1st Sunday in Advent
The word “Advent” means “coming or arrival” and the celebration of Advent dates back hundreds of years. We celebrate Advent to remember the significance of the Christmas season as it pertains to hope we have in Jesus Christ. Each component of the advent wreath has meaning and we will explain that meaning each week before lighting the candle.
The first candle in the Advent Wreath is called the prophecy candle. It reminds us that Jesus’ coming was prophesied hundreds of years before he was born. The candle’s purple color represents Christ’s royalty as the King of Kings.
Light one (1) purple candle
Read Isaiah 9:2,6
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah wrote: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned….. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2,6
This prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. The Apostle Luke writes:
”But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-35
Let’s Pray and thank God for fulfilling His promise to us in Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Thank you that we can get together and worship you. We are so grateful that you sent your son Jesus Christ into this world to give us eternal life with you. The verses we just read remind us that you planned long ago to send your son into the world on our behalf. This Christmas season, help us to remember all that you have done for us. Thank you for being the light of the world. In Jesus name, Amen.
Second Sunday in Advent
The Second Advent candle is called the Bethlehem candle. It is purple just like the prophecy candle reminding us that a king has been born. His name is Jesus and he was born in the most humble of circumstances to be the Savior of the world.
Light two (2) purple candles (one if for the first week, one is for the second week)
The prophet Micah prophesized the coming of the Messiah, the Chosen One, the savior of the world.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
The Apostle Luke recorded when this was fulfilled.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, a son. She wrapped him cloths and placed him in a manager, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7
Let’s Pray –
Lord Jesus, you were born in the small town of Bethlehem in the most humble of circumstances. You were placed in an animal food trough that we call a manger and worshipped by angels, shepherds, the wise men, and many, many others. We worship you today because you are the Savior of the world. You are our King. Thank you for coming into the world and loving us. In Jesus name, Amen.
Third Sunday in Advent
The third Advent candle is called the Shepherds’ candle. By lighting this candle we are reminded that God sent the angels to proclaim his arrival to mankind. This profound moment of joy is still celebrated today as we are commissioned to tell the world about the Good News that Jesus has come. This candle is pink in color symbolizing God’s love and faithfulness to us.
Light the pink candle AND two (2) purple candles
The prophet Isaiah foretold this day.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
The Apostle Luke recorded when this prophecy was fulfilled. Luke 2:8-20 reads:
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manager. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:8-20
Let’s Pray –
God thank you so much for including us in your redemptive plan. Thank you for using us to show others the love that you so freely give. Today we ask that you will help us to love other people like you love us. Help us to be like the shepherds who proclaimed the good news that Jesus has come and that He is the hope of the world, may we do the same. In Jesus name, Amen.
Fourth Sunday in Advent
The fourth candle is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent with the first three. This candle is called the Angel’s candle and we light it to remind us of all the heavenly hosts that proclaimed Christ’s arrival with “Behold, I bring onto you good tidings of great joy!” The Angel candle is also purple, reminding us that it was a king’s birth the angels were announcing.
Light the three (3) purple candles & the pink candle
The Apostle Luke writes:
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manager. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:15-20
Let’s Pray -
Jesus we thank you that you are perfect in every way. We thank you that you accept us as we are and that you willingly came to earth in the flesh. Today we pray that you will help mold us into your image. Give us your characteristics. Help us to grow in grace and peace and joy and love. Help us to follow you with our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.
The fifth candle is called the Christ candle and it’s lit on Christmas Eve. This white candle rests in the center of the wreath symbolizing Christ’s holiness, purity, and perfection. The incarnation is the heart of Christmas giving light to the world.
Light the white Christ candle first, then light all the other candles
Long before Jesus was ever born the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
The Apostle John wrote:
“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and through the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural decent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:9-13
Let’s Pray –
Jesus we thank you that you are perfect in every way. We are grateful that you accept us as we are and that you willingly came to earth in the flesh. We praise you for your grace, are blessed by your mercy, and thankful for your love. Today we pray that you will help mold us into your image. Give us your characteristics. Help us to grow in grace and peace and joy and love. Help us to follow you with our lives and tell others about you. In Jesus name, Amen.
The purpose of the Freshwater Elder Apprentice Program:
To help men build their faith, discover their spiritual gifts, natural talents, equip them for ministry, and become effective elders.
The human body has multiple systems in operation at any given time. These systems work together enabling a human being to live. The circulatory system is the bodies transport system. The heart pumps blood through the arteries and veins to nourish power everything. The digestive system breaks down food into protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats turning it into energy enabling tissue growth and repair. The immune system is our body's defense system against infections and diseases. Organs, tissues, cells, and cell products work together to respond to dangerous organisms (like viruses or bacteria) and substances that may enter the body from the environment.
Church systems are similar to the systems found in the human body. Every church has them and needs them in order for the church body to function correctly. As a church grows, the systems that sustain it must grow with it. These systems must be created, implemented, managed, and evaluated in a strategic manner. At Freshwater, we are constantly monitoring our systems and evaluating them in order to ensure they are functioning properly.
The bible is one thick book! In a recent conversation I heard: “I have no idea how to read my bible, I mean, where do you even start?” It’s a great question. Rather than just flipping open the bible and reading the pages that “appear” thinking God has led you to them, you need to have a plan. There are six keys that will help you successfully stick to reading your bible. I read my bible in order to get to know God’s word much better, experience God more personally, and observe where God is working more clearly. The same God that inspired the biblical authors is the same God that inspires you.
I get asked to volunteer for a thousand things, from coaching girls’ volleyball to serving at the kids’ schools, from serving on various leadership boards to attending professional functions. Usually I’m asked to help by people who genuinely care about their cause; other times, I’m asked by less enthusiastic people who were told to go find more volunteers. I’m a fan of volunteering, and I volunteer often, but that doesn’t mean that I say yes to everybody who asks. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I have learned to say yes or no based on these three key questions:
1. Is this volunteer opportunity worth the time, effort, and outcome?
2. Will I be using my spiritual gifts and strengths?
3. Does it help fulfill Jesus’ mission to make disciples?