Advent Sermon Notes 2017-22

New Year’s Day 1/1/23

“The Presence of Peace”

Intro: After considering the subjects of Hope, Love, and Joy leading up to Christmas, traditionally we would have spent the final week considering “Peace” (represented by the linen candle). However, this year, in addition to all the fulness of Jesus coming as a baby, the subject of peace is fitting for us to think about as we launch into a New Year in a practical way of applying that truth to everyday living.

In 2023, there are concerns about the future of our country. There is moral decline, cultural shifts and uncertainty about what the financial state of our country will be. However, there is an important truth for us to begin with and it’s found in John chapter 14.

We’ll read a statement Jesus made, followed by a question asked of Him, then His reply (and the setting is important-The Last Supper)

READ: 14:21-27

As followers of Christ, we live in reality verse 26 daily.

Statement: As long as the Holy Spirit is here, the attributes of God will be here.

I. His Peace Comes Directly from Him

A. He desired to give us peace

(from His compassion and love)

B. He facilitated peace for the willing

(the cross was that method)

II. His Peace is a Contrast to the World

A. It’s not based on the world’s ideas of it (v.27)

(self-help or lack of conflict)

B. It often evokes a reaction from others

(both positive and negative)

III. His Peace is Reassuring

A. His presence calms us inwardly

(to not be troubled v.27)

B. His presence calms us outwardly

(to be a steadying presence for others)

IV. His Peace is Strengthening

A. His presence creates confidence

(not to fear the future v.27)

B. His presence creates meekness

(not to fear what others may think)

V. Conclusion

Celebration of Communion

I Corinthians 11:23-28



Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/18/22


Intro: Christian joy is beyond circumstance and happiness. It is an inner spring that comes from the very presence of God in us through the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, the Person of the Holy Spirit in us not only bears witness of what we will talk about, but was/is Who we’re talking about as an equal part of the Trinity.

I. J is for Jehovah: Joy in the Eternal God

(“Ancient of Days” and “God Most High”)

Read: Revelation 4:8-11

A. He’s the God Who was

– God was before time and designed/created it all

B. He’s the God Who is

– God is still gloriously in charge of His creation

C. He’s the God Who is to come

– God will bring perfect justice

II. O is for One: Joy in the One True God

The Shema´ Deuteronomy 6:4

A. God (of the Bible) is superior to any/all others

B. God is sovereign (and does not answer to anyone)


C. God is also relational (from the beginning and now)

III. Y is for Yeshua: Joy in our Saving God

Romans 5:8

A. God loves us by choice

B. God sacrificed Himself for us by choice (Phil. 2:5-8)

C. God empowers us by choice through the Holy Spirit

-Galatians 5:22 (love Joy

IV. Conclusion

Charge-may we look deep into the these truths and let the “Joy of the Lord” fill our days and seasons.


Advent – Week 2 – “Love” 12/4/22

“The Greatness of Love”

Intro: In I Corinthians, chapter 13 Paul wrote of the true nature of Godly love and its wonderful attributes. He describes its selfless nature, purity and ability to endure time and testing.

While there are many applications of that chapter, in our second week of Advent, I want to consider 7 ways the Word describes love as foundational to our faith and we’ll start with Jesus Himself as our model:


I. In Love, Jesus Came John 3:16

– The motive for coming was a mission based on God’s love for us.

(it started in the Garden)

II. In Love, Jesus Ministered John 13:34

– Everything about Jesus’ approach was based on a motive of love…all of it:

(the way He healed)

(the way He called and trained His disciples)

(the way He patiently engaged people)

III. In Love, Jesus Died Romans 5:8

– Following through with the cross was a deliberate process based on love

IV. In Love, Jesus Ascended John 14:15-18

– Jesus leaving and the Holy Spirit coming to Earth was also a key part of His coming…based on love

V. In Love, Jesus Leads the Church Ephesians 5:25

– We are the “Bride of Christ” and He lovingly provides, protects and guides us as we go

VI. In Love, We are to Speak Ephesians 4:15

– We are to measure our words based on the foundation of love…not just with love “influence”

VII. In Love, We are to Live I John 4:7-11

– We are to make a cognitive decision to treat others the way Jesus did…and at times it will test us

VIII. Conclusion

Question-Are there real, tangible ways this makes a difference in your approach to life?


Advent 2022

Advent – Week 1 – “Hope” 11/27/22

“The Word Provides Hope”

Intro: In Psalm 39 David wrote of the Lord helping him to “number his days” to understand the brevity and frail nature of this life. He then concludes that his hope is simply in the Lord. Later, John wrote of the Word becoming flesh and God further revealing Himself to us.

Ultimately, our hope is in Christ and the scriptures are the source of the revealed truth about Him. That being true, we can look to the Word for the nature of our hope, where it comes from and what it’s based on.

Today, we’re going to consider 7 ways the Word provides hope:

I. The Word Defines of our Hope Romans 15:4

– There are specific reasons for hope vs. hopelessness

(the doctrinal tenets of the gospel)

II. The Word Sustains our Hope Matthew 4:4

– The scriptures provide unique nutrition for our soul (like daily manna that only God can supply)

III. The Word Steadies our Hope Psalm 119:81

– Life can bring times of silence, waiting, worry

(the Word reminds us of what we know)

IV. The Word Protects our Hope Psalm 119:114

– Our hope is based on His strength not ours

(I may get weak, but He does not)

V. The Word Clarifies our Hope Hebrews 4:12

– We often need to be reminded of what true hope is

(The Word brings us back to solid ground)

VI. The Word Guides our Hope Psalm 119:105

– The Word helps us find the next step

(a lamp by design, not stadium lighting)

VII. The Word Empowers our Hope John 17:14-17

– The Word is eternal truth

(was true, is true, and will be true)

(we must stay connected to the Word)

VIII. Conclusion

Question-What do you base your hope on?


Advent – Week 4 – “Peace” 12/19/21

“His Abiding Presence”

Intro: Evidence has been discovered in the remains of old Mediterranean shipwrecks that sailors and ship builders in the ancient times knew the value of ballasting.

(explanation of the stone ballasting or cargo goods providing weight in the lower center of the ship)

For a believer, there is a spiritual principle at work that’s very similar. In John 14:16, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come and abide with us.

Consider our phrase this week:

“True peace is not the absence of conflict, it’s the abiding presence of God.”

Today we’re considering 5 results from the abiding peaceful presence of the Holy Spirit in our life:

I. His Peaceful Presence Provides Stability

– a steadying presence (like a ballast)

– when the wind picks up

II. His Peaceful Presence Provides Support

READ: John 14:18

– never…absolutely never alone

– always someone who understands

III. His Peaceful Presence Provides Purpose

READ: John 15:4

– our purpose is producing fruit

– He is the vine providing what we need

IV. His Peaceful Presence Provides Guidance

READ: John 16:13-16

– guidance into truth

– consistency with Christ/His teaching/His model

V. His Peaceful Presence Provides Clarity

READ: I Peter 1:22-23

– The Word is the revealed day-to-day standard

– (v.24-25) a contrast to the world’s philosophies

VI. Conclusion

Are you fully benefiting from His peaceful presence?


Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/12/21

“A Settled Gladness”

Intro: Many classic movies this time of year have a similar theme of realizing the joy of the season by appreciating what one has in life:

A Christmas Carol”, “It’s a Wonderful Life


Home Alone

Our phrase this week is:

“Christian joy is a settled gladness based on the grace of Jesus Christ.”

NOTE: Our passage is prefaced by Hebrews 11

Which sets up:

READ: Hebrews 12:1-2

For the joy…

I. There is Settled Gladness Through Faith Regarding the Past

A. What I inherited at birth (sin)

B. What I have done (sins)

C. What I have experienced

– disappointment

– hurt

– discouragement

II. There is Settled Gladness Through Faith Regarding Now

A. What I may face today (challenges)

B. Who I may face today (intimidation)

C. How I face them or it today (worry)

III. There is Settled Gladness Through Faith Regarding the Future

A. Where I will be (for eternity)

B. What things will be (the details)

C. When things will be (order and timing)

IV. Conclusion

Do you live with a “settled gladness” based on faith?


Advent – Week 2 – “Love” 12/5/21

“Love Defined by Christ”

Intro: “Love in the purest form is defined by the nature of Jesus Christ.”

I. Jesus Modeled a Love that is Deliberate

Romans 5:8

A. Jesus has chosen to love humanity

– which transcends feelings

B. Jesus’ actions are the result of love

– serving others as a way of life (Mark 10:45)

II. Jesus Modeled a Love that is Forgiving

John 21 (story)

A. First, Peter’s denial was personal and real

– not just a “clinical” moment for our benefit

B. Second, Jesus sought to restore their relationship

– Peter may have thought damage was permanent

C. Third, Jesus pointed out the need to “move-on”

– tend my lambs

Which leads to the third point:

Jesus modeled love that is truthful…

III. Jesus Modeled Love that is Truthful

John 1:17

A. He embodied grace & truth

B. He spoke “truth in love” (Eph. 4:15)

– “speaking truth in love

IV. Jesus Modeled Love that is Eternal

Romans 8:38-39

A. Jesus’ love goes beyond all natural limits

– which brings a deep abiding peace

B. Our love for others can model the same

– the deep personal comfort of acceptance

– confidence from affirmation and encouragement

V. Conclusion

Question: Does your love for others reflect Jesus’ model?


Advent – Week 1 – “Hope” 11/28/21

“The Bridge of Hope”

Intro: We live in a world where hope is often missing, misunderstood, or a distance memory for those who have lost their way. I see hope as a bridge that connects us to more than we are by ourselves.

I. The Need for Hope

Psalm 42:5, 11, 43:5 (3X times)

A. We can become discouraged

– Pray for courage

B. We can become distracted

– Pray for focus

C. We can become disillusioned

– Pray for trust

II. The Foundation of Hope

Colossians 1:27

A. The pillar of faith

– from the beginning, faith is the foundation

B. The pillar of redemption

– from the beginning, redemption is the need

C. The pillar of promise

– from the beginning, a promise of rescue

III. The Path of Hope

Psalm 146:5

A. A hope-filled disposition

B. A peer group of hope-filled people

C. A routine of hope-filled activities

IV. The Destination of Hope

Jeremiah 29:11

A. The end of sin

B. The end of sin’s effects

V. Conclusion

Question? Is your life hope-filled?


Advent 2020

Advent – Week 4 – “Peace” 12/20/20

Intro: A recent story of a man finding a buried treasure of California gold-rush era coins on his property. It is an example of something very rare, valuable and worth protecting.

Today I want to consider:

The Treasure of Peace.

– Peace is actually mentioned more times than love in the Bible

– Integral word in Jewish culture (Shalom) with a historical meaning of “wholeness and completeness”

– Was a central message at the birth of Christ

Luke 1:79 (Zacharias) 2:14 (Angels)

I. We Can Have Peace with God

– Romans 5:1

A. Justification brings a status of peace

-the lie of the enemy is that this is not needed

B. Peace comes through faith alone (not works)

“by faith” (v.1)

C. Peace is made through the blood of Christ

– Colossians 1:20

II. We Can Have Peace Within Us

A. Jesus is the giver of the peace

– John 14:27

– Ephesians 2:14-15

B. The Holy Spirit is the cultivator of peace

– Gal. 5:22 “working the soil, removing/adding”

C. The peace of God transcends understanding

– Phil. 4:6-7

III. We Can Have Peace with Others

A. God calls us to peace

– I Corinthians 7:15

B. Spiritually minded people desire peace

– Romans 8:6

– as opposed to one stirring up division, suspicion

C. We are to sow in peace for the fruit of righteousness

– James 3:18 (the goal is the harvest)

IV. Conclusion

Question: Is your heart at peace and sowing peace?


Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/13/20

Intro: Joy is a word often used simultaneously with happiness, or excitement, but Christian joy is something far more powerful and lasting.

Today I want to consider what God says to us about joy through His Word.

I. The Substance of Christian Joy

A. Christian joy is based on God’s truth

– Nehemiah 8:10-12 (broader context)

B. Christian joy is focused beyond circumstances

C. Christian joy is connected to gratefulness

(happiness is not, but joy is)

II. The Source of Christian Joy

A. Our joy is Christ Himself

– John 15:11, 17:13

B. The Holy Spirit facilitates the joy

– Romans 14:17, 15:13

C. Prayer is a key part of the process

(asking for it alongside righteousness and peace)

III. The Difference Christian Joy Makes

A. A presence of life in a dead world

– Galatians 5:22

B. A reward all its own to do what is right

– Proverbs 21:15, Hebrews 12:2

C. A mark of what awaits us on the other side

– Matthew 25:21, 23

IV. Conclusion

Question: Is there Christian joy is your life?


Week 2 – “Love” 12/6/20

Intro: Love is a common word often used to describe emotions and to explain actions. However, the use of the word in the Bible does not always match the common use in our culture. The passages can be comforting and encouraging, while also challenging and convicting.

Today I want to consider what God says to us about love through His Word.

I. The Nature of Love

A. Love is an attribute of God

– 1 John 4:7-9

B. Love has selfless qualities (not selfish ones)

– I Corinthians 13

C. Love is a fruit of the Spirit (produced in/through us)

– Galatians 5:22

D. Love is a choice (decision of the will)

– 1 John 4:10-11

E. Love should be the standard among the church

– John 13:34-35 (gospel account of Jesus)

II. The Application of Love

A. God loves us

– John 3:16

B. We are to love God

– I John 4:19

C. We are to love those closest to us

– Ephesians 5:25

D. We are to love those all around us

– Leviticus 19:18 & 34 (even an OT standard)

III. The Misplacing of Love

A. Beware of loving self

– II Timothy 3:2

B. Beware of loving money

– I Timothy 6:10

C. Beware of loving the world

– I John 2:15

IV. Conclusion


– What defines your love?

– How do you show it?


Week-1 “Hope” 11-29-20

Intro: People place hope in many different things, people, circumstances, and potential outcomes. (Examples: political leaders, family leaders, financial resources, career moves, stock market growth, etc.)

– As Christians, our hope is based solely on the Person, work and promises of Jesus.

– Consider what Paul wrote to the Colossian church:

– Read Col. 1:27-29

– “The riches of the mystery is Christ in us!”

Today, we’re looking at four characteristics of the hope we have in Christ:

– Read Psalm 16:7-9

I. Our Hope is Secure

The “therefore”

A. We must realize the unmovable nature of God

B. We must “set the Lord before us” as our focus

C. “Therefore” we find gladness in the surety of God

– Read Romans 5:1-5

II. Our Hope is Encouraging

A. There is peace with God over positional standing (v.1)

B. There is increasing confidence over time seeing His love day-to-day (v.5)

– Read Psalm 71:14-16

III. Our Hope is On-Going

A. Praise produces more praise (sometimes it’s a sacrifice – Heb.13:15)

B. We must decide to walk in that hope (v.16)

– Read Titus 2:11-15

III. Our Hope is Forward-Looking

A. Live soberly (see the world as it really is – v.12)

B. Look forward (to His glorious appearing – v.13)

C. Speak truth (even when it’s unpopular – v. 15)

IV. Conclusion


– Do you have hope?

– Where is it placed?



Advent – Week 4 – “Peace” 12/22/19

Intro: For a hundred years, political leaders and activists have talked of peace as something to be declared.

  • War can be declared
  • Peace cannot be declared
  • Unfortunately, it goes against our sinful inclinations toward self and chaos

In the middle of the chaos, a star is announced the arrival of Peace, and angels sang a beautiful chorus.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.” – Luke 2:14

Today, we’re considering peace and its true nature:

I. The Peace of God to Us

A. Jesus is peace

  • 9:6 “Prince of Peace”
  • 2:14 “For He Himself is our peace”
  • Christ’s natural disposition is peace, but not to be confused with indifference or inattention (simply no anxiety or chaos)

B. Jesus is our peace with God

  • Read 5:1-2
  • He was discussing Abraham, like him we have peace with God through faith in Christ

II. The Peace of God in Us

A. His peace is different than the world’s “peace”

  • Read John 14:27
  • After the resurrection He says “Peace to you” 3 times (John 20)

B. His peace is fruit produced of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

C. His peace is the strength of our heart (Philippians 4:6-7)

III. The Peace of God Through Us

A. The peace of God as the standard (“Let the peace of God rule” -Col. 3:15-literally as an umpire)

B. The peace of God as a goal

  • Romans 12:18 “if possible, live peaceably with all people”
  • Hebrews 12:14 “pursue peace with all people”

IV. Conclusion

Question: “Is your heart at peace?”

Read Philippians 4:6-7


Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/15/19


  • The phrase “essential oils” brings to mind many reactions, some positive, some negative, some disinterested, some passionate (personal ambivalence)
  • Basically, oil (in the sense of essential oil) is the essence of the plant, tree, fruit, etc.
  • Today, as we consider “joy”, let’s begin with Isaiah 61 (verses 1-3)
  • “Oil of joy” or “festive oil” – representing the essence of God’s joy
  • Luke 2:8-10
  • Luke 4:16-21
  • Combined together gives us “joyful tidings”

I. Joyful Tidings of Healing (Isaiah 61:1a)

A. Healing broken hearts

  • Wounded by others
  • Wounded by self
  • Wounded by circumstances beyond our control

B. Healing broken dreams

  • Disciples on the road to Emmaus (unfulfilled expectations)
  • Paul’s recalibrated dreams and a changed idea about joy (Phil. 1:1-4)

II. Joyful Tidings of Liberty

Re-read Is. 61:1

A. Release from bondage (personal, hidden)

B. Release from condemnation (judicial status, example Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness, Genesis 15:6)

C. Release from peer condemnation (Romans 8:1)

III. Joyful Tidings of Strength

Re-read Is. 1-3

A. Joy in His authority (His vengeance)

B. Joy in His refreshment (ashes, mourning, heaviness)

C. Joy in His care (planting, nurture-trees

IV. Conclusion

Question: “Where does the oil of joy need to be applied to your life?”


Advent – Week 2 – “Love” 12/8/19


  • Personal story of love of Christmas…
  • Christmas embodies the spirit of God’s love, His presence with us then in physical form, and the Holy Spirit with us now.
  • Everything about the true meaning of Christmas and the joy of it is revealed to us in His word because the overarching narrative of scripture is Jesus from beginning to end revealing His love.
  • Love, not according to the cultural definition but pure love according to Him
  • Today, we’re considering 3 things about God’s love revealed to us:

I. God Loved from the Beginning

A. It always was one of His attitudes – three “God is…” statements

  • God is spirit (John 4:24)
  • God is light (John 1:5)
  • God is love (I John 4:8)
  • It was always one of His attributes and we know what it is because of Him

B. It is reflected in His treatment of:

  • Adam – (fellowship and making him a mate)
  • Adam and Eve (together) – after sin, didn’t destroy or let live forever in sin
  • Cain – didn’t kill him but showed loving compassion
  • Noah – whole Earth to be destroyed but Noah “found grace”, loving compassion

C. His decision to “set His love” on Israel – read Deut. 7:7-8

II. God has Taught about Love Throughout

Quote: “There are many today who talk about the love of God, who are total strangers to the God of love.” – Arthur Pink (1940s)

A. Love is to be reciprocated (Matthew 22:37)

B. Love is to be shown to others (Matthew 22:39)

C. Love is even to be shown to our enemies (Matthew 5:44)

D. Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

E. Love is selfless (I Corinthians 13)

F. Love is forgiving (I Peter 4:8)

III. God has Demonstrated His Love

A. He decided to love – (as seen in Deut.) Godly love involved the will

B. He showed it by coming (Romans 5:8, John 3:16)

C. He remains faithful (I Corinthians 1:9, Hebrews 10:9)

IV. Conclusion

2 Questions:

  • “How is the love of God revealed to you this Christmas?”
  • “How are you reflecting the love of God this Christmas?”


Advent – Week 1 – “Hope” 12/1/19

Intro: In a world filled with disappointment, hope is a rare treasure. So much so, that false versions of it are offered for sale as a commodity to be obtained (personal betterment, financial betterment, relational betterment).

Throughout history, the people of God have learned AND re-learned that genuine lasting hope is only found in the Lord. The Bible presents it in different ways and today we’re considering three of them.

– Read Psalm 71:1-5

I. Biblical Hope is in Someone Who is Absolutely Trustworthy

  • People disappoint
  • Even good people sometimes disappoint
  • Israel knew disappointment in leaders both sacred and civil
  • The scriptures point to hope beyond people
  • Hope in the Messiah

A. There is an unchanging hope – culture has no effect on Him (the reasons for the hope aren’t dependent on the culture remining in agreement with it)

B. There is an unwavering hope – mood and time have no effects on Him (He doesn’t get tired or bored and loose interest)

C. There is an unselfish hope – selfish desires are not present in Him (no ulterior motives or using of people for selfish benefit)

– Read Psalm 119:145-152

II. Biblical Hope is in Someone’s Instructions that are Absolutely True

A. It’s based on His definition of hope – not based on feelings or emotions

B. It’s based on His directions for obtaining hope – a process that is real; trust, learn, pray, allow time,

C. It’s based on His description of hope – He frames it correctly-something subtle and strong but not necessarily happy smiles or sudden release of burdens

– Read Psalm 119:161-168

III. Biblical Hope is in Someone’s Deliverance that is Absolutely Sure

A. Confidence in the present (v.165) – an abiding in the surety of it

B. Confidence for the future (v.161) – an all-encompassing awe of Him that creates a sure expectation in His control of the future

C. Confidence about the results (v.160) – His declarations are timeless and endure until complete…until totally complete

IV. Conclusion

Question: “On who and what are your hopes placed?”


Advent – Week 4 – “Peace” 12/23/18

Intro: In the Old Testament there was a word often used in Hebrew life “shalom”. Meaning:

  • Tranquility
  • Calm in spirit
  • Rest from conflict
  • Prosperity

In New Testament times (and today), it carried the connotation of “peace” and was/is used as a greeting and farewell. Zacharias prophesied about the “way of peace” that John would usher in (Luke 1:79) through the Messiah.

Today’s “present” is a rock. The Messiah was referred to in many ways as the stone or rock (I Peter 2:4-8a). Consider this:

  • Newton’s first law of motion – “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.”
  • Our spirits are born restless and easily moved like a feather being blown about by the wind
  • When Christ comes into our life, it’s a change that brings rest to our spirit and we become a “body at rest”. What exactly does that look like?

I. We are at Peace with God

Read Romans 5:1

A. We are justified – (like a judge in the case of a shoplifter, taking off his robe, walking down from the bench, and paying the fine of the guilty)

B. We are given grace – (like the same judge then taking the guilty person after the trial tot eh same store and purchasing the items previously stolen)

II. We are at Peace with Self

A. Receive the peace (John 14:27)

B. Be guarded by the peace against guilt (Phil. 4:7)

III. We are at Peace with Others

Read Romans 12:18-21 (acting forgiven)

A. Remember Who’s in charge – (V.19)

B. Don’t be overcome – (v.21)

  • Setting aside “offendedness”
  • Setting aside petty grievances to focus on the bigger picture

IV. Conclusion

Question: Are you at peace? Is there “shalom” in your life? Is your spirit at rest?


Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/16/18

Intro: Today’s “present” is a cluster of grapes. In John chapter 15, Jesus described the picture of the Vine, Vinedresser, branches and fruit. He later says in John 15:11, “these things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you…”. The natural question is, “What things?”

Read John 15:1-11a

I. There is Joy in the Connection

A. There is dependence on the vine – in a natural sense, the water source comes only from the vine, as is true in the spiritual sense.

B. There is sustainment from the vine – just as nutrition and refreshment comes to the branches from distant roots, so it is true for us.

C. There is confidence in the vine – confidence in the Lord should be like confidence in deep roots delivering a dependable source of life-giving water.

II. There is Joy in the Growth

Read John 15:11 again

As challenges come, we must:

A. Remember Who the Vinedresser is – The Father plans, ties up the branches for better health and prunes as needed.

B. Remember to stay connected – It’s the “abiding” factor

C. Remember to be patient – which is usually the toughest part

III. There is Joy in the Results

Read John 17:13

A. The guidance of His Word – John 17:14 and Psalm 119:14-16

B. The security of His protection – John 17:15, His prayer

C. The bearing of fruit – Joh 15:8

  • Father glorified
  • Bearing much fruit
  • Galatians 5:22 fruit of the Spirit – Joy!

IV. Conclusion

Question: Is there joy in your life from His coming? From the connection? From the growth? From the results?


Advent – Week 2 – “Love” 12/9/18

Intro: Today’s “present” is a rose. It represents love, joy and beauty. In I John, there are 25 verses referencing love.

Read I John 1:1-4

I want to look at 5 characteristics of Godly love as presented by John (the disciple whom Jesus loved!).

I. Godly Love is Proactive

Read I John 4:9

A. It’s compelled to act first – like the nervous moment of telling someone the first time “I love you”

B. It risks being misunderstood – wondering what they’re going to think

II. Godly Love is Sacrificial

Read I John 4:9-10

A. It sets aside pride – (personal story)

B. It’s freely given – (even when it costs)

III. Godly Love is Keeping His Commandments

Read 5:1-3

A. A healthy respect

  • “Keep” was originally a sailing term as in “keeping the stars”
  • As sailors used stars to set their course, we should use His commandments to set ours

B. A joy to please the Father we love (v.3b) – His way is no burden

IV. Godly Love is Rejecting the World

Read 2:15-17

Illustration of a husband or wife watching something on television that’s offensive to the other spouse but continues to watch it every day with no regard to the wishes of the other.

A. Love is to be directed toward the things of God

B. Love is to be inventoried regularly

V. Godly Love is Valuing People

Read I John 4:20-21

A. We must see people above all else

B. We must remember “why” we are to love

Read I John 4:10-11

VI. Conclusion

Question: “Is there an area where “loving others” is tough for you?”

Let’s pray about that now…

Advent – Week 1 – “Hope” 12/2/18

Intro: Gift-giving is part of Christmas. From the Magi bringing gifts to Jesus in the gospels to gatherings of family and friends today, gifts are part of our Christmas tradition.

God has always been a “gift-giver”! The Advent season represents some very specific gifts that He’s given. One of them is represented here in this box (new gift revealed each week). Today’s gift is (a copy of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament). The scriptures were given to God’s people as a record book, guide book, instruction book, promise book, and prophecy book. The faithful Jews of the 1st Century lived each day on the promises made in God’s word. In the absence of new prophetic words, their hopes rested on the ancient words recorded by Prophets and Kings. One of those individuals was a man named Simeon. Let’s look:

Read Luke 2:25-32

He was looking for the “Consolation of Israel” (which means the comfort of God’s people), and he had confidence that God would deliver. Today we’re going to look at three specific hopes.

I. There was Hope for Fulfilled Promises

A. The confidence was in the Word (v.29, Isaiah 55:11) – it transcended time, circumstances, and people

B. The remnant still hung on to the promises

  • Quote – “His birth was announced to the people most likely to care.” – Charles Swindoll
  • No announcement to political leaders
  • No announcement to the Temple leaders
  • No announcement to local “celebrities”
  • Announcement was made to humble, faithful people

C. Believing the promises was an act of faith

  • We stand on promises, not explanations (Wiersbe)
  • Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”
  • Hope is standing on promises!

II. There was Hope for Salvation

Read Isaiah 49:6

A. A recognized need for a hero – admitting insufficiency

B. A recognized origin of the hero – (Luke 2:31)

C. A recognized presence of the hero – (Luke 2:30)

III. There was Hope for Revelation

A. His presence brought illumination (Luke 2:32)

  • John chapter 1 – The True Light
  • “Special Revelation” versus “General Revelation”

B. His presence brought affirmation (Isaiah 28:16) – A glorious structure starting with Israel

C. His presence brought transformation (John 4:19-26)

  • New life
  • New worship

IV. Conclusion

Question: “What does “hope” mean for you?”

Below are notes from the 2017 season


Advent – Week 4 – Peace

Date: 12/24/17

Intro: Like the other three subjects we’ve looked at this season, “peace” is a word with various meanings and applications. Over the centuries, mankind has struggled to find it (and keep it). Politically speaking, someone said “Peace is the brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.” – Lloyd Cory

On an individual level, our culture often promotes an eastern, mystical concept of peace, but biblically speaking; true peace is more than an absence of conflict, it’s the abiding presence of God.

Today, I want to look at four points about the peace of God:

I. The Promise of Peace

Read: Isaiah 9:6

A. God is aware of our need for peace (Luke 2:14, Peace on Earth…)

B. God delivered on His promises (every single letter of prophecy fulfilled)

II. The Presence of Peace

Read Romans 5:1

A. There is positional peace before God (justified)

B. There is inner peace (Ephesians 2:14, Jesus IS our peace)

III. The Protection of Peace

Read Philippians 4:6-7

A. It creates healthy/proper boundaries (guards)

B. It guides our decision-making (Col. 3:15, let the peace of God “rule” like an umpire)

IV. The Power of Peace

Read John 14:27 & 16:33

A. Power against fear

B. Power to overcome with “good cheer” (not just dragging across the finish line)

V. Conclusion

Question: Do you have real, deep, lasting peace today?

  • A heart filled with its promise
  • A heart filled with its presence
  • A heart filled with its power
  • A heart filled with its power
  • If not, you can…today


Advent – Week 3 – Joy

Date: 12/17/17

Intro: In the same way as “love” last week, the word “joy” has many uses and meanings in our culture. Often times, it’s used synonymously with happiness, but the biblical meaning of joy is different. It’s something internal (instead of circumstantial) and more connected to “gladness” than happiness. The principle of being glad is associated with joy, which I think creates a picture of a “settled gladness”. It’s a place of fulfilment which brings a deeply settled state of being glad before the Lord.

The phrase “The Joy of the Lord” is used in several passages, and today we’re looking at what that means for us.

I. The Joy of the Lord Brings Celebration

Read: Luke 2:10-20

A. For His glorious presence (glory in the highest)

  • Old Testament Prophets’ vision of the throne
  • New Testament presence at announcement of Jesus’ birth

B. For His glorious works (Job 38:1-7 as an example, “sang for joy”)

But also…

C. For His glorious love toward us

  • v.14b and on earth peace, goodwill toward men
  • John 3:16
  • John 8:56 – Abraham saw my day, rejoiced, and was glad (anticipation)

II. The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

Read Nehemiah 8:10

A. The firm and sure Cornerstone (like the wall)

B. He is truth (complete truth, not half-truth I Cor. 4:5)

C. His joy is lasting – Luke 24:32, there is strength in that fire!

III. The Joy of the Lord is Based on His Grace

Read Matthew 22:36-40 (There are expectations)

A. His joy to redeem us (Hebrews 12:1-2 – “for the joy set before Him”)

B. His joy within us (Gal. 5:22 – “love, joy…”)

C. His joy to sustain us (Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy…that you may abound…”)

IV. Conclusion

Question: Is there joy in your heart today?

  • The enemy will try to steal it
  • The enemy would love to steal it
  • Let’s pray and ask the Lord for the “settled gladness” that is Christian joy!


Advent – Week 2 – Love

Date: 12/10/17

Intro: We live in a “search engine” world. Now-a-days, when a question comes up…someone pulls out a phone and searches for the answer on the spot.

With most searches, thousands of “answers” pop-up, maybe even millions. Unfortunately, you must often sift through the random ads, etc. to find the truth (if it’s even there). Love is the same way. If you were to type in a search on the word, thousands of answers would pop-up, so what does “love” mean?

Today, three Bible-based points about love:

I. Love Defined

A. Described in the Old Testament

  • Read Jeremiah 31:3
  • God’s love is faithful and durable (v.3a)
  • God’s love is filled with kindness

B. Further described in the New Testament

  • Read I Corinthians 13:4-8a
  • Read I John 4:16
  • He embodies and defines love

But also…

C. Proper Boundaries are set throughout Old and New Testament

  • Read I John 2:15-17
  • Biblical love…Godly love, is more than a feeling, emotion, or desire, it’s an act of the will

II. Love Demonstrated

A. God’s patience toward us – Exodus 34:6

B. God’s provision for us

  • Read Romans 5:8
  • The key point is the unmerited love (while we were yet sinners…)

C. Jesus’ model in everyday life

  • Philippians 2:5-7
  • It’s important to note that it’s not thinking low about one’s self, but highly of others

III. Love as a Directive

Read Matthew 22:36-40 (There are expectations)

A. We are to Love the Lord with our whole person

  • Thoughts – what we ponder, dwell on, contemplate, believe to be true
  • Core person (the throne room of our heart)
  • Pursuits (as to the Lord – Col. 3:23)

B. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves

C. We are to actively teach and remind ourselves and our children of both

Read Deuteronomy 6:7-9

  • Diligence (v.7)
  • Specifically, according to what God defines
  • Set your home as an example (v.9)

IV. Conclusion

We started with the subject of search engines…

Question: In doing a search of your heart for the word “love”, what would the returns be? What would the top 5 things be that you love? Do some need to be added or need go away? Perhaps some need to be attended to get a “higher ranking”?


Advent – Week 1 – Hope

Text: Psalm 33:20-22, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 131:1-3

Date: 12/3/17

Intro: Hope is a basic human need. Without it, our souls descend into “hopelessness” (and many lives have suffered over the centuries because of a lack of hope).

However, Biblical hope isn’t a wish, it’s a trust based on the eternal character of God Almighty.

Today, as we begin our four-week season of Advent (leading up to Christmas), I want to look at the Biblical truth concerning “hope”.

Throughout the Old Testament, there are examples of people in need of hope (often in desperate need). From Noah looking out over a civilization that was anything but “civil”, to the various eras of the Hebrews, there are three parts to consider:

I. The Waiting

Read Psalm 33:20-22

A. Waiting can bring anxiety

  • It’s like sitting on a plane ready for take-off and you wait, and wait, and wait on the tarmac to leave
  • As time rocks on, our spirit can become unsettled, looking for answers

B. Waiting can allow our minds to wander – (and the places it goes are often unhealthy)

C. Waiting can test our commitment – He is our help (v.20), not our own solutions

II. The Expectation

Read Jeremiah 29:11

(The context of the passage is important. God was telling the Hebrews that they would be there awhile, but weren’t forgotten)

A. We can expect Godly good from the Lord – He isn’t looking to “zap” us or pull the rug out from under us)

B. We can expect that His priority is our inner peace – (not necessarily the outer things)

III. The Trust

Read Psalm 131:1-3

A. Trusting means remembering who is God and who is not – (there’s a vulnerability to admitting it and limitedness)

B. Trusting is knowing I can always “go home” – (like the prodigal son)

III. Conclusion

So, when our hope is properly placed:

  • There is often the waiting
  • There is often a need to remember the expectations
  • There is always confidence when our trust is in Him


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