My Place in the Plan

We did not get a video this week, however, we have a recording on FB.
12-5-2021

Message Title: My Place in the Plan
Theme: Back to basics
Season: Advent
Main Text: all
Scripture Reading: all
RCL Scripture: Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6
Focus: The role of God’s people in The Plan is participation.
Function: to serve, love, and spread hope as our participation in God’s plan
Other Notes: pointing towards christ’s return and God’s plans, calling people to changed lives
intro ideas: “Rookie Smarts” any intro 101 lessons

INTRO: TEAM BUILDING EXERCISES

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: How do you feel about Team Building Exercises?
    1. Do you have a favorite?
  2. I used to work a YMCA camp in SD –every year as we prepared for the summer we would have team building exercises to develop our trust and communication skills. These exercises were always facilitated by our High Ropes/ Rock Climbing instructors. – PHOTOS OF ME AT CAMP
    1. Human Knot
    2. Spider Web
    3. Wall Challenge
  3. As much as I dislike ice breakers, team building exercises can be cheesey but they TRANSFORMED the way we worked as a team. AND THEN when we brought campers through the same program, their interaction with other campers would completely shift. These became life lessons they would carry with them.

TRANSITION:

Scripture Reading: Malachi 3:1-4 Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me; suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 2Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can withstand his appearance? He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. They will belong to the Lord, presenting a righteous offering. 4The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in ancient days and in former years.

Luke 1:68-79  68“Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has delivered his people. 69He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, 70just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago. 71He has brought salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us. 72He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and remembered his holy covenant, 73the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham. He has granted 74that we would be rescued from the power of our enemies so that we could serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes, for as long as we live. 76You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way. 77You will tell his people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. 78Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, 79to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.”

Philippians 1:3-11 3I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. 4I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. 5I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. 6I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. 7I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. 8God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. 10I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. 11I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.

Luke 3:1-6 In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was rulerover Galilee, his brother Philip was rulerover Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was rulerover Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 4This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet, A voice crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight. 5Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be leveled. The crooked will be made straight and the rough places made smooth. 6All humanity will see God’s salvation.

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Malachi 3 – prophecy believed to be about John the B and Jesus
    1. Jesus is the refiner’s fire who will restore, purify, (improve?) God’s people
    2. John is the one preparing the way for Jesus
  2. Luke 1– Zachariah’s prophecy about Jesus and the role of his son in announcing God’s intentions
    1. Jesus already has raised us up
    2. God keeps God’s promises
    3. John would speak of the forgiveness received because of God’s compassion
  3. Philippians 1 – hope and direction for congregations
    1. Partners in the ministry of the gospel
    2. Partners in God’s grace
    3. Love might become more and more rich with knowledge and insight
  4. Luke 3– John the Baptist at work
    1. The role of the church is to point towards Christ

INTERPRETATION:

  1. John the Baptist was called to proclaim the coming of the Messiah
    1. He had a role to play.
  2. God *could* just accomplish God’s will on God’s own. BUT God chooses to involve us.
    1. From Genesis and the creation of humans, God gave us roles to play in God’s plans.
    2. The story of Jesus is no different.

APPLICATION:

  1. Our participation
    1. Serving
      1. Regardless of their story
        1. Paul was in prison and the Philippians cared for him
      2. Without sorting people into “worthy” or “unworthy”
      3. Every time we make a qualifier for service, God removes it
    2. Loving All people
      1. Just like with service, we are not putting conditions on love: “I’ll show you love if you behave like me, if you talk like me, if you think like me, if you vote or love like me”
    3. Spreading hope
      1. NOT condemnation
      2. Not backhanded hope
        1. “God loves sinners like you too”

CONCLUSION

COMMUNION

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