I've seriously loved the journey towards Christmas this year more than most. I've discovered in a new deeper and fuller way. Having to preach our Advent Carol Service and then having designed our Resource Night to lean into this, means I *really looked up close. People have agitated me to post my best take-aways from my thinking about this, this year......So here goes! My advent manifesto is best captured as, 'ready, steady,.....wait!' Each year, during the season of Advent, the church sets off on a journey. We begin to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Christ-child, so that this [...]
Shauna captures it well:- “.....this season I’m not trying for perfect. I’m just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness. Let’s be courageous in these days. Let’s chose love and rest and grace. Let’s use our minutes and hours to create memories with the people we love instead of dragging them on one more errand or shushing them while we accomplish one more seemingly necessary thing. Let’s honour the story – the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth, with each choice that we make”. So Father, Thank you for the never failing story of sending your Son. [...]
"Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs that the holy is drawing near." Frederick Buechner 1 Emma Scrivener's helpful Jesus prescription. Compelling and clear. 2 Five ways to kill your partner and ruin your marriage. Important stuff. 3 Advent searching....."Keep digging until you find you’ve dug deep into the heart of God." 4 David Fitch's reflections from around the table. Insightful. 5 A great grab of Alan Hirsch's missional thinking.... Worth watching.
Advent hope is the theme of our exploration in Acts 1v1-11 today. It finds me holding to the weighty goodness of Gods word for me. His faithfulness, his grace and that He cannot and will not fail. This is my teaching outline, for this morning....... “Standing on the promises that cannot fail….” Isaiah 14v24, Psalm 145v13 So, what are at least three of the promises of Jesus, seen here? 1. The promise of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1 v 4, Joel 2 v 28-29 and John 7 v 38-39. 2. The promise of power! Acts 1 v 8, Ephesians 3 [...]
Hope and joy and love abound: so, too do fear and uncertainty and worry. We commit to the good and wrestle with the weak and the struggling parts of us, and so I appreciate what Madeline L’Engle writes of Advent;- “This is the irrational season when love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been full of reason there’d have been no room for the child.” For it was Mary’s wild and daring 'yes' that began it all. A 'yes' rooted in the promises of God’s love and justice and the recognition of God’s radical solidarity with us. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” [...]
In this season of crowded stores and unpacked stress, We will welcome one another as God has welcomed us. In this time of hurried hellos and curt replies, we will greet one another with words of hope and peace. In a culture of increasing isolation, we will embrace our sisters and brothers as God has enfolded us in grace.
"Longing for light, we wait in darkness. Longing for truth, we turn to you. Make us your own, your holy people, light for the world to see. Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness. Christ, be our light! Shine in your church gathered today. Longing for peace, our world is troubled. Longing for hope, many despair. Your word alone has power to save us. Make us your living voice. Christ, be our light... Longing for food, many are hungry. Longing for water, many still thirst. Make us your bread, broken for others, shared until all [...]
Advent reading thus-far. These are some of my favourite take-aways....... “Life is about recognizing Christ in all our journeys.” Trystan Owain Hughes Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise. Karl Rahner “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.” Madeleine L'Engle “... without the incarnation, Christianity isn't even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. "Be nice to one another" [...]
Today this finds us in Matthew 21 v 1-11 Here's my advent talk outline. Here we have a donkey. Really nothing more grand?! The first truly public acknowledgment of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and He comes, as anticipated in a way that seems, frankly, a little bit silly. If God can use a stinky little donkey in the triumphant fulfilment of His incarnation plan then there’s encouragement for us concerning God’s plan for you and I. Wider than this…..what might the learning be? 1. Selected By plans long previously made, and now accurately fulfilled. John 15 v 16, Ephesians 2 [...]
Creative waiting is an inescapable part of the plan of God. Jacob waits in Laban's house for the right bride. Job and Habakkuk are no strangers to the waiting place. These two cry out desperately, wanting to know the mind of God in their own situation. The God who works for those who wait for him is almost directly opposite to the idea of God that is current in the late twentieth century. We have seen God as some mountain to be explored or an argument to be understood -- something for us to control. Rarely is it thought that [...]