Puyallup Nazarene Church
"Desperation Meets Hope"
When we slow down long enough to consider the Advent story, it becomes clear that we are talking about mystery--the mystery our saving God. In prophesied, but still unexpected ways, God enters our desperation and brings his powerful help.
Locations & Times
  • Puyallup Nazarene Church
    1026 7th Ave SW, Puyallup, WA 98371, USA
    Sunday 8:15 AM
Jesus, the Branch, will bear fruit! Isaiah 11.1, 10
Our Response

The question of worship: Is he worthy of your affections, your worship and your whole heart and life?

The question of transaction: Is there any desperation, gloom, darkness, distress that you need to forsake in favor of his good hope. You used to be without God and with hope in the world, but now? Isn't it time for a new narrative?
And is any of that related to the sin in your heart? The unbelief, the idols that cannot fulfill you? Then there is the death of this Son…this tender shoot…so that you can be forgiven and set free from the sins that harass you!

The question of joy: Isn't it time to believe that God has done something mysteriously wonderful. God is the extravagant lover who pursues you in his holiness. He desires to release true joy in you!
The Four R's--Repent, Rebuke, Replace, Receive

Repent and Receive the Lord's forgiveness.
Humbly submit yourself before God in repentance and receive his forgiveness through Christ's death and resurrection.

Rebuke demonic influence and Renounce the lies that contradict God's truth.

Command demonic beings them from the stronghold(s) in your life through the authority and power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In God's authority, renounce any lies believed about yourself, God or others.

Matthew 4.10. "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

Replace the lie or sinful behavior with what is true and right, and Renew your mind in God's Truth, and live accordingly in actions of obedience.

Confess your commitment to walk in the truth and renew your mind in the truth. Come to God through washing your hands of sinful behavior, and cleansing your mind of duplicity in your devotion to God. Replace it with obedience and with a single-focused devotion to God. Ask God to renew your heart, mind, emotions, and will through the empower of the Holy Spirit.

Receive the infilling work of God's Spirit, and Rejoice!
Claim, and receive in faith, the empowering/infilling work of the Holy Spirit to walk in his ways. Rejoice in the abundant grace and peace that is yours in the Holy Spirit.
Group Life Study and Application Questions:

Opening Question: What are you anticipating and what are you dreading about Christmas?

Read Isaiah 9.1-2, 6-7 and Isaiah 11.1, 10

1. What is the "darkness" metaphor (Isaiah 9.1-2) and the "stump" metaphor (Isaiah 11.1*) telling us about our desperation. How have you experienced this?

2. In these prophecies where is the surprise? Why could we say that hope arrives? What makes the hope real and powerful?

3. Jesus is the Branch. He is the shoot that becomes a fruitful Branch. He is even called the Root. How he arrives is a mystery, but it is in the mystery that our salvation story is rooted. As you read the story of the conception of Jesus--Luke 1.26-39 and/or Matthew 1.18-16--try to speak into these questions:

What is a surprise?
What is a mystery?
What inspires awe?
What do you find hard to believe?
What do you choose to believe?
Why do you choose to believe this?

4. That God would choose this way (the birth of Jesus) to bring hope into our desperation, what does this mystery tell you about God?

What does this mystery tell you about us? About you?

5. What practical meaning and impact can this have on us? How can it make a difference this coming week?

6. Romans 15.12-13 says this:
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.” Isaiah 11.10
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In light of this mystery, what could you do to become more hopeful and to bring more hope to others this Advent season? How could you become more intentional about sharing the true story of Christmas?

(*Note for Isaiah 11: Jesse was King David's father. The kingship of Israel was completely devastated and it appeared there was no hope of recovery. The prophesy is about a shoot that will become a Branch. And later, verse 10, this same person to come is call the Root of Jesse.)

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