This was the final week of the year for us at Normandy and the culmination of our Advent season - expectation, preparation, pain and ending with joy. At Christ's appearance, the weary world rejoiced with joy. Jesus came to give us life to the full and a deep, abiding joy. Joy is found in His presence and comes with His Salvation (Matthew 4:17; Romans 14:17; Luke 2:9-11; John 15:11; Psalm 51:2; Isaiah 9:2-4).
Jesus told His followers that trials would follow them while they were on Earth. Advent is a time that accentuates the tension between expectation and disappointment, joy and pain. This Sunday we began to confront and feel the pain of living in a fallen world, all the while expecting to receive the comfort that comes from the God of all comfort (Isaiah 9:2-7; Matthew 4:13-17; Romans 14:17; John 16:33; Proverbs 4:23; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Advent causes us to have a hopeful expectation of Jesus' coming. If we have this expectation, then we also prepare for His Kingdom to come now. Preparation begins with repentance and thankfullness. (Matthew 4:13-17; Matthew 10:7-9; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 100:4)
The season of Advent has arrived! This first week our focus was on the hope that Christ's birth brought to the world. Hope is something we are both intended to carry within us and to give away to others. In spite of troubles and trials, hope is ours to claim and use. Advent is a time to let our expections rise that we will increasingly see His Kingdom in our midst as the day of Christ's return draws nearer. (Isaiah 9:2-3; 6-7; Proverbs 14:10; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Matthew 4:23-24; Romans 14:17).
In this sermon, Mark Heger walks us through the story of Jesus interacting with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, while explaining the geography and historical elements that make this gospel story come alive. Also, we find that Jesus is Purposeful and Relational with the woman before He tells her that He is Superior and finally reveals Himself.
This Sunday we had our annual Adoption Sunday at Normandy. John reminded us that our primary job is to worship Christ and allow Him to direct our action. And our Christ has given us a commandment - love others like He has loved us. And His love is both an adoptive love and an advocating love (Ephesians 1:3-10; John 13:34; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:7-11; 1 John 2:1).
We hear from Justus Murimi today we continue in our series, Action. God promises us joy to the full when we obey his commandments. Scripture tells us that the cross was the joy set before Jesus. Justus shares how Jesus endured the cross to encounter joy and wants to give his joy away fully. (John 15:10-11; Ephesians 3:14-20; Psalm 51)
This week Pastor John continued talking about our heartbeat and our "mantle". Part of the mantle, or calling God has given our church is to walk in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts are trinitarian in nature, are given to help the church advance its mission, are a manifestation of His very presence, and build up, encourage and comfort the body of Christ (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 13:10; 12:4-7; 11; 14:1-3; 14:12).
This past Sunday, Pastor John (with a little help from Kasey, Jackson, Haley and Joshua) continued discussing how God designed us and gave us relational needs, and how to better live out the Great Commandment. As we learn to value how God designed us to walk in relationship with Him and one another, we can have our needs met, live as more emotionally and spiritually whole individuals, and bring others into a more tangible experience of what God is like (Colossians 1:15-16; Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:18; John 17:20-23; Matthew 22:34-40).
*To download the packet used during the church service, click here.
This week Pastor John preached on the 1st of three sermons that will describe the heartbeat of Normandy and our philosophy of ministry. God created us with spiritual, physical and emotional needs which he meets through family, the church and marriage. We start to see brokeness in relationships when we place all of our expectation on to people and without first asking God to supply all of our needs (Genesis 2:18; Matthew 22:36-40; Galatians 5:22-23; John 17:20-23; Philippians 4:19; Psalm 62:5).