Morning Musing: Matthew 1:22-23

“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,’ which is translated ‘God is with us.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The day is finally here! I’ve been waiting for this year’s round of Music of the Season Fridays for months. Each Friday of this Advent season we will pause and give some attention to some great music that gets the spirit of the season right. Some of these will be songs that are intimately familiar, some will be totally new and original. All of them are ones that caught my attention for the way they capture the message of the season in a way simple words just can’t do. And, to make it even easier for you to enjoy, I’m not going to put any of it behind a click through. It’ll all be right here in your inbox. That, of course, means I’m not going to write as much because I want the songs to be the star here, not me.

This first song of the season is one that I didn’t even realize was a Christmas song the first few times I heard it. It was just playing in the background. But one day when I was listening through my AirPods – which always allows me to give the actual lyrics of a song greater attention than I usually would – it dawned on me what they were singing about. Not only is this a great song, but it is actually a perfect accompaniment to my sermon series this season. In fact, it just almost has the same title: For God Is with Us. As you begin your day, take a few minutes and listen to the way Joel and Luke Smallbone of For King and Country capture the wonder of the idea that in Jesus God Himself came to be with us. I hope this will stir your heart with the significance of this idea as much as it did mine. Blessings to you as you begin the second weekend of Advent.

Morning Musing: Matthew 6:31-33

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will be eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What is the organizing principle of your life? If you are feeling particularly spiritual as you answer, you might say, “Jesus.” If you are feeling a bit more normal, though, you might be more inclined to admit it is something else. Perhaps there is a person (other than Jesus) on whom your life is centered. It could be a certain activity is the thing that drives everything else. Hopefully your life isn’t driven by an addiction of some kind. More likely than any of these things, though, is simply your desire to eat decent food, wear clothes, and sleep indoors. And that makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Those things are all basic needs everyone has. But what if there was another way to organize our lives that consistently put us in contact with what we need most of all? Let’s talk this morning about organizing our lives and making space for what matters most.

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Morning Musing: Luke 3:3-6

“He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of those unwritten laws of physics is that things in motion try to find the path of least resistance in order to get where they are going. One of the places we see this in action is on a college campus where lots of people are commuting on foot each day. There may be nice, clean sidewalks to get everywhere you need to go, but there will also inevitably be some well-worn dirt paths where people have left the sidewalks in order to get where they are going by a more direct, shorter route. Let’s talk this morning about what this has to do with our lives and getting ready for Jesus.

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Morning Musing: Luke 1:17

“And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I had a conversation recently with a friend who had some family coming home for Thanksgiving. They were arriving that evening and she had spent the whole day preparing for it – cleaning, decorating, cooking, and the like. You’ve probably experienced something similar. When we know someone is arriving soon, we get ready. We are in the season of Advent, which is when followers of Jesus prepare for His arrival. Before His first coming, God helped His people get ready. He did this primarily through Jesus’ cousin, John. Let’s start our Advent journey this morning by talking about how and what it means for us.

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The Beginning of an Idea

This past Sunday morning was the first Sunday of Advent. With the season in mind, we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, God with Us. For the next few weeks, we are going to take a look at this idea that Jesus was to be named Immanuel, which means, “God is with us.” Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll examine both the glorious and the humble aspects of this. Today, though, we’ll start with a look at where the idea came from in the first place. May this be the beginning of your preparing to receive Jesus as we move forward into this sweet, sweet season.

The Beginning of an Idea

One of the benefits of living in a culture steeped in nostalgia is that sometimes our forays into it can be pretty fun. One of the most classic sports movies when I was growing up was Disney’s The Mighty Ducks. It was one of those special movies that got everything just right. It certainly wasn’t going to win any awards, but it generated two sequels, both of which did reasonably well—especially once they left the theaters. More than that, the first film actually resulted in the naming of a new hockey team in the Los Angeles area that is still playing today: the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. I can’t think of another professional sports team that was named after a kids’ movie. Well, as Disney+ strives to attract subscribers by producing content intended for both kids and their parents who grew up in my generation, they are leaning pretty heavily on nostalgia to hook viewers and reel them in. One of the titles they have resurrected from the past in order to do this is none other than The Mighty Ducks. 

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