Pastor Michael Hines, Foundations Church

A Sword and a Sign: Advent Lessons

The Sign – Lesson 1

In part one, Pastor Michael examines some of the Old Testament scriptures that point to a “sign” to come: “Emmanuel, God with us.”

When Simeon saw the baby Jesus in the temple he declared, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. (Luke 2: 34-35). This was not exactly what the Jewish people were looking for in terms of redemption at the time.

This posits the question for us all, “The living Word of God has been spoken for the world to hear, but will we hear it this Christmas?”

The Silence – Lesson 2

In this second part we find that for 400 years God had seemingly been silent but was busy at work. From the last words spoken by the prophet Malachi until the prophecy to Zechariah in Luke Chapter 1 the people of God were left to wonder if God had forgotten about them. He had not. We find through this teaching that in seasons of silence, God is setting things in order to fulfill His promises.

The Sword – Lesson 3

In part three we look at Matthew’s Gospel which begins by emphasizing the kingly lineage of Joseph, Jesus’ adopted father, who like his namesake in the book of Genesis allowed God to change his life through a dream. There is beauty in his apparent betrayal by all those around him as he and Mary embark on a journey of social rejection and shame, oppression, and danger that points to the very heart of the mission of their promised child – Jesus.

The Season – Lesson 4

The conclusion of our series finds us in Luke 2 which opens with the decree of an Emperor and ends with the dedication of the young child Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem. Through it all, God demonstrates that He is orchestrating the times and seasons on earth to accomplish His purposes, at the perfect time, in the perfect place, with the perfect cast of people.

Pastor Michael Hines has spent much of the past sixteen years serving the ministry of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, teaching pastors, and ministering in churches in Israel, the US, and around the world. He is currently the lead Pastor at Foundations Church in Williamsburg, VA.