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Our Shocking Hope- First Sunday of Advent

Here are the Bible readings for Sunday December 3, 2023

Isaiah 64:1-6

[a]Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembledbefore you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Mark 13:23-30

23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

24 “But in those days, following that distress,

“‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[c]

26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it[d] is near, right at the door.30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Follow us this Advent Season as we explore the theme "Our Spirit Waits." I the P.R.A.Y.E.R. Journal will guide you to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ once again with a spirit of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

P.R.A.Y.E.R. Journal

“Our Spirit Waits” (Advent & Christmas worship series)

First Sunday of Advent: Dec. 3, “Our Shocking Hope” (Hanging of the Greens), Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37.

Second Sunday of Advent: Dec. 10, “Our Just Peace”, Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8.

Third Sunday of Advent: Dec. 17, “Our Fierce Joy”, Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, John 1:6-8, 19-28.

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Dec. 24, “Love that Transforms Us”,

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16, Luke 1:46b-55, Luke 1:26-38.

Christmas Eve: Dec. 24, Our Wondrous Light”, Isaiah 9:2-7,

Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)

“Our Shocking Hope”

Pray: God of justice and peace, from the heavens, you rain down mercy and kindness, that all on earth may stand in awe and wonderbefore your marvelous deeds. Raise our heads in expectation, that we may yearn for the coming day of the Lord and stand without blame before your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Read: Isaiah 64:1-9 Mark 13:24-37

Apply: Mark 13 speaks about watchfulness, especially since no one knows the specific time of the return of Christ. Do you believe the Second Coming could occur in your lifetime? If not, what is the importance of this command to watchfulness? What do you watch for? For what do you get ready during Advent?

Yield: We get ready once again for the new birth that is coming into the world in Jesus Christ. Jesus is our shocking Hope!

Engage: This advent season let me encourage you to engage in the process of P.R.A.Y.E.R. each week.

Remember: Write down where you have experienced God’s shocking hope in your life and in the life of your family, friends, and neighbors.

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