"Roots" by Dan Wilt

“Roots” – Our Series For Advent

"Roots" by Dan Wilt

Several years ago my father became interested in genealogy. He bought an account at ancestry.com and ended up tracing our family roots back to the 17th century in Scotland and England. He enjoyed sitting down with me at the computer and looking back at our ancestors and learning as much as we could about where they lived and how they ultimately settled in America. I was struck by how their stories were a part of my story, even though I had not been aware of them.

We all come from a family line of people who were shaped by where they lived and what they did. And we can learn more fully about the story of our lives by learning about the story of their lives.

The same is true of Jesus. Author Dan Wilt of Seedbed has written a daily Advent devotional that explores how we can more profoundly understand Jesus’ heart and mission by exploring the stories of people in Jesus’ family tree. Jesus is fully God, of course, yet he is also fully human, with ancestors and a family tree that is rooted in the land of Israel and the story of how God worked in and through them.

We’ll explore how Jesus, his mother Mary, and his adopted father Joseph all come from the family vine of the great King David, the son of Jesse. We’ll use as a map the idea known as a “Jesse Tree”, which is an an approach to the preparation season of Advent, leading us toward Christmas, that encourages us to revisit stories from the Old Testament to help us gain insights into the family line of Jesus and the spiritual mandate of the child born to save the world.

I look forward to exploring Jesus’ roots during this Advent season! If you would like to read along using Dan Wilt’s daily devotional, you can order the eBook from Amazon here, or directly from Seedbed here.

Grace and peace,

Clint


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A People of Grace and Truth

One of the most noteworthy things about Jesus’ life and ministry is to note that the people who were the least like Jesus were the same people who the most attracted to him. Jesus was the perfect image of a holy and righteous God, a man who went his whole life experiencing the same temptations that we all experience, and yet he resisted every one and never sinned. You might expect people who were great sinners to be uncomfortable around Jesus, and maybe even be repelled by him. But the opposite was the case. People who were under the power of shameful sin loved to spend time with Jesus. Why?

The answer certainly isn’t because Jesus downplayed or neglected talking about the moral commands of God. When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), not only did he teach about God’s moral commands, Jesus intensified them. He would say things like, “In the Mosaic law, you are told not to murder. But I say that if you harbor resentment and anger toward another, you’ve already committed murder in your heart.” Yet, that high moral and spiritual calling that Jesus gave continually didn’t seem to prevent people from flocking to him.

The reason is because Jesus also reached out passionately to those who fell the most short of that high moral and spiritual calling. Jesus communicated over and over again that he loved and accepted the worst of sinners. And as those sinners followed Jesus and spent time with Jesus, they were transformed from sinners into saints.

What does this tell us as the church? It tells us that our calling is to follow the same pattern. On one hand, we proclaim the high call of holiness to our community and our world. And on the other hand, we offer never-ending grace and acceptance and welcome to each and every person we encounter. Doing both faithfully can often times be messy, but it is worth it, because that balance of grace and truth will transform the world.

In Christ,

Clint


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Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent. Lent is a season of renewal. It is a season that calls us to repentance and renewed faith in the good news of Jesus and his kingdom. I want to invite you to consider what you might give up or add or give out so that you may be able to journey with Jesus this Lent.
 
Our Ash Wednesday service is tonight at 6:30 PM. It will be a drive-in service, similar to our weekly prayer times. Drive to the front parking lot in front of the sanctuary, and tune your radio to 102.5 FM to listen. At the end of the service we will give the imposition of ashes starting at both ends of the lot. After you have received the ashes, you may leave the service. 
 
We also have daily devotions that many of our church members have written for the season. You can receive them via mail or email, and to sign up you can contact Kristina at the church office (334.283.2195). You can also read them on our website. I also read them every morning at 8 AM on the church’s Facebook Live page.
 
There is another opportunity to join with others in praying for renewal. Seedbed has started a Lenten prayer ministry, and if you’re interested in being a part of it you can read the ways to participate here.
 
I believe that nothing spurs on on to holiness like simply knowing and hearing the gospel anew, so here is the message I want to give you on this Ash Wednesday: The Lord who loves you reminds you through the scripture that God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Because God is rich in mercy and loves you deeply, God has lavished grace on you through Jesus, in whom you have redemption through his blood. You are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Christ, for acts of good faith. Remember that you were created by God for glory, and nothing less than moral and spiritual grandeur is good enough for you.
 
Grace and peace,
 
Clint

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