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Preparing for Worship on Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sermon: "From His Fullness" The preaching passage: John 1:14-18 During this Advent season and through the new year, we'll be examining the first chapter of John's Gospel. Contained in this lengthy chapter are powerful, eternal truths that reveal the glory and the grace of our salvation and, moreover, the glory and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our desire is to onc...

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Advent Devotional - December 24, 2014

"Come, Thou long expected Jesus / Born to set Thy people free / From our fears and sins release us / Let us find our rest in Thee" -Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Rest is a significant idea that is portrayed in both the Old and New Testaments. There are examples of rest from war, rest from work, and so forth. But all of that rest, though in some ways manifested in physica...

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Advent Devotional - December 23, 2014

"Mild He lays His glory by / Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth / Hark! The herald angels sing / 'Glory to the newborn King!'" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing In the above lyrics, it is tempting to speed past that first line without even thinking. After all, this is Christmas, right? Let's get to the birth part, ...

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Advent Devotional - December 22, 2014

"Truly He taught us to love one another / His law is love and His gospel is peace" -O Holy Night A favorite for Christians around the world, "O Holy Night," derived from the French poem "Cantique De Nol," places the hearer in the setting of Christ's birth as described in the gospel of Luke. The first two stanzas illustrate not only the physical scene, but also the unprec...

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Advent Devotional - December 21, 2014

"O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
 / Our spirits by Thine advent here
 / Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
 / And death's dark shadows put to flight" -O Come, O Come, Emmanuel The power of sin lies precisely in that it affects the whole person. Sin not only creates an infinite gap between God and man, it also dominates our very way of living. B...

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Advent Devotional - December 20, 2014

"Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! /
 Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
 / Light and life to all He brings
 / Risen with healing in His wings" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings" (Malachi 4:2). Malachi, the prophet whose book is the last of the Old Testament, wrote ...

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Preparing for Worship on Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sermon: "Rejection and Reception" The preaching passage: John 1:9-13 During this Advent season and through the new year, we'll be examining the first chapter of John's Gospel. Contained in this lengthy chapter are powerful, eternal truths that reveal the glory and the grace of our salvation and, moreover, the glory and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our desire is t...

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Advent Devotional - December 19, 2014

"Go tell it on the mountain / Over the hills and everywhere / Go tell it on the mountain / Jesus Christ is born" -Go Tell it on the Mountain Celebration and proclamation naturally occur at the birth of a long awaited child. Birth announcements are sent through the mail, gifts are presented to the newborn child, and social updates are made of the child's weekly and monthl...

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Advent Devotional - December 18, 2014

"Joyful, all ye nations rise / Join the triumph of the skies / With the angelic host proclaim: / 'Christ is born in Bethlehem' / Hark! The herald angels sing / 'Glory to the newborn King!'" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing For one who was in reality the newborn King, Jesus' birth was anything but earth-shattering news at the time. No trumpets blared in palace gardens. No her...

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Advent Devotional - December 17, 2014

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining / Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth /
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
 /For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!" -Oh Holy Night Any celebration of the Christmas season must be accompanied by reflection on the very reason Christ came to this earth: for our sin. Ever since Adam and Eve took tha...

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Advent Devotional - December 16, 2014

"Veiled in flesh the Godhead see /
 Hail the incarnate Deity /
 Pleased as man with man to dwell
 / Jesus, our Emmanuel /
 Hark! The herald angels sing /
 "Glory to the newborn King!" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." With these words Charles Dickens opens his famous novel A Tale of Two Citie...

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Advent Devotional - December 15, 2014

"This day is born a Savior
 / Of a pure Virgin bright,
 / To free all those who trust in Him /
 From Satan's power and might /
 O tidings of comfort and joy" -God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Our greatest enemy, the devil himself, has two strong weapons: sin and death. In a Genesis 3 world, we are deeply wounded by these weapons. They are wielded again...

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Advent Devotional - December 14, 2014

"Mild He lays His glory by / Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth / Hark! The herald angels sing / 'Glory to the newborn King!'" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing The above lines list several reasons why Jesus came to earth, but all of them might well be summed up in one simple phrase: He was born that we might be re...

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Advent Devotional - December 13, 2014

"No more let sins and sorrows grow / Nor thorns infest the ground / He comes to make His blessings flow / Far as the curse is found / Far as the curse is found / Far as, far as the curse is found" -Joy to the World This stanza from "Joy to the World" sings of the furthest reaching salvific effects of the coming of Christ. Four important words in this song carry us all th...

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Preparing for Worship on Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sermon: "Something Important to Say" The preaching passage: John 1:6-8 During this Advent season and through the new year, we'll be examining the first chapter of John's Gospel. Contained in this lengthy chapter are powerful, eternal truths that reveal the glory and the grace of our salvation and, moreover, the glory and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our desire is...

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Advent Devotional - December 12, 2014

"O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free / Thine own from Satan's tyranny / From depths of Hell Thy people save / And give them victory o'er the grave" -O Come, O Come Emmanuel The church in Corinth had their doubts about life after death. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul systematically addressed their concerns by first recounting Christ's resurrection. He reminds them what the Scriptu...

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Advent Devotional - December 11, 2014

"Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
 / And in His name all oppression shall cease" -Oh Holy Night The Advent season is tremendously helpful in allowing us to reflect on hope that Christ brings to our broken world. The above verse simultaneously reminds us of the chain-shattering redemption that Christ enacts, and our personal connection with those i...

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Advent Devotional - December 10, 2014

"Israel's strength and consolation / Hope of all the earth Thou art / Dear desire of every nation / Joy of every longing heart" -Come Thou Long Expected Jesus In the time of the "long expected Jesus'" birth, God's chosen people of Israel were living the ultimate dream deferred under the oppressive rule of a godless regime with centuries separating them from the last insp...

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Advent Devotional - December 9, 2014

"Now to the Lord sing praises / All you within this place / And with true love and brotherhood / Each other now embrace" -God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen For a few brief hours on Christmas Day 1914, German and British soldiers along the front lines of World War I held an impromptu ceasefire. Sworn enemies emerged from their trenches, shook hands in no-man's land, and celebra...

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Advent Devotional - December 8, 2014

"Come and behold Him, born the King of angels" -O Come Let Us Adore Him Come and behold Him! What a glorious, knee-bending invitation! Since the Fall of man in the garden, such a prospect had been rendered impossible for our sin-ravaged race. How could man, saturated with hellbent rebellion, come and behold Him? He is the holy God of all creation, and even upon the genui...

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Advent Devotional - December 7, 2014

"He rules the world with truth and grace / And makes the nations prove / The glories of His righteousness / And wonders of His love" -Joy to the World In The Prince, Machiavelli famously wrote that it is "better to feared than loved, if you can't be both." But what if you can? The Bible refuses to concede Machiavelli's sinister choice. The basic Christian confession is t...

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Advent Devotional - December 6, 2014

"Yea, Lord, we greet thee / born this happy morning /Jesus, to thee be glory given /Word of the Father / now in flesh appearing / O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord" -O Come All Ye Faithful Words. We speak lots of them every day. Some of them are consequential, some are trivial, and many others are somewhere in-between. But what about God's words? From the beginni...

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Preparing for Worship on Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sermon: "The Word that Works" The preaching passage: John 1:1-5 During this Advent season and through the new year, we'll be examining the first chapter of John's Gospel. Contained in this lengthy chapter are powerful, eternal truths that reveal the glory and the grace of our salvation and, moreover, the glory and grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our desire is to onc...

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Advent Devotional - December 5, 2014

"The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
 / In all our trials born to be our friend"
 -O Holy Night How expensive is a meeting including every king or ruler on the planet? The figure is incalculable. Simply maintaining Britain's royals is estimated at around $7000 per hour! With this enormous gap between citizens and kings, how can the monarchy relate to c...

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Advent Devotional - December 4, 2014

"Why lies He in such mean estate, / Where ox and beast are feeding? / Good Christians, fear, for sinners here / The silent Word is pleading. /Nails, spear shall pierce Him through / the cross be borne for me, for you. / Hail, hail the Word made flesh / the Babe, the Son of Mary" -What Child is This The image of the manger is rather common at Christmas time. We sing of th...

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Advent Devotional - December 3, 2014

"Joy to the world! The Lord is come / Let earth receive her King! / Let every heart prepare Him room / And heaven and nature sing!" -Joy to the World "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." These are the words of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth, in Matthew 3:2. One chapter later, in Matthew 4:17, they become the words of Jesus, as He makes an id...

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Advent Devotional - December 2, 2014

"Hark the herald angels sing / Glory to the newborn King! / Peace on earth and mercy mild / God and sinners reconciled" -Hark the Herald Angels Sing An unbridled joy is present in "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." The angels burst forth onto the scene with singing, glory is radiant in a new King, and peace and mercy abound on Earth. Yet the crescendo is found in the final...

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Sing in Exultation - Advent Devotional: Introduction

"Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation Sing all ye citizens of heaven above; Glory to God, all glory in the highest: O come, let us adore Him, Christ The Lord" -O Come All Ye Faithful Why this emphasis on singing? Why this emphasis on praise? Must we sing about Christ to fully embrace and enjoy the grace given to us in the Christmas story? Simply put, the answer is y...

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Advent Devotional - December 1, 2014

"O come, O come, Emmanuel / And ransom captive Israel / That mourns in lonely exile here / Until the Son of God appear / Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel" -O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Christmas is a time of great anticipation. Whether it's children eagerly waiting for mom and dad to wake up on Christmas morning so they can open presents, or hungry a...

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