Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wonderful Counselor

Another sunny Sunday morning, with dazzling sunlight careening about the azure heavens, streaming with unhindered glory over the rolling snow-sprinkled countryside.... Pastor Brad warms to the moment, greeting us with his own generous warmth. It's the first Sunday in Advent, that time in which we prepare to greet the celebration of the Savior's birth.

1. Brad shared a letter from someone who was so blessed by our Thanksgiving dinner. Brad thanked those who helped and also those who came yesterday to help decorate the sanctuary.
2. Next Saturday there is a sewing group meeting here to make mittens, hats and items for the needy as we get ready for winter.

The quartet opened the worship time with the Gaither's "He Touched Me."

Scott and Cheyenne went forward to light the first Advent candle. "People who have walked in darkness have seen a great light."

The quartet sang a message song about the God of the mountains who is also the God in the valley who is there when things go wrong. Trials and temptations test you, but God is with you. He will not forsake you. "The God of the day is the God of the night."

After several hymns an offering was taken was taken while the quartet sang the uplifting "Yes, I Am." Then our children collected the soup cans in which we collected our loose change for Covenant World Relief.

When we entered the sanctuary we noticed a baptismal font set on a pedestal in the front, indicating that we're dedicating an infant this morning. Bob and Ellie Rlients were here to baptize Selah Joy and Zoe Grace. The family came forward to share the moment and bear witness.

A time of prayer followed, leading us to the sermon.

Wonderful Counselor

First, Brad shared some of names of football players that were unusual or striking. Bronko Nagurski was one of these. Definitely sounds like a tough guy. And how about Webster Slaughter?

The text today was Isaiah 9:6, the section that talks about the names of Jesus, which corresponded to  tie that he wore today featuring the many Biblical names of our Lord including today's.

Brad then read from Hebrews 4 and how Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, is there for us in our time of need. As we head into this Christmas season, Brad asks us where our need is. "Where is it that you are broken today?"

All too often we avoid facing our failures, or resist admitting we have needs. Sometimes we successfully hide it for a while, but it's there and others see it.

Where are you broken today? Where are you in need? Is it depression? Is it fear? Always worrying? Always living with a chronic sense of anxiety? Or maybe it's the stress of all your responsibilities? Or financial stress? Or maybe you're lonely?

Wherever it is that you are broken, there's a Wonderful Counselor who wants to meet you.

If you are going to seek healing from the Wonderful Counselor today, you need to be yourself, as you are. Honest.

Brad shared the pain in his heart for a friend who is an alcoholic. The man is not honest with himself, remains in denial that he has a problem.

From there he told the story of the woman at the well, (John 4) Because she was honest, Jesus was able to meet her, reveal Himself as the answer to her real need.

Sometimes we are afraid to be straight with Jesus, to even be blunt. But Jesus can handle it. The good news is that we have a Wonderful Counselor who wants us to be real with Him.

"Cast your cares upon the Lord." Be truthful with Jesus, and with yourself. If you do that, He will reveal Himself.

Another piece of advice Brad shared was that we can't be in a hurry with God. When we ask for something from Jesus we need to learn how to wait for His response. Prayer isn't a hit and run affair. We seek, and wait for Him to speak.

Mark 9:7 "Listen to Him."

God speaks through His Word. He also speaks through friends or a song on the radio or this message or through your circumstances. It's a noisy world, but we can learn to hear and recognize His voice.

When you identify your need and go to the Wonderful Counselor, and when He speaks, I want to encourage you to do what He says to do. He's the light of the world. He knows what is best for you.

One last story: about a guy who had everything and kept all the rules, who went to Jesus and said "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus told him what to do, but the man didn't do it and went away sad.

Are you willing to be obedient to what Jesus asks of you? If we don't do what He tells us to do, then we're just playing games. We need to do what Jesus tells us to do when He asks us to do it. When He speaks to us we need to follow where He leads.

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