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sermon resources for december 18, 2011 [Advent 4B]

sermon and preaching resources2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Some good Hebrew word play is going on. David wants to build God a house—literally a dwelling place, a temple. God wants to build David into a “house”—a dynasty; within this dynastic line is where God will dwell.

This promise is “forever.” Albeit interrupted, the Gospel writers go to great length to establish that Jesus, son of Joseph, stands in the Davidic line. In other words, the Davidic kings are back on the throne and God has come to dwell with humans again—just as promised.

Romans 16:25-27

God is the revealer and the “make-knowner,” just as God is the source of Mary’s pregnancy in the Gospel reading. The mysteries of God are always revealed, no matter how often we think we discover them. As Luther talked about the “hidden God,” Luther also mentions in his explanation of the Third Article of the Creed that we by our own power are unable to come to God; God comes to us—God reveals himself to us.

God does this on his schedule. Perhaps the link Paul makes to obedience in this reading is that we wait—faithfully—in obedience, because sometimes it can seem unbearable waiting for God to act. Our faith in the Revealer demands our obedience, especially in the waiting. God is the wise one, not us. We must trust how and when the Wise God chooses to reveal Himself to us.

Luke 1:26-38

Is “finding favor with God” something to be welcomed? Being “blessed by God” does not mean God will make Mary’s way easy; it means Mary would be used by God. Maybe we confuse the two meanings too often. Blessing often means it will cost us something. Sometimes everything.

“Do not be afraid.” That phrase comes three times in this birth story. Odd that such cautionary words need be offered… or is it? God knows better than we do how disruptive His arrival will be. Does Mary’s seemingly quick readiness speak to her spiritual maturity? Spiritual maturity is the quiet confidence that God is in control, without the need to understand why He does what He does. We never are shown a time when Mary is afraid—did it actually go that way or have editors cleaned that up for us? Or, if it did really go that way, is that the appeal of Mary?

In one of his Christmas sermons, Martin Luther says three miracles happened in Christ’s birth: God became human, a virgin conceived, and Mary believed. He contended the greatest miracle was the Mary believed. Have we lost sight of that in our own culture—that any one of us who believes is a miracle?..
What if Mary had said “no” to this announcement? What if we do?

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a field guide to contemporary worship

Now available for purchase via Augsburg Fortress, A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship is a must-have guide for anyone thinking about starting a contemporary worship service, and an essential reference work for those wondering about the nuts and bolts of instrumentation, arranging, working with microphones and speakers, and much more!

A Field Guide to Contemporary WorshipWritten by a church musician and a pastor who have experienced the joys and challenges of this popular form of worship, A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship provides field-tested ideas and hints and a wealth of illustrations.

In this book you will learn how to form a worship team, how to build a repertoire, how to lead effective rehearsals, the basic of music arrangement and orchestration, how a PA system works, and how to arrange/assemble a sound system (including info on microphones and speakers).

If you've already been so kind as to purchase a copy [thanks, Mom], please make sure you take advantage of the supplementary material to the book found in the "Field Guide Extras" section. You'll find a ton of free contemporary worship resources, including a searchable index of contemporary worship songs organized by theme.

Order A Field Guide to Contemporary Worship (via Augsburg Fortress)