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Getting Out the WORD - the third sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:45

the PRAYER. . .

Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"  He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah."  And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No."  Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"  He said,
"I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord. . . .'"                 (John 1:6-8, John1:19-28)

the DEVOTION. . .

Well,the night before last, I, finally, heard it. . .  first time this year. . .  It was in a commercial. . .  on television. . .

"Jesus is the reason for the season!"


Nothing personal, but it's one of those holiday decorations that. . .  well. . .  tends to make me cringe. At first, I thought it was because it's become such a cliche. . .  all glitter, but no substance.  Then, I thought, maybe it's because it's all around us!  Radio!  Television!  Newpapers!  Cards!  Billboards! And, now, even, texts and tweets!  I understand what it's trying to say. . .  about Santa Claus. . . Frosty. . .  Rudolph. . .  and all the rest. . .  But, I think, what really bothers me about it is that Jesus really, truly ISN'T the reason for the season. . .  WE ARE!


The only reason there's a Christmas to begin with is because god loves US!  Think about it. . .  god loves US!  Every, single one of US!  Loves US so much that god leaves heaven!  That god comes to earth!  Simply to be where WE are!  Beside us!  Behind us!  Between us!  Rescuing!  Redeeming!  And, this week, the baptizer crys out, "Make the way straight!"  Not so we can get to god!  To the manger!  To heaven!  But so god. . .  so god. . .  can get to US!  No!  Jesus isn't the reason. . .  the foundation. . .  for all of this.  When you get right down to it. . .  WE ARE!

bob barndt, pastor

Getting Out the WORD - the second sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 15:11

the PRAYER. . .

Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son.  By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

As it is written in the [prophets],
"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:  'Prepare the way of the Lord,  make his paths straight'. . . ."


the DEVOTION. . .


Just about every Sunday morning,  here at Midland Lutheran, worship begins pretty much the same way.  Before god and everybody, we "confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. . . ."  Just about every, single Sunday!  But it's amazing how carelessly. . .  how thoughtlessly. . .  we toss those words around. . .  especially at this time of the year!


For four weeks. . .  day. . .  after day. . .  after day. . .  the countdown progresses.  We rush around trying to get everything ready for Christmas - our hearts included!  We may not raise up valleys or make low mountains, but we do our share!  Presents are wrapped!  Cards are mailed!  Decorations hung by the chimney with care!  It's as if Christmas can't come without us!  It needs us!  Our energy!  Our efforts!  But we forget. . .  We are "captive" and we "cannot"!


Christmas, like any other holiday in the church, is not something WE bring about!  It's what god brings to us!  God is the one who gets things ready!  God is the one preparing the way!  And all we do. . .  all we CAN do. . .  is wait. . .  and watch. . .  and hope. . .  and, maybe. . .  sometimes. . .  pray. . .  Christmas is a gift that god provides without our help and cooperation!


In Mark's story, there are no angels!  No shepherds!  But there is good news. . .

Christ IS coming. . .  whether we're ready  or not!

bob barndt, pastor

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