We are almost to Bethlehem!! We started our journey about four weeks ago and are close to our destination. It is getting more and more exciting. Please join us this Sunday to explore trust as demonstrated by Joseph and Mary and learn how we grow in trust. See you soon!
This week is all about Joy on our journey to Bethlehem and beyond. I am hopeful you are enjoying the trip. And I hope you will take time over the next ten days and spend it with Jesus. You can do so with the read-along in Luke (check the devotions’ page) and below as we share from the devotional The Upper Room. As always, if you have any comments or questions, send them to Pastor Bianca (she likes them) at belliott at greatplainsumc.org
From the Upper Room:
Say aloud and/or from the heart this Scripture, “Jesus said, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew 11:4-5).
Light the all three of five candles (two purple/blue and one rose colored). The rose colored candle stands for joy. Les us see joy in the Lord!
Then read Isaiah 35:1-10 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah+35&version=CEB), Luke 1:46-55 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1&version=CEB), and Matthew 11:2-11 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11&version=CEB).
Now reflect on and journal your answers to the following questions. When have you seen the promise of joy in challenging times? How do you share with others the joy you find in Jesus?
Engage for a few moments with James 5:7-10 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+5&version=CEB). How are you willing to be patient and wait for joy today? How will you serve others as you wait?
A prayer: Gracious God, we seek You everywhere with expectant eyes that invite us to see joy in the world today. Amen.
During the second week of Advent, we would like to share a few thoughts with you.
First, this week we think about hope on our journey to Bethlehem. One thought is about the idea of hope. In the sermon Sunday we considered the English, Hebrew, and Greek definitions of hope and what they mean to us today in Linwood and the world. We decided that the hope offered in the world is incomplete…it does not satisfy us. But the hope found in Christ is always sufficient.
Second, we wanted to offer a few Scripture verses to help you see what they say about hope. All Scriptures can be read or heard in multiple versions and languages at https://www.biblegateway.com/ . We look at a verse a day and then journal what the Holy Spirit shares with us during our devotional time. You may want to try that too. If you have any questions or comments, let Pastor Bianca know at belliott at greatplainsumc.org. Thanks.
Psalm 25:5; Psalm 42:11; Isaiah 40:31; Romans 15:13; 1st Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 1o:23; Hebrews 11:1 and one of our favorites, Colossians 1:27.
Ideas for Advent
Here are some suggestions for this week. Do some, none, or a variation from the list. Let us know how it works and come back next week for additional ideas.
Find something warm in your closet and give it away.
Donate pet food or other items to a local animal shelter (check with them first).
Journal 30 things for which you are grateful.
Give out three compliments each day.
Make your own Advent calendar.
We have collected school supplies from patrons and organizations (Lions’ Club and others) and have placed them in stockings for our Linwood students. Please swing by the church this Saturday between 1-3pm and have some treats and pick up your child’s stocking. See you then!!!
*******A big thank you to everyone who contributed, or helped with the giveaway/open house. It went well. And we were able to gift two book bags with supplies too. Linwood is a very caring community.
Our study for the first week of Advent is Peace. Hope to see you soon.