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Advent 2020: Opposition

Troubled by Jesus.

Building excitement and anticipation for Jesus’s presence in your life and His ultimate return to earth is thoughtful work.

Fashion is another synonym for the word build. It means “to mold into a particular character by influencing or training” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).

Molding, building, transforming takes imagination. We must form a clear mental image of our end goal, in this case, an attitude of joyful expectancy for celebrating Jesus.

Creating a blueprint in our mind returns us to the first step in our spiritual roadmap: Meditate. Today, consider how being mindful of your need for Jesus can help build a sense of excited anticipation in your life for His promises.


Read December 9: Two Kinds of Opposition to Jesus

Photo by Galina N on Unsplash

Reflect.

What in today’s devotional causes you to think differently about Jesus? about Christmas?


Jesus is troubling to people who do not want to worship him, and this creates opposition against those who do.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Indifference or opposition? Wonder or excitement? How do you receive Christ and His good news of grace?

Are you brought to your knees? Or are you offended?

Consider your heart’s response to the good news of Jesus’s birth, life, death, and resurrection.

What do the everyday details of your life reveal about your belief in Jesus?

Ask God to uncover any hidden opposition to Jesus and His good news of grace rooted in your heart. Ask Him to show you how to remove any barriers — hostility or indifference — keeping you from finding joyful excitement in Jesus.

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. …”
Luke 2:34-35 NLT

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020: Prepare the Way

Turn your heart to the Lord.

We’ve read the Preface and the Introduction. The way is prepared to begin the devotional readings in Joy to the World.


Read December 1: Prepare the Way

Photo by Lukas Langrock on Unsplash

Reflect.

What did you learn about spiritual preparation during Advent?

  • Meditate on your need for a Savior.
  • Examine the current state of your heart and life in Christ.
  • Build anticipation in your home for the return of Jesus.
  • Be in the Word.

These encouragements for Advent given in the first day’s devotional are a guide for us in turning our hearts to Jesus. They are a roadmap in preparing the way to adore Him.

How will you apply them this holy season?

Ask God to guide you in preparing the way to turn your heart to Him.

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. …”
Isaiah 40:3 ESV

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020: Jesus’s Desire

Joy begins with Jesus.

Monday, November 30

The day after the First Sunday in Advent is ALWAYS Monday. Mondays are typically busy back-to-the-weekly-grind days, especially after a Thanksgiving weekend. And now, with Christmas so near, for many the days get even more packed and schedules a bit tighter.

We hope you’ll withdraw from the hectic of the season to draw near the heart of the Season through the words of John Piper in Joy to the World.


Read the Introduction to Joy to the World.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Reflect.

What does Jesus want this Christmas according to John Piper?

Jesus wants us to have eyes to see things as they REALLY are. To see that true JOY begins with Him.

Jesus,
Our Savior, Redeemer, Restorer,
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

He is our source of timeless joy and peace.


Christians… people who have “received” Jesus as the crucified and risen Savior and Lord and Treasure of their lives…

John Piper, Joy to the World

Do you treasure Jesus? Do thoughts of Him fill you with joy?

What does bring you joy these days? Where do you find peace?
Are these unfailing sources of joy and peace? Or are they temperamental? undependable?

How do you see Jesus these days? What place does He have in your daily life?

Ask God to open your heart to see Jesus according to His desire for you, to see things as they REALLY are. Ask Him to prepare your heart to receive the timeless JOY that begins with Jesus.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:1-3 ESV

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020: The Beginning

The start of a spiritual discipline.

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. It’s the day we begin preparing our hearts for celebrating the day the Son of God left His home in heaven and entered the world as one of us.

It’s the day to begin reading Joy to the World by John Piper. We hope you’ve received a copy. If not, they are available in the Commons Area on the Welcome Desk. Or if you aren’t getting out, call the church office and we will get one to you.


Sunday, November 29:
Read the Preface of Joy to the World.

Advent is for adoring Jesus.

Reflect.

What did you learn about the tradition of Advent from the Preface?

Advent is not just a season marked on the calendar, it is a spiritual discipline. An opportunity to reflect on what Jesus means to us. When we practice Advent as a spiritual discipline, as a means to draw near God, we spend time in His Word, prayer, and honestly respond to what we’ve heard.

Joy to the World is an invitation to enter into the spiritual heart of Christmas and draw away from what the world has made it. Even the tradition of lighting candles on the Advent Wreath each week, when we look a little deeper, reveals a spiritual truth.

The closer we draw to Jesus — remembering His first arrival and looking forward to His second coming — we experience increased light in our lives. The lighting of one candle on the First Sunday of Advent, then lighting an additional candle each Sunday up to the Fourth Sunday, gives us a physical picture of the spiritual reality of receiving more of God’s light in our lives when we take the time to enter into the spiritual heart of Advent.

Drawing near to God and the wonder of what He did for us by entering our world in such an intimate way, fills us with increasing measures of hope, love, joy, and peace.

Advent is for adoring Jesus. How do you feel about Christmas? Jesus?

Do you adore Jesus? Do you look forward to His return?

What does the Advent season mean to you?

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 1:9 ESV

As we walk through Joy to the World from today through Christmas Eve, we pray you will begin to sense an increased joy in your relationship with God through Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.

Grow Team

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

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Advent 2020

O, come let us adore Him!

It’s time to turn our hearts to the wonders of the Babe in the manger. Grow Team’s offering to assist you in preparing your heart to adore Jesus is Joy to the World: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper.

The readings begin on December 1 and focus on the reasons for adoring this great gift God sent into the world. The Savior of our souls: Jesus.

Pick up yours today! They are available on the welcome desk in the Commons area or if you’re not getting out call the church office and we’ll get you a copy. We can bring it to your car or mail it to your home.

Grow Team is also offering a way to go deeper into each reading with daily posts here on the church blog. Responses and questions to consider based on what you read in Joy to the World.

Looking forward to adoring Him with you!

Grow Team

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]