Joy

Greetings everyone, and welcome to week 3 of our advent series: “The Arrival.”

 

This week we looked at the idea that “When Jesus arrives He opens the door to Christian joy.”

But what is Christian joy? This is how we defined it:

   Christian joy is a good feeling…

         …of well being.

              …built on great standing.

                 …in a glorious Savior.

 

This week reflect upon this wonderful truth and then also going before the Lord and asking the Lord to give you this joy. This will be our final week of entries as next Sunday will be Christmas EVE!! I hope you all have a blessed week!

 

Monday December 18, 2017

Time to give ourselves some gifts!!!

So often we hear that Christmas is a time about giving gifts to others. Which is very true. But I say we also need to give some gifts to ourselves. Gifts of joy!!! How do we do this? Starting today, and going through every day this week, find something you enjoy. It can be a small thing, something you enjoy for 30 seconds or a minute longer than you might otherwise. If you enjoy hugging your spouse, hug them for a minute longer. Take time to slow down and simply enjoy it. If you enjoy Christmas decorations, slow down and look at them for a little longer. There are all kinds of things. So often we move too fast, we don’t get the time to slow down and enjoy life. It’s like this scene I saw in a movie where a young man was devouring food at an incredibly fast pace and an older man who was sitting with him said, “Hey, be careful. If you slow down you might actually taste something.” Do we miss out on joy that could be had simply because we are moving too fast to enjoy it?

I invite you today to take something you know you enjoy. Maybe something that you are thankful to God for, and intentionally choose to enjoy it for a little bit longer. As you do, really try to turn your mind towards enjoying it, being grateful for it. These are little Christmas presents we can give to ourselves every day and many times they can be absolutely free of charge!

 

Tuesday December 19, 2017

Read this Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20.

As you read look for signs of joy. What do you notice in this story? So often for me, I don’t read this story and come up with new, novel or profound revelations, but rather I read it and simply enjoy the story. My invitation for you today is to do the same!

 

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice…

How do we keep Christ at the forefront of our thoughts? We rejoice in Him! Take some time today to think about the awesomeness of Jesus. You can think about the awesomeness of who He is, what He has done, and what He will continue to do. You can think about the promises He has made, or the wonder of what He has taught us. Let’s take some time today and simply enjoy Jesus!


Thursday December 21, 2017

God’s fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Joy is actually a fruit of walking in step and connection with the Holy Spirit. What does this mean?  It means you cannot produce joy on your own. Just like we couldn’t produce the baby Jesus on our own. Only God can do that! When Jesus arrives, joy arrives with Him because of how great, wonderful and marvelous God’s gift to us is in Christ!!! Today, my invitation to you is to consider your journey with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it’s time for you to ask the Spirit to develop more joy in you as you walk with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop His gifts in your life and also to show you if there are any ways you are not walking in step with Him. If He reveals something to you, then simply ask him to lead you in His way, to correct your course. Walking in step with the Spirit is literally the most life changing, life-transforming thing we can do.

 

Friday December 22, 2017

Blow the lid off the joy.

If you are daring, listen to this song and then look for a way to express joy in a way you wouldn’t normally. Maybe it’s dancing. Maybe it’s simply yelling or proclaiming out loud that Jesus is awesome. Maybe it’s banging on a drum, or doing jumping jacks, or singing with reckless abandon. What would it look like to blow the lid off our joy? Give it a shot today!!!!

 

Go Tell It On the Mountain by Little Big Town

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBF5kMjzMis

 

Saturday December 23, 2017

Soak it in…

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Take some time today to soak in the Christmas love! Enjoy the season. Enjoy the lights, enjoy the music, and enjoy the smells of Christmas. Take some time to do something intentional to enjoy Christmas. The season is almost over!!!!

 

May God bless you and your family this Christmas!

Pastor Ryan



Hope

Over the next 3 weeks I will be giving you some scripture, to reflect on some beautiful things that arrive with Jesus. This week we looked at Hope. When Jesus is born, it’s not just a baby being born in a stable but rather it is the moment when the door swings wide open to HOPE. Here’s the thing though. This isn’t just your standard run of the mill, “Geez I really hope this happens for me” wishful thinking kind of Hope. This is the, “God promised it; God will make it happen so I will expect it with confidence” kind of Hope. When Jesus is born true Hope explodes into reality for anyone throughout the history of mankind. This Hope is ever present for us, it is life transforming and it is ETERNAL!

 

This week, my invitation is for you to, on a daily basis, take some time to reflect on the amazing and wonderful Hope God has given us in Jesus Christ! Below is a list of scriptures and exercises to do every day to help you really dive into this concept of Hope!

 

Monday Day #1: He Shall Reign Forevermore by Chris Tomlin

Listen to this song by Chris Tomlin that proclaims this great and glorious hope we have in Jesus!

Really try to give this song a listen every day!

        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2NzLqpod0I&list=RDJ2NzLqpod0I

 

Tuesday Day #2: An excerpt from the Jesus storybook Bible

Back at the beginning of time- all had been lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, but even back then God made His promises to us. This excerpt is taken from a beautifully illustrated children’s Bible. Take some time to read this passage and consider the hope its words…

 

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.

THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE

 

Wednesday Day #3: Isaiah 9:5-7

Take some time today to read and reflect on this scripture written below.

For unto me a child is born, unto me a son is given;
   and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called

   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
   on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness
  from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 

Can you think of several hopeful statements in this passage?

 

Thursday Day #4: Words of reflection

Today we are going to reflect on a poem by Emily Dickinson, and then afterwards, I invite you to consider words that describe the hope God has given you and write them down on a notecard for you to tape or put somewhere you can see it. They don’t have to be anything super deep or philosophical. It could be a simple word or phrase. But it needs to make sense to you.

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all….

~Emily Dickinson

 

Friday Day #5: John 1:9-14

Let’s reflect upon another great scripture passage filled with Hope.

 

Saturday Day #6: Colossians 1:26-27

With arrival of Jesus a new Hope has exploded into reality. God has come to us, to dwell in our hearts. Look at this amazing hope in this passage! What do you notice??

 

This is a brief list of verse and exercises for you this week as you reflect on advent! May the Lord bless you my brothers and sisters!

 

Pastor Ryan



A Call to Prepare

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.

For this week I’d like to invite you to read the story of Mary in Luke 1:26-38. Try to read it several times this week. Close your eyes and picture the scene in your mind, or even try to put yourself in Mary’s shoes. What thoughts, emotions do you feel in this passage? What things to do notice or observe. On Sunday we will get into this story and my hope is for you to spend some time with it this week!

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!!!!

Pastor Ryan


Worship is Forever

2nd Look- 11.28.16

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s second look.

For these next few weeks I will be shifting gears a little bit and doing more specifically Advent themed second looks.

For this week I’d like to invite you to read the story of Zechariah in Luke 5:1-25. Maybe try to read it several times this week. Try to close your eyes and picture the scene in your mind, or even try to put yourself in Zechariah’s shoes. What thoughts, emotions do you feel in this passage? What things do you notice or observe? On Sunday we will get into this story and my hope is for you to spend some time with it this week!

Also if you want more information about Advent; here’s a link that helps explain it.

http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html

The article explains that Advent is intended to be a time of fasting and this fasting aligns us with being expectant and even mourning over the state of our world- waiting for the return of our Savior. Have you ever fasted?

Fasted is the intentional giving up of something in order to turn towards prayer. What I’ve done during the advent season is to fast something and every time I desire that thing I’m fasting, I turn towards God in prayer remembering that we are in a season of waiting. Perhaps you might consider fasting something.

Anyway, let’s have a wonderful week and enjoy this season of looking forward to that time when we will see our Savior face to face; and also look forward to that time where we can celebrate his birth!

 

Have a great week!

Pastor Ryan



Advent Week 3

Hello Everybody!

Welcome to this week’s 2nd look!

 

As you may recall we are in our third week of the advent season. Last Sunday we talked about how when Jesus appears- a doorway has opened to God’s wisdom being available to us. God’s wisdom.. What is that? Do you remember how we looked at God’s wisdom being Redemption; righteousness and holiness? These things are available to us in Jesus Christ. This week, I’d like to invite you to read a passage everyday to consider how Jesus has become for us wisdom from God. Take five minutes a day, and read the verse and simply reflect on it. What feelings or thoughts does it bring to mind?

 

Here are the Bible verses for this week:

 

Monday: Colossians 1:24-29

Tuesday: 1 Peter 1:8-16

Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (emphasize verse 18)

Thursday: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Friday: James 3:13-18

Saturday: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

 

Have a great week everybody!

 

Pastor Ryan



Advent Week 2

Hi everybody.

This is the beginning of week 2 of advent.

Here is what we’ve looked at so far:

Miracle #1: When Jesus Appears Nobody Becomes Somebody.

Miracle #2: When Jesus Appears Nowhere Becomes Somewhere.

If you remember from the sermon- we talked about how Jesus chose to make himself a kid from the wrong side of the tracks because he chose to be a servant; and because he chose to be planted in the middle of darkness to bring the light of God. This week as we continue looking forward to the birthday of our savior- I’d like to invite you to consider these verses that talk about these issues. Please remember to give yourself a five minute space of time to read a verse and simply reflect and pray on it. What truth is it teaching you? Have a great week everybody!

Monday– John 1:1-13

Tuesday– Matthew 20:28

Wednesday– Philippians 2:5-11

Thursday– John 8:12

Friday– 2 Corinthians 4:6

Saturday– Ephesians 5:8



Advent – Week 1

Hello Everyone!

On this first week of the advent season I want to invite you to try something.

Some of you may be aware that one of the traditions in advent is to give up something as you wait for the birth of Christ. Maybe you give up Starbucks coffee – or soda – or ice cream late at night. Maybe you give up TV or playing computer games. Who knows what it is. The point is – that whenever you long for that thing you gave up – you take that moment to remember the longing mankind has for a savior and you let that moment be an opportunity for prayer and reflection.

As the advent season goes on, I also want to invite you to join me with doing some daily advent “timeouts.” What is this? Each week I’ll send you some Bible verses, you read one a day and take a 5 minute “Timeout” to simply sit and reflect on that verse. Each compilation of verses will follow along with the sermon theme from the previous Sunday…

This week the theme of our sermon was: “When Jesus appears; nobodies become somebodies…”
Here are the verses for our Daily Advent Timeout:
Monday- John 3:16
Tuesday- Romans 5:8
Wednesday- Ephesians 2:1-10
Thursday- 1 Peter 5:6-7
Friday- Romans 8:37-39
Saturday- John 1:9-13

Have a great week everybody!!!

Pastor Ryan

PS- have you pulled out the Christmas music yet? I’d like to recommend to you some really amazing Christmas cds that my family and I have been enjoying over the last couple years. They are made by indie artists.  The albums are titled:
“A Christmas Together” and they come in different volumes made by Christian independent artists. You heard one of the songs this past Sunday. Well done – very creative – and many new Christmas songs to really freshen things up for you.  Click here for a link to the cds.