Getting Ready for Sunday: How to prepare for theGATHERING Dec19

Last Sunday we explored the contrast of a battle ship and a cruise ship. We observed that as Christ-followers, we must decide where our allegiance lies. Jesus clearly states to truly follow HIm is a sacrificial road marked by risky, gutsy and seemingly foolish life choices. Nothing in this world is of greater value than the eternal reward for those who become just like their Master. (Matthew 10: 24 and following). You can hear Luca leading the discussion on theGATHERING's podcast. In the Main Service, Pastor John relayed the amazing story of his experience in NY speaking to several United Nations Delegates. You can pray specifics for them by going here.

This Sunday, December 19th, we'll be welcoming home many of our college students that have survived their finals! We'll also be wrapping up our study of Radical by introducing something that I, Luca, am pretty excited about--The Radical Experiment. Prepare yourself, for it is going to be quite a trip! We've got the punch of "taking back your faith from the American Dream", some Advent/Christmas celebration, and a look back at what God has accomplished in our midst over this past year.  We'll think through some of the things God has shown us through the Advent Conspiracy. We'll laugh and share some chili together in participation of the Big Give.

Throughout Radical we've explored a variety of gutsy, bold claims about the disciple's purpose in life that is contained in the gospel and contradicted by the American Dream. On Sunday, we're going to consider the longterm application of claims like, "Meaning is found in community, not in individualism; Joy is found in generosity, not materialism; and the purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live." You'll be left with a challenge and an experiment.

Ex*per*i*ment (n.): a course of action taken under controlled conditions in order to test a claim.

As you prepare:

Consider these words:

Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past!...Should such en as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God,...and we will do it with His joy and unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only in our God than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works in Jesus Christ. - C. T. Studd, a wealthy Englishman who sold everything to take the gospel to the nations.

Advent Songs - Instead of just listening to Mariah Carey, Bing Crosby, and Mannheim Steamroller this Advent Season, why don't you Google the lyrics to some of the Old School Christmas Carols. You may not realize this, but tradition holds that Christmas Carols were sung to preach the gospel to those people that couldn't read. Check the lyrics for the gospel laden messages. Tomlin's Glory in the Highest, Sojourn Church's Advent Songs, and Phil Wickham's Songs for Christmas are worthy editions to Mariah and Bing (Let's say, if you read this + comment + share somewhere on facebook + show up Sunday = we'll give you one of the above cds)

Read - Have some time on your hand? You may want to consider reading a devotional on Advent. I've really enjoyed For Yonder Breaks a New and Glorious Morn which you can download here.

No celebration of Advent is complete without reading Luke 2. Are you having people over to the house? Are you going to be chilling at Buon Giurno's with someone this weekend? Consider reading, aloud, through Luke 2 with them.

Watch - Finally, if your going to be going to see a movie this weekend, you may want to check out Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'm not sure how the movie handles it, but a boy in the story named Eustace and his interaction with Aslan is one of the most glorious gospel pictures within the whole series of books. Those of you who haven't seen it yet, any idea what I'm talking about here?

If you're at home, you've got to see how Radical, the Bible, and A Charlie Brown Christmas all intersect.