Tag Archives: Advent

JOY

Holy God,
we are ever reminded that
the JOY of this season is not found in
gifts
or food
or decorating.
Our JOY is not in
stuff
or vacations
or even in our families.
True and unending
JOY is found only in
Jesus;
something that can not be taken away
by anything
or anyone
of this world.
May that JOY overflow in abundance
that you may be glorified through our lives.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Groaning

My most recent article in the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT)…

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. [Romans 8:22-25]

I don’t know about you, but I have been doing a lot of groaning recently. I wrote in my last article about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in our culture and called for men to step up and change this culture of abuse. Since writing that article, things have continued with more “big name” people being fired, and more politicians being accused. No, I didn’t expect my article to have an immediate impact, but I am still groaning at the depth of this sin in our culture.

I also groan over the hurt in people’s lives close to me. I groan over the hate that continues to run amuck in the world. I groan over the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. I groan, I sigh, and I lift my eyes to the heavens. I cry out to God for redemption. I cry out to God for renewal. I do all of this in hope, though, remembering God’s promises that came to us at Christmas time.

Yes, it is that time of the year, yet many people see increased tension as to-do lists become longer and household budgets get stretched. The Christmas season is upon us with Advent beginning on Sunday. “What is Advent?” you may ask? Advent is a time of waiting; a time of preparation. No, I’m not talking about decorating or searching for that perfect gift. Advent is a time of preparation as we wait for our Lord Jesus. It is a time to prepare our hearts and make room for him, and not just make room, but clear house.

Advent is also a time of hope as we groan, for the birth of Jesus signaled the beginning of the end of God’s plan of redemption for creation. It is not just us groaning but all of creation and thus we wait in patience; knowing that Jesus’ birth means that our groaning will soon come to an end. Thus, this is a season of joy and peace and love. This is a season of celebration and expectation and anticipation.

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Jesus was born. Jesus lived on this earth. Jesus was crucified. Jesus rose from the dead. These are all verifiable facts. Now we wait for Jesus to come again. That is where my hope is placed. We live in a world of groaning, but Jesus is coming to end all groaning. Prepare and make room for Him, for Jesus was born for you.

Happy Advent
and
Merry Christmas

The Pastor -|—

Getting Closer ~ A Prayer

God of hope.
God of Joy.
God of glory.

As Advent winds down
we continue to wait with anxious anticipation
as we long for the coming of our
Lord Jesus.
We look forward to worshiping this week;
giving You thanks and praise
for the Christmas gift to beat all Christmas gifts,

but more importantly,

we long for the second coming of Jesus.

May we not look past the manger
and miss the joyful Good News contained within.
May we not see only a cute little baby
born to humble parents in humble circumstances.
May we not only enjoy the pageantry of the season
but may we also see our salvation story
being played out before our longing eyes.

May we see our hope.
May we know true joy.

So we humbly ask that You may send your Holy Spirit
to fill our hearts with the hope of the resurrection
through faith in Jesus.
May we know and live the true meaning of the season.
Jesus Christ,
our victorious Lord and Savior.
And may the joy on our face and in our voices
show people that we indeed mean business.

Amen.

God bless you, this 4th Sunday of Advent, as we speed ever closer to the manger. May your Christmas preparations draw you closer and closer to Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

Bursting Forth ~ A Morning Prayer

Holy Father, awesome God,

Your Word is life.
Your Word is our hope.
Your Word is our very breath.
You created with a word.
The serpent deceived with a false word.
Adam and Eve were expelled with a word of curse, warning and finally hope.
You created a people and nation with a word of promise.
You gave new life with a Word
and that Word is embodied in our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ.

And so we come to this Advent season with anxious anticipation of this Word. May we not doubt.
May we not impose self-inflicted mutism when is comes to the Gospel,
but rather,
may we burst forth in praise
with what the birth of Jesus means for a dark and lost world.
May we sing the glories of your name
to a wearied people.
May we announce hope
to a hopeless word.

Send now Your Spirit, oh God,
that we may hear this Word
and be filled with awe,
so much so,
that we can’t wait to burst through these doors
and fill this world with the hope of the resurrection.
It’s through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

Amen.

God bless you as you begin this Advent season. May the light of Christ shine brightly in and through your life to the glory of God.

The Pastor -|—

Unprepared: A prayer

Holy God, Advent is a season of preparation (like I need to tell you that), but I feel so unprepared.

There are so many people that need to hear the Good News of the Christ child.
There are so many hurts that need your healing touch.
There are so many lonely people that need to know your presence.
There are so many misdirected people following secular holiday idols.

I think of all of this and feel overwhelmed and therefore I feel so unprepared to meet the demands of ministry.  So I lay it out on the line for you this morning:
~ I fall back; trusting that your Holy Spirit will catch me.
~ I let go; trusting that your Holy Spirit will guide me.
~ I will wait; trusting that you will do something absolutely amazing.

So maybe it is a good thing that I feel unprepared because that leaves room for you to do something through me.  So I lift up to you those who don’t know Jesus, those who are hurting, those who are lonely and those who are misdirected.  Prepare me to minister to them; that they may know the true joy that is Jesus Christ our Savior born to us.

And may I continue to feel unprepared.

Amen!

The pastor -|—

About one thing

Happy 1st Sunday of Advent!!!

May your preparations this Christmas season bring you joy as we anxiously await the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May we not get caught up in the secular definitions of this season.
May we not lose sight of the meaning of this season.
May we not get caught up in the marketing hype of this season.

Christmas is about one thing and one thing only…
a baby
Jesus Christ
our Lord

Let’s prepare and celebrate rightly to the glory of God our Father…

Loving God, we praise for this gift of life, Jesus Christ our Lord.  We praise you that you came to us in such a humble way in order to show us your amazing love to a sinful people.  We praise you that we can have a sure and certain hope through faith in Jesus.  May our preparations this Advent season bring you glory and may we take advantage of every opportunity to proclaim the real meaning of this season. In Jesus name, AMEN!

Merry Advent 🙂

The Pastor -|—

It’s all about Jesus

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
[Matthew 1:18-21]

Here’s another remind for you ~ It’s all about Jesus.

And how can we dare say it’s about anything or anyone else?  I mean…he will save his people from their sins.  There you have it.  It’s pretty straight forward.  Forgiveness of sins…which means everlasting life.

Wow…that’s pretty awesome.

When Zechariah was met by the angel Gabriel and told of the wonderful news that he and his wife, Elizabeth (who was well beyond normal child-bearing years), was going to have a child, Zechariah was hesitant.

Give me proof.

The angel was a little miffed and said that he stands in the presence of God and shouldn’t have to give Zechariah proof.  Therefore Zechariah is struck silent until their baby (John the Baptist) was born.  Then Zechariah sang the praises of God.  Better late than never, but either way, God came through because our awesome and grace-filled God is faithful.

“he (Jesus) will save his people from their sins.”

You want proof?  Look to the cross:

cross-carrying-e1299578788837

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus DID save his people from their sins.

There you have it ~ It’s all about Jesus.  Praise be to God!

The pastor -|—