Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, November 30, 2012



Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21:25-36

Happy New Year !!!!!?????

That’s right, .....................happy new year!

Advent marks the beginning of a new year in the Christian calendar. The liturgical year starts with the first Sunday in Advent, which is today, and then moves into Christmas season, which includes Christmas Day, Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus. Then it moves into Lent which ends with Holy Week, followed by Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Then it is the Season of Easter (Paschaltide) which includes Ascension Day ends on Pentecost Sunday. This is followed by the Season of Pentecost which begins with Trinity Sunday and ends the fifth Sunday before Christmas. The new liturgical year then begins four Sundays before Christmas, with Advent One.

So… it’s Advent… happy new year.

During this season we remember that the Christ who came, will come again at His Second Coming

Since time immemorial people have wondered about the end of the world. You've probably all heard that according to the Mayan Calendar, the world will end in 2 weeks time.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus spoke to his Disciples and said:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

So even Jesus spoke about the end of the world .

Interestingly, He said:
 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

In Mark's gospel last week we heard Jesus saying that something else that will happen at this time is that the Temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed. He said not one stone will remain standing on that terrible day.

And that prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70, just 37 years after Jesus spoke it. The Romans absolutely destroyed the Temple and all the things Jesus prophesied, wars, revolutions, earthquakes, famines, strange and terrifying things in the sky….. all these came about in A.D. 69 and 70. You can Google ' fall of Jerusalem and Jesus prophecies ' and you will see Roman historians and Jewish historians recording all these things.

Of course for the disciples hearing these words, it sounded like the end of the world. They could not imagine a world without a Temple – where would God live.

Jesus goes on in our reading:
 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

 And that is the good news we celebrate in Advent. In the midst of destruction, there is new life. In the midst of chaos, God speaks a new creation word. In Advent we remember that God came in Christ, is with us now… and will come again.

The Kingdom of God came in Christ, is among us by the Spirit, will come in all it’s fullness with Christ's glorious return and .......Jesus says,’s happening now, look for the green shoots.

In your life now, look for the green shoots.

Yesterday was World Aids Day.

In 1996, Cotlands (based in Turffontein, Johannesburg) offered the country’s first AIDS hospice aimed at 
helping children to die with dignity.

They have helped thousands of children die with dignity. Earlier this year, they had to shut the doors of the AIDS hospice for children… do you know why?......................................Because they haven’t had an AIDS related death since 2009. A Cotlands' spokesperson was quoted in The Johannesburg Star as saying ‘Anti retro-viral treatment increases life expectancy. These children are now going to live until they are adults.’ Isn't that good news?

One of the prophet Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the End Times is that people will not die young.

Look for the green shoots, says Jesus.

We've walked through another year, hopefully discovering that God is here with us, as He has always been with His people. And I hope we've been amazed at how He shows up unexpectedly, in a service, in a funeral, a small group, in your illness, in your celebration, in your hospice.

This year has been hard for many/most of us, hasn't it?
We feel…................ barren.
My prayer is that this Advent season, this new year, will provide you with.......... a new hope… a renewed hope, so that as we go into the future with it’s struggles that God leads us through, or that sin in our world brings us into, or maybe even that you and I have fallen into because of our own sin… that in our struggles we will be able to look at the fig tree…
and amid the ruins, the mess, the confusion, the worry....see the leaves.
Perhaps even thinking or saying I’m so dry,.... I’m so hungry,...... I’m so lonely,..... it’s so hard, how am I going to make it,........ but at the same time looking for the green leaf, remembering that God who was a baby, is a powerful presence, is in our lives,............ He is with us.

In Advent we remember the note of hope that runs through all the pages of the Bible. I love that song that the saints sing in Revelation 7… it actually comes from the book of Isaiah…

They sing together as they experience the fullness of their relationship with God.
Never again will they hunger. Never again will they thirst. Never again will the sun beat upon them, nor the scorching heat.
The Lamb from the centre of the throne will become their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water, and He will wipe away every tear. 
That’s our hope. Sometimes, praise God, some of that even happens in our life here. We go through painful, trying times. We come out on the other side, as many of you have this year, and many of you will in the coming year.
God has (or will) quenched your thirst. He has (and will) wiped away your tears.
And as we continue our journey into Advent, through Christmas and into a new calendar year, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the day will come, Jesus will return, His Kingdom will come in all its fulness and God's people will know fullness of relationship with Him.

That’s our Advent hope, and the shoots are all around us.

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