Holy Fool. This countercultural approach is exemplified in the life and teachings of Francis of Assisi, and his good friend, Brother Juniper. What does it mean to be a fool for Christ? To St. Francis it meant being small not strong, valuing joy over pleasure, avoiding positions of power and enjoying rather than avoiding moments of insecurity, fear and awkwardness. 

Four Birds of Noah’s Ark: This is a timeless, little-known literary classic. As the Black Death ravaged London in 1608, Thomas Dekker wrote Four Birds of Noah’s Ark, a book of 56 prayers for the people of London and all of England. Dekker’s prayers bear witness to his deep faith and profound understanding of human psychology with power and poignancy. Bringing this devotional classic back into print for the first time since 1924, editor Robert Hudson has included an introduction, annotated the prayers and modernized the language without sacrificing any of its beauty and simplicity.

Right Here, Right Now: This book reveals the Christian roots of mindfulness and the actual practices that, when reclaimed, deepen the life of faith and the power of our mission of love in the world. Amy Oden shows how the practice of Christian mindfulness begins with the teachings of Jesus and continues throughout Christian history. 

Gift and Task: The God whom we meet in Scripture is one who gives generous gifts in the wonder of creation, in the miracle of emancipation and reconciliation, and in the surprise of transformation. We are invited to receive those abundant gifts on a daily basis, with a posture of anticipation, awe and gratitude. Gift and Task is an original collection of 365 devotions by best-selling author Walter Brueggemann, providing the opportunity to consider the cost and joy of discipleship. Perfect for daily use, this book begins with the First Sunday of Advent and provides commentary on Scriptures for each day of the year. 

Godspeed: During the Protestant Reformation, the powerful church dominated Western culture and many men and women paid the ultimate price for their faith. And yet the words of prominent reformers—including Martin Luther, William Tyndale and John Calvin—offer startling relevance for today’s reader. In Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation, a 365-day devotional celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, you’ll find the clear and bright voices of those who experienced those treacherous times. Each daily devotion includes an inspirational reading, prayer, a word of counsel, a benediction, a provocative thought or a relevant Scripture passage, as well as illuminating historical information.

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Prayer Notes

November 12 - November 17

New Members:

Ava McClung - By Profession of Faith (eighth grader)

Jim & Lynda Pettit - By Letter from another Baptist church in Dallas

Lance Henderson - By Letter from First Baptist Church, Athens, Texas

Congratulations to:

Austin and Alison Almaguer on the birth of their daughter, Zora Marie Almaguer, Monday, November 13.  Austin is a Wilshire pastoral resident alumnus.

Condolences to:

Virginia and Bill Ross on the death of Virginia’s sister, Jo Ellen Shaw, Saturday, November 11.

Family and friends on the death of Shirley Ann Lopez, Friday, October 27. Service: Saturday, noon, November 18, Laurel Land Funeral Home.

Others in need of prayer:

Wanda, Steve, Dorothy, Martha, Carole

*Names in bold indicate Wilshire members.

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Preparing for Worship

haney-doug_138x195.jpgMy childhood church was the First Baptist Church of Alpharetta, Ga. Our family was a three-generation family there. It was not uncommon that I was able to sit with my maternal grandparents in church. We attended church every Sunday morning and most Sunday evenings. Alpharetta in the 1960s was a small town with two red lights and two downtown churches. The Baptists thought the Methodists were “high church.”  

Like many small Southern Baptist churches, our church used Sunday School materials from the Sunday School Board in Nashville. My Sunday School teachers were faithful adults, many of whom had taught each age-graded class for decades. The teaching materials for each unit of study came in large envelopes. Many lessons were illustrated by a picture, poster art that was tacked on a bulletin board or displayed on an easel.

One picture I recall vividly was the story we hear read today from Exodus. In the scene, young and old alike have laid on a beautiful rug their gifts: gold, silver, beautiful cloth, stones, gems, and various utensils. Girls and boys are adding their gifts to those already deposited. In the background you see people streaming from their tents to the meeting place to offer their very best to the Lord in order to build the tabernacle, the portable place of worship for the Hebrew people used during the years in the wilderness.

Our Sunday School teacher (it may have been Mrs. Reece) explained that the boys and girls and their families were giving their very best to the Lord, the finest items they possessed were offered with great joy: “For the Lord loves a cheerful giver.” This lesson and the poster art illustrating it was so imprinted on my memory that it shaped my understanding of worship itself. Worship is our gift back to a generous and gracious God. In worship, we offer only our best—our best preaching, our best singing, our best offerings. We hold back nothing—neither our hearts, nor our voices, nor our money.  

I remember the opening lines from a hymn we sang in those days:

Give of your best to the Master,
Give of the strength of your youth …

One day what will our children and grandchildren remember from their days at Wilshire? Will they recall that we were “all in?”

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