31Dec

S8E34: Restored and Vindicated (Christmas 2014)

When we come to Christ we fulfill our potential as image-bearers of God.  But without receiving and using the gift of salvation we are like an unopened present, whose value goes unrealized.  God beckons us to him and when we respond and receive the gift, He restores us to the original image in which He created us, and we are then given a new heart with new desires.  Isaiah's prophetic vision shows us the heart of God as it pertains to us - not a rigid system of rules but a tender and compassionate heart of love.

Isaiah 61:10-62:3

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 28, 2014 (Previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

30Dec

S8E33: Enjoying the Company (Company’s Coming pt. 6)

Did you know that Christmas is not a day, but a season?  Christmas on the church calendar is a season that begins December 25th and ends January 6th with the observance of Epiphany - yes, there are really twelve days of Christmas!  In our modern society, however, we've front-loaded the season, meaning that we place more empasis on the preparation than the observation, and when the 25th comes we just want it to be over.  I invite us all to slow down, to enjoy the company for the full season, and live every day with Christmas in our hearts and Christ on our lips.

Luke 2:22-40

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 27, 2020

S.D.G.

29Dec

S6E34: For Unto Us a Child Is Born (Christmas Eve 2014)

There is nothing at all remarkable about the birth of Jesus.  No chronicler stood by to record the exact day and time of his birth.  No human herald declared it in the streets of Jerusalem.  Certainly very few even noticed that this child was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger with the animals, born of meager means, born to unremarkable parents.  And yet we still celebrate this birth two thousand years later, and that is because this unremarkable birth was more remarkable than any other birth in the history of mankind.  Of the billions of people who have been born and died in the history of the world, this is the only birth we celebrate year after year for millenia.  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! The mighty God! The Everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace!

Isaiah 9:6

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 24, 2014 (Originally published December 28, 2018)

S.D.G.

28Dec

S8E32: Welcoming the Guest (Company’s Coming pt 5)

When company's coming and our guests arrive, what do we do?  We throw open the door, we run to them, we hug them and kiss them.  We welcome the guest into our homes.  In the story of the birth of Jesus, we find that Mary and Joseph were welcome guests in the home of Joseph's relatives, even if there was no room for them in the guest room.  This Christmas, let us also get ready to welcome the guest into our homes and into our hearts.

Luke 2:1-20

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 24, 2020

S.D.G.

23Dec

S8E31: Waiting on the Threshold (Company’s Coming pt. 4)

As we continue our series, "Company's Coming," we look at two scriptures from the Old and New Testaments that describe the anticipation of waiting for the coming of the Lord.  In 2 Samuel, we see how David desires to build a permanent dwelling for God in Jerusalem to replace the moth-eaten tent from the Exodus, yet God promises to build a permanent house forever for David.  And we see that promise fulfilled in the Lukan account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to announce the coming of the Christ child.  These scriptures taken together give us a glimpse into the heart of God, that though we desire to build and do for Him, He is the one who blesses us, because from Him come all things - not the least of which is salvation by His grace.

Luke 1:26-38 (with 2 Samuel 7:1-16)

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 20, 2020

S.D.G.

21Dec

S2E33: Emmanuel, God with Us (Advent 2014)

What does it mean for us that God is omnipresent?  It means he is everywhere at all times, and it means that we are always in his presence.  But most of us live like that is not the case.  Today we look at the presence of God and an eternal promise he made to King David, a promise that we saw fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, and a promise we will see fulfilled again in the second coming of Christ.  So grab your Bible, turn it to Second Samuel chapter 7, and join us as we welcome Emmanuel: God With Us.

2 Samuel 7:1-16

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 21, 2014 (Originally published December 22, 2014)

S.D.G.

18Dec

S8E30: Testify (Advent 2017)

S8E30: Testify (Advent 2017)

When John the Baptist was asked who he was and why he was baptizing in the Jordan (rather than in Jerusalem at the temple), his answer was that he was merely one crying out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord."  Our testimony begins with Christ and what He has done in us.  John's entire purpose from birth was to point to the coming Messiah.  How are we doing the same today?

John 1:6-8,19-28

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 17, 2017 (Previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

16Dec

S8E29: Deck the Halls (Company’s Coming pt. 3)

We've talked about seeing the mess of our lives, about the need for a clean up crew, and now we talk about decorations!  But it's not the decorations you might be thinking of.  When we become Christians, we put off the old person and put on Christ, so that all anyone sees is the Christ in us.  What we learn from the account of John the Baptist is that God gives us a purpose, a testimony, and a place to live out our faith so that others may come to a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  

John 1:6-8,19-28

Recorded at Hudson UMC on December 13, 2020

S.D.G.

14Dec

S2E32: Bring the Good News (Advent 2014)

As Christians we are all called upon to bring the good news, but what exactly does that mean?  What is the good news, and why is it so hard to tell it?  After all, we are so ready to go on Facebook and tell about good news that pales in comparison to the eternal life that God offers.  Today we look at Isaiah 61, the scripture that Jesus used to begin his ministry in Galilee, and we look at what the good news is, and how we can share it.  So grab your Bible, turn it to Isaiah chapter 61, and prepare your heart and mind as we prepare to bring the good news.

Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 14, 2014 (Originally published December 19, 2014)

S.D.G.

11Dec

S8E28: Prepare the Way (Advent 2017)

We say that Jesus came in the fullness of time, but what does that really mean?  Isaiah's prophecy calls for a voice in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord.  When we look at the world in Jesus' time, we see how it was uniquely positioned for the maximum impact of His arrival.  We see that the world was using a common language which facilitated the spreading of the Gospel story.  We see that the Roman Empire had established roads which allowed for quick and easy travel between centers of commerce.  We see that Palestine itself (the region of Galilee and Judea) stood at the crossroads of commerce through which people of many nations would travel.  Indeed, God had first prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, and then used people like John the Baptist and Mark the Evangelist to proclaim His coming.

Mark 1:1-8

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on December 10, 2017 (Previously unpublished)

S.D.G.

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