Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Thrill of Hope

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us… Hebrews 10:19-22
Merry Christmas PCC,
A few years ago at a Christmas dinner Anne and I attended, a woman offered a beautiful prayer of thanks for the meal. In the prayer, she opened with the following: “Lord, you never asked us to remember your birth, but you did command us to remember your death and so tonight as we celebrate your birth, we do so remembering that you were born to die…”
As co-conspirators during Advent, may I encourage us to consider bringing the following gifts in honor of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus? Here are three resolves from Hebrews 10:19-22 that would honor God and serve us all well.
  • The Gift of Yourself:  Intimacy with Jesus: …let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (v22). In other words, prioritize, cherish, value exploring and experiencing the person of Christ.  Can you imagine if I told my wife, “Anne, after 23 years of marriage, we are about as close as we will ever get.”  Imagine the value that statement makes to Anne regarding my assessment of her.  The Apostle Paul was right in Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  Make 2013 a year where your intimacy with Jesus grows.
  • The Gift of Perspective: Holding to Hope: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess… (v23) Hope is only as good as the object it is placed in.  What is your hope based on?  As you grow closer to Jesus and seek Him in His word, you will begin to discover, meditate upon and embrace the amazing promises in God’s word.  Hope will supernaturally develop within you and you will act in faith and on hope, not timidly and on circumstances. Hope is a compliment and one expression of walking by faith.  Where is your hope built these days?  What if this year, we hoped in faith, in honor of God’s word?  The mission of Jesus is cause for incredible hope.
  • The Gift of Community: Encouraging Each Other: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (v24) When I value gathering with other followers of Jesus, praying with them, listening to them, encouraging them with Scripture, bearing with them…what a gift that is to God and to others.  God delights when His kids get along well.
The song writer was correct when he penned the following words:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices;
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! 
O night divine, the night when Christ was born!
May the thrill of hope be yours this Christmas and into the next year! 

I love being your pastor!