Joseph – A Life Interrupted – Navigating the Unexpected (2)

 Second Sunday in Advent  – Peace 

Today is the Second Sunday in Advent.  This week as I read the lectionary readings (which are printed each week in the bulletins), I really had a sense that I was moving towards something very special and significant.  I love the journey that the Christian Church takes us on in Advent – in this time of waiting and preparation for Christmas.  Amid the media hype and commercial garish glitz of Christmas, the Christian Church holds fast to a counter cultural focus on Christmas that point us to a loving God who took a radical and risky option to become ONE OF US.  What an amazing and crazy choice that was!  What a brilliant gift we’ve been given.  So join this advent journey.  We begin each worship service by lighting the Advent candles and each week another theme is represented:- last week we emphasized HOPE and this week we are focused on PEACE.

The signs of Christmas are all around us and last night we hosted in partnership with Youth With A Mission a wonderful Community Carols evening.  I must thank all the workers and volunteers who assisted.  Another partner in the Carols event is the Ashmore Rotary Club and we thank them for their commitment to serving the local community as they cooked up hundreds and hundreds of sausages.  The Ashmore State School has also been very generous and supportive as we have conducted our 4th Community Carols on their premises and the involvement of the School choir continues to increase.  I believe that our “reaching out, changing lives” vision continues to drive us forward in mission to the community around us.  All to the Glory of God.

In the past week, we’ve been able to thank and acknowledge the work and ministry of our Kids Hope Aus mentors and prayer partners and on Friday our Playgroup celebrated the conclusion of another year.  Our Coordinator Liz Martin is to be applauded for her wonderful commitment to each of the families and the way she encourages each of the volunteers from our church who keep the ball rolling.  (We maintain our prayers for, little Zac Jensen and his parents Renee and Gary, as they continue the fight with Zac’s tumours and ongoing treatment.)   I’d like to thank the many volunteers who have caught the vision and been obedient to God in serving the community through these particular ministries. 

Next Friday, 13th December will be that last day of trading this year for our Op Shop.  I must again thank the many, many volunteers who have contributed to the ongoing success of this valuable ministry.  Kelly and Trish have concluded their second year as managers and they and their volunteers are certainly living out the values of Ashmore Uniting Church which include Welcoming friendship, Empowering leadership, Spirit-led serving, Creative outreach, Transforming people and Authentic worship.

At the time of Jesus’ birth we find an amazing story of God bursting into the world in a unique and unusual way.  We find that God interrupts a whole heap of people in surprising ways in this dramatic entry.  Today we will focus on Joseph who finds himself having to make a choice about surrendering to God or saving face and maintaining his public profile as a carpenter in his community in Nazareth.  These are some of the words from Joseph’s Song by Michael Card, that I’ll be using today:-

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours

How can a man be father to the Son of God

Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter

How can I raise a king, how can I raise a king?

 Joseph responded to the interruption in this way:-

Divine Intervention + Yielded Submission = Eternal Significance

 May you continue to navigate the unexpected interruptions through God’s Spirit…..this week….Rev Brad Foote

A Life Interrupted – Navigating the Unexpected (1)

First Sunday in Advent – Hope

Welcome to Worship today on this the first Sunday in Advent.  This is a time of waiting, of hoping, of expectation.  It is a time of listening for God’s loving response.  As Advent leads us up to Christmas, there is much to look forward to  – gifts, special food, visitors – friends and family, and parties.  Yet we also wait for something far more significant: the gift of Jesus, God’s Son.  This is a holy time.  We remember centuries of hopeful expectation for the Messiah, from the prophets of the Old Testament.   We also look forward to the promise and wonder of Jesus as described in the New Testament.

At the time of Jesus’ birth we find an amazing story of God bursting into the world in a unique and unusual way.  We find that God interrupts a whole heap of people in surprising ways in this dramatic entry.  We have wise men who interrupt King Herod (Matthew 2) with news of a new king, we have a young teenager whose life is interrupted so that she can become the ‘mother of God’s son’.  Joseph, Shepherds, Herod, Angels, inn keepers, Elizabeth and Zechariah, all have their daily lives interrupted, for and by the purposes of God.  

I have taken the theme during this Advent season, “Life Interrupted – Navigating the Unexpected” from a Bible teacher by the name of Priscilla Shirer.  In her book with the same title, Priscilla, uses the prophet Jonah as the biblical focal point of her teaching.  I will be using some of her teaching points, but I’ll apply them through the lectionary readings for Advent season, rather than the Book of Jonah.

Each week we will hear testimonies of people whose lives have been interrupted by God and instead of seeing these “Life Interruptions” as negative or aggravating, we will see the hand of God bringing Divine Interventions into peoples lives so they can lay a foundation for better things as they surrender to the living and loving God of all creation.  This follows on from our heart of worship theme, which concluded last week.

Today in the bulletin you will see the profile of Faye Spittle who has accepted the nomination to be considered as an Elder on our Church Council for 2014.  We will conduct a very brief Congregational meting in two weeks time on 15th December for this election.  Faye has discerned that God is interrupting her life at this point with a responsibility to serve God, and the body of Christ in this capacity of leadership.  Can you please pray for Faye as she offers herself to this area of leadership?

This coming Saturday is one of our largest outreaches for our Church each year.  In partnership with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), we are hosting the Ashmore Community Carols at Ashmore State School from 5.30 to 8.30pm.  As you know, at Ashmore Uniting Church, we seek to express our Christian faith through the vision of being a loving church, focused on the Gospel of Christ:  

  • Reaching out
  • Meeting needs
  • Equipping people for service

 Our motto is:  “reaching out, changing lives”

The Community Carols event seeks to live out this vision on many levels.  This Wednesday evening from 7-8pm we will be having a time of corporate prayer for this outreach.  I’d love to see you at this prayer gathering at the Church.  If you want to assist in any way on the Carols night please let me know either in person or by ringing me on 0409 261 337.

May you navigate the unexpected interruptions through God’s Spirit…..this week….Rev Brad Foote