Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate notes for Sunday’s Message; John 1:6-8; 3rd Sunday in Advent

Scriptures for this Sunday: John 1:6-8, 19-28 // 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV and ESV

{ Chrismon Service

   If anyone wants a Chrismon Service Liturgy, pls contact me and I will get you a printout
}

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There is a story of a man who fell into a pit. The walls were so steep that he could not get out. “A doctor passed by and the men shouted, “Hello!!! Can you help me?” The doctor wrote a prescription, threw it down into the hole and moved on.

Then a pastor came along and the man cried out again, “Pastor, I’m down in this hole; can you help me to get out?” The pastor said a prayer, and moved on.

Then a friend walked by, and the man cried out again, “Hey, Joe! it’s me down in the pit. Can you help me to get out?” So the friend jumped down into the hole. Our man said, “Are you crazy? Why did you jump in? Now both of us are stuck down here.” His friend then replied, “Yep, you are right! Both of us are here now but I have been down here before and I know how to get out.”

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In the Gospel of John, chapter 1 verse 7 we hear, “[John the Baptist] came as a witness to testify concerning … [the] light, so that through him all might believe” (NIV2010). In Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, Jesus himself made a claim that he is “the light of the world” (verse 12).

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Light is not always a welcome phenomenon because light illuminates things. Light can expose imperfections, messes and piles of stuff; light can expose “skeletons in our closets.” While such illumination could be healing and freeing, it also could expose things that we do not want to expose. One of the ways to make any room inviting is to dim the lights so that all the mess, dust, dirty dishes and carpet stains are not visible and our imaginations fill in the details where the light no longer shines. I think that most personal growth in our lives happens in the tension between learning when and how to clean up after mistakes (how to get out of the pit) and figuring out which areas of our lives could be dimmed because only God can fix those.

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Advent is the time the Church sets aside for all of us to think about what Jesus’ coming into our world means to us, and in response, to start preparing ourselves for his second coming, his second Advent. The Season of Advent is a period of time that reminds us that one day, all that you and I think, say, reflect on, believe and do will meet the light of God. All truth will be known and all will be revealed.

While it is scary to know that all our imperfections will be revealed one day, it is also comforting. It is scary because all of us have unmet obligations, broken promises, and unresolved conflicts in our lives that need tending to; all of us have “skeletons in our closet.” It is scary because it may mean that we will discover ourselves in the pit.

It is comforting because we also know that Jesus has been in the pit. Jesus came to live among us, to experience our emotions, to share our lives, and to give us an example of what our abundant lives (John 10:10) can be like. It is comforting because Jesus has been here in our pit and Jesus can help us to get out. It is comforting because the LIGHT shines more brightly against a backdrop of darkness and it is in the “pits of our lives” where we feel the darkest and where we are most aware of our need for God’s Grace, Love and Presence in our lives.

The Advent season is the time to recognize that in some areas of our lives we are in a pit. The Advent season is the time to turn up the dimmer switch on our lives and make the necessary course corrections so that we can help each other get out of those pits.

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In 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 Paul wrote, “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (emphasis added, AFT).”

During the Chrismon service, every Christ Monogram that we use is based on a symbol or a saying from Jesus’ life. Today’s Scripture reading tells us that John the Baptist came as a witness to testify concerning the LIGHT of Jesus, so that all might believe (John 1:7). What we do not have, however, is a Chrismon of Light. Truthfully I do not even know how we would make one. But there is a Chrismon of Light in this sanctuary. As a matter of fact there are multiple Chrismons of Light in this sanctuary and these Chrismons are you, every one of you. You are God’s light to the world (Matthew 5:14).

As this service comes to a close, I want to leave you with a couple of questions, “Are you a witness to the LIGHT of Jesus? Do you have the courage to shine the light on your life as we are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Messiah?”

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