Prepare The Way

Advent marks the beginning of another year in the cycle of Scriptures that presents the narrative of the love of God revealed to the world.
 
December 2 – The first week of Advent points directly at Christ’s coming. Even though there is some apocalyptic language, the overall tenor of this Sunday is one of hope and encouragement. Though fear and foreboding are significant elements of this event, Jesus says, “Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk. 21:28). Signs will be given, and God’s people must be alert, constantly praying for strength, in preparation to “stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21:36, NRSV).
 
December 9 – Week two begins with the question from Malachi, “who can stand when he appears?” (Mal. 3:2), which serves as a hinge point from the “stand” imagery of the previous week. This Sunday’s emphasis address issues of justice, purification, and refining that will accompany Jesus’ coming.
 
December 16 – The third week of Advent is always an occasion of joy. With these Scripture lessons, however, comes an expectation that the people of God will “do” something to be a part of the inheritance promised to Abraham. Zephaniah instructs the people to “not let your hands grow weak” (Zep. 3:16), and John offers further teaching: “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Lk. 3:7-16).
 
December 23 – The promise to Abraham is not forgotten in week four, in which Mary sings and recalls the covenant of old that shows God’s mercy and justice. There are senses of preparation and nesting as both Bethlehem and Mary receive word of Jesus’ coming. Both Bethlehem and Mary will be agents of welcoming God in flesh to earth.

December 24 – Christmas Eve then becomes the point of arrival as Christ–the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”–comes to the world. In the ways Jesus comes, however, it is often easy to become so overwhelmed that we cannot see the presence or work of Christ around us. Just like Mary and Joseph, we find ourselves searching for Jesus, despite knowing all the places and ways in which Christ can be found. However, the promise we are given with the story of the Epiphany is that all who search for Jesus will find him.

Jesus is coming! It is our responsibility to “prepare the way” and get ready.



 

 

 

 
 

 

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A Way Forward

As with all Church Denominations, the United Methodist Church is in conversation about how to move forward as the Church is faced with challenges about remaining united in the face of divergent viewpoints on how the Church should respond tp some of the cultural issues facing the Church, as well as the culture the Church finds itself.
 
I invite all members of the Church to visit the Indiana United Methodist Conference website and read what our Bishop has to say about responding to and becoming a part of the conversation on how the Church will respond to these challenges as it considers A Way Forward.
 
The Bishop, in his comments refer to a 93-page detsailed analysis put together by the Commission on a Way Forward that will be presented to a Special General Session of the United Methodist Church next February.  Although it is a long and detailed read, I encourage all of our church members to read it and become familiar with what is happening in our larger Church.  You can find the full report here.


Serendipity Bible Study

Serendipity Bible Study

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A Bible study for every person, every group, every interest, every need Serendipity is what happens when two or three get together and share their lives—and the Holy Spirit does something beautiful when least expected.
The Serendipity Bible offers 60 course outlines for every felt need: spirituality, marketplace, recovery, marriage, and a myriad of special needs. It offers studies for every demographic: couples, singles, parents, youth, men, women, and many more. You can study the Bible by topic, book, stories, or through studies that take you through the church year. Beginner studies use questions that are open-ended, promote sharing, and feature hard-hitting, relevant endings. Advanced Bible teachings take groups deeper with questions that help leaders start the meeting, take the group through the reading, and create an effective close to the meeting. Thousands of penetrating study questions and extensive study help make the Serendipity Bible a flexible and exciting tool for Bible study leaders as well as for personal study. The Serendipity Bible is an outstanding resource for Bible study groups of all kinds. It’s the ideal choice for groups that want to mine the riches of God’s Word and for individuals who want a superb personal study Bible.