Hope | Advent: Week 1

In the middle of all the Christmas prep, we can lose touch with the real depth and meaning of the season. Advent is a way to bring that back. This year, we can receive real hope. Contrary to popular belief, hope is more than optimism, and it’s available to us all.

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Welcome to Crossroads Anywhere.

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We're so glad to have you joining us from anywhere you are right now.

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I'm here right now with my longtime friend Alli Patterson.

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- Great to be with you.

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I always like it when we get to work together.

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- Yes, it's so good to be with you.

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- How long have we known each other?

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It's been a long time.

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- I know. I was just adding that up, actually, right before this.

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I think it's 15.

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- 15? That's what I was going to guess, 15 years.

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- So we're starting a brand new series
today called Advent and this is your baby.

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What is Advent and what is this series?

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Fill us in.

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- It's really funny you said it's my baby.

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You're right in that I have wanted our community

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to go through Advent for a couple of years.

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Because my family and I,

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we actually have done this at home for a number of years.

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All advent means is arrival.

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That's really all the actual word means.

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And it's a season right before Christmas

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where we just anticipate the arrival of Jesus into the world

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and we just focus on the Christmas story.

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And I think increasingly in our culture,

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there's all kinds of craziness that goes on in December.

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And I just think it's hard to root ourselves

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in the story of Christmas, of Jesus's arrival.

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And to me, Advent is such an obvious way to do that.

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So for four weeks, we're going to talk about the things

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that Jesus brought with Him when He came: Hope, peace.

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- Do you remember them?

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- Love and joy.

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I was trying to remember them in the right order: Hope, peace, love, joy.

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Hope, peace, joy, love.

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Whatever.

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- Those four things.

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- There's four of them.

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And so this week, I'm actually going to be teaching about hope.

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And I am actually really excited to get to start the series off

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just because I think it's gonna be great for our community.

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And I know I need Advent.

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I need Advent.

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I think we need it collectively

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so that December doesn't go by in a blur.

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And we come January 1st and go, what just happened here?

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- Yeah. Yeah.

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- And so for me, it's just a great way to root myself in the season.

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- That's great.

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And I'm excited to maybe have a new family tradition

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to start in the Schuler household around advent.

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- Yeah, we have a wreath similar to this.

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Ours is actually ceramic.

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It's not all the evergreen, but we -- exactly like this.

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And we have dinner on Sunday night in our dining room

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and we light the Advent wreath

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and we tell a piece of the Christmas story that goes with that candle.

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And it's just been a really cool tradition for our family.

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- That's great.

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- So I'm excited for our community to experience it, too.

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- So you're going to get something good in this series.

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And at the end of each message,

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there's going to be a moment for you to write something down.

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And so if you're watching from a watch party or in a group right now,

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your group leader got in the mail cards for you to have for this series.

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And if you are watching at home or in your car or anywhere else right now,

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you'll want a piece of paper and a pen for the end of this service

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to be able to participate in what we're all doing together.

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Now, aside from Advent being your baby.

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- Yeah.

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- Another thing that is near and dear to your heart is the Crossroads app.

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- Yeah.

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- Right.

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- Exactly. Yeah.

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I actually choose the scripture readings that go in the app on a regular basis.

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And I am in there, I would say,

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I don't know, three to five days a week.

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That's how I do my Bible reading is inside the app.

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And I love looking through the journals of other people in the community.

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And since I follow you, did you know that

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when you post a journal, it will tell me.

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- I didn't know that.

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- It will say, "You follow Lena.

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Lena just posted a journal."

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Then I can, "Oh, my friend Lena,

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she has something to say about the scripture today.

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And I can click and specifically read your journal.

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That way I know what's in your mind and heart as my friend.

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- It's amazing. I love the app.

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I'm in there a few days a week as well.

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Great ways to pray for other people,

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have your prayer requests prayed for.

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I would personally love to pray for your prayer requests.

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If you follow me and send me your requests,

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me myself and the Anywhere team will pray for you.

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It's just a great, great tool, a great app to use during the week.

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So download the Crossroads Anywhere app.

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I don't think that you'll be disappointed.

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I don't think that you'll be disappointed.

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Well, I don't know why that came out, so funny.

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- You will not --

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- You will not be disappointed.

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The other thing that's coming up this Christmas,

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if you're in the greater Cincinnati area, is Awaited.

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And Awaited is no longer a Crossroads production,

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which has been traditionally the last 10 plus years

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of the creative telling of the Christmas story

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in dance and music and all kinds of beautiful ways.

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But it's actually going to be airing at

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the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati

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this year in a theater downtown.

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And so if you're interested in experiencing that,

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you can get tickets for Awaited now by heading online

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and purchasing those tickets.

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And it would be a great way for you to celebrate Jesus

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and His arrival this Christmas.

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But without any further ado,

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we're going to head right into this Advent series.

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We're so glad you're here.

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- Long ago a nation, Israel, waited in the darkness for the Promised One.

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The prophets told of His coming, said He would appear as a baby.

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He would be the Savior they'd been longing for,

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and the prophesy was fulfilled.

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He came in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem,

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the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus came into the world.

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With Him real hope entered the world.

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God in the flesh, reconnecting His people back to Him.

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A God whose light overcomes all darkness.

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And now, 2000 years later, in the midst of what feels like uncertain times,

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Jesus still offers us this life of hope.

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Would you stand and sing with us?

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Well, merry Christmas.

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I think going to say that now, right?

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We're past Thanksgiving.

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You can turn to the person next year and say, "That was intense.

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Right, that was kind of a lot, right?"

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But it should be because we're stepping into the season of Christmas.

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Like I get so tired of everything in my life

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sort of existed at this (sound effect) sort of range, right?

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I need sometimes to hit reset and something to break in.

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It's like Christmas just walked in the room and punched you in the mouth.

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I don't know.

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But it should break there.

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And that's what we're doing this whole month with Advent,

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this thing that means arrival as we set our sights on this King Jesus

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who came to this earth and changed the world forever.

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And so each week we're going to come in and we're gonna hit reset

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and pause in the chaos

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and set our minds on this Baby Jesus that changed the whole world.

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And one of the ways we're going to remind ourselves of that

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is by singing these old Christmas songs that we grew up singing

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and we know the words to,

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we hear in the stores or hear on the radio right now.

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These songs weren't just seasonal things just written about this month.

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They were written about the Savior.

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And they were written as old hymns for the church.

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So they have this old ancient language that we don't use a ton of.

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They have these old words, but they have these deep truths to them.

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They're also super educational.

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Like the other day when my family was listening to Silent Night,

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my daughter said, "Hey, mama, what's a virgin?"

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I thought, "Yeah, I'd love to have that conversation right now.

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That's great. Thank you Christmas songs."

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They do lots of things and we're going to use them to connect to God.

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And so wherever you are, if you're online with us,

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if you're here in the room,

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we're going to sing together and join in together.

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- God, we thank you for sending Jesus,

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a very wonderful, beautiful reason to celebrate this season.

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We hear words like mighty and majestic and beautiful and wonderful.

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And all of those words pale in comparison

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to who He is and how great He is.

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But we will do the best that we can to honor and lift Your name.

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We thank You for being who You are and for sending Jesus.

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In Your name we pray, Amen.

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All right. Crossroads, thank you for joining in,

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singing, getting the Christmas season started off right.

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Let's make this place a little bit smaller.

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Introduce yourself to someone sitting near you

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and then you can have a seat.

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We're so glad you're here.

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- Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit like Christmas songs

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and specifically songs that I've known what feels like my whole life

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that are actually worship songs to God.

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It's pretty awesome.

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You know, we have lots of people in our church who are tithing,

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which means they're giving the first 10%

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of all of the money that comes in directly back to God,

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specifically to the church.

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And if you are a tither,

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specifically if you have begun tithing in the last few weeks,

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I want you to know that you have personally

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been prayed for by a staff member.

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Your name, you as a person have been prayed over.

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And I got really choked up a couple weeks ago

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praying for one guy in particular.

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He's a young man, a teenager who I met

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earlier this year in California,

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who has signed up to tithe for the very first time.

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And this got me emotional for a few reasons.

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One is I can picture what -- I can feel what it might feel like

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for my now one and a half year old son 15 years down the road

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to choose to tithe for the first time.

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Oh, my goodness, what that would mean to me as a parent.

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I'm sure what it means to this young man in California's parents,

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who've been faithful givers for a long time

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and who've been choosing to raise their kids in the way of Jesus.

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What is happening there is that God has his heart.

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And I one day want God to have my own son's heart.

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I want God to have your heart.

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And so if you want to give,

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you could do that by heading to Crossroads.net/give

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and maybe try giving for the first time.

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Or you could sign up to tithe for the very first time

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and tell God that He has your heart.

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And let's get started with our new series Advent,

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where today we're talking about hope.

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- Advent. We've heard about it, seen it, posted about it,

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maybe even tasted it year after year.

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So what is Advent?

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A countdown to presents?

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A celebration of pets, beauty products, cheese?

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Well, no.

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Advent is the season of anticipation and celebration.

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But the gift we're waiting for is Jesus, not cats.

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Because with Jesus comes all sorts of life changing goodness.

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Advent gives us the chance to share in

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the ancient longing for the coming King, a Savior.

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And every year for thousands of years,

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Christ followers have been lighting candles

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for 4 Sunday's leading up to Christmas.

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These candles represent four themes in the Bible:

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Hope, peace, joy, love,

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that came forth with the long awaited arrival of Jesus.

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This week we celebrate the advent of hope.

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- Hey, everyone.

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How are you?

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My name is Alli Patterson.

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It's great to be with you this weekend, this very full weekend.

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May I say I can't decide how to greet you.

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It's like Happy Thanksgiving.

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Welcome to Advent.

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Merry Christmas.

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Happy Ohio State Michigan game weekend.

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I know, all of them so good for us.

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So good for our spiritual growth.

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So anyway, this can be just a crazy and full time of year.

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I know Thanksgiving was late this year.

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Who has their tree up already?

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Who had it up before Thanksgiving?

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Oh, so many of you.

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Look at all you jolly people.

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I'd probably be doing that if I wasn't here this weekend.

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But I love this season, I really do, alongside many of you.

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And I am thrilled that we're doing Advent as a community.

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I have been doing it for years with my family.

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And I am really excited that we are all going to walk through Advent together.

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Because it is just one of the things that has brought

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a lot of depth and meaning for me, for my home,

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for my family, for my relationships with my husband

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and my kids, right in the middle of a season

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that can sometimes be kind of crazy.

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Last year I had three Christmas parties,

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three consecutive Friday nights in January.

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In January.

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I appreciate the gesture, I guess,

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of shoving it out of the busy season.

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But when we have to celebrate Christmas in January,

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something has gotten a little bit lost.

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And that's why I love Advent.

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I really do, because it is something that roots us in the season.

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And not just in the season in any way,

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but to the story that we want to be connected to.

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That we want to capture all the meaning and depth of Christmas

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and what it means by really diving into

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the story of the arrival of Jesus.

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That's what Advent means, arrival.

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And we get to anticipate that for 4 weeks together as a community.

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And the reason I say the real story is because

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I have noticed over the last couple of years that

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there's actually sort of two Christmas stories

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taking place alongside each other in our culture.

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Once I started to see this, I couldn't not see it.

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It's like there's a story and there's characters

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and there's goodness

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and there's all kinds of things that are similar.

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But two stories kind of happening at once.

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Let me tell you what I mean.

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We would all say that we --

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Christmas is a time where we want to be with family.

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But do we talk a lot about this family?

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Or do we rather spend time with this family?

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And we all like to take trips to see those family,

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but how often do we really dive into the trip this family took?

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Or are we busy planning trips that feel more like this?

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And of course, the gift buying, oh, the gift buying.

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I don't know about you other women in the room,

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but I find that I buy 99.9%

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of the gifts that come through my household.

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And my husband buys presence for me and that's it.

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Oh, the presents, so many presents that we have to think about.

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And are those presents --

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How often do we think about the ones that these guys brought?

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Or are we busy focusing on the ones that this guy brings?

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May I just say, is that the creepiest Santa you've ever seen?

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Do yourself a favor later tonight or sometime this weekend,

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have a beer and Google creepy Santa and just see what comes up.

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I'm just saying, just see what comes up.

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So there's two Christmas stories and Advent

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is really our chance to really connect ourselves

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and root ourselves in The Christmas Story.

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And that is why I love it.

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The four weeks of Advent, as the video kind of reminded us,

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the four weeks of Advent celebrate Jesus's arrival

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and the things that He brought with Him when He came.

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There are four weeks to Advent and those weeks are

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hope, peace, joy, and love.

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And we're going to look at how was Jesus,

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the arrival of these things, where did that take place?

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When is it and how can we receive the things

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that He brings to us today?

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If you have any Advent in your past,

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you might have seen an Advent wreath before.

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This is kind of the traditional way

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that people mark out the weeks of Advent.

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And this is sort of how a traditional one looks.

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I have a ceramic one in the middle of my own dining room table

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where the candles are falling over

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because I bought ones that are too small.

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Really annoying, anyway.

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So this is the traditional Advent wreath.

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And a lot of people find a lot of symbolism in all kinds of things.

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But the main thing about Advent is light.

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That is why we light candles for every week of Advent.

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And some people see the wreath that is circular

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and they think about the eternal life of God

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that came into the world.

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Other people like to make their wreaths out of evergreen like this

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because it reminds us that life comes

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right in the middle of a season of death

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and that's what Jesus brings.

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The candles of this wreath are the traditional colors

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of purple, which is the sign of royalty,

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and pink, which is the week of joy.

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So there's all kinds of different symbolism in the wreath.

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But the main thing, the big idea,

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if you remember nothing else, and your candles are red

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and you just light four in a row.

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That's all good because Advent is the celebration

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of the light of God crashing into the world

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in a little baby named Jesus.

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Who as He grew, eventually said this about Himself

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in the book of John 8 these words are recorded, Jesus said:

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That is what I hope for all of us as we travel through

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this sort of Advent journey over the next four weeks.

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I want us to have a more thriving life.

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I want us to receive the things that Jesus brought with Him,

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which we can continue on in for new life.

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And the church has been celebrating this forever,

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since Christmas became a fixed date.

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Even though this is our first year at Crossroads,

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pieces of the church have been celebrating Advent

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00:30:38.150 --> 00:30:41.660
together since somewhere around the year 200-300 A.D.

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Whenever we fixed a date to celebrate the arrival of Jesus,

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Advent is an ancient tradition that we are joining into as a community.

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And this week we are talking all about hope.

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I was thinking about what hope really is

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and later we will light the candle of hope together.

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But I was thinking hope really simply put, is just:

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That, to me, is just a really simple way to understand hope.

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And the Bible uses hope in two kind of different ways.

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One is just a period of waiting.

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When you hope for something that you just have to wait for.

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In this last week my husband was out of town,

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00:31:27.560 --> 00:31:30.170
actually, kind of bummer all week on Thanksgiving week.

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But he was with one of my sons and they were in Nicaragua.

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And so I was -- I might have said something like,

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"I hope for the time that they return."

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00:31:38.750 --> 00:31:42.180
It's not -- it's just a waiting period where an end.

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So some of the time when the Bible uses hope,

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00:31:45.050 --> 00:31:48.470
it is just the word hope as in waiting for an end.

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But the kind of hope that we're talking about

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00:31:51.860 --> 00:31:54.530
with the Christmas story has a little bit more of a charge to it.

384
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It's the other word for hope.

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00:31:57.800 --> 00:32:01.070
It's what I might say when I think about one of my friends

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00:32:01.070 --> 00:32:02.840
whose marriage is in a delicate place

387
00:32:02.840 --> 00:32:04.880
or another friend who's getting ready to have

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a particular operation for some cancer that was found.

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00:32:08.060 --> 00:32:12.590
I might say, "I hope her operation gets all of the cancer

390
00:32:12.590 --> 00:32:14.360
and she never has to deal with this again."

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00:32:15.500 --> 00:32:20.680
That's a hope where you're traveling through some kind of pain,

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00:32:20.680 --> 00:32:23.140
some kind of difficulty that requires endurance

393
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and hardship and darkness.

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And that's the kind of hope the Bible talks about

395
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that Jesus arrived with.

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Not just waiting for an end, but waiting for an end

397
00:32:37.560 --> 00:32:40.440
through things that were not yet good.

398
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Jesus was born into a story exactly like this.

399
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He was born into a people, the Jewish people,

400
00:32:47.880 --> 00:32:49.500
who were the former nation of Israel.

401
00:32:49.530 --> 00:32:54.360
And Israel had lived a story that was not only not done,

402
00:32:54.360 --> 00:32:56.490
it was definitely not good.

403
00:32:57.120 --> 00:33:01.440
For hundreds and hundreds of years in their previous history,

404
00:33:01.440 --> 00:33:02.910
Israel had drifted away from God.

405
00:33:03.300 --> 00:33:06.450
And they had had king after king after king.

406
00:33:06.660 --> 00:33:09.870
And God had kind of given them chance after chance

407
00:33:09.870 --> 00:33:12.300
to come back to Him, and they didn't.

408
00:33:13.550 --> 00:33:16.550
And pretty soon it became obvious that the nation

409
00:33:16.550 --> 00:33:18.740
was going to end, that it was going to be destroyed.

410
00:33:19.160 --> 00:33:22.640
And that some of their enemies are going to take over control

411
00:33:22.640 --> 00:33:25.940
of their land and they were going to be pushed out of it.

412
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And that happened.

413
00:33:28.320 --> 00:33:31.610
And right in the middle of that era is

414
00:33:31.610 --> 00:33:33.590
when the Christmas story actually begins.

415
00:33:34.310 --> 00:33:38.990
Because God sent the very first people on to the scene

416
00:33:38.990 --> 00:33:41.750
to announce the arrival of hope.

417
00:33:42.950 --> 00:33:44.210
They were called the prophets.

418
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And sometimes when people light the candle of hope,

419
00:33:46.730 --> 00:33:49.010
they actually call it the prophets' candle.

420
00:33:49.160 --> 00:33:51.800
Because the prophets are the very first people

421
00:33:51.800 --> 00:33:56.240
that began to announce that a good ending was going to be possible.

422
00:33:56.240 --> 00:34:00.380
That there was hope for the Jewish people, for the nation of Israel.

423
00:34:00.380 --> 00:34:03.320
And not just any old hope,

424
00:34:03.320 --> 00:34:07.710
a very specific hope for a future restoration,

425
00:34:07.710 --> 00:34:11.190
a great King, for a period of peace and prosperity.

426
00:34:11.490 --> 00:34:16.650
And all their hopes were pinned on this person coming.

427
00:34:17.640 --> 00:34:20.000
I want you to hear the words of Isaiah

428
00:34:20.000 --> 00:34:23.790
and maybe think just for a moment as you listen to these words,

429
00:34:23.790 --> 00:34:27.630
what is the thing that you might be wanting a good ending for?

430
00:34:28.080 --> 00:34:29.590
Isaiah 9 says this:

431
00:35:11.460 --> 00:35:15.810
Not just Isaiah, but many prophets had words

432
00:35:15.810 --> 00:35:19.470
that were very similar to this, where they started to say,

433
00:35:19.470 --> 00:35:21.800
"There is a better ending for you.

434
00:35:22.910 --> 00:35:26.750
A good ending is coming and it's going to come through a Good King."

435
00:35:26.750 --> 00:35:29.000
And this good king was very specific.

436
00:35:29.300 --> 00:35:30.140
Did you catch that?

437
00:35:30.170 --> 00:35:34.220
It was going to be a king that came through the line of David,

438
00:35:34.220 --> 00:35:36.170
the once great king of Israel.

439
00:35:36.170 --> 00:35:40.910
So this was not like, "Oh, I hope God helps us."

440
00:35:40.910 --> 00:35:47.480
This was like specific hope, clear

441
00:35:47.480 --> 00:35:50.330
Absolutely they were waiting for a better ending.

442
00:35:50.570 --> 00:35:53.990
And they were doing it through all kinds of difficulty,

443
00:35:53.990 --> 00:35:56.570
all kinds of pain, all kinds of hardship.

444
00:35:56.600 --> 00:35:59.780
And they were waiting for one king that they called the Messiah.

445
00:36:00.380 --> 00:36:04.020
The Anointed One is what that means, the special one

446
00:36:04.020 --> 00:36:06.910
with the special connection to God,

447
00:36:06.910 --> 00:36:10.490
that even some of the prophets called the Son of God.

448
00:36:11.680 --> 00:36:17.060
But by the time of Jesus, this hope was looking real far away.

449
00:36:17.900 --> 00:36:20.210
Not only were most of them not in the land,

450
00:36:20.210 --> 00:36:21.590
they weren't even a nation anymore.

451
00:36:21.590 --> 00:36:24.410
They hadn't had a king for goodness knows how long.

452
00:36:24.410 --> 00:36:29.480
And God had been practically silent for 400 years,

453
00:36:29.480 --> 00:36:32.240
there had been no voice from any prophet.

454
00:36:32.570 --> 00:36:38.040
And right in the middle of all that waiting there

455
00:36:38.040 --> 00:36:40.050
was a special announcement from God.

456
00:36:41.340 --> 00:36:43.770
In Luke 1 it says this:

457
00:37:06.720 --> 00:37:07.440
Wait, did you hear that?

458
00:37:09.150 --> 00:37:09.840
No, seriously.

459
00:37:10.140 --> 00:37:13.500
I really want the weight of these words.

460
00:37:13.500 --> 00:37:18.330
If you can imagine just for a moment what would this feel like

461
00:37:18.330 --> 00:37:21.510
to hear this announcement of hope?

462
00:37:22.120 --> 00:37:22.710
And it says:

463
00:38:15.910 --> 00:38:21.690
If you were Mary, would you have heard the echoes of the prophets?

464
00:38:22.670 --> 00:38:25.940
Would you have understood the language from Psalm 2,

465
00:38:25.940 --> 00:38:30.980
Son of God, or the language from Isaiah about the King of David,

466
00:38:30.980 --> 00:38:33.500
about the Anointed One that would reign

467
00:38:33.500 --> 00:38:38.120
on David's throne forever in a kingdom that would have no end?

468
00:38:38.180 --> 00:38:42.170
And when the angel said to her, "Name Him Jesus,"

469
00:38:42.170 --> 00:38:48.140
Mary would have instantly understood that that name itself

470
00:38:48.140 --> 00:38:50.360
meant the Salvation of Yahweh.

471
00:38:51.920 --> 00:38:54.080
The rescue of the Lord.

472
00:38:55.850 --> 00:38:59.690
Make no mistake, this announcement that God,

473
00:38:59.690 --> 00:39:02.330
that came out of 400 years of silence

474
00:39:02.330 --> 00:39:06.500
and 700 years of pain and waiting and difficulty,

475
00:39:06.500 --> 00:39:08.750
it came very clearly.

476
00:39:10.420 --> 00:39:13.240
And nine months later, again,

477
00:39:13.240 --> 00:39:16.570
with the birth announcement in Luke 2, it says:

478
00:39:41.140 --> 00:39:47.470
Make no mistake, this was God's announcement that hope was arriving,

479
00:39:47.470 --> 00:39:52.450
and He was arriving in a little tiny package named Jesus.

480
00:39:52.820 --> 00:39:56.620
When Mary was told to name her baby Jesus,

481
00:39:56.620 --> 00:40:00.250
she would have instantly understood the name

482
00:40:00.250 --> 00:40:03.280
that this baby was given actually means

483
00:40:03.280 --> 00:40:08.460
the rescue of the Lord, the salvation of Yahweh.

484
00:40:08.520 --> 00:40:09.900
This was the Messiah.

485
00:40:10.740 --> 00:40:16.980
And with this king was coming the good ending that they wanted to be possible.

486
00:40:18.780 --> 00:40:21.270
This is exactly what we need.

487
00:40:22.470 --> 00:40:27.900
This truth that God would send Jesus down to earth

488
00:40:27.900 --> 00:40:29.670
to come into a place of darkness,

489
00:40:29.670 --> 00:40:33.800
to come into a place of difficulty right in the middle of waiting.

490
00:40:35.060 --> 00:40:38.690
Maybe even when we stop believing a good ending

491
00:40:38.690 --> 00:40:41.090
is even possible anymore,

492
00:40:41.090 --> 00:40:42.470
this is the kind of God that we need.

493
00:40:42.500 --> 00:40:45.860
I was thinking about where this need

494
00:40:45.860 --> 00:40:48.320
has shown up in my life in the last year.

495
00:40:48.530 --> 00:40:51.320
I can think of lots of times over lots of years

496
00:40:51.320 --> 00:40:53.600
that I have needed God to show up in this way.

497
00:40:53.600 --> 00:40:56.690
Like times where I go, "Where is my good ending?

498
00:40:56.960 --> 00:40:59.840
Or is there any hope left in this for me?

499
00:40:59.850 --> 00:41:04.380
Where is the God of Hope in this?"

500
00:41:04.380 --> 00:41:07.330
And I was thinking the place that I've kind of struggled

501
00:41:07.330 --> 00:41:09.460
and seen this over the last year or two

502
00:41:09.460 --> 00:41:11.620
has most often been within my marriage.

503
00:41:11.890 --> 00:41:14.260
We've been married this year for 20 years.

504
00:41:14.290 --> 00:41:17.290
And I'm sure that I'm the only person in the room

505
00:41:17.290 --> 00:41:21.130
that has any long standing relationship dynamics

506
00:41:21.130 --> 00:41:24.250
with loved ones that are not always great.

507
00:41:26.680 --> 00:41:30.190
We have one and it has not --

508
00:41:30.190 --> 00:41:33.520
It has repeated itself in many different times,

509
00:41:33.520 --> 00:41:34.870
in many different seasons.

510
00:41:35.110 --> 00:41:36.310
And here's kind of how it goes.

511
00:41:36.580 --> 00:41:40.360
We come into a time where our capacity is tested.

512
00:41:40.380 --> 00:41:43.150
Like it's a time of busyness, maybe even some stress.

513
00:41:43.180 --> 00:41:46.810
But definitely it's going to take kind of all we have

514
00:41:46.810 --> 00:41:49.660
to do to pull it together and to get through this time.

515
00:41:49.660 --> 00:41:53.560
Whether it's three days, three weeks or three months.

516
00:41:53.560 --> 00:41:55.300
We've all kind of faced times like this.

517
00:41:55.600 --> 00:41:59.350
The time we most need to be together

518
00:41:59.350 --> 00:42:01.780
we have this tendency to kind of pull apart.

519
00:42:02.960 --> 00:42:07.100
We have four kids, and it's kind of like when

520
00:42:07.100 --> 00:42:09.110
all four of your kids come home and announce

521
00:42:09.110 --> 00:42:12.500
they have a school project due for the 100th day of school.

522
00:42:12.680 --> 00:42:14.930
And someone needs special macaroni for it.

523
00:42:15.140 --> 00:42:17.720
So some things get added to my list.

524
00:42:17.750 --> 00:42:20.450
And I was already in the middle of something for work.

525
00:42:20.510 --> 00:42:24.080
And then my other kid walks in and says,

526
00:42:24.080 --> 00:42:26.920
"Mom, look at this weird rash."

527
00:42:26.920 --> 00:42:29.000
And then I arrange a doctor's appointment,

528
00:42:29.000 --> 00:42:31.730
which pushes back 14 meetings the next day

529
00:42:31.730 --> 00:42:34.850
when I'm supposed to be here working on heartfelt sermons

530
00:42:34.850 --> 00:42:36.730
and writing articles and podcasts.

531
00:42:36.740 --> 00:42:38.570
And I call my husband in the middle of the day

532
00:42:38.570 --> 00:42:40.910
and I say, "I'm going to run late because I'm at the doctor."

533
00:42:40.910 --> 00:42:43.160
And he says, OK, and we rearrange

534
00:42:43.160 --> 00:42:46.130
around a basketball practice whose time got changed

535
00:42:46.130 --> 00:42:48.500
in the middle of him trying to serve clients

536
00:42:48.500 --> 00:42:49.310
and run a law firm.

537
00:42:49.310 --> 00:42:50.330
And you get the idea.

538
00:42:53.080 --> 00:42:55.200
A few days like that,

539
00:42:55.200 --> 00:42:58.760
and we tend to take our lists and go at them separately.

540
00:42:59.210 --> 00:43:03.770
And we kind of forget to take care of each other very well

541
00:43:03.770 --> 00:43:05.220
in the middle of that sometimes.

542
00:43:06.020 --> 00:43:09.950
And so sooner or later we do, one of these,

543
00:43:09.950 --> 00:43:12.380
we're like, "Good night." "Good night."

544
00:43:13.620 --> 00:43:16.730
And we sit about this far apart on the couch,

545
00:43:16.730 --> 00:43:18.590
sort of even mentally checked out

546
00:43:18.590 --> 00:43:21.020
during maybe the one 25 minute window we would have

547
00:43:21.020 --> 00:43:25.240
to actually talk to each other after we said, "See at 10 p.m.".

548
00:43:26.210 --> 00:43:28.970
And we do it all again the next day.

549
00:43:28.970 --> 00:43:33.200
And earlier this year, we weren't far from this place in our relationship.

550
00:43:33.200 --> 00:43:37.370
And I was even looking down the road to our anniversary trip,

551
00:43:37.370 --> 00:43:40.340
which we actually just had, and thinking,

552
00:43:40.340 --> 00:43:42.710
"Goodness, if this wall is up between us,

553
00:43:42.710 --> 00:43:44.300
how fun is that really going to be?"

554
00:43:47.460 --> 00:43:50.500
And we know that we struggle with that.

555
00:43:50.620 --> 00:43:54.090
And yet it continues to occur.

556
00:43:54.100 --> 00:43:58.060
It is not only not yet done, it is not good.

557
00:44:00.350 --> 00:44:02.480
We want a better ending than that.

558
00:44:02.510 --> 00:44:05.300
We want a God who will come in to that.

559
00:44:05.810 --> 00:44:08.480
And I think sometimes in the past,

560
00:44:08.480 --> 00:44:11.180
instead of inviting God into that place,

561
00:44:11.180 --> 00:44:13.160
instead, we would go to some other places

562
00:44:13.160 --> 00:44:17.810
for what I think kind of feels like hope, but it's not real hope.

563
00:44:18.410 --> 00:44:21.440
We might go to someplace, I might do this first one,

564
00:44:21.440 --> 00:44:22.220
maybe more than my husband.

565
00:44:22.220 --> 00:44:24.800
And we might say something like, "It's all good.

566
00:44:25.730 --> 00:44:26.390
It's all good.

567
00:44:26.420 --> 00:44:28.490
Just go to a positive thinking.

568
00:44:28.490 --> 00:44:30.280
I'm going to positive think my way out of this.

569
00:44:30.290 --> 00:44:32.960
It's all good. It's going to end fine.

570
00:44:33.200 --> 00:44:34.880
You know, it's all going to pass."

571
00:44:34.880 --> 00:44:39.230
And kind of cheerful my way out of what actually

572
00:44:39.230 --> 00:44:40.990
are not very good circumstances.

573
00:44:41.000 --> 00:44:45.290
It doesn't really help to post a positive meme

574
00:44:45.290 --> 00:44:48.280
on a day when you just kind of go,

575
00:44:48.280 --> 00:44:50.690
"I don't think we've hugged each other in like six days."

576
00:44:52.130 --> 00:44:54.230
No amount of positive thinking

577
00:44:54.230 --> 00:44:56.730
is ever going to change the reality of that.

578
00:44:57.530 --> 00:44:58.940
I love positive thinking.

579
00:44:58.970 --> 00:45:00.770
I think I'm a positive person.

580
00:45:00.950 --> 00:45:06.270
But also it kind of amounts to nothing.

581
00:45:07.380 --> 00:45:09.300
There's no real object of that.

582
00:45:09.540 --> 00:45:12.420
It's just trying to wish your way out

583
00:45:12.420 --> 00:45:14.550
of something with positivity.

584
00:45:15.720 --> 00:45:17.610
I'd rather be positive than negative,

585
00:45:17.610 --> 00:45:21.450
but better than that, I'd rather have real hope.

586
00:45:22.510 --> 00:45:23.620
Maybe that's not you.

587
00:45:23.650 --> 00:45:27.020
Maybe you do what -- I can do this next one too.

588
00:45:27.060 --> 00:45:27.880
Maybe you do this.

589
00:45:28.150 --> 00:45:30.050
Maybe you don't say, "It's all good."

590
00:45:30.070 --> 00:45:32.540
Maybe you say, "I got this.

591
00:45:32.540 --> 00:45:33.820
I got this.

592
00:45:34.680 --> 00:45:35.740
I'm gonna make a list.

593
00:45:35.830 --> 00:45:37.210
I'm gonna do the bullet points.

594
00:45:37.270 --> 00:45:38.410
I'm gonna make it happen.

595
00:45:38.590 --> 00:45:41.560
If I'm not headed for a good ending, I'll just make it myself.

596
00:45:41.620 --> 00:45:43.660
I have got this."

597
00:45:45.750 --> 00:45:49.080
Again, maybe this would give us a few steps,

598
00:45:49.080 --> 00:45:52.580
but is it going to produce the good ending that we're looking for?

599
00:45:53.900 --> 00:45:56.330
Taking control, saying, "I got this.

600
00:45:56.630 --> 00:45:57.590
I'm on it.

601
00:45:58.040 --> 00:46:01.430
I know exactly what to do and where to go to get my good ending."

602
00:46:01.460 --> 00:46:07.600
It actually is incredibly limited to me.

603
00:46:08.470 --> 00:46:11.980
Whatever I can provide, whatever resources I have,

604
00:46:11.980 --> 00:46:16.030
whatever wisdom I can muster, whatever positive thinking I have,

605
00:46:16.030 --> 00:46:21.370
these are all things that only make a good ending from ourselves.

606
00:46:21.400 --> 00:46:26.480
And the Christmas story says something else entirely.

607
00:46:27.680 --> 00:46:29.560
The Christmas kind of hope,

608
00:46:29.560 --> 00:46:34.180
the hope that arrived with Jesus actually says, "No, you can't.

609
00:46:34.990 --> 00:46:39.850
You actually don't have any way to get there on your own.

610
00:46:39.880 --> 00:46:43.120
But guess what? I am coming for you.

611
00:46:43.150 --> 00:46:46.960
I'm going to come into the darkness, into the struggle,

612
00:46:46.960 --> 00:46:50.590
into the difficulty with my kind of hope."

613
00:46:50.590 --> 00:46:53.440
The only time that we've ever found traction

614
00:46:53.440 --> 00:46:55.390
in our marriage out of these places

615
00:46:55.390 --> 00:46:59.200
is when we started inviting God right into the middle of it.

616
00:46:59.830 --> 00:47:03.220
Instead of saying it's all good or I got this or,

617
00:47:03.220 --> 00:47:05.590
you know, trying to go at it any number of ways.

618
00:47:05.590 --> 00:47:11.200
What if we just admitted where we were and invited God in?

619
00:47:13.910 --> 00:47:18.590
When we started doing this, inexplicably, things started to change.

620
00:47:19.790 --> 00:47:22.010
I don't know if this pattern will recur.

621
00:47:22.040 --> 00:47:23.510
I pray and hope not.

622
00:47:23.540 --> 00:47:25.430
But also what we've seen is

623
00:47:25.430 --> 00:47:29.360
the more we invite God into these places of darkness

624
00:47:29.360 --> 00:47:32.270
and silence and difficulty and struggle,

625
00:47:32.270 --> 00:47:34.370
the more quickly we tend to come out of them.

626
00:47:35.030 --> 00:47:38.360
The God of Hope seems to have resources we don't have

627
00:47:38.360 --> 00:47:40.180
and wisdom we don't possess.

628
00:47:40.190 --> 00:47:44.480
And He's able to shift hearts that we can't seem to move on our own.

629
00:47:44.480 --> 00:47:48.290
And we just went on that 20th anniversary trip and it was awesome.

630
00:47:49.190 --> 00:47:53.330
And all I know is I don't know how God will meet you

631
00:47:53.330 --> 00:47:57.710
in the middle of your thing, of your struggle,

632
00:47:57.710 --> 00:48:01.620
of your ongoing difficulty, of your pain or your darkness.

633
00:48:02.240 --> 00:48:03.500
But I do know the beginning.

634
00:48:04.710 --> 00:48:06.400
And the beginning is the same as ours.

635
00:48:06.790 --> 00:48:11.380
It's saying, "God, this is my thing

636
00:48:11.380 --> 00:48:13.030
and I want you in the middle of it."

637
00:48:14.050 --> 00:48:17.050
It's as easy as starting to invite

638
00:48:17.050 --> 00:48:20.350
the God of real hope into those places.

639
00:48:21.250 --> 00:48:23.230
I actually wish I could give you a formula.

640
00:48:23.530 --> 00:48:24.130
I really do.

641
00:48:24.160 --> 00:48:27.610
Sometimes I think back on the ways that He has moved

642
00:48:27.610 --> 00:48:29.140
and worked in my struggles

643
00:48:29.140 --> 00:48:31.360
and I can't even quite put my finger on it.

644
00:48:31.600 --> 00:48:36.580
Because He has an X factor of how He deals with us each in our own lives.

645
00:48:36.610 --> 00:48:38.290
But I know the beginning is the same.

646
00:48:39.220 --> 00:48:42.250
I know the beginning is us saying, "This is the thing.

647
00:48:43.430 --> 00:48:45.080
And I'm gonna get honest about it

648
00:48:45.080 --> 00:48:47.900
and I'm going to invite You right into the middle of it.

649
00:48:47.960 --> 00:48:50.030
I want real hope."

650
00:48:51.420 --> 00:48:54.540
As I've done this, I've learned three things about real hope.

651
00:48:54.900 --> 00:48:59.970
And these are amazing pieces that we get

652
00:48:59.970 --> 00:49:03.030
when we begin to understand the hope that arrived

653
00:49:03.030 --> 00:49:04.860
with Jesus is real hope.

654
00:49:05.480 --> 00:49:07.790
And the first of those is that:

655
00:49:19.660 --> 00:49:21.400
We could make up our own.

656
00:49:21.670 --> 00:49:22.930
We could give it a shot.

657
00:49:23.350 --> 00:49:25.010
We could deny we even need it.

658
00:49:25.060 --> 00:49:28.390
But Hebrews 10 says there's something else we could do.

659
00:49:28.420 --> 00:49:28.750
It says:

660
00:49:38.210 --> 00:49:39.520
God has promises.

661
00:49:40.040 --> 00:49:43.370
He has promises for you, for your life, for me,

662
00:49:43.370 --> 00:49:46.880
for my life, for all of us who want to be His people.

663
00:49:46.910 --> 00:49:53.600
And better than empty optimism, we could know His promises

664
00:49:53.600 --> 00:49:57.230
and wait for the Good King to bring the good ending.

665
00:49:57.950 --> 00:50:00.830
More than counting on my own resources, next time,

666
00:50:00.830 --> 00:50:03.230
instead of my bullet points, I could ask Him,

667
00:50:03.230 --> 00:50:06.400
"Would You bring Your resources into this darkness, God?

668
00:50:06.410 --> 00:50:12.690
Would you bring Your wisdom into my pain?"

669
00:50:14.270 --> 00:50:19.490
He is the good ending and all the good endings come with Him.

670
00:50:20.460 --> 00:50:22.350
The second thing about real hope is that:

671
00:50:28.380 --> 00:50:32.870
Real hope feeds our ability to stay in the struggle.

672
00:50:32.870 --> 00:50:36.770
I said I don't know whether my marriage will dip into that place.

673
00:50:36.980 --> 00:50:38.570
I hope not. I pray not.

674
00:50:38.600 --> 00:50:41.970
I believe it's possible it won't ever go back into that spot.

675
00:50:42.170 --> 00:50:49.310
But if it does, I know that my hope will keep me in the struggle.

676
00:50:50.330 --> 00:50:52.070
Because I know something about God.

677
00:50:53.360 --> 00:50:57.910
I know that if it isn't good, then He isn't done.

678
00:50:59.030 --> 00:51:02.750
If it isn't good yet, then God isn't done yet.

679
00:51:03.140 --> 00:51:06.020
Good endings are all He knows how to bring about.

680
00:51:06.050 --> 00:51:10.730
He came into our world to bring real hope.

681
00:51:10.760 --> 00:51:14.480
And real hope is the possibility of a good ending.

682
00:51:15.050 --> 00:51:19.420
All our God knows how to do is bring about a good ending.

683
00:51:19.430 --> 00:51:22.340
And if it isn't good, then God isn't done.

684
00:51:22.670 --> 00:51:29.020
Real hope always feeds, fuels us to stay in the struggle with Him.

685
00:51:30.040 --> 00:51:31.750
And the last thing is that:.

686
00:51:36.190 --> 00:51:38.380
I don't know if you know this or not, but Advent

687
00:51:38.380 --> 00:51:43.270
was not originally only a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

688
00:51:44.080 --> 00:51:44.500
It wasn't.

689
00:51:44.530 --> 00:51:47.950
It was a celebration of the birth of Jesus

690
00:51:47.950 --> 00:51:51.310
and His coming again, His return.

691
00:51:52.000 --> 00:51:55.540
If you listen to the Christmas carol called Joy to the World,

692
00:51:55.540 --> 00:51:59.170
which we will, I'm sure, sing repeatedly through the Advent season.

693
00:51:59.410 --> 00:52:03.550
You can even hear that and you can apply it to His second coming.

694
00:52:03.580 --> 00:52:07.390
It was actually a carol that got written for the Second Coming,

695
00:52:07.390 --> 00:52:11.590
the return of Jesus, the good ending that is promised.

696
00:52:13.610 --> 00:52:18.440
Real hope always keeps its eyes on the end of the story,

697
00:52:18.440 --> 00:52:21.530
because that is where our good endings are headed.

698
00:52:22.160 --> 00:52:24.520
There wasn't just a baby born in a manger.

699
00:52:24.530 --> 00:52:28.850
That baby grew up and lived a miraculous and perfect life.

700
00:52:28.880 --> 00:52:32.660
And He was crucified on a Cross and put in a grave.

701
00:52:32.750 --> 00:52:34.460
And He didn't stay there.

702
00:52:35.490 --> 00:52:37.650
He rose back to life.

703
00:52:38.760 --> 00:52:41.970
Listen to what Peter says our hope actually is.

704
00:52:43.060 --> 00:52:44.740
1 Peter 1 says this:.

705
00:52:58.150 --> 00:53:01.870
How am I so sure that a good ending is possible for you?

706
00:53:02.110 --> 00:53:06.550
How am I so sure that God has one for you and He has one for me

707
00:53:06.550 --> 00:53:08.830
and all the things that we invite him into,

708
00:53:08.830 --> 00:53:13.750
His intention is to bring a good ending into our life for that thing?

709
00:53:14.980 --> 00:53:17.260
It's kind of a scary thing to stand up here

710
00:53:17.260 --> 00:53:21.550
and say that to many, many people

711
00:53:21.550 --> 00:53:26.320
who have all kinds of different things that they would love hope for.

712
00:53:27.690 --> 00:53:30.160
And the reason I can and the reason I know

713
00:53:30.160 --> 00:53:33.670
is exactly what Peter says: Our hope is alive.

714
00:53:34.680 --> 00:53:37.860
Our hope has been resurrected, literally, from the grave.

715
00:53:38.040 --> 00:53:43.210
Our hope's name is Jesus and Jesus is alive and resurrected today.

716
00:53:43.320 --> 00:53:46.260
That means anything is possible for you as well.

717
00:53:46.470 --> 00:53:49.560
That means any resurrection is possible for me as well.

718
00:53:49.830 --> 00:53:53.610
Do you need God to resurrect your relationship yet again?

719
00:53:53.640 --> 00:53:57.870
Do you need Him to resurrect some body part that isn't working right?

720
00:53:57.900 --> 00:54:00.740
What about some ongoing struggles that you have?

721
00:54:00.750 --> 00:54:03.600
Whatever resurrection you need,

722
00:54:03.600 --> 00:54:09.710
it is possible because our hope is alive, literally alive.

723
00:54:11.190 --> 00:54:14.650
And one thing I know is if it's not good,

724
00:54:14.650 --> 00:54:18.760
the thing that you're thinking, then God is not done.

725
00:54:20.410 --> 00:54:21.850
There's an end to the story

726
00:54:21.850 --> 00:54:25.150
and your good ending is with the Good King.

727
00:54:26.020 --> 00:54:30.040
I want you to listen to this piece of an interview by a guy named --

728
00:54:30.610 --> 00:54:33.340
It was a Vietnam prisoner of war.

729
00:54:33.370 --> 00:54:35.830
His name is Admiral Jim Stockdale.

730
00:54:36.340 --> 00:54:40.020
And he was kept prisoner of war for eight years.

731
00:54:40.030 --> 00:54:41.980
He was tortured 28 times.

732
00:54:42.190 --> 00:54:45.370
No rights, no release date, no guaranteed survival.

733
00:54:45.700 --> 00:54:48.190
And when he was released, part of an interview

734
00:54:48.190 --> 00:54:50.680
was captured with him in a book called Good to Great.

735
00:54:53.720 --> 00:54:54.480
The interviewer said:

736
00:55:00.680 --> 00:55:01.970
And he said this:

737
00:55:11.820 --> 00:55:12.720
And the interviewer said:

738
00:55:43.550 --> 00:55:50.060
Whatever your brutal facts are, whatever mine are,

739
00:55:50.060 --> 00:55:52.940
real hope doesn't ask us to deny those.

740
00:55:54.050 --> 00:55:57.170
It just asked us not to lose faith in the end of the story.

741
00:55:57.800 --> 00:56:01.640
It asks us to believe that the Good King still brings good endings.

742
00:56:01.640 --> 00:56:04.610
That your hope through that Good King is alive.

743
00:56:04.640 --> 00:56:06.560
And that if it isn't good,

744
00:56:06.560 --> 00:56:10.610
then your story isn't over and God isn't done.

745
00:56:11.150 --> 00:56:14.360
I want you to take out that little piece of paper

746
00:56:14.360 --> 00:56:16.870
that you were given when you walked in.

747
00:56:16.880 --> 00:56:17.910
It looks like this.

748
00:56:18.230 --> 00:56:21.590
If you are joining us online, any --

749
00:56:21.590 --> 00:56:23.120
really any piece of paper will do.

750
00:56:23.130 --> 00:56:27.650
This one you can collect four weeks of advent

751
00:56:27.650 --> 00:56:30.620
and you will actually end up with an advent wreath of your own

752
00:56:30.620 --> 00:56:32.180
if you join us every week.

753
00:56:32.420 --> 00:56:33.950
And this week's says Hope.

754
00:56:34.040 --> 00:56:36.980
And as we celebrate hope, what I want you to do

755
00:56:36.980 --> 00:56:39.800
is I want you to turn that card over.

756
00:56:40.980 --> 00:56:43.530
Because I want you to write something on the back.

757
00:56:45.070 --> 00:56:49.150
I want you to write on the back just a word or two,

758
00:56:49.150 --> 00:56:52.120
a word or a phrase that represents for you

759
00:56:52.120 --> 00:56:55.780
that place where maybe you've stopped believing

760
00:56:55.780 --> 00:56:57.850
that a good ending is possible.

761
00:57:00.870 --> 00:57:03.450
Maybe you've run out of hope.

762
00:57:05.860 --> 00:57:09.500
And that's the place I want you to bring to the Good King.

763
00:57:11.540 --> 00:57:16.040
I want you underneath that to write the words of Psalm 39:7.

764
00:57:18.120 --> 00:57:20.310
Psalm 39:7 says:.

765
00:57:31.310 --> 00:57:37.750
You could even write just the words, "My hope is set on you."

766
00:57:40.610 --> 00:57:46.160
When Jesus came into this world, God announced,

767
00:57:46.160 --> 00:57:50.810
"This is the Good King who makes good endings possible."

768
00:57:52.100 --> 00:57:53.200
Let me pray for yours.

769
00:57:55.300 --> 00:58:00.240
Father, we trust You as the bringer of hope.

770
00:58:00.270 --> 00:58:02.850
And I know that every single thing that was written

771
00:58:02.850 --> 00:58:05.280
or thought in the last minute or so,

772
00:58:05.280 --> 00:58:08.760
you already know how You're going to bring a good ending.

773
00:58:10.850 --> 00:58:12.980
We ask that You would hear that

774
00:58:12.980 --> 00:58:14.990
and that You would do that in our own lives.

775
00:58:15.000 --> 00:58:18.090
And it's in the name of Jesus I ask for this.

776
00:58:18.090 --> 00:58:19.080
Amen.

777
00:58:21.800 --> 00:58:24.920
We're going to light the candle of hope together now.

778
00:58:27.320 --> 00:58:32.540
And as we do this, I really want you to just have in your heart

779
00:58:32.540 --> 00:58:35.510
and in your mind the thing that you wrote down.

780
00:58:36.350 --> 00:58:41.580
Because my prayer for us through the Advent season is that somehow,

781
00:58:41.580 --> 00:58:43.940
some way God would kind of relight that flame.

782
00:58:44.570 --> 00:58:47.420
That something would burn in you that believes

783
00:58:47.420 --> 00:58:51.110
a good ending is possible where there just wasn't an hour ago.

784
00:58:52.980 --> 00:58:54.140
Let's light the candle of hope.

785
00:59:11.400 --> 00:59:13.230
I want to invite you right now

786
00:59:13.230 --> 00:59:15.500
just to stand up with us one last time.

787
00:59:15.510 --> 00:59:18.660
We're just going to sing a few words together

788
00:59:18.660 --> 00:59:23.220
to help that kind of sink in as deep as it can go right now.

789
00:59:26.470 --> 00:59:28.570
Father, make us the people of hope.

790
00:59:30.070 --> 00:59:32.620
Light the flame of hope in our heart

791
00:59:32.620 --> 00:59:35.500
this Advent season like it never has before.

792
00:59:36.870 --> 00:59:41.430
Help us to trust Your Son, the Good King,

793
00:59:41.430 --> 00:59:43.400
for our good ending.

794
00:59:43.400 --> 00:59:44.370
Amen.

795
00:59:46.260 --> 00:59:48.840
- I hope that you're enjoying this series so far.

796
00:59:49.050 --> 00:59:50.700
Share it with a friend

797
00:59:50.700 --> 00:59:53.460
and download the Crossroads app if you don't have it already.

798
00:59:53.520 --> 00:59:55.350
All kinds of good stuff in there for you

799
00:59:55.350 --> 00:59:58.830
to experience Christmas and experience God all week long.

800
00:59:58.860 --> 00:59:59.700
We'll see you next week.
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend Follow Up.

  1. We are officially in the Christmas season. What are you most hopeful for this holiday season?

  2. The holidays can be one of the most chaos filled times of the year. Why do you think hope is so important for us during this season?

  3. John 8:12 Jesus calls himself the light of the world and says that whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. Talk about ways that you’ve seen Jesus light up paths in your life.

  4. Hope is the belief that a good ending is possible. Have you ever asked God to come into that place in your life and bring hope? What was the outcome of that situation?

  5. If we are honest, we all struggle to some degree to maintain hope when life feels like chaos. Where is a current struggle in your life that you need real hope?

  6. Pray: Everyone say a prayer for each person in the specific areas they shared this week.

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(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

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Got it! Enjoy your discussion.


Nov 30, 2019

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