Advent at the Chapel: Good News, Not Good Advice

by Lee Mielke

Seems like I just finished writing last year’s Christmas meditation and here we are again. Time flies when you’re having fun and even if you’re not!

I chose the December 1 topic, “The Gospel is good news, not good advice.”

It reminded me of one of my favorite radio/TV preacher’s statements. Adrian Rogers said
“The Ten Commandments are God’s commandments, not His suggestions.”

But, that’s how the world sees them as well as the good news of the Gospel. I dare say some Christians believe that as well.

In my year thru the Bible reading program the week before Thanksgiving, I read Luke 2’s account of the angel of the Lord “suddenly” standing before the shepherds who were “keeping watch over their flocks by night” and it says that they were “terribly frightened.”

Ya think??

But, the angel’s words to the shepherds start with “Do not be afraid.” Let’s not skip over that too quickly because WE need to hear those words today, even though they’re not coming from an angel suddenly standing in front of us.

Don’t be afraid because “I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;” he said, “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ, the Lord.”

So there’s good news……….great joy………and it’s for all people.

Contrast that with what most people today would regard as good news of a great joy for all the people.

It might be Kim Jong-un meeting with Donald Trump, a new high for the stock market, or a cure for cancer. You might have some of your own, I’m sure.

But THIS good news which was given to the shepherds far far exceeds ANY other good news because this good news is from the Almighty, Everlasting, Perfect, Sinless, One True God, and the good news is that HE has paid the price, my price, your price, in full, the cost of RECONCILIATION with His rebellious, disobedient, perverse, treacherous children.

AND, it’s “for ALL people!”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of ALL people don’t care.

And to tell them that a Savior has been born for them “Who is Christ the Lord,” means NOTHING to them because they don’t even have the eyes to see their NEED of this Savior…..and it surely doesn’t rank with LG’s new H-102 Ultra Billion-Meg Smart Phone that even makes cappuccino in the morning which was on sale on “Black Friday” for half price!!!

The angel goes on to tell the shepherds the specifics. There’s a baby, wrapped in cloths (how cute) lying in a manger…..a WHAT? A manger!

And, after that news bulletin; “Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host SAYING (because it can be argued that angels do not sing) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

So the bottom line is “The good news is not good advice…’s the only advice!”

I hope you take it this year, in fact, wrap it up and then give it to someone else as well!


For Advent devotions this year, we are using Pastor Tim Keller’s themes in his new book  Hidden Christmas


Anticipating Advent – From the Beginning

GENESIS 3: 1-15

This chapter is perhaps as sad a story as any we have in the Bible. In the forgoing chapters we have had the pleasant view of the holiness and happiness of our first parents. All was very good; but here the scene is altered. We have here an account of the sin and misery of our first parents, the wrath of God and the curse against them. We have here the fall of mankind and all creation.


We are all concerned in it. In this account we have [Romans 5:12] “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.”
Satan here draws our first parents to sin, and so separates them and us from God.

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit [and we continue to do so] as the devil continues to cause us to question God’s divine law as uncertain or unreasonable. We desire what is forbidden. As did our parents and the wages of that sin is death. That sentence of death take us captive and brings a gulf of separation from God that we cannot span.

Then the gracious words of Genesis 3:15. Our ADVENT text:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her SEED; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise HIS heel.”

Oh the wonder of God’s mercy and grace. He converts the death sentence that sin had brought to Adam and Eve to Himself.

The fruit of this enmity is a continual conflict between grace and sin in the hearts of God’s people. Satan continues to attack us and seeks to devour us. There is also a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. Here we have the gracious promise of Christ the deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. What here was said was addressed to the serpent, yet in the hearing of our first parents, who took the hints of grace and saw a door opened to them. A door of hope from death. This text, the promise of Advent, is the dawning of the Gospel Day. By faith in this promise our first parents were justified and saved.

Here we have three things concerning Christ.

  1. In the incarnation God honors the woman to call Christ her Seed, beguiled by Satan and blamed by Adam; God herein magnifies His grace. Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time had come. God sent forth His Son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem us.” Promise fulfilled! The Seed of the woman was made sin and a curse for us.
  2. His sufferings and death pointed at in Satan’s bruising his heel. Satan tried to destroy the Savior, to ruin salvation’s plan, but on the contrary it was by death that Christ destroyed him that had the power of death. Christ’s heel was bruised when his feet were pierced and nailed to the cross.
  3. His victory over Satan. His death and resurrection. Christ was raised in the fullness of time, the seed of the woman trampled upon Satan, lead him captive, and triumphed over him. Christ rejected Satan’s temptations and rescued souls from Satan’s hands, by his death the sin offering of our redemption. Christ gave a fatal blow to the devil’s kingdom a wound to the head of this beast, that can never be healed.


  1. Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; tell the triumph far and wide; tell aloud the wondrous story of the cross, the crucified; tell how Christ, the world’s redeemer, vanquished death the day He died.
  2. God in mercy saw us fallen, sunk in shame and misery, felled to death in Eden’s garden, where in pride we claimed the tree; then another tree was chosen, which the world from death would free.
  3. Tell how, when at length the fullness of the appointed time was come, Christ, the Word, was born of women, left for us a heavenly home, blazed the path of true obedience, shone a light amidst the gloom.
  4. Thirty years among us dwelling, Jesus went from Nazareth, destined, dedicated, willing, did his work and met his death; like a lamb he humbly yielded on the cross his dying breath.
  5. Faithful cross, true sign of triumph, be for all the noblest tree; none in foliage, none in blossom, none in fruit your equal be; symbol of the world’s redemption, for your burden makes us free.


“Christ is a tree to be desired to make one wise. Col.2:3 I Cor.1:30. Let us, by faith, feed upon him, that we may be wise to salvation.”
~Matthew Henry

PRAISE THE SAVIOUR! Have a blessed Advent season.
~Nick & Diana Laninga

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Good News

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18

“The truth hurts.” A trite and overused statement; yet difficult to deny. What physician or counselor would deny that a client’s best chance of recovery or restoration is connected to their ability to recognize their malady?

Jesus came with good news and bad news. The narrative of his ministry draws a strong distinction between those who say the truth in the bad news (“You are blind, you are sick, you need healing.”), and those who denied the bad news and found the successive part (“I will restore you, I will free you.”) of his message offensive.

Gospel means, “news that brings joy.” Jesus came to declare truth to us, the truth of why he had come: for our rescue and salvation, that we might be delivered from sin into fellowship with God.

The news that brings joy—this gospel—is a stumbling block. For what good is salvation if you do not need a savior? To know Christ, to know why he came, we have to accept the offense of the gospel, the ultimate delivery of good and bad news bundled together.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller

~Breanna Randall

In the Twinkling of An Eye

We will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

I Corinthians 15:51

Is it a good thing to exist, to be human?  My first reaction: “No, mortality is one of the most unfortunate things that has happened to me.”  Were it not for the gospel, my first response would be my only response.  As it turns out, the gospel of Christ tells me things about my humanity, things that turn mortal despair out on the curb.

It tells me I’ve failed to bear the image of God—the one simple task intended for me (Rom. 3:23).  It tells me God became human, and he came bearing the image of himself (John 1:14), in my place.  It tells me that this God-man—Jesus—did not meet his end in death; in fact, he could not perish, because Jesus was the first true man, and because God does not die (Heb. 7:24).   This gospel shows a solution for my lost humanity—I need not fear death (Rom 8:1), I need only believe (Acts 16:30).

And there is still some believing to be done, for I awake each morning as a human, just as perishable as the day I was born.  But God knew we’d wonder what it means to be human, that we’d become discouraged, so he gave us this brief forecast: “we will all be changed.”

It will not always be this way: you will not always carry with you an ache no food can soothe.  Sometime ahead, in a flash, we’ll be transformed.  Until then, let us enjoy, as one author put it, “the privilege of serving the Lord without seeing him.”

And in the interim, should Shakespeare ask, tell him: To be, to be is very, very good.


“The twinkling of an eye.  That is the most wonderful expression… Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.  I’m about to put on imperishability.  In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.”

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead