C3 Leaders’ Advent Devotional 2022

The 2022 C3 leaders’ Advent Devotional was

underwritten by

and

Published by C3 Leaders
Part of C3 Leaders’ B2B Devotional Series
General Editor: Devon Skaufel
Proofing: Karilyn Dammarell, Liberty Road Foundation

 

 

 

Welcome from C3 Leaders

Christmas is a time for family. My family will be different this Christmas. My sister had a quick battle with organ failure and passed away in August.

If you have been through the death of a loved one, you know the challenge. You also know that it is Holy awesome. The process of death is full of life.

I was given a gift in this journey. My sister and I spent a day-and-a-half talking through memories, looking at pictures, remembering, and laughing. I also had the opportunity to confirm her faith in Jesus and give her full assurance that she was heading toward an eternity with Him.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you make time with family and friends to talk through memories, look at pictures, remember, and laugh. Maybe one of these devotions will spark a conversation…

More than conversations, I pray that this 3rd Annual C3 Leaders’ Advent Devotional affirms your faith, and that it will confirm “Emmanuel” in your work and home… that Jesus life gave you the greatest gift of all, eternity with Him… and my little sis.

Merry Christmas.

D. Mason Rutledge,
President

 

 

 

What is Advent?

WHAT IS ADVENT? Advent is the four-week season of preparation for Christmas. For many of us unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be confusion around the meaning of Advent.

There is certainly anticipation in Advent…awaiting the arrival of Christ. That is part of the story, but there is more to Advent than expectations.

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word meaning “coming.” Since the 6th century, Roman Christians have celebrated Advent as a part of Christmas. Their idea though was not about Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, but His second coming. It was not really until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was linked to Jesus first coming at Christmas. Today, Advent marks the beginning of the Christian liturgical year.

Most importantly, Advent offers a special way for each of us to focus on the meaning of our Lord’s birth and to look expectantly to His coming again.
The encouragement is to use this time to turn again to the God who keeps seeking us in love. As we do that through reflection, reading, and celebration, we will enjoy the great blessing of the Father who sent His only Son.

The following reflections are written by the broad C3 Leaders’ family. You will read devotions by some of our incredible C3 Forum Chairs, members of C3 Forums, members of the C3 Board, C3 Ambassadors, and friends of C3 Leaders.

Take time daily to read the Biblical passages and then reflect upon the brief devotional writing. You may also want to journal about your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you.

 

 

 

Forward:
Celine Anelone Brozovich
C3 Forum Chair
Team Optimizer

Joyeux Noel!

As a kid in Côte d’Ivoire, “Joyeux Noel!” meant I was going to receive gifts. As I “aged” and grew in my faith, I realized that this was the day to commemorate the birth of Jesus. It is the Lord Jesus’ birthday.

If that is so, why am I the one receiving a gift and not Him? I made it a point that Christmas that I was going to give a gift to Jesus the baby.

To do so, I needed to answer two questions: 1. What relationship do I want to have with Jesus? 2. What gift do I want to give Him?

“And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” – Matthew 12:49-50

What if I was Jesus’s mother for Christmas? HE as my little baby. I will give him a collection of books called THE BIBLE. Every evening I will read it with Him. Then, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, revealed the following to me: “Every evening that you read the scriptures to Him and with Him, I, the Paraclete, will take you on the road to Emmaus. You will grow closer to Him, and your heart will burn for more love for Him.”

“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the scriptures…Were not our hearts burning [within us] while He spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” Luke 24:27 & 32

This Advent season, as you reflect on the birth of the Son of God, ask yourself: Who do I want to be for Jesus and what gifts do I want to give to Jesus?

 

 

November 27: Genesis 1

by Steve Bury
C3 Forum Chair
Executive Director, Urban Impact

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Powerful imagery, The Message reads, “a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness.”

Do you ever feel like life is full of chaos, formless and void, with darkness covering you? Don’t despair, this is God’s canvas for creation.
… and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters,
You can sense the anticipation. God hovering, preparing to create.
… and God said, let there be …”

God hovers over our emptiness. He is looming, aware, and ready to engage. God spoke creation into existence, He said let there be light, fish, birds, land, and vegetation, and all kinds of living beings. And He declared, “It is good!”

He spoke it into existence, but when it came to humankind God physically engaged. He got his hands dirty. He formed us from the dust of the ground. He blew into our nostrils the breath of life. He declared humankind Really Good!

God is still in the business of engaging in our mess, creating new life, and He calls us to co-create with Him. To take what is formless and void in our lives, neighborhoods, and society, and create beauty, order, and bring light into darkness. Let’s be aware of God’s Spirit hovering and anticipate being co-creators with Him. Bringing meaning and life where there is emptiness and pain. To be the light in this dark world.

Reflection questions:
1. Where in your life is there chaos or emptiness that God might want to create new life in?
2. Where might God be hovering in your world and calling you to engage with Him in creating His Kingdom come?

 

 

 

November 28: Genesis 2

by Angela V. Harris
CEO, 2638 Management Group, LLC

In “The Seedling,” Paul Laurence Dunbar depicts the transformation of a seed into a plant:

“I am not so very robust,
But I‘ll do the best I can;”
And the seedling from that moment
Its work of life began. (5-8)

God created us in His image for a special purpose. During our time on earth, we are called to nurture the seeds God planted inside of us.

You are the answer to someone’s prayer. There are people waiting for you to give birth to the gifts God planted inside of you. God is not asking you to be perfect, just do the best that you can.

2 Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that “power is made perfect in weakness.” If you take the first step, God will provide the resources for you because He loves you.

We are God’s handiwork. Genesis Chapter 2 shows us God’s power to take nothing and turn it into something. God never ceases to call out to us; faith is our response to God.

Reflection Questions:
1. As you prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, ask yourself – what seeds has God planted in your heart?
2. How will you nurture and grow them during this season of Advent?

 

 

 

November 29: Genesis 3

By Kevin Singleton
C3 Forum Member
Senior VP of Leadership Development, Elevate
Worship Leader, Adoration House Seattle

EPISTEMOLOGY – the study or theory of knowledge. Not what you know, but HOW you learned what you know.

v.1 – “Did God REALLY Say…” Do we know what God’s Word says or do we make decisions based on our earthly culture, the history we’ve been taught, political preferences, or our patterns of success? In the past, I have believed that the methods which brought me success should be duplicated by anyone who wanted similar success in that arena. Over the years, I’ve found out that’s not always God’s best for the other person.

ESTATE – a period or condition of life.
v.9 – “Where Are You?” God never needs data when asking a question. The question was for Adam and Eve to examine their current estate and notice that they were hiding, not God.

ECHO – a close parallel or repetition of an idea.
v.11 – “Who Told You That…” Do we repeat what the enemy said, or what the Lord says? Jesus said that He ONLY said what He heard the Father say (John 12:50) and He ONLY did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19).

Reflection Questions:
1. As we face and address challenges in culture, is our starting point based on a practical application of a biblical foundation of the truth from scripture OR what our IN GROUP is saying that determines truth at this point in history?
2. Have we spent time asking ourselves, where are we in relation to the truth of God’s Word and how we are instructed to live it out, as ambassadors from another kingdom (Philippians 3:20)?
3. How do you develop your ability to constantly practice discernment (Hebrews 5:14)?

 

 

 

November 30: Romans 5:12-21

by John Dammarell
Executive Director, Liberty Road Foundation

As we prepare for Christmas, I think for me it really centers on my heart because it’s as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Romans 5:15-17 (Message) speaks to me. “Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, absolute life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?”

As I look around, I see so many who are struggling with hopelessness, depression, broken marriages, anxiety, anger, and weak self-control. They can’t help but wonder, “Where’s that abundant life Christ promised in John 10:10?”

But in Romans 5, I believe Paul is urging us as believers to not only look back on our past justification but also to look forward, beyond our immediate hardships, beyond our struggles, and let-downs. He writes, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (5:9). Don’t miss the tense: “We shall.” Those two words just leap off the page and into our hearts – wow! That’s future. That’s hope. And because we know we’ll spend eternity in Heaven, we can face any earthly hardship—even death itself. That is our unquestionable hope and that should bring this Christmas season an unquestionable joy into your life.

Reflection Questions:
1. Are you living your life looking forward?
2. Can you put into action ways to remember the hope that we are promised in Christ?

 

 

 

December 1: Genesis 14:17-24

by Jorge Ramos
C3 Board Member
Contract Attorney, Followed Thee, PLLC

Abram has just won an incredible battle and showed military astuteness by dividing his forces at night and defeating the enemy kings. But let’s pause right here and think about this. The Scriptures are a narrative, but they also reveal how God works and how His people are to work as image-bearers. If we rewind to the great promise that God made to Abram, we remember that in Genesis 12:2, he was told by God, “I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Isn’t that what just took place in this extraordinary victory? Abram had every right to accept the booty or spoils from his victory. After all, this is precisely how things were done in Abram’s time and acceptable (and expected) in this context. Here though, Abram was showing that he would honor God with his tithe and honor his allegiances but would not resort to becoming a great nation by the ways of the world. Abram taught us that we, too, can honor God by making decisions that show that we trust He will provide in His way.

Reflection Questions:
1. Can you think of a time when you avoided “the way of the world”? How did that turn out?
2. Victories are good, but next time you have one, consider how you handle it can honor God and point others to Jesus.

 

 

 

December 2: Hebrews 6 and 7
A Morning and Evening Reading.

Morning Devotional: Hebrews 6
by Jacob Young
Managing Partner, Collaborative Co.

“And God permitting, we will do so…”
Hebrews 6 continues to reveal Jesus as the express image of God when compared to the description of God in the traditional Old Testament Torah. Wonderful Jesus, God became human! At the time of this epistle, it is believed that the Messianic Jews were facing great persecution and walking away.

As I ruminated on this passage for Advent, a memory surfaced. As a boy I remember my dad very earnestly sitting me down to look me in the eyes and tell me he expected me [and my siblings] to go farther and do better than he did. It stuck with me. The wonderful mystery of our relationship with God is that we get to join Him in His work through us. How do we hold these tensions? Rest and work. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the brokenness of this life? How do we keep going?

“We are confident of better things…”
This devotion is an exhortation to lean into the season you find yourself. Press on. Trust Him. The situation, the place, and time God is walking with you is unique and special. The God of the universe who is unchanging, immutable, and whose character is flawless, has sworn an oath to each of us that He loves you. He is for you. We have this hope as an anchor, firm and secure. Rest in it and go further!

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you remain connected or need to reconnect with your heart in the season you are in?
2. Maturity is about intimacy with God. Not just knowing about Him. Take 5 minutes each day this Advent and spend it in silence, listening. Ask Him questions. Write it down.
3. There are points in our journey where if we want the life Jesus offers, we need to fight for it. What is one situation where you need to trust that God is good and that He loves you? What burden are you carrying that He can?

 

 

Evening Devotional: Hebrews 7

by Jason Dick
C3 Forum Member
Chief Development Officer,
Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission

Too often, I see God through a stain glass window. I view Him through my false pretenses, religiosity, privilege, and pride. I forget that we live under a new covenant through Jesus. I use daily devotions, church attendance, and accepting Christ at a young age as a twisted version of Levitical purity laws. I think they give me special access to God.

Hebrews 7 reminds us of an Old Testament righteous priest king, Melchizedek. Melchizedek’s priestly authority does not come out of the Levitical laws but directly from God. Jesus is not required to purify Himself before He can advocate for us (Verse 27).

I see this every day in our homeless neighbors at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. I meet people who are completely broken. They have lost so much. But they have also lost their religiosity, their pride, and the false belief that they had something to offer God. Jesus redeems them and gives them their mind and life back. They see God through a clear window.

This is not something the people of Israel could do.

Reflection Questions:
1. Take down that stain glass window. What colors your view of Jesus?
2. What keeps you from seeing God as He is?

 

 

 

December 3: Exodus 12

by Warren Mainard
Executive Director, IMPACT Players

Star on the tree, boughs of holly in the halls, stockings above the fireplace, and a lamb’s blood on the doorposts. While this final Christmas décor item may seem gruesomely out of place, it has much more to do with the Christian celebration of Christmas than the others. Rooted in ancient Hebrew history, the unfolding tale of God’s redemption plan finds special meaning in the Passover at Christmas.

God’s chosen people were trapped in the bondage of Egypt and were slaves to the wicked ruler Pharoah. God promised to set them free and warned Pharoah to let His people go. After repeated attempts to get Egypt’s attention, God sent a final plague on Egypt that would exact a heavy price – the lives of the firstborn sons of Egypt. To protect His people from this fate, the Lord instructed each household to sacrifice a lamb without spot or blemish and mark the doorposts of their home with its blood. Every home marked by the blood of the lamb would be passed over from the righteous judgment of God.

When Jesus entered humanity as a spotless, blameless infant, born of the Virgin Mary, He became the perfect fulfillment of this prescient promise of redemption. Take heed of the words of John the Baptist who looked on Jesus and rightly exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Indeed! O Come, Let Us Behold Him!

Reflection Questions:
1. What does the proclamation of John the Baptist (John 1:29) tell us about the mission of God in Christ’s coming?
2. Instead of exacting a heavy price for sin like we read in Exodus 12, how did God ultimately pay a heavy price for sin instead? Read John 3:16 for further reflection.
3. How will you and your family “Behold the Lamb of God” this Christmas?

 

 

 

December 4: Revelation 5

by Dr. Steve Woodard
Vice President of Community Engagement,
Volunteers of America Western Washington
City Council Member, City of Mountlake Terrace

A pressing question within Chapter 5 is who do you turn to during times of hopelessness?

I often reflect on this theme as VOAWW staffs North Sound “211,” “988” Crisis Lifeline, and Washington State Indian Behavioral Health Hub. All three are beacons of hope, providing basic needs and emotional support.

We are a Christian faith-in-action organization committed to ending poverty. December is also routinely the month with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Most can embrace joy; many become lost navigating sorrow. Verse 5 is clear on the answer: “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”

He alone (Verse 3) accomplished the impossible: “Worthy is the Lamb” (Verse 12) indeed. Notably, the unopenable scroll in question is believed by scholars to be God’s judgment on sin (Verse 1-2).

May your problems never feel that heavy. However, if they are, trust that Jesus has you just as the angels proclaimed (Verse 11). Always. It is literally already written (Verse 13).

Reflection Questions:
1. Which is your favorite bible verse that lifts you up? Who was the last person you shared it with recently?
2. If you haven’t shared or it’s been some time, who will you share it with and when?

 

 

 

December 5: 1 Samuel 16

by Dr. Rowlanda Cawthon
C3 Forum Member
Dean, College of Business, Northwest University

After rejecting Saul as king, God sent Samuel to find Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint his son, David, as the new king. Perhaps, the most significant takeaway from 1 Samuel 16 is that God chose David.

All of Jesse’s sons, except David, were invited to a sacrificial feast. During the feast, Samuel looked at the oldest son, Eliab, and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord. But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” Samuel further proclaimed that neither of the remaining six sons were chosen by the Lord.

It was not until David, the least likely and youngest among the sons, was called in that Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his father and brothers as king. The scripture goes on to say, “…from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.”

The lesson to be learned is that when others do not give us an opportunity because of what they see outwardly, God sees our heart, knows our capacity, and will empower us for what He alone has chosen us to do.

Reflection Questions:
1. How does the fact that God judges by our inner character, not appearance, encourage you?
2. How can you relate to David’s story of being chosen by God?
3. What steps are you taking to improve your heart’s attitude toward yourself and others?

 

 

 

December 6: 2 Samuel 7

by Paul Perez
C3 Forum Chair
Breakthrough Coach,
Accelerated Breakthrough Coaching

2 Samuel 7 is yet another powerful narrative demonstrating the gracious and immutable character of God, and helps illustrate for us His ways, not just His acts.

This narrative shows David at rest. That picture alone is worth at least a hundred devotions (Mt. 11:28-32)! At rest, David is not fending off yet another enemy, and muses. He muses he’ll build a house for God made up of probably the most fragrant and pretty wood known to man: cedar! Also at rest, his prophet, Nathan, advises him, “Sounds good, King! Have at it.”

But, God… jumps into the scene and says to Nathan, “Uh, not so fast. That seems like a good idea, but it’s not a God idea.”

God then proceeds to download to Nathan a scenario that trumps David’s grandiose thoughts and plans. He tells Nathan to intimate to David that His Kingdom is not about buildings, temples, rock, stone, mortar, or bent metal, but rather personal legacy and a lasting inheritance manifest in a succession of Him pouring out love, power, and status upon living flesh. And – not because David and the nation of Israel is all that, but because God Himself is. He unveils yet another dimension of His covenant character: that succeeding is not about what we succeed at, but rather, who is succeeding us, and Whose name and likeness they carry into the succeeding generations.

Reflection Questions:
1. Are you “building” for God based on worldly standards?
2. Have you listened recently for what God is desiring you to “build”?

 

 

 

December 7: Revelations 19

by Millie Voigtlander
Founder, Adoration House Seattle

As the Messiah grew in the womb of His mother, she must have pondered what His life would bring. Did she know her child was coming because of a wedding? Mary provoked Jesus’ first miracle at the celebration of a marriage. Did she know her desire for a glorious feast with new wine was the exact reason this son of glory was born?

His ministry began with a wedding feast, and it will end with one. Heaven’s hallelujah anticipates the marriage of the slain lamb. Water into wine. Communion not only for remembrance of his blood, but perhaps, the sip of wine is meant to evoke a longing in the bride for her wedding supper with the faithful and true.

God almighty was born, bruised, and enthroned because of the heart of a bridegroom burning within Him. His humility and His passion prepared His church to be waiting for Him, adorned in robes of white righteousness. Birth and blood given for a bride. Heaven will rejoice as the Messiah returns adorned in victory-stained robes to receive His reward: true communion.

Reflection Questions:
1. As we celebrate Jesus’ first coming during this holiday season, does it evoke a desire in you for His second coming? Why or why not?
2. What do you think is the significance of Jesus “marrying” the church? What about this analogy of a wedding feast is so important to God that it would be a theme from the Old Testament all the way through to the part of God’s story that we are still waiting for?

 

 

 

December 8: Psalms 2

by Jordan McDevitt
C3 Forum Member
Owner, McDevitt Land Co.

Social unrest, war, political turmoil, moral decay, scientific ridiculousness, etc. A world enraged, flailing at it knows not what, and tearing itself apart. We live in interesting times. So often in the last couple years they’ve even been called “unprecedented times.” However, technically all times are unprecedented because that’s how the present works. Per Ecclesiastes, there’s nothing new under the sun, but at the same time the brokenness of the world has played out anew in slightly different ways every day since Genesis 3.

Praise God that in His love He sent His only begotten Son into the world to save it from itself. Bringing justice, power, and refuge to those who believe in Him. Breaking the bonds of satan, sin, and death, one life at a time. Systematically plucking His children from the clutches of a dying world and making us a part of His Kingdom, that we might be beacons of His light to the broken and dying world around us.

As we celebrate the coming of Christ, may we be reminded that whether our current times are “unprecedented,” they are certainly “preceded times” and that changes everything. Christ has come. He has won. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Reflection Questions:
1. What do you honestly feel when you see the chaos of the world raging on the news or elsewhere? Are you reminded that Christ is above it all and wants us to bring light to a darkened world?
2. What does it look like for you to “Kiss the Son” and “take refuge” in Him as you shine that beacon of light on the rocky shores of a raging world? At home? Among your friends? At work? In your own heart?

 

 

 

December 9: Deuteronomy 6

by Robert Valdez
C3 Board Member
Account Executive, Salesforce (Tableau)

As the father of two young girls, I read this passage through the lens of parenting. I think about the legacy and the values God calls me to build in my girls. In Deuteronomy 6 it commands us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength. This should be on our hearts and passed to our children in everyday life.

I can’t help but reflect on the example my mother has lived. The love for Christ in her heart overflows and saturates all those around her, namely her children and her children’s children. My mom was known to give a revival-style prayer for simple things like dinner. You can hear the reverence she has for the Lord in her prayers.

This chapter also commands us to fear the Lord. What does that mean? Are we to be afraid of punishment or harm? I believe it’s about not becoming desensitized to the might of our God. We love the Lord because He is Holy and awesome. When we love and fear the Lord with all our hearts, it flows out of us and is evident in all aspects of our life. I see that in the people of C3 Leaders, businesspeople in authentic pursuit of loving God in their vocations.

Reflection Questions:
1. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us reflect on our hearts. Are they overflowing with love AND fear of the Lord?
2. Have I become desensitized to the glory of the Lord?
3. Does my love for Jesus permeate my interactions in the workplace and family life?
4. Deuteronomy 6:19 says God will thrust out your enemies before you. After the birth of Jesus, we’re taught that our enemies are those of the spiritual realm. The fear of the Lord is remembering God is victorious over our enemies. Are you walking
5. in that confidence as you face the struggles in front of you?

 

 

 

December 10: Galatians 4:1-7

by Tom Hoban
Chairman, Hoban Family Office

Most of us with children were transformed at their birth. That experience created a purpose and calling that redefined our lives.

I like this passage because it pulled all of that up in me. It sets the stage with the notion of a caring parent, estates, guardians, trustees, and ultimately an inheritance that would come from parent to child. The twist comes when it introduces an even greater power that saves us all: Adoption by God through Jesus.

Like the father powerfully reacting to all that comes from having a child, in this story we are reminded we are all God’s children and able to inherit eternal life. Like the father holding his newborn baby, we take the role of that newborn and God holds us in his loving, transforming hands.

Reflection Question: All of this begs the question: Am I ready and willing to become a child again, fully adopted by God, falling into His loving arms and ready to win the inheritance of eternal life?

 

 

 

December 11: Romans 15:1-21

by Heather Tuininga
C3 Forum Member
Principal, 10|10 Strategies

During this crazy time in our culture, country, and world, it seems “unity” among people is the lowest it has ever been. But God calls us to be different.

As we journey with Jesus, He calls us to have one heart (all of us in love with Jesus!) and to glorify Him with one mouth (think of every believer’s voice singing the same song of praise to the King!). But we don’t have to achieve that one-ness on our own. God himself gives us a “spirit of unity” AND the endurance and encouragement to attain it (v. 5-6).

Being in unity does not mean agreeing on everything, but it does mean accepting one another just as Christ accepted us (v. 7). Wow. I have work to do in the “accepting” department with some believers in my life, and maybe you do, too.

Accepting one another; honoring one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10); living in unity – it can be challenging. But if God wants this for us, we know He will give us the grace and ability to attain it. Why? Because unity brings glory to God! Unity shows that we are His disciples! Unity invites the power of God to work among us! “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”

Reflection Questions:
1. Where do you NOT have unity with other Christians? Could you make a phone call today or schedule a coffee meeting with someone that would lead to acceptance and honoring of them, and thus more unity in Christ – for God’s glory?
2. What would it look like, in this Advent season, to not only anticipate the birth of our Savior, but to also anticipate increased UNITY in the body of believers? Dream about what some of the effects could be of increased unity and ask the Lord for the endurance and encouragement to make one of them happen!

 

 

 

December 12: Isaiah 11

by Stephen Emanuels
C3 Forum Member
Partner, eq Wealth Management

Titles and narratives from fictional novels don’t grab my attention and interest like it does for so many others. I’m one of those types that gravitate to self-improvement books. I’ll take any of your recommendations freely.

When I recently read Isaiah 11, every part of me was captured by the attributes of the referenced coming person… The Lord’s Spirit will rest on him, a Spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom, a Spirit that provides the ability to execute plans, a Spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the Lord, and there’s more.

Who is this person? This is golden! I would drink from this well over and over again compared to a Rom-Com or Sci-Fi thriller…who doesn’t want the Lord’s Spirit resting on them? Wouldn’t it be cool if God’s Spirit sat next to you in a chair and wouldn’t leave…had no interest in doing anything else but be (rest) with you?

Oh, there is something else God’s Spirit wants to do beside resting in you! How about supplying extraordinary wisdom, the ability to get stuff done well, the right decisions for all types of people and situations? Wow!

In this Advent season, this passage also reminds us that Jesus was born from the royal lineage of King David and yet also the humble lineage of a shepherd, David’s father, Jesse. “A shoot will grow out of Jesse’s root stock; a bud will sprout from his roots. The Lord’s Spirit will rest on him…”

Born in the City of David (Bethlehem) and born in a manger, Jesus slept in a feeding trough for a donkey. That dichotomy is so illustrative for our understanding of Jesus and the expectations for ourselves. Like Jesus, we have been given God’s authority (kingship) to be His ambassadors to carry out great things, but also to experience trials and potentially humiliation, which allows us to be approachable to all.

Unlike most fictional novels, you can’t make up these historical events. The documented life of King David, his father Jesse, and life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is profound. The prophecy of Jesus written by Isaiah around 740-710 BC cannot be overlooked.

I pray this miraculous pre-determined plan of God draws you to worship the fullness of God and prepares you for celebrating Jesus’ birth this Christmas.

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you recognize the royalty that you’ve been adopted into by accepting Jesus into your life? Read Romans 8:14-18, Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 10:14, John 14:1-4
2. Do you recognize the humility that is required of you? Is a past or present difficulty bringing you down? Do you recognize the shortcomings in your life? There is extraordinary wisdom that comes from challenging experiences. Read James 1:2-5, 9-12, Acts 1:3, Proverbs 11:2, 22:4, 1 Peter 5:6, Micah 6:8
3. Are you tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit given to you from abiding in Christ? What’s holding you back from the very best in Christ? Read John 14:15-17, 25-26, John 15:1-5, Acts 1:8, James 4:8-10.

 

 

 

December 13: Micah 5

by Steve Bell
C3 Forum Member
C3 Leaders’ Ambassador
Founder, Bellmont Cabinet Company

The book of Micah is really a description of the United States of America in 2022. We have forgotten God and have embraced the lies of the deceiver. We have gone our “own” way.
During the prophet Micah’s time the Northern Kingdom (Samaria) had forsaken the ancient faith and values of their Jewish heritage. God allowed external oppressors to come and destroy the Kingdom of Israel and haul them off to exile.

But true to His eternal covenants, He promises a Shepard-King that would come to the most unlikely place, the small village of Bethlehem.

He promises to maintain a remnant that would stay true to Him. When asked what would be expected from them, God responds in Micah 6:8 by telling ALL that He requires of us: to do Justice, Love Kindness, and walk humbly with Him.

I’m reminded of the great cultural reformer, William Wilberforce. Eighteenth century England had fallen into unspeakable debauchery. They had forsaken the faith of their fathers.

God put William in a place of authority and captured his soul to use his entire being to be an instrument of God’s Grace. Along with a small remnant and unrelenting prayer and commitment to the values of the Bible, God used them to turn a nation back to Him. They abolished the horrible slave trade, eventually abolished slavery altogether, and ushered in the Victorian Era.

As we celebrate the birth of our Shepard-King, let’s all commit to using all the resources that God has entrusted us with to turn our nation and the world back to Him.

Micah 7:8 assures us that He will have compassion on us and tread our iniquities underfoot.

Reflection Questions:
1. What resources and gifts has God given you?
2. How is God calling you to use these for His glory as an instrument of His grace?

 

 

 

December 14: Isaiah 9:1-7

by Bob Nuber
C3 Forum Member
C3 Leaders’ Ambassador
Co-Founder, Clark Nuber

“…there will be no more gloom for the people walking in darkness, they have seen a great light; …for to us a child is born, to us a Son is given…” (Isaiah 9:1, 2, 6)

We all experience gloom in our lives. So, how do we deal with it? The simple answer is to turn directly to Jesus and give Him thanks. Easier said than done for most of us, but, still true.

I have a close friend, Gary, I’ve known since high school. He, his wife, my wife, and I spent many years together on trips, celebrating events in our lives, even watching Husky football. Gary and I had talked a lot about our plans to continue traveling and playing golf after he retired. Not long after he did retire, he began to experience health problems that eventually required him to stop traveling and playing golf.

Was Gary disappointed? Absolutely! Was he gloomy? Not that I could tell. Not once did I hear him complain to God about his health challenges. Instead, he focused on how Jesus was helping him press on giving Him praise and thanks.

St. Francis of Assisi has been attributed with this advice: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Gary preached the gospel by how he lived his life. I’m so thankful for the “sermons” he shared with me.

Reflection Questions:
1. Are you confident that if you experienced the challenges my friend Gary experienced, you’d give thanks and glory to God?
2. When things go sideways, and you start to get gloomy, do you refocus on Jesus and His love for you? Try it, it works!

 

 

 

December 15: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

by Adele LaCombe
CEO, Debbie Macomber Inc

When I gave birth to my third child in November 2003 and named him Isaiah, I didn’t realize the profound impact this would have on his life.

As he grew up hearing the scriptures of Isaiah read at church, he received them as if spoken to him directly. It was beautiful to witness. It even became something the pastor would notice and look right at him when speaking from the book of Isaiah. I can’t help but think of my son every time I read a passage from Isaiah.

As we read these verses today, imagine them spoken directly to you. These aren’t the easy ones to read. They carry a cost; they bear the burden and the reminders. It’s easy to follow the influencers and celebrities on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. We are drawn to them and often find ourselves attracted to their lifestyles, longing for their successes. Can we say the same about the life Christ lead, the path He walked?

It is only in the light of all He gave up and took on that we can truly appreciate the sacrifice He made for you and me. So, Isaiah has learned to trust these scriptures as spoken directly to him, and I think we could all learn to do that. The King of Kings chose to make himself despised and rejected, to take on our sins to bring us into unity with Him. This Advent morning, spend some time in quiet devotion reflecting on all He was willing to give just for YOU.

Reflection Question: What would happen if we took God at his Word and chose to believe the scriptures were actually written for us?

 

 

 

December 16: Revelation 12

by Jim Ray
C3 Forum Member
Owner, The Green Room, Inc.

Revelation 12 is a vivid picture of SPRITUAL WARFARE. The stage is set illustrating the behind-the-scenes look at what was really happening during the birth of Christ. When we set out a manger scene, we usually don’t include a Great Red Dragon waiting to devour the baby Jesus. We want the scene to reflect the glorious birth of the Christ Child and not a gruesome picture of potential destruction.

Indeed, the birth of Christ is glorious, but the reality is that this BABY is immediately engaged in a life and death struggle against satan, the Great Red Dragon. Satan wants to kill the Christ child, steal glory from God, and destroy the plan of salvation. His battle is flawed and futile. Our God reigns! He is in absolute control and His Kingdom will come and His Will will be done here on earth just like it is in heaven, through you and me.

The cosmic battle that we are engaged in cannot be put aside even as we celebrate Christmas. Our battle is not against flesh and blood like in an ordinary war, but it is against principalities of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness. We have a choice to either ignore this battle and be a victim of satan’s plan (Wimp) or we can engage in the battle by the power of the Holy Spirit (Warrior).

How do we engage and overcome?
First, we understand and put our trust in the power of the Blood of Christ to clean us from all sin.
Second, we live out our lives testifying to the power of God in our own lives. He is at work in us to both will and to work for His good pleasure, not our own. Third, we live by Godly priorities. Our walk with God first, our marriage second, our children third, and our calling and work fourth. Too often we put number 4 in front of number 1!

Reflection Questions:
1. Are you aware that you are in a spiritual battle?
2. Are you engaging or ignoring this reality? Warrior or Wimp?
3. How are you living out Godly priorities?

 

 

 

December 17: Luke 1:1-25

by Dr. JoAnn Flett
Executive Director,
Center for Faithful Business, Seattle Pacific University

This is the story of Zachariah, Elizabeth, and the prophesied birth of John the Baptist. Often when we receive good news most people want to shout it from the roof tops. Yet for this couple, such amazing news would be kept silent. We are told Zachariah could not speak, and Elizabeth “became pregnant and for five months was in seclusion (v. 24).”
Advent is a season filled with many words, songs, gatherings, and holiday busyness. Yet, this passage provides a poignant reminder for us during Advent. A reminder that in silence and solitude we can allow God the time and opportunity “to make ready a people being prepared for the Lord” (v. 17). As we celebrate the amazing news of the Christ child, perhaps engaging in moments of silence and solitude will prepare us. In fact, we can say like Elizabeth, “The Lord had done this for me, in these days he has shown his favor (v. 25).”

Interestingly, John the Baptist’s work was to boldly announce the good news of Jesus, but he also invited people to prepare themselves for the Lord’s coming. I recently read, “No one listens from, to, or for quiet anymore. Listening is becoming a lost art.”

Thus, my Advent wish for you is to encounter moments of silence and solitude where you might listen for what God, through Christ, has done. For Immanuel–God with us, is such joyful and delightful news, it is certainly news we cannot keep silent about!

Reflection Questions:
1. Are you listening during the moments of silence and solitude?
2. What are you hearing?
3. What practical steps can you take to make listening for God a daily practice?

 

 

 

December 18: John 1:1-18

by David Giannini
C3 Forum Chair
Principal, Private Asset Management

John’s gospel opens by telling us the gospel. The first four verses are an allusion to Genesis 1; “In the beginning,” “Through Him all things were made,” and “light shines in darkness.” Here Jesus is established as God, “the word was God” and Creator.

This Creator did not just create the world and let it go but came into the world He made. How much of a surprise is it that the world does not recognize Him (v.10) and His own did not receive Him (v.11)? We who know the story might read this with little regard but imagine how much of a shock it would be to someone who has never heard the gospel! Something is awry for the Creator who is bringing life and light into the world to be rejected.

We know what happened, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), Romans 5:12, Jesus, the second Adam, came into the world to redeem His children – you and me! “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God (v. 12).”

In this Advent season may we be grateful for our adoption as sons and daughters of Christ!

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you slowed down recently and taken time to recognize that God came to earth to adopt you as a child of His?
2. Are there outpourings of gratefulness for what Christ has done for you in adopting you, and if so, what are they?

 

 

 

December 19: Hebrews 1

by Steve Brannon
C3 Forum Chair
Chairman of the Board,
American Construction Co.

God spoke… He has spoken… For to which of the angels did God ever say… And again, He says… In speaking, He says… But about the Son He says… He also says… To which of the angels did God ever say…

God is in the “speaking” and “saying” business. Am I in the “hearing” business?

I take care of my very active three-year old grandson, Cameron, at least once a week. One day he said, “Grandpa, you are not listening to me!” I replied, “Yes, I am listening to you.” He answered, “No, you are not! You are not looking at me!”

This Advent season may we make time to look towards the God who loves us and speaks to us, listen to what He says to us, and see the Word who became flesh and now walks with us through His Spirit.

Reflection Questions:
1. In what ways are you making space in your life to hear from God?
2. Take ten minutes today, quiet yourself, and ask God to grant you grace to hear what He is speaking to you.

 

 

 

December 20: Colossians 1:15-23

by M. Antoinette Walker
C3 Forum Member
Counselor/Neurotherapist, Think Bright Therapy

In Colossians, Paul addressed the heresies of Colossae, their mixture of pagan practices. He presented Colossae with the evidence of Christ as Lord, supreme and preeminent over all their pagan practices.
This passage paints a glorious landscape of the supremacy and preeminence of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, supreme means to be highest in authority; holding the highest place in government or power. And preeminent is to be superior in excellence; distinguished for something commendable or honorable.

In all things Christ is first. Imagine being first in everything. He was the first in life, in creation, and in death. Jesus Christ, supreme and matchless, the Son of God. The Father found it pleasing to allow all creation to be in His Son, of Him and by Him. There is none in comparison to Him. He is excellent and majestic. He is our Lord.

As followers of Christ, we seek to submit every aspect of our lives to His supremacy and preeminence. Our aim, to place Him first in EVERYTHING. It is Christ’s image, the reflection of God the Father that is in us as believers. It appears to be a tall order, but Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross made accommodations for our human nature. As a result, Christ reconciled us to Himself that He may present us to the Father as holy, blameless, and above reproach.

Colossians 1:18 – “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you submitted to Jesus as King and Lord in every area of your life? Identify the areas that you’ve found difficult to let go. Submit them to your Father and allow your King to carry you through the hard places.
2. List 3 declarations that affirm Christ’s supremacy in your life.

 

 

 

December 21: Matthew 1

by Kathryn Oskouian
C3 Forum Member
Co-Founder and CEO, First Underwriters, Inc

Genealogy. In Matthew 1, we read about the life history of Jesus, showing that Jesus is directly descended from both Abraham and King David, making Him a legal heir to the throne of Israel.

Matthew then tells the story of Jesus’ birth from the perspective of Joseph, Mary’s husband. Joseph had planned to divorce the woman he was betrothed to marry once he found out she was carrying a child that wasn’t his. God interrupts this plan. An angel tells Joseph in a dream that the child is from the Holy Spirit and commands Joseph to name Him Jesus, since He will save His people from their sins. Joseph obeys.

Joseph listens to God as we should do, keeping our hearts open. Listening to each other’s life history, not one is the same and yet how similar. Knowing our own histories and genealogy of our families is so important to be able to understand ourselves and each other better.

To take the time to listen to our elders, ask questions about their life history, record those conversations (as in the Bible) to then pass to the next generation, is key to keeping the faith, family, and future.

Reflection Questions:
1. How can you carve out time to sit and listen to another’s life history?
2. What kinds of questions can you ask without being “nosy”?
3. How do you open your heart to hear what God is saying?

 

 

 

December 22: Luke 1:26-56

by Mark Haight
President and Owner, Haight Carpet & Interiors

Today we remember one of the most remarkable events of history, Mary’s visit by the angel Gabriel with the news she was to give birth to Immanuel.

Over the years people have remarked on Mary’s lowly social status and marveled at how the King of the universe could choose such a woman to be the mother of His son. However, this lowly social status, I believe, was an essential element in fostering an important quality in Mary. In fact, an essential quality, one which is almost never found in those of higher, more privileged socio-economic status.

What is this quality? Emptiness! Mary’s emptiness? Isn’t emptiness detrimental? Not really. This void to which I refer is a place in her character, unfilled by self-ego…. a place with room for service and obedience to others, not crowded with neediness, self-regard, or selfish ambition.

I believe Mary was extremely empty of these traits, empty of the traits that would make her ask, “What’s in it for me? How will I look to others? What about my plans?” Remember, Mary asks, “how” this miracle would occur…. not “why.” She could have said, “This will be embarrassing. I have hopes and dreams of my own…. why me?” — instead, she in fact launches into this eloquent song of praise, thanking God for the honor and embracing God’s purpose for her life. She was empty and she was born for this moment!

Reflection Questions:
1. How might you, during this Advent time, as we once again hear the good tiding of a King who has come, make room for Him in your own heart?
2. There is a chorus from an old hymn by E.E. Hewitt; are you willing to pray these words along with me?

Empty me of self, almighty Savior, Empty me of self and my heart above.
Fill me with Thy blessed Holy Spirit, Fill me with Thy love.

 

 

 

December 23: Luke 1:57-80

by Chef John Howie
C3 Forum Member
Chef/Proprietor, John Howie Restaurants

As we approach the celebration of the birth of Christ our Savior, we have so much to be thankful for…especially those, who without fear and through the Holy Spirit, delivered the message of salvation from God which has saved our many souls.

Luke 1:76-77 “And you child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins.”

A son born to the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, a barren woman, this child named John, was a miracle of birth, as was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Both announced to their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, by angels of the Lord. When Mary visited Elizabeth and shared her story, the babe in her womb leaped with joy!

Filled with the Holy Spirit, John would be called a horn of salvation, the Prophet of the Most High. John’s work brought many souls to salvation, giving light to those in the darkness and delivering their souls from the shadow of death.

Reflection Question: As we get ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, Son of God, and our Savior, there are still so many souls that need to be saved. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit, will you leap for the Lord, and will you, like John, be called a horn of salvation?

 

 

 

December 24: Matthew 3:1-12

by Paul Adams
C3 Forum Member
Founder and CEO, Sound Financial Group

Anytime I think about Christmas Eve, I think of it as a preparing. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Over 2000 years ago, John the Baptist was preparing the people for the arrival of Jesus. Consider reading John 3:1-12 with your family tonight. You will see John preparing his followers for the arrival of Jesus in three ways.

1. John acknowledged the source of his authority, God.
2. He was prepared to speak up when others were NOT preparing properly. John called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” demonstrating with an example of how NOT to behave.
3. John painted a picture of how the future would look for his followers. That they had the choice to be the grain (gathered) or the chaff (burned).

As we go to sleep Christmas Eve, I want my family’s heart to be thinking about good preparation before Christmas (hint, not the presents and party planning most Americans engage in), that they have the courage to speak up when others are being led astray, and that they can picture what their life would look like with and without a relationship with Jesus. I pray they always choose life with Jesus, their Savior.

Reflection Question: How are you preparing this Christmas eve?

 

 

 

December 25: Matthew 2

by Frank Trieu
C3 Forum Member
Owner, Evergreen Beauty College

Christmas can be experienced through many lenses.

As a parent, my favorite tradition on Christmas day is when our five children gather under the tree to unwrap the first present. Every year, the initial gift reveals Baby Jesus. The children scatter over to the Nativity where they place Jesus in the crib … together we open Christmas morning by singing “Away in the Manger.”

Today’s passage allows me to celebrate the holy encounter through another lens – that of the Magi. They saw the star and made the journey … “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

After encountering Jesus, the Magi were not to return to the same route. After meeting Jesus, a new journey awaits; just like the Magi, after meeting Jesus I am called to experience, see, and live my life in a better way. I am not to return back to the same route, because now I know better.

I invite you on this Christmas to reflect on your new route. Having been touched by the Child, I pray the Spirit guide you on your new journey into this Christmas Season.

Reflection Questions:
1. How have your actions changed through this Advent Season?
2. After today’s encounter with Baby Jesus, how will you, like the Magi, embark on a new route?

 

 

 

What is C3 Leaders?

Serving as a leader is a lonely business. We do not want you to go it alone, nor does our Lord. Community has been His model since the beginning of time.

C3 Leaders convenes groups of like-minded leaders in small groups, called C3 Forums, and in events. We talk about business, we talk about Jesus, and we are committed to each other in on-going, peer-learning relationships.

It is our mission to change our commerce, culture, and community – the three “C’s” – for Jesus and His Kingdom principles.

We believe that change happens through business. As business leaders’ lives are transformed, communities, employees, marriages, families, and individuals are enhanced. That is why, we do…
“Business for Good.”

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