Second Sunday of Advent
7 December 2014
THIS MORNING'S SONG'S OF PRAISE:
20, 332 (v 1,2,3,4), 25, 519, 331, 453.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Isaiah 40: 1-11
'Prepare the way of the Lord'
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling:
"In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
A voice says, "Cry out."
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
"All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever."
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
SECOND BIBLE READING:
2 Peter 3: 8-15a 'The day of the Lord
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation.
Mark 1 : 1-8 'John the Baptist prepares the way'
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
"I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way" -
"a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptiSed by him in the Jordan River.
John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
And this was his message: "After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit."
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
Exiled as captive slaves for over fifty years in Babylon, God's people had lived in guilt, despondency, lonely forsakenness and spiritual depression. Now a comforting prophetic voice announces that God is coming to them gloriously, so that even the desert and mountains must give way to this majestic procession. The people, of course, can similarly clear their hearts of sin's obstacles; for they can know that their punishment is not permanent! While human flesh vanishes, the word of the Lord remains firm and effective forever. The exiles can therefore be assured. Inhabitants of the desolated cities of Judah may also be told that the all-powerful Lord is coming with reviving mercy.
2 PETER 3: 8-15a:
There are always people who laugh about the end of the world. St Peter says, 'Don't.' If God has delayed this event,
it is simply because in his eternal way of working the main consideration is human repentance. He wants for himself every person who will turn from sin before that end assuredly comes. The physical world and all that is done in it will be consumed, thus ending sin and establishing total and eternal righteousness. Christians accordingly should not only believe, but give their deep faith clear expression through holy and peaceable living in the church.
MARK 1: 1-8:
Part of today's first reading is picked up by Mark as a prophecy reaching its ultimate fulfilment. The coming of the Lord to his people in a special way in the promised Messiah was announced by the voice in the wilderness, John the Baptist. His message called for people to make straight their lives through repentance. Baptism, an outward bodily washing, was to be accompanied by the inward washing by God through forgiveness. The one who was coming would baptise with fire. Jesus fulfilled this promise by sending the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day, having attained the forgiveness of the whole world. God's people have indeed returned home, led by the Lord himself.
Bible readings for Sunday 14th December 2014:
Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11, 1 Thess. 5: 16-24, John : 6-8, 19-28
5. Finke River Mission:
The latest 'Christ in the Centre' newsletter from LCA's Fink River Mission is available from members' church boxes to take home this morning.
This week in the Lord's Service - 7th - 14th December:
1. This morning - Sunday School.
Tuesday - 6.30 pm - Church Council/Deacons
Thursday - 12 noon - Ladies F'ship Group breakup at home of Fe Tepper,1 Somerset Court, B'burn.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am -Public Divine service - (Non Holy - Communion).
2. 2014 'Christmas Action' Appeal:
Members are encouraged to read through the ALWS 'Christmas Action ' appeal pack found in church boxes and prayerfully consider supporting God's work in this vital ministry in Burundi
Donation envelopes may be sent direct to ALWS orplaced on the offering plate over the next 3 Sundays
3. 'Warrambui' Internships 2015
This internship program for youg people 18-24,offers the opportunity to come, serve, grow and be disciple in a Christian community in Canberra for 12 months.
If any such young people are interested, please see notice board near kitchen for further information.
N.B. Applications close 12th December.
4. 'Grassroots 'Training 2015:
Advance notice is given of a series of workshop training available in Victoria (and South Australia and Queensland) during February and March next year.The subjects are:
'Toolkit for Ministry','Building Healthy Relationships',
'Spiritual Resilience' and 'Equipping for Leadership'
The last two mentioned are being held at St Paul's Lutheran Church, Box Hill in early March.
For those interested, further information is available from the notice board near kitchen.
Coming up for your diary:
Tuesday 16th December - 12.30 pm - Kaffeestunde
Friday 19th December - 6.30 pm - YPQ&A.
Sunday 21st December - Sunday School.
Friday 6th February - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Sunday 15th February - A.G.M.- (after worship)
The latest LCA enews and 'This week in the LCA' containing current items which may be of interest to members.
Members, who have internet access, may if they wish, subscribe direct to these or other similar resources available via the LCA web site www.lca.org.au