Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 16, 2012

Scriptures for December 16th: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18; Theme: third Sunday of advent; song: In the Bleak Midwinter UMH 221 Isaiah: This is a song of joy. The exiles were celebrating the fact that God had restored their lives and their land. This song is a response to the words of Zephaniah. But the interesting thing about this text is that it was written centuries before the Israelites were allowed to return to their homeland. It is was song of promise, not a song of presence. It is the perfect verse for advent. We are in time of promise. We are in a time of thanking God for what he is about to do in our lives. Advent is also a time of rejoicing before we reach eternity. On this third Sunday of advent – we have joy that the darkness is almost gone – we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though we are still in the tunnel. Our joy is inside of Christ. Our salvation is inside of Christ. We can testify to how wonderful God is, even when we are suffering. Luke: This week we continue with the story of John the Baptist. But more importantly, we continue with the story of what baptism means for us. For us it means salvation. John is still stuck on repentance. No matter how far we have come in faith, there is room for us to turn around and to repent. Different types of people started to ask John the Baptist what they must do in order to repent. We are to think about others this holiday season. If I have already given, how can I give more. Giving starts in our hearts, not in our pocket books. Giving starts with how we feel about Jesus, not how we feel about the people that we are giving to. John the Baptist message to us is that judgment is coming, the messiah is coming, we have to prepare ourselves. We have to prepare ourselves by sharing, being fair, not taking advantage of others and being content with what we have. Questions: What songs of promise do we sing in church? What promises can we celebrate today? What do you have to do in order to have joy in the midst of pain? How do you get others to celebrate in this time of darkness? How are you giving on behalf of God this season? How are you preparing you heart? What do you need to repent of?

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