Tag Archive: advent conspiracy

23
Dec

Advent Conspiracy: Love All

Pastor Matt Stone

Look at all the different kinds of people who participate in the story- Jesus came for all of them. Listen to the number of times these people talk about God’s care/concern for the world in the Christmas story. The reason we’re taking aim at a different kind of Christmas celebration is that this story is told for the sake of the entire world. When we share that story and participate in that story by engaging not just those with whom we are close but those whom scripture calls the least of these, then our Christmas celebration is changing the world.

1. What part of Matt’s sermon impacted you the most? Why?

2. Name some of the different types of people Matt listed in his sermon?

3. What do you think the God was trying to teach us by assembling such a wide variety of people in the Christmas story?

4. What are some simple things you and/or your faith community do to pass on this type of unprejudiced and selfless love to others in your life and community?

Scripture references:

Matthew chapters 1 & 2; Luke chapters 1 & 2: Matthew 5:38-48; Romans 13:8,9

16
Dec

Advent Conspiracy: Give More

Guest Speaker: Clark Crawford

There is something deeply moving, beautiful and meaningful about certain gifts because especially those that are grounded in a relationship. Someone knew something intimate about you and gave you something that either met a deep, not-obvious need or expressed the kind of love that we all long for.

One reason that this is such a meaningful way to give is that it reflects so closely the gift we received in the birth of Christ. It met a deep need that many of us aren’t even aware of- a need for saving from death and healing from sin and brokenness. But it also expressed to us the very depth of God’s love- the kind of love that all of us are starving for.

God’s answer for the world’s problems has never been material things. God did not give us more stuff- even good stuff like work, food, or health. He gave us himself. The most priceless and personal gift of all. This is why giving is still a good way to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Apart from the incarnation, we would never fully know the depths to which we are loved or the lengths to which God can be trusted. That’s what we celebrate each Christmas. When we give relationally during the Advent season, this is what we remember: it’s an opportunity to worship as we remind each other of the gift that was given for our sake.

Scripture references:

Matthew 2:1-12; John 1:1-4,14,18; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 2:17; 4:15; Isaiah 7:14

09
Dec

Advent Conspiracy: Spend Less

When we think about Christmas we think about “gift giving.” We harken back to that very first Christmas when the Magi brought gifts to the babe in the manger. The essence of this gift giving tradition is to show love and respect for the person(s) you are offering gifts to. Society sometimes tries to put a value on love and on respect and this false assumption sometimes is carried over into the gifts we choose. The more expensive or the larger amount of gifts we give the more we respect and love that person. But is that really true. Is a gift that cost lots of money really worth more than one that was personally chosen or one that was handmade? Do presents have more value than “presence?” The idea behind “Spend Less” is not as much about the “less” part than it is about the “spending” part. Asking yourself questions like, “Does this gift truly demonstrate respect and love toward the person I am giving it to? Do the companies I purchase them from represent standards that honor those who work for them? Is the reason I am giving this gift to impress or to bless?” Spending less is not about how much you spend, it is about how much you love.

Scripture references:

Matthew 6:19-24; Luke 12:13-21; Philippians 4:10-12; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Hebrews 13:5

02
Dec

Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully

The invitation to join Advent Conspiracy is not an invitation to be angry at people who are doing it wrong or to throw out everything about our current Christmas. If those things make us angry or frustrated, then maybe we are the ones doing it wrong. Instead, it’s an invitation to return to the manger, where the Christ-child resides, and marvel at the magnitude of the gift, no matter how strongly our culture or even our families may try to pull us away. How will we do that? Advent Conspiracy offers four suggestions: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love Always.

We begin with Worship Fully because it is the lens through which we see the whole advent season. Mary shows us the way here as she sets us on the right course to meet Jesus again during this season. She expresses her true worship by literally being willing to give her whole self to God’s plan for our redemption. Mary’s song is known as the Magnificat because she magnifies God, pointing to Him as she worships and confesses His great love for and future deliverance of the oppressed.

Let’s start there and begin to think about what “worship fully” means and how we can apply that concept to help us fully appreciate and experience this Advent season.

Scripture references:

Luke 1:46-55; Romans 12:1,2; John 4:24