|(L to R) Emily, Pastor Terry, Joe & Megan led worship today.|
--Salvation Army shoes and clothing items barrel is still in the hall outside the sanctuary.
--Ladies Bible Stud, Tuesday 10:00 a.m.
--Wednesday night dinner and youth groups resume January 11
--It's not too early to think about the Father-Daughter Ball the two weekends before Valentine's Day
Pastor Terry noted that though this is a message of hope for us, we can't help but be aware that much of the world remains in darkness and without hope. The Good News is that "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."
What was it like in the time of Jesus when He was born? For 600-700 years the people of Israel had not had any freedom. It had been 400 years since God last spoke through a prophet to His people. Terry gave us a brief history lesson of this period, from Alexander the Great to the Seleucid Empire to the coming of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire gave a lot of freedom to the lands they conquered but dealt with people in the most severe manner should they cross them, cause disruption to the Empire.
In the midst of despair we need to be reminded that we are not alone and that hope shines brightest in the midst of darkness. This has been a reality all through history, even from the first days of the church.
After sharing these thoughts we entered a time of worship followed by some very special, special music featuring McKenzie during the offering.
Cheryl Borndal led us in a time of prayer for the various needs in our church family.
Hope and peace do not rely on circumstances.
Herod learned early in his political career that the way to make someone happy is to give them money. So to please Rome he gave them money acquired through taxes. Hence, Jesus frequently talked about taxes. Herod also divvied out land to people he liked, and the political injustice was the norm.
Financially powerless, the poor had been afraid to dream. They lived in a period of oppression. Israel had been oppressed for generations.
It was in this context of tyranny that many of His peers had hope that Jesus would overthrow their oppressors. These were the Zealots. It was not the approach Jesus had in mind.
What is your expectation? What would bring you hope? When you listen to Jesus, what do you hear?
The kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world.
Here are some verses about hope that were shared. You can look them up at BibleGateway.com.
Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Where do you place your hope?
We then turned to the book of Lamentations, which begins with Israel's truly harsh sense of abandonment. Reading chapter three is heartbreaking, leading into... "He has broken my teeth with gravel... my splendor is gone, and all that I'd hoped for... I remember my affliction.... and yet, because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning...
But the Scriptures have much to say about hope, including Romans 15:13 and I Corinthians 13:13.
After reading each of the above passages, Pastor Terry ended by re-reading Lamentations 3:16-26
The Lord is good.