Have you ever asked for a sign? You know – “God, if this is the job you want me to take, let them email me by 5pm today” or “God if this is the guy you want me to go out with, make it rain for5 minutes and then stop”. Yeah, some signs we ask for can be a bit dodge, sort of like asking God to be your own personal magician. Yet this Sunday in Advent, we hear God himself begging us to ask him for a sign:
“Ask for a sign from the Lord your God; let it be as deep as Hades or as high as the sky!”
But Ahaz (the king of the day) felt bad about asking for a sign – it just wasn’t cool to put God to the test (a bit like ‘Hail Mary full of grace, help me find a parking space”). Then God gets so frustrated that he busts out a Messianic prophecy:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” – Isaiah 7:10-14
I love this story. It’s like God was busting to let us in on ‘his big secret’. What secret? That very soon he planned to send his own Son – who would be God himself on earth with us - hence the code name ‘Emmanuel’. But then in the gospel we read that Mary and Joseph name him Jesus, which means “he will save the people from their sins” (Mathew 1:18-24). Wait - what happened? Didn’t they get the memo? Put the two names together though and there’s one pretty big sign that God has given you and me: God is coming to be with us – ‘Emmanuel’ – and not only that, but to save us from our sins – ‘Jesus’.
Yeah I’d love a sign from God. I’d love to know what to do next year, what numbers will win me the lotto, a sign to know what direction will make me, rich, happy or successful. Wouldn’t you? Hell yeah! But God has already given us the greatest sign he could ever give. A virgin – think about it - gave birth to God. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen every day!
Next time you see a star in the sky, drive past some Christmas lights, or are about to ask God for a sign – stop and thank him for the greatest sign he could ever give. Jesus. God with us!
This Sunday's Scripture readings:
ISAIAH 7:10-14 | PSALMS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 | ROMANS 1:1-7 | MATTHEW 1:18-24
Yesterday someone asked me what I expected to get out of the Ignite Conference, and I didn’t have an answer. After working (what feels like 24/7) in the office and at home, I'd forgotten to stop, and prepare by heart. I’ve been working at such a rush, that I was actually preparing my heart to rush through these next few days, without even looking up.
The Gospels are four books of wild trekking through Israel by Jesus and his crew, and honestly, Jesus called his disciples into some radical places. He drew them close and sent them out often, and each time He did so it was with a purpose and for a mission.
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced Adoration. I went into the room not really understanding God or what faith was truly about. I had been going to church since I was a child, I’d gone through a Catholic school and been at regular youth groups, but for me, it was a ‘community thing’ not a ‘spiritual thing’.
I tend to be a pretty serious person. Anyone who knows me will probably roll their eyes at that statement, cause look – I do crack a lot of jokes. But I think a lot. Kind of non-stop. It’s really easy to cracks some jokes. But it feels pretty terrible when you feel like a joke.
A few years ago, I was a small group leader for a group of year 12 guys. There were about 13 or so and for the first few sessions conversation was slow and shallow but eventually they began to open up and share about their lives and the journey they were going on over Conference.
I’ve been having a problem at work, and I’m certain that it is my own fault. I’ll be happily sitting at my own desk, typing away, working hard, headphones in and music bumping. Next thing I know, a soft mist is falling on my hair. Today, Tash, who sits beside me, literally had to spray me with whiteboard marker to get my attention. Turns out, she had been calling out to me for a couple of minutes. I just wasn’t prepared for an interruption.
Alright so you got through the last round of Catholic facts and yeah, maybe you knew one or two already. For Volume II we’ve got a whole new round-up of the freshest facts that you’ve probably (almost certainly) never heard before.
"During a grand total of two days, bullets were aimed, fired, and lodged into my conscience, making me acknowledge the truth of what it means to be a disciple today, in the real world, as a young person who wants to be worthy of the life she is called to lead....."
If you’re anything like me, you’re so thankful lecturers are finally giving you a break from reading pages and pages each week, you’ve stepped outside for the first time this week and what’s better you can start answering ‘yes’ to those text messages from friends, asking ‘can we hang out?’ This, my dear friends is called a…. Mid-year break!