Advent Reflections-Week 4, Love

This Advent we are pairing a devotional practice with each candle. The final candle, love, is a reminder that God is love and we see His love most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Prayer is the practice of communing with God, which is the way we experience His love, so we are pairing the love candle with the discipline of kneeling prayer three times a day.

You can watch a sermon explaining our hope for this Advent season for our church here

You can watch a further explanation of the discipline of kneeling prayer from Justin Earley here

And you can read more about our vision for Advent this year here.

Advent Reflections-Week 4 Love from missio Dei: Falcon on Vimeo.

Worship Guide | December 20th, 2020

This week we will pause our 1st Corinthians series to spend time in Luke 2, preparing room in our hearts for the King of kings. Please RSVP for the in-person service on Sunday or join us on the livestream. If you are tuning in from home, be sure to read through the Home Worship Guide and say hello in the YouTube comments so we know you are joining us!

Here’s how you can prepare your heart for the Sunday gathering at mDF:

1. Read the Passage: Luke 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

2. Read, Sing, and Pray Through the Service

Call to Worship: Sing We The Song of Emmanuel

Advent Reading & Love Candle Lighting

Leader:  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in the darkness but have the light of life.”

Congregation: We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. 

Leader:  “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and our healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” -Isaiah 58:8 (ESV)

Leader:  Come, Lord Jesus, our light and our salvation. 

Congregation:  Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Song of Adoration: Come Thou Fount

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Sermon: Prepare Him Room

Outline

  • 1: What we’re fighting against.
  • 2: Where we often find ourselves (Luke 2:8-9).
  • 3: How Christmas changes everything (Luke 2:10-14).
  • 4: How we can remember that everything has changed.
  • 5: What we should do with this message (Luke 2:15-20).

Discussion Questions

  • Which aspects of this familiar passage stand out to you in a fresh way today?
  • Over the past four weeks, what have you learned about yourself? Your struggles/anxieties? How can the formative practices (means of grace) we have discussed help?
  • Family Question: What could our family change about our habits in 2021 to be more aware of God’s presence and love?

Communion: An Advent Prayer of Confession

Lord Christ,
we confess our willingness to be loved
but also our reluctance to love.
We confess our readiness to accept your forgiving love
but also our refusal to forgive.
We confess our eagerness to grasp your offer of redeeming love
but also our resistance to follow you without question.
In this Advent time, forgive us our failure
to respond as we should.
Come to us anew, and by your grace, assist us to receive you
with joy, as the shepherds;
with gratitude, as Simeon;
with obedience, as Mary;
with love, as you have loved us.
Even so: come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

The Worship Sourcebook

Song of Confession: O Come O Come Emmanuel

Song of Assurance: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Benediction: Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Advent Reflections-Week 3, Joy

This Advent we are pairing a devotional practice with each candle. The third candle, joy, is a reminder that because our Savior has come we have nothing to do but celebrate! Joy is the response of a heart that is resting in Jesus. To better cultivate that rest, God has given us the gift of sabbath, 24 hours to recognize that since God made the day holy and blessed, we should do nothing but worship and rest.

You can watch a sermon on sabbath here.

You can watch a further explanation of the discipline of sabbath from Justin Earley here.

And you can read more about our vision for Advent this year here

Advent Reflections-Week 3 Joy from missio Dei: Falcon on Vimeo.

Worship Guide | December 13th, 2020

This week we are blessed to have a previous partner and elder, Perry Marshall, guest preach through Psalm 77. Please RSVP for the in-person service on Sunday or join us on the livestream. If you are tuning in from home, be sure to read through the Home Worship Guide and say hello in the YouTube comments so we know you are joining us!

Here’s how you can prepare your heart for the Sunday gathering at mDF:

1. Read the Passage: Psalm 77

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.  In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 

You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.  I consider the days of old, the years long ago.  I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search:  “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?  Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?  Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah 

Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.  I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.  Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?  You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.  You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 

When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.  The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side.  The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.  Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.  You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

2. Read, Sing, and Pray Through the Service

Call to Worship: Sing We the Song of Emmanuel

Song of Adoration: O Come All Ye Faithful

Advent Reading & Peace Candle Lighting

Leader:  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in the darkness but have the light of life.”

Congregation: We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. 

Leader:  The LORD says to his servant, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” -From Isaiah 49:6 (ESV)

Leader:  Come, Lord Jesus, our light and our salvation. 

Congregation:  Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Sermon: Remembering to Have Hope

Discussion Questions

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how hopeful is your outlook on life this Advent season? Why?
  • What helps you (or could help you) remember God’s mighty ways when you face discouragement?
  • How is Jesus’ arrival–past and future–a light of hope even in this day of trouble or darkness?

Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Song of Confession: All I Have Is Christ

Song of Assurance: Joy to the World

Benediction

Advent Reflections-Week 2, Peace

This Advent we are pairing a devotional practice with each candle. The second candle, peace, is a reminder that our hearts are ruled by something, but only the rule and reign of Jesus as the Prince of Peace can bring the shalom that we long for. We encourage you to engage the discipline of reading your Bible every morning this week before you reach for your phone.

You can watch a further explanation of the discipline of “Scripture before phone” here

And you can read more about our vision for Advent this year here.

Advent Reflections-Week 2 Peace from missio Dei: Falcon on Vimeo.

Worship Guide | December 6th, 2020

This week we will continue our series in 1st Corinthians where Paul edifies believers in how to have a fruitful ministry. Please RSVP for the in-person service on Sunday or join us on the livestream. If you are tuning in from home, be sure to read through the Home Worship Guide and say hello in the YouTube comments so we know you are joining us!

Here’s how you can prepare your heart for the Sunday gathering at mDF:

1. Read the Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

2. Read, Sing, and Pray Through the Service

Call to Worship: Grace Alone

Advent Reading & Peace Candle Lighting

Leader:  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in the darkness but have the light of life.”

Congregation: We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. 

Leader:  “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in the paths that they have not known I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.  These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. “ -Isaiah 42:16 (ESV)

Leader:  Come, Lord Jesus, our light and our salvation. 

Congregation:  Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Song of Adoration: O Holy Night

Scripture Reading: Luke 13:6-9

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Sermon: Are We Fruitful?

Outline

  • 1: Are we willing to serve? (1 Cor. 9:19)
  • 2: Are we able to contextualize? (1 Cor. 9:20-23)
  • 3: Are we running to win? (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

Discussion Questions

  • When was the last time you shared your faith? How did you feel? What did you learn?
  • What obstacles do we have in our church that we are unaware of? How have we failed to contextualize the Gospel? How could we be better missionaries? 
  • Family Question: Who is the Spirit leading you to share Jesus with?

Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Song of Confession: Come Ye Sinners

Song of Assurance: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Advent Reflections-Week 1, Hope

This Advent we are pairing a devotional practice with each candle. The first candle, hope, is a reminder that our vision of tomorrow should give us strength today. That vision is an understanding of the fact that Jesus is Who our hearts are ultimately longing for! We encourage you to engage the discipline of fasting this week as a way of reminding your heart that hope is only found in Jesus.

Advent Reflections-Week 1, Hope from missio Dei: Falcon on Vimeo.

Worship Guide | November 29th, 2020

This week we will begin chapter 9 of 1st Corinthians where we remember that we are not entitled to anything, but compelled to love because of the transforming work of the gospel. Please RSVP for the in-person service on Sunday or join us on the livestream. If you are tuning in from home, be sure to read through the Home Worship Guide and say hello in the YouTube comments so we know you are joining us!

Here’s how you can prepare your heart for the Sunday gathering at mDF:

1. Read the Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:1-18

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

2. Read, Sing, and Pray Through the Service

Call to Worship: O Come O Come Emmanuel

Advent Reading & Hope Candle Lighting

Leader:  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in the darkness but have the light of life.”

Congregation: We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. 

Leader:  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”  -Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

Leader:  Come, Lord Jesus, our light and our salvation. 

Congregation:  Let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Song of Adoration: King of Kings

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:8-13

Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Sermon: Entitled or Compelled?

Outline

  • 1: Who does Paul think he is? (1 Cor. 9:1-3)
  • 2: What does Paul think he deserves? (1 Cor. 9:4-12a, 13-14)
  • 3: Why does Paul not take advantage of his rights? (1 Cor. 9:12b, 15-18)

Discussion Questions

  • How can you tell if you are feeling entitled? How might those entitlements hinder your desire to share the Gospel? 
  • When have you felt most compelled to share the Gospel? What was driving that compulsion? How did you feel?
  • Family Question: What can our family give up this Christmas so others can hear about Jesus’ love?

Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Songs of Assurance and Celebration: Man of Sorrows & He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

Benediction: Romans 8:38-39

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Advent 2020 | Weekly Practices to Prepare Him Room

Each year Advent seems to sneak up on us as Thanksgiving comes to a close; and this year is no different. 2020 has been a hard year for many of us and yet in God’s grace He has allowed us to finish it out in the season of Advent: a season of hope, love, joy, and peace.

Advent is a season set aside for waiting and watching, longing and looking for the Messiah. Through liturgies, calendars, wreaths, and more, we lean into the tension of anticipation, counting down the days until Christ’s arrival with expectancy and hope. Even as we celebrate Christ’s first arrival, we watch and ache for his promised second coming, when God will dwell with us forever and everything fractured will be made new (Rev. 21:3–5).

The Gospel Coalition | 2020 Has Felt Like Advent All Year

If we’re not careful, we can fall into familiarity and miss the beauty of this season. We can surround ourselves with busyness and distractions and at the end of the month realize that we got sucked into consumerism once again. Perhaps you know that feeling all too well. This is why, as a church, we have decided to be intentional about setting aside weekly practices to prepare Him room in our hearts. These disciplines are from the book The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction, by Justin Whitmel Earley. They are designed to intentionally resist what the world tells us is important and embrace the good that God has created for us to partake in. Earley explains that he put them into practice “to get my body to believe the peace that my head professed but my heart refused.” This is the hope for our church this Advent.

Each Sunday we will pair an Advent candle with a practice that we can all do together throughout the week. You can learn more about each discipline below.

Week One: The Hope Candle | Fasting

As we light the Hope candle on the first Sunday of Advent we will commit to fasting in some way throughout our week. There is something uniquely biblical about fasting from food for a set of time, but you can also choose to be intentional about fasting from social media, shopping, or television. The goal here is to remove a distraction for a set period of time and commit to prayer. It is in fasting and prayer that we are reminded on our total dependency on God and find our true hope in the coming of Jesus.

Week Two: The Peace Candle | Scripture Before Phone

As embarrassing as it is to admit, most of us find ourselves looking at our phones first thing in the morning. Perhaps it is your alarm clock and you’ve justified having it close to your bed. Unfortunately, once that glowing light is in our faces, it is so easy to find this urgency to reply to texts, emails, or scroll through social media. This habit is subconsciously forming us to find our identities in what our phones yell at us versus what God says matters in His Word. In the second week of Advent we will light the Peace candle and commit to reading scripture before getting on our phones each day. Our devices promote hurry and anxiety, but steeping our souls in the Word first each morning will bring us back to the peace on earth that Jesus came to bring.

Week Three: The Joy Candle | Sabbath

Sabbath is a spiritual discipline that we can all benefit from but perhaps you’ve had a difficult time figuring out what that looks like for you and/or your family. When we remember the Sabbath we set aside time to enjoy God by ceasing from work to appreciate the good gifts He has put in our lives. As we follow the gifts upward to the Giver, we find ourselves in a place of worship where we are brought back to the truth that joy is found in Christ alone. As we light the Joy candle on the third week of Advent, we will commit to observing the Sabbath together as a church. For more encouragement on what this day of rest could look like, check out this sermon from Kolburt, but it needn’t be any more complicated than setting aside 24 hours to worship and rest.

Week Four: The Love Candle | Kneeling Prayer 3x A Day

In our final week celebrating Advent we will encourage kneeling for prayer three times a day. In setting aside this time throughout our days we reorient our hearts to our dependency on the Lord and His Spirit within us. While it may feel awkward or uncomfortable to kneel in prayer, we have to remember that this physical act is doing something to our hearts. In his book on Prayer, Tim Keller says,

Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.

Prayer by Tim Keller

It is in this frequent and intimate conversation with God that we can most experience His love and cultivate our relationship with Him. In His mercy and justice He sent His Son to live the life we couldn’t live and pay the penalty we deserved for our sin — all to restore this right relationship with Him. During Advent we celebrate this nearness of God as we reflect on the radical love shown in Christ’s coming. So as we commit to this life-giving habit of kneeling prayer three times a day, let us treasure in our hearts the love we have received from Emmanuel: God with us.

Resources for Advent, 2019

December 1st marks the beginning of Advent. Advent (taken from the Latin for “arrival,” or “coming”) is the annual time in the church calendar where we look back to the first coming of Christ on Christmas and forward to the second coming of Christ when He fully consummates His Kingdom.

As a church we are prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to orient our hearts away from religious activities that only create the appearance of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5), and towards an authentic and life-transforming worship of Jesus as the King of Kings. Our hope is that over the course of the twenty-five days of Advent we can collectively participate in two formative practices that will serve to orient our affections towards Jesus. The practices are:

Scripture Before Phone
For most of us, our day begins by reaching for our phone first thing, checking texts, email, news, and social media. This habit has a formative practice of its own, training us to find worth/value/significance in the messages that our phone sends us. But our souls have a far greater need to hear from Jesus. So, as a church family we are going to commit to reach for our Bibles every morning before we touch our phone. This discipline will remind us that what God says about Himself (and about us) is far more important as we begin our day.

An excellent resource on this practice is Justin Earley’s book, The Common Rule. He has put together many helpful resources on “Scripture Before Phone” that can be accessed on his website, including a short summary of the practice, and a video explaining why the discipline is important.

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, by John Piper
We have purchased a copy of John Piper’s book, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy for each household in our church (so make sure to grab one Sunday!). This short devotional has a reading for each day of Advent and only takes a few minutes to read aloud. Our hope is that we would read these devotionals over a meal (with your children, roommates, or coworkers) as a daily reminder of why Christmas is so significant. If you would prefer an electronic copy one can be dowloaded for free here.

As I mentioned above, our hope is that every person in our church family would participate in these two practices this Advent season, so that we can collectively experience the joy of Christmas in a fresh way. Let us all be praying that our church would not be a place with the mere “appearance of godliness,” or a place where we only “play church,” but rather that we would be a people transformed and strengthened by the authentic grace of Jesus.

Christmas Eve Service

Join us this Christmas Eve as we gather to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

There will be no 10:00am service on the 24th, instead we will meet at 5:00 for a candlelight service. We’ll read the Christmas story, sing traditional carols, and focus our attention and affection on Jesus, Immanuel (God With Us). Childcare will be provided for 0-2 year olds. Make sure to bring a friend!

2016 Advent Reading Guide

One of the churches in our network, The Village Church, has published an Advent reading guide for individuals and families.  This is a great way for us to unplug from the craziness of the next few weeks and prepare our hearts for Christmas.  You can download the guide by clicking here.