G.I.F.T. 12-1-19

Growing In Faith Together  
December 1, 2019


TODAY’S TEXTS
Isaiah 11:1-10 
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 
Romans 15:4-13 
Matthew 3:1-12

GATHERED BY GRACE
The new church year begins with a wake-up call: Christ is coming soon! In today's readings both Paul and Jesus challenge us to wake from sleep, for we know neither the day nor hour of the Lord's coming. Isaiah proclaims the day when God will gather all people on the holy mountain and there will be no more war or suffering.
Discuss in your household or small group: 
* Jesus encourages his followers to “keep watch” as he could return at any time (Matthew 24:42).  What does it mean to “keep watch” for Jesus? 
* Twenty centuries have passed and Jesus has not yet returned. So, what does “watchfulness” mean to us in our time?
* How would you describe yourself as a Christian – nodding off, drowsy, awake, tired? 

DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday.  Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday Matthew 24:36-44
Monday Psalm 124:6-8
Tuesday Genesis 9:1-3
Wednesday Isaiah 54:9-10
Thursday Isaiah 4:2-6
Friday Isaiah 30:19-21
Saturday Isaiah 40:3-5
Sunday Matthew 3:1-12
Next Sunday: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week: Lord, teach me your ways, so that I may walk in your paths.

Throughout the Day: Help me to be alert!

A Blessing to Share: Keep awake for you do not know when the Lord is coming.

For mealtime say responsively: The night is far gone: the day is near.

Advent Meal Prayer:   
Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest,
And let your gifts to us be blessed.
Blest be God, who is our Bread.
May all the world be clothed and fed.

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION  
Devotional Practice: 
Isaiah has a vision of people turning their swords into plowshares and their spears into hooks for cutting off dead branches from trees. He imagines ways of turning weapons into useful tools. What ideas do you have for turning "weapons" into tools for peace…Like the “weapon of prejudice” or the “weapon of revenge” or the “weapon of apathy”? Take time to consider Isaiah's theme of swords into plowshares. Then write your own Advent peace prayer.

Advent Wreath Ritual: 
You will need 5 candles for the season. You can use a wreath or simply use the candles. 
Read Isaiah 2:1-5.  The prophet Isaiah describes a future shaped by peace for all nations as they walk in the light of the Lord. We wait in hope for this prophecy to be fulfilled. We light the candle of hope to proclaim that God's light is coming into the world. We will live in the light of hope as we await the coming of the Lord. Light one candle.

SCATTERED FOR SERVICE
 Pre-Christmas can be a hard time for some people. People who work in stores may have to work even harder. People who deliver mail and packages have lots of extra work. Make “Kindness Cards” to give to these people who do so much extra work. Draw hearts or write a short message on each card. Hand them out as you move through your days to whoever you notice may be under stress because of the season.

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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