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Prepare


ADVENT WEEK #2
DAY #8

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Prepare


ADVENT WEEK #2
DAY #8

As mentioned, the Sunday readings in your book are for year B of the Revised Common Lectionary. 
The best place to find all of these years & readings listed are CRI / The Voice website

The Church Year begins with Advent in November/December.
Here is a quick look at the breakdown of years from the Revised Common Lectionary.
Click on the year below to take you to the Sunday readings you are looking for.
Year A:   2016-2017, 2019-2020
Year B:  2017-2018; 2020-2021
Year C:   2015-2016; 2018-2019


For more Sunday resources refer to the week #1 Sunday post.

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DAY #9

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DAY #9

I thought I would share an icon of John the Baptist since it was said in todays reading that John is our "icon" for this week. 
(you can also see all the different icons of John the Baptist on the Day #9 banner above.
Do a google search for "John the Baptist icon" to see who those image for yourself.)

Andrei Rublev famous icon of John the Baptist. 

This week, John the Baptist sets the example for us, and I want to give you a little JB experiment! 

You’ll notice in the Bible passage you read for today that the people respond to John’s message by asking, “What should we do?” Essentially asking, How can we get ready for this Messiah who is to come?

John the Baptist looks at these individuals and gives some instructions (here’s my translation of Luke 3:11-15):

“A lot of you have extra stuff. Give some of it away! That would be a great start in getting ready for the Messiah. Oh, you’re a tax collector! Be fair, man. Don’t take more than you’re required to. Ahhh, you’re a solider. Well, don’t take money from folks who are afraid of you, and at every opportunity fight for peace and justice, not just to get your own way or make an extra buck.”

My guess is that if we were sitting there, he would have looked at each of us and said, “You’re a pastor; do this to prepare for the Messiah. You’re a student; do that to prepare for the Messiah. You’re a basketball player or a teacher or a mom or a dad… here are some ideas for you as you prepare for the Messiah.” He would have gone around the room, hearing what each person did and what they were interested in, giving wisdom and advice on how each of could better prepare for the Messiah who was to come. 

So, as I asked in the book, how would John the Baptist challenge you to prepare for the Messiah, for Jesus, this Advent?

Make a list of the things you do and the power and influence you have with friends, teammates or colleagues, think of how you can show them the love of Christ and help or encourage them in any way. This is part of your preparation. 

Maybe watch your local news or read the newspaper to find a problem of injustice that you could at least pray for and maybe even take action to help solve. 
Collect your extra T-shirts, clothes and coats and give them away.
Go buy three bags of new socks and T-shirts and give a bag to three different homeless people.  

With your listed interests and influences, think of how John the Baptist might challenge you to prepare for the coming of King Jesus in each of those areas. Write that down as well. Share your list with a pastor or friend and take this Advent journey of preparation together. 

Let these icons of John the Baptist lead you to ponder, pray and prepare during this Advent journey!

Pray As You Go

Pray As You Go is a great resource I wanted to share with you. I often listen to these little ditties on my way to work or when I need to center myself and be lead into a more prayerful and focused place.

Here is what they say about this resource…

“Pray as you go is a daily prayer session, designed for use on portable MP3 players, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst traveling to and from work, study, etc.

A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend.  It is not a ‘Thought for the Day’, a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.
Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection. 

Our aim is to help you to:   

  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life   
  • listen to and reflect on God’s word   
  • grow in your relationship with God

They hit the mark and it’s very much worth the 10 - 13 minutes. They also follow the Christian calendar, so during Advent they have some great Advent thoughts for you as you go! 
Listen on your computer, phone or iPad. 

They also have an Advent retreat resource this year. Check it out!

Advent Music Monday!

I posted on Facebook that I was looking for some good Advent / Christmas tunes. I got a lot of feed back and one of the bands suggested was Folk Angel. I didn’t pay much attention until I noticed there sampler on Noisetrade. A suggested album, free music… DONE! 

AND IT WAS GOOD! 

I really like them and suggest you check them out as well! 
(Here is the link to there free Noisetrade sampler. You can also listen to them on Spotify.)

My favorite album so far for Advent listeners is Headed Home

They have some great tunes and if you’ve seen the "Social Network Christmas video" you’ll recognize one of them. 

So there is my album of the week and my free Noisetrade album, all in one!

ADVENT WEEK #2 PLAYLIST

Here is my Spotify playlist for Advent Week #2
I would, given our focus on John the Baptist, play with particular interest the song *There's A Voice In The Wilderness* by Mike Crawford and HIs Secret Siblings.
It's a proper and great Advent song!
ENJOY!

PS: My Advent Week #1 Spotify playlist is up!
Search my Spotify accoutn to find it.
I will be posting it here later this week.

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DAY #10

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DAY #10

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near.
Repent and believe the good news!”
— Jesus :: Mark 1:15

I really love todays thought because for me it puts flesh on this idea of repentance and what John the Baptist was asking of folks. Simply put, “change your mind!”

If you or I were to exit our bodies and look down on how we celebrate Christmas, how our culture celebrates Christmas we would probably confess that something needs to change. Maybe you could change an action or even give some extra things away to make your Advent & Christmas look more Christian. But that is really just scratching the surface. What we really need to do is get to the heart of the matter, which is changing our mind about what is important to us this time of year. True repentance, which is about the mind and the heart, is the journey we really need to take. It’s the journey that John the Baptist is inviting us all on this Advent. 

With this definition of Repentance in mind and with these thoughts in mind i wanted to share a few more scriptures that will draw you into repentance for this Advent journey. 

Mark 1:4
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Acts 2:14-42
(38) Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 3:19-20
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

Romans 2:4
4 Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

2 Corinthians 7:8-12
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.

2 Peter 3:8-9
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

There are a bunch more scripture that flesh out this idea of repentance, especially in the gospel of Luke, so check those out.
Meditate on His word and let His Word continue to lead you into repentance this Advent! 

Grace and peace

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DAY #11

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DAY #11

Here is another video to encourage us during Advent. It’s short and a great reminder to slow down and get ready!  

I also wanted to encourage you to watch the Rowan Williams Advent video again as well. It’s quoted in our reading for today and maybe we just need to be reminded that a great light is coming into the world and we must slow down, prepare our hearts and continue to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”

Grace and peace

 

 

Ephesians 5:8-20 (NIV)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
  rise from the dead,
  and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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DAY #12

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DAY #12

Maybe you have seen the Advent Conspiracy stuff. I highly recommend it! I don’t think they hit on the full picture of what Advent is really about but they hit on a very important part of it and a part that is specifically countering what our culture has made Advent into. I love it! 

Todays reading really challenges me and gets me thinking, how can I REALLY cut the strings that are attached to gift giving and receiving. It’s very difficult and if I were honest i don’t want to.

Maybe this year I write a note to my family saying, “This Christmas I will be be giving each of you a goat through Heifer International. Actually I will be giving a goat to a person in need in your name / on your behalf. I also ask that any money you would have spent on me for Christmas would go toward digging this well in Africa." 

So maybe you don’t write that note or go to that extreme. But what are you going to do? 

Maybe…

You choose NOT to have the conversations of how much are we going to spend on each other. Great start! 

You choose to give away half (in value or product) of what you get at Christmas to people in need in your town or through your favorite charity like World Vision or The Mocha Club

You choose to have a couple different Christmas parties where you charge at the door and all the proceeds go to a ministry like Project 25:40, or Blood Water Mission.

You choose to buy all your Christmas gifts from a company like Red Earth Trading Company that uses their products to employ and empower local African artisans. 

There are a TON of ways you could take some baby steps toward cutting the strings of giving giving and receiving or you could just dive into the deep waters of generosity and sacrifice. But the bottom line is that we who are on a authentic Advent journey must do something! 

Share some stories on Facebook and twitter using the hashtag #AdventJourney

I can't wait to see what your sanctified imaginations come up with! 
Grace and peace

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DAY #13

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DAY #13

EXTRA GOODS!

Here is the Advent Week #1 Playlist on Spotify!
Look for the week #2 post on Monday!

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DAY #14

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DAY #14

This video is 1 of 4 Advent meditations by Fr. Pontifex. Here are links to the others…

Advent Video #2
Advent Video #3
Advent Video #4

Fr. Pontifex is really interesting! He’s a catholic priest who wears a cassock all the time (the long black robe thing). And he does spoken word; kinda rap, kinda poetry. Very cool, very interesting! 

There are some great thoughts in these videos. So enjoy! 

Here’s Fr. Pontifex website if you want to check out some more of his ministry . 

frpontifex.com

CRM is a leadership website. I was initial turned onto what they’re doing because they do a really cool Lent devotional every year. Always looks cool, has great content and they seem to be a great organization (I don't know a ton about them.) 
They've also done an Advent devotional in the past and seems to do good seasonal stuff worth checking out. Their Advent devo a couple years ago was a little off because they are calling the 12 days of Christmas the 12 days leading up to Christmas. If you’ve been reading the Advent Devotional connected to this blog you’ll know the 12 days of Christmas are actually the 12 days following Christmas not preceding Christmas. But we’ll forgive them and enjoy content! 

Check out there website and see what they are offering this year.