It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas! As I write, I can see snow freshly falling outside the window in my study. I have Rend Collective’s “Campfire Christmas” (Vol 1) playing in the background. Ah, what a delightful time of year! Today, I am writing the sermon for Sunday, and I look forward to sharing it with you on Sunday morning as we gather to worship the living God! If you are able, please pray for me, the worship team, and for all in attendance onSunday morning. Pray that God softens hearts, draws us to his Son, and helps us live in the Wonder of Jesus and all that he has accomplished for us!
My grandmother died on Dec 13, 2005. She died in the hospital surrounded by some of the people most dear to her. She quietly breathed her last breath right as we were praying for her and entrusting her into the safe and secure promises ofGod. That time together was sweet and peaceful. But it was also so jarring. I couldn’t talk with my grandmother any more. I couldn’t share stories with her anymore. I wouldn’t hear her voice again. Something that happened in a moment had such a finality to it. It’s hard to remember hope in the midst of death. What words can ease the pain or overcome the finality? But gospel hope shows up at surprising times.
After the burial service for my grandmother, my wife and I started talking to the funeral director. He noticed that I took a picture of my grandfather’s tombstone. (I wanted a picture of the headstone, because “Porter” was written on it, and I wanted to be reminded that one day this would be my end.) On the stone is written, not only my last name, but also a verse from 1 Cor 15.52 “In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet...the dead shall be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” Hope. Hope on a tombstone. The grave is not the end. There is more to come. Resurrection. Raised imperishable. Changed by Jesus.
As we talked, the funeral director gave more hope. He told us that all the bodies in Scandinavian Cemetery are buried with heads pointed to the west, and faces looking to the east. He said they do that in hope of resurrection, facing the sunrise of the dawn of the last day. That when Jesus returns, the first thing resurrected eyes will see is Jesus.
The good news of Jesus gives hope. Gives hope for today, because it gives hope even in a cemetery.
This Sunday we continue our Christmas series dedicated to the wonder of Jesus, the Wonder of the One. We will be learning about Jesus from John 8.49-58. Jesus makes a claim and a promise that are almost too wonderful to believe. But his claim and promise are exactly what our hearts are longing for. His claim and promise create an enduring, life-giving hope that death can’t even take away. If you know someone right now who could use hope, this Sunday will be a great day to invite them to worship.
Wonder of the One Series Resources
With this series, we have some great reading resources to focus your heart during this Christmas season. You can pick them up in the resource area on Sunday morning or by following the links below:
The mission of Faith Community is to make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. We want to help everyone to meet, know and follow Jesus. Through our strategic plan, we have established five main initiatives to help us move toward this overall goal.
As we near the end of the year, would you consider extending your generosity through a year-end contribution? The financial gifts that we receive at the end of the year make a huge impact on the church’s ability to support our annual budget. They also enable the kind of one-time investments that cannot be funded on the basis of regular, weekly and monthly giving. To learn more about giving options or to give online, visit fcchudson.com. Thank you, Faith Community!
One thing you can do is invite to friends and neighbors to our Christmas services, Dec. 23 at 9 + 11 AM and Dec. 24 at 4 + 8 PM Did you know that one study found that eight out of 10 people who don’t regularly attend a church would go if invited? We’ve created a couple ways to help you invite the people you know to our Christmas services.
Please be praying that God would bring to mind at least one person that you could invite to our Christmas services this year!
LEARN ABOUT FCC events and registrations at fcchudson.com.