Summary: OUT OF COMPLETE INSIGNIFICANCE GOD BRINGS ABOUT HIS REALITY FOR THOSE WHO WOULD CHOOSE HIM!
ADVENT: SHOOTS AND ROOTS: WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
DECEMBER 5, 2004
INTRODUCTION: WHO CAME UP WITH THIS?
A woman was in the mall doing her Christmas shopping. She was tired of walking through every aisle of every store to find just the right present. She was stressed out by the mounting debt on her credit card. She was tired of fighting the crowds and standing in lines for the registers. Her hands were full and when the elevator door opened, it was full. “Great!” she muttered and the occupants of the elevator, feeling her pain, graciously tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load.
As the doors closed she blurted out, “I think whoever came up with this Christmas junk ought to be found, strung up and shot!” A few others shook their head or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”
Contributed by: Rick Pendleton
TRANSITION THOUGHT: HERE WE ARE, 21 DAYS UNTIL THE BIG ONE AND THE MADNESS HAS STARTED. MANY OF US ARE NOW KNEE DEEP IN THE CHRISTMAS RUSH. THE CHURCH IS STARTING TO GET BUSIER, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS IN SOME YEARS. THE EXCITMENT IS BUILDING AND THE KID IN ALL OF US IS STARTING TO LONG FOR THE BIG DAY. OUR TEXT TAKES US ON A DIFFERENT JOURNEY. THIS JOURNEY IS ONE OF A NEW REALITY IN THE MIDST OF THE GRIND OF LIFE. OUR TEXT FINDS US IN THE SAME PLACE IT FOUND ITS ORGINAL READERS: A PLACE OF UNCERTAINTY AND LONGING. The uncertainty was nationalistic and the longing was for a YAHWEH intervention. For us, the uncertainty is the chaos of life and the longing is for a different reality than the one in which we live. ISAIAH CALLS TO US TO HEAR AGAIN THE GOOD NEWS OF A GOD REALITY!
THESIS SENTENCE: OUT OF COMPLETE INSIGNIFICANCE GOD BRINGS ABOUT HIS REALITY FOR THOSE WHO WOULD CHOOSE HIM!
I. SHOOTS AND ROOTS IS A STUMP REALITY V. 1
A. A STUMP REALITY IS A CUT TREE
B. A STUMP REALITY IS A LOST PROMISE
C. A STUMP REALITY IS IN THE DIRT
D. A STUMP REALITY IS A LITTLE SHOOT
ILLUSTRATION: HERE’S MY ROOM
Ron Hutchcraft tells the story of Harold. Harold wanted to be in the annual Christmas play which was always a big production in his town. But Harold was not the top student in his class and seemed to have a lot of problems. The directors of the children’s play did not want to hurt Harold’s feelings, but they were worried about whether he could handle a part. They finally decided to give him the part of the Inn Keeper. All he had to say was, “I’m sorry, there is no room in the Inn.”
Well, the night of the big play came and the church was packed. At the precise moment Mary and Joseph came and knocked on the Inn door. The whole village of Bethlehem shook as Harold tried to open the cardboard door to the Inn which was stuck. At last he got the door open, and the pitiful young couple was standing there looking all too real to Harold, but with a little coaching he blurted out the words: “I’m sorry, all the rooms are full, and there’s no room for you here.”