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Words from Pastor Dave

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Advent: Time for Hope

There's a big old tree stump in our backyard that is a real pain in the rear end.

At one time it must have been a big majestic tree. I'm guessing it was a locust tree. It grew so large through the years that its roots pushed against the steel corner fence and pushed it apart, leaving an opening for critters, especially one of our dogs who loves to escape. We've tried and tried to get rid of that big old weathered stump. Even tried burning it out with a slow charcoal fire for months. Wouldn't you know? It's still there, big and old and weathered and in the way.

It appears to be a dead tree stump. This spring a shoot will emerge and then an-other and then another, until there is a forest of green filled with shoots and branches. Utility workers have a saying, "Cut one down and twenty come to its funeral" A perfect description of the shoots from this tree.

"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse…"

The prophet Isaiah brings hope in the midst of despair. Years earlier, the united kingdom of Israel had split into two kingdoms – Judah in the south and Israel in the north. When Isaiah speaks to Judah, the kingdom that had fallen apart and was being attacked from all sides. By now, it was like that old dead tree stump. Judah was a shadow of its former glory; its dry bones ready for picking.

There are times in our lives when we also feel that way. Dead to the world. Cut down. Destroyed. Beaten down. Weathered.

"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse…"

Advent is the season we remember that we are people of hope. This hope is not wishful thinking. This hope is centered in God and the Promise – a promise that has been fulfilled in Jesus. Romans 5:5 declares, hope does not disappoint us.Advent calls us to place our hope in God, who brought salvation to us in the babe lying the manger. In Jesus, God brought light in our darkness. So Romans 5:5 continues, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit..."

In the babe born in the manger, God's love has been poured out – for you. We live in hope, for this hope is not of our making nor filled with false promises but this hope is from God. God is at work to bring life and salvation to the world.

Beware the prophets of doom. God is still at work – in the world, in our congregation and in us.

We are Advent people.

Remember, God is at work in you.

"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse…"

With Jesus Christ in our lives, spring is always coming. Hope will not disappoint us. Believe the Promise and God will bring you hope, joy and peace this season.