Tuesday, November 29th

 

Longing:  An Advent Devotional

Overland Park Church of the Nazarene

Advent 2016

Tuesday, November 29th

 

CONNECT

As we continue our journey in Advent, let us hope in Christ our Savior:

 

Call to Worship

Love and faithfulness will meet; justice and peace will embrace.  Faithfulness will spring from the earth and justice will look down from heaven.

 

Hymn

The King shall come when morning dawns

And light triumphant breaks,

When beauty gilds the eastern hills

And life to joy awakes.  

 

Not as of old a little child,

To bear and fight and die,

But crowned with glory like the sun

That lights the morning sky.

 

O brighter than that glorious morn

Shall he, victorious, rose,

And left the lonesome place of death,

Despite the rage of foes.

 

O brighter than that glorious morn

Shall this fair morning be,

When Christ our King in beauty comes,

And we his face shall see!

 

The King shall come when morning dawns

And Light and beauty brings;

Hail, Christ the Lord! thy people pray, 

Come quickly, King of kings!

Opening Prayer

O God, you are coming into the world today.  We are on tip-toe with expectation as we await the advent of your Son into our lives.  Open our hearts to receive with joy your Song Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

 

GROW-Matthew 24:36-44

    It always seems so strange to begin the season of Advent with a passage like this passage from Matthew.  Our hearts and minds have already begun to move to images of John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph, shepherds and angels.  The Jesus we all expect is the silent baby born in a manger on Christmas morning.  What we do not expect, and what always leaves us with a level of discomfort are these strange passages from the gospels that have the adult Savior speaking of judgment, and realities of the last days.

    In our text today Jesus is adamant to teach his disciples to be ready and watchful in their living.  Against the demands of his day and ours Jesus rejects the belief that anyone can know the time of the Day of Judgment, except the Father.  Be ready, Jesus says.  Keep watching, he insists.  Jesus offers examples of watchfulness that are intended to give us encouragement in our faithfulness.  Noah heeds God’s warning about impending judgment and builds an ark to secure his family and the animals to begin again with God.  Jesus also speaks of the two-sidedness of judgment.  Some will be working side by side and in the judgment their destinies will be completely different.  

    The difference for all of us is Jesus call to his disciples to be watching, waiting, and longing to do God’s will in this world.  We cannot live hidden in a bunker, trying to protect ourselves from the culture around us.  We are called to live active lives of faithfulness now.  Active faithfulness is filled with commitments to personal holy living—prayer, worship, study of scripture, fasting—and it is filled with commitments to social acts of holiness—caring for the sick, friendship to the grieving, generosity to those in desperate need, and the like.  

 

SERVE

    All of us know neighbors, co-workers, and friends whose personal circumstances leave them without resources or physical abilities to accomplish tasks that would make their lives less burdensome.  Today, consider helping one of person you know who needs specific help to accomplish an important task for them.  Rake leaves, or assist in the winterizing of your friends home.  Gather your family and visit someone who needs help in cleaning out their garage.  Gather a group and volunteer your time at the Kansas City Rescue Mission.  Today, find a way to demonstrate a watchful readiness by caring for the needs of another.

 

Pastor Phil Hamner