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God has given us everything! The tithe is an acknowledgment of that! God owns everything and has shared it with us...therefore it's a fitting act of faith and worship to give 10% back to him!
Abundance empowers us to fulfill our purpose, advance God's Kingdom and bless others.
Advent is the time in the Christian year that comes just before Christmas. It sometimes gets confused with Christmas, but it’s very different in purpose. Christmas celebrates the arrival of the Savior. Advent is a time set aside to remind us that we are a waiting people. God’s people waited for the Messiah in the Old Testament times, and we await His return in our time. In the more recent past, I have come to appreciate the cycle of the Christian year, and the way that it not only lays out the life and ministry of Christ, but also the way that it can bring us in to that story. The seasons of the Christian Year are a repeating unfolding of the story of Christ – every year we can walk through the highlights of how God brought salvation to us, and as such, it is a means of keeping that story before us, and even of being embraced by it. Because, after all, and I hope that you are beginning to understand, contrary to the thinking of modern Americans, Christianity is not really about Christ coming into the story of your life. It’s about you coming into His story, and entering His life.
Consumer Christmas promotes covetousness and materialism. But Advent, you see, encourages Christians to have a proper attitude toward possessions because it teaches us that waiting and faith – and hope, even in times when it seems there is no reason for it, are indispensable to the Christian life. Advent humbles us with waiting, and prepares our hearts to receive and welcome Christ. Advent is the antidote for the commercial Christmas frenzy and a template for our entire Christian lives. Consumer Christmas exploits the fact that by nature we are avaricious sinners. When gift-giving time rolls around, we think about getting more stuff. But Advent whispers to us “this worlds treasures are temporary.” The Scripture readings and hymns set aside for this time of year proclaim that this world will end – and soon. And then, our material possessions – the things we so ardently wish for will be burned up with fire. Consumer Christmas promises us that the presents we get or give, THIS YEAR, can deliver what we truly desire. But Advent tells us that what we really want, whether we realize it or not, even when we are distracted by the bubbles and baubles, is to be joined to our Creator, who made us in His image. Advent hymns express this – Hymns with titles like; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and Come thou long expected Jesus. Only the Son of God who comes in human flesh in the manger, dies on the cross and will soon return can fill this desire. Advent calms our frantic wanting and points us to the manger, where, after four milennia of preparation, the Word of God takes on mortal flesh – and once crucified, He blots out our sins with His blood, and ascends to the Father, and sends us His Holy Spirit, to indwell us and make us partakers of the divine nature. He alone is our hearts true desire. Advent reminds us that we are empty, hungry sinners, waiting for a meal that we cannot provide for ourselves, and that the One who can fill us will soon appear.
Two families head to Romania. There they are confronted with poverty and strained families in a culture of gypsies. The hope of Christ is the message they bring.
The future of Christians is certain and sealed. We who are made alive through Jesus will overcome pain, suffering and death. We will see today that Jesus will return for His people someday.
Part 5. When we are adopted into God's family, He introduces us to the rest of the family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are the gift of God to each other.