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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our Mission

For 2000 years, we have had the exact same mission. It's high time we got real about our own mission field right next door, on our own street, and within our neighborhoods.

December 27, 2015 from River Run Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Advent Reading: Love

Advent reading from the fourth Advent week at River Run Church. This week is the last Sunday before Christmas, the wreath is all lit, awaiting the most important piece. We have all been on a journey over the last four weeks and have been preparing for Jesus. This week He is here.

Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. In the Christian season of Advent, we prepare for the “Coming” of Christ at Christmas while longing for His Return. This morning, we continue to light the advent candles as we move towards Christmas and the birth of Christ.

The lights of Hope, Peace, and Joy flicker over this Advent wreath. They flicker over our lives. As we move closer and closer to Christmas with each passing day we realize that throughout history these lights have penetrated the gloom of this world. Yet, darkness is still present. As we meditate on Jesus however, we become conscious that there is a horizon of light approaching us… The love of “God With Us”.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent Reading: JOY

Advent reading from "Gaudete Sunday" (Gow-Day-Tay) at River Run Church. This week is the turning point in Advent for Christians, in the glow of the lights of Hope and Peace, this is the week we celebrate the Joy of Christ's coming...


“Joy to the World the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her king!”
It is a familiar tune around the Christmas season, but this advent hymn is as much about Jesus’ second coming as it is his first. On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the Joy candle. It is a different color because it symbolizes our mood switching away from waiting and longing and instead into a state of preparing. We know Jesus is coming, and He is coming very soon. As we think about what it meant to the people when Christ came the first time, it helps us prepare for His return. He will not come as an infant again, but as a reigning King.
“Joy to the World, the Savior Reigns. Let men their songs employ!”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do you Hear What I Hear?

Do you hear what I hear?

Christmas music playing on every radio station.

"Its the most wonderful time of the year!"

Sermons every week on the coming birth of Jesus.

"The birth of Jesus is the answer God gives to a world locked in fear and darkness!"

The crazy thing is that, though we are submerged in music declaring that Peace has come, Love is here. That even the song for which I have titled this post declares these lyrics, "Pray for peace, people everywhere!"...

...I am instead surrounded with just the opposite.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent Reading: PEACE

Continuing our series on Advet readings, this is what we used today at River Run Church for the PEACE candle lighting.

First Reader:

Peace. It is hard to even contemplate what the word means anymore. We no longer live in a world where we experience the meaning of peace. But did we ever live in such a world?

The people of the Old Testament had recognized the promise of God in sending a savior. They were rooted in that hope. But Peace is what they needed.

Second Reader:

Psalm 85:6-13 says-

Won’t you revive us again,
    so your people can rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.
I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
    for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
    But let them not return to their foolish ways.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
    so our land will be filled with his glory.
Unfailing love and truth have met together.
    Righteousness and peace have kissed!
Truth springs up from the earth,
    and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
    Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
    preparing the way for his steps.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent Reading: HOPE

This is the Advent reading we used at River Run Church this past week as we began the season with the traditional lighting of the HOPE candle on the wreath.


Many of us grew up with the story of Advent beginning in a stable. But, the story begins in a Garden.                   
When God created the world, all things were just as they should be. Creation functioned in perfect order and moved in seamless harmony. Humanity walked in unbroken relationship with God, fully known and unafraid. But in an instant, all that changed as Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s good instruction. They took of the fruit, ate, and sin entered the world. Fellowship broken. Peace shattered. Creation thrown into chaos. Darkness, depravity, fear, shame and selfishness flooded the human heart, separating man from God. The situation was dire.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Longing for Meaning

“Do you WANT to be delivered? That is the one great question Advent puts to us. Does even a vestige of longing burn in us? If not, what do we want from Advent, what do we want from Christmas?” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Advent: the season which begins the New Year in the church liturgical calendar. It beckons us, no, requires us to pause and look. Look at what it is that we really want.

As a child, what we really desire is presents under the tree. Maybe like young Ralphie, all we wanted was that Red Ryder BB gun.

But then in a blink we look down at our aged hands and realize the passing shadow that is life has left us wrinkled, calloused, and dry. Too weary to look up, a tree full of ornaments and memories but empty of purpose. We look through picture albums and old journals in our attempt to experience *something* this Christmas season.

Maybe you are there this Christmas season, because you realize this is the first Christmas without Mom.
The first Christmas without children under your roof.
The first Christmas alone.
The first Christmas in a new place, away from family, away from friends.

Maybe, this is the first Christmas at church that you don't feel at home on Sunday mornings anymore.
Change has removed the traditions you held most dear.

All we want this Christmas is purpose. We want to experience...something meaningful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent 2015

For a lot of people, Christmas is not always the “most wonderful time of the year.” Between visiting family, buying presents, sending out Christmas cards and everything else, what is supposed to be a special time can turn into a hectic and stressful few weeks.
But the tradition of Advent calls Christians to slow down and think more about what the season truly means.

So what is Advent?

Advent is a strange word to us. It sounds incomplete, like someone was trying to say “adventure” or “Adventist” but didn’t finish the word out. What’s up with the strange word and the strange candle lighting thing anyway?

Advent, which is the Latin word for “Coming”, is perhaps one of the oldest Christian traditions. Some suggest it was founded even by the Apostles, that once a year Christians would set aside a time and remember the first coming of Christ, the darkness that surrounded the world so tightly until light came. We do this so we might better prepare our minds and hearts for his second coming… a promise that Christmas gives us. There are three meanings of 'coming' that Christians describe in Advent. The first, and most thought of, happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now as Jesus comes into our lives to live and reign through His Spirit. And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge.

Why Advent?

The spirit of Advent is the spirit of humanity fully alive.