Adam Hamilton

Pastor Adam's Enote

Advent Begins this Weekend!

Posted Nov 26, 2021

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Dear Resurrection Family,

I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving. Thank you to the many of you who purchased, prepared or served Thanksgiving meals throughout Kansas City! And, thank you to the members of our music ministry who sang on the Plaza as part of the Plaza Lighting Ceremony! On this “Black Friday” I’ve got a few important things I wanted to share with you.

This Sunday is the beginning of Advent - the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Each week there will opportunities for you to worship, study, serve, give and share, as we focus on preparing our hearts for a deeply meaningful Christmas.

Our sanctuaries at each location have been decked out with greenery, candles, trees and lights. We’ll be singing Advent hymns and Christmas carols each weekend, lighting the Advent candles, and focusing on the stories leading up to, and including, the birth of Jesus.

This weekend we’ll begin by turning to Luke 1:26-38, where the angel Gabriel appears to Mary announcing that she will conceive and have a son whom she is to name Jesus, a child who is the Messiah and Son of the Most High. In the message I’ll take to you to Nazareth and we’ll consider why the Gospel writers want you to know Jesus was born in this otherwise insignificant town. We’ll consider Gabriel and ask who or what an angel is (with a clip from It’s a Wonderful Life which gets it partially wrong about angels… and partially right). We’ll then consider Mary’s response to Gabriel, and to God, and how she models for us how we might daily live our lives.

Our small groups will be studying my book, The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem, upon which this sermon series is based. It includes videos I filmed in the Holy Land years ago taking participants to the places where the story unfolds. Our daily GPS – our Grow, Pray and Study Guide – will include daily scripture readings from Matthew and Luke and a devotional from a book of daily Advent devotionals I wrote (thanks to Abingdon Press for giving us permission to use these). If you would like to receive the daily GPS in your email, you can do so here.

2022 Pledges

Thank you to each of you who made your financial pledge to God for the ministry of the church for the coming year. I am, and as a church we are, so grateful for each of you who had returned your pledge card.

If you weren’t able to do this last weekend, and you consider Resurrection to be your church home, you can make you pledge online by clicking here, you can turn it in during worship this weekend if you are joining us in person, or you can mail it to the church. After you submit you pledge, don’t forget to pick up your 2022 Resurrection mug after worship.

Candlelight Christmas Eve and Joy in Serving

I mentioned last weekend that LaVon and I struggle each year to buy Christmas gifts for family who have more than enough. I remember several years ago when Danielle and JT asked us to go easy on gifts for Stella, because she already had more books, toys and playthings than she needed.

Eleven years ago, Resurrection began giving away our entire Christmas Eve offering to benefit children and families who did not have enough. Our missions team vets projects and works with mission partners here in Kansas City, in other parts of the country and in other parts of the world, to determine where these funds will go. Our goal is that these funds have a catalytic impact aimed at bringing hope, help and support to children and families.

On this Black Friday, as you are making your plans for Christmas gifts, I’d like to remind you of our Christmas Eve challenge. We invite our members to consider giving an amount in your Christmas Eve offering equal to what you’ll spend on your own family for Christmas, blessing children and families who don’t have enough. Not everyone can do this, and some can do more, giving many times what they spend on their family at Christmas. We have special cards you can download and print to include with Christmas cards or gifts letting your family or friends know that in addition to whatever gifts you may have given them, you gave a gift to help others in their name.

This weekend, we will share some highlights of what your generosity made possible in 2021, as well as some of our plans for this Christmas season – opportunities to sponsor children and families, donate and serve. Mark your calendars now for a Churchwide Serve Saturday on December 18 when we will spread joy and hope throughout the community.

Advent Study Opportunities

  • Advent Dinner Groups: During the month, we invite you to join one of our Open Table Dinner groups for fellowship and fun. Groups of 8-10 people will gather at local restaurants between December 6 and 22 to enjoy some good food and talk about the sermon series and book. This is a great opportunity to meet some new people and share in some Christmas cheer. You can use this link to sign up for a time and location that works for you.
  • Online Study Wednesdays, Dec. 1, 8 and 15, from 6:30-8 pm Central Time. This three-week online study is a chance to connect with others during Advent and deepen our faith through conversations based on The Journey. We’ll use a large format Zoom gathering with breakout rooms and hosts for the chance to engage with and learn from one another. Here’s the link to register.
  • Reading The Journey during Advent will be helpful, but not required to fully participate in the dinners or study. But, if you’d like, you can order a copy of the book online through The Well bookstore at our Leawood location.

Community Advent Activities for All Ages

  • A highlight of the Christmas season at Church of the Resurrection will be the Merry Little Christmas Event for families on Saturday, December 4! All are welcome to enjoy a visit with Santa Claus, a meaningful craft project supporting KC area foster kids and a living nativity to reflect on the true meaning of the season. You can also pick up a free Family Advent Kit filled with activities to help brighten your family’s Christmas season! Here’s the link for the specific times at the location near you.
  • On Wednesday, December 8, a Caroling Blitz will take the joy of Christmas to the streets of our community. Come with family, invite friends and meet us at any one of our gathering zones across the city. Enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and cookies before taking off with a group of singers, going door to door, singing Christmas carols. Here’s the link to select a meet up location and sign up!
  • Longest Night Service on Wednesday, December 15, at all locations will help us reflect on hope and healing, as we gather to remember that we are never alone.
  • Candlelight Christmas Eve Services on Friday, December 24, in person at all locations, online and on television. We are planning multiple services throughout the afternoon and evening at all of our locations. Times are still being finalized and will be posted on our website at cor.org/Christmas next week. We’ll also have services online throughout the day on Christmas Eve and on KMCI Channel 38 at 6 and 8 pm and KSHB Channel 41 at 10:35pm.

Care and Support During the Christmas Season

For many people, this time of year is especially difficult. It’s hard to feel “Merry and Bright” when you have experienced loss and are facing personal challenges. I want you to know that we are your church family, and we want to care for and support you. Reach out to our care team and let us know how we can walk with you through the darkness (cor.org/care). We have several opportunities coming up that I hope you’ll take advantage of and share with those you know who might be helped.

  • Grief Classes and Groups - We are offering a special Grief at the Holidays class on Thursdays, December 1 and 9, from 6:30-7:30 pm. The class is in room B152, which is in Building B at Resurrection Leawood. Using curriculum from Harold Ivan Smith, a grief speaker and educator, there will be a time for teaching, and also a time for sharing in smaller groups. No registration is required, just join us. We also have ongoing evening and daytime grief support. You can find details at cor.org/grief.
  • Addressing Addiction - On Monday, December 6, from 6:30 - 8 pm, I’ll be joining Gary Mendell, the founder of Shatterproof, for a special presentation in the Leawood Foundry (building B). The program will also be online at cor.org/live. Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States. Shatterproof harnesses the models of business, the rigor of science and the power of a national movement to create change and save lives through three pillars of work: revolutionizing the addiction treatment system, breaking down addiction-related stigmas and supporting and empowering our communities. I’m looking forward to learning about their work and how it might help us reverse the addiction crisis in our community. I hope you’ll join me.

Tuesday Night Vespers on Gratitude

Join me for Vespers this Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. I’ll be sharing from the Psalms and talking about gratitude during seasons of reorientation – when you come out of adversity or difficulties. Join me on Facebook Live, at my Facebook page: Pastor Adam Hamilton on Facebook. You’ll also be able to view it on my Facebook page or on cor.org/next after Tuesday night.

Thank You to the Blood Drive Donors and Volunteers

Over the past two weeks, we had blood drives at four of our locations – Blue Springs, Overland Park, West and Leawood. Thank you to all who donated and volunteered. Through your efforts, Resurrection was able to put a total of 595 units of life-saving blood on the shelves of the Community Blood Center prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Keeping our community, as well as our nation's, blood supply at a safe level is becoming more critical each day. We are working closely with CBC going into 2022 and planning for our next blood drive in February.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving! That’s all the news I’ve got for you today. I want to thank you again, in advance, for your faithfulness and generosity that make Resurrection’s ministry possible.

In Christ's love,

Adam

Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton

Reverend Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection and the author of 22 books. He has been married to LaVon since 1982, and she has been a critical partner in every dimension of Adam’s work. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Adam's writings are known for helping readers make sense of challenging theological questions, exploring the significance of the biblical stories, and equipping Christian leaders to be more effective in their work. He earned his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology and graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

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