My 12/22/19 AM sermon at Crestview, Fulfilled (Matthew 2:13-23), is now online. This sermon wrapped up a brief series I did through Advent covering Matthew 1-2. It focused on the Flight to Egypt, Bethlehem’s sorrow, and setting in Nazareth and how these things fulfilled God’s Word. I was personally challenged by Herod’s slaughter of the innocents and what this might mean for the holiday season. I hope this sermon encourages you.
On December 1, Burk Parsons tweeted out…
This got me curious, so I dug into some research on Advent Antiphons and learned this…
Each stanza highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Each verse praises the coming of the Savior by a different name, and closes with petitions appropriate to the title. According to musical scholars, the arrangement was not accidental. It is called an acrostic, something known to puzzle fanatics. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ero cras are formed, translated as, “Tomorrow, I will be [there].”
So, when these are sung, they help express a longing for Jesus to come and each of these longings make an acrostic with a promise: “Tomorrow, I will be there.”
Now you may think, “I wish I could hear this song.” And, fortunately, you have probably heard it and maybe sung it already:
1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
4 O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain
5 O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain
6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain
7 O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel on Hymnary)
May this season be one in which you reflect on the longing those first-century people had as the Christ came and may you long for the returning Lord, as well.
What a Sunday! We enjoyed an amazing Children’s Christmas Program (in spite of the weather!) at Crestview. The content, memory work, singing, and service of our children/students made for a great morning.
My sermon, Come and Worship (Matthew 2:1-12), sought to wrap up the program, continue our short series in Matthew 1 and 2, and unpack the story of the Wise Men and Herod. The sermon was only 15 minutes, so I’d love for you to connect to this content.
In the afternoon, we had an Open House for church family and friends. Again, in spite of the weather, we have so many show up and bring us joy this holiday season. We were so blessed.
Then, the day wrapped with our Small Group celebrating Advent together. We celebrated with readings from Isaiah, Psalms, Matthew, and James, as well as sang some great songs and lighted 3 candles (for week 3). We had some snacks/drinks and it proved a perfect wrap for this day. What a day!
My 12/8/19 AM sermon, The Birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25), is now online. This sermon dug into the familiar narrative of Jesus’ birth to help us see the progression of how God brought Jesus into the world. This sermon continues a short series I’m doing through Matthew 1 and 2 to help us marvel at the incarnation of Jesus the King. I hope it encourages you.
There are lots of tools that I use during the Advent/Christmas season. Each year, I’m trying to find new music, resources, to other things that might help my worship.
I’m reading Repeat the Sounding Joy by Christopher Ash. This is a simple devotional walking through Luke 1-2. Speaking of Luke, I saw on social media a reading plan that meant reading Luke 1-24 on the days leading up to Advent, so I designed this plan to read, using the Illuminated Scripture Journal on Luke.
Using Tony Reinke’s #IsaiahChristmas plan, I’m incorporating his notes into a fresh reading of Isaiah. And, I’m also reading the He Reads Truth Advent Devotional. Also, there’s a section of Paul Miller’s JCurve book that focuses in on Incarnation. Been thinking about this a lot.
I’ll probably do a follow up on some music for this year.
My 12/1/19 AM sermon at Crestview, The (Glorious) Backstory out of Matthew 1:1-17, is now online. This was the first sermon in a short series I’m preaching for Advent out of Matthew 1 and 2. And, I spent the sermon digging into the backstory of Jesus. How did the Old Testament anticipate Him? How do God’s promises find a face in Jesus?
I hope this sermon helps kickoff Advent well for you. Enjoy.
1 Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
This past Sunday, we sang the Getty’s song My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness. We also prayed this prayer from Thomas Cranmer…
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
We, your unworthy servants, give humble and hearty thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all people;
we bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;
but, above all, for your amazing love
in the redemption of the world through our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace;
and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us that due sense of all your mercies,
that our hearts may be truly thankful
and that we may declare your praise
not only with our lips but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory,
now and forever. Amen.
Some other articles that I’ve found helpful are here from CCEF:
Thankful People by David Powlison
“Gratitude happens when you take to heart a good gift that brings you great pleasure. In what follows, I offer you old, seasoned gifts: a hymn, a prayer, and a poem. Each intends to prime the pump of your thankfulness.”
I Am Not Giving Thanks by Ed Welch
“We do not give thanks for oppression or victimization, and we do not give thanks for cancer, spinal cord injuries, or even more innocuous things like headaches.”
Instilling Gratitude in Your Family by Julie Lowe
“Gratitude does not come naturally to us, but it can be cultivated. It acknowledges that no matter my condition, my possessions, my sufferings, or my blessings, we are rich in the ways the world cannot quantify.”
Have a great Thanksgiving week!
My 11/24/19 AM sermon at Crestview Bible Church, Kingdom Kindness (2 Samuel 10), is now online. This sermon was my final sermon in 2 Samuel before Advent. It dug into what to expect when our kindness and love are rejected in this world. I’m hoping it helps us persevere in doing good. Enjoy.
My 11/17/19 AM sermon, Kingdom Promises (2 Samuel 8-9), is now online. This sermon dug into the outcome of the promises God made to David in chapter 7. Specifically, God keeps His promise to David, expanding the reach of David’s kingdom. And, in chapter 9, David keeps his promise to Jonathan, extending kindness to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. I hope this sermon encourages you.