28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[a]29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”[b]35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[c] will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.
Thank you for the sounds of your presence this day of Christian worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you for scripture, music, and prayer. May my beating heart and rhythmic breath also become worship songs of life and love. Amen.
A READING, I WANT TO SHARE FROM OUR HOLY GOSPEL WITH YOU…
(PLEASE PLAY VIDEO)
Repent or Perish
13 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
TONIGHT WILL BE COOL. Do you know what else is cool???
3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars:
“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. 3 Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. 6 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
YOU REALLY HAVE GONE A FAR WAY… READY TO GO FURTHER???
A Reading for you…
Comfort and Assurance in God’s Presence
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,[a] and my mouth praises you with joyful lips 6 when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
20 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,[a] came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Messengers[b] came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,[c] from beyond the sea; already they are at Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
Jehoshaphat’s Prayer and Victory
5 Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 They have lived in it, and in it have built you a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment,[d] or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before you, for your name is in this house, and cry to you in our distress, and you will hear and save.’ 10 See now, the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the middle of the assembly. 15 He said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them; they will come up by the ascent of Ziz; you will find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 They rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe his prophets.” 21 When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendor, as they went before the army, saying,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.[a]
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah,[b]fourteen generations.
The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[c] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife
i do not view anger as a punishment; rather, i view it as a tool to keep me motivated and focussed achieving my heart’s desire.
A READING i WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY…
1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. 5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered, 6 O offspring of his servant Abraham,[a] children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, 10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”
12 When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, 13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, 15 saying, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”
16 When he summoned famine against the land, and broke every staff of bread, 17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 His feet were hurt with fetters, his neck was put in a collar of iron; 19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord kept testing him. 20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, 22 to instruct[b] his officials at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom.
23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham. 24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful, and made them stronger than their foes, 25 whose hearts he then turned to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.
26 He sent his servant Moses, and Aaron whom he had chosen. 27 They performed his signs among them, and miracles in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they rebelled[c] against his words. 29 He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country. 32 He gave them hail for rain, and lightning that flashed through their land. 33 He struck their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country. 34 He spoke, and the locusts came, and young locusts without number; 35 they devoured all the vegetation in their land, and ate up the fruit of their ground. 36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the first issue of all their strength.
37 Then he brought Israel[d] out with silver and gold, and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night. 40 They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river. 42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
43 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. 44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples, 45 that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!
“Hosanna” was the shout of praise or adoration made in recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” It is used in the same way in Christian praise.
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me,[a] ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when[b] you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU A READING FROM OUR NEW TESTAMENT…
17 Brothers and sisters,[a] join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship[b] is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A READING FOR YOU FROM OUR OLD TESTAMENT…
Triumphant Song of Confidence
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! 8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!