Sermons 12/3/2017

12-3-17

Getting Ready For Something Big

Scripture reading: Isaiah 64:1-9

“1 Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
2
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
3
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
6
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7
No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to[b] our sins.
8
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
for we are all your people.”

One of my favorite TV game shows is The Price Is Right. Do you know that by purchasing a ticket you become eligible to play. All the audience members names are placed in a container and then randomly drawn out with the command to, “Come On Down!” Then they compete against one another to win a chance to go on stage and play for the big prizes.

Isaiah 64 starts with a name called and “Come On Down.” Isaiah’s desire and one of our Advent hymns is, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.” That is our desire too, right?

Have you pulled out your Christmas CD’s? Started your gift shopping? Looked at Christmas cookie recipes? Got your cards done? Put your tree up? These are things that most people do to prepare for Christmas and there isn’t anything wrong with them but what are we preparing for?

Christmas preparations are starting earlier and earlier, even before Halloween now. Some complain that it is too early. But, one can not start preparing too early for a big event.

Jesus came 2,000 years ago to create and show us the way to be born again and become a child of God.

Jesus is coming again to usher in God’s kingdom.

Isaiah’s request was in the form of a prayer. The people were helpless. They wondered, “how then can we be saved?” Isaiah was waiting for Christ, petitioning for Him to come on down. He confessed that Israel was unclean and a sin filled nation.

For the Church to experience Advent there needs to be genuine repentance and confession.

Confession is cleaning house. Why is that important? It washes away the arrogance of thinking we can save ourselves.

Advent answers the how can we be saved question.

How can we prepare for Christmas?

Mark 13:26-27

26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”

It depends on what we are preparing for:
The world is looking at the number of shopping days until Christmas.
The Church measures the days until Jesus returns.

The theme of the first Sunday of Advent focuses on the real meaning of Christmas.

Isaiah was eagerly awaiting the new heaven and earth.
We change our attitude about what we are preparing for. Listen to God’s calling – beyond today and tomorrow to Christ coming again.

There is a story about a man who fell into a dark, slimly pit. He tried unsuccessfully to climb out. Confucius passed by. “Oh, you poor man, if you would have listened to me you wouldn’t be in there.” And he left. Then Buddha walked up and looked down at the man. “Oh, you poor man, if you come up here to me, I will help you.” Then he walked on. Jesus was the next to come. “Oh you poor man.” Then He jumped down into the pit and carried the man out.

Jesus is down here with us.

We wait for the day when Christ will return. Let’s expand our preparations to include that. If we do that will change how we live every day.

Celebrate what He has done, is doing and will do.

One can not start too early to prepare for something that big!

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE

We are the clay and God is the potter. We are the work of His hands.

Have you ever played with Play Dough? What can you make with it? What happens if you leave it out of the container? (It dries out) Yes, it gets hard and you can’t reshape it.

In the scripture reading today, Isaiah was begging God to come and change the hearts of the people. He knew that their hearts had hardened but that God could remold them.

We may wander away from God and become hard but it isn’t hopeless. If we turn back and confess our sins, God will mold us into the person He wants us to be.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT – Teri Wagoner

My thoughts can’t help but go to Thanksgiving and the fact that sometimes it is the only time we pause to recognize the blessings we enjoy.

As you may know, I have just returned from visiting my family in California. One day we were driving by Mt. Shasta and my thoughts were that I was thankful to see the beautiful glory that was on display. Before I became a Christian I would have thought that it was pretty but I wouldn’t have thanked God for it.

This was the first time that I had celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and some of them I hadn’t even met before. I was thankful for that opportunity.

California was beautiful but there is no place like home!

JOYS

Closing on a farmette
Family
Megan & Jake’s wedding
Beautiful weather
Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

CONCERNS

Christian who attempted suicide
Those mourning the loss of a loved one
Those battling cancer, infection, chronic illness or disease
Those recovering from surgery or an accident
Youth
That people remember the true reason for the season

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Christmas caroling on December 13th starting at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Please dress for the weather and in appropriate footwear.

“Praying The Names of God” adult Sunday school study will start next week.

“What Shall I Give A King?” Christmas play will be presented by the youth at the 10 am service on December 24th.