From the FaithGateway Online Bible Study (OBS) Team: WELCOME! We are delighted to be starting with you this week the Advent Online Bible Study Because of Bethlehem Max Lucado!
Is Advent a tradition you grew up with or is it new to you? How have you celebrated it in the past? What are you doing differently this year (besides participating in this study, of course)? We’ll be chatting about these questions in our group discussions this week on the blog and in our private Facebook group, and hope you will join the conversation!
We’ve been reading about your enthusiasm for this study and sense that you are all longing for something different to happen this Christmas, something exciting and new, something that burns like a candle and shines for the world to see… We can’t wait to hear what a difference this study makes in your lives over the next four weeks!
So gather your friends and neighbors, light a fire, prepare some cocoa, and let’s have a wonderful Advent season together studying God’s Word and Jesus’ journey into this world. Let’s get started. ~ Laurie and Jaime
How ready am I for the arrival of the King?
Because God became human, we can see and know God in the person of Jesus. We can also rely on the fact that God knows us. He understands how we feel because he has faced what we face, including weakness, testing, and suffering. — Max
Here’s a quick look at our schedule:
Week One (November 27 – December 3) — God Has a Face
- November 28: Our kick-off interview with Max Lucado at 9 pm EST (6 pm PST) right here!
Week Two (December 4 – 10) — Worship Works Wonders
Week Three (December 11 – 17) — God Guides the Wise
Week Four (December 18 – 24) — Every Heart Has a Manger
This week we’re getting started with week one, “God Has a Face.”
- Watch the video for Week 1 – Your video is ready for viewing! You can watch it either on DVD or right here on FaithGateway. Bookmark this page and come back often:
- If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the group discussion and questions for Session 1 in your Because of Bethlehem Study Guide (pages 9-21).
- For your individual activity this week, see page 22 and set aside some time for your Advent Practice and Advent Reflection. This may be my favorite part of the entire study guide so be sure to look at this right away, and don’t wait until the end of the week!
In spite of, and out of, Mary’s chaos and hardships, Christ came. The season leading up to the first Christmas wasn’t what she hoped for, but it was a miracle in the making. At the most unexpected time and place, Mary saw the face of God. — Max
And lastly for this week, I encourage you to take a little extra time with God asking Him to show you that He is present in spite of, and might even be more palpable out of, your circumstances, chaos, and hardships. May we see the face of God even unexpectedly and rejoice that the King has come! Come share your stories with us. We want to get to know you.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. — John 1:14 MSG
The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons
We want to see your photos! Are you going through the Because of Bethlehem on your own or with a group? Take a photo and tag it #BecauseofBethlehem on social media this week and we’ll share some of your images on social and in next week’s email. We want to see Because of Bethlehem amidst your Christmas décor, crazy lights, nativities on the front lawn, burnt sugar cookies, and more!
Prayer for the Week
God, thank You that You came as a Baby King in the most surprising way at the most surprising time. We need Advent this year, particularly. We need to see Your face in the middle of chaotic and challenging times when our souls are tired of the worldly rush and rage and unrest. Help us to see You, focus on Your astonishing incarnation into a messy world, and celebrate You. Ignite our wonder and awe! We love you. Amen.
Enjoy this Because of Bethlehem Q&A with Max Lucado
Have You Signed Up for this Study?
If you just stumbled on this blog today and want to register for the study, we invite you to sign up here.
* * *
Let’s talk about our opening questions: Is Advent a tradition you grew up with or is it new to you? How have you celebrated it in the past? What are you doing differently this year (besides participating in this study, of course)? Share your comments on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!
Because of Bethlehem
FaithGateway Price: $19.99
Because of Bethlehem Study Guide
FaithGateway Price: $9.99
Because of Bethlehem Christmas Coloring Book
FaithGateway Price: $15.99