Second Sunday Of Advent
Today we relight the candle of HOPE. Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace. From the prophet Isaiah:
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us authority rests upon his shoulders and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
From the Gospel of John:
Peace I leave with you my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Let us pray:
Gracious God, Grant that we may find peace as we prepare for our Lords birth. May divisions in ourselves and our families be peacefully resolved. May there be peace in our cities and the countries of our world. Please help us to see the paths of peace in our lives and then give us the courage to follow them. Lord, let us remember that you only are the giver of lasting peace and that you are always with us. Amen.
Our Worship Of Jesus Christ In Advent
Presbyterians and other churches coming out of the Reformation have historically recognized the value of the Church Year without feeling obliged to follow it in their services slavishly. Many in the Reformed churches have singled out Advent and Christmas, Easter and Pentecost as major movements in the life of our Lord and His Church that are helpful in the devotional life of our churches. In that spirit, our Women in the Church have decorated our sanctuary for this special time. The Senior Pastor has prepared a series of special messages on the Advent of Jesus Christ. And we begin our services with a lighting of the Advent Candle. Our assistant pastors have sought out individuals and families representing the life of our congregation to observe this time before each service in Advent and on Christmas Eve. The lighting of these candles reminds us of the promise that a Light would come to the World:
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Each candle brings us closer to the time we recall His birth and Second Coming. Remembering Jesus parable in Matthew 25.1-13, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, we also seek to be wise and have our lamps ready for the Bridegroom who is coming again. As Jesus said:
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
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Advent Readings And Lightings: Pastoral Preparations For The Coming Season
The Christian ministry is set apart to bring Gospel nourishment to the Body of Christ on earth and to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. Our Redeemer, by His very life, bequeathed a season that captures the worlds attention each year. Welcome, Advent. Welcome, Christmas.
I wanted to aid congregations and pastors, particularly those from evangelical and free church backgrounds, who want to move away from the commercialization of the season to focus on the Incarnation. That is a hard sell, to be sure. A normative way to refocus the minds and hearts of people to the reality of Christ with us is through the seasons of the church calendar. The pastor can accomplish his goal by acknowledging the festivity of the wondrous season and drawing the peoples hearts away from the selling sites to the sacred Scriptures. Returning to the seasons marking the life of Jesus our Lord helps us to order discipleship on a cycle of Scripture.
A normative way to refocus the minds and hearts of people to the reality of Christ with us is through the seasons of the church calendar.
I offer these readings to you with references and resources at the conclusion. I begin with a statement I used on celebrating Advent.
Returning to the seasons marking the life of Jesus our Lord helps us to order discipleship on a cycle of Scripture.
Third Sunday Of Advent
Today we relight the first two candles of the Advent wreath. The candle of HOPE and the candle of PEACE. Now we light the third candle of Advent. This is the candle of JOY. As the coming of Jesus, our Savior, draws nearer, our joy builds with our anticipation of his birth. From the Book of Isaiah, we read the words of our Lord:
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
From the New Testament, the words of Paul to the people of the church at Galatia:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Let us pray:
We joyfully praise you, O Lord, for fulfilling your promise of a Savior and what that means in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation through the birth of your Son, Jesus. Create us anew as we wait, and help us to see your glory as you fill our lives with your living Spirit. Amen.
The Church Must Be Light That The World May See
In the Gospel today the Lord says,
No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light .
In other words, the Lord lit the light of the Church in order to give light to the world and to be seen. The world is in darkness the moral darkness of these times is very deep.
You dont light light. It is the darkness that needs the light. Light is meant to be seen. There are too many undercover Christians, secret agent saints, and hidden holy ones. Jesus didnt light our light so that we could hide under a basket out of fear or secrecy. He wants the Church to shine He wants you and me to shine. He wants every Christian to be a light so that were like a city on a hill! He wants us to shine so that we cant be hidden.
To all of this, Jesus simply says, You are the light of the world.
Lets look at some details about the light:
The CAUSE Jesus describes himself as the One who lights a lamp. We are to yield to Christ, to allow Him to shine through us. He is the cause of our light. Let your light shine. Theres an old gospel song that says, When you see me trying to do good, trying to live as a Christian should, its just Jesus, Jesus in me.
Ideas To Share Light For #lighttheworld 2022
Who needs your light today?
A list of 50 ideas to share light as part of the 2022 Light the World initiative. Download a PDF at LightTheWorld.org.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The 2022 #LightTheWorld initiative invites all to focus on sharing kindness as the Savior did and answer the question, Who needs your light today?
Throughout December, individuals are encouraged to look for ways to bring joy to someone new each day and highlight ways people around them are sharing light.
This years initiative features something new a list of 50 ideas to share light with others.
In the past we have provided a calendar with specific service ideas for each of the days leading up to Christmas, said Tom Pratt, a manager with the Churchs Missionary Department who manages the Light the World initiative. However, this year we offer daily text or WhatsApp reminders as well as weekly emails that hopefully inspire everyone to be watchful and thoughtful about who they might serve.
We invite people to find a way to share their light with someone each day in a way that is personal and meaningful to their needs. So this year we invite everyone to ask the question Who needs my light today? whether it is a family member, a friend or a complete stranger. If you would like some helpful thought-starters, go to LightTheWorld.org where you can download a sheet of 50 Ideas to Share Your Light.
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Political Consolidation And One
Despite not holding the presidency, Calles remained the key political figure during the period known as the . The Maximato ended during the presidency of , who expelled Calles from the country and implemented many economic and social reforms. This included the in March 1938, which nationalized the and – oil company known as the . This movement would result in the creation of the state-owned Mexican oil company . This sparked a diplomatic crisis with the countries whose citizens had lost businesses by Cárdenas’s radical measure, but since then the company has played an important role in the economic development of Mexico. Cárdenas’s successor, was more moderate, and relations between the U.S. and Mexico vastly improved during , when Mexico was a significant ally, providing manpower and materiel to aid the war effort. From 1946 the election of , the first civilian president in the post-revolutionary period, Mexico embarked on an aggressive program of economic development, known as the , which was characterized by industrialization, urbanization, and the increase of inequality in Mexico between urban and rural areas.
A Select Bibliography For Planning Advent Services
Book of Common Order of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. 2nd ed. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1929. Print.
Book of Common Worship, Daily Prayer. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. Print.
Book of Worship for United States Forces: A collection of hymns and worship resources for military personnel of the United States of America. Washington, DC: USGPO, 1974. Print.
The Reformed liturgy. Philadelphia: Liturgical Conference, 2009. Print.
Cummings, Brian. The Book of Common Prayer: the texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Dyke, Henry. The Book of Common Worship. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1926, 1906. Print.
Farhadian, Charles E.. Christian Worship Worldwide: expanding horizons, deepening practices. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2007. Print.
Gore, R. J.. Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Puritan Regulative Principle. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P& R Pub., 2002. Print.
Hefling, Charles C., and Cynthia L. Shattuck. The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer: A worldwide survey. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.
Johnson, Terry. Leading in worship: A Sourcebook for Presbyterian Students and Ministers Drawing upon the Biblical and Historic Forms of the Reformed Tradition. Oak Ridge: Covenant Foundation, 1996. Print.
Lutheran Book of Prayer. Rev. ed. Saint Louis: Concordia Pub. House, 2005. Print.
Rogne, David George. Advent Services. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007. Print.
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We Are A Light In This World
And it is into that context that Jesus, who speaks to us about the reality of spiritual darkness, calls us to be light in the world. My dear friends, let us not complain about the spiritual darkness of the world so much as recognise it is our calling to expose that darkness and gloriously to illuminate that darkness. Now, how are we going to do that? Well, you remember what Jesus is doing here. He is preaching the Sermon on the Mount! We know He was preaching the kingdom of God and He was showing the power of that kingdom by the things He did. At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount He begins to describe those who belong, who are citizens, of that kingdom. And then He says, You citizens, together you are to shine as the light of the world.
Most of you know I am plagued in life in the United States by people saying, Where do you come from? and by trying to guess the accent. But I use the same language. Spelling a little different sometimes. I speak the same words. I try and speak in sentences with semi-colons. I am not using a different language. I am not living in a different world. What am I doing? What am I doing that makes people say, Where does he come from that he is so different? My friends, the only thing that I am doing is this: I am putting the emphasis on a different syllable. That is all I am doing.
Light Of The World: Mexican Church Holds Gathering Amid Sex Crimes Scandal
Hundreds of thousands of members of the Light of the World church have travelled to Mexico to take part in their traditional mass baptisms. The organisation is embroiled in a sex crimes scandal, with its leader NaasÃ³n JoaquÃn GarcÃa absent from the celebrations after his arrest in the US.
Some 600,000 followers from 58 countries have descended on the city of Guadalajara, where La Luz del Mundo has its international headquarters, for their week-long “holy convocation”, when leaders hold mass baptisms and a “holy supper”.
The fundamentalist Christian organisation was founded in 1926 by Mexican Eusebio JoaquÃn GonzÃ¡lez, Mr GarcÃa’s grandfather. It claims to have 1.8 million followers in Mexico and millions more worldwide, although many religious experts question these numbers.
The church describes itself as a “resurgence of the early Christian church”, and their followers believe 50-year-old Mr GarcÃa is an apostle of Jesus. In recent years, the organisation’s influence has spread to the US, particularly in parts of California with large Hispanic populations.
Women cover their heads during services and sit separately from the men. Emotions often run high during their mass events and it was not any different this year, despite Mr GarcÃa’s arrest in June.
The judge in the case had initially set Mr GarcÃa’s bail at $25m but then doubled it at a hearing in July following a request from the prosecutors.
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What Is Light The World
#LightTheWorld is an invitation to transform Christmas into a season of service. Its a worldwide movement to touch hearts and change lives by doing the things Jesus did: feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely, visiting the sick and afflicted, and showing kindness to everyone. Jesus said, Ye are the light of the world . #LightTheWorld is the perfect way to let our lightand His lightshine brightly.
Fourth Sunday Of Advent
Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath the candles of HOPE, PEACE, and JOY. Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE. Jesus demonstrated self-giving love in his ministry as the Good Shepherd. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others, and sharing. It is a time to love as God loved us by giving us his most precious gift. As God is love, let us be love also. In the Book of Deuteronomy, we find these words:
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
From the Gospel of John, we hear:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Let us pray:
Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christs footsteps so that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know your love and the one whom you have sent, your son, our Savior. Amen.
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Sexual Abuse Accusations And Arrest Of Church Leader Naasn Joaqun Garca
On May 18, 1997 a group of women claimed on the Mexican network Televisa that they had been sexually abused by Samuel Joaquín approximately twenty years earlier. In a third report on August 17, shortly after the church’s most significant holiday, former member Moisés Padilla Íñiguez also accused Samuel Joaquín of sexually abusing him when he was a teenager. These accusations were amplified by Jorge Erdely’s anti-cult group, which demanded that La Luz del Mundo be stripped of its legal recognition as a religious organization. Four people later filed formal complaints with the state prosecutor, but the statute of limitations had passed.
The issue reignited in February 1998 when Padilla reported being kidnapped and stabbed by two gunmen. Padilla received 57 shallow slashes from a dagger which could have resulted in death from blood loss. Padilla blamed Samuel Joaquín for the stabbing and for an earlier attack in which he was allegedly beaten by men who warned him against denouncing the Church leader. Judicial authorities investigating the charges said the alleged victims had not been fully cooperative, whereas former church members expressed skepticism of the Mexican legal system, arguing that it favored the Church.
Two days before his trial, Naasón Joaquín García pled guilty to three charges related to sexually abusing children. However, even after García’s guilty plea, his follower’s base remained undisturbed, and church members continued worshipping him.