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FRIENDS UNIVERSITY Heading

2017


Advent 2017 I am pleased to present the second annual Advent Guide for the Friends University community. In this season that can so often feel overrun by the busyness of schedules, the pressures of finding just the right gifts and the obligations of others on our time, energy and attention, taking the time to intentionally focus on the meaning and significance of the Advent season seems all the more necessary. Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term, Advent, is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming.” Advent reminds us of the once and future visit of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the Christ come to all of us this Christmas! May these devotionals help prepare our hearts as we journey through this season. Each day I invite you to read the Scripture and the accompanying brief devotion. Then, take a few moments to be still and present before the Lord, as you consider the significance of this Christ’s coming. This Advent Guide is a great collection of contributions from various faculty, staff and students who have read, prayed, reflected and put their thoughts onto paper – for all of us. I am thankful for their kind and thoughtful participation. I am grateful to President Amy Bragg Carey for her support of this project. And I am also thankful for Thes Kascsak, Chapel intern, who has taken this on as a “special project” again this year. May these reflections on Scripture help you walk each step of the Advent journey until you find yourself in the manger on Christmas Day! Grace and Peace,

Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor and Dean of Campus Ministries

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Guide to Daily Prayer Quiet Your Heart As we seek the Lord, it is important that we slow our pace, our mind and our body, so we might better “see” and “hear” what the Lord might have for us. A major part of preparing a place for God to speak involves turning down the volume of the noisy world we have become so accustomed to living in. Take a few minutes to focus your mind’s attention, and heart’s affection, on the ever-presence of Jesus. Opening Prayer Comfort, comfort your people, O God! Speak peace to your people. Comfort those who sit in darkness and mourn, Forgive us our sins and end the conflict in our lives. The Reading of Scripture Take time to slowly, and prayerfully, read the Scripture passages assigned for the day. Pay special attention to words or phrases that might stand out to you. The Devotional Reflection Read the devotional reflection for the day. Look and listen for how the Lord might be speaking through the thoughts and reflections of another. Listen for God Before you rush on to the next part of your day, take a few moments to sit with the things you have read, and ask God if there is something specific for you to take away for today. If you sense a leading, be willing to follow it. Maybe write it down somewhere where you will be reminded of it. Allow this to orient you and the work, relationships and experiences you have throughout your day. Prayers The following is a suggested guide for prayer during Advent: • Pray for all Christians around the world and especially for those who endure persecution for their faith. • Pray for our nation and all those in authority. • Pray that Christ’s peace may cover the world. Pray for the end of conflict and war and the triumph of truth and justice. • Pray for those who suffer and grieve. • Pray for all those who engage in the educational ministry of the Church and especially for Friends University.

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Week One O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017 Psalm 80 Isaiah 64:1-9 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:24-37 Psalm 17-19

In these passages, we find God’s people crying out the question, “When?” This is the space of holy expectation. Advent is one of my favorite seasons because it is filled with holy expectation. I read the narrative of Scripture and join in the expectation of the Christ child. I see myself in the characters of Scripture and imagine what it would be like to wait on the birth of Christ. I feel hope when I immerse myself in these stories. However, when I step out of my imagination, I find myself in a world that is quickly losing hope. It is then that I find myself asking God, “When?” Recently, I have found myself longing for something new, something fresh. News cycles that never bear good news constantly bombard my day. Every day there are more murders, mass shootings, terror attacks, kidnappings, racially motivated hate crimes and sexual assault; the list could go on. When I allow myself to get caught up in the cycle of bad news, I begin to lose hope. I wonder: How much longer will this last? I long for a day when things will be made right. I sit in anticipation of the One who will bring complete restoration of all things. That day has yet to come. In the midst of my waiting, I find myself in the space between “already” and “not yet.” It is a space filled to the brim with tension. It is in this space that we long for our world to be redeemed, to be made whole. I challenge you, this Advent to ask “When?” and cultivate in your heart a space of holy longing for God to make all things new. There is an excitement in the anticipation. The waiting itself becomes a holy moment. Frederick Buechner explains this holy expectation: “The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.” I pray that this Advent season you will find a renewed hope in the “already” while waiting on the “not yet.”

Haley Alloway Associate Campus Pastor and Outreach Coordinator

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Monday, December 4, 2017 Psalm 79 Micah 4:1-5 Revelation 15:1-8

During the Advent season, we are reminded of the incarnate Christ coming down to live and dwell with us. This uniting of man and God in Christ is a breakthrough in human history and existence, and through Christ literally tabernacle-ing in our human existence, we are set free from the bondage of sin and death and welcomed into a new reality, which is salvation. However, until Christ’s first coming, this was prophesied by the prophets. One of our readings is Micah, a prophet that speaks of these “latter days.” It is said that people shall flow to the mountains of the Lord, and not just the Israelites or a select group, but many nations, many different people. In Christ’s incarnation, He does not merely take on the humanity of some, but takes on everyone’s humanity, many nations’ humanity, and many people’s humanity. The life He lived, He lived in perfect obedience to the Father, because no one else could. He took upon the weight of our sinful ontological being and died a death on our behalf; not only that, He rose on our behalf and ascended on our behalf. Micah then talks about the nature of these “latter days.” The prophet says there will be peace among the nations, among many nations, among many different people. This peace does not just extend from God to man, but man to man. The death of Christ on our behalf extends the invitation of peace to others. This peace with others will lead us to a life of carefree enjoyment, one where we do not have to worry about the days of tomorrow, or be afraid of any threat; for we are God’s and have peace among us. We then look into the future of the last days, where we are concerned with the final days and the judgment of mankind. Let us remember that during those days there will be great joy; for in Christ we have peace with God, peace with our brothers, and even peace with our enemies. In a world where there is hardship and trouble, let us be reminded that this Advent season is a time of peace, for we have access to peace and reconciliation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thes Kascsak Senior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Psalm 79 Micah 4:6-13 Revelation 18:1-10

Imagine, if you can, what it would be like to live before Christ. If you were an Israelite, God called you to remember how He brought your people out of Egypt. He commanded you never to forget the miracles that had been performed by the power of His name. You knew God only through His law, priests, tangible works and occasional movements of the Spirit. His love was as strong as ever, but something was missing. Even God’s own people had removed themselves so far from Him that most could not receive His Spirit. His miracles were signs of love, but He had still not sent His ultimate sign of love to earth. All you had was a longing, a hope for this Messiah. If you were a Gentile, you may have only experienced God through His creation: the beauty in nature, goodness and love in others. I cannot even imagine the emptiness and the ache that comes from never knowing what or who it was you were missing in life. Micah 4:9 gives a poignant picture of Israel without Jesus: Why do you now cry aloud— have you no King? Has your Ruler perished, that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor? In the same reading from Micah, it is written that kingship will come to Daughter Zion, and that even though many nations are gathered against her, they “do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand His plan.” There is hope in God’s plan for Israel. Jesus was, is and always will be that hope. In the favorite Christmas hymn “O Holy Night” there is a line that states, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” I invite you today to ponder on where you would be without Jesus. Then, allow yourself to become thankful, and understand how much you mean to God. You are worth so much to Him that He became incarnate in order to redeem your life and bring you nearer. He gave you His Spirit, so that He could live and breathe inside of you, helping you to live your life to the fullest. As we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth, foster that hope, longing and love in your heart.

Nathaniel Filer Sophomore, Computer Science and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Psalm 79 Micah 5:1-5 Luke 21:34-38

The Christmas season is a time devoted to worshiping and praising our Almighty God. However, this has become the unpopular reason for Christmas. People get so caught up in the material part of Christmas that they get completely distracted from the true reason for the season. I know this sounds cliché, but it is so true. Look at the evidence around you. We are 19 days away from Christmas, and the stores are crazy with Christmas shopping for loved ones. While we may have good intentions, this is not what God intended for Christmas. So what is the point?

In Psalm 79, the people write to God to forgive them of their wrongdoings. They write in verse 13, “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation we will recount your praise.” I think this verse is very applicable today. I believe we take advantage of the love God has for us. We should always give praise to Him, not just in this Christmas season. This world we live in is not even near perfect. Our world is going crazy and is so caught up in the self. Thankfully, we serve a perfect and Almighty God. He only calls for us to call out to Him for help and to give Him praise. In Jesus’ parable in Luke 21, He tells us to pray to have strength to stay away from the distractions in this world. He doesn’t want us to worry about the material things that are on Earth. These things do not matter in the long run. We should focus on preparing for the Kingdom of God. So while you are in this crazy Christmas season, think about this. Think about God’s love for us and let’s sing His praises loud for all to hear; after all, this is the real reason for the season. Brooke Wheeler Senior, English Education

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Thursday, December 7, 2017 Psalm 85 Hosea 6:1-6 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10

When I was young, I believed being a Christian meant being perfect and traveling to all the world and telling them to also be perfect so we can all live together in heaven. Each week, I’d hear all about how we had to save sinners; then, I’d go home and see the exact same things I thought we were supposed to be “saving” them from. After seeing so much hypocrisy, I was nearly pushed away from the church, my family and a true relationship with God. Not long after starting college, I joined a young adult group that was reading a book about pursuing the likeness of Christ. A few weeks in, I started to realize that my understanding of Christ and Christianity as a whole were fundamentally flawed. Being a Christ follower isn’t about feeling better about my mistakes, keeping me from eternal punishment, or giving me an excuse to condemn those I feel are unworthy from my tower on high. It is a way to live life, possibly even the best way. All of the readings for today have a common theme of righteousness and love, spanning across prophets, kings and millennia. Beginning in Psalms, we see hope and longing for God’s people to live out love and truth in the streets, a call to right and whole living from which beauty and goodness sprout forth. In Hosea, there is a plea to God’s people to pursue a love that lasts and knowledge of Him, not just more systems and religion. In Thessalonians, we have the clearest call to a life of Christlikeness and to be living testimonies of what we believe in. A life that looks like Christ sounds intimidating. It is a tall order to be measured against the only human pure enough to be sacrificed for all of humanity. However, the secret to a full, righteous and bountiful life is love. If you love your neighbor, you will not steal, covet or kill. If you love your family, you will honor them, and if you love your God, you will do your best to do what He says. Foster a spirit of love in your heart for everyone you meet and your life will be a testament to the Lord. Today, I challenge you to begin an intentional habit of loving everyone you encounter with a heart that mirrors Christ.

Ethan Harvey Senior, Graphic Design and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Friday, December 8, 2017 Psalm 85 Jeremiah 1:4-10 Acts 11:19-26

I think sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the fact that the people around us break their promises and fail us that we start to think God will too. All of us have been hurt in one way or another, and that can make us skeptical when it comes to trust. It’s a big deal to believe someone is going to do what they say they will. But what we need to remember is that God is so faithful! You can count on God to do what He says He will and truly mean it. Jesus died on a cross and rose again just as He said He would. Our hope turns into a reality, for He will fulfill His promises. Remember that throughout this Advent season as we await Christ’s return. Maybe God is trying to tell us something, but we just haven’t opened ourselves up to listen. We may say we’re listening, but what if God’s truth is actually being clouded and blocked by our own assumptions and judgments? Focus in on Psalm 85:8-13 and meditate on that section. What is God trying to teach you through reading this? Psalm 85 tells us that God promises peace to His faithful servants. It also tells us that where there is love there is faith and where there is righteousness there is peace. Reflect on moments in your life when you needed peace in a time of struggle. Maybe it was in the past or maybe it’s right now, but one thing‘s for sure we cannot get through it all by ourselves. We weren’t made to. Trust me, I’ve tried to handle things on my own, and all that does is lead to more anxiety! Our God is ever present, and He will give you the strength you need if you rely on Him. The hope and peace that comes from the Lord is restoring and healing. Ask yourself, have I been a faithful servant? Have I been trusting in God and His word? “The Lord indeed will give what is good.” (Psalm 85:12) God wants the best for us. He loves us beyond measure. He will not lead us astray. Find rest in His faithfulness. Find hope in His plan for your life. Trust the One who knew you before you were even born and calls you by name. Find peace in His assurance of love. Celebrate during this Advent season because our Savior is ALIVE!

Brooke Riley Sophomore, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Saturday, December 9, 2017 Psalm 85 Ezekiel 36:24-28 Mark 11:27-33

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be cleaned from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” – Ezekiel 36:25 “You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!” – Psalm 85: 2-4 In this season of Advent, we look forward and celebrate the birth of Christ, the hope of our world. In this world filled with hate, Christ’s birth is our light in the darkness. It can be so easy to despair when we see everything that is happening in our nation and around the world. For me, it can be even easier to despair when I see the sin in my own life. Thank God for the birth of Christ! He is our hope. This is a time to rejoice in the promises of God. He is a giver of good gifts. The greatest gift that He has ever given us is Jesus Christ. This season is a reminder of the birth of Jesus and the gift of salvation and righteousness that came through Him. Listen to the promise in Ezekiel 36:25: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.” Is that not something to celebrate? God’s promise to His people Israel is the same promise He gives us today: God will cleanse us of our sin and make us righteous through Christ! Remember that promise during this time, and allow that to be your light in this world and in your heart. When you lose sight of the promise, cry out with the Psalmist, “Restore us again, O God of our salvation.” God will restore. He won’t leave us where we are. God is Healer and Comforter. He is waiting for us to call out to Him; He is waiting to shower us with His good gifts. He is our comfort in this life and our hope for eternity. Rejoice in that promise as we look forward and celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Devin Withrow Freshman, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Week Two

O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem, unto your own and rescue them! From depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017 Psalm 85 Isaiah 40:1-11 2 Peter 3:8-15 Mark 1:1-8

Advent is a season of anticipation as we look forward to the coming of the infant Christ, the son of God. Amazing isn’t it, that God became human when Jesus arrived as Mary’s child. The passages we read in today’s Scripture reference the coming of Christ the Savior. The passage in Isaiah is a prophecy that tells of the arrival of Christ and admonishes us that we are to be prepared because the good news is coming, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed when Jesus arrives. And, that is just what the angels proclaimed at the manger: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). In our reading in Mark, we see John the Baptist spreading the news of Jesus and His ministry. John speaks the words of the prophet Isaiah calling people to repent and seek the Lord. The final verses for today’s devotional in 2nd Peter 3 are alerting us that Christ will come again, what we know as the Second Coming. This is when God establishes His Kingdom, a perfect and beautiful world where all those that follow Christ will be forever in the presence of God. Therefore, the Old Testament prophet predicts the coming of Christ, John the Baptist heralds the work and ministry of Jesus, and then Peter alerts us to the final arrival of Christ. In all these passages, we are to be ready, looking for Christ. Why? Because in Psalm 85 the word says that God will restore us, revive us and bring peace to His people. The Lord, our Savior, comes with mercy and unfailing love. Do you need to be restored this Advent season? Do you long for a fullness of peace in a time of hurry and worry? How about a presence of overwhelming love even when you may feel alone or upset about family dynamics that can often become difficult during the holidays? The wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, the Author of love is here. He has come. He is coming. Glory be to God! Prayer, Thank You, God, that Your Son, the One the Scripture tells us is coming, has come to earth, to know and experience the human life. Thank You that He is the Prince of Peace and we can know Your peace even in trying times. Thank you for Your love that You demonstrated in an amazing way at Christmas. Cause me to lean into You, to trust Your unfailing love.

Amy Carey President

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Monday, December 11, 2017 Psalm 27 Isaiah 26:7-15 Acts 2:37-42

When I was in college, our choir presented the traditional Candlelight Lessons and Carols Christmas concert every year for four nights and then took it on tour for three days. This was complete with around 200 real candles, pine boughs, red ribbons and a large tree decorating the chapel. It was a favorite for the choir members and was always super emotional for the seniors. My freshman year our director chose a piece for the benediction by a Russian composer. The text was based on the Song of Simeon found in Luke 2:29-32, and the piece was gorgeous. Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (KJV) We all fell in love with it and insisted it become the traditional benediction for future Candlelight Concerts, or there would be mutiny! (It has remained a favorite and is the one piece we always sing at reunions.) As I read through the Psalm and the Isaiah readings for today, several verses popped out and reminded me of the Luke passage. Simeon would have known these verses and would have turned to them for encouragement. Simeon patiently awaited the arrival of the Messiah. He was an old man when he first saw the Child Jesus and immediately knew He was the Messiah. Simeon recognized Jesus as the Consolation of Israel, a title for the Messiah that refers to the comfort He would bring. With all the unrest in our world, I want you to be reminded of the attributes and titles of Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, our Consolation, patient, servant, humble and so many more. During this Christmas season I’d like to encourage you to explore His many names and His attributes. And remember: Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Psalm 27:14) Simeon did, and it was well worth the wait!

Rolaine Hetherington Assistant Professor of Music/Applied Voice

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Psalm 27 Isaiah 4:2-6 Acts 11:1-18

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?”– Psalm 27:1 When I was a child, as many, I feared the dark. I was so afraid of the dark it affected my thoughts, which disturbed my sleeping. Many young kids struggle with the dark because “they cannot see.” I think even now, we struggle with the idea that “we cannot see” in the mental realm. We can’t see the future, what others are thinking, etc. Therefore, we are afraid of the dark. Fortunately, there is a solution to our mental darkness – “The Lord is my light and my salvation!” (Psalm 27:1a). What if we let faith rule our lives instead of worldly fear? Many times, instead of having faith in God to handle a situation, we react out of our own fear, forgetting that there’s a better solution. Faith in the Almighty God to shine down on us, to bring darkness to light, and to renew our thoughts and actions. When we trust that God is our light, we can have courage in the Lord instead of human thoughts and approval. Soon the dark areas in our life become bright with God’s love and power. “Whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1a). No darkness of this earth is too big for God, not even the monsters in the closet! I can’t help to think of the famous song “In Christ Alone.” Not only does the song mention that God is our light, strength and solid ground; but it says, “No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.” If we follow God faithfully and put all of our hope in Him, evil cannot remove us from His light. The battle has already been won. God has already conquered our fears. The reading in Isaiah describes how God protected the people with His loving grace. It talks about how He provided a great canopy that was a shelter and a refuge. God protects us from the storms of life. He also protects us from our fears and worries. “The Lord is the stronghold of my life” (Psalm 27:1b). When we are weak, God is our shelter. A shelter that is strong and sustainable. In times of trouble and fear, we can rely on God to be our steady rock and protector. Psalm 27 ends by saying, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Confidence in the Lord is key to exposing darkness and fighting our fears. During this season of Advent may we be satisfied knowing that the Lord is our light and our salvation. Parker Titus Sophomore, Computer Science and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Psalm 27 Malachi 2:10-3:1 Luke 1:5-17

Today, as we celebrate the Advent season, many things can bombard our minds. We think about buying presents for others, making sure people are happy, getting ready for family gatherings and preparing meals. But sometimes we forget to create time for our Creator. We get so caught up in things this world says we should do during this season, yet we forget what our God says we should do. You may start to feel overwhelmed and maybe have some anxiety during this season which can make everything you need, or want to do, seem unpleasant. You will bend and bend until one day you’ll just cry out to God because He is the only One who can help you. So if you need to, do it. Cry out to Him. I’m not saying to forget about all the other things, but I am saying not to forget about God. Spending time with someone is essential for a healthy relationship; and it is even more essential to spend time with your Creator, the Lover of Your Soul, because He desperately wants to spend time with you. “For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary” (Psalm 27:5 NLT). He wants to protect you.

When the walls are closing in on you and you feel far from God, just remember that He is with you, always. We tend to want to move so fast during this time of year when what we really need is to slow down. Take a breath and wait for God to bring an opportunity for your next move. Waiting on God isn’t always easy, especially when we’re going a million miles an hour just to keep up with everyone else. But Psalms says beautifully to “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NLT). God yearns for you to love Him and cry out to Him, so don’t be afraid to do so! Take some time out of your day and everyday this season to love on the God that calls you His own and loves every bit of you.

Tristan Landreth Junior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 Psalm 126 Habakkuk 2:1-5 Philippians 3:7-11

Stop! Look around. Reflect on your life as it is in this moment. What worries you? What do you value so much that it could be called an idol because you may value it more than God? I don’t want you to feel shame over these things – we all struggle with it in different ways. But we should be aware of the things that pull us away from God, so we can become closer to God through prayer and practice. In Philippians, Paul writes “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ… For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” We should set aside earthly things (things that could turn our attention away from God) so that we can “gain Christ.” I’ve come to realize that we can become obsessed or even enslaved to earthly things that we dedicate our time and thoughts to. These things could include cell phones, social media, sports, music, grades, a relationship, wanting to be better than others at anything – the list goes on and on. Any of these things can become idols if we let them consume our attention and leave no time for God. Having these things or wanting these things in our lives is not bad; it’s just a matter of moderation and leaving space for God-time. Practice: Margin Naming the things that have a hold on us is extremely important and could become a practice in itself. But practicing margin is one that has been very beneficial to me. Margin isn’t just “free time.” It’s space in your schedule that you have set aside when you don’t have to do anything. Sit in the peace that comes in not doing (or thinking about doing) anything and you may find yourself being rejuvenated through prayer and listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say to you.

Sarah Mason Junior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Friday, December 15, 2017 Psalm 126 Habakkuk 3:2-6 Philippians 3:12-16

“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13b-14 It is so hard to ignore my past and look forward to what God is calling me to next. This passage makes it clear that we as Christians are called to live a life that is focused on God’s Kingdom and to pursue knowing Christ as our goal. I don’t think Paul is trying to tells us to ignore everything that is a part of our past, but I do think he is telling us to let go of things in our past that take our focus away from Christ. It is easy to dwell on past relationships, friendships, jobs, deaths and be focused on events or people that have impacted our lives. Paul seems to be telling us that instead of holding onto inhibiting weights, we should carry the cross with an unwavering focus on God. Paul uses the race imagery to teach us about sanctification, not salvation. We need to become more like Christ as we mature in our faith through prayer, studying Scripture, ministering and worshiping Him. We need to live in urgency to know Christ more and become who He created us to be. To strain means to force oneself in a strenuous act to achieve something. Because Paul uses “straining” instead of “strain,” this is an ongoing effort we need to make. Although it is easy to be apathetic or indifferent in your faith, in this Advent season we should live how Christ calls us to live in boldness. We need to let go of our past and let God transform us and live in deeper relationship with Him. Focusing on good or bad things from your past inhibits growth that will sanctify you. God has forgiven your past, so we don’t need to continue worrying about things that are finished. He will sanctify you if you are being obedient to Him wherever you are at in your life. Let us not forget our goal: to strain for sanctification and to live a life for God’s glory. It’s not easy or coincidental to live for Him. Be intentional in this Advent season to focus on the work that God is doing in you, and be obedient to that work.

Abigal Roush Sophomore, English

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Saturday, December 16, 2017 Psalm 126 Habakkuk 3:13-19 Matthew 21:28-32

Joy! Joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” The Greek word for joy is “chara” – the natural reaction to the work of God. Joy expresses God’s Kingdom – His influence on earth. I do not know about you, but I am always filled with such joy around this holiday season. I love the wintry weather, snow, Christmas music and lights, snuggling up with a nice fuzzy blanket, watching classic Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate, getting to dress in my cute winter sweater, and my favorite – family traditions! Now, above, I mention all the things that bring me joy around this holiday season, and I assume that most of you can relate to some of those things that bring you joy as well. But those are all just material things. Joy should come in knowing that this holiday season is to celebrate the birth of Christ. We should celebrate Christ and what He did, does and is going to do for us! I love Psalms 126 because it expresses how we should be joyful: “It was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” We should sing a song of Joy! So, in this season of Advent, I encourage you to practice the Greek word of joy: to be joyful in the work of God’s Kingdom. This reminds me of a hymn we sing, simply saying “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” But as you participate in some of the things listed above, keep in mind that Christ is the reason we have it all! I also encourage you to spread the joy and to share the story of Christ with others.

Bailey Nicole-Lampton Junior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Week Three O come, O Bright and Morning Star, and bring us comfort from afar! Dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017 Psalm 126 Isaiah 61:1-11 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28

Advent: an awaited arrival. We wait for something because we expect something. We expect something because we were told that something was coming. We celebrate Advent because someone before us made preparation and told us that something big was about to happen! When we think about an event in our own life, graduation, engagement, marriage, children, perhaps grandchildren, it is difficult to weigh the value of the preparation that leads us to such an event. These events are not possible without someone close to us investing a great deal of time, energy and, yes, even love to make the event come about. As we reflect on the readings for today from the Psalms and Isaiah we see a people acknowledging the work God has done and is doing in the lives of God’s people. Such insight should cause the discerning reader to take a moment to consider those who invested in their life to bring them to the point they are today. Can we give praise to our parents? Can we give thanks to an adult who showed us what was possible in our life? Can we thank a friend who cared when we thought no one did? The first two verses of Isaiah 61 are familiar from Jesus’ reading of Scripture in Luke 4. However, when one continues, one will find the reversal of fortune God is so well-known for. Destruction becomes GLORY, despair becomes JOY, poverty becomes WEALTH, shame and humiliation become HONOR. Yet the concluding verse reveals the intent behind the immense preparation for the awaited event: “The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.” Take time during this day to actively await the arrival we celebrate and reflect upon. Be attentive to the many opportunities where you can speak a word of praise or thankfulness to someone who has helped you become the person you are. Do not forget that we do not merely await an event recalling the birth of a baby; rather we recall the culminating plan established by the Sovereign Lord to cause righteousness and praise to burst forth for all nations, people groups, ethnicities, races, tribes, all peoples everywhere through all time. Stan Harstine Professor of Religion

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Monday, December 18, 2017 Psalm 125 1 Kings 18:1-18 Ephesians 6:10-17

One of my new favorite songs playing on repeat most mornings is Build My Life by Housefires. If you haven’t heard it, you should listen to it as part of this morning’s devotional! A few of the lyrics go like this: And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation. And I will put my trust in you alone. Oh Lord and I will not be shaken. Psalm 125:1 states that “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” Then, Ephesians 6 exhorts us to “be strong in the Lord” and “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” How do we keep trusting God? How do we take a stand against the devil’s schemes? Take a look at 1 Kings 18:1-18, and we have a prime example of a man who lived this out. Obadiah gives us an example to follow in tremulous times. Obadiah lived under the rule of an evil king, Ahab, and even in the midst of a nation that had forsaken God with idol worship and the killing of the Lord’s prophets, he was still a devout believer in the Lord. Obadiah had a prominent position during this evil time and used it to glorify God by hiding a hundred of the Lord’s prophets and staying faithful to his work. God invited Obadiah into the story, just as He invites all of us into the story of history. God has placed each of us in a specific family, community, university, city, country and time in history. Are you trusting God so you will not be shaken in these tumultuous times? Are you staying devoted and abiding in the Lord? Are you putting on the full armor of God each morning so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes? The Lord protected Obadiah, and He promises to protect His people, those who trust in Him and are upright in heart. Are you building your life upon a firm foundation? Are you putting your trust in God alone? The world will offer you many things to build your life upon, but only a foundation built on God and His Truth will stand in such tumultuous times. Lacey Landenberger Green Residence Hall and Falcon Flats Coordinator

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017 Psalm 125 2 Kings 2:9-22 Acts 3:17-4:4 Perfectionism is something I have struggled with throughout high school and college. When I deeply care about something, I want the details to come together to create the ideal product. Whether this is preparing a presentation for school or planning a new outfit for a job interview, I want every single aspect to be perfect. Most of the time, perfectionists are praised as being detail oriented, meticulous and thorough. Those qualities are sought after in the workforce and appreciated at home. However, as we all prepare for Christmas in the coming days, I would encourage you to purge your need to be perfect and take part in something far more special and meaningful: being present. As you are looking at your daunting Christmas to-do list, thinking about the presents you still need to wrap and errands you have to run, consider letting go of the narrative that you need to have everything perfectly in order. Sit down to be in community and laugh about the traditions of Christmas that we cling so closely to every year. Don’t work too hard on the essay that is due when you get back from break and don’t spend too much time on creating the “perfect” campus ministries devotional. Be like Peter and John in Act 3:17-4:4 who were bold, engaging, led by the Holy Spirit and chose to be present over being perfect. As you read the selected passages today, reflect on the following:

• Where do you see intentional presence? • Where is the absence of presence? • How is God interacting with His people? • What can we learn from God’s continual provision and interaction in our lives to turn away from perfectionism for a period and engage in quality time with family and friends?

Shauna Niequist beautifully notes, “What kills a soul? Exhaustion, secret keeping, image management. And what brings a soul back from the dead? Honesty, connection, grace.” Anna Griekspoor Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Psalm 125 Malachi 3:16-4:6 Mark 9:9-13 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. – Psalm 125:1-2 This psalm that was once sang as the Israelites would travel to the temple for festivals describes the people of faith as a mountain, immoveable, forever abiding. I don’t know about you, but when I think of myself, I don’t think of a mountain that cannot be moved. I am “moved” daily by my selfishness, pride, sadness, anger. “Cannot be moved” – what a way to describe people of faith! I can’t think of a time in my life where I could not be moved by something as simple as the wind blowing, yet those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved. The Lord surrounds them like the mountains of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is completely surrounded by a mountain range; it is a city completely secured by immoveable mountains. We are not a people particularly prone to feelings of security and confidence. Doubt, depression, uncertainty, anxiety – these, I am familiar with. These are our near-constant companions, but not confident security. We as Christ followers are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us. The opening phrase of the psalm is “those who trust in the LORD” – not those who trust in their performance, in their morals, in their righteousness, in their health, in their pastor, in their doctor, in their president, in their economy, in their nation – “those who trust in the LORD.” Those who decide that God is for us and will make us whole again. I regularly fall into the trap that I can be my own messiah; on a daily basis I have to remind myself that I am not the messiah of my life. When I can take myself off the throne of my life and put Jesus there is when I am secure, truly secure – like a mountain, unable to be moved by the wind. This Advent season may we climb off of our own thrones and seek to place Jesus as our Messiah. May we be strong and unshakeable in You, Christ Jesus; teach us to trust You. Amen. Jenna Easley Graduate Assistant, Campus Ministries

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Thursday, December 21, 2017 Psalm 89:1-9, 19-26 2 Samuel 6:1-11 Hebrews 1:1-4 “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being” – Hebrews 1:3a When you think about God, what image or words come to mind? When imagining who God is, sometimes we think of words like these: angry, distant, judgmental and harsh; but when we think about Jesus, we think of love, compassion, forgiveness and healer. But since Jesus is the “exact imprint of God’s very being,” what we read and experience about the character and life of Jesus should reshape our understanding of God to come into line with our understanding of Jesus. Jim Smith defines glory as goodness, beauty and truth combined with power. If Jesus really is the reflection of God’s glory, then what we know and learn about Jesus reflects God’s goodness, God’s beauty, God’s truth and God’s power. The advent of Jesus, Jesus becoming incarnate, is an extraordinary act of love from our God who loves us with a steadfast love and desires for us to know who He is. The incarnation of Jesus reveals God’s character in a whole new way and shows us the reality of what it means to live in the Kingdom of God. A spiritual exercise I’ve been encouraged to practice recently is contemplating the Christ-form. It’s simple. Slowly read a Gospel passage, and pay attention to Jesus. Allow Scripture to come alive as you observe the life of the Son of God. I love this practice because I always notice new things about Jesus. I encourage you to spend some time in Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to reshape your images of God through what you notice about Jesus. Carissa Reynolds Apprentice Institute Recruiting Coordinator

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Friday, December 22, 2017 Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 2 Samuel 6:12-19 Hebrews 1:5-14 Christ has come. He has, it has happened, and yet, it is still happening. The reflection of glory, the exact imprint of God’s being, the One who sustains all things. He has come, and He is with us. Though the world changes, things move and morph, Christ remains steady. Though we grow faint in our faithfulness, Christ remains faithful. Though the world around us appears dark, Christ remains light. Though we feel lost, Christ remains our guide. He puts the songs of gladness in our hearts, the dances in our feet. Apart from Him we have little. With Him we are held together, all parts, sustained. Christ has come. He has come, and yet, it is still happening. Redemption is still active, things are still being renewed and refreshed. He has come, and He is with us. He is present in the service of our neighbor, In the smile of a child, In the radiance of the sun, In the brilliance of the moon and snow. He has come, and He is with us. Does He give you hope? Does He provide warmth? Why has He come for you? What is He doing? How is He working? He has come, and He is with us. Listen closely to His teaching. Feel His heartbeat for you. Breathe in the breath He gives to you. Christ has come, and still we wait, not in a passive, dismissive way, but in an exciting, passionate way. We wait actively, listen attentively, and act accordingly. See the light of Christ, and live in the light. He has come, and He is still coming. The symbolic act of experiencing advent is in itself an act of worship. Waiting actively, preparing to receive yet again. Open up your hands to receive, each day, each minute you are alive. Christ is coming, Christ has come. It is still happening.

Laura Peck Sophomore, Sociology and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Saturday, December 23, 2017 Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 Judges 13:2-24 John 7:40-52

As Christmas draws near and our excitement for the Lord’s coming builds, we must reflect on why we are excited. Our Lord is a strong tower, our shelter and our deliverer. He is our friend. Christmas is one of the best times of the year to gather with friends and family. Just as our excitement grows for our relatives and relations, so should our excitement for our Christ. This excitement should not be without preparation, though, for the coming King. We can prepare our hearts, minds and souls throughout the day, reminding ourselves that Jesus is coming. He will come to us, our Emmanuel, our redeemer! This doesn’t mean we must “make busy” to prepare. Sometimes, the best way to prepare for Jesus is to do nothing but listen for His voice, just as Mary did while Martha rushed on with work. We can sit in peace, listening for God’s good Word to come to us. The traditional Quaker practice of silence is a wonderful practice of nothing: nothing but nothing, waiting for God to fill us with His joy, presence and love. When we hear God’s call, we often assume it’s a call to action. In some instances, though, it is a call to deactivation. Remove hustle and bustle, noise and clamor, and raucous ruckus for even a short while. Allow God to speak to you and be sure to listen. God will bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you. Let Him. So I encourage you to at least take some time today to actively pursue nothing. Pursue silence for even a moment to allow God to speak and to come into this place.

Jonathan Pettyjohn Sophomore, English Major and Christian Spiritual Formation Certificate

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Week Four O come, O King of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind. Bid all our sad divisions cease and be yourself our King of Peace.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017 Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 Romans 16:25-27 Luke 1:26-38

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Treats are made, letters are written to Santa, carols are sung and houses are decorated. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating my house. We pull out all of the Christmas tubs, jam out to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and spend tons of family time working together to create a masterpiece. While this is a fun part of the Christmas season, I have to remind myself of the bigger picture and what Christmas is all about. In 2 Samuel, David too wants to create a beautiful house. He has pure intentions and wants to build a home for the Ark of the Covenant, but God tells him He does not need a home and that He will build a home for David. God wants to build each of us a home. He offers us complete shelter in Him. By taking shelter in Him, we are given all the things we need. When I think of going home, I associate it with comfort, warmth, safety and peace. If we choose our home to be in Christ, we are granted all of these. All we have to do is open our hearts, and He will do the rest. God wants our heart, mind and soul. He asks us to love Him and put Him first. He does not ask or expect perfection. He asks for love. He wants to meet us where we are. He will make us great because greatness comes from Him. A 12-year-old boy with autism, named Josiah, said it best: “God is a good gift giver.” God gave us the ultimate gift, Jesus. Tomorrow is a day of celebration. We celebrate Jesus’ birth and what is to come. By giving us Jesus, God enables us to receive salvation. No other gift could be as great as this one. God offers us each this gift if we are only open to receive it. This Advent and Christmas season God is ready to show us new gifts, better than we can ever imagine. Are you ready?

Addie DuLac Junior, Psychology and Sociology

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Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, 2017 Psalm 98 Isaiah 52:7-10 Hebrews 1:1-12 John 1:1-14

A sound somewhere in the distance breaks through the empty and motionless space of the pre-dawn hour. It’s Christmas morning! That magical time that serves as the pinnacle of the Advent season. That which we have been waiting for has finally arrived. Somehow, under the cover of darkness, new light and love has been birthed into the world – forever changing… well, everything! As we become more aware of our surroundings and ourselves, we sense that something is different, better, right. In the tranquility of those early moments, there is an impression that the world is as it should be. All is quiet. All is still. There is peace in the moment. The chaos of the pre-Christmas season has now passed – the presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, the food is in various stages of preparation, and the plans to see family and friends have been made. At the same time, the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day has not yet breached the holy stillness. The house is still asleep. There is an opportunity to roll over, or to step into the Divine majesty of the minute and be reminded of what this day, this season, really, this life is all about. God showed up. He did what He said He would do. There is hope for the world because the Lord has provided for us a Savior. One that would take away the sins of the world. One that would make all things right again. One that would serve as the Ultimate Guide, our True North, the One that would help us to understand the world and our role within it. Yes, the coming of Jesus, and the chance to celebrate this Divine intervention every year, must serve as a constant reminder that the God who created us knows us, cares about us and is for us! This really does change everything. Then, suddenly, the moment is broken, but not lost, as the house begins to awaken from its collective slumber… God showed up and now invites us to do the same. Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor and Dean of Campus Ministries

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Campus Ministries at Friends University Chapel Join the Friends University community as we gather to worship, to pray and to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Thursdays at 11 a.m. | Alumni Auditorium Vespers What’s the best way to end your weekend and start your week? Join other members of the Friends community for an intimate time of worship through song, prayer, Scripture, silence and space. All are welcome! Second and fourth Sundays of the months at 8 p.m. Location: Lower Casado Small Group Communities There are numerous ways for you to connect with others through intentional small group communities on campus. If you’re looking for a place to get plugged in, please visit with one of our campus pastors, and they’ll help you get connected. Local Service Projects Love where you live! Impact the community by volunteering! Have an idea? Come tell us about it. Looking for a place to serve? We can help you find a great place to get plugged in! Mission Trips Work with a team over fall break, spring break or both to explore important issues in our world and serve alongside churches and organizations that are making a difference. Retreats Recharge away from campus with a fun time of learning and resting while growing in your faith. Individual Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction Our Campus Pastor and Campus Ministries staff members provide a safe and supportive environment to help you navigate life’s challenges. Regardless of where you are on your faith journey, our doors are open to meet with you to explore and expand your understanding of who God is, how you are, and what you and God are doing together in the world. Prayer Have a prayer request? Our Campus Ministries staff is committed to praying for the needs of the campus, and we invite you to share your requests with us by emailing prayerrequest@friends.edu.

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2100 W. University Ave. Wichita, KS 67213 friends.edu/campus-ministries

Friends University Advent 2017  

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nat...

Friends University Advent 2017  

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nat...