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The Immediate Word
Dean Feldmeyer

The Real Deal

Matthew 11:2-11; Isaiah 35:1-10
“The real deal.” Ask an internet search engine like Google or Bing for a definition of that phrase and you’ll get a handful of entries that, when put together, look something like this: An American idiom used to describe people or things that are genuine, real, legitimate, or authentic; possessed of all of the characteristics attributed to them; genuinely superior or impressive in some regard and therefore worthy of appreciation or respect. Synonym: “The real McCoy.”
     John the Baptist heard about this Jesus guy, some claims about miracles, some stories about healings. There was even some conjecture that this guy might be the messiah, the anointed one of God. John wanted more than just hearsay, though. He wanted eyewitness testimony. He wanted it straight from the horse’s mouth. But he was in jail, so he sent his disciples to find out: “Is this guy the real deal?”
     So they tracked him down, and not the sort to hem and haw around, they walked right up to Jesus and asked him: “Are you the real deal? Or are you another fake, a poser, another counterfeit prophet, telling people what they expect to hear for an easy buck?”
     Jesus is not offended by the question. He answers it clearly and straightforward, frankly and honestly. His answer, and the question that occasioned it, are as important today as they were the first time they were uttered.
     Was he? Are you? Am I? If not, how do I become “the real deal”?....
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What Do You Want For Christmas?

(Originally published in 1998)
What do you want for Christmas? What is on your list? A new Nintendo 64? A Sony PlayStation? Maybe a new computer or a trip to Europe. Perhaps your desires are simpler. A new pair of socks and something sweet to eat between meals on Christmas day. Then again, I know that some of you really do want world peace and new hope for the world. Some of you just want a few minutes of peace and quiet -- a chance to calmly reflect on the life that you have been given. I know of a minister's spouse who would just like the reverend to be home for two nights in a row instead of attending committee meetings on finance or education or who knows what. I remember asking my grandmother one Christmas if she got everything she wanted. She smiled at me and said, "Every time I hear my grandchildren laugh on Christmas day I get everything I wanted!" Some of you know just how she feels.
     Isaiah writes in chapter 35 of a time when the blind will be given sight, the lame will walk, the deaf hear and the dumb speak. Deserts will bloom. Burning sands will produce crystal clear water. It will be a time when God will vindicate the redeemed. In other words, the whole of creation will be renewed and rejuvenated. The earth and the humanity that lives there will be given a new life, a new beginning. Amazing stuff when we look carefully at what he is promising....
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Cathy Venkatesh

Easter in Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally one that emphasizes joy. Our readings invite us into the joy of new life with God and to examine our hearts to discover what may be keeping us from fully embracing that joy. Ultimately, in this season (as in all seasons) we are called to live into the hope of the resurrection...
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C. David McKirachan

Why did he ask?

Matthew 11:2-11

If somebody comes into my house at this time of year and asks me, “What season is it?” I’d be sure they were being sarcastic, or they had come from another culture, insulated from the tsunami that we call Christmas. I go a little nuts....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Adrian's Swimming Coach

There wasn't much that Adrian was good at, except swimming. He learned to swim when he was little more than a baby, and he loved it. When he was seven he joined a swimming club. It was there that he first met Mr Stevens, the swimming coach. Adrian got on well with Mr Stevens. Somehow Mr Stevens was really encouraging. He taught Adrian the best way of making his strokes and Adrian began to win at many of the galas he attended....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

Important People

Object: Red carpet or red blanket or plastic red tablecloth
Today I have rolled out the red carpet for you.  We are not famous people, movie stars or royalty, so maybe you have not had this kind of fancy treatment. But often for very important people, red carpet is actually put down for them to walk on....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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