Believe

BecauseItsChristmasBelieve_11-27-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Sometimes the innocent joy of Christmas experienced by children becomes a tired cynicism of the season when we become adults. We can still find the beauty and excitement of Christmas. But, it will come from believing in a Savior, not a season.

John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Week 1 – Believe

November 27 – December 3

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SERMON DESCRIPTION

THEME: BELIEVE
Sometimes the innocent joy of Christmas experienced by children becomes a tired cynicism of the season when we become an adult. We can still find the beauty and excitement of Christmas. It will not come by believing in a season, but a Savior.

PRAYER
Gracious Holy God, prepare our hearts. Open them to receive your grace and love. Allow us to experience the awe and mystery of your incarnation. To transform our worry and toil into hope as we expectantly wait for the miracle of the birth of our savior, Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
These questions are created from the pastor’s sermon notes each week for the use of our groups that meet to discuss the sermons together.

  • In the sermon, we heard about Ted Lasso. What does the word BELIEVE mean to you? What does this word touch in us and what did you feel when you saw the sign?
  • Read John 1:14. When God became flesh, God made a choice to be with us, this is something we can believe in. So why is it so hard? Why does it feel like we grab hold of this belief for four or five weeks but by January, it’s disappeared, and we are out looking for signs of God’s presence again?
  • The point of Jesus’ incarnation is not that you believe in God. The point of the incarnation is that God believes in you. If God believes in you that much, that God would become flesh, what is God asking you to do?
  • When have you felt cynicism creep into your thoughts this week? What brought you back the beauty and excitement of the true meaning of Christmas?

ADVENT CHALLENGE
Do you want to have a good Christmas? Get up every morning and say, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ believes in me! And if Christ believes in you, maybe God’s right and you can do the things that you know you should do and that you long to do. You can be kind and just. You can seek reconciliation. You can offer hope to the hopeless and you can love. That is something to believe in!

 

 

GO DEEPER
Resource Suggestions

Music

  • Traditional: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • Modern: Angels from the Realm of Glory (Emmanuel)

Did You Know?


SCRIPTURE
John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

 

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving_11-20-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Thanksgiving is more than a day, a weekend or even a season. Join us to hear how thankfulness restores and nurtures people of faith.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Salvation

Salvation_11-13-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Salvation is a difficult word for many to understand, yet it’s vital to our faith. Discover the power and grace present in salvation.

2 Timothy 1:6-14

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Taste and See

TasteAndSee_11-6-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

This sermon will focus on the power of Holy Communion. Learn about its meaning and how this sacred meal can sustain us beyond Sunday.

Psalm 34:1-9

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.

Love Your Neighbor

LoveYourNeighbor_10-30-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

The Great Commandment captures all the teaching of Jesus in one sentence. When it is embossed on our character, we enjoy guidance in life and joy in relationships.

Matthew 22:34-40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Be Humble

BeHumble_10-23-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Sometimes God has requirements for us to meet if we are to be God’s people. These requirements help us understand how to live, speak, and act. And they will help us live well during an election season and beyond.

Micah 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Be Kind

BeKind_10-16-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Jesus Christ enables us to engage in conversations about complex issues with wisdom, kindness, and truth. Ephesians helps us gain important guardrails for discussion and be the best we can be while interacting with others.

Ephesians 4:22-32

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Be Just

BeJust_10-9-22 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

During a month when we often discuss elections and politics, an ancient prophet may bring wisdom and insight to our conversations. With images of health and vitality, Isaiah helps us think about God’s will for our lives and our society, and God’s unique focus on justice.

Isaiah 58:1-12

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

A Legacy of Generosity

A Legacy Of Generosity_10-2-2022 from Floris UMC on Vimeo.

Generosity is not an act we hope to accomplish someday if we have enough left over. It is a lifestyle God requires from those who follow Jesus Christ. It is also a pathway to a truly joyful and transformed life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

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