Tag Archives: Advent

“Manger and Mystery: Recalling the Story, Restoring the Call” (Christmas Eve Service 6:00pm)

from Luke 2:8-20

The story of Christmas is often a familiar one. Come to think of it, the story of your life can begin to feel familiar as well. The hope of Christmas is that the birth of Jesus speaks something NEW into the familiar!

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Remembering the Song” (December 16, 2018)

From Luke 1:39-42, 46-56

We all have those songs that define a moment or a season.  Those songs that transport us back in memory, or that focus and excite us toward some goal or event in the future.  

But what about a song that names a promise?  What about a song that claims hope in the face of trial?  What about a song that offers a future for the forgotten?  What about a song named and still can spark a revolution?  

In week 3 of Advent, listen to Mary’s Song as Luke records it in his Gospel account…yes it is the song of an expectant mother, but it is also the song of a faithful follower…one who longs to see God’s Kingdom become a reality on this earth.  Imagine what could change, if you took up this song!

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Recovering the Stable” (December 2, 2018) w/ Vern Collins

First Sunday in Advent

from Isaiah 9:1-7

As we begin the season of Advent, the march toward Christmas we must acknowledge that there is much that is familiar about this time of year.  There are traditions we uphold, customs, gatherings that happen every year, people we expect to see, even food we expect to eat…it is part of what makes this time of year so special…being able to enjoy things that we don’t always get to.

What if in the familiar, we have lost sight of that which is foundational to our reason for celebrating?  Has the birth of Christ simply become for us another familiar tradition rather then the foundation of our hope and the expectation of our future?

w/ Vern Collins

“Anxious: Mary” (December 17, 2017)

from Luke 1:26-56

How do you navigate the unexpected interruptions that come in life?  The phone calls, the turn of events, the changes that sometimes come without any warning?  Do you just get through them, try to survive until you get to the other side?

What if it were possible to navigate those unexpected interruptions and challenges faithfully rather than just trying to get through them?  What if God could change your worry into willingness or your pain into possibility?

w/ Vern Collins

“Anxious: Zechariah” (December 3, 2017)

from Luke 1:5-23

If we are taught anything about waiting, we are taught simply to be patient…we’re typically not taught anything about how to navigate the feelings of anxiousness that can arise when we find ourselves waiting for something.

Over the next few weeks we will look at how being anxious in our waiting can either be a hindrance to being a part of what God is doing, or serve as a catalyst that will propel us into deeper faith and more faithful participation in what God is doing.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Love All” (December 18, 2016)

from Matthew 1:18-25

Advent was never just about the single event of the birth of Christ…yes, it represents the waiting, the hope, the expectation…yes it connects us with those who hoped for so long to see God’s promised Messiah…and yes, it now offers us a framework as we wait for Christ to return.

But Advent was about much more than a significant event…Advent IS about much more than a significant event.  It is about the Kingdom Christ came to establish.  It is about reminding us that His Kingdom is still here and we are called to live in to it…to live into our new citizenship.

Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, and Giving More are all characteristics of the life of a Christ follower…but when we Love All we begin to look a lot more like Jesus Himself.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Give More” (December 11, 2016)

from Luke 3:7-18

There is something about Advent that begs the question, “why?”

“Why would God send His Son to this earth?”  More specifically, perhaps, “what is it in my life that I am incapable of taking care of on my own?”

In our Advent passage this morning we find John the Baptist in the wilderness, in light of the Christ Who has arrived and is about to begin His ministry, calling people to repent…to turn from what they thought gave them worth, and turn to a new understanding of who they are and what life is meant to look like.

And in this we catch a glimpse that the Gospel might just be about more than the individual…that maybe it is about those around us too.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Spend Less” (December 4, 2016)

from Matthew 6:19-21, 24

In all of the natural world, humans have the greatest proclivity toward collecting things.  Sure, there are animals that store away food, but with the intention of consuming it when there is no food to gather.  Humans, however, collect things that may never have an purpose beyond essentially taking up space.  Whether you hold on to furniture, trinkets, finances, or the latest technology…chances are there are things you have that you simply do not need.  And yet, too often, it is the “stuff” that holds our focus more than anything else.  Having it.  Acquiring it.  Longing for it.  Keeping it safe.  We worry a great deal about things in our world that ultimately only have a fleeting value.

Jesus, on the other hand, suggests that the treasure we store up ought to have an eternal value to them…that instead of storing up treasure on this part, we store up treasure in heaven.  When we hold that teaching up next to the simple manner in which Jesus was born into this world, then storing up Kingdom treasure looks a lot less like material investment and much more like becoming preoccupied with the hearts of others.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully” (November 27, 2016)

from Isaiah 9:2-7

The Advent of Jesus meant something to the small corner of the world in which He was born.  In fact, it would go on to mean something to the ENTIRE world.  From the birth of a baby to a criminal’s cross, the entrance of Jesus into humanity would forever alter the course of history…but has it altered yours?

Is your life different because of the Advent or arrival of Jesus?  Do you think differently about your time?  About your treasure?  About your future?  About those around you?

This and so much more is what we are invited into in Christ.  This Advent season, you are invited to pursue something a bit different from what this world says the season leading up to Christmas should be.   Come be a part of the conspiracy…it begins with worship!

w/ Luke Edwards

 

“Expectations: Pointing the Way” (December 20, 2015)

from Luke 1:57-80

Have you ever thought of yourself as a tour guide?  While you may not make a living directing sightseers, you are living a life that people are watching.

With that said, the question becomes: what is the life your living pointing to?  In the way you spend your time, energy, finances…the passions you pursue…what does your life point to as being of utmost importance?  Is it truly worth pointing others to?

What if, in this Christmas season, you began living a life pointing to Jesus?

w/ Vern Collins

“Expectations: Unlikely Servants” (December 13, 2015)

from Luke 1:26-38

God will act.  Things will change.  This is the hope of Advent.  But have you ever stopped to consider HOW God initiates and brings about this change in the world?

Have you ever considered that God might just ask YOU to be a part of His kingdom breaking in to the world…in to LIVES around you?

Many of us would shy away from such an invitation because we are convinced that there is nothing in us that would qualify us for such a task.  What it as long as you thought such a thing…that meant you were right where God wants you to be…poised to change the world around you?

w/ Vern Collins

“Expectations: Things Will Change” (December 6, 2015)

from Zephaniah 3:14-20/Luke 1:46-55

Advent is about expectation…the expectation that God will continue to fulfill His promises.  And if God is still fulfilling His promises then isn’t God still acting…and if God is acting, then things will change?  Right?

Right.  The problem is we don’t often see it.  We look for change in our lives, but don’t see it, we expect our circumstances to improve, but aren’t seeing any thing different…so if God is acting, why aren’t things changing?  The question, perhaps, is not whether or not things are changing, but, “are you looking for change in the right place?”

w/ Vern Collins

“Expectations: God Will Act” (November 29, 2015)

from Jeremiah 33:14-16

The season of Advent is about waiting, it is about expectation, it is about hope…the hope that things will change, the hope that this is not all there is, the hope that God will act.

Whether it’s something in your life you’re dealing with, or the state of this world we live in…holding on to such hope can seem foolish…

And yet maybe that’s exactly what is needed…a bit more foolishness…a deeper investment in the hope that God will act…because God has been faithful to act before.

w/ Vern Collins