the blog

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Advent Week #1 | The Darkness is in Trouble


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My hope is to post a little Advent ditty every Monday (I’m already late). This monk seminary life has proven to make blogging even more challenging than it usually is for me. But I’ll do it!
And the plan is to give the week a theme and to post a collect (a prayer), a song, and a scripture for the week!

Advent is upon!
May we wait, watch, and long for the salvation born unto us, flesh and blood, water and bone—Jesus, the infant King!

ADVENT WEEK #1 | The Darkness is in Trouble

The Collect (PRAYER) 
Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.30.12 AMAlmighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

 

The Song | Watch it

 

The Scripture | Read it
Jesus said, “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

 

 

Discuss

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Embrace the wait 2.0 — #ADVENT


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Here is my Advent post from last year. I like it and i remember the service i explain below, it was great! I need to think of some creative way to help my students experience Advent this year. Any ideas?

Well enjoy this repost and video. Maybe it will stir some creativity in you.

I tweeted the other day about the Advent Experience i was doing with my students. I ended the tweet & facebook post with “… just wait!” A clever pun on the idea of experiencing advent. I had one person say something but other than that i’m not sure anybody really caught the start to my Advent Experience but then again i don’t think many people really catch Advent in general. Which is why we had an Advent Experience!

And if your wondering what i’m talking about… you’re not catching it either! Just wait

Advent is all about waiting, anticipating, it’s all about getting ready for the One who was, and is, and is to come! I decided that i could just preach a message about this, there are TONS of scriptures about Advent, about waiting and anticipating but i wanted my students to experience it!

So here’s what we did…

We started our service off with with a countdown, all the student with one robust voice counted down the last 10 seconds and then… another countdown started. They WAITED 3 more minutes, counted down once again and we continued.

Then we played a game, kinda. I picked students, had them come up on the platform, picked some random pieces that they thought were going to be apart of the game and then i told them i had forget some of the pieces to the game and they were going to have to WAIT.

I also had one student come on the platform, I had found out his absolute favorite snack, honey BBQ wings from Pizza Hut. I told him we were going play a little game, he had to sit with the wings in front of him but we weren’t ready yet… he would have to WAIT!

I let all the students sit down, they would have to be PATIENT. I let the student stay on the platform with his wings though. Our worship leader came forward to lead us. He tuned… and tuned… and tuned some more. He continued to say, “Sorry guys, just be PATIENT, HOLD ON, we’ll be ready SOON.”

I then came up and said i would just give the message and we’ll worship later. By this time, those that were really paying attention (and most of them actually were) began to realize the theme.

I opened my bible and began to flip through, trying to find the passage i was looking for, “my bookmark must have fallen out, just HOLD ON, i’ll find it.” “I think i actually left my notes in my office, just be PATIENT.” I walked of the platform and this little video i make began to play.

When the video was done i walked up and began to share. My middle school students were engaged, they got it, they knew what we were talking about. Matthew, the student on the stage with his favorite wings quickly became my goto illustration. Because sometimes it’s really hard to wait, isn’t it! I preached, we worship together, it was a really great night!

The one nugget i wanted to communicate through my message and through the experience was that we know as Christians we need to learn to pray, to read our bible, even to live in community… but how often do we teach students the art of waiting, being patient, holding on for the Lord. We don’t’ typically see this as a Christian practice worth giving any attention to but the more i studied and looked around bible the art of waiting is central to the Christian life. And what better time then Advent to usher our students and our churches in the Christian practice of patience.

We talked a bit about the double Advent we embrace. First we WAIT for the birth of Christ but we also WAIT for the return of Christ, knowing that He will return and make all things new, redeem our suffering, and quench our thirst once and for all.

We talked about trust and faith. It’s easy to think that God must not know what he’s doing because things aren’t happening on our timeframe or the way we think they should go. But learning to WAIT is essential for the Christian life, it teaches us to trust that God actually knows what he’s doing, he has a plan, that God is actually good and is with us! It’s not always easy to wait but often times that which we wait for is far better then what we could have had sooner. Our culture teaches immediate gratification but our Lord teaches us to WAIT! To Trust! To have faith that God has a plan!

There are a lot of culture implication that we talked about. Faith implication and a general challenge to WAIT ON THE LORD because he promises to hear our cries!

Here some some scriptures that i used…

Isaiah 64:1     //    Luke 1:78-79     //     Psalm 40:1     // Proverbs 16:32
Romans 8:25     //     James 5:8     //      Revelations 1:7-8

You can also check out some of my Advent posts from last year…

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #1

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #2

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #3

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #4

And finally if you looking from some great Advent ideas & videos check out Advent Conspiracy – they do some great stuff!

And look at their old stuff on YouTube — really good!

Hold On!

w/Grace and peace

erik


Discuss

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Embrace the Wait 1.0 — #ADVENT


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Sunday was the first day of Advent.

Here were a couple prayers for the day

“Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

“O God, who set before us the great hope that your Kingdom shall come on earth and taught us to pray for its coming: give us grace to discern the signs of its dawning and to work for the perfect day when the whole world shall reflect your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Good stuff to start the Advent journey.

For me i’m reading a few devotionals this Advent, trying to really get into the heart of this time of year and embrace what it’s all about. So that’s pretty much what i’ll sharing here on the blog for the next 4 weeks. Quotes i’ve read, reflections i’ve had and ideas that are swirling around my head and heart.

Advent is a season of waiting.

And because waiting is a key skill of the Christian life, it’s fitting that this is how we start our Christian year. I look forward to pondering the season with you.

Grace, peace and waiting
Erik

PS :: The image is a modern day rendering of a classic Advent Icon. I’ll post the more traditional Icon later this week but i really like this representation as well. ENJOY!

Discuss

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Advent, just wait…


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I tweeted the other day about the Advent Experience i was doing with my students. I ended the tweet & facebook post with “… just wait!” A clever pun on the idea of experiencing advent. I had one person say something but other than that i’m not sure anybody really caught the start to my Advent Experience but then again i don’t think many people really catch Advent in general. Which is why we had an Advent Experience!

And if your wondering what i’m talking about… you’re not catching it either! Just wait

Advent is all about waiting, anticipating, it’s all about getting ready for the One who was, and is, and is to come! I decided that i could just preach a message about this, there are TONS of scriptures about Advent, about waiting and anticipating but i wanted my students to experience it!

So here’s what we did…

We started our service off with with a countdown, all the student with one robust voice counted down the last 10 seconds and then… another countdown started. They WAITED 3 more minutes, counted down once again and we continued.

Then we played a game, kinda. I picked students, had them come up on the platform, picked some random pieces that they thought were going to be apart of the game and then i told them i had forget some of the pieces to the game and they were going to have to WAIT.

I also had one student come on the platform, I had found out his absolute favorite snack, honey BBQ wings from Pizza Hut. I told him we were going play a little game, he had to sit with the wings in front of him but we weren’t ready yet… he would have to WAIT!

I let all the students sit down, they would have to be PATIENT. I let the student stay on the platform with his wings though. Our worship leader came forward to lead us. He tuned… and tuned… and tuned some more. He continued to say, “Sorry guys, just be PATIENT, HOLD ON, we’ll be ready SOON.”

I then came up and said i would just give the message and we’ll worship later. By this time, those that were really paying attention (and most of them actually were) began to realize the theme.

I opened my bible and began to flip through, trying to find the passage i was looking for, “my bookmark must have fallen out, just HOLD ON, i’ll find it.” “I think i actually left my notes in my office, just be PATIENT.” I walked of the platform and this little video i make began to play.

When the video was done i walked up and began to share. My middle school students were engaged, they got it, they knew what we were talking about. Matthew, the student on the stage with his favorite wings quickly became my goto illustration. Because sometimes it’s really hard to wait, isn’t it! I preached, we worship together, it was a really great night!

The one nugget i wanted to communicate through my message and through the experience was that we know as Christians we need to learn to pray, to read our bible, even to live in community… but how often do we teach students the art of waiting, being patient, holding on for the Lord. We don’t’ typically see this as a Christian practice worth giving any attention to but the more i studied and looked around bible the art of waiting is central to the Christian life. And what better time then Advent to usher our students and our churches in the Christian practice of patience.

We talked a bit about the double Advent we embrace. First we WAIT for the birth of Christ but we also WAIT for the return of Christ, knowing that He will return and make all things new, redeem our suffering, and quench our thirst once and for all.

We talked about trust and faith. It’s easy to think that God must not know what he’s doing because things aren’t happening on our timeframe or the way we think they should go. But learning to WAIT is essential for the Christian life, it teaches us to trust that God actually knows what he’s doing, he has a plan, that God is actually good and is with us! It’s not always easy to wait but often times that which we wait for is far better then what we could have had sooner. Our culture teaches immediate gratification but our Lord teaches us to WAIT! To Trust! To have faith that God has a plan!


There are a lot of culture implication that we talked about. Faith implication and a general challenge to WAIT ON THE LORD because he promises to hear our cries!

Here some some scriptures that i used…

Isaiah 64:1     //    Luke 1:78-79     //     Psalm 40:1     // Proverbs 16:32

Romans 8:25     //     James 5:8     //      Revelations 1:7-8

You can also check out some of my Advent posts from last year…

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #1

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #2

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #3

Advent :: I Can’t Wait!  #4

And finally if you looking from some great Advent ideas & videos check out Advent Conspiracy – they do some great stuff!

And look at their old stuff on YouTube — really good!

Hold On!

w/Grace and peace

erik


Discuss

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"I can't wait" Advent :: 4.0


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It’s a conspiracy…

And most of you have probably hear of it by now, the Advent Conspiracy. I love what they are doing and the heart behind it!

[ Worship Fully]  [ Spend Less ]  [ Give More ]  [ Love All ]

My wife and i haven’t talked about it much just cause we don’t have much cash this Christmas. But when i say that i’m thinking of the budget we set for our family and yea, it’s probably pretty conservative if i’m comparing it to the American average (which the video below says is $743 – HOLY CRAP that’s a lot of money!) But our budget is probably about what many families around the world make in a year. That still a lot!

When you have something like a billion people who live on $1 a day does it not feel a bit dirty to spend $300, $400, $500, $600, even $743 dollars in month on gifts, on extra stuff.

Like i said, my wife and i haven’t talked much about this yet but we’re going to! Maybe we’ll help build a well with Global Support Mission / Know.Think.Act (that last link is to a well project we are involved with, check it out.) OR maybe we will decided to give up a mocha here and there and partner with The Mocha Club. OR even sponsor a child with World Vision.

I’m not sure what we are going to do but i want to conspire against the norm. The norm of spending, indulgence, overdoing it, and consumerism.

You see, i can’t wait till Jesus comes back and makes all things right, when justice will flow like a river but until then… i can’t wait to see what a handful of people could do if they were to conspire against the norm and actually worship the baby Jesus and give a little to those he was born for.

Discuss

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“I can’t wait!” Advent :: 3.0


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Advent brings with it a double meaning…

I was going to preach on this tonight at a young adult bible study i speak at on Monday here in Nashville, The Loop Nashville – BUT – it snowed an inch and it’s cold… so they cancelled it, they cancelled schools, they cancelled everything. The South can be so lame!

But in preparation for an this evening i was thinking more about the idea of waiting, advent, and all it’s nuances!

1st there is the “I can’t wait” of incarnation, the birth of a boy that will save us, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” We re-live the anticipation, the excitement, and the glory of the incarnation every year during the advent season. We remember, even better, we re-live the divine moment where a baby, that happened to be God, was born. A moment in human history that epitomizes the way of God desires to bring salvation to all of humanity. We wait for the birth of a weak and helpless baby who carries in bones and blood the salvation of humanity… WE WAIT FOR IT. And it is truly glorious.

2nd is the “I can’t wait” of his return. That day when all will be made right and that for which we ultimately wait will be given and completed and all will be made new. You see advent reminds of us of a greater anticipation, that of his return, of the reconciliation and recreation, true shalom.

So we wait!

&

I can’t wait!

shalom

erik

Discuss

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“I can’t wait!” Advent :: 2.0


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Here is the second post in my series of Advent posts entitled “i Can’t Wait” Advent. Read my previous post to know what i’m talking about.

Here is just a little advent quote for the weekend!
SO GOOD!

“His coming, and his presence are not only the result of our waiting or a prize for our efforts: they are his decision, based on his love freely poured out.

His coming is bound to his promise, not to our works or virtue. We have not earned the meeting with God because we have served him faithfully in our brethren, or because we have heaped up such a pile of virtue as to shine before Heaven.

God is thrust onward by his love, not attracted by our beauty. He comes even in moments when we have done everything wrong, when we have done nothing… when we have sinned.”
The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto

GOD COMES!
ADVENT

Discuss

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Advent :: “I can’t wait!”


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The expression “I can’t wait” is one of expectation and excitement. I think of the little kid telling their parents, “I just can’t wait to see Santa Clause.” Or “I just can’t wait to go to Disney Land.” How excited and expectant they would be. Or the groom on his wedding day saying, “I just can’t wait to see her in that dress… and to get to Mexico for our honeymoon.” (no explanation needed)

But reading these words on paper could be confusing because they could also be words of impatience or desperation. Words of something long over due or even anger.

But maybe all these emotions and thoughts are apart of the advent season, apart of this time in our church year where we anticipate, where we step back and say, “I can’t wait” in the most loaded of ways.

The reading for the first week of advent are some of my favorites, specifically the Old Testament readings Isaiah 2:1-5

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

I CAN’T WAIT!

Here are the reading for the 1st week of advent, in case you missed them.

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122

Romans 13:8-14

Matthew 21:1-13

I CAN’T WAIT!

Here are the readings for this Sunday…

Isaiah 11:1-10
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

I CAN’T WAIT!

Discuss

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A longing heart :: Christmas


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Advent is coming to it’s emblematic culmination for those who follow Jesus.
Christmas :: this is the day, the sign, that the Kingdom has been born and we now have a God with flesh and bones on to follow into this new way of life.

During this advent season my incredibly astute wife has been asking me what my heart longs for. A great question and one that stirs up the very essence of advent. But the answer for me has been hard. But sitting here at the Barnes and Noble on Christmas Eve I think I have found my answer.

Answer :: a God with flesh and bones, a voice box and all, to follow.

He is here and I am wanting to tune into his voice, his presence in my life.
That is what this longing heart is wanting this Christmas.

Discuss

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Advent readings & a video…


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Here are my 2 favorite advent read…
and a little video action.

“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
Righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
And righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its incread.
Righteousness will go before him,
an will make a path for his steps.”
[ Psalms 85:10-13 ]

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to jerusalem, and cry to he
That she has served her term, that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out;
“in the wilderness prepare the ways of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
[ Isaiah 40:1-3 ]

Here’s a little video with some great words on advent.
Take 10 and listen, be inspired, pray, WAIT!
Experience some advent!
I need to.

Discuss