Scripture: Isaiah 60:2-3: See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. As the Candle is Lit: “We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Hope. May the light sent from God shine in the darkness to show us the way of salvation. O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. As the Candle is lit: “We light this candle as a symbol of the Prince of Peace. May the visitation of your Holy Spirit, O God, make us ready for the coming of Jesus, our hope and joy. O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
Scripture: Isaiah 35:10: Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. As the candle is lit: “We light this candle as symbol of Christ our Joy. May the joyful promise of your presence, O God, make us rejoice in our hope of salvation. O come, O come, Emmanuel”
Scripture: John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. As the candle is lit: “We light this candle as a symbol of the love God has for all of us. May your gift of love, O God, make us rejoice in our hope of salvation. O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
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When have you shared with someone else your testimony of Christ’s work in your life? When have you been a part of someone professing Jesus as Lord and Savior? When was the last time you invited someone to your Sunday school class or tribe? When have you greeted a visitor at church? When have you offered to pray with someone who is hurting?
The acronym for the Future Farmers of America is FFA. I like to use this acronym in the church to represent Family, Friends, and Acquaintances. From now through Easter is the best time of the year to invite people to church. All of us know Family, Friends, and Acquaintances (FFAs) who are not a part of the life of the church. Maybe they have been wounded by a bad experience in church. Maybe they have just drifted away. Maybe a life tragedy is causing them to have doubts. Maybe they have never been in church at all. Maybe they don’t trust the church. Maybe they are cynical about life in general. Right now is the best time to invite them to “come and see” (John 1:46) what is going on in the life of the church. FFAs are the easiest to engage because we already know them. Remember, most people do not have a problem with Jesus. It is Jesus’ followers that present the biggest problem for them. Can we show them we really love them and that we would go the second mile for them (Matthew 5:41)?
Are we relating with people in a way that communicates the Good News of Jesus to them? Are we kind? Are we loving? Are we patient? People are naturally drawn to the followers of Jesus who live their faith. People are also naturally turned away from Jesus because of bad behavior from those who claim to follow Him. From Christmas to Easter, let’s invite all of our FFAs to come and see what God through Christ is doing in our midst, and let’s ALWAYS love them!
Jesus Loves You! I Love You Too!
- Pastor Steve