- ReadADVENT WEEK THREE: JOYSUNDAY DECEMBER 15, 2019
In the Old Testament, the prophets often describe celebration, joy, and rejoicing when they speak of the future time when Yahweh will bring restoration and come once again in their midst.
Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
—Zephaniah 3:14, 17
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
Joy is not just an emotion, celebration not just an excuse to party. Scripture demonstrates that it is, in fact, a natural reaction to the work that the Creator does among His people, particularly the work of drawing the lost back into relationship with Him. It is that reason that the New Testament frequently exhorts us to rejoice about Jesus and His work on the cross.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.”
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Joy is not something that is fleeting but a recognition of the character and work of our God. A God who allowed His own son to provide the atoning sacrifice on our behalf. A God who walks beside us, refines us, cherishes us, and always draws us closer to Him.
If joy is a natural response to the Creator’s work in our lives, then there should be much rejoicing and celebration when we remember the birth of Jesus and His coming into our midst. There should be much rejoicing when we remember that He emptied Himself, took on flesh, lived as a human, and eventually died on the cross for us. When we remember that His work on the cross brought us back into relationship with the Father our most natural response should be one of pure and unadulterated joy! It truly is time to celebrate!
- ANNOUNCEMENT! Don't wait to join one of our three Christian Education courses this Winter at Two Rivers Church. Preaching Seminar-- starts January 4th at 9am (meets first Saturday of each month Jan-June). Please text "preaching" to 480-892-2435 for sign up link. Survey of Theology (Seattle Bible College)-- starts January 8th at 6pm. Please text "theology" to 480-892-2435 for sign up link. Letters (Romans, Hebrews, Galatians, 1-2 Cor, 1-2 Thess)-- starts January 12th at 9am. Please text "letters" to 480-892-2435 for sign up link. Contact Jessica Ellertson at email@example.com with any questions.
- ReadDecember 9th, 2019Dear Church, Blessings to you on the start of a new week! This email highlights events taking place at Two Rivers. ______________________________________________Quick Mentions
- Prophetic Appointments-Sunday, December 15th 1:15-2:30pm in the Harbor. The last appointment slot is at 2:30pm.
- Prayer & Praise-Friday, December 20th from 7pm-8:30pm in the Sanctuary.
- Church Wide Fasting - Save the date! This will happen the week of January 13th-17th. More details to come!
- ReadADVENT WEEK TWO: LOVESUNDAY DECEMBER 8, 2019
Love is an extremely tangled up concept in our culture. For many, love is a fleeting emotion which is full of conditions and can change at a moment's notice. Yet, that is not how love is demonstrated in Scripture. The Psalmist cries out to God in Psalm 51 when he says:
"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!"
The Hebrew word here in Psalm 51 which is translated steadfast love has a meaning of favor and covenant loyalty. It is because of His love for His people and His loyalty to the covenant that He made with them that He gave up His only son as the atoning sacrifice. It is because of His love that He has abundant mercy which can blot out our transgressions and sins. It is because of His love that we have been saved. Ultimately love is a part of the character of God and cannot be separated from Him.
Thus, when we focus on love this coming week, let us not focus on a vague emotion, but on the powerful force that was demonstrated when the Creator of the universe gave up His only son to be born as an infant, when Jesus emptied Himself and dwelt among us, and when He ultimately gave up His life so that we may be washed of our inequities and cleansed from sin.
“that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
– Ephesians 3: 17b-19
Humans have the capacity to love because we were created by a loving God. In this Advent season, let us seriously consider the impossible depths of His love for us. Additionally, may we consider the beautiful gift He has given us in our capacity to love others just as He loves us.
- Very good devotional. Where do I go to get the link to the "listen + read"?
- ReadDecember 1st, 2019Dear Church, Blessings to you on the start of a new week! This email highlights events taking place at Two Rivers. ______________________________________________Quick Mentions
Membership Class - Tuesday, December 3rd at 6:30pm in Modular Classroom #1. No childcare. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Prophetic School - Wednesday, December 4th at 7pm in the Sanctuary.
Kingdom Come - At Wonderful Mercy on Friday, December 6th from 7-8:30pm.
- ReadADVENT WEEK ONE: HOPESUNDAY DECEMBER 1, 2019
When we call this season Advent we are recognizing that we are eagerly waiting for the arrival of a significant person, event, or thing. The Word repeatedly demonstrates this sense of hopeful anticipation:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
— Isaiah 7:14
As we engage in the Advent season, we are reminded of the hope and anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah that is demonstrated so clearly in the Old Testament. As Christians, we celebrate the fulfillment of this prophecy when we remember Jesus’ birth. Yet, we also wait with great expectation for the day when Jesus will return again to fully redeem this world and establish His kingdom in ultimate victory.
"Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"
— Titus 2:13
Let this be a season of excitement, joy, and hope as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Prince of Peace and long for His future return. For we know that our God is a God that fulfills His promises and just as God provided His Son as the long awaited Messiah to His people, we know He will fulfill His promise regarding Jesus’ return.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
— 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
- The Christmas season is upon us! Make sure to check your inboxes each Saturday starting November 30th for a weekly Advent Devotional. We hope it blesses you during this season of celebration. Contact Christian Education Director Jessica Ellertson (email@example.com) with any questions.
- Update on Bobby McIntyre (11/26/29): Bobby is home! He could still use your prayers as he was having a hard time breathing yesterday. Thank you all for your support and countless prayers!