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FRIENDS UNIVERSITY Heading


Advent 2016 I am pleased to present the inaugural Advent Guide for the Friends University community. This is a tradition I bring from my previous work on other campuses, and pray that it will prove to be a meaningful part of your Advent season. 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 past and future visit of our Lord Jesus Christ. May 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 Christ’s coming. This Advent Guide is a great collection of contributions from 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 on this “special project.” May these reflections on Scripture help you walk each step of the Advent journey until you find yourself at the manger on Christmas Day! Grace and peace,

Dr. Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor and Dean of Campus Ministries

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Guide to Daily Prayer 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. Confession of Sin Reflect quietly before God asking for forgiveness for all those things done and left undone that are unpleasing to God. Remember, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 Scripture Lessons Read the Morning Psalms for the day. Read the First Reading for the day. Read the Second Reading for the day. Read the Gospel Reading for the day. Return each evening to read the Evening Psalms for the 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 leadership. • 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

Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016 Morning Psalms 24; 150 First Reading Isaiah 1:1-9 Second Reading 2 Peter 3:1-10 Gospel Reading Matthew 25:1-13 Evening Psalms 25; 110 The first disciples did not fully grasp the reality and truth of who Jesus was. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to them, and little by little they began to grasp the meaning of the incarnation—God coming to us in human form. The apostle Paul would put pen to paper and try to explain what was really beyond explanation. Paul’s letter to the Philippians contains a passage that is believed to be either an early Christian hymn, or a part of the liturgy that the early Christians spoke while together. It is a beautiful description of the movement from the pre-existent, preeminent Son of God, to the man called Jesus: “Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (Phil. 2:6-7a) God left his divine throne to become a human being. He emptied himself, it says, to take on human form. The Greek word for emptied in this verse is kenosis. It means to sacrifice oneself for the good of others. The prophet Isaiah foretold: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). Immanuel means “God with us.” The Immanuel Principle is the principle of the Magnificent Story. God was with Adam and Eve (until they rebelled). God was with Abraham. God was with Moses, and Esther and David and Elijah. But now, in Jesus, God is with all humanity in a new and special way. God is not just with an individual, a tribe or a nation. God has come to establish a new with-God life, called the Kingdom of God. And Jesus will be the King. But for now let us stay for a moment in the manger. Mary, with Joseph at her side, gives birth to an infant boy in the most humble conditions—a barn. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords enters the world like any infant—weak, needy and fragile. Chris Rice, in his song “Welcome to Our World,” sings, “Fragile finger sent to heal us Tender brow prepared for thorn Tiny heart whose blood will save us Unto us is born” The miracle of the Incarnation is the centerpiece of a magnificent story. It is a love story, after all, and the hero is on the scene. Dr. James Bryan Smith Associate Professor of Religion; Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation

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Monday, November 28, 2016 Morning Psalms 122; 145 First Reading Isaiah 1:10-20 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Gospel Reading Luke 20:1-8 Evening Psalms 40; 67 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18b) The longer passage of Scripture from the Book of Isaiah this morning is a hard one to read. True to form, this prophet comes with a harsh word from the Lord. Why? Because the Israelites are struggling to be faithful to God. The reality is they’ve been struggling for some time now, and God is over it. God had originally established a covenant with Abraham, and his descendants the Israelites. God had promised to bless them, protect them and provide for all their needs, and only asked that they remain faithful to Him. He would be their God and they would be His people. Throughout the Old Testament, however, we read of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites, despite their inability to be faithful to God in return. This covenant between God and the Israelites was renewed during the leadership of Moses and then again, during the reign of David. But Isaiah’s prophecy is coming long after the death of King David – and based on these opening remarks from Isaiah, it is clear that the Israelites have strayed far off from their commitments to God once again. If we’re honest, it’s not too hard to see the comparisons between the Israelites in the Bible and the people of God today. They struggled and we struggle. We hope that we “get it right” most of the time – that we are faithful and obedient in following in the ways of Jesus – but we know we are far from perfect and just as in need of a Savior as the Israelites were back then. And although the first 39 chapters of Isaiah build God’s case against the Israelites and their unfaithfulness, we see in the verse above reason for hope, proof that while God is just He is also gracious. Although judgment was coming, there was reason to believe that God was not giving up on His created. As we journey through this season of Advent, may we be reminded that God came to earth to set things right in His creation. He desires in us the same things he desired in the Israelites back during the time of Isaiah – faithful obedience. God, during this season of “waiting,” would you examine our hearts and minds and reveal to us the ways in which we can better come under your Lordship. Help us to see how we can better come alongside you and your Kingdom work – here and now. Amen! Guy Chmieleski Campus Pastor and Dean of Campus Ministries

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016 Morning Psalms 33; 146 First Reading Isaiah 1:21-31 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Gospel Reading Luke 20:9-18 Evening Psalms 85; 94 “But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.” – Psalm 94:22 Did you know the Bible is full of people crying out to God, asking where He is and what His plan is for their life? Shocking, I know. David and other psalmists boldly express their frustrations, pleads and brokenness towards God. This almost makes it more comforting when we as Christians find ourselves being stagnant asking the questions, “where are you” and “what is your plan for my life?” David and the other psalmists proclaim their concerns, but what is beautiful is the fact that they don’t stop there. They place their attention on God’s presence and provisions in their lives. They zone back in on what they know to be true about the Lord. They declare that the Lord is the ruler of their life. They find their strength and refuge in who He is. Psalm 94 starts out as a cry by the psalmist. He is asking where the Lord is and why He hasn’t done anything to the evildoers who are rejecting God. And then, ever so graciously, he steps back into the truths of who God is and what this looks like in his life. “He knows that the Lord will not forsake his people. He knows that the Lord will stand up for him against evildoers. He knows that without the Lord his soul would be empty. He knows the Lord has steadfast love. He knows that even when he has fears, the Lord will fill his soul.” How easy it is to slip into a life that is centered on the brokenness of the world. This reality leaves us asking, “where are you” and “what are you doing in my life,” and then staying there feeling abandoned and without hope. “The Lord knows our thoughts…” (Psalm 94:11) Being open and vulnerable with God allows us the opportunity to dig deeper into His truths. Do your truths align with those of the psalmist? Allow yourself the time and space to cry out to the Lord and become more aware of His reality all around us. Anna Lindholm Junior, Psychology and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11 First Reading Isaiah 2:1-4 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20 Gospel Reading Luke 20:19-26 Evening Psalms 53; 17 “I came to seek and to save what was lost.” – Luke 19:10 We did not seek God. There is no one who seeks Him. No one understands. Every single person has become corrupt and turned away from Him. No, we never seek God on our own. Our only hope lies in the fact that God is the Initiator; He always acts first. God seeks us. He reveals Himself to the world through His Word. He calls all nations, all people everywhere, to come to Him. He hears the cry of His people and He comforts them. Not only does He call out to us from His Word, He also ordained creation to be His witness: “The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse of the heavens shows the work of His Hands. Day after day they pour out their speech. There is no tongue or language where their voice is not heard.” – Psalm 19:1-3 And now, in these latter days, He has spoken again by sending His Son, who came to “seek and to save” His people. He will not fail to accomplish that mission; there will not be one soul of His that is not found and brought under His care. He seeks us; He rescues us. It is this expectation of the arrival of God’s Son – and the fulfillment of His coming – that we celebrate at Christmas, at Advent. For many centuries God’s people looked for His arrival. “At just the right time” He arrived in humility, born into poverty, born of a virgin. He stripped Himself of all His glory and “took on the form of man.” That was the first Advent. Our anticipation of His next arrival is not yet over. Once more He will come for what belongs to Him – not in humility, but in triumph. Not meek and arriving in a manger but glorious as He leads the armies of Heaven. He will complete what He began. He will seek and save His people and bring them into His kingdom. In that day, our “looking forward” will finally be over. We will be with Him and His saints from all the ages and all the world, forever. The Advent season celebrates the beginning of a new age. “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’” Ken Faffler Vice President of Enrollment Management

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Thursday, December 1, 2016 Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20 First Reading Isaiah 2:5-22 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 Gospel Reading Luke 20:27-40 Evening Psalms 126; 62 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” – Psalm 62:5 Rest. Hope. I deeply desire those things in my life. When we take a look at the state of our world, country, state, city, community, family or personal life, it is tempting to give oneself over to fear, anxiety, discouragement and hopelessness. Praise God that He invites us into the present reality of life in His Kingdom here on earth. Throughout Psalm 62, David expresses that despite the many trials, the deceit and the plots against him, his trust, refuge, salvation, hope and rest is in God. “Power belongs to You, God and with You, Lord is unfailing love.” – Psalm 62:11-12 In His unfailing love for us, God made a way for us to live a life of purpose and intimacy with Him in His Kingdom by sending Jesus. Christ modeled a life of unity with God the Father and transformed the world through His lifestyle, teachings, discipleship, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension! As we look forward to the day we celebrate the coming of Jesus in this Advent season, let us find rest and hope that we are welcome to live a life in union with God and His work of advancing His Kingdom here on earth. How does your soul find rest in God? What do you need hope for? How is God inviting you to participate in His Kingdom work? When do you feel God speaking to you? May you find rest, hope and intimacy with God as you participate in His work and will of the Kingdom through your life. Carrissa Reynolds Apprentice Institute Recruiting Coordinator

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Friday, December 2, 2016 Morning Psalms 102; 148 First Reading Isaiah 3:1-4:1 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 Gospel Reading Luke 20:41-21:4 Evening Psalms 130; 16 “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.” – Psalm 16:11 One especially memorable winter included a brutal ice storm. Everything, and I mean everything, was covered by a thick layer of ice. The symptoms of the storm were harsh: tree limbs snapped and caused damage to property, people slipped and fell everyday, and car wrecks were quite common. I happened to be staying at my grandparents’ house when the storm hit. At first, I was not excited whatsoever about being trapped there during the storm. Thankfully, reality was different than my expectation, as it is now a week that I look back on warmly. I doubt that Bethlehem experienced that same extreme winter weather during the days that Mary and Joseph were visiting, but I am certain they were thankful for the refuge of that old stable. They were safe inside, out of whatever conditions threatened. My experience was similar: inside my grandparent’s house was much warmth, plenty of fully loaded chocolate chip cookies, and of course, the presence of my loving grandparents. This same safety and provision is what I like to think of when David says “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge” (Psalm 16:1). Outside of God’s refuge there is much to distract us, harm us and to lead us astray. But on the inside, near the fireside of our King, “my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure” (Psalm 16:9); and “the path of life” is made known to us (Psalm16:11), instead of the path outside, completely covered in ice, that will naturally cause us to slip and fall. As we take refuge in God, we learn the heart, mind and way of the King. We learn to live in a way that is pleasing to God, and we learn to do so more and more (1 Thes. 4:1-2). We learn it is not our self-righteousness that pleases him, but rather giving all we have to offer, just as the blessed widow did so long ago (Luke 20:45–21:4). Today, as you move about in a world full of things that threaten to distract and destroy, take refuge in God’s house by keeping your eyes always on the Lord (Psalm 16:8). Praise God that he offers us this place of refuge, this safe haven where we will surely be taken care of. Josiah Brown Senior, Finance and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Saturday, December 3, 2016 Morning Psalms 90; 149 First Reading Isaiah 4:2-6 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Gospel Reading Luke 21:5-19 Evening Psalms 80; 72 We, like the Jews who waited expectantly for their promised Messiah so many years ago, are also in a time of Advent. However, we do not wait for, nor do we expect as in His first coming—a humble birth of the Emmanuel in a vulnerable infant form as they did. Rather we now wait for the coming or advent of the Messiah as the fully divine, all-powerful King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It will certainly be an unprecedented event. Biblical scholars are in disagreement over the precise order of events that will either precede or follow this return. I am convinced we do not need to know every detail that transpires around the time of His coming, but some things about the end of the second Advent are certain. While the first coming of Christ may have redirected the course of history, we know that the second coming will mark the end of our earthly history and begin a far more exciting, eternal epoch. We will see the defeat of Satan and all principalities of evil. We will see every man and woman answer for the manner in which they lived their life before the judgment seat. We will see injustice and the maladies of this world extinguished. We will see the indescribably beautiful unification of Christ with His beloved Church and the eternal communion of God with His beloved saints upon a new earth. While the end of the second Advent is often approached with some fear, we should remember that ultimately this is really an exciting time that we should anticipate with even more expectancy than that of the ancient Jews beseeching God to send them a Messiah. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 4:17b-18 after the return of Christ, “… we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” I ask, as we enter this season of Advent in preparation for celebration of the arrival of the Emmanuel on Christmas morning, we also remember the second season of Advent and look expectantly with great hope, anticipation and joy towards the end of the final season of Advent. Caleb Angell Senior, Political Science and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Week Two

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016 Morning Psalms 24; 150 First Reading Isaiah 5:1-7 Second Reading 2 Peter 3:11-18 Gospel Reading Luke 7:28-35 Evening Psalms 25; 110 Psalm 24:3-6 (ESV) Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. I remember as a child that once Halloween was over I began to wait in anticipation for Christmas Eve when we could open some of our presents! It was hard to wait for Christmas and all the good food and family fun. Now, it sneaks up on me every year. These days I almost rush through the season counting down all the things I need to do. Anticipation is a good thing, savoring the special moments of the Christmas season with family and friends is a blessing. David, the psalmist, in Psalm 24 reminds us that the King of glory is coming, the Lord strong and mighty. We are to lift our heads to be ready in anticipation for the coming of the Lord. God’s entrance, as one commentary states, is “Christ’s entrance into the souls of men by his Word and Spirit” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary). In that same Psalm, verses 5 and 6 tell us those who seek the Lord and demonstrate a desire for God, a person of clean hands and a pure heart, will receive a blessing from the Lord - God will save them. As the gates of our heart are opened to Him, the gift of hope and salvation is delivered. Wow! Friends, as we anticipate the Christ-child coming as a baby, as the son of God, we delight in the best gift ever – the saving love of Christ. This Christmas, let not this great gift pass us by in the clutter and busyness of the season. Let us look for Him. Let us fling open the gates and say “Come Lord Jesus.” Let us not rush through this time of Advent, but recognize that God is the King of glory, the Lord almighty, the Savior of the world. May this be our prayer today from Psalm 25:4 and 5, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Dr. Amy Bragg Carey President

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Monday, December 5, 2016 Morning Psalms 122; 145 First Reading Isaiah 5:8-17 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Gospel Reading Luke 21:20-28 Evening Psalms 40; 67 “I was glad when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord.” In a strong statement of invitation and anticipation, this ascent psalm describes the children of Israel going up to Jerusalem to enter the temple. With language of journey and pilgrimage, going into the house of the Lord was not a duty, but an action stemming from joy and hope with the expectation of the Christ showing His face. The last thing I would want to do when “these things begin to take place,” is look up and raise my head! The interjection “heads up” when some unknown object is hurled in my direction has always been a place of confusion for me. In this instance, I believe I would shrink in fear and trembling, maybe take shelter and hope to escape from the judgment and wrath that seem to be coming upon the earth. There are many books about the “end of days.” These books seem hell-bent on stirring up anxiety and uncertainty about the end of days—the final battle of good and evil, and the destruction of all we know and love. At least that’s how the movies present it. However, that is not what our Lord counsels. Do the words of Jesus intend to strike fear into our hearts? Does He want us to hide our faces in guilt and shame? Rather, He tells us to look up and raise our heads, for our redemption is near! We are reminded throughout Scripture the day of the Lord is not a time for us to fear, because Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the end of days will be—Jesus! When we look up and raise our heads, what will we see— Jesus! Thankfully, we have no need to fear the conclusion of earthly time and the Day of Judgment, for it will all be Jesus—and Jesus only. But let’s not wait for that day—let’s have our every day be Jesus and Jesus only. Look up every day and raise your head, for our redemption is near! Lord Jesus Christ, make your face so shine upon us, that we lift up our heads and see you only. Amen. Jenna Easely Senior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Morning Psalms 33, 146 First Reading Isaiah 5:18-25 Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 Gospel Reading Luke 21:29-38 Evening Psalms 85, 94 My father didn’t talk about his war experiences often, but one story occasionally surfaced from his Christmas during WWII. On cold nights in France, he would close his eyes and hear his father’s rich bass voice singing an old hymn, “Star In the East.” As a child, familiar with this hymn, I thought it strange that Grandpa would choose this haunting minor melody to sing at Christmas and, moreover, that it was a fond memory for my father. It wasn’t until I was older and more pieces of the story were unearthed that I understood and gained an appreciation for this treasured memory. Daddy was a twin, one of the youngest of 11 children, who grew up on a small farm in the shadow of Magazine Mountain in Arkansas. Siblings couldn’t serve in the same branch of service so his twin enlisted in the Navy and Daddy into the Army. In the fall of 1944, Daddy shipped out to France and found himself in the depths of WWII. A few months later on Dec. 9, he was critically wounded during a change of watch. Only 19 years old, lying in a foreign hospital on the other side of the world from little Magazine, Arkansas and very homesick, this precious memory transported him across the ocean to that tiny farm called home. Now, with an adult’s understanding, I also grasped the encouragement he drew from the lyrics:

. . . Rock of our refuge, and Hope of Salvation, Light to direct us thru death’s gloomy vale. Brightest and best of the sons of the morning! Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid; Star in the east, the horizon adorning, Guide where our infant Redeemer was laid.

My father, a lover of hymns and a poet himself, found strength and encouragement in these words. They carried him through the next several months until he could return home and on throughout his life. As we enter the Advent season, celebrating the anticipation of the “infant Redeemer,” we can gratefully celebrate the arrival of our Rock of Refuge and Hope of Salvation. “But the LORD has been my defense, And my God the rock of my refuge.” Psalm 94:22 Rolaine Hetherington Assistant Professor of Music/Applied Voice

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11 First Reading Isaiah 6:1-13 Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 Gospel Reading John 7:53-8:11 Evening Psalms 53; 17 On what does your hope rest? After you read Psalm 147:1-11, take a few moments then reread it again marking words or phrases that stand out to you. Our God is so good. He is the creator of the very air we breath – He is the supplier – He is the creator of the stars which guide our directions – He is the way maker. The creator of the animals we eat, the plants we ingest – He is the provider. He alone is worthy of all praise. In fact, He is fitting for our praise. The one who builds up Jerusalem is building up our communities, gathering us together. For we are brokenhearted. We are the ones whose wounds He is binding. He sees the moment your heart breaks for He created you. How “great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” He is limitless, and His limitlessness can be seen in His creation. But we are still wicked. We know the way that Jesus lived, but we ignore it and do not respect the Lord. We are wicked to the ones for which our sovereign King died. God is so worthy of praise for even in those moments where we ignore the reason for this season, He still provides for us. His pleasure still remains in the ones who respect Him and the ones who put their hope in His unfailing love. Read Psalm 50. How do the two Psalms connect? How does God’s unfailing love relate to the Advent season? When has God healed you as described in Psalm 147:1-11? In this season, it is so easy to rest your hope on things outside of Christ. In all honesty at this moment, on what does your hope rest? Where should it rest? Take some time to personally reflect on the passages. As you go about the rest of your day, remember how God’s unfailing love reflects the Advent season, and all He has done for you, and how His unfailing love is for you. Miranda Tenove Freshman, Christian Spiritual Formation

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Thursday, December 8, 2016 Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20 First Reading Isaiah 7:1-9 Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Gospel Reading Luke 22:1-13 Evening Psalms 126; 62 When times are hard, and they will be…. When people betray us, and they have…. When the world around us seems to crumble, it is…. Where do we turn our eyes? In whom do we trust? Whom do we stand firm in? Whom do we cry out to? Is it ourselves, others or the Lord who is the creator of heaven and earth? Jesus comes soaring on the wings of the wind. He comes to rescue us and bring us into spacious space, His space. Let us turn our eyes to God. Let our mouths sing His praise and our minds meditate on His truth. For He has done GREAT things for us and we are filled with JOY. He has come, is here and will come! Are we waiting, ready for Jesus’ coming? There’s a little book, Expectation Corner, which contains the following song. May we be expectant for Christmas Morning! “I hear the sob of the parted, the wail of the broken-hearted. The sigh for the love departed, in the surging roar of the town. And it’s oh for the joy of the Morning! The light and song of the Morning! There’ll be joy in the Christmas Morning, when the King comes to His own! Now let our hearts be true, brothers, to suffer and to do, brothers; there’ll be a song for you, brothers, when the battle’s fought and won. It won’t seem long in the Morning, in the light and song of the Morning; there’ll be joy in the Christmas Morning, when the King comes to His own! Arise, and be of good cheer, brothers; the day will soon be here, brothers; the victory is near, brothers; and the sound of the glad ‘Well done!’ There’ll be no sad heart in the Morning; No tear will start in the Morning; There’ll be joy in the Christmas Morning, when the King comes to His own! We’re in for the winning side, brothers, bound to the Lord who died, brothers, we shall see Him glorified, brothers, and the Lamb shall wear the crown. What of the cold world’s scorning? There’ll be joy enough in the Morning- There’ll be joy in the Christmas Morning, when the King comes to His own!” –Emily Steele Elliott Lord, may we hold tightly to you and loosely to this world. May we be expectant to see your coming and great power in our daily lives. Lacey Landenberger Green Residence Hall and Falcon Flats Coordinator

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Friday, December 9, 2016 Morning Psalms 102; 148 First Reading Isaiah 7:10-25 Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5 Gospel Reading Luke 22:14-30 Evening Psalms 130; 16 Rejoice on the arrival, look to the past and future, and celebrate with the ones you love. When working on my devotional, I first started with the word Advent and what it means. Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. This is perfect, since we look at the Advent season as a celebration of the day our Savior arrived to shield us and protect us through happy and sad times. With His arrival, we also had a person that would always show us love, no matter how difficult times are or how tough we make things on Him. The season of Advent has four candles; the first two candles we light are for looking forward to His second arrival and the last two are for looking back at His first arrival. This is a very interesting concept because during this season, I believe a lot of us are always reminiscing about the past when it deals with experiences and at the same time we are excited about looking forward to all the possibilities. This causes us to rethink our commitment to our Savior, to ourselves and our loved ones. I know this is the time of year where I do a lot of praying and asking for direction in my life. Advent also symbolizes the arrival of family and friends. This time deals with celebrating time together, giving of gifts and sharing experiences with loved ones. This is a time I’m sure we all enjoy receiving gifts, however I love the looks on my family’s faces when they receive their gifts. Just as important is the time we spend together, watching TV, talking, playing cards or just sitting watching the little ones playing with their new toys. The season of Advent reminds us of all the great things we have in life, and how focusing or refocusing on our Savior is something that can brighten any life. So remember what is important to you this Advent season and cherish all the fun, crazy and exciting moments. Allen Eiberwein Director of Casado Campus Center

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Saturday, December 10, 2016 Morning Psalms 90; 149 First Reading Isaiah 8:1-15 Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18 Gospel Reading Luke 22:31-38 Evening Psalms 80; 72 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the faithful.” –Psalm 149. Each day is a chance for more discovery, a chance to show up and press into the Spirit that leads you to the next right thing. Every day is a fresh welcoming of new seasons in as old seasons fade away, a continual chipping away at the callous build up in defense of the self. With each sunrise comes another opportunity to unwrap another layer of the heart, to see the intricately woven self in a different light and feel the warmth of the Father’s love in a more powerful way. As the Father holds you close and awakens your heart, you can be reminded daily of His provision, His constant care, how lovingly He sees you, His creation, His child, the only you He has. The child He loved so dearly that He rescued from the sin which so easily entangles, He longs to commune with. The same child He chooses to do His work, to be His hands and feet again and again. And what could be more grand than this? What other source of life fully loves and gives without condition? Without requirements or expectations? A love like this draws us in to hear its story. A story of truth, abundance, belonging. A story that welcomes us home, to a place just for us. A story of restoration and transformation every single day. Each day a new song of thanksgiving and awe of the Lord is held inside your heart, a response to the overflow of love poured out over you. So sing your song with boldness! Sing your song and declare the greatness of the lover of your soul. Sing your song and experience the softening of hearts, your own and those around you. Sing to the Lord and remember His faithfulness as the seasons come and go and life plows ahead. He is the Constant, regardless of the changing seasons. Laura Peck Sophomore, Sociology and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Week Three No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the curse is found.

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Sunday, December 11, 2016 Morning Psalms 24; 150 First Reading Isaiah 13:1-13 Second Reading Hebrews 12:18-29 Gospel Reading John 3:22-30 Evening Psalms 25; 110 John the Baptizer is the only John to appear by name in the Gospel according to St. John. As a comparative model through whom to view Jesus, no one in the Gospels exceeds him. Yet, John is often forgotten or dismissed in our thinking because he died during Jesus’ lifetime. The account in John 3:22-30 illustrates for us one of the most important truths of the Advent season: awareness. John is a religious phenomenon in the second decade of the first century. He was, in the phraseology of many, a “rock star.” Masses of people went out to catch a glimpse of his person, a word from his teaching, or a brief encounter in the Jordan river. His popularity threatened the religious authorities’ hold on worship in Jerusalem. Yet, despite his popularity, he remained fully and totally aware of his self-limitations. He was NOT the Messiah; he was but a lowly messenger sent out before the Christ. One of the most difficult activities of the Advent season is to hold in check the flood of messages that assault our senses concerning our own self-importance. Christmas in the 21st Century is too often about what I want, about what I buy, about how I celebrate. The message from John the Baptizer during this Advent season is that my success in life is determined by how much attention Jesus receives and how little I receive. When I become aware of this simple truth and the flood of selfaggrandizing messages are held at bay, only then can my joy become full and overflowing. Father God, during this season of expectation permit me to be more aware: aware of those in need around me, aware of those you have placed in my path to serve, aware of my own pride and desire to receive attention. Allow my life to become less important and for Jesus to become more important in the eyes of those I encounter. Allow this season of expectation to be less about my own plans and more about your purpose and desire. In the name of the bridegroom, Jesus our Lord and Messiah, I pray. Amen. Stan Harstine Professor of Religion

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Monday, December 12, 2016 Morning Psalms 122; 145 First Reading Isaiah 8:16-9:1 Second Reading 2 Peter 1:1-11 Gospel Reading Luke 22:39-53 Evening Psalms 40; 67 “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom” – Soren Kierkegaard Much of our lives we deal with choices, some are simple; like what to wear, eat. But some choices define who we are. They define or shape our character. Much of this moral formation comes from the times of anxiety, anguish and despair. We would like to think that life is just one joyful ride when God is with us, but this is not the case. In the account of Luke; Jesus deals with this idea of anxiety. We have to remember that Jesus is fully God and fully human, and he still dealt with the burden of anxiety. In the later chapters it is said that he sweat out blood, anxiety truly had overcome our Lord and Savior. But, just as it seemed Jesus would let the cup pass, He made the choice to do the Father’s will. Many times in our life it will be our time to take the cup; and in the moment we too must make the choice; to drink from the cup the Father gives us or let it pass. In our despair we know God the greatest, and it is often in these times that saints, spiritual writers and Fathers of the church know Christ the most. We serve a suffering God, and it is through suffering, through despair and through anxiety that we grow a deeper love and knowledge of God. Each of us will be given a cup, much like our Risen Savior was given, and none of us will be excluded. Just as we have the choices to choose what we eat and wear, we to have the choice if we will drink from the cup, or let it pass. Jesus not only chose the cup and drank from it, but he also chose to come in human form and dwell among us. He chose to take the cross for our reconciliation, and for the chance that we can dine and drink with him as well. In our daily lives, and in our despair, let us choose to honor and glorify the Redeemer of creation, who chose to come in babe form and die a death only He could die. Nicholas Notabene

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016 Morning Psalms 33; 146 First Reading Isaiah 9:2-7 Second Reading 2 Peter 1:12-21 Gospel Reading Luke 22:54-69 Evening Psalms 85; 94 There seems to be a sort of dualism in the Christian language. We have been told over and over again the world is evil, and we are bad people, and God is good. This is the dualism that has been passed down from generation to generation. There seems to be this idea that in order to believe God is good, we need to believe everything that is not Him is inherently evil. Except this is not at all what the Gospel teaches. In fact, one of the first declarations God has on His creation is that it was very good (Gen 1:31). Everything and anything God creates is good, including us. God does not despise His creation but smiles on us, because of His great love for us. This Advent season marks the coming of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, the one who is to tabernacle among us. The incarnation proves all of God’s creation is sacred. As the Redeemer came in human form and lived with us, He not only blessed the earth and redeemed it back to God, but showed us the life God intends for us. The life that is lived in the Kingdom of Heaven, the greatest life anyone could live. Creation can now obtain this kind of life, as the Redeemer of the world has made it possible. Creation is loved, yes, and this world is forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ and is justified through the resurrection of Him. The same world where Peter denied Jesus, where He was beat, spit on, taunted and crucified, is the same world where God demonstrates His own love for us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This Advent season reminds us that God created us good, and through the redemption of Christ we can restore our imago dei (Image of God). Creation’s identity is no longer identified by the evil we deem it, but by the Messiah who came as a baby, lived the life we were intended for and died because of the love He has for us. Thes Kascsak Junior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11 First Reading Isaiah 9:8-17 Second Reading 2 Peter 2:1-10a Gospel Reading Mark 1:1-18 Evening Psalms 53; 17 “And this was his message, ‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” In the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark, John was sharing the Good News of a coming Savior. John was doing the work of the one who sent him. The text indicates that “all the people of Jerusalem went out to him” suggesting there was great anticipation for what, or who, was to come. Have you ever anticipated a coming event to the extent it consumed your thoughts? Big events in our life tend to trigger powerful, emotional feelings. All of those feelings aside, the result of a major event changes everything. This was the message John shared as he baptized people in the Jordan River. As the word spread throughout the region that a Messiah was coming, the people were determined to see for themselves what this movement was all about. Their lives, our lives, would forever be changed. Sometimes, however, big events leave us wanting more. They can end in disappointment and emptiness by failing to fully deliver on the promise. These experiences accustom us toward reluctance to fully believe. On the other hand, the anticipation of an encounter with Jesus was quite the opposite experience. John was sharing a promise to prepare the way for a new encounter that would surely change everything. This was the continuation of God’s plan for His people. John was speaking with confidence knowing the one who sent him would fill emptiness and comfort the doubters. There was no room for doubt or fear as the Son of God was coming. The final verse of Psalm 17 says, “…And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” During this season of Advent may we be satisfied with knowing our Creator. Dr. Preston Todd Assistant Dean of the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education

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Thursday, December 15, 2016 Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20 First Reading Isaiah 9:18-10:4 Second Reading 2 Peter 2:10b-16 Gospel Reading Matthew 3:1-12 Evening Psalms 126; 62 As we are just ten days away from the celebration of Christ’s birth, the anticipation of His coming to earth continues to rise. Today’s readings cumulatively reveal that God’s presence on earth in the form of a human was not a surprise. Due to prophecy from many individuals before Jesus’ time, there existed a great excitement for when the approaching King would “become flesh and dwell among us.” One of these individuals was David. In Psalm 62, he wrote on waiting for God alone. David describes God as a rock, a fortress and his salvation. He’s telling others of the saving quality of the God who is coming. Psalm 62 also tells of waiting on God in the silence. Even in this text there exists a great anticipation for one who saves, long before Jesus appeared on earth. David asks God’s people to “pour out your heart before Him” (62:8). This is an incredible picture of how Christ followers can pursue God, through a surrender of their entire heart and life to Him. In Matthew 3, John the Baptist prepares a way for Christ, instructing others to change their way of thinking towards God. He knew God’s kingdom would be made even more of a reality as Jesus came to earth. The prophecies of God coming to Earth were about to be fulfilled! John recognized this and was absolutely ecstatic about this news! In verse 11, John makes the claim “He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” This provides insight into who Christ is; a mighty God and a fortress. While John baptizes with water (physically), Jesus will baptize others with the Holy Spirit (spiritually). These two passages contain imagery of an internal burning for Christ. This burning is powered by the Spirit, and spurred on when God’s people pour out their hearts to Him. May this be true for you as you wait, with joyful enthusiasm, for the celebration of God becoming man and making a saving relationship possible. May we live like John and David, pouring our hearts out before Him, and fostering environments in our lives for the King to come reign. May we hunger for that and pray to God “come set my heart ablaze for You.” Austin Schmidt Junior, Health Sciences and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Friday, December 16, 2016 Morning Psalms 102; 148 First Reading Isaiah 10:5-19 Second Reading 2 Peter 2:17-22 Gospel Reading Matthew 11:2-15 Evening Psalms 130; 16 No matter where you are in life right now, I can guess you are waiting for something. Let’s be honest; waiting can be one of the most difficult aspects of human life. Waiting goes against the natural desire to have what you want when you want it. Whenever a season of waiting comes, find joy in it because these are seasons of preparation. In Romans 5:35, Paul explains the process and benefit of remaining hopeful in trying times as a time to build endurance. The practice of waiting transforms your ability to endure into character and your character into hope. You become new and strengthened when you embrace waiting seasons with hope God is working while you wait. This new mindset allows God to not only ready your new position for you but He also prepares you for your new position. As David says in Psalm 16:6, “Yes, I have a good inheritance” and you must also believe you also have a good inheritance. David’s faith in God’s love for him allowed him to have hope in times of trouble. The key to surviving a difficult time is knowing the true nature of God, “[He] is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness” (Jonah 4:2). Because we know this is His nature let your heart and mind be reminded as you wait, better days are coming soon. When you believe your latter days will be greater, know it will be different than before. If the better days were the same they would not be called better days thus there would be no reason to change your mindset. It is my hope you will find joy in knowing, “to go where you have not gone, you must do what you have not done” (Marvin Sapp). Allow God to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone so you can be led into your destiny. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be discouraged because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Syeeda Echols Senior, Religion and Philosophy and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Saturday, December 17, 2016 Morning Psalms 90; 149 First Reading Isaiah 1:20-27 Second Reading Jude 17-25 Gospel Reading Luke 3:1-9 Evening Psalms 80; 72 Today’s Bible passages take us on a wild ride through history: • From “before the mountains were born” to the beginning of human history; • From the sinful fall of humans to the building of a covenant with Abraham and his descendants; • From the sometimes sordid history of humans’ failures to keep their end of the covenant to the stark warnings of several prophets; • From the coming of a Redeemer to the anticipation of a still better world: and • From a God who is sometimes protective shepherd and sometimes angry judge. In the midst of this seemingly incoherent sweep through history, the church calendar calls us to reflect on and anticipate the coming of the Christ child. God has come and dwelt among us. How do I make sense of the extraordinary claim that it’s not just God in the form of a child, but God has become one of us? How does the story fit with today’s readings? Like most stories, context helps us understand and appreciate the importance and impact of the story. One way to make sense of it is to ignore everything but the events leading up to and immediately after the birth of Christ. It’s familiar, joyful, sometimes quaint, incredible, and leaves us with a general sense of well-being. But, it also makes little sense beyond that without the history and the anticipation of what’s to come. The Bible passages in today’s readings, and many others like them, are pieces of history that make the Christmas story incredible and complete. While the particular passages aren’t obviously significant for the story, the depiction of a broken, unjust, violent world is fundamental for expressing the joy and hope of the Christmas story. It’s the rest of the story that gives Christmas its full meaning. It’s about a God who chose to suffer alongside us in a broken world. God’s people had waited centuries for a time when they would no longer be oppressed. They had endured violence, ridicule, hunger, and oppression. God came to dwell among us, fully human, as a response to that history and the beginning of a new, much longer and bigger story. And so we say: Christ died, Christ rose, Christ will come again. Without that, the Christmas story is just that, another story. Maranatha. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Jaspar Lesage Vice President of Academic Affairs

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Week Four

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders of His love.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016 Morning Psalms 24; 150 First Reading Isaiah 11:1-9 Second Reading Ephesians 6:10-20 Gospel Reading John 3:16-21 Evening Psalms 25; 110 In the morning we should enter a time of prayer for the entire day. There may not be a temple and it may not be a Sunday, but it is still a day in the Kingdom and we are to show our love, respect and adoration for our King. We may praise him in silence or in song so long as our focus is Him. As the psalmist says, we do not just enter the temple alone. “And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” God is with us, Emmanuel. Yet God is even prepared for our straying. Ideally, our prayer and focus should arm us to fight the day’s battles. But, we do err. We do stray. We do sin. Pray at all times through the day, as Paul says, not just for the strength but for the forgiveness to press forward. Throughout the day we will be challenged, but our King is a mighty one who watches over his creation with love and purpose. He has revealed this in the Gospel of love, that He gave his only Son that we may have eternal life. Advent is a season of preparation for God to be with us. Each day, as we pray, should be a time of preparation for Christ to enter our lives and strengthen our faith. Truly, though, there should be no fear of lack of strength or forgiveness. Both have already been secured. The psalmist asks for guidance and deliverance when he says “Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.” This is our daily supplication. We should always conclude our prayer day in the evening by asking God to continue His redeeming, restorative work in us. And, at night, we can remember that, especially during Advent, His powerful light will overtake the darkness. Jeremy Gallegos Professor of Philosophy & Ethics; Division Chair of Religion & Liberal Arts; General Education Assessment Coordinator

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Monday, December 19, 2016 Morning Psalms 122; 145 First Reading Isaiah 11:10-16 Second Reading Revelation 20:1-10 Gospel Reading John 5:30-47 Evening Psalms 40; 67 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have eternal life.” John 5:39-40 Many times in our Christian lives we want to follow the rules. We are nothing but legal moralists who want to adhere to the rules. Following the rules or setting standards is never a bad thing. However, what is wrong is making other people follow those rules. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for this: not adhering to their own standards. We see in Matthew’s Gospel that our righteousness must pass that of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). When we read that passage, we immediately shudder; because we think that righteousness comes from playing by the rules. Jesus was not condemning the rules but the hearts of those who thought the rules gave them life. The heart is what Jesus’ ministry was about, and this idea that if we were to have a righteous heart that followed God—we wouldn’t need rules! Too many times we believe that by following the rules, abiding by a code and having a standard to meet, we will find life. During the times in our life when we follow the rules to the “T” it seems that Christ is least liberating. Although Christ did not come to abolish the law, he did come to liberate us from the rules. He also came to give us grace and acceptance, something that the rules cannot give us due to their nature. Grace, peace, acceptance and love bring us life. Jesus offered an abundant life, not rules. We like to systematize Jesus into rules so that we know who is following and who isn’t. Perhaps if Jesus came in our churches today he would cast us out as snakes and a brood of vipers because of our adherence to the rules and lack of acceptance of outsiders. Rules are not bad or evil. However, the act of putting standards and rules on people who don’t need them, and not accepting individuals because they neglect to meet those requirements is. Playing by the rules isn’t bad but this Advent season, let us remember the Redeemer who came not to make more rules but to liberate us from sin, and to show us a life that is abundantly blessed by the God who constantly loves, forgives and transforms. Ana Staicys

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016 Morning Psalms 33; 146 First Reading Isaiah 28:9-22 Second Reading Revelation 20:11-21:8 Gospel Reading Luke 1:5-25 Evening Psalms 85; 94 Each moment we are being formed. The people we interact with, the social media we scroll through, the billboards we drive by, the music we listen to, and the books we read are forming us. Each of these avenues is molding and shaping who we are, and ultimately our heart and soul. As Christians and apprentices, we desire to be formed and shaped into the image of Christ so we might bear good fruit and be a witness to those in our spheres of influence. Psalm 33:15 reveals the fact that God forms the hearts of all and considers all we do. Packed within this statement are two powerful truths. 1. God forms all hearts. God forms your heart. Take a few minutes to reflect on that powerful truth. 2. God considers all we do. This truth faces us with tough questions: Does realizing that God considers all we do convict us about the lifestyle we are living? Is the way we are living holy and pleasing in God’s sight? Do our actions align with the way God calls us to live? The amazing part is these two things go hand in hand. As we spend time allowing God to mold and shape our hearts into the image of His Son, Jesus, our actions begin to better align with the life God is welcoming and calling us to. God invites us to an abundant life full of joy, hope and freedom like that found in Psalm 146. In this season of Advent, this time of waiting on the coming Messiah, may we wait on and draw nearer to God through the practice of the disciplines to allow formation to take place so that our lives will reflect and bring glory to our Father in heaven. Christa Follette Sophomore, Health Sciences and Christian Spiritual Formation

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016 Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11 First Reading Isaiah 29:9-24 Second Reading Revelation 21:9-21 Gospel Reading Luke 1:26-38 Evening Psalms 53; 17 December 21 is usually the date upon which falls the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Often referred to as Midwinter’s Day, it is, for many millions of Christians around the world, the shortest and darkest day of the year. Over the centuries, the day has become crowded with myths and stories, tales of darkness and huddling against the cold--but also of the quiet joy of a fire against the stillness, of a quiet waiting for the promised turn in the seasons to begin. The turning of the seasons—fall to winter and winter to spring, the slow disappearance of the sun and its just as slow return, the descending cold replaced by glowing warmth—is no surprise; millennia of recorded history has encoded this pattern into our folklore and our very bodies. But the fact that God would, in the face of the perversion of His creation, turn back to us with deliverance and restoration—that, in itself, is a glorious surprise. A surprise such as Mary felt, when, as the story goes, the angel Gabriel announced she would be the mother of our Savior. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that, through Him, through His birth and life and teachings and atoning death and finally resurrection, we all may find “favor with God.” Such assurances of favor do not mean an instant cavalcade of blessings; it does not mean that the darkness will be immediately replaced with light. (There are many weeks, remember, between Midwinter’s Day and Easter morning.) But they do mean God is there, with us, doing His work, reaching out to us from the darkness of this world. As we contemplate the promise of His coming, let His words through the angel to Mary light a fire of patient waiting and hope within us, here in the midst of the darkest day of the year. Dr. Russell Arben Fox Professor of Political Science; Director of Honors Program; Model UN Sponsor

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Thursday, December 22, 2016 Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20 First Reading Isaiah 31:1-9 Second Reading Revelation 21:22-22:5 Gospel Reading Luke 1:39-48a (48b-56) Evening Psalms 126; 62 God’s Word is too rich for a short devotional, but let’s jump right in. A key aspect of today’s scripture passages is our majestic, merciful God and His actions for His people. In examining the Word, there are three questions to present: 1) What are God’s actions? 2) What should be the response of His people? 3) How is this connected to Advent? Let’s answer the first question. In Psalm 18, God has just rescued David from Saul’s hand. Facing death, David called upon God and God answered. God’s Action: He saved David. David’s Response: he offers prayer and praise to the Lord—he cannot help but marvel at God’s incredible attributes. God is David’s strength, rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, and stronghold (18:1-3). He is active and powerful (18:619)! In Psalm 147, David’s praise describes God’s actions for all His people: He strengthens, makes peace, sends out His command, He declares His word… (147:13-19). David’s response is simple: “Praise the Lord!” (v. 20) God is the Great Deliverer, worthy of all honor and adoration. In Isaiah, God is equally present, fighting for His people. The prophet warns those who turn away from God—return to the Holy One of Israel! God will overcome all those who seek to destroy God’s people, but the Lord “will protect and deliver [Jerusalem]” (31:5). Isaiah’s response is to declare God’s power to the nations, calling them to cast away their idols and cling to the Lord. Like David, Mary recalls God’s promises in her praise to Him (Luke 1:5455). As she prepares to deliver the Savior, she exclaims that the Mighty One “has done great things for me” (v. 49). Her response to God’s favor and blessing is joy, prayer and praise! So how does all this prayer and praise connect with Advent? The answer is in Luke 1:50: “And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation.” David, Isaiah and Mary all feared and honored God. Their praising lips reflected their God-filled hearts. They knew God’s promises and saving power are sure for those who trust in Him. And Christ’s saving power is just as sure for His followers! May we never lose awe for the greatness of God! May our hope be in Him (Psalm 62:5) and may we take refuge in His steadfast love (62:12). Amy Shelden Senior, English

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Friday, December 23, 2016 Morning Psalms 102; 148 First Reading Isaiah 33:17-22 Second Reading Revelation 22:6-11, 18-20 Gospel Reading Luke 1:57-66 Evening Psalms 130; 16 Praise. It seems like such a simple word. We all want it. We all seek it. We want it from our friends, from our bosses or from our family. We seek praise but what does it look like to praise God. Merriam-Webster dictionary gives three definitions for the word praise. 1. to say or write good things about (someone or something) 2. to express approval of (someone or something) 3. to express thanks to or love and respect for (God) What does it look like to live a life praising God? Does it look like a Bible study, or sitting in church? Or does it look like how the Psalm describes it? Every walking, creeping, crawling and swimming thing praising God 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Honestly, when I first read this passage my thought was, “Wow. I really stink at this whole praise thing.” Sure, I thank God for my blessings. But am I really praising Him with all I have, all the time, or as much as possible? The answer I came to discover is a big, fat nope. I’m not perfect. I am a sinner. As hard as I try, I will always fall short. But it’s okay that I fall short, because I have a Savior who doesn’t. Faith alone. Faith alone in the fact that Jesus Christ died for my sins and His blood set me free to be a child of God is enough. He paid it all. I stumble; I fall; I fail. It’s what sinners do. We try to live as Christ-like as possible but we mess up. Jesus is right there to pick up the pieces. His love wipes clean the slate. How incredible is that love? How worthy of praise is this love? We are the people close to His heart and for that reason alone we praise. We praise Him from the highest of mountains and from the depths of the sea, because He is our redeeming grace and so worthy of our praise. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 145:3) Andie Huebner Junior, Zoo Science

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Saturday, December 24, 2016 Morning Psalms 90; 149 First Reading Isaiah 35:1-10 Second Reading Revelation 22:12-17, 21 Gospel Reading Luke 1:67-80 Christmas Eve Psalm Psalm 132 Christmas Eve Psalm Psalm 114 Christmas Eve Reading Isaiah 59:15b-21 Christmas Eve Reading Philippians 2:5-11 Evening Psalms 80; 72 Advent season is a time of hope . . . Hope in the coming of the incarnation, the Word made flesh. Hope, however, can be blind “wishful thinking” – my hope for the “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots” for Christmas was never fulfilled! Also, we can misplace our hope. History is filled with stories of people placing their hopes in religious, entertainment or political hopes, only to be tragically disappointed. This past political season was only a grim reminder of how easy it has been for political hopes to become misplaced hopes. We can pay a stiff price for misplaced hopes. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing from his prison within Nazi Germany, saw a prison cell as “not a bad picture of Advent;” a place which “is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside.” From the outside! That is grace, is it not? That is our dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ. That is our opportunity to learn again of that dependency this season. Chris Kettler Professor of Theology & Religion

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Sunday, December 25, 2016 Morning Psalms 2; 150 First Reading Zechariah 2:10-13 Second Reading 1 John 4:7-16 Gospel Reading John 3:31-36 Evening Psalms 98; 96 “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. (Zechariah 2:10) How can it be?!?! The Lord God announces his coming through the prophet Zechariah. This word – this promise – is delivered to the people of God during a time of weariness and waning hope. The small band of Israelites that had endured the exile under Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian rule, have been allowed to return to Jerusalem and begin to rebuild their life as a people. But the land had been ravished. The buildings had been toppled. Homes had been flattened. And the Temple... the Temple where the people of God had worshiped and which stood as a visual, physical representation of God’s unique relationship with the Israelites, had also been destroyed. Yes, the people of God were free to resume life as they once knew it but were overwhelmed by the enormous task of rebuilding that stood before them. It wasn’t just the buildings, as if that wasn’t challenging enough, but also included the need to re-establish and rebuild their collective relationship with God. It was all just so much... And then it happened. Before the last flicker of hope could be lost to this tired and increasingly defeated group, God sends word that He is coming! There is great reason to have hope! You have not been forgotten! The God who was, still is, and is coming to you!! These Israelites would spend over 500 years in a posture of waiting for Immanuel – God with us – to make His appearance and establish His Kingdom. This word from Zechariah would give the Israelites the renewed sense of purpose and holy anticipation they needed to hold on to the covenant God had established with them, as they waited for God to break into His creation and set the world right. Today, on this Christmas day, we unite with the people of God throughout creation who have found hope in the promise of a coming King – while at the same time celebrating the gift of Immanuel – the fulfillment of that same promise that has changed... everything! Christ has come! And Christ will one day come again! Merry Christmas to all! Dr. 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 for worship, prayer and to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. | Alumni Auditorium Cornerstone What’s the best way to end your weekend and start your week? Join other members of the Friends community for a casual time of worship and teaching. Come early for coffee and conversation! Sundays at 8 p.m. | Casado Dining Hall Bible studies Connect with other students, staff and faculty to explore, discuss and practice ways to grow as followers of Jesus. Local Service Projects 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. Prayer Have a prayer request? Our Campus Ministries staff is committed to praying for the needs of the campus, and invite you to share your requests with us by emailing prayerrequest@friends.edu. Individual Pastoral Care and Spiritual Direction Our full-time 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, who you are, and what you and God are doing together in the world.

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

Friends University Advent 2016  

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

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