Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Countdown to Christmas/Advent (10/23/08)
TITLE: The "Advent-ure" of a Lifetime
By Donna Powers
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<b>First week of Advent: Expectation</b>
Good morning, brothers and sisters. This morning we light our first Advent candle. Our message was about the prophets who foretold Jesus’ birth. Most of us know the story by rote and perhaps are jaded by years of holiday sameness. So I’ve decided to ask you to take part in an experiment. Each week, as we light the candles, I am going to give you a challenge.
This week, our candle stands for expectation. Jesus was born at a time when God’s people yearned for a Deliverer. When prophets proclaimed the birth of the Messiah, the people listened expectantly. Today, as we light this candle, I want us to approach our Creator with that same expectation. I believe God has a special message for each of us, and, if we listen with that expectation in our hearts, He will reveal it to us. Let us now turn our hearts toward Him.
<b>Second Week of Advent: Revelation</b>
Good morning, brothers and sisters. I want to thank those of you who have called me and told me how God has touched your lives this week. Because of the prayer that we prayed, my heart has also been in a state of joyous expectation.
This second candle reminds us of shepherds who heard from God’s angels on that first Christmas night. The angels sang to them of God’s Deliverer, and their lives were never again the same. Today, as we light this candle, I believe our expectations will be fulfilled. I believe God will reveal a special truth to each of us. And, just as the shepherds were forever transformed by God’s truth, I believe that truth will transform each of us. Let us now listen, as He reveals His truth.
<b>Third Week of Advent: Participation</b>
Good morning, brothers and sisters. I heard from many of you this past week, and I know this Advent experiment has touched you in the same way it has touched me.
The third candle stands for the three wise men, sent by Herod to find the truth about Jesus’ birth. King Herod had heard the stories and he was afraid and angry at the implications of this story. Herod commanded the men to find out the truth, but when the truth was revealed to them, they knew they couldn’t keep their promise to Herod. Instead, they followed the Bethlehem star and brought gifts to Jesus. They acted on the truth; they risked their own safety to do what God had led them to do. Today, as the candles are lit, I want all of us to think about the truths that God has revealed to us and think of what actions the Lord is calling us to take. Let each of us leave this place today and begin our courses of action.
<b>Fourth Week of Advent – Celebration </b>
Good morning, brothers and sisters. Hasn’t this been an amazing month? I’ve had so many calls; telling stories of what God has done in your lives, through this Advent experiment. After we light the candle, I’d like us to share some of these stories and celebrate the life-changing Power of God, which is alive in each of us today.
I can’t begin to imagine the joy that overtook each of those who were present on that first Christmas night. Despite the pain of childbirth, I imagine Mary was full of joy at the birth of her Child. Joseph may have been apprehensive, but even he might have praised God for the honor of being chosen to help raise the Savior. Even the animals must have sensed something special. And, I imagine the angels led them all in an amazing worship service: our Savior was born! Hallelujah!
Tonight, I want any who feel led by the Spirit to come forward and tell of the way God has used these weeks of Advent to make a difference in your lives – and the lives of those around you. I want us to celebrate God’s awesome power and the way He has led each of those who share today. And I want us to end this Advent season with the sure knowledge that He can continue to do wonders like these in every life, which is fully yielded, to Him.
May God bless you all at this Christmas, and always.
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