Being Blessed

Advent Virtual Bible Study #6

Today’s Virtual Bible Study is written by Jen Byrne, and is a study on Luke 1: 46-55.

This verse from Luke really spoke to me.  “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices…He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”  Not only is Mary praising God for choosing her to bear the Savior but she is humbly reminding us of the Messiah’s origins.  She is blessed by God, chosen by God and is humbled by His choice.  When you count your blessings, what are you counting?  Things?  Your bank account?  That new car?  Seems “blessings” can mean different things to each of us but the Bible has a specific message of being blessed.  I enjoyed this article from Sarah Walton titled “What Does it Really Mean to be Blessed?” 

May you celebrate our Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, our ultimate blessing, this Christmas.


Read more...

Preparing For Jesus

Today’s Bible Study is shared by Carmen Hasdorff, Based on Matthew 3:1-12

In the bible reading today, Mathew 3:1-12, we learn about the John the Baptist.  The work of John the Baptist was foretold in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 40: 3-4.  John the Baptist had come to prepare the way for our Lord Jesus as he was “the voice of one calling in the desert. Prepare the way pf the Lord, make straight paths for him” Mathew Chapter 3: 3.

The description of John the Baptist paints a picture of a unique person who knew that his mission was to prepare the way for Jesus.  He did not care how he appeared to other people or how he spoke to the Pharisees.  He was on a mission.

Have you ever felt you were on a mission and were focused on what needed to be done?

It can be difficult to keep your focus without being drawn into distractions.

Just as John the Baptist was focused and clear about his mission so was Jesus.

One with Mystery
Lauren Wright Pittman
© A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart

What Can’t Wait’ logo, artwork, and study ideas © A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart


Read more...

Stumps Can Be Useful Too

In worship on Sunday, we talked about Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12.

The Isaiah passage states, ” A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (v. 1, NRSV). Christians view the shoot coming out from the stump of Jesse to be a prophesy for the coming of Jesus.

In the passage from Matthew 3, the word “repent” is used 3 times. In Sunday’s sermon, I shared how we can view “repentance” as turning around, as turning from something that is a barrier to our relationship with God, into something else that is life-giving.

Thinking of the stump mentioned in Isaiah…. Often we view stumps as being worth very little. The tree has been cut down, and what is left is in the way, and perhaps not very attractive. But, stumps can be useful too. If a shoot grows out of a stump, like Isaiah mentions, new life will grow.

Other beautiful things can happen to stumps. George Kenny of Allyn, Washington, makes a living carving art out of tree stumps with a chainsaw. You can view his artwork and sign up for his chainsaw carving school here. https://www.facebook.com/George.Kennys.Chainsaw.Carving.School/

Bob Villa also has some creative ideas of what to do with tree stumps: https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/the-best-and-weirdest-things-you-can-do-with-a-tree-stump-51341

If you’re feeling a bit like a tree stump in your walk with God — cut off, maybe even frozen and not sure how to turn around — remember that beautiful things can arise out of the gnarliest of stumps!

Peace, Love, and HOPE,

Pastor Christie

Tree Stump Chainsaw Sculpture
https://s3-production.bobvila.com/slides/22410/original/chainsaw-sculpture.jpg?1532362249

To listen to Pastor Christie’s sermons online, visit: https://www.hopeonbluerock.org/sermon/

Chainsaw carving link ideas courtesy of homileticsonline.com

What Can’t Wait’ logo, artwork, and study ideas © A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart


Read more...

Imagining Peace

Today’s virtual Bible Study is shared by Jen Byrne, based on Isaiah 11:1-10
 
Out of a humble family, place and time comes the Messiah.  This is the message of Isaiah 11: 1-10.  How could a Savior be born in a manger?  In a barn?  To a woman who is not wed? Yet, he was.  To me, this passage speaks to challenging the norms.  Achieving the impossible.  And it inspires me that if Jesus could overcome his obstacles to die on the cross for me, I can certainly persevere in this world.  This got me thinking, who else has struggles?  Who else had to overcome adversity?  Who else had to make something out of little?  That led me to Ursula Burns.  Check out her story here: https://leanin.org/stories/ursula-burns  During this time of Advent, what does the story of Christ mean to you?  I came up with four words: Unity, love, hope, humility.  A grateful prayer to the one who was sent and died for me.
 
 
 
A Child Shall Lead Them
Lisle Gwynn Garrity
© A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart

What Can’t Wait’ logo, artwork, and study ideas © A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart


Read more...

Peace Within Your Walls

Read Psalm 122.  Notice the beauty of verses 6-9: 
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. (NRSV)
 
In this city that had been the site of invasion and destruction, the Psalmist prays that there may be peace within those walls – peace, safety, security, harmony, prosperity.  It is a heartfelt and heart-wrenching blessing.
 
In the artwork to the left, entitled Peace Without Your Walls, artist Lauren Wright Pittman depicts peace as opening the walls and our arms.  She writes, “When I began to paint this piece, I kept wondering how walls and peace can coexist, but if I’m honest, if true shalom were to be realized, there would be no need for walls or towers. For me, peace looks like open doors leading out of the confinement of stone walls and into a field of poppies. For me, peace looks like flowers scaling walls, weakening the strength of stone foundations, and over time, bringing the barriers down. Peace looks like open arms—open to the difficult work of welcoming peace, and open to receiving the boundless gifts of a truly peaceful world” (What Can’t Wait Advent Devotional, p.7)
 
How do you feel about the contrast between the Psalm, and the artist’s words?  Do you feel that true peace can be achieved within walls?  What are some ways that we can help bring peace to our world?  Write your comments below!
 
Peace, blessings, and HOPE,
Pastor Christie
‘What Can’t Wait’ logo, artwork, and study ideas © A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart

Read more...

Swords into Plowshares

Hope’s Virtual Bible Study is here! Using our Advent theme, “What Can’t Wait,” we’ll study the Bible together throughout Advent. Each devotional exercise is designed to be brief and fit into your busy day!

For our first lesson, I invite you to read Isaiah 2:1-5, and take a look at this article & video: https://relevantmagazine.com/…/shane-claiborne-and-activis…/

How do you feel when you watch this video? How do you feel like it relates to Isaiah 2:1-5? What are some ways that we can envision turning “swords into plowshares” in our community? Share your answers in the comments below!
 
Peace, blessings, and HOPE,
Pastor Christie
 
‘What Can’t Wait’ logo, artwork, and study ideas © A Sanctified Art sanctifiedart.org @sanctifiedart
 

Read more...