Morning Musing: John 1:1-3,14

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. . .The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This morning we are making a transition. For the next few weeks, we are going to use this time to focus our attention on the season of Advent. For most folks generally and even most followers of Jesus, what follows the celebration of Thanksgiving (at least in this country) is the Christmas season. But in the historical church calendar, what we enter into at the beginning of December is the season of Advent. Advent is from a Latin word that means arrival. In the season of Advent, we are focusing our attention on preparing to celebrate the arrival of Jesus into the world. Of course, we aren’t awaiting His first coming like our ancient forebears were. Rather, we are looking forward with hopeful expectation to His second coming when He will finally make all things right. This is something we should be living our lives toward all the time, but during the season of Advent, we give it special attention with Jesus’ first coming in mind. All this month we are going to do just that through the lens of several passages throughout the Scriptures that will help us prepare in heart and mind for His arrival in our lives and in our world, and to get us ready to celebrate Christmas when it finally comes with special joy and excitement.

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This past Sunday kicks off the season of Advent. We can officially start getting ready for Christmas now. As we move forward in this season, we are going to be exploring the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke. As you read that story something that becomes clear is that in sending Jesus to earth, God was turning the world on its head. Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore together just how He was planning to do that and what the results of it have been. Tune in each week as we work through this incredible set of stories to see how God turned the world upside down.


Let me pull back the curtain for you just a bit this morning on the process of doing what I do up here each week. Coming up with the title for a sermon can be an interesting exercise. Some pastors really don’t put much thought into it, but like a good title for a book draws you in before you’ve read it, a good title for a sermon will draw the listener in before she’s heard it. The same thing goes when trying to construct a title for a whole series. Now, different preachers take different approaches in their preaching. For some, they can simply make the title of the book they are preaching through the title of the series and walk away. In that sense, I could have called this series, Luke 1:4-2:40. Even if you’re a full-on Bible nerd, though, that doesn’t sound very exciting. It sounds like a verse reference…which is because it is. 

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 1:21

“For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I recently had the chance to visit a traveling exhibit about Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps. The exhibit was powerful and moving. It did not shy away from any of the grisliest details of what happened there. And what happened there was the systematic extermination of more than a million Jews and others the Nazi leadership believed to be unfit for life in the Third Reich. This kind of sobering encounter with the absolute worst of human evil ever unleashed on the world is something everyone should experience. That being said, the exhibit was not without its problems. Allow me to highlight one that kept it from being fully what it could have been.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 5:20

“…giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This is a day for giving thanks. It is Thanksgiving, after all. At least it is in the United States. If you are one of the many folks reading somewhere else in the world today is probably just Thursday where you are. A few other nations around the world have some sort of national day set aside for giving thanks, but not very many. There is a reason for this. As you pause for a moment in your busy preparations for food and family (and probably football) later today, let’s talk for just a moment about why we give thanks.

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 30:18-21

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The most common characterization of God people have from the prophets is that He is angry. He is filled with wrath and is waiting up in heaven to catch us in some wrongdoing so He can smite us. He’s like a kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day perched over an ant hill. The first time we show our head out of the pile, He’s going to smoke it off with a blast of lightning. And, there are some passages scattered throughout the prophets that would seem to justify such an image. But what you perhaps don’t realize is those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule throughout the prophets is something very different and entirely more New Testament-y in their flavor than you might expect. This morning as we finish up our short look at Isaiah 30, I want to set before a passage that is much more in line with the major picture of God we get from the prophets. Let’s talk about it.

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