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Simple Hope

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I am so excited to begin a new series This week called SIMPLE CHRISTMAS.
If we are not careful the Christmas season can be anything but Simple.
The parties, ugly sweaters, decorating, shopping, lights, treats, gifts, Connecting with friends and family...
As fun as these things may be, it's easy to miss the heart of the holiday season; to fully embrace Christmas and all that it can mean for us.
I hope to help us all remove some of the complexity from this Christmas as we focus on the Simple Advent ideas of hope, love, joy, and peace.
Let's make this a Simple Christmas.
(With all that in mind)
I want to kick off our Simple Christmas Advent Series with two Simple questions:
What are you hoping for this Christmas?
This is a simple enough question…immediately you may have your heart set on a special gift, maybe this is the year that you hope that every single family member is able to celebrate Christmas together, Or You may be hoping for a bonus from your work that shows the appropriate recognition for your extra efforts this year.
Or maybe your hopes are a little more substantial. Maybe you are hoping for a relationship to be mended…Maybe you are hoping for a health problem to be healed….I know we are all praying for Baby Alister to continue to recover from his health ordeal….Maybe you just need to catch a break or just catch your breath.….
Whatever you are hoping for it is a pretty safe bet that if even one of these hopes become a reality you would consider it a pretty good year.
We all have things we hope for yet sometimes it is very hard to maintain confidence in these hopes…Which leads to our second question.
Who is your Hope In? You know the answer that I want to hear from you after all we are in Church….Of Course our Hope is in Jesus….Or is it?…
The truth is many times even though we would say that our hope is in Jesus we place our hope in other people and things.
Sometimes we hope that our spouse will finally make us feel safe, or we place our hope in our Boss…We hand our hopes on a political candidate, or even ourselves…after all doesn’t the Bible say God helps those who help themselves? (BY THE WAY No it does not say that.)
It is becuase we often hope in the wrong person or thing that we give up on what we hope for.
Hope is essential to the life of a believer becuase without hope we are more likely to give into and unhealthy sense of cynicism.

“12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

God made us to live in Hope....God Made us to dream…when we stop hoping, we stop dreaming. When we stop dreaming we stop living.

Simple hope for a better future and in a Loving God fill’s us with the nessacary optimism to overcome disappointment.

I think we all know people that believe that it is better not to hope for or in anything thus ensuring they will never be disappointed.
Not risking disappointment leads to not experiencing fulfilment.
Hopelessness leads to an overall sense of pessimism that if we are not careful becomes the driving philosophy of our lives.
While Hope for the sake of hope is not a complete strategy it is essential to finding and living our purpose.
The book of Isaiah is a wonderful example of hope in the face of disappointment. Much of Isaiah is focused on the fact that Israel is going to suffer due to disobedience…but in the midst of suffering consequence God uses Isaiah as a tool of optimism…reminding them of God’s love and faithfulness to them…
Isaiah continues to infuse the idea of hope even though it would be easier to give up.

 Isaiah 9:1-7,

“1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. 3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.

Hope is going to rise from Galilee....The storm will not last forever....In fact Joy is just around the corner…expansion is in the future, Harvest and victory is assured

“4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. 5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.

You will not be in bondage forever…The ruling occupiers will be defeated and your freedom is assured.

6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

God will provide

7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

The Messiah will come…and make all things right....
This is perhaps the most significant part of Israel’s need…Isaiah later in his book would go on to talk about being in exile and having to deal with the consequence of their disobedience…all the while having hope that it will not be forever.
Isaiah was not despondent or depressed…He was appropriately optimistic, confident and hopeful that the future would be exactly what God had promised becuase His hope in God never wavered.

Hope for a Brighter Future Begins with Hope in God’s goodness for us.

The same Part of the God head (The Word…Jesus) that was during creation is promised to rescue Isreal in this passage…
John 1:1-5

“1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God.

3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

People who live the most satisfying lives are constantly aware that Jesus Is always with them.

Jesus The Hope of the World…The light of the world...the promised Messiah has come…
Jesus has rescued not only Isreal but He has rescued the entire world from the madness of man....Jesus has rescued you…Jesus wants you to hope in Him so that you can receive what you hope for as well.

Our Simple Hope in God is what makes our Hope for the Future a Certainty.

When you are struggling.....Remember a time when the Holy Spirit led you through a time of uncertainty.
Every time we remember God’s provision our Hope in a better future is strengthened.
Give God Praise by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew your Hope in Jesus.
Communion is a wonderful time to allow Holy Spirit to renew our hope in Jesus…It is a time where we remember that Jesus instituted this tangible moment as a reminder of the Hope we can have in Him…It reminds us of everything that Jesus is in fact Messiah…The Apostles Creed reminds us of what and who we Hope for.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
With these words in mind we Invite everyone to the table…As you come to the table you are also invited to stop at that altars and pray…if you feel like you are not ready to receive that broken body and shed blood of Jesus I encourage you to kneel at that altars in prayer until your ready…we will wait…I also invite you to ask for prayer from one of our prayer partners if you like.
We are an open Communion Church…Please feel free to come to the table receive and consume the bread and the Juice in front of your servers then return to your seats for the benediction.
Doug and those who are helping serve will come and take their places and Doug will then invite you to the table....
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