Longing for Justice (Isaiah 9:7b)

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One of the things our Creator has instilled in each of us is a longing for justice-- the desire to be treated fairly, and to know that systems are in place to protect us. But if we look around, we see that there is injustice everywhere. People are abusing their positions of power and authority, cheating and stealing from each other, and getting away with it.
Where is God in all of this?

This Sunday we'll look not only at Isaiah 9, but all over the Bible to see what God has to say about justice, and what he has promised to us with the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. 

Longing for Freedom (Isaiah 9:4)

During the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the cheers always begin at the climactic ending: “O’er the land of the freeee...” Freedom is at the very heart of Americans and many immigrants that come to the United States for study and work. But in the midst of all this “freedom,” do you really feel free? Are we truly free? We’ll explore in Sunday’s scripture text how Jesus comes to bring true freedom to our lives.

Longing for Joy (Isaiah 9:3)

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Our Heavenly Father has put in each of us a deep desire for joy. We crave more than just sleep, eat, work, repeat. In the deepest part of our souls, we want to know:
Can my life have real and lasting meaning? 
Can I be loved unconditionally? 
Can I know the Almighty God who created me? 
Isaiah 9 answers all of those questions with an emphatic "Yes!" and declares that when the Messiah (Jesus) comes, He will fulfill our longing for joy. 

Longing for Light (Isaiah 9:1-2)

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Advent is a season when the church remembers Christ’s first coming as we long for His second coming. One way to recognize that the Christmas season is upon us is the lights—lights on homes, in windows, on Christmas trees, and more. This has become part of our culture each year, but there is deeper meaning to all of these lights. Christmas is truly all about a dark world that is longing for Light.

A Very Unexpected Home (Matthew 2:19-23)

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Is there significance to the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth"? You bet there is! This was more than just a title or an address; the fact that Jesus was raised in the town of Nazareth says a great deal about who God is and what He is about. This Sunday we'll wrap up our Advent series, all about the unexpected way in which God became human and entered our world. 

A Very Unexpected Family (Matthew 1:1-17)

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This week marks the first Sunday of Advent as we celebrate Christ's birth. Advent simply means "coming." Together with Christians around the world in this season, we identify with Israel, who waited hundreds of years for the coming of their King and Savior -- as we  also look forward to Jesus' second coming. But even though Israel had expected the Messiah's coming for hundreds of years, we'll see in this series in the Gospel of Matthew how truly unexpected his coming was in so many ways. Indeed, our God delights to work through unexpected circumstances in history and also in our own lives.

Simeon's Song: Now I Can Die in Peace (Luke 2:29-32)

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Simeon received the unique promise from God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. This song is his response to the fulfillment of that promise: the moment when he held the baby Jesus in his arms. One of the lyrics of his song is, to paraphrase, "Now I can die in peace." What would it be like to be to able to face death with that kind of contentment? The Bible tells us that if we are in Christ, we too can not only die in peace, but we can live in peace too!

Mary's Song: Moving from Anxiety to Adoration (Luke 1:39-56)

We're looking at Mary’s Song (Luke 1:39-56), often called "The Magnificat" from the first line, "My soul magnifies the Lord." Mary is a troubled teenager who finds herself in an anxious yet glorious situation. Troubled because she is pregnant and unmarried, yet she knows she’s a virgin.
 
But when God speaks to her, affirming his plan for her, she moves quickly from anxiety to adoration. It’s remarkable what a spoken word from God will do to the countenance of your soul. A word from God to you could move your soul from anxiety to adoration in an instant. Come…let’s talk about it.