Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
- Advent is the season of the church calendar right before Christmas that lasts four weeks and ends on Christmas Eve when we move into the twelve days of Christmas.
- It is a time of joyful expectation as we wait for the coming of the Lord. This means we wait for Jesus' birth we celebrate at Christmas and we wait for Jesus' second coming.
- It is a time of conversion and renewal, a time of watching and waiting, and a time of new beginnings. It is a season of preparation.
- The message of Advent is one of hope, peace and joy. The question we are called to ask in Advent is how do we prepare for the coming of Jesus into our lives now and in times to come?
- One of the symbols of the Advent Season is the lighted candle. In Matthew 25 a group of wise women carry their lighted candles in expectation of the coming of the Lord. The lighted candle also represents the presence of Christ in our midst.
- Each of the candles of an Advent Wreath remind us of the light of Christ coming and symbolize peace, hope, love and Christ himself.
- During the Season of Advent it has become customary in churches and even in homes to use what is called an Advent Wreath (consisting of four lighted candles) as a sign of our watching and waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior as we celebrate his birth in Bethlehem and his return to bring about a new heaven and a new earth at the end of time.
- The circle of the Advent Wreath represents eternity. The candles signify the time of preparation, a time of looking into ourselves and recognizing the need for the coming of Christ in our lives and, the joy we know because God loves us so much that he sent Jesus into the world to give us life and victory.
As we go through this Advent Season with all the preparations for buying presents, attending parties, preparing food, preparing for visitors and all the other things of the season, Advent and the Advent Wreath remind us of the importance of preparing room in our hearts for the coming of Jesus.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
However, recently I have been thinking about the purpose of the church calendar particularly as the season of Advent approaches. My understanding of the purpose of the church calendar is that it help followers of Christ and those who are beginning or thinking about following Christ by being a way to mark and participate in the life of Christ from his birth, to this ministry, to his death and resurrection to his return in glory.
Why would we want to rob people of this opportunity to learn more about the life of Christ and model their lives on the life of Christ?
Admittedly, the church calendar becomes a tool that is abused when seasons and holy days become one more rote thing. However, I am feeling that if we explain the significance of these days to both followers of Christ and to those who are seeking they can hold power today. When we do this the church calendar can become a powerful tool to invite people into a life of discipleship and invite people to continue to grow in faith.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The Faith in Action message series is a series of messages challenging the church to puts its faith in action by being open to divine detours, seeing other people through Christ's eyes, and working together to make a difference in the community. The series culminates with the cancellation of morning worship services in the fourth week where participants go out into the community to serve. Throughout it all the challenge is not to go to church but BE the church.
I hope we can always keep in mind that important question: If New Season Church disappeared tomorrow would anyone in the community who does not already attend even care? If we can say that nobody would care then we need to get the hell out of the church (both literally and figuratively!).
Joe Vitale ran around like a chicken with his head cut off on Faith in Action Service Day to capture video footage and take some still pictures.
Here is a link to the video.
Here is a link to the pictures.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
We have got six projects going this morning.
- Home repairs for a woman and her children living in a mobile home.
- Free Krispy Kreme donut delivery to people who are working.
- Yard clean up for an elderly woman who we are also buying a used washing machine for.
- Leading bingo at the Onyx Assisted Living Facility.
- A kids project where they are making cards and original artwork for soldiers.
- A clean sweep of an apartment for a woman who has been "collecting" because she suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.
I am so proud of our church and the people who are the project coordinators. Mostly, I am thankful to God who made the first move to love us in Christ so that we might turn around and love others in response so they can know and experience Christ's love.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I think there are at least a few reasons I like it.
1. It gets me outside. So much of my time is spent indoors. I once heard it said that there is nothing that can be done inside that cannot be more fully enjoyed outdoors.
2. After doing some type of yard work I can sit back and admire it. In other words, what I have done for that hour or half-day is measurable. So much of ministry is not measurable.
3. It gives me time to think without being able to do anything else. Riding on the mower there is nothing else to do but process stuff, pray, and enjoy the outdoors.
For me, there is nothing like it. Some reading this will think I am nuts. That's OK. What is the activity for you that helps you accomplish these things?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
All Saints Day is a holiday of the church that honors and celebrates those who have given their lives for their faith. Early on in the history of the church Christians were severely persecuted. The early history of the Church is filled with stories of the heroic faith of these of witnesses to Christ's truth. The stories of these saints -- these baptized Christians of all ages and all states in life, whose fidelity and courage led to their sanctity or holiness -- have provided models for every other Christian throughout history.
All Saints Day has thus become a memorial day of sorts to remember these faithful and courageous people. However, we also remember on this day those who have been saints to us in our lives who have received the promises of Christ and dwell with him now. Who have been the saints in your life? Who have been those special people who led you in faith?
Here is a prayer for this All Saints Day.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women of every time and place.
May their example inspire us and give us courage for the facing of this hour.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.