In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.
Valuable not only for their sublime musical expression, the African American spirituals give us profound insights into the human condition and the Christian life. Many focus on an essential scene of the Christian drama: the coming of God as the child in Bethlehem and as the hope of the world and the liberator of God's oppressed people.
In these devotions for the season of Advent, Luke Powery leads the reader through the spirituals as they confront the mystery of incarnation and redemption. In Rise Up, Shepherd! each devotion features the lyrics of the spiritual, a reflection on the spiritual's meaning, a Scripture verse, and a brief prayer.
From his beginnings as a humble carpenter to his all-important role as the earthly father of Jesus Christ, Joseph's place in the nativity story is sometimes overlooked but contains valuable lessons for all of us. Join Adam Hamilton as he examines Christmas through the eyes of Joseph. Absent from much of the biblical narrative, Joseph never spoke a word, but his courageous actions were crucial to the birth of Christ and God's salvation plan for humanity.
As you read this book, you will understand how Joseph's story is much like our own. In life, we encounter circumstances that we would never have chosen for ourselves. At times it can be tempting just to walk away. Joseph provides us a great example of humbly obeying God even when we don't understand and faithfully moving forward in the strength that God provides.
Exchange your doubt for courage this Advent and Christmas season. Learn to accept and glorify God's will even when circumstances make it difficult to do so.
Additional components for a four-week adult study include a comprehensive Leader Guide and a DVD featuring author and pastor Adam Hamilton. Chapter topics include:
Ebenezer Scrooge is a man in dire need of a second chance. Is redemption possible for such a greedy, dark, and sad character? The Redemption of Scrooge, from Matt Rawle’s The Pop in Culture Series, shows us how the teachings of Jesus can be found in Dickens’ Christmas classic. From the ghosts of Christmas past, to the Life of the present, and the resurrection of Christmas future, this Advent study will “bless us every one” and reinvigorate our spiritual journeys as we look at this familiar story through the lens of faith. A Leader Guide, a Worship Resources Flash Drive, a Youth Study, and a DVD complement the four-week study. The DVD contains four video segments of 8-10 minutes each, to go with the four book chapters. For use during the group sessions, these videos feature Matt Rawle teaching in his friendly, casual, appealing style. All video sessions are closed captioned.
To "prepare for Christmas" in our society is to be sucked into a vortex of indulgence, from decor to gifts to calorie-rich foods. Layer upon layer of tinsel, lights, and wrapping paper create the illusion of abundance, disguising the feeling of emptiness in our souls. The arrival of the Messiah, by contrast, is true abundance disguised by the impression of scarcity. Training our eyes to see through the rough stable, the adolescent mother, and the anxious escape to Egypt, we can see in that poverty and powerlessness the wonder of God's abundant life and grace coming down to dwell among us.
This powerful devotional by best-selling author Walter Brueggemann includes daily reflections on the Scriptures and stories of Advent in order to invite us to see beyond the world's faux extravagance and realize the true feast laid out before us. Twelve prayers are also included for the twelve days of Christmas.
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