Luke 1:26-55 Advent is the season of music. Music has incredible power to awaken dull minds, stir the emotions, and activate our wills with tremendous force. Consider the stirring sounds of a lone trumpet playing taps or the bagpiper’s penetrating notes of “Amazing Grace” at a funeral, or the heart-stopping beat of a massive drum roll of a marching band at a football game. Music can also be revolutionary, invading secular minds, breaking down hard hearts, and touching individuals with a dimension of what is holy. As the climax to Israel’s story, Luke gives us not one or two, but four songs of praise, announcing two miraculous births of sons to women who are childless. These boys will grow up to become the agents of God’s long-promised revolution, the victory over the powers of evil. “When the beating of your heart/ Echoes the beating of the drums/ There is a life about to start/ When tomorrow comes!” (“Do You Hear the People Sing?” – Les Miserables)
John 21 (ESV) After 3.5 years, we’ve finally come to our last text in the Gospel of John. There is still one piece of unfinished business that John has to wrap up, and it involves Peter and a charcoal fire. As he wraps up Peter’s story, what does John want his readers to really know before they leave his book? Join us this Sunday as we explore this last great text from John’s Gospel.
Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
Isaiah 54:1-3. What role does hope play in your life? Do you ever allow yourself to dream? Do you believe God has a glorious future for you? If you are honest, I’m sure many of us would admit that it didn’t take long for the idealistic dreams of youth to be dashed upon the unforgiving bedrock of reality. Perhaps you’ve lost your ability to dream. “What are you hoping for?” now strikes the cynical cord of despair –“why” hope at all? Who dares hope against hope? In chapter 54, the prophet Isaiah resurrects Israel’s hope in the darkest days of her history, when the land was devastated and desecrated and her children taken into exile. Come and see how God’s people, once battered and beaten break forth into resounding jubilation.
John 20:19-23 This week in John, we pick up the narrative on the evening of that first Easter, where ironically, the apostles (ie. “sent ones”) have locked themselves inside a room. And, Jesus appears! He pronounces peace to them, shows them his wounds, and pronounces peace again. He then sends them on mission. Join us this Sunday as we explore what has been called “John’s Great Commission.
This week in John, we pick up the narrative midway through the first resurrection appearance on the morning of that first Easter. Loyal Mary Magdalene has stayed at the tomb after Peter and John have gone home. And, what she finds is the gardener, the gardener indeed! Join us this Sunday as we explore what else John wants us to see on that first morning of the whole new world.
It is finished … but it has not ended! Jesus died on Friday afternoon after he had said, “It is finished.” Two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, take Jesus off the cross, pack his body with spices and lay his body in a new tomb. Jesus is dead and buried on Friday afternoon. But that does not end the story! On Sunday morning, John tells us that Mary Magdalene, Peter and John find Jesus’ tomb empty – except for the grave cloths. Join us this Sunday as we get to explore the meaning of the empty tomb.
John 19:16b-42 This week we come to the crucifixion of Jesus from the Gospel of John. John sees a lot of details in his account, but at the heart of everything is Jesus’ cry, “It is finished” (19:30). So, what is finished? What is it that is finished? Join us this Sunday as we explore this very important question.
John 18:28-19:16 We return to the Gospel of John this week as Jesus is brought before Pilate. As we said three weeks ago, when Jesus was before the religious authorities, He wasn’t the one on trial, they were. And, at the very same time, Peter, representing the disciples, was on trial as he stood around a charcoal fire. In the text this week, even though Jesus is in the dock, Pilate is the one on trial. How will he respond to the great I AM standing before him? Join us this Sunday as we seek to learn from Pilate’s response.
Luke 15:11-32 (NIV) What does it mean to belong? A question we all can wrestle with in different seasons of life, particularly as we think about belonging to the family of God. This Sunday we’ll be talking about this question as we study the parable of the Prodigal Son, in the hopes that we might better understand our part in the family of God.
Call to Worship: Psalm 67 (NIV) Leader:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us People: and make his face shine on us— Leader:2 so that your ways may be known on earth, People: your salvation among all nations. Leader:3 May the peoples praise you, God; People: may all the peoples praise you. Leader:4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, People: for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. Leader:5 May the peoples praise you, God; People: may…
“You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” This question is posed to Peter, the lead disciple, outside while Jesus is being interrogated inside. Only a few hours earlier in the upper room, Peter had proudly declared to Jesus, “I will follow you anywhere. I will even lay down my life for you.” And, now, a few hours later just before the rooster crows, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” Peter answers, “I am not.” All four Gospels contain Peter’s failure. And why? Join us this Sunday as we seek to learn from Peter’s failure.