Wouldn't have really expected it, but the Isaiah passages we've been preaching on for Advent this year have been surprisingly exciting and challenging.
Peace only comes when a Righteous and Holy God can judge and cleanse the impure, unholy, sinfulness. We stand condemned, deserving of punishment and brutal execution and God exacts that judgment as He must...but He exacts it on Himself, the suffering servant. Isaiah 52-53, written hundreds of years before Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection, tells of the righteous one who will bear everyone else's unrighteousness. If I don't have peace in an area of my life its because I haven't turned the situation or relationship over to the God who has made a way for shalom.
Joy doesn't come to us because we've escaped the wilderness. It comes in the midst of the wilderness. It's because of the wilderness and the God who meets us there, that we find redemption, delight and contentment in all things.
And this next week, I have the opportunity to speak on love out of Isaiah 7:1-17. "She shall call him Immanuel" which means 'With-Us God.' I am really excited to preach this text and yet challenged to figure out how to whittle down an arsenal of ammunition to provide the right amount of context and practical application.
This is a fun week. We've got a weather extravaganza perfectly timed with our Edge Christmas party (Saturday) and preaching 3 services (Sunday) and then having my family's Christmas dinner and gift exchange (Sunday evening). I also have the opportunity to preach at the 8:00 p.m. Contemporary Christmas Eve service which will be my first chance to do so...With all this happening over the next 10 days or so, the blog world may be hit or miss even more than usual.
(Someone forgot to tell the Browns about my plan for their playoff run)...sigh.