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Christmas

The promise of Immanuel – delivered!

Today’s Monday Motivation continues with a Christmas theme:

The word Immanuel means, as we learn in Matthew 1:23, “God with us.”  The coming of the Christ child fulfilled what Isaiah wrote in chapter 7, verse 14: “the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

In his book Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller shares that for centuries, the Jewish religious leaders and scholars had known that prophecy, but did not think that it should be taken literally. They thought it was simply predicting the coming or arrival of some great leader through whose work, God would be present with his people.

However, Matthew writes that this promise is greater than anyone imagined!  It did not come true figuratively, but literally. Jesus Christ is “God with us,” because the human life in Mary’s womb was a miracle performed by God himself.  Then Jesus, with his life, his claims and his resurrection, convinced his closest followers that he was not just a prophet telling them how to find God, but God himself coming to find us.

Keller writes that this claim, that Jesus is God, gives us the greatest possible hope.  Why?  Because it means this world is not all that there is…it means that there is life and love after death and it means that evil and suffering will one day end.

And it is not just hope for the world, but hope for you and me personally. A God who was only holy would have not come to us in Jesus.  He would have just demanded that we pull ourselves together and be moral and holy enough to be worthy of relationship with him. But our God is fully holy and fully human – so he doesn’t send someone else – he comes himself!  Jesus is one of us – and that should give us all hope!

Christmas Gift Exchange winners today:
Becky from Howard and Krista from Howard! Remember the grand prize drawing is Thursday morning on The Morning Thing!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd

The season of waiting, arrival and revelation!

Today’s focus is on Advent, provided to us from the writings of Rob Staples, professor of theology emeritus at Nazarene Theological Seminary:

Advent is preparation for Christmas, not Christmas itself. It is only in commercial advertising that the Christmas season begins the first of December (or the first of October!). In the Christian calendar, Advent is the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Christmas Day is December 25, and the Christmas Season itself is the 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany. Remember the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with “a partridge in a pear tree?”

Epiphany, which celebrates the coming of the Magi, the first Gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as King, is January 6. Epiphany means “showing” or “unveiling” and thus “unveils” the truth that salvation was for Gentiles as well as Jews.

Advent differs from Christmas in the same way Lent differs from Easter. Both Advent and Lent are times of preparation—Advent for Christmas and Lent for Easter.

The Christian calendar, unlike the calendar on our walls or desks, does not begin January 1. It begins the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is that season when the Church turns its gaze in two directions—past and future. It looks backward as it prepares to celebrate the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, and it looks forward as it engages in self-examination in preparation for Christ’s Second Coming in glory.

The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” Thus in certain contexts it means the same as the Greek parousia. However, the latter term occurs in the New Testament only with reference to the Second Coming. During the Advent season, both these “comings” of Christ are embraced in the Church’s worship—His coming in the Incarnation and His coming at the end of the age.

Advent emphasizes hope, and it is this hope that makes Advent a proper preparation for Christmas.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd

The light of Christmas!

Today’s Monday Motivation comes from Isaiah 9:2, 5-7 (NIV)

2 The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For unto us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

One of the first indications of the Christmas season is LIGHT.  The appearance of lights seemingly everywhere – on trees, with candles, above streets; there is radiance all around us.

Lights are not just for decoration of course, they are symbolic.

In his book, Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller says one of the most important spiritual truths at Christmas is this: the world is a dark place, and we will never find our way or see reality unless Jesus IS our light.

Keller writes that the word ‘darkness’ in the Bible refers to evil and ignorance. The world has evil and untold suffering. The world also has no one who can cure the evil and suffering. We look towards the earth and our human resources to try to fix the world.  We think we can end darkness with intellect and innovation.  That’s the ignorance.

So the message of Christmas is NOT, “we will be able to put together a world of unity and peace.”  The message, instead, is a humble one: “Things really are this bad and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Nevertheless, THERE IS HOPE.”

Notice the verse in Isaiah doesn’t say the light comes from the world…it says that upon the world a light has dawned.  It has come from the outside, and Jesus has brought that light to save us!  Because, as John 8:12 says, He IS that light!

Today’s Christmas Gift Exchange winners were Pam from Fredericktown and James, also from Fredericktown.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe

NZ Top 10 for 12/4/20

Praise the Lord it’s Friday – here’s this week’s countdown:

10. Josh Baldwin – Evidence
9. Josh Wilson – Revolutionary
8. Zach Williams f/Dolly Parton – There Was Jesus
7. Elevation Worship f/Brandon Lake – Graves into Gardens
6. Matthew West – Truth Be Told
5. NEEDTOBREATHE – Who Am I
4. We The Kingdom – God So Loved
3. Tauren Wells f/Jenn Johnson – Famous For (I Believe)
2. Chris Tomlin f/Lady A – Who You Are to Me
1. CAIN – Rise Up (Lazarus) – 1st week at #1

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY – new Christmas songs this week:

for King and Country f/NEEDTOBREATHE – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=draHA_9MS18

Matthew West – The Hope of Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27rMrWqJsNA

Leanna Crawford – Christmas Dreamin’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzlZjnBI-ao

Here’s Leanna’s bus tour version video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIvyvUomsdA

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Zoe

NZ Top 10 for 11/27/20

Praise the Lord it’s Friday and Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Here’s this week’s countdown:

10. Elevation Worship f/ Brandon Lake – Graves into Gardens
9. Danny Gokey – Love God, Love People
8. Josh Wilson – Revolutionary
7. Matthew West – Truth Be Told
6. NEEDTOBREATHE – Who Am I
5. Zach Williams f/ Dolly Parton – There Was Jesus
4. Tauren Wells f/Jenn Johnson – Famous For (I Believe)
3. We The Kingdom – God So Loved
2. CAIN – Rise Up (Lazarus)
1. Chris Tomlin f/Lady A – Who You Are to Me (4th week at #1; 3rd straight week)

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY + video links – new Christmas music for 2020 from:

Francesca Battistelli – Behold Him

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulGqyckf-oI

Also watch the ‘making of the album cover’ video by clicking here!

Marc Martel f/Amy Grant – The Christmas Waltz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iptEtoTdl-I

Micah Tyler – Feels Like Joy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeVBCFfZXW4

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Alyssa

NZ Top 10 for 11/13/20

Praise the Lord it’s Friday! Here’s this week’s countdown:

10. Colton Dixon – Miracles
9. Matthew West – Truth Be Told
8. NEEDTOBREATHE – Who Am I
7. Josh Wilson – Revolutionary
6. Danny Gokey – Love God, Love People
5. Zach Williams f/Dolly Parton – There Was Jesus
4. Tauren Wells f/Jenn Johnson – Famous For (I Believe)
3. We the Kingdom – God So Loved
2. CAIN – Rise Up (Lazarus)
1. Chris Tomlin f/Lady A – Who You Are to Me (2nd week at #1, also #1 on 10/30)

NEW MUSIC FRIDAY – we added three new ones this week, including two Christmas songs!

Jeremy Camp – Out of My Hands

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B_iXPaoTD4

CAIN – Celebrate Me Home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZQtetcv9zQ


We The Kingdom – Light of the World (Sing Hallelujah)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI-kq9u-zrQ

Thanks for listening!
– Joe

Joseph’s example

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2:13-15 (NIV)

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

In both of these passages, we learn about Joseph’s character, specifically his obedience. Upon receiving a command from God concerning taking Mary as his wife… and then later taking the child out of danger…he obeyed.

These short passages communicate a lot about Joseph. He receives a command and he obeys. No debating. No delaying. Just immediate and complete obedience. Would Joseph’s obedience bring hardship? Probably. And danger? No doubt. But still, he obeyed. And so must we when we commit to listening to God and following his commands.

Joseph was obedient, but he was also a loyal man. When he made his decision to wed Mary, he knew he would face public ridicule. After all, how could he explain the situation? And who would believe the story anyway? But Joseph was willing to face the critics. If people condemned Mary, they would have to condemn him as well.

Think about this, too: Joseph was also careful to take Mary with him when he went to Bethlehem to register and pay his taxes. He could have gone alone. Her presence wasn’t required. But, Joseph knew that if he left her behind, he would not be able to protect her from further ridicule.

Obedience and loyalty was a way of life for Joseph. So, what can we learn from these passages?  We can start by asking ourselves some questions:

Am I caring and sensitive? Do I only look out for myself, or do I have concern about the needs of others?

Am I obedient? Do I seek after the things of God?

Am I loyal? Do I stick by my family and friends during the tough times? Even maybe to suffer ridicule for their sake?

Do I look out for those who are weaker than I am?  Do I have a positive moral code?

Learning to do these things will take work.  But Joseph gives us a great example. We can only do this through asking God every day for wisdom and for strength.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd

Who Knew Wednesday: The last day of our dig into Christmas Carols!

Carols, carols, and more carols!
Today Todd and I talked about all things carols, first, we listened to two MVNU professors, Dr. VanZant and Dr. VanNest, share about their favorite Christmas carol!
(Click on the picture to hear the conversation.)
Dr.Mike VanZant
  _Dr. Doug VanNest
Copy of Mystery Monday xmas
Congratulations to Bob from Howard who won a North Main Café Gift Basket and James from Mount Vernon who won an Amy Grant CD! They have both been entered to win the Grand Prize. Click HERE for more info on this!
animation (3)
What was the first Christmas carol about?  
Answer: The earliest carol was written in 1410. Sadly, only a very small fragment of it still exists. The carol was about Mary and Jesus meeting different people in Bethlehem.
Click HERE for more fun Christmas carol facts!
Congrats to Charla from Utica who guessed what the first Christmas carol was about! She won the $5 Gift Card to Troyers of Apple Valley!
Thanks for checking out the Blog!
Hannah and Todd

Mystery Monday: George Washington or Jesus?

Today I, Hannah, (Yes just me, myself and I) had a super fun show recapping the 38th annual Food For the Hungry Drive, playing the WNZR gift exchange and giving you another chance to win with the Mystery Monday Mystery question!
Our Total for the 38th Food For Hungry Drive is $209,504.27 and 18.7 truckloads of food! Thank you so much Knox County for the support of this year’s Food for the Hungry! You can still give if you didn’t get the chance or find out more HERE! 

Copy of Mystery Monday xmas

Congratulations to Matt from Howard who won A Gift Certificate for a 9 inch homemade Pie of his choice from Auntie “M’s” Homemade Goodies and Debbie from Mount Vernon who won a WNZR tote bag and Vintage T-shirt! They have both been entered for our grand prize, a one-night stay the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel and 6 hours of house cleaning from Carefree Cleaning Company! If you want to know more about all of this, click HERE!

Here is Today's Family Feud Style Mystery Question!
Name one of the first famous people, real or fictional, that children learn about. 
Answers:
1. George Washington
2. Santa Claus
3.Martins L. King Jr.
4. Jesus Christ
5. Dr. Seuss
6. God
Congrats to Kenneth from Mount Vernon who guessed the top two answers right and won that $5 gift card to Troyer’s of Apple Valley!
Thanks so much for joining me today or checking out the blog!
– Hannah Radke

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