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Sunday, Dec 3 | Waiting for a savior


Editor's Note

About the authors:
Amy and Kristin are children's ministry coordinators at ZPC. Kristin oversees ministry for children from birth through age 4 and Amy oversees ministry for children age 5 through 4th grade.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of waiting, mystery, redemption, and incarnation. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center.

Waiting for a savior | Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 62:5-8

Advent is a time of joy, when we happily look forward to the coming of Jesus. As a matter of fact, the word Advent actually means “coming.” People had been told of Jesus’ coming before he was even born. Today’s scripture in Isaiah tells of the coming of Jesus and it was written hundreds of years before God sent him to earth. Through God foretelling the coming of Jesus in the Old Testament, a spirit of waiting had been planted in his people. They were waiting for a king. They were waiting to be rescued. They were waiting for their savior.

In that same spirit of expectation and anticipation, thousands of years later, we await the celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. To mark the weeks of waiting and anticipation we light candles on an Advent Wreath. The Advent Wreath is a symbol of the coming of Jesus, our light unto the world. It has three purple candles and one pink candle. One candle is lit on the first week of Advent, and one more is added every week until Christmas. Every week it gets a bit brighter because we are getting closer to Jesus’ birthday!

Advent Wreath Activity                       

  1. Print off these pages. Color the flames and the holly with marker so they’re more vibrant, and color the actual candle with crayon so the words will be more visible.
  2. Cut out the candles.
  3. Wrap the candle printables around a toilet paper tube. (You can also use paper towel rolls cut down or a cylinder of card stock.) Tape the printable on the little tab (which has a reminder about which Sunday of Advent it is) and then tape the opposite edge. The candle flames can be lit or unlit by gently folding and pushing the flame inside the tube where it isn’t visible.
  4. The candles can sit on/in an evergreen wreath or you can make a wreath with a paper plate. Trace a glass to make the circle in the middle and then draw four Xs that are about 1 3/4” in length.
  5. Adults or older kids, cut out the circle and the Xs. 
  6. If you have a green plate, you could stop here, or you can add leaves as decoration. One of the printables has holly & berries you can use and you can cut out some simple leaves from green paper.
  7. Glue the leaves and the berries on the plate, not covering up the Xs that you cut out.
  8. Put glue on the Xs and put the candle on top. To stabilize it and make the glue stick, roll up a strip of cardstock (about 8” long), put a little glue on it, and stick it on the inside of the Xs. Let it unfurl and it will help everything stick together as it dries.
  9. Let it all dry and use it to count down the weeks as we wait for the coming of Christ!

Prayer

Dear God of Wonder,
Thank you for sending Jesus, who fills our lives with light and truth. This Christmas help me stop and think about what I am really waiting and preparing for–your son Jesus’ birthday. Help me remember to pray to you everyday. Help me see how much you love me with each week that goes by. Let every activity I do remind me of Jesus’ birth and the forgiveness he provides me. I pray for a wide-open heart and a quiet mind to see the Holy Spirit and do what he asks of me during the Advent season and always.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

We should run a 5K in 2017

Editor's Note: Greg is one member of Team ZPC that is running for World Vision and clean water at the Monumental Marathon on Saturday, Nov 4. Support this 50-member team through prayers and donations or come downtown on the 4th and cheer us on! 

“We should run a 5K in 2017.” That’s how these things start. An idea that acts as a seed, and as God does, he waters the seed, clears the path, and provides strength and clarity for our actions.

Two weeks after my wife Kyla and I had the above conversation, ZPC’s guest speaker one Sunday morning described how we can make a difference by running for Team World Vision (TWV), raising awareness, and funding the clean water projects in Africa. “Done. Sign us up!! He said 5K, we are in.” Only on the way home did Kyla break the news to me that a half marathon is not a 5K…. Oops - create social media #unlikelymarathoner - this may not end well.

What is the clean water crises? It’s the leading cause of death in the world. Ahead of AIDS, war, and death by Hippo. (yes, Hippos are vegetarian - Gayla Peevey was correct - but they are also the most dangerous animal in Africa) 

The thing is, the clean water crises is preventable! And Team World Vision is the largest non-government organization doing something about it with comprehensive, multi-year, community customized plans for change. $50 will change a life! $50 provides the means for a child in Africa to receive clean water for an entire year!! Game-changer.

Ok - but how does a guy go from not running to running a half-marathon? – Team World Vision, Community, Faith.

TWV steps in with a comprehensive program that starts you off walking and takes you to running the distance needed to finish. Amazingly, as you move through the program, your body changes. My heart beats slower as I run further faster!! My knees no longer hurt as I walk up the stairs after a run - bonus! In running you need to stick to it, even on the days you really don’t want to run. You're on vacation, it’s hot, it’s dark outside, you're tired. Tired - these are the times I lean on God for strength.

Health and spiritual growth for the runners - check! But what goal makes a difference in the world? The goal that raises money for this wonderful organization! My original motives were health and an experience for my marriage. However, when donations started to happen - they fueled me to get out and train!! And train I did, and post pictures while training, asking for more donations. It is amazing how fundraising fuels the run. To raise awareness, I tag instagram / Facebook pictures #unlikelymarathoner and ask for support. As of this writing I am halfway to my fundraising goal and those sponsors motivate me!!

So, what can you do? Run. Do it! Sign up for the ZPC team. Or, help the runners through sponsorship. We all need sponsors to help us meet the fundraising goals and provide inspiration. Our sponsor team makes it all happen.

And truth is, the #unlikelymarathoner - is starting to like running… God clears the path and provides clarity for what we are meant to do.

Posted by Greg McDaniel with

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