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Showing posts from December, 2012

Ringing in the New Year

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'Tis the season for holiday get togethers, toasts, and resolutions!

In the craziness that is the busy holiday season, it can be difficult to find the time to be introspective.  There is so much to attend to and so many things that must be done.  I must confess that some of the pressures of the holiday time do nothing more than add stress and a level of guilt to an already hectic life.  It is easy for me to feel a little bit like a "pushmi-pullyu" of Dr. Doolittle fame.  It seems as though there is always something for me to do next and somewhere for me to go.

Maybe it's just me.

As we quickly approach the ringing in of 2013, the Shivers family is going to do something different.  We are going think through what we would like to make a priority together this coming year.  It is not a "resolution" or an add on to an already busy life.  Rather, it is an examination of those things that we are already passionate about.  We will look at them together, pray abou…

Ready or not, a child has been born!

A child came into the world today,
and I was found ill-prepared.

I am not unlike many who have gone before me.

Those expecting the arrival of a child are often caught by surprise.

Of course, the expectant prepare the room, get the house in order, and have parties in anticipation of the glorious event.  But all of the preparation, reading, and consultation can never truly make one ready for the manner in which the arrival of a child changes things.

The arrival of a child has a way of changing
everything.

However, I really thought I was ready,
this time.

But how can one be truly ready for the change that is brought about by the arrival of a child?

And this child,
this child brought with him change that no one could ever imagine.
This child ushered in a transformation that continues to impact the entire world.
This child engendered a revolution that wreaks havoc on not only the world but also on individual lives.
This child generates conversion of all things.

I long for this kind of …

Advent - Week 4 - Love

Week 4
This week we light the fourth candle of Advent Wreath. 
We light this candle to symbolize the gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ. 
Questions: What is love? When you think of love, what is the first thing or person that comes to mind? What does it mean to love?
Scripture: John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Discussion: What do hear in this passage about love? Who in your life is an example of love? What does it mean to you that God loves you this much?
Activity: Write a note or card to someone who has shown you what it means to be a person of love or who you think is an example of God's love.  This would be an incredible Christmas to give to someone.
May the power of Christ’s love transform our lives.

Advent - Week 3 - Joy

Week 3 This week we light the third candle on the Advent wreath.
“We light this candle in great joy; Jesus is our joy!”
Questions:
What is joy?
What do you think of when you consider what it might mean to be full of joy?
What are some of the characteristics of joy?
Scripture:
Isaiah 12:2-6 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by praye…

Advent - Week 1 - Hope

Throughout the season of Advent there will be one post each week with one of the Advent passages and a short devotional on the text.  It is our hope that Advent would be a season of preparation for the birth of the Messiah.

Week 1 - This week we light the first purple (or the blue) candle in the Advent wreath.
“We light this candle in hope, the bright hope of Jesus, the Christ.”

Questions:
What do you think of when you think of hope?
Who would be an example of hope?
Where do you find hope?
For what do you hope?

Scripture:
Jeremiah 33:14-16
"The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.' "

Discussion:
What …