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Summary: Advent and Christmas Sermon. An old testament look at Advent from the prophet Zephaniah. A the true mission and purpose of the church. Good sermon about making people feel like they belong to and are welcome to the body of Christ the church.

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Advent—A Sanctuary of Misfits

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy;

he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)

Intro: The prophet Zepheniah gives us an old testament glimpse of Advent.

According to the Prophet Zepheniah…, Advent is a day of Celebration.

"The Lord thy God is in our midst, in a mighty way…

He will save you…

God will rejoice over you with gladness, ....

There is love and joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:14-20)

The first thing to think about this morning is this exceptional image of God

I. God in our Midst Zephaniah 3:17a

I am thankful to have a God who is not so detached or so disconnected as to be so removed and apart from us…

But this God who appears among and together…, in middle of his people…

That’s what God did at the manger… in Bethlehem…

He was born into this world

Into the middle of us…

God in our midst…

The image that a lot of people have of God…, is…, this serious…, powerful…, being…

Who is not only out of touch with their reality…, but who is also out of their reach…,

And the church…, it is our responsibility to help change their perception…

I am thankful that this church is a place where visitors and guest are pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it is for them to feel like they “fit in”

This is a church where people don’t think they are better than other people…

Because we know that we are all a bunch of misfits…

On T.V. about this time of year…, you will see the "Island of Misfit Toys",

A story about an island sanctuary…, where defective and unwanted toys are sent.

Among its inhabitants:

“ King Moonracer - a winged lion who is islands ruler...

“Charlie-In-The-Box” is a misnamed Jack-In-The Box

“Spotted Elephant” is a polka dotted elephant…

“A Dolly for Sue” while it is not explained in the story itself

The show’s producer Arthur Rankin Jr. says Dolly's problem was psychological,

caused from her being abandoned and suffering depression from feeling unloved.

“Bird Fish” is a toy bird who swims instead of flies.

“A Misfit Cowboy” who rides an ostrich.

“A Train” with square wheels on its caboose.

“A Toy Boat” that sinks instead of floats;

“A Squirt Gun” that shoots grape jelly;

and “An Airplane” that cannot fly…,

Of course Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer…, who has been kicked out of the Reindeer Games

Because of his red nose…

Takes the lead in rescuing the “Misfit” toys…

And finding them a home with children who love them and play with them and takes care of them…

Hey…, that kind of sounds like what church is like…

A place where unwanted..., broken…, misfits…,

find they belong…, find love…, find people who care about them..

You are not so different…, from the person sitting in the seat in front of you… or behind you…

In a way we all come from the Island of Misfit toys…

The world’s values are often opposite of God’s values.

This can cause Christians to feel like misfits.

But even if life is difficult now, one day we will rejoice.

One of the greatest feeling you will ever know…,

Is to meet and experience God…, who is part of our everyday lives…

A God who not only cares…

But a God who is very near…, a God who is easily reachable…

A God who is part of our everyday lives…

A God who is in our Midst…

Let’s go back to Zephaniah 3:17b

II. He will Save You

There has been a lot of shopping this past Friday…

The day after Thanksgiving is one the biggest shopping days of the year…

How many of you have been shopping this weekend?

I didn’t see any eight-track tape players on sale…,

If you went shopping for a phone…, I bet you saw the latest I-Phone… ,

I remember my first cell phone was a car “Bag Phone” that weighed about five pounds…

It was about as big as my bible

For better reception you had to install an antenna on the outside of your car…

I bet you didn’t see any “Bag Phones” on sale…

And “Bell Bottom” jeans....

I wander what happened to those?

I heard that two women got into a fight at Wal-Mart over a “Black Friday Special”

One woman “bit” the other woman

Security had to be called…

What ever happened to Christmas cheer?

It seems to have gone by the way of the eight-track tape player.

Bag Phones and Bell Bottoms….

If we are not careful “Merry Christmas” can become more a time of grumbling and complaining.

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