Advent Reflections from The Hill – Week 4, Wednesday

A Prayer Guide through ‘The Magnificat’

Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

 

"My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”

 

Why would
we rejoice in God?

What has
God saved us from?

Spend a
moment rejoicing in God our Savior.

 

“for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his
servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

 and holy is
his name.”

 

Think of
the blessings that the Lord has blessed you with.

Spend a
moment thanking God for them.

Ask the
Lord to show you ways that you can use your blessings to bless others.

 

“His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.”

 

Mercy,
defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is
compassion or forbearance shown
especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power.’

How has
the Lord shown mercy to you?

Ask God
for hid daily mercies.

Ask God
to show you ways that you can show mercy to those in your life.

 

“He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in
the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the
powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with
good things,

and sent the rich away empty.”

 

The Lord
has used and is using his strength (us) to turn things of this world
upside-down. 

How can
you help?

What are
things that the church is doing that you can be involved in to show the people
of our community and the people of this world that Jesus is King and that His
way of living is the right way of living?

 

“He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

according to the promise he
made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants
forever."

 

Thank the
Lord for his faitfulness.

Are you
being unfaithful to someone or to something? Fix it.

Thank the
Lord for his forgiveness.

Are you
taking the forgiveness of God but not forgiving someone? Fix it

Lord, may
we as your people consider it a blessing, as Mary did, to have the opportunity
(through Jesus) to go and bless the world.

 

Nathan

Advent Reflections from The Hill – Week 3, Wednesday

From the Inside and Out

Luke 3: 7-18

Nathan

Last week, we heard John calling us to repent. He was calling
us to deal with our personal life, our spirit, our insides.  Quite a few Christians believe that
this is where it should stop.  They
believe that ‘the inside’ is all that matters to Jesus.

I believe John show us this week that idea is not
correct.  John is challenging us
this week with a holistic approach. 
Not only are we to change our inside (spirit, mind, heart) and work to
make it like Jesus’, but we also need to change our outside (our actions) and
work to make sure that we are acting as Jesus would act.

What I find funny with John’s message today is that it is so
down-to-earth, so everyday life, so…doable
.He tells them the same things that my parents told
their children:"Share with one another.kind to one another. Don't fight.
Be fair. Don't hoard, or lord it over one another."

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Advent Reflections from The Hill – Week 2, Wednesday

Preparation Through Repentance

Luke 3:1-6

Nathan Streber

Advent is a season of preparation.  At home people are cleaning, getting out their Christmas decorations, purchasing a tree, baking, hosting and attending parties, and simply getting ready for Christmas.  But into our Advent busyness each year enters John the Baptist.  He interrupts our schedules and demands that preparations of a different kind be made.

We are preparing for the coming of Christ, the Word made flesh, into the world again, bearing hope and good news, forgiveness and peace? Yes, Jesus didn't come for just you and me, but for the whole world. Luke makes that universal reach of the gospel quite clear: the good news isn't our little secret, our private possession or privilege; it's for all of God's children. Not just one people or one kind of people, or one nation, or one time in history, but for all of us, every nation, and every age. It's not just good news; it's really big news for us all, today, just as much as two thousand years ago.

So how do we ‘prepare’?  If Christians are rightly to prepare to receive the Prince of Peace at Christmas, they must be willing to go through a detailed preparation process just as they do when planning for company at home.

John’s challenge is to repent and prepare. 

REPENT:

True repentance means literally, to change one’s mind, turn around, reorient oneself.  Let’s remind ourselves the way God intends for us to live…a life of self-sacrifice, love, a life for others) and then think about how we actually do live…a life of selfishness, greed, jealousy, etc…  The two are quite different than the other.  Something must change.  Metanoia(true repentance) must occur.  John’s invitation to repent, however, was not a legalistic stipulation but, rather, a door to forgiveness.  The foundation of repentance is the Mercy of God.

Spend a moment in confession:
*Confess to the Lord how you have fell short of the way He intends for you to live.
*Confess to Him what, in your life, needs to change.
*Now take a moment and just be silent…REST IN HIS FORGIVENESS

PREPARE:
Isaiah tells us how to prepare the way of the Lord.  
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, 
      make straight paths for him. 
 Every valley shall be filled in, 
      every mountain and hill made low. 
   The crooked roads shall become straight, 
      the rough ways smooth. 
 And all mankind will see God's salvation.'     

Think about hosting a party; You have a picture in your mind in which you see how everything will look when the work is done…where to plates will be, which table the food will be on, how the dinner table will look, etc…  Using the picture in your mind, you start preparing.  You begin to make the picture a reality.

When Jesus comes back we know what is going to occur.  Everything will be made right.  Justice will be complete.  We see the picture, now with the leading of the Spirit, let’s start preparing.           

Advent Reflections from The Hill – Week 1, Wednesday

Remember, remember

Luke  21:25-36

Nathan Streber

 

For four special weeks preceding the great celebration of the
Incarnation, the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, Christians are invited by the
Church to prepare, to "get ready", to make a place for the Lord in
our lives and in our homes, to anticipate His coming(s).

After Thanksgiving is over, the world around us seems to get even more
serious about preparing for Christmas. Perhaps the word "serious" isn't the
best one to use, since the preparations that occupy our time and thoughts (and
consume our money, and perhaps put stress on our relationships and health)
can't compare to the preparations Jesus advises in our reading from the Gospel
of Luke on this First Sunday in Advent. While we set up Nativity scenes with a
sweet baby Jesus lying in a manger, the grown-up, just-about-to-die Jesus is
standing in the Temple, teaching about the coming catastrophe – the destruction
of that Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E. – which Luke of course knew about when
he wrote his Gospel fifteen years later. But Jesus seems to be talking about
even more than that: the end of all things, the end of time itself.certainly
puts those Christmas preparations in a different perspective.

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Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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