Summary: We need to be prepared and we need to prepare those around us for the coming of the Lord.

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It’s interesting on a day like today how you can look back on the past 3 years and think it seems like no time at all. But then as you think about it some more, so much has happened in those 3 years that it feels like Camille has always been here. I mean it’s hard to believe that Camille and Rob were only married last January. It feels like we’ve been talking about it for years.

But not only do we look back on three years and think how fast they’ve gone, we also look forward and wonder what the next three years might bring - or the next thirteen, or thirty, depending on how old you are. What do you think about when you look forward in your life to the next stage?

Some people might be thinking about a change of job. I’m sure that’s on the mind of Rob and Camille. What will the new place be like? What support will you get for ministry? How will your ministry be received?

Then if you’re as old as I am (and that’s pretty old!), you might be starting to think about the possibility of retirement. On the other hand if you’re one of the youth group you might be thinking about a VCE year coming up or leaving school and going to University, thinking about what subjects you’ll choose, what courses to take. Others might be thinking about the possibility of marriage, or having babies, or moving house.

But whatever stage you’re at one of the questions that arise at every stage is whether you’re ready for what you’re moving into. Rob’s just finished four years at Ridley College so I’m sure he’s well prepared for ministry. Camille has had three years of training here by our great youth group so I’m sure she’s well prepared for whatever Diamond Creek can throw at her. But what about the rest of us? Are you ready for whatever might be waiting for you in the months and years to come?

I was reminded, two weeks ago when we read the gospel reading for Advent Sunday, from Luke 21, just how carefully we need to prepare for what’s to come. Let me remind you of what Luke 21 says: "10Then Jesus said to them, ’Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. 12But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. ...’ 29Then he told them a parable: ’Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’"

As you think about what might be coming in your life, do you ever stop to give a thought to the bigger picture of God’s plans for the world? Do you ever think that Jesus is due to return sometime soon; that you need to make sure you’re ready for him?

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