Beginning next Saturday, March 29, at EXP, I will be starting a new sermon series. I need your help! Give me any words, thoughts, images or concepts that come to your mind when you think of Spring or Springtime. The new series will revolve around the topic of Spring, so you can help with sermon prep by sharing your thoughts with me. No thought is too insignificant or too outlandish. Let me hear from you!
Is your Christianity authentic? Is the expression of Christianity we see in America authentic? Is TV Christianity authentic? What is authentic Christianity? What do you think?
I would love to hear your thoughts as to what constitutes authentic Christianity. What do you see as the essential beliefs and practices? Where have we gone wrong? (If we have gone wrong.) Let me know what you think. We will deal with this topic in EXP throughout February and March.
Advent begins with Hope. Hope rests in the fulfillment of prophecies. This concept reminds me of presidential campaign promises. It seems that every prospective candidate spouts promises that everyone knows cannot really be followed through on. In this year’s campaign, several outlandish promises have already been espoused. One candidate promises to eliminate federal income taxes, one vows to stop completely illegal immigration, another to end wasteful Washington spending. One even promises to personally shoot Osama Bin Laden.
What if the prophecies about Christ were like these empty presidential promises: unfulfilled. There would be no hope! It would mean no Messiah, no sacrifice for sin, no salvation, no resurrection, no 2nd coming and no eternal life. No hope! However, we as followers of Christ have hope because the prophecies were fulfilled. So Advent is a celebration — in part, a celebration of hope.
It is great to celebrate Advent alone. It can even be more inspiring as you celebrate in the context of community. Possibly the most meaningful expression comes in your family setting. Whether you have small children or teenagers, or whether it is only husband and wife, Advent in the family structure is special. I encourage you to observe Advent in your family this year.
Many resources are available to assist you as you observe Advent family-style. You might try some of these books to guide your observance. Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration (NavPress), by James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, Montgomery Boice and R.C. Sproul is great for families with young children. If you love music and have older children you might try Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader (Moody Press), by Donna Payne and Fran Lenzo. It includes an audio CD with the musical passages from the Messiah. Or, a great book geared to kids is Glow in the Dark Sticker Book (Candle Books) by Grahan Round.
Here are some websites with Advent resources that might help as you celebrate Advent with your family.
Hope is the emphasis of the first week of Advent. To help deepen your hope in God, spend the week reading and meditating on some of the following verses. Share your comments on this blog so others can be ministered to by your insights.
I Peter 1:3-9; I Peter 1:13-16; I Peter 1:21-23; Hebrews 6:16-20;
I Timothy 6:17-19; I Thessalonians 1:2-3
Have you heard of Advent? If you are from a liturical church background you may be well acquinted with Advent. If you are not, you may have heard the word but may not know what it is. During the month of December, in EXP, we will discuss, explain, and experience Advent. Also, during the month we will post blogs for you to deepen your understanding and participation relating to Advent. I hope as we proceed through this experience that we all will enjoy a deeper appreciation and realization of what Christmas is all about – “God with us!” So, visit the site often, respond, and share your insights into Advent.
I am studying and preparing presently for new exp sermon series(es). I would love to hear ideas you have. Any books of the Bible you want to study? Struggling with any concepts or practical issues? Maybe you say, “I’ve never heard a sermon on __________.” I want to be sure and connect so if you have any input to give I’m listening.
If you read this blog by Wednesday Aug 15, let me hear from you. Your practical input will help with the message at EXP this coming Saturday.
1. How do you apply your faith and the teaching of God’s Word to your every day life?
2. Share a story when God’s Word ministered to you during a difficult time.
3. How do you demonstrate your faith in Christ in you work place?