It may be that you are not looking forward to Christmas this year. You know that it will be hard to muster up any Christmas cheer. Consider this video on Christmas in dark places:
See words below:
Last week I began a series on finishing school. I was hoping to have more posts online by now, but my writing flow was interrupted by an exhausting and encouraging week away with a group of 15 SOULIES crew who have just graduated from school. Stay tuned for more in the finishing school series and see soulies instragram for some pics from the schoolies trip.
In the meantime, I thought it was worthwhile highlighting one of the current sponsors of this blog…
Perhaps you’ve just finished school. You should consider being part of Year 13!
What’s Year 13? Here’s a blurb from their website…
Garage Hymnal have recently released a new album, Lowly. “Come One and All” is a lovely song with a really well-made animation on the film clip. Music by Garage Hymnal, words by Alanna Rodgers with adaptations from Christoph Von Schmid’s German Folk Song, “Oh Come Little Children”. Animation by Taste Media.
The Piano Guys create music and videos that inspire and uplift. They have just released a Christmas Album and video with one of the tracks, “Angels We Had Heard On High”. It’s good! You can see it and some other Christmas videos below. Find out more about them and their albums on their website. Enjoy.
So, you’ve finished school? Well done. It’s a massive achievement to stick at anything for 13 years. This may not have occurred to you at the age of 5 when you began school, but it’s a massive achievement nonetheless.
The first few months after you finish school can often be a make or break time for your Christian faith.
For some who have grown up in a Christian family this might be a time when they graduate from the church youth program and keep walking straight out the door as they graduate from Jesus too. It’s heart-breaking when that happens.
Conversely, it’s massively encouraging to see young crew graduate from high school and make godly decisions to keep following Jesus into adulthood.
This blog series is all about the “now what?” question. Most of your life has probably just happened up until this point. I’m not suggesting you have been totally unreflective and unthoughtful in how you’ve lived your life. But, in Australia at least, school is compulsory and you just roll with it until it’s over.
Now what? You have been on a trajectory for sometime out from your parents authority and increasingly taking responsibility for yourself. There are a bunch of questions you should ask yourself at this point.
How you answer these questions will shape how you live your life. The answers to these questions will answer the “now what?” question.
I’ll be upfront. I believe Jesus should be central to each of these answers. So please follow along if you are a follower of Jesus or if you’re simply curious to see why Jesus might be so significant.
(IMAGE copyright Joel Coleman. Used by permission)
I’ve really enjoyed preaching 4 of the 5 weeks of our series on Colossians. Many suggest, and I agree, that Colossians 2:6-7 are the key verses in this book. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” The way you begin the Christian life – with Jesus as Lord – is the way you continue the Christian life. The Lordship of Jesus is a big deal in Colossians. In chapter 1 Jesus is revealed as the Supreme LORD. Chapter 2-3 shows how the Christian can be raised with Christ and shows how our new identity in the Lord should change how we live. Then in chapter 3-4 Paul speaks about how Jesus as Lord will impact everyday life and relationships. This sermon explored those relationships.
DAVE MIERS SERMON ON “RELATING FOR CHRIST” (right click to download etc)
Here is the structure:
THE COPERNICAN REVOLUTION
CONTEXT + KEY VERSE: COLOSSIANS 2:6-7
1) JESUS IS LORD OF YOUR HOME LIFE (Colossians 3:18-21)
2) JESUS IS LORD OF YOUR WORK LIFE (Colossians 3:22-4:1)
3) JESUS IS LORD OF YOUR PRIVATE LIFE (Colossians 4:2-4)
4) JESUS IS LORD OF YOUR SOCIAL LIFE (Colossians 4:5-6)
JESUS IS LORD OF ALL!
It’s a little crazy in the lead up to Christmas. We spend lots of time preparing physically for this season. Whether it’s the purchasing of gifts, the tidying of homes, the completion of renovations, the cooking of food or trying to compete with the Griswolds for number of lights on your house!
Yet we don’t prepare spiritually for the season ahead. I think that’s what Advent is seeking to do. What is Advent? It’s a season of preparation that some Christians observe to prepare their hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’.
I’m planning on reading through Bible verse and the short reflection each day in the lead up to Christmas. I won’t read the reflection with my kids, but I’m hoping to read the Bible verses and spend time preparing as a family for the coming of Jesus.
Are you interested in joining in? Go on. It’ll be good for you.
Here’s the idea…
The Christmas preaching series at St Faith’s this year is based on the lyrics from Keith Getty & Stuart Townend’s epic song, “Joy Has Dawned”. Kings Kaleidoscope released an excellent version of the song last year on their Christmas EP. The four part series will go for the three weekends in the lead up to Christmas as well as Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.
I thought I would share the overview of the series. You are free to use/adapt it for Christmas this year or bookmark it for the future! Getty & Townend’s lyrics are poetic, theologically rich, and clearly shaped by scripture. The overview includes: title; summary; key scripture; other scripture; and the verse from “Joy Has Dawned”.
Earlier this week I asked the question ‘how do you avoid losing the gospel from one generation to the next?‘ The answer was to remain in Christ. In a sense that’s only half an answer. The full answer is remain in Christ and train up the next generation to receive Christ and remain in Christ.
One of the current ads on this site is NEXT GEN. It is a conference run by Katoomba Christian Convention all about training kids and youth ministry leaders to keep reaching the next generation with the gospel.
It’s held twice in January 2014 (13-17th or 20-24th). If you’ve been before, who could you take with you this year? If you haven’t been before and you’re involved in kids or youth ministry, do whatever you can to get to Sydney this January… it will be a profound investment in the gospel going to the next generation.
Click the ad in the side bar to find out more information.
Find out more about the why and how of advertising on my blog.
You’ve seen this video right? It has dominated social media for the past week. Check it:
Dustin Kensrue, former font man of Thrice, recently released a new album under the Mars Hill Music label called THE WATER AND THE BLOOD. It’s got some great tracks and I’m really enjoying the album. Below is an acoustic version of the opening track “REJOICE”. A good song that I’d love to see in the mix with the songs we do at Soulies and St Faiths. Here it is:
I’ve outlined previously the danger of Christian culture. One generation preaches the gospel of Jesus and within a few small steps later generations have assumed, neglected and then denied the good news of Jesus. How do you avoid this? In Colossians 2:6-7 Paul urges his readers to continue in Christ. See the Colossians sermon below to see how I unpack this idea of remaining in Christ.
DAVE MIERS SERMON ON “REMAINING IN CHRIST” (right click to download etc)
Here is the structure:
ONE GENERATION AWAY FROM LOSING THE GOSPEL
KEY VERSE: COLOSSIANS 2:6-7
1) FULLNESS IS FOUND ONLY IN CHRIST (Colossians 2:8-15)
2) FREEDOM IS FOUND ONLY IN CHRIST (Colossians 2:16-23)
KEY VERSE: COLOSSIANS 2:6-7
ONE GENERATION AWAY FROM CHANGING THE WORLD