Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advent 2011

I'm looking forward to beginning our Advent season with you this Sunday.  Here is a description of the series.  I can't wait to explore God's word with you!  Read up on Matthew 1 and 9:9-13 and come hungry!

Advent 2011
Shake any family tree and you never know what kind of people might fall out. Let's face it, we all have a family member that we whisper about behind closed doors. We all have a relative or two we try to avoid at family gatherings. No surprise there.  But here's something you may not know. Jesus had a few shady characters in His family as well. Actually, He had some relatives that make your most wayward cousin look like a saint. This Advent, we will explore the genealogy of Matthew 1 and meet a few of these colorful characters and the role they play in the Christmas story.

As we study the genealogy we will ask, why are these people part of it? We will learn that they are part of the story because they are the point of the story.  (And so are we!) Christmas is God’s way of stating His plan to grace people.


11/27     The Guest List   Matthew 1, 9:9-13          
We will look at Matthew’s story and how God included Him in the family business.  Matthew was part of Jesus’ story because He is the point of the story and so are many included in the genealogy.              

12/4       What are They Doing Here?  Matthew 1:3, Genesis 38, Ephesians 2:8-9
Judah, the Self-righteous:  If I were God, I would have placed Joseph in the genealogical line.  He was the great man of faith, fleeing from sin, never giving up on his God dream. Yet his oldest brother Judah is included!  The Judah that concocted the plan to “off” Joseph, the one who lied to his daughter-in-law, committed incest with her and then wanted to kill her for getting pregnant!

Know any self-righteous hypocrites?  It is a distasteful form of sin, repulsive really, yet God’s grace is greater than our hypocrisy!  We will reinforce our value of authenticity and understand that only by grace are we also included and invited to belong.

12/11     The Labels          Matthew 1:5, Joshua 2, 6
Rahab: Her name in the Bible always comes with a label…and it isn’t pretty!  Rahab was someone who really didn’t belong.  She didn’t belong morally or ethnically.  God’s love is boundless when it comes to looking for people to belong and he wants to re-label us!  He wants to give us a new name card at the banquet table and a new legacy in the family tree.  Her past was forgiven and in turn her future legacy was supernatural.

12/18     A Promise is a Promise  Matthew 1:6, 2 Samuel 7:8-29
David:  Jesus is most closely associated with David in the family tree.  The whole reason the genealogy is in Matthew 1 is to trace Jesus to David because all of Judaism knew that the Messiah would come from David.  You would think that being so closely associated with Jesus required an impressive if not impeccable moral resume.  Think again.  Walk through the familiar story of David and Bathsheba, highlighting that God’s grace can forgive anything. 

12/24     And Everything Changed              Luke 2:8-20
The Shepherds: We will have four Christmas Eve services (5pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11pm) highlighting the shepherds – the outcasts.  No one respected them, the modern day laborers, and yet they are the first to hear of the Savior’s birth. They, too, are part of the story because they are the point of the story.