Wesley Word- Dec. 1, 2021

Sonia Baker   -  

To go along with service on: Sunday, December 5, 2021 

Experiencing Grace

Exploring Truth

Sings of the Season: The Sign of John
Malachi 3:1-4 & Luke 3:1-6

This week we are continuing our Advent series called Signs of the Season with the Sign of John, John the Baptist.

John the Baptist was related to Jesus in his human nature, likely a second cousin. He was the one who was foretold by the prophet who would come to prepare the way of the Lord.

That preparation took the form of calling people to repent of their sins and turn to God. It is interesting that if we read on in Luke chapter 3, the religious people rejected John’s message. However, the tax collectors and soldiers, the most hated of all people, accepted his message and repented. Notice that repentance for the tax collectors and soldiers did not necessarily mean they had to stop being tax collectors and soldiers; it did mean, however, that they had to be fair and honest. (Luke 3:7-14) John’s invitation to repentance offers free forgiveness and yet never downplays the reality and severity of sin.

Advent is a season of preparation in which we are invited to prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. The key to that preparation is repentance. 

There are three key steps, or facets, of true repentance. First, we have to acknowledge sin, the reality, and the severity of sin. We have to agree that what God has said in the Bible are sins are, in fact, sins, even our favorite ones, even the ones we or somebody else do not think are sins. Second, we had to admit that we are sinners, not that we have “made mistakes,” but that we have committed sins, on purpose. Third, and finally, we have to turn from our sins. We have to commit to not sinning anymore. It may take us more than one try (or a hundred) to actually stop sinning, but initially, at least, the intention is the important part.

So, during this season of Advent, let us spiritually prepare ourselves for the arrival of the Savior by repenting of our sins and inviting others to repentance.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What do I need to repent of to be spiritually prepared for Christmas this year?

Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity

Turn Around-Go on a family walk with a specific destination in mind, possibly in the evening to take a look at Christmas lights. Start by going in the wrong direction from where you said you were going. When the kids realize it, ask what you should do (turn around). 

Repenting is a lot like turning around to go in the right direction. You were headed in the wrong direction on your walk, but realized it and turned around to go in the right direction and get back on track. When you repent, you turn away from sin. If you continue to make the same sin, you are not repenting. To repent, you have to realize you are “going in the wrong direction” away from God, be sorry for it, and then turn away from that sin and not do it anymore.

Announcements:

 

  • Advent Candle Readers- If you and/or your family would like to read for the lighting of the Advent candles leading up to Christmas; sign-up sheets are available in the back of the sanctuary.
  • WOW (Worship on Wednesdays) TONIGHT!

 

      • 5:30-6:00 catered meal from Avenue Subs
      • 6:00 Mid-week worship
      • 6:00 Sunday School Christmas Program rehearsal (this week only)
      • 6:30-7:30 Small Groups for kids, youth and adults

 

  • Kids’ Holiday Shoppe: Sat, Dec. 11th, 9am-12 pm. We are currently accepting donations of new or like new items, wrapping paper/bags, tissue paper, tape, and gift tags! Donations can be dropped off in Room 1. We also need volunteers to help set-up, provide cookies, and help out the day of the event. Contact Sonia Baker if you can help at soniabaker@wesleyonline.org. 

 

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols, Sunday, December 12 at 2:30 pm. Join in singing traditional carols, hear the Muscatine Littlest Angels Choir, Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, and Wesley’s Chancel Choir, and experience seven Scripture readings that prophecy and proclaim the story of Jesus’ birth.

 

  • Senior Resources Christmas Baskets:  Be sure to check out the Giving Tree in the foyer and take one or more slips of items for the Senior Resources Christmas baskets.  Let’s not forget our seniors this holiday season.  Directions are on the slips.
  • Advent Devotionals-Free Advent devotional books are available in the back of the Sanctuary and on the table in the chapel entryway. If you need a second copy, there are plenty remaining if you’d like!

 

  • Franklin Christmas Families- This Sunday, Dec. 5, will be the last Sunday to take a card from the table in the back of the Sanctuary to buy an item for a Franklin family for Christmas.