Thursday, 17 December 2020 11:19
Good NewsWritten by Jeron Parkins
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52:7-10
At Christmas we are reminded that God is working in our world to bring salvation, just as he promised. As we near the end of 2020, let us remember the good news, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah the prophet was commissioned by God to speak to Israel on many topics. In the latter half of the book many of his messages are directed towards the Jewish people who have been enslaved in Babylon. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and took a large chunk of the population with them back to Babylon. The Lord wanted his covenant people to know that he was going to bring them home, that their punishment for covenant unfaithfulness and idolatry was nearing its end. So in Isaiah 52 the prophet invites his readers to imagine a runner moving through the mountains to the ruins of Jerusalem. The runner being alone is typically a sign of good news - not a bunch of stragglers returning from defeat, but someone with an announcement of victory!. And the announcement is beautiful! Your God Reigns! The Babylonians saw the defeat of Jerusalem as a defeat not only of the Israelites but of their God. What Isaiah labored to proclaim many times was that God himself had brought the Babylonians to Jerusalem to judge his people, and that God himself would punish the Babylonians for their wickedness. The announcement of Your God Reigns was a positive shout that the Babylonians and their gods were no longer being allowed to control and oversee God’s people. It was good news of peace. It was good news of salvation on the way. Then Isaiah asks his readers to imagine watchmen on the walls. They not only see the runner, the messenger, they see God coming! And they shout for joy! Isaiah says that God is returning to Israel. And when the Lord “bares” his arm and goes to work, the whole world will see his salvation. God not only returns, he rescues! Isaiah’s message to Israel was that God was going to restore Jerusalem and return it’s captives – which started in 538 B.C. with King Cyrus (the Persians, by God’s plan, defeated the Babylonians) decreeing that the Jews could return home. By God’s grace and the exercise of his power, the Israelites would experience his salvation and peace.
One of the key teachings of Isaiah was that the reign of God extends beyond Israel. He is not some localized small “g,” god, he is the Sovereign of the universe! And the message of the Old Testament is that God’s salvation wasn’t just to come to Israel, nor was it just for Israel. The Old Testament communicates that God is focused on the redemption of the peoples of the earth. Israel was to be a light to the nations – those in spiritual darkness would find God as a result of the Israelites witness. As all the world fell into sin and all peoples of the earth experienced the consequences of the Fall, so God’s redemptive plan is focused on redeeming creation and on the rescuing the nations of the earth. After the mess of Genesis 3-11, where division reigned and sin reigned, we come to Genesis 12 and the Call of Abram. God made a promise to Abram that carries through to our day: “In you all the nations of the earth will be blessed” (12:3). The Apostle Paul says this about the worldwide scope of the promise: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed” (Galatians 3:8). What does that mean? It means that in and through Abraham’s descendants the world would hear good news. God’s message of salvation was to go to all the earth and thereby bless people from all nations who came to faith in the God of Abraham.
Isaiah, in 52:10, spoke of a wider revelation of God to the nations, beyond the return of exiles to Jerusalem - that all the earth would see the salvation of God. What did this promise speak of? Well, what he was speaking of was the movement of God in our world that started at Christmas. God was going to come to a world that was lost and in bondage. God was going to bring salvation to the nations. We learn in the New Testament that God fulfilled his promise to Isaiah and is continuing to fulfill his promise to Abraham. The Good News is that God has come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is God returning. Jesus is God saving. “For at Bethlehem “the arm of the Lord” was rolling up his sleeves for Calvary. Finally he went to Calvary, and the arm of the Lord was indeed stretched out there, stretched out on the cross for the redemption of the world… Jesus Christ is the reigning, returning, redeeming God. God has kept his promise” (Christopher Wright).
God’s work at Calvary continued with a resurrection on the 3rd day and an exaltation on the 40th day and the Spirit coming on the 50th day. Now we wait for a return! The Day of the Lord is at hand and everyone will see it. Good News! Until that great day, until Jesus’s second advent, we live in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we live with the good news of our coming salvation, we live with the good news of our eternal inheritance. And we share the good news with others. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! 2020 was a terrible year in many respects. But Good News! Jesus is the reigning, returning, redeeming God and in him the future is bright – Merry Christmas! - He is making all things new! Our Messiah has come. Our Messiah is coming!
Here’s some of what’s happening in the near future at Living Water…
CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT SERVICES, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24
Let us celebrate with the angels over Jesus’ birth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!” We’re adding another worship service this year to ease overcrowding. We will also have the Sprung Building open with a live stream of the service on the big screen for overflow or for those who want to physical distance a bit more. Feel free to invite people to Christmas Eve services on Thursday, December 24 at one of the following times:
Just a reminder that you are encouraged to wear masks when you come to services and events at the church. Though for most of us the chance of death through Covid-19 virus or through the influenza virus is very low, it’s still no fun to get sick! If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home. It’s okay during this season to not shake hands or hug and to physical distance to stop the spread of viruses. Let’s keep praying for the Lord’s protection of our church family and for the overall health of our community.
WE WILL HAVE REGULAR WORSHIP SERVICES ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27 at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.
No Saturday Evening Service on December 26. Saturday evening services will resume January 2nd at 6:00 p.m.
Children’s Ministry will take a break on December 27 and Jan 3, will resume Jan 10.
MEN’S BREAKFAST 2021
A note to the men from Pastor Greg:
Hey Guys, wanted to let you all know that we will be taking the next two weeks off for Christmas and New Year's. We will start up again Thursday morning Jan 7 at 6:00 a.m. When we start up again in January 2021 we plan to start a study on the Divine Opportunities that lay ahead in 2021 where God accomplishes what man cannot through men who are completely sold out for Christ. Do not let our culture influence your belief on what real gain and riches are! Join us as we look into the Word and understand how men who abide and mature in Christ through total surrender become the influence our culture so desperately needs. Before we meet Jan 7 read Luke 18: 18-30, Luke 17:33 and Luke 19:25-26 and then be prepared to share your thoughts on the following statement:
Eternal life and unmeasurable gain only comes through abandonment of self and total surrender to Christ. LET IT GO!!!
Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas! What a blessing it is for Christians to celebrate the Incarnation. Indeed, the most joyful news ever proclaimed. At last our Savior and King has arrived! He has slayed the dragon of sin and death! His reign is eternal and His rule everlasting! " Glory to God in the Highest."
PARENT SUMMIT January 23
Our Family Team has been working on putting together a summit focusing on protecting kids from sexual exploitation. The speaker will be Breanna Fetkavich from Street Grace Church. Breanna, once part of our church family at Living Water, has been involved in anti-trafficking ministries for several years now in Houston, Texas. The topics of the summit will be: Age-appropriate conversations, Healthy relationships, Social media, Internet and phone safety, Pornography and How to tell/who to tell. We’re currently shooting for Saturday, January 23 from 9:00 till 3:00 pm with lunch provided. More information to come.
Work on the Christian Education and Community Building is ahead of schedule and under budget. Thank you for your continued prayers for worker safety, for the project staying on schedule and for God’s financial provision. Check out www.bringinglifeproject.org for more information or give anonymously or to make a pledge.
EAGLE LAKE DAY CAMP July 19-23
Early registration for Eagle Lake is open now and ends January 31st. Families get $25 off if they register before January 31. Please contact Pastor Bo for more information. There will be an organizational meeting sometime in January for those interested in serving on the local staff team.
The Deacon Board has placed a large wooden box in the Fellowship Hall for the reception of non-perishable food items (no foods that can rot or spoil). We are no longer offering a non-perishable food bank here at the church building but the Deacons will transfer all donated items to the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley (513 6th St, Alamosa) for distribution.
If you need prayer there are several ways to do so:
- Get your prayer need on the Prayer Chain: Call Teresa Harmon at 580-1930 or Shirley Bervig at 480-1683. You can pray for people by joining the prayer chain. Just call the church office (589-6351) and ask to be added to the prayer chain contact list.
- Go to our website www.livingwateralamosa.org and click on the prayer link at the bottom of the page
- If you use Facebook, Living Water has a closed group where updates and prayer requests are shared. Just let myself (Pastor Jeron), or Bo Hutches know you want to part of this group and we’ll send you an invitation.
- Call Elders or Deacons or Pastors directly
PASTOR, ELDER AND DEACON BOARD CONTACT EMAILS:
Thanks for reading!