Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent Week 1: the Light of Hope

the Light of Hope
Isaiah 40:1-11, 31; 1 Peter 4:6-11

Opening Prayer:
Almighty God, help us by your grace to live in the light of hope brought to us when your son Jesus Christ came to this earth as a baby in great humility.; So that someday, when he comes again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to eternal life; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Devotional Thought:
There is something fantastically beautiful that happens this time of year.  It is seen in the eyes of children when they see the lights of a Christmas tree for the first time.  I remember when our oldest child was only 10 months old.  While she was taking a nap one day her mother and I decorated our family Christmas tree.  After she woke, we brought her downstairs so she could see all the Christmas lights.  She literally gasped and her eyes grew so big, and with one single finger she began to touch each light she could reach; never losing her wide-eyed awe.  Each year, decorating and lighting the Christmas tree sparks beautiful moments for our family.

There is hope in light.  Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and we celebrate the hope of Israel and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ by the lighting of a candle.  Be encouraged to walk in the Light of Hope this Advent Season.  We walk not in the overly simplistic hope of optimism, but rather in the Light of Hope that is found in living your life with a sense of purpose, knowing that we walk in the presence of the living God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. With that sense of purpose, we light the first candle of Advent.

We are called to not only look forward to the coming of Christ, but also “speed its coming” according to Henri Nouwen.  While God will send His Son in His time and on His terms and not ours, we must work hard by walking in the Light of Hope to quicken our Christ’s return. Clearly, our actions make a difference. Read 1 Peter 4:6-11.  In a mysterious way the new heaven and earth depend on what we do. We continue to hope in God's promise that Christ will come again, and our lives should not be passive, but active.  Thank you, God, for the Light of Hope for it will spark a difference in our everyday lives. 

Family Activity:
As you and your family prepare for the Christmas, Turn out all the lights in the room, and then light a candle or flip on a flashlight.  Then as a family and using different volumes say, “Good News, Jesus, the Light of the World is coming!”  Begin thinking and talking about someone with whom you can share the light of Hope this season. 

Child’s Prayer:
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Light of the World, Savior to all peoples, come and dwell among us.

Songs for Worship at Home: 
Great Light of the World, by Bebo Norman
Marvelous Light, by Charlie Hall 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

8 Reasons Why Single Men Should Work in the Church Nursery | Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and is one of the world’s most-downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. He was also named one of the “25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years” by Preaching magazine, and his sermons are consistently #1 on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality with over 10 million of downloads each year.

I believe that it is extremely imprtant for men to be actively involved in Children's Ministry as does Pastor Mark.  He posted this on his blog this week.

8 Reasons Why Single Men Should Work in the Church Nursery | Pastor Mark Driscoll: (entire blog post)

1 - It helps you learn what Jesus meant by child-like faith

When you tell a kid that Jesus walked on water, they don’t defer to Hume and enlightenment presuppositions about the miraculous. They say, “Yeah!” and their eyes get big because they believe what the Bible says.

2 - It helps you learn about God as Father

When you interact with kids, you are reminded that to God you are just a kid and that you really need your Father. Every guy, including the one in a suit making more money than he can ever spend, is just a Fudgsicle-faced kid to the Father.

3 - It opens up your heart to children

This causes you to view such things as sex and women differently, less selfishly, and more biblically.

4 - It helps you pick a wife who will be a good mom

When you hang out with kids, you realize you need to marry a woman who is more interested in building a good legacy than just having a good time.

5 - It helps you learn how to be a good father

Some guys are afraid, repelled, or ignorant of kids. Get over your fears and prejudices by hanging out with someone else’s kids a few hours a week, and learn how to interact with kids well.

6 - It’s important for kids without a dad to have godly, male investment in their life

Young boys without a dad need the godly investment of a man. Young girls without a dad need a godly man’s loving encouragement. And the single moms really appreciate godly men investing in their kids.

7 - It’s a good place to meet a nice gal

Single guys may not know this, but nice, single gals who love Jesus and want to marry and become a mom someday are working in the nursery. That’s like fishing in a trout pond if you’re a single guy. And the single moms dropping off their kids should be considered for marriage too. After all, Jesus’ mother was a single mom until Joseph married her and adopted Jesus.

8 - Jesus did

Our God came to earth as a single guy and hung out with kids. They loved him. They didn’t crucify him like the religious folks. If you want to learn about Jesus and become more like him, spend more time with kids like he did.