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Advent Liturgical Guide

 
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Welcome!

Over the past few months, the Responsive Arts Leaders of Missio have come together to develop this guide. Our ministry exists to facilitate the church in responding to the proclamation of the Gospel. This Advent season, we’ll be remembering the story of Christ’s coming, and together, we’ll look froward to the day He comes again. As we gather to do this, it’s our hope and intent that you would be encouraged in the truth of God’s narrative. In order to help you engage with the songs, readings, and teachings of our weekend gatherings, we beseech you- use this guide!

We’ve laid it out in a way that each week you can spend time alone or with a small group (family worship!) worshipping and focusing in preparation for our gatherings. This year, we’ll be using the Apostle John’s account of the Advent story, but we’ve provided you with multiple other biblical and non-biblical references to help provide context, and to center your spirit. The purpose of this is to equip you - we want to remind you that when we gather together, you’re not coming as a congregant simply to receive. While we sing, you are reminding the brothers and sisters around you of the Story they get to be a part of. You’re reminding them of the Gospel! What a privilege to proclaim the truth in song and word to those around you on Sunday morning.

As I write this, I’m praying for you, and for our church. I’m praying that God would bless this guide and the time that you spend with it. I’m praying that this year, yet again, He would bestow in you the wonder and joy that accompanies the truth that God has become man, lived a life we never could, died a death we never would, and has resurrected in a way that only He is capable of- and it’s all for His glory and our joy!

May you spend time in the coming weeks Praising God for His incredible work of mercy and redemption through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

— Tanner Daniels and the Responsive Arts team of Missio Dei Church

 

Advent I: A Light Shines in the Darkness

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:1-5

While reading and considering this opening portion of scripture, our team highlighted three central themes: Creation & Life, Light & The Word, and Victory Foretold. After you’ve spent some time reading and considering this passage, we would encourage you to review the other passages listed below, as they help provide context and parallel John is capturing in his retelling.

*Pro tip: Don’t just read the singular passage listed, read around it, as well!

 
 

Songs to Accompany the Study:

  1. The Maker of the Sun and Moon • Jenny and Tyler • Christmas Stories

  2. From the Rising of the Sun (Psalm 113) • Sandra McCracken • Psalms

  3. The Light Came Down • Josh Garrels • The Light Came Down

  4. Oh Lord, You are my Light • Emerald Hymns • Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

  5. The Lord is my Salvation • Shane and Shane • Hymns, Vol. 1

  6. May you Find a Light • Josh Garrels • The Light Came Down

 

Ways you can pray:

  1. Begin by thanking God for the beauty of creation, and His graces expressed in our experience of it.

  2. Spend some time remembering the story of our origin. Call to mind the power, creativity, and omnipotence that God puts on display in this act.

  3. Finish by asking God to produce joy, hope, motivation, endurance, and satisfaction in you as you remember the truth of humanity’s narrative - the fact that God was completely whole, satisfied, and of worth without us and yet in His grace, He’s invited us to experience the glory of existing in eternal communion with Him.

 

Advent II: Prophecy

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There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
— John 1:6-8

While reading through and considering this passage, the big words that stood out to us were “bear” and “witness”.

▶︎ To bear something is to carry it. It also communicates action to transport, convey, or conduct oneself in a particular manner.

▶︎ To witness something is to serve as evidence of its existence, and/or to experience it personally.

To compound upon last weeks reading, we would encourage you to consider the ways in which you can bear witness of the Light, and more particularly, of Christ’s coming - both as a child, and the day that He will come again in Glory to claim His own and usher creation into a new existence.

 

Questions to consider:

  1. How do you carry the truth of theGospel with you daily?

  2. How do you serve others as evidence of the Gospel?

  3. Do you live in a way that is looking forward to Christ’s return?

    1. if so, how so?

    2. if not, why not?

It’s our prayer that in light of each of these questions, you would remember the overarching narrative that is taking place. We are called to live as John - to live as humble witnesses of the Light! Humble witnesses of Christ Jesus and His story of redemption - The Gospel! (Matthew 28, “The Great Commission”)

That being said, we inevitably fail at what God has called us to. Despite our striving, we can’t live up to the standard Jesus has set.

But because of God’s great love, and His desire to be in communion with His people, He gives us the righteousness that Christ has earned. The perfect record that Jesus lived out on Earth is accounted to us through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

It’s our hope and prayer that the knowledge and experience of that story would motivate you to continue in the struggle towards faithfully, humbly bearing witness of the Light.

 

Ways you can pray:

  1. Express your thanks to, and bless God for his provision in Christ - for Jesus is both the light, and the power for us to boldly proclaim witness of the Light.

  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to continue His work of sanctification in you, and for Him to continue creating opportunities to bear witness to those around you.

  3. Ask God to remind you often of the promise of Christ’s return. Ask that the knowledge of that would have effectual power here and now for you and your ministry.

 

Songs to Accompany the Study:

  1. Go Tell it on the Mountain • Penny & Sparrow • Christmas Songs

  2. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus • Shane and Shane • A Worship Initiative Christmas

  3. Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel • Josh Garrels • The Light Came Down

  4. Psalm 34 (Taste and See) • Shane and Shane • Psalms, vol. II

  5. Hear the Sound • Ascend the Hill • O Ransomed Son

  6. As Long as I live (Psalm 63) • The Sing Team • Oh! Great is Our God!

 

Advent III: Hope

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The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
— John 1:9-13

While reviewing this passage, our team saw three main themes that come together to create an overarching storyline that is central to the Gospel as a whole. They are:

vv.9-11: God came to the world, and the world did not accept Him.

v.12: Those who did accept Him by faith have become children of God.

v.13: They have not earned that standing by their own will or ability, but by the will and ability of God.

In this passage, we see a sort of juxtaposition that exemplifies the great length and depth of the grace of God. Even though humanity did not receive Him, He has made a way for His people to come back into a right relationship with Him. In this, we see the purpose of Christ’s coming. We celebrate His coming for many reasons, but one of the most predominant is because of what His coming produces. With the birth of this child also comes our ability to be God’s children. What beauty! What grace!

 

Questions to consider:

  1. How have you experienced the light of God?

    1. When have you embraced it?

    2. When have you rejected it?

  2. If you’ve received Jesus, you’ve been given the right to become a child of God. What has that meant for you?

    1. Have you been prideful in light of that?

    2. Have you not embraced the totality of that?

  3. How has the knowledge of your inheritance effected your life?

    1. Has it inspired something in you?

It’s our prayer that the realization of your inheritance would bring joy. God didn’t need us. He existed in perfect community and contentment before the creation of the world. And yet, in love He predestined us for adoption. We can’t produce that inheritance of sonship by the work of our own hands. So God, being rich in mercy, made a way for us in Christ Jesus. He made a new creation - a new Adam - in the form of child born to a virgin. A child without sin. Through the cross, the perfection Christ attained is transferred to those who believe, and by that, their redemption is achieved. Our redemption is achieved.

Praise God. Our joy is secured.

 

Ways you can pray:

  1. Express your thanks to, and bless God for his provision in Christ - for Jesus is the light, and the way in which we are enabled to experience the light.

  2. Ask God to make joy abound in your heart. More than that - ask for a joy that motivates righteous works for the Glory of God.

  3. Bless the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in making you a child of God. For without their provision, the hope of sonship is lost.

 

Songs to Accompany the Study:

  1. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear • Shane and Shane • A Worship Initiative Christmas

  2. O Holy Night • Josh Garrels • The Light Came Down

  3. Joy Has Dawned • Missio Dei Church Feat. T. Daniels • Joy Has Dawned

  4. What Child is This? • Ghost Ship • What Child is This?

  5. Hark the Herald Angels Sing • The Eagle and Child • Over the Hills and Everywhere

  6. Come and Stand Amazed • The Modern Post • Over the Hills and Everywhere

  7. All Glory be to Christ • Kings (MHM) • Joy has Dawned

 

Advent IV: Faith

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
— John 1:14-18

Finally, we read of the manifestation of our salvation. The one who makes us children of God, the one who is the True Light, the one who John the Baptizer uttered prophecies of, He is with us.

Why does this matter? It matters because “from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (v.16, emphasis added)

We must ask, then - what is grace, and why does it matter?

Very simply, we believe:

  • That grace is God’s plan for salvation

  • That grace is God’s plan for our current and eternal righteousness

  • That grace is how we even exist at all!

This week, worship God because of his grace! (Ephesians 1:3-6) Focus your attentions and affections on Him, remember what He’s done, and remind yourself of the story that you’ve been invited in to.

 

Questions to consider:

  1. What attributes of Christ point to his fullness?

  2. What does grace look like to you today?

  3. What has graced look like to you in the past?

  4. What can you do to make yourself more aware of grace in every moment?

 

Quotes to Contemplate:

  • Martin Luther referring to Jesus as the never-ending fountain of grace: “This spring is inexhaustible, it is full of grace and truth from God, it never loses anything, no matter how much we draw, but remains an infinite fountain of all grace and truth; the more you draw from it, the more abundantly it gives of the water that springs into eternal life. Just as the sun is not darkened by the whole world enjoying its light, and could, indeed, light up ten worlds; just as 100,000 lights might be lit from one light and not detract from it; just as a learned man is able make a thousand others learned, the more he gives, the more he has— so is Christ, our Lord, an infinite source of all grace, so that if the whole world would draw enough grace and truth from it to make the world all angels, yet it would not lose a drop; the fountain always runs over, full of grace.

  • Alexander Pedeu, the young puritan in reference to the Grace that Jesus provides- “Grace is young glory”.

    • 1 Cor. 2:9 - But, as it is written,

      “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
          nor the heart of man imagined,
      what God has prepared for those who love him”—

  • R. Kent Hughes - “Our destiny and possession is because of grace”, “Grace is not just for salvation, it is an overflowing fountain that brings richness to all of life.”

 

Ways you can pray:

  1. Express your thanks to and bless God for Emmanuel - God with us. For through Him we experience a never-ending fountain of grace that enables our justification and qualifies our joy.

  2. Pray for our gatherings this weekend. Ask God to bless our times of teaching and remembrance. Ask God to bless those that are serving. Ask the Holy Spirit to breathe life and truth into our meeting in a way that glorifies Jesus’ first coming, and equips us to look forward to His second.

  3. Bless God for the Justification that has been afforded to you through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. Ask Him to continue His process of sanctification in you, and ask Him to make your life a testament to the Glory of His grace.

 

Songs to Accompany the Study:

  1. There is a Fountain Filled With Blood • Aretha Franklin • Aretha Franklin Gospel

  2. Come and Stand Amazed • Citizens • Repeat the Sounding Joy

  3. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery • Matt Papa • Look and Live

  4. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence • The Modern Post • Lowborn King

  5. This I Believe • Shane & Shane • The Worship Initiative

  6. Tis so Sweet • Shane & Shane • Hymns vol. 1

  7. All Glory be to Christ • Kings Kaleidoscope • Over the Hills and Everywhere