Adventing Explained

The following is an article I submitted for The News Tribune of Tacoma for Saturday, December 7. The topic is something I introduced recently in a poem titled, “Adventing” ~ a new word that I have created. Here it is explained.

There are times when I do things that cause my wife to roll her eyes at me. I won’t bore you with the list, but I will share with you one such eyerolling moment. This past Sunday I coined a brand-new word: Adventing. Before you start rolling your eyes at me as well, allow me to define and explain my new word. Adventing is an active and hopeful waiting for the One (Jesus Christ) who has given true hope. You see, Last Sunday, December 1, the season of Advent began. It is a church season that takes place during the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a season of preparation and anticipation. It is a season of hope, peace, joy and love – all of which are found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yet, for many, this is a season that takes on a flavor that is anything but Jesus as the god of materialism is hoisted high for all to see and worship. It reminds me of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3 who made an image of gold and demanded that the people worship it when the music played. Three defied the order: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were exiled and carried off to Babylon from Israel. They refused to worship this image of gold because God almighty was their God. Their defiance raised the ire of the king and they were thrown into the fiery furnace – in which God saved them. Today, retailers raise this “image of gold” but need not make any demands. People are more than willing to worship and offer their sacrifices to this false god. Their places of worship are the malls and retail stores. Some hide their idolatry through online shopping. Whatever the case, many seek hope, peace, joy and love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. Their active and hopeful waiting are for things and people that only fulfill their hope, peace, joy and love for a moment.

Jesus is different. He is God’s promise from all the way back to Genesis 3. Immediately following the Fall and before God confronted Adam and Eve with their curse, God cursed the serpent in verse 15. He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” That is the first proclamation of the Gospel. This is talking about Jesus, through whom we are reconciled to God. He was born, died on a cross and then rose from the grave for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus crushed Satan’s head as he was bruised through his death. And now, through faith, we wait for Jesus to return to bring believers home – back to the Garden where it all began – and this time forever.

Today, Adventing is living your faith in Jesus out loud for all to see in hopeful expectation that Jesus is coming again. Not hoping as in wishing for something, but confidence because if God promises something, it will happen. May your Adventing be for the right person – Jesus Christ – for he alone has been raised up for all to see. To God be the glory. Amen.

[I have the privilege of submitting articles for The News Tribune the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month. To God be the glory!]

Holy Tuesday ~ Fiery furnaces

[16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. [17] If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. [18] But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 ESV)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faced with a difficult situation; bow before a false god or be thrown into the fiery furnace. But no matter what they did, they faced a death…

…with one key difference:
One of the deaths would actually be Life.

What these three faithful men exhibited was an Easter faith. In the face of worldly pressure they did not give in. They did not bow under pressure (pun intended). They did not fear the king despite the rage he was showing. For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they feared God and trusted God. Nebuchadnezzar’s god was not going to save them in the end; but their God (and ours) would.

This is Easter faith.
Is that your faith?

As we reflect on this Holy Tuesday; looking forward to Manudy Thursday and Good Friday, let us think about this Easter faith. It’s a faith given to us by God through the Holy Spirit; a faith that defies worldly death; and a faith that gives hope. You may never be threatened with a fiery furnace as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were, but you will face a “fiery furnace” of some type in this world. Your faith will be threatened. You will be told to abandon your faith in order to embrace a new world order. You will be told to compromise your faith in the name of equality. You will be tempted to look away from your faith in order to avoid punishment or persecution.

You will stare down an angry Nebuchadnezzar and be forced to make a decision: His fiery furnace or God’s.

Remember your Easter faith and what Jesus did to secure said faith. Hold tight to the hope of the resurrection and let the fiery furnaces of this world heat up; knowing that God will make sure that not a hair on your head is singed.

God of Life, grant us strength as we face the fiery furnaces of this world that we may stand strong in order to bring You glory. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—