Today was the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of our collective celebration which will culminate on Christmas, which is the anniversary celebration of our Savior's birth.
This past Sunday at Gateway, Pastor Ed brought another message in the series, "What's Your Story?"
And, fittingly, we began as Lainey Pratzner was baptized and told something of her story that got her to this point. We all rejoiced with her in her decision to publicly declare that she is following Christ.
Then we got into groups of people in a similar stage of life with us and talked about the blessings and drawbacks of our stage of life, as well as what we think are the biggest influences on people in our stage of life.
Pastor Ed began the sermon by talking with Lee Ann and Paul Howdershell, who are active with a 12-step program called Celebrate Recovery -- after dealing with some mess in their lives. They had to face their mess, but then God transformed it.
Then we looked at Abraham's story in Genesis 12:10-20.
We all have a mess we try to keep hidden.
Pay attention to our own story, our own problems, our own mess. Bring our mess to our Savior.
Abraham had a habit of resorting to Plan B living.
Plan B living is a determined attempt to secure my happiness and my good completely apart from God.
Abraham's plan B decisions came out of his mess.
With the famine, Abraham decided to go to Egypt. He created in his own mind a false narrative and acted out of his mess.
In chapter 16, he decides Plan B again. Flase pride, false blame, false neutrality.
We're rarely creative in our messes. In Genesis 20, he again created a false narrative out of his own fear.
He's just like us -- Romans 3:23.
Nobody ever sins in a vacuum. In Genesis 26, his son Isaac does the same thing.
Abraham sinned in community, which means his sin affected others.
Abraham the deceiver gave birth to generations of deceivers.
We also pass our messes on to our descendants.
-- We need a Savior.
None of us gets to be the person who gets it all right.
None of us gets to have the story where everything goes exactly according to plan.
-- That's why God moves on our behalf. He has to.
God still uses us to bless others.
God has shown up perfectly and completely in the life of Jesus Christ.
Because we're a mess, we need a Savior.
Is your mess bubbling up lately?