_Email banner (2).png

Prepare for the Season of Christmas by reading the story of Jesus

Take the journey with us...

and invite your friends and family to come along...

as we read the Word and grow together.

Advent Reading Plan:

   

     Week One: November 29th - December 5th

                      Matthew 1 - 7

     Week Two: December 6th - December 12th

                      Matthew 8 - 14

     Week Three: December 13th - December 19th

                      Matthew 15 - 21

     Week Four: December 20th - December 26th

                      Matthew 2 - 28

We will be posting devotionals a few times a week so check back often.

Advent Devotionals

Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 1


Reading plans can be difficult. When we survey the field the journey can seem overwhelming. Life gets in the way with work, chores, dinners, and the holiday season’s rhythms of people and places can create so many obstacles to engaging. Yet with so much weighing against us there is something incredibly rewarding for spending time in God’s word, and allotting some targeted time to spend with the Author of the story. I can remember the 1st time I picked up the New Testament, I was a pre-teen who was challenged by my dad to read the New Testament. Well that journey did not work out so well. I was met by the obstacle of the beginning, the genealogy of Matthew’s Gospel. I began reading this list of names and I just didn’t understand what was going on. I think I got to verse 4 or 5, and said, “If this is what the New Testament is all about then I don’t want anything to do with it.” I didn’t understand what it was trying to communicate and that list of names became a barrier between me and encountering Jesus in a real and personal way. I wish at the time someone would have told me to skip forward to verse 18 (and maybe a few of you did that already!). But that list of names, while certainly being a genealogy, is more than just names, because behind names are people, and people are actually characters within a story, their own and others. What we find in the 1st chapter of Matthew, is that we have been caught up in this great story that God has been crafting since Abraham to rescue humanity from the curse of the Garden of Eden, by blessing them through his children. The climax of that promise is going to come to fruition through Jesus! What Matthew wants us to see, is NOW we have reached that climax, and we get to zoom in on how God is going to finally unveil his plan. I want to challenge you this season to be intentional with your reading, don’t allow the obstacles of life, the circumstances of the season and the situation that you find yourself in to prevent you from reading, and encountering Jesus in a new and fresh way.




Wednesday in the Word - HOPE





Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 3


In the church calendar the time leading up to Christmas is called Advent. This season is all about preparing our hearts for the celebration of Christ coming into the world. That powerful moment when God sends his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who are under the curse. The Advent season is like setting a timer on your phone to remind you to do something, there is all of this stuff going on, but the timer goes off to let you know, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO THAT THING! Advent is the time when we reorient our hearts and minds back to the story of the Gospel. And that is why we are reading Matthew together for Advent. In Matthew chapter 3 we meet John the Baptist who came on the scene to let us know that the prophetic clock God has set was about to ring. Jesus was about to come on the scene and bring history to its climax. So John starts preparing the way, he starts letting people know that it is time to get ready, and the twin signs that you are ready, are repentance and baptism. Repentance in the Scriptures has two distinct meanings, one has to do with turning, and the other has to do with changing your mind. In this chaotic season that we find ourselves in, it is important to realize that God has invited us into a relationship with him where we step out of the chaos of this world and into the peace that he desires us to have. This begins with us coming to him, and asking him to transform our mind, so that they might be renewed. In this way we might see the world in an entirely different way, because we are no longer called to see it through the lens of the media, or the cultural expectations of this world, but through the eyes of the King. Today, I want to challenge you to come to God, and ask Him to reorient your perspective so that you might start preparing your heart for the celebration of Christmas. Let me know how your reading is going and what ways you are preparing for the celebration of Christmas?




Advent Reading - The Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 8


This time of the year is filled with busyness, plans, things to do, and all in the hopes of having a great celebration on Christmas. We want to make sure we get all the gifts together, send out our cards, buy all the ingredients for the things we are cooking/preparing. It is easy to get swept up into it all, and forget what the most important thing is to, put the “first things” first. Following Jesus!

As Jesus is going around Galilee transforming lives with his message that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and freeing people from sickness and demonic oppression, people are compelled. They are caught up in his message and realize there is a reaction required from them, and that response is to become a follower.

When Jesus tells his disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, two people approach Jesus and ask to join his group of followers, but Jesus challenges each of them. He realizes that in this life there are going to be obstacles to following Him, and the question is, “How are you going to respond to those obstacles?”

To the first he tells them there is no guarantee of where we will sleep. There are no certainties where we are going. Right now in life, a lot of the certainties that we felt we had have disappeared, yet to Jesus’ followers he says to them, are you willing to follow me despite the uncertainty?

To the second, he challenges his commitment to his family. While there is a lot of debate whether his father is actually dead, Jesus is saying commitment to me is greater than commitment to your family. Sometimes in life we can put people and things before Jesus. We however, need to get our priorities straight, and realize that he must be our priority.

Now when he travels with his disciples to the other side, it isn’t a smooth ride, rather he leads them into a storm. A storm so great they thought they were going to perish. However, they all forgot WHO was with them. Upon awakening, Jesus silences the storm to sleep, and the disciples ask, “What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

In this season of following Jesus, we need to remember who we are following. The one who can silence every storm. The one who is leading us, and whether it is through the storms of life, or into uncertain situations, HE IS WITH US!




Wednesday in the Word - Peace






Overview of Matthew 1 - 13

Overview of Matthew 14 - 28

Countdown to Christmas with the Christmas Story

Countdown to Christmas - Monday: Matthew 1


Thoughts on todays reading…

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)


As we read through the first verses of Matthew’s Gospel we are presented with a long list of names, some we can hardly pronounce while others evoke the great stories from Israel’s past. Through this list of names Matthew is attempting to guide us through the story Israel, with all of its twists and turns, and see the guiding hand of their God.
Israel’s history for Matthew can be summarized through three important seasons. From their founding under Abraham, to the inauguration of the reign of the kings with David, and their eventually disobedience to the God who loved them, which led to their exile under the Babylonians. These three seasons marked three important periods in their history, that without highlighting them, we couldn’t understand their story and where we are at now.
Because now, we are at the time of the Messiah. Jesus Christ, of Nazareth has been born, he has arrived on the scene, to end the period of exile, and begin the reign of the Messiah that was long awaited in Israel’s Scripture. God has been guiding them to this climactic moment, when God himself (1:23) would come to save his people from their sins and establish himself as the King they had hoped for.

This year we have all had many twists and turns in our lives. But through all of the peaks and valleys we have the the promise of Hope that Israel was waiting for. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, always!

As we countdown to Christmas this week take some time to reflect on how God has been with you this past year through some of the difficult times and take a moment to thank Him.
Also remember to think forward and make time to be with God and sit in His presence this week.




Countdown to Christmas - Tuesday: Luke 1:5-25 & 57-66


Thoughts on todays reading…

Yesterday we read about the family tree of Jesus and it began with Abraham and Sarah, an old couple that had no hope of a family. But through the faithfulness of God’s promises Abraham became the father a nation, the very great grandfather of the savior of the world.
Today we pick up the story with another childless older couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been hoping and praying for a child. An angel comes to tell Zechariah that their prayers will be answered and instead of rejoicing at this news Zechariah is filled with fear and disbelief. How often do we have the same response?


During Advent we embrace the time of waiting, the in-between time, the time when we are anticipating with hope.

As we countdown to Christmas this week take some time to reflect on the story of Zechariah & Elizabeth, and Abraham & Sarah and take hope in the faithfulness of God.


Take a few moments to write down what you are hoping and praying for right now so that you can look back in the years to come and rejoice in God’s faithfulness.

As you live in the in-between rest in the promises of God.




Countdown to Christmas - Wednesday: Luke 1:26-56





Countdown to Christmas - Thursday: Luke 2:8-20 & 25-40





Countdown to Christmas - Friday: Matthew 2:1-12