Advent is a season of waiting. The world waited long for the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus, who was born in a stable at just the right moment in time. Now the world again waits for the Messiah who will come again. As we celebrate the season of Advent each year, we take a moment during our worship services to reflect on what this season means for us at Exodus through the reading of a short original work by various authors in our congregation. The theme for this year is our four core values—gospel, community, worship, and missions. This was our reading for the first week of Advent.
During the Christmas season, it’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and work of decorating and gift-buying and so, so many parties. Christmas lights and sugarplum fairies dance in our eyes and across our minds, and it takes an intentional effort to keep our focus on celebrating the birth of our Savior. Maybe you have an Advent devotional you read daily or you teach your small children the story of Jesus using a nativity play set. There are many tools and resources we may use, but all of them require that we set aside the distractions and focus on what matters.
In this same way, Exodus Church uses our mission statement to set aside the things that distract us, like the comfort of the familiar and the shiny of the newest fad, so that we can keep our attention on God and who He wants Exodus to be and what He wants Exodus to do.
Our mission statement reads, “Exodus Church seeks to be a redeemed people who worship and serve God in the world.”
As a “redeemed people”, we are saved from sin and saved to life with Christ forevermore. This is the story of the gospel.
We are born into sin, our birthright from Adam and Eve, an echo of the first sin that reverberates throughout history that shapes us, and condemns us. We have all sinned and are all sentenced to death. Yet, this is not the end of the story. God Himself stepped in and changed everything when He sent His Son to us to be our Redeemer. In a dark and humble stable, surrounded by the pungent smell of hay and the braying of donkeys, Jesus was born. He came to break the cycle of sin and death, to offer Himself as the payment for our sin, to redeem us.
And this is the good news of the gospel that Exodus Church is sent to go tell on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere.