Category Archives: Advent 2017

4th Week of Advent (24 Dec) – Full Salvation

4th Week of Advent (24 Dec) – Full Salvation

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

As we look to Matthew’s account of the Angel appearing to Joseph, it reinforces God’s plan of salvation being revealed.  In the names that are used to identify the baby that will be born to Mary, we find the full salvation that Christ brings to us in the fullness of time.  As Son of Man, Jesus is able to save us from our sins by being the perfect righteous one to die for us sinners, to rise up and give us a new life in Him.  As Immanuel, God is with us, Jesus, as God, comes to be with us as human, and to give us the Holy Spirit so that God is with us in our own being.  With God in us then we can be transformed into the people we were created to be – People with God’s perfect love.  That is the gift of Christmas – Fully Saved in the Fullness of Time by our Savior (Son of Man) and Lord (Son of God).

 

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does the story of Christmas demonstrate it?

 3rd Week of Advent (17-23 Dec)

 3rd Week of Advent (17-23 Dec)

Fully Divine (Son of God)

Sunday – 

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:34,35

As we see, the significance of the virgin birth is in the telling of Mary how this baby would be conceived, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.”  The unique nature of Jesus is his being fully human and fully divine.  This week we focus on the Son of God scriptures and discover what this means for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to you that Jesus was fully Divine as the Son of the Spirit, Son of God?

 

Monday – See and Testify

Scripture Reading: John 1:29-34

When John the Baptist sees Jesus walking towards him, he proclaims to the crowd, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  He is preparing the way of the Lord for the people of God.  It is interesting that John does not mention that it is during the baptism that John the Baptist sees and testifies that “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit,” And I myself have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.” The one born of the Spirit, the Spirit testifies about, is the one who gives the Spirit to God’s people is the Son of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How are we to see and testify to the Son of God at work through the Spirit in and through us?

Tuesday – To believe

Scripture Reading: John 3:18

In this verse out of the Nic at Night passage we looked at already, we find that the determining factor in being saved is “believing in the name of the Son of God” who is Jesus the Christ.  Condemnation comes not from our sin but from our not believing in the Son of God who can save us from our sin.  Life comes if we but just believe in Jesus the Christ as the Son of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

Wednesday – To belong to Jesus Christ 

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-6

In the beginning of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, we find the significance of the Son of God in our lives together.  “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith…”  The Son of God gives to us God’s Grace and with the Apostleship, those who help lead us “to bring about the obedience of faith” among us all.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Where do you see the Son of God bringing you grace and apostleship to bring about your obedience of faith?

Thursday – The Gifts He gave…

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:11-13

As Paul refers to the Son of God in this letter to the Church at Ephesus, it is to identify the gifts that He gives to the people of God, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the full measure of the full stature of Christ.”  In other words, the gifts Christ gives through the Spirit are to make us more and more like the Son of God as the children of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What are the gifts and how are they used to accomplish His work in us?

Friday – Our Sympathizer

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16

As the writer of Hebrews (whether it is Paul, Barnabas, or Apollos,) his intent is to identify the Son of God as our “great high priest.”  But, he reminds us that Jesus is one who can sympathize with us as “one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”  Because of this, we are to “approach the throne of grace with boldness.”  With this, we “receive grace and mercy to help in time of need.”  As our Priest, the Son of God is our Sympathizer, our Sacrifice, our Savior.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this passage focus on the Priestly aspect of the Son of God?

Saturday – LOVE

Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:13-17

“God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God and they abide in God… God is Love and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”  If we confess that Jesus is fully God as the Son of God and makes it possible for us to abide in God and God to abide in us the connection is God’s perfect love.  If we abide in God’s perfect love then that becomes our witness and testimony to the world about God’s perfect love come to us in Jesus Christ.  In the fullness of time, the Son of Man, Son of God, came Fully human, fully divine to love us fully!

Pastor’s Pondering:  What is the difference between God’s love and the world’s love?

2nd Week of Advent (10-16 Dec)

2nd Week of Advent (10-16 Dec)

 Fully Human (Son of Man)

Sunday – 

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:30-33

When the angel tells Mary, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…” we find that Jesus being born of Mary is fully human and one who will save people from their sins.  This week we will focusing on the “Son of Man” scriptures and discover how as a man he saves us from our sin and brings us into God’s kingdom.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to you that Jesus was fully human as the Son of Mary, Son of Man?

Monday – Lord of the Sabbath

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:1-5

As we look to the scripture that Jesus calls himself, Son of Man, it is over a teaching of the Sabbath.  Here, Jesus entitles the son of man as Lord of the Sabbath.  As the issue of what is lawful to do on the Sabbath is in question, Luke records Jesus saying it this way.  In Mark’s account of it (Mark 2:23-28) he adds “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.”  The main point is the Sabbath was made for our good – a day of rest with God and we are to be free to observe it as Jesus the Christ leads for our lives and our good.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this say to you how you should observe the Sabbath?

Tuesday – Who do you say that I Am?

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:18-22

After praying with only the disciples around Him, Jesus asks them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”  This is to get them to think about who Jesus is not just by what the crowds say but more importantly about “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter answers correctly, “You are the Messiah.”  This is the one who is going to bring God’s people into God’s Kingdom as God’s family.  Jesus then warns them about what lies ahead for the Messiah, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  We must understand, believe this, and not be afraid to talk about Jesus in our lives – the Son of Man as the Messiah and what it took to be our Messiah.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to believe what we say and say what we believe concerning Jesus as the Son of Man, the Messiah?

 

Wednesday – They were afraid to ask Him…

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:43-45

Though the crowds were amazed at what Jesus was doing, the disciples got a reality check from Jesus when He said to them, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.”  Jesus was preparing them to know what is in store for him as the Messiah.  They didn’t understand, whether it was kept from them or they didn’t really want to understand, as it was different than what they thought was the future for Jesus as the Messiah.  Still, they were afraid to ask Jesus for clarification.

Pastor’s Pondering:   How have you encountered a hard teaching as a Christian that you may not want to accept?

Thursday – Son of Man/Son of God

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:66-71

When Jesus appears before the council, they ask him if he is the Messiah.  Jesus replies by pointing at their own hearts, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer.”  Then he describes the vision of “the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the power of God.”  When they reply with, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” which is the punishable statement, Jesus responds with, “You say that I am.”  They said it, not him, but they will convict him of it.  But, as the Messiah, both parts are true – Son of Man, Son of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What do our convictions say about who we believe Jesus to be in our lives?

 

Friday – The Descended Son of Man

Scripture Reading: John 3:13

As we switch to the gospel of John, we find the Son of Man title used by Jesus in the infamous Nic at Night from which we get John 3:16.  When Jesus describes himself to Nicodemus as the Son of Man, it is to highlight that the reason he can talk about “heavenly things” is that he is the only one who descended from heaven.  Jesus is the eye-witness account not just of heaven but of God’s ways and salvation.  Jesus is the only one who can truly reveal to us God because he is the one descended as the Son of Man.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this teaching give Jesus the authority to tell us about God and the reason for us to listen?

 

Saturday – God sent His Son…

Scripture Reading: John 3:14-18

The rest of the story of the Son of Man, is to describe how this son will save the world by bringing to it everlasting life in God.  God’s plan in Christ, is to give to us not condemnation (that we deserve) but to give us life in Christ.  God sent his son who was fully a man, to suffer and to die so that in his resurrection, we could be resurrected to new life in the light of God which is God’s love.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to you that Jesus was fully human in all that he did in his life, death, and resurrection for us?

1st week of Advent (3 – 9 Dec) – Fullness of Time

1st week of Advent (3 – 9 Dec) – Fullness of Time

(Prophesies of Messiah)

Sunday – Angel to Mary

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-38

When the angel Gabriel is sent by God to Mary it is because it was time for the Messiah to come.  When the angel tells her “The Lord is with you,” it is going to take on a whole new meaning.  God is requesting of her to give birth to the one who “…will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  These are all traits of the coming Messiah.  As we look this week to the prophesies given of the Messiah in the Old Testament, this is all according to God’s plan from the very beginning of time.  In the Fullness of Time, Mary was willing to give birth to a baby as was prophesied throughout the ages.  Pastor’s Pondering:  How would you respond if you were Mary and what might this mean that Mary was uniquely qualified as the right person at the right time to do the right thing according to God’s Word for God’s people?      

Monday – From the Beginning

Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:15

As we turn to the beginning of life, we find that after the serpent had tempted Adam and Eve to separate themselves from God by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God casts judgement on the serpent, “He will strike your head and you will strike his heels.”  Though Satan will strike at us in our lives there will come someone who will strike down Satan from his head.  This is not just a literal view of the fighting between humankind and snakes but more a figurative view of the spiritual battle that will be fought by us and won by Christ for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this tell of the struggles we have with good and evil and the victory that we can have through Jesus Christ?    

Tuesday – Born to a Virgin

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 7:14

As we look to Isaiah, the prophet, it is in his words that we find that the Messiah would come from a woman who is a virgin.  This foretells that a young woman who is not married and thus has had no sexual relations with a man will bear a son and she will name him Immanuel, which means God is with us.  It is this verse that the angel quotes Joseph in Matthew 1:23 to assure him (and us) that this is all of God’s doing and plan for in the fullness of time.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this prophesy given hundreds of years before the angel appears to Joseph assure us of this being according to God’s plan in the fullness of time?

Wednesday – For a Child has been born…

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:6,7

When Isaiah describes the coming Messiah as a child…a son… who is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”  How do all four titles fit Jesus?  I consider that the Holy Trinity can help us understand.  Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, a Mighty Counselor, calls God “Abba” Father and He is the Prince of Peace.  The three together as Jesus reveals to us is the Mightiness of God that we get to know, know God’s love through, and love God back.  All because in the fullness of time, a babe was born.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this prophesy given hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus assure us of this being according to God’s plan in the fullness of time?

 

Thursday – Coming Messiah

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

“The Lord is our righteousness” is the last phrase used in this prophesy of the coming Messiah.  This prophesy points to the fact that the Messiah who will “execute justice and righteousness in the land” somehow will gather the scattered sheep, not only reign as Lord over them but also instill God’s righteousness in them.  His righteousness will be their righteousness!  This we find in Jesus that in the fullness of time only Jesus is the one who fulfills the prophesy of the coming Messiah and God’s righteousness.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this prophesy given hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus assure us of this being according to God’s plan in the fullness of time?

Friday – But, you, Bethlehem…

Scripture Reading: Micah 5:2-5

Why Bethlehem?  Notice that in this passage, the Messiah who will gather God’s people, feed God’s flock in the strength of the Lord, great to the ends of the earth, and will be one of Peace will be born in Bethlehem, one of the smallest clans in Israel.  What are the odds of this one person coming from this one clan in all of Israel?  Only in the fullness of time could this come true in this place with the birth of Jesus.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this prophesy given hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus assure us of this being according to God’s plan in the fullness of time?

 

Saturday – I am sending my messenger…

Scripture Reading: Malachi 3:1-5

Even though this prophesy is more about John the Baptist as it is about Jesus notice the significance of this.  This is a prophesy of two people coming in the fullness of time – one to prepare the way of the Lord and one who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  The likelihood of one person coming at the right time and place is slim but when you add in another one who will be key to the fulfillment of prophesy makes it even less likely to occur unless it is in the fullness of time according to the plan of God and we can say, “the rest is His Story.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this prophesy given hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus assure us of this being according to God’s plan in the fullness of time?