After studying the Gospel of Mark for most of 2015 (sermon videos here), we’re excited to begin a new series this Sunday: The Thrill of Hope.
This four-week series will take us through the entire Advent season. If you’re new to Advent, it’s a word that means “coming” or “arrival,” and it’s a season focused on the coming of Jesus.
Last year we used Advent to look ahead to the Second Coming of Jesus in our series The Return of the King. This year, however, we’re looking back to the anticipation that surrounded the Incarnation:
1 | The Unlikeliness of Hope — The Story of Mary (Nov 29)
Luke 1:26-56 tells us the story of the ultimate unexpected pregnancy. We don’t know a lot about Mary, but we do know that the Hope of the World (Jesus) came through an unlikely person, in an unlikely place, at an unlikely time. We can’t live without hope — and sometimes God gives it in the most unlikely ways.
2 | The Tension of Hope — The Story of Joseph (Dec 6)
Matthew 1:18-25 tells us about Joseph’s experience of finding out about Mary’s pregnancy. It’s a story filled with tension between everything Joseph naturally is inclined to think and what God supernaturally calls him to do. Living a hopeful life often means embracing this tension.
3 | The Glory of Hope — The Story of the Shepherds (Dec 13)
Luke 2:18-20 describes the glory of God showing up in another unexpected place — a hillside outside Bethlehem to some dirty, smelly shepherds. There the veil of heaven is opened and a glimpse of the glory of hope arrives. The hope of the gospel is God showing up to bring his glorious joy.
4 | The Fulfillment of Hope — The Story of Simeon (Dec 20)
Luke 2:22-35 introduces us to a man whose hope had driven him for years. The Proverbs tell us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (13:12). God promises hope and ultimately delivers on it. Like Simeon, we won’t wait forever to see God come through.
I hope you’ll join us for this series and then for our Christmas Eve services as well. It should be a tremendous season of celebrating the hope we have in Jesus.