Sunday, December 16, 2012

What is Advent?




What is Advent?
by Spencer Cummins

A look of confusion, a feeling of puzzlement, all these things could describe the word ‘Advent’ for many Christians. Yet, Advent, from the Latin adventus, simply refers to the word coming or visit.

Advent is the four Sundays prior to Christmas ending on Christmas Eve. During this time we look forward to the birth of Jesus and his coming to the world. Alongside this truth, Advent in particular is a remembrance of the longing the Jews had for the hope of the Messiah. The Christian church celebrates this season by the lighting of four candles on the Advent wreath. The lighting of the first candle symbolizes expectation, the second symbolizes hope, the third joy and the fourth purity.

The Christ candle, often white, is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding Chris-tians that Jesus is the light of the world. The white candle represents Christ and reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world. This light dispels darkness, death, decay and illness. We are reminded here that God enters into the messiness of life through the send-ing of his Son into the world, the true light of the world.

Yet, the lighting of the candles, the singing of Christmas hymns and songs, and the preaching on the coming of Jesus would not have any impact if we didn’t know the story. The story I’m talking about is the story of the God of Israel and his love for his world, including his chosen ones, the people of God. In creation, he fashioned humanity in his image. Through the fall, he held out the promise of healing and hope. Through the law and the prophets, we see his grace in the giving of the law and of providing a succession of kings. Yet, throughout all Israel’s failures and idols, the God of Israel tenaciously commits himself to be the God of the living, never leaving Israel’s side, yet calling them to justice, righteousness and peace.

This same God is the one who sent his only Son into the world, to proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives and restore sight to the blind (Luke 4:18). The Son, the coming Messiah is the one who holds the shalom which the world longs for in his hand, in his arrival, in his bloody death, and in his resurrection. In this Advent season, let us not forget the longing of our hearts from the coming Messiah has come in our midst, and the justice and peace he identifies with should reign over all of our lives as well. Rather than seeing the rituals and practices of Advent as hollow acts, may we see them as pictures of a great story, a story with God as the author and we as his people.

We hope you enjoy this Advent season and the worship of our King, Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The end of November is upon us . . .



Have you digested your turkey yet?  Yes?  Well, good, because it's already Monday again!  Time to move on to a new week ... let's make this last week of November a good one, as we begin preparing for this year's Advent and Christmas season.


For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 1:6)

Mercy Road Fellowship -- Week At A Glance
Monday, November 26, 2012 - Sunday, December 2, 2012

  • MRF Daily Bible Reading & Prayer available at mercyroadprayers.blogspot.com
  • Provide Meals for Sue & Terry: Sue had surgery this morning, and they would appreciate our help as she recovers. Please go to Food Tidings to sign up to bring a meal to them.  “...as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10)
  • Community Group, Wed., 11/28, 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Caylors, Info/RSVP here
  • Books That Make You Think Book Club, Sun. 12/2 , 7 a.m., St. Louis Bread Company, 290 Mid Rivers Mall Circle Drive 63376 (map), RSVP here. We are reading Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis. Come join us for coffee & chat!
  • Sunday Worship: 1st Sunday of Advent , 12/2, 10 a.m., Living Word Christian School, 310 Cardinal Place 63376 (map), Sermon text: Isaiah 9:1-7
    • Worship & Set-Up Team, setup at 8:30 a.m., practice at 9 a.m., 1st Sunday of the Month: Singer - Reagan,Drummer - Jonas, Keyboard - Andy, Guitar - Darden & Belinda, Sound -  Joel
    • Nursery Volunteers: Kathy & Sophie
    • Children’s Worship: Pre-school: Mark & Kim, Gr 1-5: Cameron & Lindsey, Using the Jesus Storybook Bible

Upcoming Events:

  • Adopt-A-Family, MRF as a church body has “adopted” a local family of 8, for whom we will show God’s love by purchasing Christmas presents and a meal, Info/RSVP here with how you would like to participate by Tues. 12/4
  • Sisters of Faith Coffee Club, Tues, 12/4, 6:30 p.m. at Bernadette’s home. Wrapping party for Mercy Road’s “adopted” family! RSVP here
  • Caroling For Cans, Sun. 12/16, 6 p.m. at the Sidwells, Info/RSVP here
  • Family New Year’s Eve Party, Mon., Dec. 31, 6 p.m. at the Caylors. Info/RSVP here

MRF-related Links & Information:
MRF Facebook Page
MRF Meetup Page -- see calendar
St. Peters Friends meetup calendar
Books That Make You Think calendar
MRF Youth Group Facebook page
Previous Sermons

Questions? Corrections? Omissions? Contact Renae Johnson, renae@mercy-road.net

Monday, November 19, 2012

This Week At A Glance!

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

Mercy Road Fellowship -- Week At A Glance
Monday, November 19, 2012 - Sunday, November 25, 2012

  • HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!     “...whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” --Colossians 3:17
  •  Books That Make You Think Book Club, will *NOT* meet on Sun., 11/25. Join us at our next meeting, Sun. 12/2 , 7 a.m., St. Louis Bread Company, 290 Mid Rivers Mall Circle Drive 63376 (map), RSVP here. We are reading Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis. Come join us for coffee & chat!
  • Sunday Worship, 11/25, 10 a.m., Living Word Christian School, 310 Cardinal Place 63376 (map), Sermon text: Mark 12:41-44
    • Worship & Set-Up Team, setup at 8:30 a.m., practice at 9 a.m., 4th Sunday of the Month: Singer - Reagan, Drummer - Joshua, Keyboard - Jamie, Guitar - Darden, Drew & Belinda, Sound -  Aaron
    • Nursery Volunteers: Cyndi & Emma
    • Children’s Worship: Children will worship with their families in the service this week.

Upcoming Events:
  • 1st Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, begin preparing our hearts & minds for celebrating God’s love for us in sending His son Jesus as our Savior
  • Adopt-A-Family, MRF as a church body has “adopted” a local family of 8, for whom we will show God’s love by purchasing Christmas presents and a meal, Info/RSVP here with how you would like to participate by Tues. 12/4
  • Caroling For Cans, Sun. 12/16, 6 p.m. at the Sidwells, Info/RSVP here

MRF-related Links & Information:
MRF Facebook Page
MRF Meetup Page -- see calendar
St. Peters Friends meetup calendar
Books That Make You Think calendar
MRF Youth Group Facebook page
Previous Sermons

Questions? Corrections? Omissions? Contact Renae Johnson, renae@mercy-road.net, MRF’s church administrator, handling communications and administrative questions such as, What’s going on? Who does what? or How can I find out about X?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week At A Glance, 11/12 - 11/18

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

Mercy Road Fellowship -- Week At A Glance
Monday, November 12, 2012 - Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • MRF Daily Bible Reading & Prayer available at mercyroadprayers.blogspot.com
  • Community Group, Wednesday, 11/14, 6:30 - 8 p.m, at the Caylors. Childcare is provided--we'll see you there!  RSVP here. These are the questions that we'll be working through together this week:

Explore (Digging in to understand the passage --  Mark 12:35-40)
    • What possible answers are there to Jesus' question in verse 37?
    • What would be the implication if the messiah is merely a descendant of David?
    • What would be the implication if the messiah is solely the Lord?
    • What is the implication if the messiah is both a descendant of David and the Lord?
    • What sins or accusations does Jesus level against the teachers of the law? Why will these sins be punished severely?
Connect (Applying the passage to our lives)
    • Verse 37 says that the crowd listened with delight. What words describe you as you listen to Jesus?
    • In what ways do you see others making a show of their Christianity or their religion?
    • How have you used your Christianity to make a show for others?

  • Do-It-Herself FREE Workshop, Thursday, 11/15, 6:30 p.m. at the Home Depot on Mexico Rd (map), come join us at this women’s holiday-oriented workshop... maybe make a wreath or something and definitely have fun doing it together! Info/RSVP here
  • Paintball,  Saturday, 11/17, 1:30 p.m., Gateway Paintball, 14510 Missouri Bottom Road, Bridgeton, MO (map). Calling all men, women, and children (ages 10 and up) who would like to come out and join us for a fun-filled afternoon! $30/person, RSVP here
  • Books That Make You Think Book Club, Sunday, 11/18, 7 a.m., St. Louis Bread Company, 290 Mid Rivers Mall Circle Drive 63376 (map), RSVP here. We are starting Pilgrim’s Regress by C.S. Lewis. Come join us for coffee & chat!
  • Sunday Worship, 11/18, 10 a.m., Living Word Christian School, 310 Cardinal Place 63376 (map), Sermon text: Mark 12:35-40
    • Worship & Set-Up Team, setup at 8:30 a.m., practice at 9 a.m., 3rd Sunday of the Month: Singer - Joel, Drummer - Jonas, Keyboard - Andy, Guitar - Darden & Belinda, Sound -  Aaron
    • Nursery Volunteers: Amber & Josh
    • Children’s Worship: Pre-school: Cameron & Lindsey, Gr 1-5: Galen, Using the Jesus Storybook Bible
  • Church Dinner/Meet Baby Liam, Sunday, 11/18, 11:30 a.m., Info/RSVP here with whether you will attend and/or what you will bring for the meal

MRF-related Links & Information:
MRF Facebook Page
MRF Meetup Page -- see calendar
St. Peters Friends meetup calendar
Books That Make You Think calendar
MRF Youth Group Facebook page
Previous Sermons

Questions? Corrections? Omissions? Contact Renae Johnson at renae@mercy-road.net, MRF’s church administrator, handling communications and administrative questions such as, What’s going on? Who does what? or How can I find out about X?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Verse

Corrections have been made to this post.  The previous listing of Mk. 11:12-25 has been corrected to this Sunday's coverage of Mk. 11:20-33

Mercy Road Weekly Verse


October 8-13, 2012


Mark 11:20-40

New International Version 1984

The Withered Fig Tree

20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!”

31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn't you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’…” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekly Verse

 Verse for the Week of October 1-7

Mark 11:1-18



1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!
Hosanna in the highest!
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written:
“‘My house will be called
    a house of prayer for all nations’?
But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.]

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him,because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.