Category Archives: Advent

Repentance

Repentance
Jesus 
never 
had 
to 
repent.
Not 
once.
But you and I, we need to repent every day, maybe even every hour and for some of us – every minute.
Repentance is like turning yourself around from walking without a care in the world in one direction to running like a crazed gazelle being chased by a cheetah in the opposite direction. This is how we are to react to our own sin once we recognize it. It is a total transformation of the heart, mind and life. After repenting we are supposed to feel different, believe differently, love differently and live differently. It is a renouncing of the former way of life with a hearty resolve for a new way of life.
Jesus didn’t die so we’d be sorry. He died and then was resurrected so we’d be changed.
So how are you doing relative to repenting?
Me, not so well. But there’s still time and I am actively working on it.
Repentance is not getting caught. It’s coming clean!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture

M: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

M: On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. – Exodus 19:16 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, thou Lord of might, 
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain

M: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. – Isaiah 11:1, 10
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Refrain

M: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. – Numbers 24:17a
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Day-spring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain

M: I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Isaiah 22:22 
C: “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Revelation 3:7

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Refrain

M: All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,whose plan is wonderful,whose wisdom is magnificent. – Isaiah 28:29
 
Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Refrain

M: I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. – Haggai 2:7
 
Congregation Sings: O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Refrain

ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY – II

By far, my most popular post has been an Advent Candle Lighting Ceremony originally released in November of 2009. So I have decided to write a new one. You can see the entire ceremony here and download it by clicking on this link if interested:

https://app.box.com/s/v4dlj59j7bqe0tfc4ei4

Original 2009 Ceremony:
https://app.box.com/s/ie7fllgeakmtm384b2je

Week 1 (Hope):

Pastor: Jesus, be the light in our darkness.
As we light the candle of hope,
we pray for those feeling hopeless.

Pastor: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
All: Lord, fill us with hope. Hope of a new day. Hope that all fears are removed. Hope that our worship will please.

Pastor: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23
All: Hope that doors of opportunity that seem locked will be opened. Hope that broken relationships will be restored. Hope that diseased bodies will be healed.

Pastor: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:19-20
All: Hope for something more than ourselves. Hope that damaged trust will be revived. Hope that flailing churches will be renewed.

Pastor: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
All: Hope does not disappoint us. Hope is fulfilled.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Week 2 (Peace):

Pastor: As we light the candle of peace,
we pray for all who suffer the consequences of war and for all victims of violence.

Pastor: The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11
All: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8
Women: We need peace.

Pastor: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14
All: I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints— but let them not return to folly. – Psalm 85:8
Men: Our present peace and our eternal life hangs on this work of Christ.

Pastor: LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12
All: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
Women: Peace starts with a smile.

Pastor: Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10
All: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
Men: God wants us to be at peace.

Pastor: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, – Romans 5:1
All: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. – Luke 2:14
Women: We trade fear and anxiety, He provides peace.

Pastor: You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. – Isaiah 55:12
All: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, – Romans 14:17
Men: We look for peace in the wrong places.

Pastor: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
All: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. – Jude 1:2
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Week 3 (Joy):

Pastor: As we light the candle of joy,
we pray for the heavy-hearted.

P: The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. – Ps 19:8
All: The Joy of the LORD is our strength.

P: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Ps 16:11
Men: The Joy of the LORD is our strength.

P: The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. – Ps 28:7
Women: The Joy of the LORD is our strength.

P: May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. – Ps 67:4
All: The Joy of the LORD is my strength.

P: Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! – Ps 81:1
Men: The Joy of the LORD is my strength.

P: Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – Ps 95:1
Women: The Joy of the LORD is my strength.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!—

Week 4 (Love):

Pastor: As we light the candle of love,
we pray for those who have never felt love,
and for those who struggle to love others.

M: Love is patient
C: It is not hurried

M: love is kind
C: It is not harsh, rough or hurtful

M: It does not envy
C: It knows no other Gods

M: it does not boast
C: but only in Christ

M: it is not proud
C: It is humble

M: It is not rude
C: It is polite, refined and civil

M: it is not self-seeking
C: It is thoughtful and compassionate

M: it is not easily angered
C: it is understanding and sympathetic

M: it keeps no record of wrongs.
C: it forgives

M: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
C: Jesus is the truth and the truth is His native language.

M: It always protects
C: never endangers

M: always trusts
C: never doubts

M: always hopes
C: never fears

M: always perseveres.
C: Love never fails.

All: It always succeeds.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Christmas Eve (Christ):

M: Jesus, be the light in our darkness. As we light the candle of hope,
C: we pray for those feeling hopeless.
M: As we light the candle of peace,
C: we pray for all who suffer the consequences of war and for all victims of violence.
M: As we light the candle of joy,
C: we pray for the heavy-hearted.
M: As we light the candle of love,
C: we pray for those who have never felt love, and for those who struggle to love others.
M: Jesus be the light in the darkness,
C: that we might reflect your glorious light into the darkest corners of our sin-filled world. Amen.

M: “He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16–17)
C: What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us.

M: We need a savior. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
C: Let every heart prepare him room.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

More Contemporary Advent Song Choices

More Contemporary Advent Song Choices

Let It Come – Kathryn Scott
Light of The World – Watermark
Hosanna – Hillsong United
You Alone Can Rescue – Matt Redman
All Who Are Thirsty – Brenton Brown
From The Inside Out – Hillsong United
Refiner’s Fire – Brian Doerkson
Light The Fire Again – Brian Doerkson
Give Us Clean Hands – Charlie Hall
Waiting here for You – Christy Nockels
Here is Our King – David Crowder
Hosanna (Praise is Rising) – Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
Everlasting God – Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
Mighty to Save – Hillsong

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

After 400 years of silence, John the Baptist came
Preaching a message of repentance and avoiding any fame.

His meal of choice – locusts and honey
Didn’t care what he ate, didn’t care much about money.

A camel hair tunic, clothing chosen without care
Not a slave to fashion, he stood out, and people stared.

Living in the wilderness, yet another fox without a home
All over Galilee and Judea he did roam.

His friend’s sandals, he should not tie
But baptizing many, until the day he would die.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Sage advice, a goal to which we all must steer.

Advent Worship Planning Mind Map

Advent Worship Planning Mind Map

I don’t use mind maps much, but others do, and perhaps this will be of some use to you.  A mind map is a pictorial roadmap.  It is a plan that shows a central idea with topics attached to it.  So the following figure is a mind map that shows the worship planning for a typical worship service.  This example is for Dec 9, 2012 (Advent 2) and it is planned to be a contemporary service.  All four scripture readings are listed with songs attached to each reading that could be good choices to go along with the theme.  There is also an Advent prayer to go with the readings.

This mind map was created on an IPAD using the iOS APP called SimpleMind+ but there are many others.

Immanuel

Immanuel

Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God With Us”.  What a profound statement contained in a name as God is with us in so many ways.  Here’s a responsive reading to illustrate this point.

P:         God is with us in the flesh
C:        The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. – John 1:14

P:         God is with us in all fullness
C:        For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. – Colossians 2:9

P:         God is with us as an example
C:        Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, – Philippians 2:5-6

P:         God is with us as a companion
C:        Jesus said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – 2 Corinthians 6:16b

P:         God is with us by the Spirit
C:        Jesus said: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17

P:         God is with us always
C:        God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5b

 

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Contemporary Music for the Advent Season

Contemporary Music for the Advent Season

Finding good contemporary Advent music is not easy.  For some reason it is not a popular topic for today’s song writers.  These are a few songs that I have found and used in the past.

Contemporary
Advent Songs

Song Title Writer
A Baby Will Come Bill Wolf
All to Us Chris Tomlin
Behold the Lamb of God Shaun Starbuck
Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)  Amy Grant
Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin
Everlasting God Brenton Brown
Meet with Me Lamont Hiebert
My Soul in Stillness Waits Marty Haugen
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Aaron Shust and David Crowder have great versions of this hymn
Prepare Ye the Way Michael W Smith
Shout of the King Matt Maher
Waiting Here for You Chris Tomlin, Martin Smith

Most of the above songs are available for download at any of the following sites:

www.lifewayworship.com
www.musicnotes.com
www.praisecharts.com
www.sheetmusicplus.com
www.worshiptogether.com