Hopewell Presbyterian Church of Franklin, Indiana

bwjolley@gmail.com Cell: 706-474-0266

Dear Hopewell Family—

This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word meaning "coming" or "arrival". It is a time of eager expectation. Advent is a season where we celebrate the first arrival of Jesus in humility and anxiously await his second coming in glory.

Advent didn't start in the stable, but in the garden. In the midst of the darkness of Adam and Eve's rebellion, God spoke a word of hope. God said that from the woman, one would come who would crush the serpent and redeem his people. This promise was the "first gospel" but not the last word of God’s promised redemption. During this season of Advent, we will look at some of those promises and marvel at God's covenantal faithfulness despite mankind's continued rebellion.

Gordon-Conwell, my former seminary, has a daily advent devotion that begins December 3. Many of the devotions are written by former professors of mine and I have enjoyed receiving these over the last few years. You can sign up to receive the devotions by email, simply by going to:

https://gordonconwell.wufoo.com/forms/wlipl260v3uv3s/

This Sunday, you will notice some changes to our order of worship. These small changes to our liturgy are intended to draw us into worship, not as a spectator but in dialogue between us and the living God. In Hebrews 12 we read,

"22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel………… 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire. Heb 12:22-24, 28-29 NRSV"

In worship, God speaks to us; we see God’s holiness (Psalm 99) and our guilt (Rom. 3:23), but we also see his grace (Eph 2:4) and we respond in gratitude with reverent worship.

I am grateful and excited about our first Advent and Christmas season together and eagerly anticipate seeing what God has in store for Hopewell.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Brandon