This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Promise of Better Days". See series.
In this Advent season, we are looking at the theme of God's promise of better days for our lives. That is the hope of Advent and Christmas, that God has done something in Christ that changes everything. For this series, we have been looking at Scriptures that don't immediately strike us as relating to Advent season or the Christmas story. The connection, however, is this idea of God's promises of better days, promises which all eventually find their fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ. Today we look at a promise for better days recorded in the Old Testament book of Malachi.
Some of you have already heard about my 9th grade basketball coach, Mr. Hammerstein, or as we called him behind his back, "The Hammer." The Hammer was a gigantic ex-marine with hands the size of grizzly paws. Most of the time he acted with a quiet gentleness, but at times—usually when we had it coming—he could explode with righteous anger. In one game, for instance, we were playing a team we should have been beating; instead, we were down by eight points at half time. It was probably the most uninspired and unmotivated game in my brief basketball career, but I was perfectly content with my lackluster efforts. During half time, as the Hammer lectured us about basketball fundamentals, drawing little diagrams on his whiteboard and asking for more hustle, I was having one of my finer ADD moments: my mind wandered, I stared out the door of the locker room, and then I let out a huge yawn. The Hammer suddenly stopped talking, grabbed me by the jersey, lifted me off the bench and started shouting two inches from my face, "And Woodley, you're playing like you're bored stiff. If I don't see more hustle out of you, I will personally ...
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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).