Christmas in a Minor Key

Christmas in a Minor Key
Nov 2021 - Dec 2021
We will be looking at different books in the Minor Prophets that point us to the truth behind Advent that these prophets reveal.

Sermons in this series

When Bells Don't Toll
Fri, Dec 24, 2021
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:9-10 (ESV) Christmas is a time of year when we feel the love of those around us. We receive and give gifts to demonstrate it. We spend time with those we love. We share special memories and experiences. But what if that love is not returned? It can hurt us deeply when we give and don’t receive in return. How would you deal with that? In our series, Christmas in a Minor Key we have been considering the Minor Prophets and how they point us toward Christ. On Christmas Eve we will consider Hosea. It’s a book about love. Sadly though, it is a book not about the warm fuzzy Christmas-movie type love. Instead, it is about love that is spurned and abused. God’s people had abandoned and betrayed his love for them. How would he respond? We will look at his surprising and overwhelming response on Christmas Eve at 6pm. Our service will include carols, the advent wreath, the Christmas story by the Treehouse Players, and candlelight. Plan to be with us! And then we will be together again on Sunday - Dec 26th. We will have a shortened service. We are going back to the Minor Prophets. This time we will look at Habakkuk; a book that teaches us to struggle with God especially when his plans and purposes seem too hard to comprehend.
God's Reign Descends
Sun, Dec 19, 2021
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. - Micah 5:2 (ESV) Traditions at Christmas mark out the season. Some traditions are within families. Some have much wider and older origins. Christmas trees and gift giving date back centuries. Included in these Christmas traditions are songs. When hear them it brings us into the season. One of the oldest Christmas songs is - O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It has origins that take it back to monasteries in the 8th and 9th centuries where songs called ‘O Antiphons’ would be sung a week before Christmas. These songs were translated from Latin into English in the 1700’s. The song that we now know as O Come, O Come Emmanuel was put to the modern song by John Neale around 1850. This song points us to the arrival of God’s king in a rescue mission for His people. This week in our series of Christmas we will see more about this coming King as we look at Micah. It will remind us that this King came to establish his rule and will return to extend it forever. I encourage you to read Micah 4-5 to prepare your heart and mind to worship together. We will celebrate communion together.
Purity and Joy in the Day of the Lord
Sun, Dec 12, 2021
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. - Zephaniah 3:8-10 (ESV) The consistent pattern of the all-powerful, holy, and righteous God is that he comes to save and to judge, neither of which can be separated. The times of his coming are often called by the prophets "the day of the Lord." Zephaniah the prophet tells us of the coming advents (arrivals) of God, but specifically in Zephaniah, part of God's saving is to purify his people who are scattered among the nations in division and spiritual exile. He is preparing people who are ready for the Messiah's earthly reign. The Lord is near, Paul tells us. He will cleanse, just as he is clean. As the dross is removed, all that is left is a people who long for God, who worship him in joy and splendor and unity because judgment against them has been removed. And remarkably, the righteous God takes pleasure and joy in his people who were once unholy and separate from him. I invite you to read Zephaniah chapter 3 in preparation for Sunday morning at 10am (in person or online) as we consider the arrivals of our Messiah and how God wishes to stir our hearts and minds to anticipation and acceptance of what God has and will accomplish in Christ.
Finding Faithfulness
Sun, Dec 05, 2021
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. - Zechariah 9:9 (ESV) Eugene Petersen wrote a book entitled ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction’ that I keep meaning to read. I love the title. It’s an ode to the need for ongoing, regular, plodding faithfulness in a lifetime of following Christ. Faithfulness isn’t flashy; it usually doesn’t result in any headlines. But it is desperately needed – especially in a world that seems to revolve around the immediate and instant. However, it can also be tiring. I think that’s why Paul told the Galatians to not become weary in doing good (Gal 6:9). Sometimes we fail in that. That was the state of those who returned from exile. They had grown tired. They had come back with excitement and energy. They had reestablished the nation. They had started rebuilding the temple. Then, about 20 years later . . . everything was at a standstill. It seems when you begin with excitement and then fail or get tired it can become even harder to start again. That’s where they were. Where would they find the motivation? What would drive them forward? How could they continue? Enter Zechariah the prophet. This week in our series, ‘Christmas in a Minor Key’, we take a look at this forgotten book. I’ve never preached on it. You probably have not read it. But it is quoted or alluded to over 60 times in the New Testament. Interestingly, it provides a look not into the principles of motivation to begin again, but the person. Take a few minutes to read or listen to the last 5 chapters (9-14). I bet you will find some phrases or pictures you are familiar with.
When Religion isn't Enough
Sun, Nov 28, 2021
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." - Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV) Revival is an amazing thing. What would it look like for a generation to have their hearts turned to Christ? To see a large group of people start following God would be incredible. But there is a problem with revival. Each generation must turn to Christ on their own. Several cycles of revival have been followed by the next generation turning away from their parents’ faith. This is what had happened in Malachi’s day. The nation had come back to from exile. Nehemiah had lead them to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem and strengthen their nation. Ezra had led them to turn their hearts in worship to God. However, as future generations passed, that fire in their hearts had dimmed. By the time of Malachi, the people had lost their heart connection to God. How would this be fixed? This Sunday we begin our advent series - Christmas in a Minor Key. We will be looking at different books in the Minor Prophets that point us to the truth behind Advent that these prophets reveal.
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