“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast

We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!

Our Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.

You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.

Devotional Text

By Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

December 1, 2021

14 “I, the Lord, affirm:[a] ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my
gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah.[b] 15 In those days
and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant[c] of David.
“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy
safety[d] and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.”[e]
~Jeremiah 33:14-16

The sermon series for the Advent season this year is called “Come Home for
Christmas.” This Sunday, Pastor David kicked off the series with his sermon
titled “Time to Come Home.” As a visual learner and thinker, I always love it
when he uses metaphors in his sermons. He used the metaphor of trees: The
Tree of Life in Genesis, The Tree of Good & Evil, The Tree of Calvary and The
Tree of Life in Revelation. He broke the season of Advent down for us telling us
that it was a season for looking back and remembering, looking around and
being honest, and looking forward in hope.

Most weeks, I watch and listen to Pastor David’s sermons a few times. I like to
think about his message throughout the week and how I need to be applying
what he is saying in my own life. This Sunday evening, I was invited to join a
friend at the Smith Center for a performance of A Christmas Carol. Right away, I
was struck by the fact that this was much the same message that Pastor David
had spoken about. As you will probably remember, Ebenezer Scrooge gets a
visit from three spirits: the spirit of Christmas Past, the spirit of Christmas
Present, and the spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. In this story, he is given the
opportunity to remember his past, take a good honest look at his present, and of
course hope for a different future. Sound familiar?

So let’s dig into Pastor David’s message a bit. And, if you will humor me, let’s
take Ebenezer Scrooge along with us as we answer some important questions
together. We’ll start with the Ghost of Christmas past and remembering.
I am a big picture taker. I love pictures and I take a ridiculous amount of pictures.

Why? Because I love to look back and remember. I love to remember the events,
the people, the stories. Every picture represents a tiny piece of what made me
who I am today. Of course, my pictures are a part of the story that I have been
present for. The Bible on the other hand tells a part of my story that came before
me, but that has shaped the woman that I am today nevertheless. Pastor David
talks about how the prophets of old foretold the birth of Jesus, his suffering and
death, and the meaning of his suffering in death. What they had to say back then
is still relevant in our lives today. As we remember our stories, it’s good to
remember that the Tree of Life represents a life lived in the presence of God.
And this life is an abundant and eternal life.

My first question today is:
Why do you think it is important for us to look back and remember our
stories? And what stories (in your life on earth and that you read in the
Bible) have had the greatest influence on who you are today?

For Ebenezer, we see a glimpse of his relationship with his father, a man he
was never able to please. How he lives his life in the present is more easily
understood when looking at his past.

What about you?

Next we move onto The Ghost of Christmas Present and being honest. If you’ve
seen A Christmas Carol, you will remember how uncomfortable it was for
Ebenezer to see his life — how the people in his life viewed him, and how he was
impacting their lives. Enter Tiny Tim.

Being honest with ourselves is not always easy. Acknowledging how our actions
(or inactions) have hurt others does not always feel so good. Pastor David spoke
about the brokenness in our world today. I mean, if we’re honest with ourselves,
we have made a pretty big mess of things. The violence, the injustice, the
divisiveness. It’s not pretty. David challenges us to consider how far from living
out our prayer “on earth as it is in heaven” we truly are. According to the nightly
news, I would say pretty far.

The tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil is the tree that Pastor David
references here. When Adam & Eve ate the fruit from this tree, well…things
started to go wrong.

That brings us to my next question:
In what areas of our lives do we need to take a real and honest assessment
right now? Not just our personal lives, but the world that we live in?
For Ebenezer, it was very painful for him to take an honest look at his life
and how he was hurting others. Tiny Tim was a child living in poverty while
Scrooge was hoarding money that could have helped their family. Not to
spoil the plot for anyone who hasn’t read or seen the story, but Scrooge
also sees how his demands on Tiny Tim’s dad could have grave

The tree of Calvary that Jesus was crucified on shows us what bad things we are
capable of doing. Just look what we did to Jesus. But to Christians, the cross is
not a symbol of death and despair. No. It is a symbol of hope. It reminds us of
the future that God has planned for us, and our eternal life with Jesus that has
already been given to us through His sacrifice. The cross points to the future.
And the future is full of hope.

Returning back to A Christmas Carol, by the time Ebenezer is visited by the
Ghost of Christmas yet to come, he asks if he can change the future. What he is
really asking for here is hope. Is there still hope that he can change, that his life
can change? We all know the answer to that question.

At Desert Spring, we are a people of hope. We know that our best days are yet
to come. We are always looking to the future, right? We delight in giving hope to
others, especially at this time of year. This past Sunday, the lobby was buzzing
with people eager to be involved in bringing hope to others. People were
choosing ornaments for the Different Kind of Christmas campaign which will
benefit both Family Promise and Soaring Unlimited Haiti. Other folks were
signing up to participate in bringing the story of Jesus’ birth to life during the
Living Nativity at Glittering Lights. Oh, and then there were the people selecting
tags off of the angel tree to adopt 140 children living in poverty. Just spending a
Sunday morning in our lobby fills my heart with so much hope.

So last question. What about you? Where are you hoping to see God
break in during this Advent season? What hope do you have for the

During this season of Advent, I encourage you to spend time looking back,
looking around, and looking forward. As you do so, try looking through God’s
eyes. And God’s eyes are most certainly eyes of hope.

Peace on Earth,

julie 🙂

Podcast & Sermon Video Links

Video Podcast

Audio Podcast

Stream The Wednesday Word Episode 16 by Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Las Vegas | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

“Time to Come Home” Sermon Video