First Sunday in Advent – Hope
Welcome to Worship today on this the first Sunday in Advent. This is a time of waiting, of hoping, of expectation. It is a time of listening for God’s loving response. As Advent leads us up to Christmas, there is much to look forward to – gifts, special food, visitors – friends and family, and parties. Yet we also wait for something far more significant: the gift of Jesus, God’s Son. This is a holy time. We remember centuries of hopeful expectation for the Messiah, from the prophets of the Old Testament. We also look forward to the promise and wonder of Jesus as described in the New Testament.
At the time of Jesus’ birth we find an amazing story of God bursting into the world in a unique and unusual way. We find that God interrupts a whole heap of people in surprising ways in this dramatic entry. We have wise men who interrupt King Herod (Matthew 2) with news of a new king, we have a young teenager whose life is interrupted so that she can become the ‘mother of God’s son’. Joseph, Shepherds, Herod, Angels, inn keepers, Elizabeth and Zechariah, all have their daily lives interrupted, for and by the purposes of God.
I have taken the theme during this Advent season, “Life Interrupted – Navigating the Unexpected” from a Bible teacher by the name of Priscilla Shirer. In her book with the same title, Priscilla, uses the prophet Jonah as the biblical focal point of her teaching. I will be using some of her teaching points, but I’ll apply them through the lectionary readings for Advent season, rather than the Book of Jonah.
Each week we will hear testimonies of people whose lives have been interrupted by God and instead of seeing these “Life Interruptions” as negative or aggravating, we will see the hand of God bringing Divine Interventions into peoples lives so they can lay a foundation for better things as they surrender to the living and loving God of all creation. This follows on from our heart of worship theme, which concluded last week.
Today in the bulletin you will see the profile of Faye Spittle who has accepted the nomination to be considered as an Elder on our Church Council for 2014. We will conduct a very brief Congregational meting in two weeks time on 15th December for this election. Faye has discerned that God is interrupting her life at this point with a responsibility to serve God, and the body of Christ in this capacity of leadership. Can you please pray for Faye as she offers herself to this area of leadership?
This coming Saturday is one of our largest outreaches for our Church each year. In partnership with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), we are hosting the Ashmore Community Carols at Ashmore State School from 5.30 to 8.30pm. As you know, at Ashmore Uniting Church, we seek to express our Christian faith through the vision of being a loving church, focused on the Gospel of Christ:
- Reaching out
- Meeting needs
- Equipping people for service
Our motto is: “reaching out, changing lives”
The Community Carols event seeks to live out this vision on many levels. This Wednesday evening from 7-8pm we will be having a time of corporate prayer for this outreach. I’d love to see you at this prayer gathering at the Church. If you want to assist in any way on the Carols night please let me know either in person or by ringing me on 0409 261 337.
May you navigate the unexpected interruptions through God’s Spirit…..this week….Rev Brad Foote