For the past week we dwelled in anticipation
and hope, but such expectancy should always lead to preparation.
God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way
for the coming Messiah.
Before John was even conceived, God’s call
was upon his life – “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Are you prepared for the Lord? Are you
ready for the work God wants to do in your life? As you read this week,
ask yourself what it looks like for you to prepare yourself.
Upon John’s birth, his father Zechariah
prophesied that John was to give people “the knowledge of salvation through the
forgiveness of their sins” and, when he grew up, John preached a baptism of
repentance and urged people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Are there areas where you need to...
The Prophet Isaiah urges Israel to hope
for a new beginning.
Isaiah lived during a time of political tension, and
prophesied from a place of personal captivity. The Israelites were united under
the reign of King David, but had been split into two kingdoms: Israel and
Judah. Internal division made them vulnerable externally, Jerusalem was
captured, and by the time of Isaiah’s message the Israelites were living in
Logically, one would think that this kind of situation would
draw people close to God, begging Him not to leave them alone. But the
Israelites did quite the opposite – they let God alone. They worshiped the gods of their captors, and became like the captors
themselves. When life got tough, they walked away from faith. In a sense, they refused to hope.
We need hope most when circumstances tell us ...
The Christmas season has been called “the
most wonderful time of the year” by lyricist and children alike. It seems like
as soon as we take our last bite of turkey, our attention turns to shopping lists,
lights, parties, and traditions. “Tis the season”, we say. What is it the
season for? And why does it carry with it the magic that it does? There is one special tradition in the church
calendar that most appropriately captures the magic: Advent. Based on the Latin word Adventus meaning, “arrival” or “coming”, the season of Advent takes
us through a process of anticipating the arrival of Christ, and helps us
prioritize Jesus as the center of all our holiday activities.
Historical Advent practices were quite
rich, involving symbolic candle lighting and use of color as outward
representations of inward hope. In the early
19th century, faith-filled families celebrated Advent...
Until I was about 26 years old, I couldn’t tell you the name
of a hymn, other than “Amazing Grace”. I didn’t grow up in a traditional church
setting, so hymns were a mostly foreign concept to me. I was raised in church, but we were rocking
songs like “As the Deer” and “Blow the trumpet in Zion”! Can someone blow
“AMEN” through a shofar?!
When I first came to NCC, I noticed a lot of the worship
sets were filled with songs like “Be Thou My Vision” and “Great is Thy
Faithfulness.” To be honest with you, I wasn’t really into the old school
nature of these songs at first. I had been inundated with the “Verse, Chorus,
Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Guitar solo, back to the double Chorus” mindset of
leading worship. However, all that changed the very first time I stepped out of...
Phrases like “with all my heart”, “with everything I
have”, “…all I am” are lyrics that show
up frequently both in worship tunes and music lyrics in general. But I’ve been wondering lately if I am really
singing these words with the life and action that can back them up.
I’ve always been of the strong conviction that the words
that come out of my mouth need to be backed up with my being (or at least, that
I have an awareness of a disconnect if there is one). Simply, this can be observed when someone
asks “how are you?” If I’m not actually fine, I don’t say “fine.” I want my words to reflect my reality as much
as possible even if it may not be the desired easy answer. I think if the question has meaning, so
Page 1 of 9 pages 1 2 3 > Last ›