Making Sunday Special – Text of the Week Advent 4 12/23/12

Isaiah 53:1 – 12

God’s Greatest Promise: “The Suffering Servant”
[53:1] Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
[2] For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
[3] He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
[4] Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
[5] But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
[6] All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
[8] By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
[9] And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
[10] Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
[11] Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
[12] Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Daily Thoughts – Newtown CT

I have been asked by several folks over the past couple of days on how we might address the situation in Newtown CT here in the Westshore of Cleveland. I have a couple of thoughts, one spiritually, and the other practically.

First, as Christians we need to look out for one another and our neighbors in love! We are called to live in this period of time, and, it is not a mistake that you and I are living in 2012. We must, live unto the Lord with a renewed Contagious Christianity – so that the world would take notice about how we love each other and them! To our socially awkward neighbors – we need to take risks from our comfortable suburban homes and reach out to them as well – and it’s a hard ministry! Many families in the suburbs today do not want to get to know their neighbors.  I would suggest that as you are working in your yard, or going out for your mail to smile and say “hi” as you see them and to go out of your way to engage in conversation with them.  No one thought the shooter would go as far as he did last Friday! But, I do wonder – if as danger signs appeared, was  there community help for his mother available and was she open to getting him that help? Doesn’t sound like it, but I may be wrong.  If there was a gospel community of God’s grace & truth available to them both, I can’t help but think that he cold have gotten the professional assistance that he needed.

Obviously he didn’t live in reality, and something snapped. I pray that it never happens again, but I plead to you all – if some social recluse lives near you, as far as it depends upon you, reach out and attempt to establish a relationship with him and his parents. And, be friends as God grants you opportunity. I’m not saying that these steps would have stopped the shooter last Friday – but I think it can only help to be good neighbors in our day by being interested in other people and engaging in meaningful conversation.  That way, we can speak into other’s lives and get them the help that they need, of course if they are willing.

2nd, I think it is time for every school in our country to have a full time – well trained, policeman to stop this nonsense as well as a metal detector outside the doors of our schools. The airlines have done it for years and guns do not get on planes! I think it will work for our schools, and if someone tries – we would have a well trained, armed young police officer present to defend the kids, teachers,and administrators if need be.

Those are my thoughts, my prayers are being lifted continually for the families of these precious children, teachers, and administrators who were lost last Friday!


Preparing for The Lord’s Day -Sunday Dec. 16: Making Sunday Special – Taking the Day off!

This week’s text: Isaiah 11:1 – 16
God’s Greatest Promise: The Promise of a King who brings Peace to the Nations.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
He will raise a signal for the nations
and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.
The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart,
and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah,
and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west,
and together they shall plunder the people of the east.
They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites shall obey them.
And the LORD will utterly destroy
the tongue of the Sea of Egypt,
and will wave his hand over the River
with his scorching breath,
and strike it into seven channels,
and he will lead people across in sandals.
And there will be a highway from Assyria
for the remnant that remains of his people,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from the land of Egypt.

Reflecting on God’s Voice from yesterday – 2nd Sunday of Advent

God’s Greatest Promise: The Promise of a Son who gives light!
Isaiah 8: 11 – 9:7

1. From 7:2 – 4 and 8:6, what is the way of this people God told Isaiah not to follow? What do they fear contrasted with Isaiah fears?

2. What effects do these fears have on the way each acts?

3. How does Isaiah respond to Judah’s rejection of his message?

4. What is the darkness in which the people walk and what is the suffering that Zebulun and Naphtali experienced.

5. How does Is. describe the effects of the dawning light.

6. How does the New Testament interpret this prophecy.

7. How has Jesus shattered some of the yokes that burden you? What is the one yoke that you desire to have him shatter now?

Coming up at Christ Church Westshore – Anglican

Making Sunday Special – Advent 2
God’s Greatest Promise Series: The Promise of a Son who Gives Light!

Passage of the Week: Isaiah 9:1- 7
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:1-7 ESV)

God’s Greatest Promise

Reflecting on Isaiah 7:1 – 25

Following Sunday’s message, take some time for the next couple of days and ponder the following questions – and let us rejoice that God is with Us!

1. The events here occur 10 – 16 years after chapter 6 – during Ahaz’s reign – What danger is threatening Judah now? (724 BC)

2. What is the point of discussing the various “heads in relation to the head of Judah?

3. Ahaz is playing KIng, rather than administering the Covenant with God’s people – what do you make of his response in vs. 12?

4. What is the sign that the Lord will give to Ahaz anyway. How does this sign fit the crisis at hand, and how is it comforting?

5. If Ahaz and Judah don’t turn to the Lord in faith for help – what will happen? vss. 18 – 25

6. What situation are you facing now that frightens you? Are you trusting God – who is with you (Matt. 1:23) ?