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1 Samuel 3:1-10            (Common English Bible)

Now the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli. The Lord’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known. 2 One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room. 3 God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s chest was.

4 The Lord called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.

5 Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did.

6 Again the Lord called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”

(7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord, and the Lord’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him.)

8 A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.

10 Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

This is the story of God calling the prophet Samuel as a boy. The author tells us Samuel doesn’t yet know God’s voice. The current prophet, Eli, knows God but doesn’t hear God on that night. Finally, Eli recognizes what is happening and teaches Samuel how to respond.

Our Advent stories are full of God speaking to and through unlikely people: John, Joseph, Mary, shepherds. The surprise of Advent teaches us to listen even more closely for the voice of God. Who teaches you to listen for the voice of God? Who have you helped hear God speaking to them?

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

Advent Calendar: Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:19-20             (CEB)

I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live—by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by clinging to him. That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 

Abraham issues this challenge to God’s people right before they enter the Promised Land. You have a choice to make. On the face of it, doesn’t sound like a hard choice: life or death. However, how often do I make choices that I know aren’t the best for me?

Advent points us towards God and what God wishes to do in the world. God comes into our world so that we can choose a life with God.

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

 

 

Advent Calendar: Show Love

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

This might feel like an odd moment for an Advent calendar, since it happens near the end of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus gathers his disciples together for a final teaching in John’s Gospel, including this command to love one another. We often talk about the 10 Commandments or Jesus’ explanation of the two greatest commandments: love God and love your neighbor. This one sometimes gets missed. How we love one another is a witness to our faith.

I know with all the stress of the holiday season, sometimes I end of snapping at family or friends. Jesus reminds me to slow down this Advent and make sure those closest to me know God’s love through me.

 

I’m posting a reflection on the daily Scripture reading from the Advent calendar we shared at Hopewell. Here’s what we’re using if you’d like to join us! https://thomasmousin.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/advent-calendar-2016.pdf

Sermon Preview: God’s New Thing

With the election season behind us, we’re turning our eyes toward Advent. Advent is our season of preparation and waiting for the promise of Jesus. We look both backwards and forwards in time, back to the promises of Christ’s birth and forward to the promises of Christ coming again.

This Sunday we start that journey looking at God’s promise to do a new thing. Doing something new can be both exciting and scary. God’s promise, found in both Isaiah and Revelation, is a word of hope to those hurting and mourning. God’s desire for creation isn’t throwing it away, but renewing it. God’s future is one of joy.

We’ll talk about this promise, God’s desired renewal and our joy this Sunday.

 

Isaiah 65:17-25            Common English Bible (CEB)

Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth:

past events won’t be remembered;

they won’t come to mind.

18 Be glad and rejoice forever

in what I’m creating,

because I’m creating Jerusalem as a joy

and her people as a source of gladness.

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad about my people.

No one will ever hear the sound of weeping or crying in it again.

20 No more will babies live only a few days,

or the old fail to live out their days.

The one who dies at a hundred will be like a young person,

and the one falling short of a hundred will seem cursed.

21 They will build houses and live in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 They won’t build for others to live in,

nor plant for others to eat.

Like the days of a tree will be the days of my people;

my chosen will make full use of their handiwork.

23 They won’t labor in vain,

nor bear children to a world of horrors,

because they will be people blessed by the Lord,

they along with their descendants.

24 Before they call, I will answer;

while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 Wolf and lamb will graze together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox,

but the snake—its food will be dust.

They won’t hurt or destroy at any place on my holy mountain,

says the Lord.

What is a sermon preview?

Sermon previews are released on Thursdays. They offer a short glimpse of what we’re going to talk about on Sunday morning. They are updated on Mondays with a way to respond to the message, like an action to take or question to consider in your life. I post these for two reasons. First I hope they help you see the sermon connecting with your week. Second, I hope you’ll share these with friends. You can share through email or Facebook / Twitter so they know what we’re exploring on Sunday.

Sermon Preview: Hope

This week we’re finishing up our series on keeping faith in an election. We’ve moved through John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules for the people called Methodists. We’ve explored what it might mean to Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay Connected to God in the midst of all the noise and confusion

Now this Sunday we’re looking towards what happens on November 9th and following. On the other side of the election, to what are we called? How do we keep our faith and find our place after this season? We’re looking at a letter written to a church with some advice for living out their public life. In it, Paul points them back to the source of their hope.

Coming on November 9th what is your hope?

Philippians 2:1-11        Common English Bible (CEB)

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, 2 complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. 3 Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. 4 Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:

6 Though he was in the form of God,

he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.

7 But he emptied himself

by taking the form of a slave

and by becoming like human beings.

When he found himself in the form of a human,

8         he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,

even death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God highly honored him

and gave him a name above all names,

10     so that at the name of Jesus everyone

in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow

11         and every tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What is a sermon preview?

Sermon previews are released on Thursdays. They offer a short glimpse of what we’re going to talk about on Sunday morning. They are updated on Mondays with a way to respond to the message, like an action to take or question to consider in your life. I post these for two reasons. First I hope they help you see the sermon connecting with your week. Second, I hope you’ll share these with friends. You can share through email or Facebook / Twitter so they know what we’re exploring on Sunday.

We’ve been working our way through John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules as way of grounding ourselves and keeping faith in the midst of this crazy election cycle. This Sunday we’re tackling his 3rd Rule: Attend the Ordinances of God. Unlike his first two, this one takes some translation. For Wesley, the ordinances of God were those practices that kept us tied to faith like prayer, reading Scripture, and caring for the poor. These are the ways we live out our faith and receive God’s grace. In short, they help keep us connected to God. This Sunday we’ll talk about how we keep that connection strong in the midst of all the noise and bluster of politics.

Colossians 2:6-8, 12-13           Common English Bible

6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. 8 See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ.

12 You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong.

Spiritual disciplines (like prayer, reading Scripture, or helping others) keep us grounded in our faith. What’s a discipline you can focus on to keep your faith strong while this election season finishes? And what’s an election event (like TV ad, phone call, mailer, yard sign) that can be your reminder to engage that discipline?

What is a sermon preview?

Sermon previews are released on Thursdays. They offer a short glimpse of what we’re going to talk about on Sunday morning. They are updated on Mondays with a way to respond to the message, like an action to take or question to consider in your life. I post these for two reasons. First I hope they help you see the sermon connecting with your week. Second, I hope you’ll share these with friends. You can share through email or Facebook / Twitter so they know what we’re exploring on Sunday.

Sermon Preview: Do No Harm

Keeping Your Faith in the Midst of An Election

This has been a crazy election season, certainly crazier than any I can remember. As we get closer, the conversation keeps getting uglier and uglier. The more I read and hear, the more I find myself needing signs of hope. How do we keep our faith in the midst of an election? How should Christians respond to politics as things get hotter and meaner?

John Wesley offered three simple rules for the people called Methodist. Bishop Job introduced them as Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay in Love with God. We’ll use those as a guide as we seek to find hope and discover our faithfulness in the midst of an election.

So this week we’re talking about what Christians can do to endeavor to Do No Harm during an election. Come join us!

1 Timothy 2:1-6            Common English Bible

First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. 2 Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and it pleases God our savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 There is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the human Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a payment to set all people free. This was a testimony that was given at the right time.

 

What is a sermon preview?

Sermon previews are released on Thursdays. They offer a short glimpse of what we’re going to talk about on Sunday morning. They are updated on Mondays with a way to respond to the message, like an action to take or question to consider in your life. I post these for two reasons. First I hope they help you see the sermon connecting with your week. Second, I hope you’ll share these with friends. You can share through email or Facebook / Twitter so they know what we’re exploring on Sunday.