For five weeks we are going to invite you into the practice of slowing down and being still and see how God can speak to us.
When we intentionally take time to be still before God we can grow closer to God.
This sermon series and devotional guide is inspired from Rev. Jacob Armstong who is the founding pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. I first met Jacob when I interviewed him on my Bearded Theologians podcast. I have a lot of respect for the Kingdom work he is doing. Jacob has written a lot of Small Group studies and is well respected in our denomination.
This journal is a tool for you to open yourself up to slowing down and being still. Please use it during your personal devotional time, with small groups or use it to give to someone who is spiritually searching. We adapted it to fit our Church. So open yourself up to being still and knowing God. You can download it by clicking the banner below or take a copy in the Narthex.
Peace be with you,
Pastor Matt Franks
Lead Pastor Tahlequah UMC
Malachi 3:1-7 CEB
Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me; suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 2 Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can withstand his appearance? He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.
He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. They will belong to the Lord, presenting a righteous offering. 4 The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in ancient days and in former years.
5 I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against the sorcerers, the adulterers, those swearing falsely, against those who cheat the day laborers out of their wages as well as oppress the widow and the orphan, and against those who brush aside the foreigner and do not revere me, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 6 I am the Lord, and I do not change; and you, children of Jacob, have not perished. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors, you have deviated from my laws and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of heavenly forces. But you say, “How should we return?”
We often get caught up in being busy for weeks only to miss Christmas completely. Even with our best intentions, some are just glad when it is over. This need not happen nor be the case. The Advent season is indeed a perfect time of personal spiritual preparation to joyfully receive the promise of God in His Son, Jesus.
Malachi, a prophet of Israel, wrote 3:7b “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”
Jesus did not come to complicate our lives, but to bring to us that the assurance of a new or renewed relationship with God was possible. When we understand Advent is about getting a fresh start in our faith, Christmas can be a new beginning. The story of Christmas itself teaches us how the new or renewed journey to life in Christ can begin for us.
Hopeful shepherds set out in faith on a search until they found the promised one. Magi, from a distant world searched against odds until they too found the one who was to come. Traveling through this life in a world offering little hope, may we keep searching until we too have found the faith, hope, and peace in God’s promised Son.