A Perfect-ish Christmas

Oh, What a Wonderful Child!

Blended • December 27, 2020 • Butch Williams

Read Luke 2:22-40 In today’s passage, we meet Simeon, a devout and righteousness man who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. We also meet Anna, an 84 year old prophet, who lived in the Temple, who also recognized Jesus as the Messiah. 1) What can Anna and Simeon teach us about patience, faithfulness, and waiting for God’s plan to unfold? Would you be willing to wait with patience and faithfulness as these two elderly people did? Why or why not? 2) In modern culture, the elderly are not always held in high esteem. This is certainly not God’s attitude in our Gospel lesson. What can Simeon and Anna teach us about the importance of serving God regardless of our age or season in life? We may not identify with Anna’s living arrangement in the Temple, but her commitment to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and worship remind us that spiritual disciplines allow us to practice God’s presence in our daily life. 3) How often during your average day are you attentive to God’s presence with you? Choose the most mundane activity of your daily life and think of a way you could practice the presence of God while doing it? 4) What do you see in the birth of Jesus for your own life? What do you see in the birth of Jesus for our world?

Mary Did You Know?

Blended • December 20, 2020 • Bill Brunson

Read Luke 1:26-37 1) Mary’s story of faithfulness has inspired believers for centuries. What inspires you in Mary’s story? 2) Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, seems a much better choice to bear the Holy Child. Yet God chose Mary. What does this tell us about the character of Mary? What does it tell us about the character of God? 3) Our scripture passage tells us that nothing is impossible with God. What does that mean in your own life? 4) In the midst of a pandemic, doubt, fear, and confusion, what does it mean to your life that God’s presence will continue to save us and God’s presence will always be with us?

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

Blended • December 13, 2020 • Bill Brunson

Read Psalm 150 1) In today’s sermon, we heard the story of a young child telling her younger brother the Christmas story which included baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the three Magi, and of course Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, and eight tiny reindeer plus Rudolph. If you were telling a young child the Christmas story, what would you say? 2) Our scripture today is about praising God in assorted ways. How do you praise God? Give examples. 3) In our world today, practicing gratitude is difficult. Do you feel practicing gratitude would change the lives of others and your own life? Why or why not? 4) Psalm 150 tells us to praise and celebrate God. Do you believe the discipline of praising three times in the morning and three times at night might change your attitude and your relationship with God? Will you commit to this discipline?

Who's Your Daddy?

Blended • December 6, 2020 • Bill Brunson

Read Matthew 1:18-25 1) When you think of the Nativity story, who is the first person that pops into your mind? Is it Joseph? Why or why not? 2) Despite the passage of centuries, we have a kinship with Joseph. In our scripture, his life had been turned upside down and, this year, so have ours. What is the one thing in Joseph’s story that resonates in your heart and life? 3) God could have chosen a priest, a scribe, a rich man, or even a king to be the earthy father to his Son, but instead he chose an "ordinary Joe." What does this reveal about God and about Joseph? 4) Joseph was a righteous man who chose to treat Mary with kindness and love despite the demands of his culture. How do you treat those who have hurt or betrayed you? 5) Joseph’s life was transformed through a dream. Is your heart open to the dreams God has for your life? Are you willing to put God first as Joseph did? If so, give examples.

Crazy Cousin John

Blended • November 29, 2020 • Bill Brunson and Kipp McClurg

Read Matthew 3:1-6 1) Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Christ Child into the world and our lives yet again. In this year like no other, how will you anticipate and prepare for the birth of Jesus? 2) John the Baptist used his prophetic voice to proclaim a singular message: “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” What does the word, repent, mean to your life? 3) Someone once said, “To repent is not to feel bad, but to think differently and therefore, to act differently.” Are you living out this kind of repentance? How? 4) Despite our illusions, there never is a perfect Christmas because we are imperfect people. How will you celebrate a Perfect-ish Christmas this year? 5) In the Kingdom of Heaven, the impossible becomes possible and gives humanity hope. Where will you find your hope in this Advent season and how will others see hope in you?