If you crave HOPE… PUT GOD FIRST!
This was our Advent 1 sermon message on Sunday. If you weren’t able to be with us in person or online, I encourage you to watch & worship with us via Salem’s YouTube channel.
During the message, I invited you to prepare your hearts and homes for Christ this Advent season. The first challenge is to read one chapter from the Gospel of Luke and one Praise Psalm. Beginning December 1st, each day read one chapter from Luke in the Bible. There are 24 chapters. On Christmas Eve, you will have read the whole account of Jesus’s life and wake up on Christmas Morning knowing Who and Why we Celebrate Christmas! Quite a preparation for our Coming King!
In addition, I invite you to read Psalms 113-118. Start with Psalm 113 on the first day, Psalm 114 on the next, until you reach Psalm 118. Then repeat. By Christmas Eve, you will have read through each of these Praise Psalms four times. These Psalms Put God First and will give you Hope!
If you would like text message reminders about what passages to read each day, text salemadvent2021 (all one word) to 94000, and you'll receive text reminders with links to the daily passages at 7am each morning in December.
Another idea for preparation is to read Advent devotions on your own or as a family. The following are downloadable daily Advent resources I recommend: Lutheran Hour Ministries; Luther Seminary; and Steadfast Lutherans. Concordia Irvine has a weekly devotion.
A “Prayer Wall” or an “Advent Altar” could also be beneficial in your home. Clear some space on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or bulletin board… or create a sacred space / home altar for prayer & quiet time… and write post-it notes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love to encourage one another. Include prayers for your home, neighborhood, community and your world.
Finally, engage in conversation with those around you who need the Hope of Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Build relationships and be a bridge to Christ as you ask coworkers and classmates, “Where do you find Hope?... When do you need Peace?... Why do you seek Joy?... When do you share Love?... How can I pray for you?” Then listen and engage and pray for them. Over time, as you deepen the bond of friendship, invite them to worship, share your witness, and walk with them into the presence of God’s peace.
A Blessed Advent season of PEACE to you,