LIVERMORE — At the Nov. 27 North Livermore Baptist Church service the congregation was welcomed by Pastor Bonnie Higgins at 9:30 a.m. to begin the service. The Call to Worship was read and the Invocation/Lord’s Prayer was recited. The hymns that were sung were “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”, “That Beautiful Name” and “The Longer I serve Him”. The service concluded with “Go Now in Peace”. Linda Lyman is the organist each week. Janet Diaz is the pianist each week. Lew Lyman leads the music for the congregation each week.

Before the sermon, Pastor Bonnie explained the Advent wreath and with the help of a young one in the congregation, lit the first candle.

The sermon, titled “Hope is at the Heart of Christmas” and reading the scripture from Luke 1:26-38. Pastor Bonnie began speaking how the meaning of Christmas has changed over the years. It seems like society has gone from celebrating the birth of Jesus to be worried about the shopping, the meal planning, the guest list, to decorating the tree and house. No longer do some people understand the true meaning of Christmas.

The first week of Advent brings us to what we are hoping for. The second coming of the Messiah! As we celebrate Advent, we realize that Advent has a past – the Messiah coming from Heaven to earth over 2000 years ago as a baby, to the present – the Messiah calling us to Himself as sinners to be a believer, and the future – waiting for the Messiah to come again to bring His Church to be with Him.

Before Jesus was born, God sent another before Him to prepare the world for the Messiah. His name was John the Baptist, and he came to tell people to repent and for forgiveness from God and to believe in the coming Messiah. Many churches, including here at NLBC, we decorate the sanctuary to remind us of the hope, peace, joy and love that the season of Advent brings.

Pastor Bonnie explained that having her first child and her other two changed her world. These children only changed the lives that were family. But when Jesus was born, He changed the lives of all who were born then, now, and in the future. Jesus’ birth affected everyone’s lives for forever. The Christmas story is all about the birth of Jesus and His fulfillment of the Israelites’ hope that God would push back the darkness and bring light into this world. Why this still affects us today, is because we live in a darken world. We need Jesus’ light to shine upon us during our stay here on earth.

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Throughout the book of Isaiah, it foretells the birth and life of Jesus to sinners and the importance of accepting and following Him. Today we lit one candle to remind us that Jesus brought a shining light into this darken world.

Jesus states in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Stating this, Jesus is telling us He is the only way. Before Jesus’ birth, sin kept us separated from God and because of His birth and eventual death, Jesus overcame death and brought us hope for reconciliation with God. Jesus is the truth from God. God sent Jesus to save us from this sinful world. All we need to do is to repent and ask for forgiveness. Because of the hope through His birth, Jesus showed us that He brought with Him life. We were living in sin, and the penalty from sin was death. Because Jesus overcame death at the cross, we too can overcome death through Jesus.

This world cannot offer the hope, peace, joy, or love that we find in Jesus. It all began when He came humbly to earth as a baby.

Announcements listed in the bulletin were that the congregation will be collecting Cereal for the Food Pantry in the month of December. Bible Study is at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Please contribute to the Christmas project for the community. The AA meetings are held on Friday nights at the church.

For information, check out our website at northlivermorebaptistchurch.org. You can email the church at [email protected] Pastor Bonnie’s office hours are Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon.

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