Sunday, December 31, 2017
Friday, December 29, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Monday, December 25, 2017
16-17 Dec 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Luke 1.46-55 (call to worship, Magnificat)
Isaiah 61.1-4 (advent wreath)
Luke 1.5-23 (kids)
Luke 1.26-45, 1.57-71, 2.1-7 (message focus)
We’ve been looking at Jesus’ family album, through the origin stories in each of the four gospels. The first week of Advent, we looked at Matthew and found a portrait of Father Joseph. The second week, we looked at Mark’s gospel and found a portrait of Cousin John, all grown up. Today, we look at Luke’s gospel, together with Matthew the only gospels to record any story of Jesus before his baptism as an adult. Unlike Matthew, Luke focuses not on Joseph but on Mother Mary. And, Luke includes the family connection with John by introducing John’s parents as well.
Did your family ever have two moms pregnant at the same time? In our family, Robin was pregnant with Caleb (our second) at the same time that her sister Marcy was pregnant with Tony (their first). Tony was born a month before Caleb. A generation before, Robin’s grandmother had her third child, Mark, one of those late life surprises, only one year before Robin’s sister was born, two years before Robin.
In cases like that, comparing notes on first words, crawling, walking, potty training, teething, and – eventually – driving, is just what you do, particularly in the family and even with other parents whose children are close to yours in age.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
"Family service" at 7:00 pm, with music by our children's musical groups
"Reflections service" at 11:00 pm, with music by our choir and sharing in the Lord's Table
A pre-service concert of Christmas music begins about 10:15ish
Bring a friend!
Please note that our usual Saturday evening and Sunday morning schedule remains unchanged as we celebrate the 4th weekend of Advent.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Friday, December 15, 2017
09-10 Dec 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Isaiah 40.1-11 (advent wreath)
2 Peter 3.8-15a (kids)
Mark 1.1-8 (message focus)
This Advent, we are looking at the opening of each of the four gospels and leafing through Jesus’ “family album”. Last week, we looked at Matthew’s gospel and Father Joseph. This week, we open to Mark and Cousin John – probably a couple times removed; all we know for certain is that their mothers are related. In the next two weeks, we’ll look at Luke and John.
The opening verse of Mark’s gospel is a title (Taylor, 152; Boring, 47): “The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. It is the beginning of something, not the end. That is, there is more of the story to come. It is the beginning of the gospel, a term used throughout the Scripture for the good news of a king’s victory, for the good news of deliverance for God’s people.
Picture a sports bar in Boston, on the night the Patriots won the Super Bowl last year. When they sealed the victory, it was “good news” (at least for their fans) and the crowd cheered. It was the gospel of the New England Patriots, despite Deflategate. They hope it is only the “beginning” of that gospel, that more super bowl victories are ahead.
Picture Mosul or Raqqa when they were liberated from ISIS, at least for that majority who were being oppressed. Cheers, flag waving, guns fired in the air. It was a gospel, hopefully only a beginning, but with how unstable things are in that part of the world, much is uncertain. Do you see how important “gospel” is in this bad-news-world? We crave this sort of news, and when we get it, there is nothing but praise.
Gospel: Good news of deliverance and victory – through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Friday, December 8, 2017
02-03 Dec 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Isaiah 64.1-9 (advent wreath)
Mark 13.24-37 (kids)
Matthew 1.18-25 (message focus)
Study retreat at Steve’s farmhouse: home that has been in the family for generations. He found the old photos of his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents in the attic and put them up in the dining room. It’s a mini-portrait gallery that tells the family story, that reveals a little bit about who Steve is.
The opening of each of the four gospels is a little like that family album. We have portraits of Jesus’ family; we get a sense of who he is by who he comes from. Matthew and Luke have extended openings, a series of stories that takes place before Jesus grows up and begins his active ministry. Matthew focuses on Joseph; Luke focuses on Mary. Mark and John leap right into Jesus as adult. Mark dives into the story of Jesus’ cousin John, who baptizes Jesus. John (the gospel) also refers to cousin John, but opens the gospel by zooming out to get a perspective on Jesus in the world from the beginning.
Today, we look at Matthew’s gospel and Father Joseph. Interestingly, there is almost nothing about the pregnancy and birth. All we have are a couple lines:
“His mother Mary was found to be with child” (1.18)
“She had borne a son” (1.25)
The next story, the story of the visiting Wise Men or Magi or “three kings” appears to have taken place when Jesus is a young toddler (2.16, “two years old and younger”), rather than a newborn. In that story, the parent on whom Matthew focuses is Joseph, who – through another dream – is led to take his family to Egypt as refugees to escape the anger of Herod the King.
Today’s passage has puzzled readers with its language around marriage and divorce, so we need to take a few moments to clarify that. English lacks the appropriate language for the ancient Jewish customs, and New Testament Greek does as well, for that matter. “When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together” (1.18) and “He planned to dismiss/divorce her quietly” (1.19).