Dear International Friends, most of you are aware that Book Depository, based in the UK, offers free shipping anywhere in the world. We would like them to carry Children in Church: Nurturing Heats of Worship. In order for that to happen they need to hear from YOU.
Please go to their website and use their “contact” form to let them know you’d like them to carry Children in Church. The more of you they hear from, the more likely it becomes that they will order our book.
We’re alive and well in New Hampshire where winter is evident on this, it’s very last day.
Please rejoice with us over the release of our first ever joint manuscript, Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.
God granted us 30 years in pastoral ministry as we raised our own children and welcomed our grandchildren into our lives. He drew us into His Word as we sought His answers to many questions that arose in all three areas. It is His faithfulness in this simple act of faith that led us to our position and practice. And so we share it with you.
While problems persist with this website, you can still order Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. Please use this link and order many. This book is appropriate as a gift for family, friends and church members.
God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Therefore our final reading in celebration of Messiah’s advent takes us from the opening scene of a straw-filled manger in Bethlehem to the closing scene of a rough and bloody cross outside Jerusalem.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
The second person of the Trinity descended from halls of splendor to walls of poverty not for His own benefit, but to make a way for others. Christ is not only the Sacrificial Lamb, He is our Redeeming Shepherd. Let us consider together the impact of His coming for the world in general and each of our lives in particular. Amen
The Father continues to communicate the unfolding plan of salvation. The curtain is drawn back and we receive a glimpse of the manner in which He orchestrates the ways of Man to accomplish His perfect will.
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.‘” Matthew 2:11-15
Talk about how the gifts of the Magi mark the babe:
gold to reveal the position and authority of King
incense to reveal the role of intermediary and intercessor as Priest
myrrh to reveal the value and power of the role as Sacrifice
The flight to Egypt fulfills the prophecy of Hosea 11:1 (Celebrate Day 12). Who does the retreat protect and how does it affect Herod’s evil plot?
There are many signs and circumstances that surround the revealing of the grace of God in Christ. It’s not a surprise to read of both positive and negative responses in Matthew’s account of the early days in His first appearance.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ’In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2:1-10
The Magi were learned men who studied astronomy and the holy scriptures. Herod was appointed as king over Judea by its Roman conquerors. Let’s consider what might cause the Magi to be ‘overjoyed’ while King Herod was ‘disturbed’ by the same portion of the Old Testament quoted in this passage, beginning with social position and heart condition.
The Father’s perfect plan did not end at His Son’s appearance as a newborn. All of the powerful and loving attention He gave to the creation of the world continues in the unfolding of its history.
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:16-20
The shepherds, as the first witnesses of the birth of the “Savior” (verse 11), may be biblical role models for everyone who comes to recognize the “good news of great joy” (verse 10). Let’s consider how their actions might be behavior we need to repeat today – from confirming and accepting the Truth to returning and continuing their lives and sharing with enthusiasm.
God’s angels bring messages of many kinds. In this passage we learn that they seem to be equally terrifying to groups as individuals. Whether it’s the surprise of their arrival or the affect of their appearance we can’t be sure. The meaning of their words is our focus.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” Luke 2:8-15
The power of the ‘good news of great joy’ that is extended to ‘all the people’ is immeasurable. The first ones to receive it were simple men who tended flocks of wayward sheep. They recognized the Lord as the author of the message and responded with heartfelt desire to discover the promised Redeemer of Genesis 3:15, Celebrate 4.