DEAR Chapel Springs Family,


We allow many things to shape our schedules and lives—ball games, dance classes, work demands, family responsibilities and the school calendar, just to name a few. Advent is our invitation to let Jesus’ first coming shape our daily and weekly schedule as we wait for Christmas to arrive.

Since the fourth century, the Church has celebrated Advent, which comes from a Latin word that means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent is the four weeks before Christmas when we prepare for Jesus’ coming— celebrating His first coming and expecting His soon second coming. It is also a time to consider and look for how He continues to come to us in our daily lives.
God is a God of communication and words. Throughout the ages He has communicated to us through the written Word, the spoken word and the Incarnate Word. The Christmas story reminds us that God chose to speak into our lives by sending His Son to directly communicate His message of forgiveness, grace and mercy. Jesus was God’s greatest prophet, declaring that a new day had come; a new way had been made; a new relationship had been forged. Jesus announced a new season of hope, joy, love and peace.

Yet, at this time of year, Jesus’ voice is often drowned out by the “sounds of the season”—commercials for the newest fad toy, silver bells and red kettles, 24/7 Christmas music, and invitations to parties, plays and concerts. Add to these, the multitude of other voices clamoring to be heard—bloggers, politicians, astrologers, newscasters, fortune-tellers, musicians, authors and psychics —each one believing they have a relevant “word” for us and insisting that we listen closely to their key idea, fresh insight or thought for the day.

We will not likely hear the voice of the Lord until we pull away from the hustle and bustle of the season and quiet our hearts in His presence. There, in those quiet places, when we are still and hushed, He speaks and we hear His voice. He calls us to himself, assures us of His love and speaks peace over our lives. In those moments, we find rest in His presence and strength for our day. His words produce joy and instill hope, providing guidance and direction for our future. He re- veals himself to us, not just as the babe of Bethlehem, but also as the Word of the Lord. is Advent, may we take time to listen to Him!

-Devotional Writer: Pastor Doug Chapman

SONG OF THE WEEK

WATCH THIS WEEKS MESSAGE

NOTES

WEEK ONE

READ
Deuteronomy 18:15
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.

Matthew 17:1-5
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today? (Where do you need him to proclaim hope? Where do you need to hear him proclaim forgiveness in your life? Do you need Him to give direction?)

• What makes someone a good listener?

PRACTICE
Find a quiet place. Sit in silence alone or as a family for several moments. Ask God to open your heart this week to hear from Jesus the Prophet.

READ
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 12:44-50
Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• How has Jesus revealed Father God to you recently?

PRACTICE
Go without social media today, and limit your phone use when possible. Look at those people God has put around you today. Try to speak words to people that only reflect the heart of the Father.

READ
Luke 5:1-11
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• Where might God be calling you to go, that seems barren and fruitless, for the possibility of others coming to know Him?

PRACTICE
Our missionaries are living in unfamiliar places, so others can hear the good news of Jesus. One of the hardest times for them to be overseas is the holiday season. Gather some friends or family and write Christmas cards to missionaries (contact the Chapel Springs Missions Department for contact info). Send them a care package with some seasonal gifts—canned pumpkin, stockings, and hot chocolate mix.

READ
John 4:46-53
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• Where in your life do you need to take Jesus at His word and trust that He will do as He says?

PRACTICE
As an individual or a family, write a simple prayer that addresses Jesus as Prophet, inviting him to speak to you, convicting, encouraging and directing you and your family. Ask Him to teach you to live the Way of the Kingdom—the Way of listening.

READ
Mark 12:28-34
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• What will it look like for you and your family to listen to Jesus and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength today?

PRACTICE
Take a walk around your neighborhood alone or with your family with the purpose of listening. Listen for the sounds around you. Return home and process what you heard. What might God be speaking to you through what you did and didn’t hear? Spend time praying for your neighbors.

READ
Luke 24:13-32
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• How are you opening yourself up to learn about the ways of Jesus during this season of your life?

PRACTICE
Spend the day intentionally listening. Limit your speaking unless it’s necessary. Ask God to open your ears to what He is speaking through others and through circumstances throughout your day. Ask Him to reveal Jesus to you today. Process how it went with a friend or with your family at the end of the day.

READ
Matthew 13:54-58
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

• How do you need Jesus to come as Prophet in your life today?

• Has Jesus found honor in your life, family and home? If so, how is it displayed? If not, how can you change that?

PRACTICE
One way we can honor God is by honoring those who our society often forgets. Get with family and friends and visit a shut-in’s home. Possibly decorate the house for Christmas, take a meal, and spend some time
showing the love of Christ through conversation. Remember to go back after Christmas and take down the decorations.


A royal birth, especially a king, is customarily heralded with official proclamations, accompanied by trumpet fanfare and wild cheers throughout the kingdom. Think of the birth of Prince William, future king of England, and his own son a few years ago. Announcements and pictures of each wondrous infant were instantly flashed around the world through news sources and social media; the entire world rejoiced.

Yet the King of Kings did not make His entry to such fanfare. News of His quiet arrival was announced by angels to astonished shepherds on a quiet hill among their sheep. Jesus’ birth took place not in earthly luxury in a royal palace, but in a stable surrounded by animals, where He was wrapped in cloths and laid in a trough, an indication of the humility that would characterize His sacrificial servanthood to fallen humanity.

The term “servant king” rings with irony. A king is an absolute ruler, to whom his subjects owe unquestioned deference, sacrifice and service. Yet Jesus reigns by a different standard in what some have called an “upside down Kingdom” where the first would be last and the greatest would be servants.

Jesus came to show us how to live in a Kingdom that serves. During His last night on earth, our Servant-King startled His disciples by removing His robe and approaching them, not with a scepter but with a towel and basin, kneeling before them to wash their feet from the dirt of the day’s journey and the world itself. Now He asks us to demonstrate His Kingdom by serving each other, too.

-Devotional Writer: Peggy Scolaro

SONG OF THE WEEK

WATCH THIS WEEKS MESSAGE

NOTES

WEEK TWO


READ
Matthew 20:25-28
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 18:36
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today? (You may need Jesus to reign in a decision you must make today, your family life, a meeting at work, your schedule, etc. Specifically write to Him, inviting Him to rule those circumstances)

• How is Jesus’ Kingdom “upside down” compared to the world around you?

PRACTICE
Find a quiet place. Sit in silence alone or as a family for several moments. Ask God to open your heart this week to learning the Way of King Jesus—the Way of serving.

READ
Luke 22:24-27
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• How do you tend to measure greatness?

PRACTICE
Hand write a note or send a text or an email simply to encourage someone in your life. (Family option with small children: Do this as an art project with crayons or paint for someone who everyone in the family knows.)

READ
Psalm 47
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

Isiah 42:1-3
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• Where do you long for God’s justice to reign on the earth today?

PRACTICE
As an individual or family, sit before God and write down all the ways you express God as King and ruler of your life and the earth. Pray for His Kingdom to come in fullness in you and on the earth, specifically in the areas where you long for justice to reign.

READ
Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Matthew 21:1-11
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• Where in your life does pride tend to show up instead of humility?

PRACTICE
Throughout your day, look for someone who is in the service industry—police officer, waiter/waitress, etc.—offer them a word of encouragement, and ask them how you can pray for them this week.

READ
Philippians 2:5-11
In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• Who are the people you tend to look down on in society?

PRACTICE
Buy a few gloves, scarves, Kind bars and instant coffee packets. Create a bag with one of everything in it to keep in your car to handout to those experiencing homelessness this winter. If you have children, get them involved in shopping and making the goodie bags.

READ
Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• How does knowing the earth and everything in it belongs to God affect how you approach today and those you interact with?

PRACTICE
As an individual or a family, write a simple prayer that addresses Jesus as King and invites him to reign in your life/family and to teach you His Way of the Kingdom—the Way of serving.

READ
John 13:1-17
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

• How do you need King Jesus to come and reign in your life today?

• What have you learned this week from King Jesus about being a servant?

PRACTICE
Create space as an individual or family today to walk around your neighborhood, being present in the moment. Look for an opportunity to help a neighbor who is cleaning his or her yard, taking in groceries, putting up Christmas lights, etc.

Perhaps you grew up learning to “forgive and forget” when someone offended you. Perhaps you swept things under the carpet, carried on with life, and simply avoided certain people. Perhaps in time you forgot about it, thinking that forgetting equals forgiving, and therefore you reconciled your differences. Is it possible to separate the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation?

Gerald Taiaiake Alfred wrote of a tribe whose village was massacred in the early nineteenth century. One of the enslaved tribesmen, Caribou Jack, was later freed, given a canoe and his personal belongings to return to his tribe of origin, where they welcomed and cared for him. The ravaged tribe forgave the offense and reconciled with the offending people. They now work together toward like causes.

Like Caribou Jack and his people, we were ravaged by sin that made us enemies of God. We see God’s plan of reconciliation with humanity as early as Genesis 3:15, culminating at the cross and resurrection of Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Paul reveals God’s two-part restoration plan, which includes Jesus Christ and humanity. Now that Jesus—our great High Priest—has satisfied His assignment and reconciled God and humanity through the ultimate sacrifice, forgiving sin at the cross, He calls us to fulfill the second part as ambassadors.

We are participants in this reunion with an assignment: the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus was about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49), and we are now called to do the same. We cannot reconcile our relationship with others without first forgiving. We cannot reconcile political, gender, racial and cultural differences without first forgiving. What might you do this Advent season to forgive and bring reconciliation in one of these areas?

-Devotional Writer: Regina Clemons

SONG OF THE WEEK

WATCH THIS WEEKS MESSAGE

NOTES

WEEK THREE

READ
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today? (Is there sin for which you need to ask forgiveness? Is there a broken that needs reconciled?)

• What do you think it looks like for you to join in the ministry of
reconciliation this week?

PRACTICE
Find a quiet place. Sit in silence alone or as a family for several moments. Ask God to open your heart this week to know the fullness of your reconciliation with Him and how you can join Him in the work of reconciliation on the earth.

READ
Ephesians 2:11-16
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Galatians 3:26-29
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• Where do you see division and hostility in your life, community and world? How might God want to use you to bring reconciliation?

PRACTICE
Is there someone in your family, neighborhood or at school who you are at odds with? Take one step to reach out and bring peace to that relationship. You may need to apologize, offer forgiveness or right a wrong. Talk about this as a family; include children and teens in this practice. We all have relationship difficulties we must work to reconcile through the grace of Jesus.

READ
Hebrews 4:13-16
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• What will it look like for you to approach the throne of grace with
confidence today?

PRACTICE
Sometimes we become discouraged because we can’t see what God is doing in us as well as those around us can. Get together with a few friends or as a family and share how you see God’s grace and mercy working in each other’s life.

READ
Romans 5:9-11
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• We often focus on what God has done for us in the past. How do you see yourself needing and experiencing His salvation in the year ahead?

PRACTICE
As an individual or a family, write a simple prayer that addresses Jesus as High Priest, thanking Him for reconciling you to God. Ask Him to teach you to live the Way of the Kingdom—the Way of reconciliation.

READ
Leviticus 16:1-5
The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord. The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

Hebrews 7:26-28
Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• What does it look like for you to have immediate access to God because of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus? Do you utilize this privilege the way you should?

PRACTICE
As you watch the news today, check social media, and go about your daily life, look for ways we need to see reconciliation in our world (racial/ethnic, gender, generational, family, etc.). Stop and pray for reconciliation each time you see an area that has been destroyed by sin. Ask God how you can bring about reconciliation in that area in your own life and in your own interactions with people.

READ
Colossians 1:19-23
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• What will it look like for you to “continue in your faith, established and firm” this week?

PRACTICE
Invite someone from a different culture to your house for dinner or for coffee and dessert. Spend time asking questions and listening to their story. Be open to what God wants to teach you through them.

READ
Hebrews 8:1-2
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

Romans 8:34-35
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

• How do you need to come to and receive from Jesus our High Priest today?

• What do you think Jesus’ intercession for you sounds like today? For your family? For our church? For our world?

PRACTICE
Sit down by yourself or with your family and decide where you can make financial and time sacrifices this next week for the sake of someone else or another family. Perhaps you can do with less presents so you can buy gifts for a family struggling financially. Perhaps you can open your home this Christmas to someone who can’t be with their family. Get creative!


Withdraw. It is the response we often have when confronted with the evil and brokenness of humanity. In early October 2017 a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of concert goers. Into a sea of celebration steps one who is filled with rage and the result is devastating. We begin to think we should not go to concerts or anywhere else that might pose a risk. We tighten our social circle to a small group of trusted individuals. It is part of our humanity to pull in and protect.

But Jesus was different. In Matthew 14, Jesus got word that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been brutally executed by the rulers of Palestine. It wasn’t enough just to kill John, his head had to be placed on a platter and presented at a party. Gruesome. Grievous. Jesus immediately sought some alone time to deal with his grief, but the multitudes followed him. How did he respond? He “saw the multitude, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). He knew there was evil in this crowd—and brokenness—but He didn’t withdraw. He pressed in. His heart of love and compassion motivated him to both see and care despite the reality of evil, hatred, anger and brokenness.

And Jesus lives in us! His heart is our heart. Our world is filled with broken, hurting people who are waiting for someone to choose not to withdraw, but to press in. This Advent provides a great opportunity to see and care for people. Choose to press in.

-Devotional Writer: Bob Perdue

SONG OF THE WEEK

WATCH THIS WEEKS MESSAGE


COMING SOON!

WEEK FOUR


READ
Matthew 14:13-14
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today? (Do you need healing in your emotions? Relationships? Physical body?)

• Who in your life do you need to offer the compassion of Jesus to this week?

PRACTICE
Find a quiet place. Sit in silence alone or as a family for several moments. Ask God to open your heart this week to receive and offer the compassion of Jesus the Healer.

READ
Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• How have you struggled with sin lately? How do you think Jesus wants to meet you in those places of rebellion and brokenness today?

PRACTICE
Throughout your day, look for someone who is in the compassion
industry—doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, ministers/chaplains, etc.—offer them a word of encouragement, and ask how you can pray for them this week.

READ
Psalm 107:17-21
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• How can you open your life more fully to the healing power of God’s Word?

PRACTICE
As an individual or with your family or a friend, sit before God and write down all the ways you have experienced the compassion and healing of Jesus. Pray for His Kingdom of wholeness and healing to come in fullness to you, to your family, and on the earth.

READ
James 5:13-16
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• How do you feel about opening up to others concerning places in your life that need healing? Is vulnerability easy or difficult for you?

PRACTICE
Talk with your family, friends, or life group about the importance of praying for one another for healing. Take time to pray for one another for specific areas that need healing. This can be at church, over the phone, in a coffee shop, or in someone’s home.

READ
Luke 7:11-15
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• What does it look like for you when you are moved with compassion for someone?

PRACTICE
As an individual or a family, write a simple prayer that addresses Jesus as your compassionate Healer, inviting Him into the broken places in your life/family. Ask Him to teach you His Way of the Kingdom—the Way of compassion.

READ
Luke 8:43-48
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• When you’re hurting, how do you tend to reach out to Jesus when you need His compassion and healing? (prayer, crying, journaling, reading Scripture, being with community, church, etc.)

PRACTICE
Proper touch can be powerfully healing. As you go throughout your day, look for someone who needs compassion offered to them. Put an arm around them, simply touch them on the arm, or offer a hug as you minister healing through prayer and encouragement.

READ
Matthew 20:29-34
As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

• How do you need Jesus to come as your Healer today?

• How have you seen people crying out for compassion and healing in your community?

PRACTICE
Take a walk around your neighborhood with your family or at your place of work. Ask God to open your eyes to someone in your neighborhood or workplace who you have not noticed. Take the time to stop and speak with that person or simply offer a warm smile.