Yesterday we kicked off our Advent series that we’re calling “Great Expectations” – Earl is walking through the first couple chapters of the book of Matthew and going back to the Old Testament passages referred there.
The first passage Matthew quotes is from Isaiah 7 and in the context of the birth of Jesus the verse makes total sense but there is also another context in which Isaiah is writing. By looking at the interaction between Isaiah and King Ahaz and the three children referred to in Isaiah 7-9 we were reminded to trust in God because He is, after all, with us. The “Immanuel” referred to in chapter 9 has an immediate significance for Isaiah and Ahaz but also has a longer-term significance, referring to Jesus, our Messiah.
With all the crazy stuff going on in the world – you might not know this but basically right now Canada has no government – people need to be reminded that God is with us and that He can be trusted, so our morning was focused on doing just that.
Great Expectations – December 7, 2008
Call To Worship – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
How Great Thou Art – G
Jesus Messiah – G
Advent Reading – Isaiah 7:10-14
Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus – F
O Come O Come Emmanuel – Em
Message – What’s In A Name
Everlasting God – A
I was playing piano this week which gave me the chance to lead the two Christmas-y songs a little more traditionally than I would have if I had been playing guitar. Placing the songs in the context of our Advent reading & series made them fit very well in to the morning and it didn’t feel like we just stuck them in there because it’s Christmas.
Closing the service with Everlasting God was pretty much a no-brainer but it was a perfect response song for our people. Our church loves that song and they belted it on during both services on Sunday morning.
A few things I reflected on yesterday after our morning was over –
- I love the people who serve on our worship teams – seriously, they are incredible. Their commitment level is awesome, their passion for this ministry is awesome and we have a really great time when we are together. Doing this week after week wouldn’t be nearly as fun as it is because of the people I get to serve with.
- I love my family – we had the opportunity to dedicate several children during our services yesterday, including my youngest daughter, Isabelle. It’s a great privilege to be the dad of these three girls, knowing that God has given me the great responsibility to lead them and parent them as they grow.
- I love this time of year – I’m not really a Christmas freak and my wife is fairly fond of calling me a Scrooge. So what if I don’t like Christmas music on in my house before December? So what if I would rather wait until December twenty-something to get a tree? That really makes me a Scrooge?? 🙂 What do I love about this time of year? I love that people are thinking about Jesus and are open to talking about Him. I love that people are willing to immerse themselves in the story of His birth for a little while and be okay with a bit of the mystery that comes with it. I love that there will be hundreds of people coming to our building on Christmas Eve for their annual church visit and we have this amazing opportunity to remind them that they, too, can trust God because He is with us. I love this time of year.