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The Immediate Word
Mary Austin

Awaiting the Unknown

Luke 21:25-36

It’s no secret that most of us are terrible at waiting. Airport gates all have television screens to distract us while we wait for a plane, and even the gas station now has a chattering television at each pump so we’re distracted while the tank fills. People standing in line at the bank are all on their phones. In fact, we try not to go to the bank at all -- doing everything online, where there’s no waiting.
     If we have to wait, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. As we watch for world events to unfold, without much information we fill the space with speculation. We cultivate fear instead of hope. We fill our minds with the worst-case scenarios.
Advent calls us again to the discipline of waiting, and reminds us that there are different ways to wait. There’s fearful waiting; self-protective waiting; circle-the-wagons waiting; hopeful waiting; active waiting; faith-filled waiting. Advent’s candles light our way into a different kind of waiting....
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Ready Or Not -- He Comes

There is a passage in the old Jewish book of Zohar, that goes like this: "Whenever the Jews on earth rejoice in their festivals, they give praise to the Lord. They put on fine clothes and pile their tables with good food. So the angel asks, 'Why do the Jews pamper themselves so much?' And God answers, 'They have a distinguished guest today. I am with them.' " Today is a very special day. We are preparing for a very special guest. It is the first Sunday of Advent. Our celebration begins with the word "Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."

Have you noticed every time God seeks to change the world God allows a baby to be born? First, it was an infant in the bulrushes of Egypt and then a child in a manger in Bethlehem. God always comes to us in the most unexpected manner. God's self-disclosure through the biblical narrative is usually in a quiet and....
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David Coffin

Alert level of hope

The tension is thick at a particular workplace, church, nonprofit organization, or community group whose existence and giving is depended upon by many people. It is just after the American Thanksgiving holiday, and there is a large deficit in the budget as the calendar turns to December. Possibly some of the goals that were set the previous January have not been met as well. What will the future of the organization look like if the current shortfalls of cash and goals met continue well into the month of December? There are other groups who are possibly looking to benefit from the spoils of those who have lost in the latest competition for scarce resources, assets, and resources needed to keep the organization operational for another year....
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Sandra Herrmann

The Righteous Branch

We have a problem: a tree that keeps insisting that it will grow under the fence that borders our driveway. It’s a maple tree, and is quite pretty. The only problem with it is that it’s in the wrong place. I took a saw to it four years ago, and cut it off level with the driveway. Before fall arrived, it had regrown from the root. All around the trunk were slender shoots, and each of the shoots grew quite lovely leaves that turned bright red after the first frost.

A neighbor came over when I was standing there, contemplating the fact that something quite pretty can be a terrible nuisance. “Try cutting it back now,” he offered, “and it won’t have time to recover. That might kill it.”...
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

The New Golden Era

The memory is a strange phenomenon. As we grow older, we tend to remember more about the days of our childhood and youth than we do about what happened ten minutes ago. And I'm told that eventually many people begin to remember events of their childhood which have lain hidden and undisturbed for years....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Cynthia Cowen

Celebrate! Jesus is coming again!

Object: a Christmas tree angel
The Point: As God’s children we can lift up our heads and hearts because Jesus will return

The Lesson: Thank you, boys and girls, for joining me. This is a special time of the year. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus.....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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