Celebrating what Jesus brought to earth
December 24, 2015 – John 8:2, "The Light of the World"
In a candlelight service, Pastor John talked about the smartphone flashlight app and how it is an amazing invention because everywhere you go, you have access to light. He then transitioned to ask the audience if they had ever walked in the dark without a flashlight, describing it as often times painful, confusing, frustrating and even dangerous. From there, Pastor John explained that without Jesus our souls are walking around in the dark both lost and blind. He read the passage from John where Jesus stated, "I am the light of the world." Along with His claim of being the one who brings life, Jesus gave His hearers one condition and two promises. His condition, follow me and His promises, you will never walk in darkness and you will have the light of life. Pastor John's big idea was, "Jesus is the light of the world and worthy to be followed."
December 20, 2015 – Isaiah 9:6-7, "The Prince of Peace"
Continuing in our Advent series, Pastor John looked into the idea of peace. He explained that with the craziness of life and the pressures of our circumstances, we all desire peace. He then explained, that the restlessness that you feel over your circumstances, your soul feels that same absence of peace ten times more. Pastor John then described how our sin has made it so that our souls--made to be in relationship with God are now in a place where they and God are "not cool" or not at peace. When Jesus came to earth, He came extending peace to our souls with the promise of complete peace for all of our circumstances, when He returns. Pastor John read Isaiah 9:6-7 and talked about how Jesus is a "gift to us" that was someone who is both aware of our suffering and our temptation. He explained that all of the names for Jesus; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father...they all found their apex at Prince of Peace. As the Prince, the promise is that He will reign with justice and righteousness for ever. He made the statement, Now that is a Savior that I want to follow. To those who have not yet received Christ and the peace for their souls, Pastor John encouraged that we do so. For those who have and wonder what is next, he stated that we are called to be peacemakers. Pastor John explained that peacemakers are not just those who talk about Jesus, but are those who act like Jesus looking to bring peace to all of the community--rebuilding and strengthening relationships and systems. His big idea was, "God is calling us receive His peace and to be His peacemakers."
December 13, 2015 – Luke 2:8-11, "The Real Superman"
Pastor John continued our Advent series, introducing how God's act of sending Jesus to be our savior should be a cause for joy. In an abbreviated sermon, he shared how his son, Micah reacts with joy when Superman rescues someone on a tv show, and stated that we all tend to react like that. In walking through the text, Pastor John explained that the Good News is that Jesus came to save us just like Superman saves people from a crumbling building. However, unlike Superman, when Jesus rescues us, He doesn't leave us, but He stays with us, forever. He stated, Jesus is the real superman. His big idea was, "Jesus came to rescue us and that should give us joy."
December 6, 2015 – 1 Peter 1:3-9, "A Different Hope"
Pastor John started our Advent series by preaching on hope. He introduced the concept of our daily hope on this earth really tends to function as a wish, a desire, or sometimes a calculated risk. As a result, hope sometimes feels to us like it is not certain and we are left with anxiety and nervousness. In fact, when we take an inventory of what it is that we place our hope in, it is true that everything can potentially fail us. However, Pastor John indicated the followers of Jesus talked about hope in a different way. They spoke of hope with confidence and assuration...as if it was for certain. After reading 1 Peter 1:3-9, he explained that Peter was doing two things in regards to explaining this different hope; 1. He gave us a description of it, 2. He told us about the promises that come from hoping in this way. Pastor John emphasized that Peter's description of hope was that it was "living" because it was anchored in the One who has defeated death and was and still is alive--Jesus Christ! He compared all of the other people on earth who, over the centuries have offered salvation and explained that only Jesus is still alive...the rest are in their graves. This is why Peter's hope was so secure, because he had seen Jesus, resurrected and alive! He then explained that as a result of hoping, Peter promised us that God--as a good Father, has an inheritance for us stored up in heaven, one that will not spoil, rust or fade. Additionally, Pastor John explained that Peter indicates that God promises to keep us, protect us and shield our souls until the day of salvation. He tied it in to Advent by explaining that Jesus was born to die and it was through His death and resurrection that He gave us hope. His big idea was, "The hope that Jesus brings is a living hope filled with promises."