All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘advent’

Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 12.23.18

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Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

We pursued this Big Idea and these three points:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.

Jesus conquers shame.

Shame is about power
Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria

Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He took the throne over Rome by defeating Marc Antony in a bloody battle in 31BC. In the background of this story is the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony was part of the ruling triumvirate. However he became infatuated with Egypt’s queen Cleopatra. When Antony became more concerned with Cleopatra than well-being of Rome, Caesar Augustus moved in.

When he took the throne, he mellowed becoming less bloody. He passed a lot of moral laws and proclaimed that he had brought justice and peace to the whole world. He then declared his Father, Julius Caesar to be divine thus making himself the Son of God. Poets wrote songs declaring him the savior of the world. He once issued this gospel: “Divine Caesar Augustus, son of God, imperator of land and sea, the benefactor and savior of the whole world, has brought you peace”

Caesar was about exercising his power and controlling people. That is the fertile ground for shame. Psychologist, Dr. Robin Smith, spoke about the power of having power over someone. She said, “I will define who you are and then I’ll make you believe that’s your definition.”

So how do we define ourselves?

By power over us?
By ourselves?
By our creator? Our designer.

The only way to for 1 and 2 not to make a problem, even when trusting 3 is to trust and pursue the scriptures.

Shame is not hopeless

3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Both Mary and Joseph had received messages from God about the birth of Jesus. Mary in Luke and Josephs in Matthew. So, the census causing them to go to Bethlehem made sense b/c Micah 5:2 said that the savior would be born there. According to Matthew, Mary and Joseph were now married, but Matthew says that they did not consummate the marriage relationship until after Jesus birth, so she could still be called his “betrothed”. I think of Mary making that journey of 90 miles. Poor woman. Amy is on bedrest and getting up is a challenge some days. I can’t imagine riding on a donkey for 90 miles.

Retuning home is about confronting shame, especially because we return home or face family. But it was not hopeless for Mary and Joseph because they were ushering in the Savior of the world.

Jesus conquers shame

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The conception was miraculous; the delivery was the normal painful birth of any delivery Wrapped him in swaddling cloths, laid him in a manger b/c there was no place in the inn You wonder why they didn’t stay with relatives? Maybe b/c Mary was a sinner? The idea of inn was a two story building. Sort of like a beach house. The second floor was where the people stayed and the first was where the animals were kept. This is probably where they stayed. As we know, the manger was a feeding trough for animals. Can you imagine? I remember how paranoid we were with our first child about germs.

In the midst of that, Jesus conquered our shame.

2 Cor. 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus was born in a stable not a palace. He was laid in a manger not in cute crib or bassinette. This all spells poverty and deprivation. Allow Jesus to meet you in your most embarrassing and shame-filled moment.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.
Jesus conquers shame.


Truth: Shame wants you to think you are powerless. You are not. Jesus took your shame, and faith in Him conquers any shame that you or anyone else tries to put on you.
Application: Live knowing that Jesus defeated all your shame and wages war constantly and vigilantly to assure you of that fact.
Action: When you have shame-filled thoughts, write them out somewhere, maybe the notes on your phone. Then, erase them letter by letter thanking Jesus for His work on the cross.
I agree with our first commentator. He says, “We must imagine that God is using ordinary, dirty spaces as extraordinary sacred places for real evangelism.”

Sunday Recap for 120918

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Sunday, December 9, 2018 Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Luke 2:1-7

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

From those verses, we pursued this Big Idea:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

With that Big Idea, we looked at these three causes of shame:

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Cause of Shame: Unkept Promises
The End of Shame: God Keeps His Promises

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

In the midst of suffering from an unmerciful Caesar who demanded his subjects to declare, “Caesar is Lord”, Mary and Joseph trudged home to be counted. In the midst of this, God uses the actions of this dictator to bring about the fulfillment of His promises from Isaiah 9 that a savior would born in Bethlehem.

Unkept promises from loved one and people in authority cause shame. Our unkept promises cause shame. God keeping his breaks that cycle. As we approach God, God doesn’t need our promises because we will break them. God needs our brokenness and need.

Cause of Shame: Lack of Compassion
The End of Shame: A Sympathetic Savior

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

The humanity of Jesus is important. In fact, owning his humanity as much as His deity is essential to our salvation. I think we lose an appreciation for His humanity but His humanness is as important as His deity. But we know from the scriptures that he was born, he grew, he got thirsty, he got tired, he got hungry. We need Jesus to be human. We need the compassion of a Savior who knows our every hurt, our every broken place.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Gregory of Nazianzus, the theologian who helped us understand the Trinity better than any other said this, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.”

When we feel we lack this compassionate presence, we despair.

“We believe the most terrifying and destructive feeling that a person can experience is psychological isolation. This is not the same as being alone. It is a feeling that one is locked out of the possibility of human connection and of being powerless to change the situation. In the extreme, psychological isolation can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation. People will do almost anything to escape this combination of condemned isolation and powerlessness.” Brene Brown

Cause of Shame: Humiliation
The End of Shame: A Man of Sorrows

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

No family or friends to take them in. Their child born in a stable. A scandalous reputation that they didn’t deserve. Homeless. Seemingly helpless. Your Savior endured this humiliation so that He may exalt you out of yours.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Unkept Promises
Lack of Compassion
Humiliation

Truth: The lowly birth of Jesus is evidence that God keeps His promise to remove our shame.

Application: Live knowing that Jesus redeemed every discompassionate, humiliating, unkept promise that you have ever experienced.

Action: Ponder the end of your shame.

Evident Grace Reverse Advent Effort

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EG Family and the Surrounding Community,

This past Sunday, our deacons announced our December “Reverse Advent” effort.

As you will see in the attached image, we are collecting canned and dried goods to replenish the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank. Often, local food banks are drained post-Christmas because of the demand and the decreased giving post-holiday season. We want to help eliminate their upcoming need.

Our desire is to bring all the food collected to our December 23rd worship service, place food up front, and pray for the families who will receive it. The YMCA will then connect with the Food Bank for a pickup following our service.

If you can’t make the 23rd service, we will let you now where the YMCA would like for us to store it until then. We will let you know that information as soon as we know it.

What we would like prior to the 23rd is to know how many families are participating. If you plan on participating, could you simply email Amy Duncan at [email protected] to let her know? Don’t worry; if you forget to email her, we can still accept the donations on the 23rd, but we would like to know how many families are participating.

Thanks so much in advance for caring for and serving these families.

Pastor Gordon

Sunday Recap for 12.02.18 The End of Shame

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Sunday, December 2, 2018, Evident Grace looked at Isaiah 9:1-7:

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us 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. 7 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.

We used these verses to pursue our study of how Jesus’ advent means the end of shame. Understanding shame is so important.

“The less we understand shame and how it affects our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives. However, if we can find the courage to talk about shame and the compassion to listen, we can change the way we live, love, parent, work, and build relationships.” Brene Brown

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

The context of our passage:

Isaiah 8:22 They will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Contempt

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Contempt is the disease of sin and shame. Contempt is what continues when we have ongoing shame that isn’t removed. This was the state of Israel and our state when shame remains.

Darkness

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy, they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder

The promise of the removal of shame comes in the form of the birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus would lead the people out of the darkness. Instead of shame, there will be an increase of joy as the harvest. There will be an increase of gladness. The burden of oppressors will be removed and replaced with the light yoke of Jesus. Their war will come to an end, and it will be replaced with the government of Jesus whose reign will know no end.

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. Brene Bown

Peace

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 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.

Jesus will usher in a time of peace and will be our wonderful, non-shaming, counselor. His peace and government will know no end. And God is eager to do this on our behalf.

Big Idea the End of Shame

Contempt
Darkness
Peace

Truth: Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, and our Prince of Peace. He alone can remove our contempt and shame. He alone gives us peace.

Application: Live knowing that there is hope for your shame, and it is found only in the person of Jesus.

Action: Jesus despises shame. He took yours for you. Pray that God would help you believe this. Pray that God protect you from adding to the shame that Jesus removed.

Practical verses to live this out.

Jesus 12:2 Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

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