All I Want for Christmas

All I Want for Christmas Series Gfx_4x3 Title

Beginning this weekend, November 29/30, we begin a new series at Eastbrook entitled “All I Want for Christmas.” Christmas is a time when many of us begin to write down what we hope to acquire. Sometimes we write down simple lists of gift ideas, but other times we begin to write more serious lists of personal needs or world hopes. In the church year, Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation leading up to the Messiah’s arrival that focuses some of our strongest hopes and desires through the word of the prophets. So, what are you really waiting for this year?

November 29/30 [1st weekend of Advent] – “All I Want Is for God to Show Up”

December 6/7 [2nd weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is Some Good News”

December 13/14 [3rd weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is a New Beginning”

December 20/21 [4th weekend of Advent] – “All I Want is Someone to Believe In”

Saturday Prayer 21

My mind races ahead
and lurches forward
Like a fly trapped inside a house
it leaps and rushes from one thought
to another

I want to be still
and know
that You are God
But at the same time
I check my watch
and think about what’s next

Bring me to a place of peace
before You and in You, Lord
Help me to cast my cares upon You
and experience Your peace
that guards my heart and mind

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)

[This is part of a series of prayer posts in 2012 that began here.]

Resources on Justice in Isaiah

As I prepared my message this past week entitled “The God Who Is Just and Saves,” I utilized a number of resources alongside of the Bible that I found helpful in shaping my thoughts. Here are four that I thought were worth sharing.

On the topic of longing, particularly the longing for justice in our world, I was helped by two books:

  • Simply Christian by N. T. Wright – see especially chapter one: “Putting the World to Rights”
  • The Reason for God by Tim Keller – see especially chapter four: “The Church is Responsible for So Much Injustice”

Looking more particularly at the concept of justice in the Hebrew prophets, particularly in Isaiah, I turned toward these resources:

Facedown: A Lesson in Humility

Not too long ago, I was speaking on the topic of humility. That is a challenging message for me to give because I so often find pride more evident in my life than humility.

As I prepared for the message, I found that God was giving me all sorts of opportunities to be humbled in front of Him and others. My wife, Kelly, half-humorously expressed that she would love for me to do an entire year of speaking on humility, since she was enjoying the difference in my attitude.

As I was praying about the message and humility in general, I thought about the images of humility in the Bible. One of the things that is most striking to me about people’s encounters with God throughout the Scripture is that they end up on their faces before the greatness of God. We see it both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Consider Isaiah, who exclaims: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). We may also look to John who stands face to face with glorified Jesus on the island of Patmos. He describes his response this way: “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid'” (Revelation 1:17).

Matt Redman has a wonderful song called “Facedown” that says (you can view the video below):

Who is there in the heavens like You?
And upon the earth, who’s Your equal?
You are far above, You’re the highest of heights.
We are bowing down to exalt You.
And I’ll fall facedown as Your glory shines around.

God intimately loves us, but He is also the only Awesome One. He is beyond our ability to comprehend Him. “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power . . . Therefore, people revere Him” (Job 37:23-24). What is our response to Almighty God?

When is the last time you have fallen face-down before the utterly great glory of God in reverent silence and stillness?

Why not do that now?

Louie Giglio (#Exponential 2010)

Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion Conferences and the newly planted Passion City Church, follower Mark Batterson in our main session today.

Louie started by having us read Isaiah 55 out loud together.

Not a model, but Passion City Church started with a main operating principle

People ask me about Passion City Church: ‘What kind of church are you?’ … we don’t know yet…maybe an Acts 2 church

What sort of church did the Acts 2 church set out to try and be? “the Acts 2 church didn’t know they were an Acts 2 church. they had never seen a church. There had never been a church planting conference. There had never been a book written about church yet…AND YET, they pulled it off in such a way that a lot of people wanted to be the sort of church they became. It’s sort of a subtle bomb.”

What did they have (Acts 2 church)?

  • The teachings of Jesus
  • Eyewitnesses of the resurrection
  • The power of the Holy Spirit

We have the same things – we’re ready to go

But we don’t want to be arrogant and unable to learn from others

“I don’t want to get my vocabulary from the latest book that came out. I want to make sure that my vocabulary comes from the teachings of Jesus, and points people to the resurrection of Christ.” – Louie Giglio

Bringing together the cross of Christ with the resurrection of Christ. We need to re-emphasize the resurrection.

Transformation is only really fueled along by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If your team doesn’t lift up the teaching of Jesus and talk about the power of the resurrection, and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, then you will not see transformation.

Be confident in the word of God – see Isaiah 55:9-11 – “Did I put the word of God before people well?”

“God, free me from walking by sight, and not by faith…” – measuring by the vibe, the way the songs hit, the way that the message felt

Read above the Acts 2 church → Acts 1: the Holy Spirit came

[This is part of a series of note-posts from the Exponential 2010 conference.]