First Advent Sunday

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From the pastor's desk,

Dec. 2 is the first Sunday in Advent.  It is interesting that the First Sunday in the new church year that begins today, speaks of the Last Days with predictions from Jesus about the foreboding of what is coming upon the world when the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Jesus says there will be great wars, great storms upon the seas, great persecution of Jesus' followers, false prophets who lead many astray and there will be terror through out the earth.

Have you ever wondered why the Church's forefathers chose to begin the new church year with such verses? These verses were chosen to warn people of the dangers to come so that they will be prepared with a strong faith to survive the efforts of the Evil One who puts forth one final mighty effort to destroy all faith when the day of Judgment comes.

Dec 9, the second Sunday in Advent. In this Sunday's sermon text God sends someone to help people to be prepared not only to survive all the  foreboding events of the last day, but to be prepared to meet the one (Jesus, who will save the people).  Here the Baptist begins his ministry in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  He cried out, "prepare the way of the Lord".  John was God's chosen spokesman to warn the masses that to be ready to meet the Lord one must repent.  Repentance is often hard for a person to do because he likes to justify his/her sinful ways, this is why the Baptist hammered so hard on this subject.

Dec. 16, the third Sunday in Advent.  In this sermon text  the Baptist warns the people that they are to bear fruits worthy of repentance.  It is not enough to say one is sorry, it must be genuine and one's repentance must be visible, it must show a true change of heart and it must bear the fruits of real repentance.  The Baptist then introduced Baptism.  It had the power to redirect one's life and point it to the Lord.  It is called, "A Baptism of preparation".  Vs. 8 says, "with many other exhortations, the Baptist proclaimed the Good News to the people.  This was another step to prepare the people to meet the Lord and ultimately to be ready to be tested by the fire of the Final Days.

Dec. 23,  the fourth Sunday in Advent.  Here the young Mary, probably no more than 15 years of age becomes pregnant with the Messiah.  It was a frightening time for her for to be pregnant without being officially married and she ran the risk of stoning.  She fled to the home of her Aunt Elizabeth, who was pregnant with the one who would be called the "Baptist".  Here she was comforted by the words of her wise Aunt.  This was the way that the Lord helped Mary through the difficult beginnings of her pregnancy.

So, I'm sure you can see the wisdom of the passages named for Advent.  There is a smooth transition.  First comes the warning of the terrible things to take place in the Last Days.  Then comes the Baptist who proclaimed how the people must prepare to meet the Lord who came to save the people.  They must repent and be baptized.  Next comes the Baptist again to warn the people that their repentance must be genuine, it can't just be lip service.   Finally comes the story of how the Lord protected the young virgin pregnant with the Messiah so she could be strong and able to handle the many difficulties she would face being pregnant without being officially married.  In these 4 Sunday's you can see the wisdom of God at work to save the world.

See you this Sunday, 

Pastor John

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John Place