Week 2 – Forgive

December 4 – 10

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SERMON DESCRIPTION

THEME: FORGIVE
Christmas is a time for giving – presents to our friends and family, time to service and money so others can enjoy gifts. While we are in this giving mode, why not give the gift of forgiveness? Jesus came to earth to reconcile us to God and others. Let us remember that gift this Christmas.

PRAYER
Holy God; creator, redeemer, sustainer. Your grace is ever flowing, your mercies are new each day. Your love and forgiveness knows no bounds. Help me to be your agent of peace, love and forgiveness in our broken world.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  • It is important to understand that forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. Can you “forgive and forget?” What is the difference between forgiving and forgetting?
  • Human experience reveals that forgiveness is hard. There is always unresolved pain, tension, offense and much more.
    • Do you have a relationship that you cannot forgive?
    • How do you use God’s support to forgive others?
  • What is your most memorable experience of forgiveness?
  • We all know the pain from being wronged by someone we love. How can our belief in God help us move forward?
  • The secret and power to exercising forgiveness is to realize you have received tremendous grace from Christ. How does this factor into your willingness to forgive?
  • What is your role in forgiveness?

 

 

GO DEEPER
Resource Suggestions

  • Watch the Guided Christian Meditation: Embracing Forgiveness
  • Watch BibleProject: The Messiah
    • Scripture from Isaiah describes the Messiah in this video.
    • What is the significance of Juda in the promise of the Messiah?
    • What does Messiah mean to you?

Music

Daily Devotional


SCRIPTURE
Isaiah 11:1-9 NIV

The Branch from Jesse

11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

 

 

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Week 1 – Believe

November 27 – December 3

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SERMON DESCRIPTION

THEME: BELIEVE
Sometimes the innocent joy of Christmas experienced by children becomes a tired cynicism of the season when we become an adult. We can still find the beauty and excitement of Christmas. It will not come by believing in a season, but a Savior.

PRAYER
Gracious Holy God, prepare our hearts. Open them to receive your grace and love. Allow us to experience the awe and mystery of your incarnation. To transform our worry and toil into hope as we expectantly wait for the miracle of the birth of our savior, Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
These questions are created from the pastor’s sermon notes each week for the use of our groups that meet to discuss the sermons together.

  • In the sermon, we heard about Ted Lasso. What does the word BELIEVE mean to you? What does this word touch in us and what did you feel when you saw the sign?
  • Read John 1:14. When God became flesh, God made a choice to be with us, this is something we can believe in. So why is it so hard? Why does it feel like we grab hold of this belief for four or five weeks but by January, it’s disappeared, and we are out looking for signs of God’s presence again?
  • The point of Jesus’ incarnation is not that you believe in God. The point of the incarnation is that God believes in you. If God believes in you that much, that God would become flesh, what is God asking you to do?
  • When have you felt cynicism creep into your thoughts this week? What brought you back the beauty and excitement of the true meaning of Christmas?

ADVENT CHALLENGE
Do you want to have a good Christmas? Get up every morning and say, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ believes in me! And if Christ believes in you, maybe God’s right and you can do the things that you know you should do and that you long to do. You can be kind and just. You can seek reconciliation. You can offer hope to the hopeless and you can love. That is something to believe in!

 

 

GO DEEPER
Resource Suggestions

Music

  • Traditional: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • Modern: Angels from the Realm of Glory (Emmanuel)

Did You Know?


SCRIPTURE
John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

 

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.