The King is coming! Did you hear the news? Charles & Camilla are coming to Australia! Not since the last Elvis festival in Parkes has there been this kind of royal excitement. Every regional & rural shire in the country is making a bid …sharpening their pitch for a visit. Every roadhouse dog house & outhouse beyond the capital cities is getting a fresh coat of paint & new trim on the off-chance the King will stop by for a pie & a schooner of draft.
How different from the last Kingly visit…
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, & even they rejected him.”
The advent-ure planned for you; to bring you into the presence & peace of God is anything but a safe trip and a confortable journey. It’s a perilous advent-ure where evil rages & death devours…where the enemies are abundant & the opposition fierce. But Jesus chooses that perilous advent-ure because it’s the only one that frees us from sin death & evil. It's the only journey that will give him what he most desires....YOU!
#5 in series: Christmas Advent-ure
Something big is coming. Check your inbox this weekend for some exciting news. We've all seen them. Teaser campaigns that use intriguing headlines and eye-catching images to generate curiosity or build hype around a product or movie before the great reveal. They are campaigns that are launched on multiple platforms to get the message out. God used no teaser campaigns. When the time was fully right, God surprised the world as heaven broke open with a public announcement on the hills outside Bethlehem that would have global impact and eternal ramifications. It's that Announced Advent-ure that we not only hear again and receive tonight but participate in. It's good news of great joy for all the world.
#4 in series: Christmas Advent-ure
Risk Mitigation. It's experienced in every area of life. It's a strategy designed to reduce, avoid, or transfer potential threats and disasters. Our desire is to limit exposure, protect from embarrasment or vulnerability, to remain in control of our story. It drives our decisions and our actions on a daily basis. But life happens and sometimes we are thrust into circumstances or positions that are not of our choosing and beyond the scope of the risk-mitigating strategies we have carefully constructed to keep us safe. It can be a confusing and stressful time. But it is into these situations that God speaks if we are willing to be still. It's at these times that we can become open to stirrings that we do not initiate. It's in these spaces that God places another option on the table that is inherently more dangerous and far more challenging that what we have ever considered. He invites us on an adventure that calls us to live beyond the risk mitigating strategies of tradition and self-interest that we default to and to join him in what he is already doing to rescue and redeem the world he loves. It's a journey that leads to the greatest and most beautiful outcome and an eternity of joy if we are willing to say 'yes' to option 'C' that God puts on the table. Come and be a part of the joined advent-ure.
#3 in series: Christmas Advent-ure
Patterns. No matter how small or large. Patterns in nature are everywhere. From tessellations to fractals, or spirals to symmetry, the patterns in nature are just outside our door! We all live by patterns, some are helpful, some are destructive. All are intentional. The very definition of a pattern is that it is a consistent form, design, or expression that is not random. The promised Advent-ure that we explored last week was not a random thought or idea that was hurriedly put together. It was deliberate, conceived, well-planned and entirely consistent in form and character of the one who imagined it. Today we hear and experience a consistent pattern at work in our lives as we explore the conceived adventure that God invites us to be a part of; it's an adventure to which God wants us to develop a default and patterned response.
#2 in series: Christmas Advent-ure
'And they all lived happily ever after." The end. That was the vision. That was the plan God had in mind when he created the world. Peace. Love. Harmony. Sunny days and fun times. But spoiler alert. Three chapters into the story, there's a plot twist. The villain inserts himself into the story in an attempt to rewrite the conclusion. Rebellion ensues. Suffering is the result. Yet through it all, the main character is steadfast and true. The conclusion he planned will remain. The relationship he desires will be fulfilled. A journey will be undertaken. An Adventure will be embarked on. The Promised Advent-ure will eventuate. That's the Christmas Advent-ure that is also part of our story, which we are also invited to participate in. It's that Promised Adventure that we set out on again today.
#1 in series: The Christmas Advent-ure
We've all seen it. The chain reaction caused by dropping a rock in a body of water. We call it the ripple effect, waves that lead outward growing bigger and bigger. You are part of God’s chain reaction; a ripple effect that is bigger and more epic by cosmic proportions. Because Jesus Christ died and was raised from the grave for you, you are at the epicentre of God’s loving, saving, recreating plan for the universe. He is now throwing you into the world and calling you to make a splash and create ripples, waves of influence that lead outward, growing bigger and bigger, touching more people and lives with each concentric ring.
For the ends of the earth, All the World, is where God desires his saving love to reach. His mission isn’t fulfilled until all the world encounters the good news of a life that is more powerful than death, a joy more eternal than the tears, a hope that lights up the darkness of despair, and a healing that restores every brokenness and loss. We are his witnesses, fulfilling that command. So let's go and make a splash and see the ripple effects as they grow into all the world.
#5 in series: Three Big Words
Who are you following? What people or information sources are influencing your thoughts and your actions right now? We all choose to follow someone...whether itis the craft person who inspires us with new projects, the person who entertains us or makes us laugh, who confirms the information we hold or provides value to our life. Maybe what we are looking for is the person who engages with their followers and has conversation with them. What are you looking for, hoping for, wanting desperately for in your life? Today Jesus doesn't give the disciples or us an answer to that question, but rather issues an invitation to seek something more fulfilling than the world and our culture can offer and more life transforming than we can ever imagine. We'll discover that invitation again today as we hear three big words, "Come follow me.
#4 in seres: Three Big Words.'
The Table – nearly every home has one. It’s where we eat, connect, laugh, cry, pray…just be us. It may be the most important place of human connection, belonging and acceptance. Throughout the Bible, God shows up around meals at tables. In fact, the centre of the spiritual lives of God's people in both the Old & New Testaments is a meal at a table: Passover & Communion. In the meal at God’s table God anchors our identity in him. In the meal at God’s table God creates community for his purpose. In the meal at God’s table God gives security and promises eternity. In the meal at God’s table Jesus embraces each of us personally. In the meal at God’s table Jesus speaks three big words - given for you; and those words transform the lives and destiny of all humanity. In those words Jesus not only announces the saving love of God, but embodies it and gives it freely to us. Wherever our lives have taken us, Jesus invites us to himself in his meal at his table to be filled with his presence; a presence that floods our lives with unending grace and life abundant to share. It's given for you.
#3 in series: Three Big Words
'Show and Tell" - is one of the first opportunities young children have to stand up in front of a small group and speak. It’s so simple…Take what’s precious to you. Tell the story of “Why.” Show and demonstrate its importance in your life. Nothing could be easier: “Show & Tell”
HE IS RISEN!…are the most precious words in all of Scripture…the most crucial… The resurrection IS the central event of the Bible from “In the beginning…” to “Amen.” HE IS RISEN!…is the power of God that raises you to newness of life in Christ now and anchors your future with Christ for all eternity. These THREE BIG WORDS are the most important in the life of disciples like you and me. Without HE IS RISEN we have nothing.
From that first morning when the tomb was found empty to this very day, the sole work of Jesus’ followers has been…“Show & Tell” Take what’s precious to you. Tell the story of “Why.” Show/demonstrate its importance in your life. Nothing could be easier: He is risen and in Him so are you! These three big words change everything, every day. As the Psalmist says, I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done. Today is your turn to ‘Show and Tell.’
#2 in seres: Three Big Words