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Devo

Devotional

Our congregation, pastors, and staff write devotionals to help us experience the seasons of Lent (before Easter) and Advent (before Christmas) more fully. They are posted below with the most recent on top and do not post until the season begins.

Monday, December 23

Luke 2:15–19
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.


DEVOTION by Rev. Mike Morgan
What could this mean? I wonder…what could this all mean? We’ve seen angels…we’ve seen angels?...WE’VE SEEN ANGELS! God has broken through to us! Why us? Why now? What could this mean? We’ve got to go…we’ve got to go NOW. We’ve got to see this for ourselves. Do they even know who it is they’re holding…who they’re beholding?! Could this be true? Could it really be as God has told us? If it is…do you know what this could mean?! We’ve got to go…we’ve got to tell them!

I imagine the above rant is what I would have said had I been one of the shepherds in the scene. I can’t help but think this is what being “compelled” looks like. It’s as if the shepherds are the embodiment of motivation. Whatever it was that the angels told them was enough to upend their agenda and alter the trajectory of their lives forever. And what was shared through them has forever altered the trajectory of all of human history. No wonder Mary “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”

I wonder what it might look like for us this season to model Mary’s reaction and spend some real time treasuring and pondering what this Child…lying in the manger…THIS Child…means for us, both as individuals and for all of humanity? To ponder…to treasure…I’d encourage you to take this passage on a walk and ask God “what could all this about Jesus really mean?” Invite God to “break through” to you in a new and renewed way this Christmas that would compel and motivate you to alter the agenda of your life and send you in a trajectory of following Jesus.

MY CHRISTMAS MEMORY:
Have you ever received a gift at Christmas that altered the trajectory of your life? I have. It was Christmas morning, 1994, when I found myself staring at a gleaming white 5-piece Yamaha Power-V drum set. It was as if I saw the heavens part and a gleaming bright light shone directly down on bronze Paiste cymbals. It was love at first sight…for me at least. This is probably one of those gifts my parents looked back on the next day and said, “What did we just do?!” They had no way of knowing I would play those drums until my hands blistered. It was on this kit where I worked out my teenage angst and discovered my creativity. This gift altered my social agenda, my extracurricular interests, and gave me a worshipping voice. In a simple five minute reflection, I once again treasure a gift which positively impacted me in such a significant way. If this is true for drums…what could it mean for the Christ child?!

December 22 | Fourth Sunday of Advent

HEALING at the Speed of Light

John 5:1–15
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew[ Beth-zatha,[b] which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

DEVOTION by Noralea Poladian Goodrow
Prayer:
Lord Jesus we come before You with open hearts and open minds eager to learn from You. Teach us, Lord, to “notice” those who are physically or emotionally unable to come to Your place of healing, regardless of the day. Speak boldly through us, asking the question, “Do you want to be made well?” “Tune our ears to hear words spoken and unspoken. Words that say, “I have no one to put me in the healing waters and others step ahead of me.” Lord fill us so full of your Holy Spirit which enables us to usher people into your place of healing, your throne of grace. Dear Lord, please take our heart, our mind, our hands, our ears, our eyes, our feet and anoint them with the power of your Holy Spirit. Please allow the healing power of Your presence to spill over on everyone we notice. Allow Your touch transform brokenness to wholeness.

Lord Jesus, when you ask us if we want to be made well, free us to respond, YES! When you tell us to “stand up,” remove what we’ve been leaning on and begin to walk, grant us the power and courage to begin walking, boldly, in health and well-being!

We proclaim that we would give all praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus, the name above every name.

Lord, You are the light. We proclaim and allow Your healing power to enter at the speed of light.

We give You thanks and praise.
In Jesus name, Amen.

PRACTICE:
Practice “noticing” people.
Practice listening to their words spoken, unspoken, body language and emotions.
Practice pausing and allowing the Spirit to speak and lead you.

MY CHRISTMAS MEMORY:
Family tradition: We meet at my parent’s home on Christmas Eve, have a wonderful dinner and exchange gifts, special gift selected for “our person”! (we draw names prior) A very special time for many years.