Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

Learning from Luke: The Son To Come

Learning from Luke: The Son To Come Sermon Audio Here

Luke 1:26-38

In this section of Luke 1, Jesus’ birth is foretold to Mary. God sends an angel to give Mary a startling piece of news. Have you ever received something so startling, it rocked your worldview? Perhaps Mary can serve as an example to us all:

What Was True For Mary Is True For Us As Well:

The Lord Is With Us
Luke 1:26-33 Gabriel’s Announcement

  • v26/27 once again, notice the details; these ground us in reality
  • v28/29 of COURSE Mary was troubled; when visited by angels,
    most biblical instances show the human is startled
  • v30 “do not be afraid” – most angels say this;
    a VERY good reminder for us when we’re freaking out
  • v31/33 notice how this good news gets better and better as it goes along;
    a son, greatness, called Most High’s Son, David’s heir, reigning, unending kingdom

God Blesses Through Mystery
Luke 1:34-38 Mary’s Response

  • v34 Look how practical Mary is; ummm…
  • v35 this is NOT a description of a physical thing; it is a mystery; Mary does NOT get the “How” of things, just the WHO
  • v36/37 two miracles to notice: you will have a son,
    Elizabeth will have a son;
    (you do not have to go through this alone)
  • v38 simple surrender, even beyond what she can understand

Even though we would very much like God to explain everything to us, that just doesn’t happen. But we can take a cue from Mary’s response to the angel, and also say this to God: I am the Lord’s Servant.

Love For The World ~ Matthew 4:12-25

Love For The World ~ Matthew 4:12-25
How Do We Love The Lost?
* Our Challenge: Hold Up The Light (12-17)
* Our Goal: Follow The Light (18-22)
* Our Invitation: Live In The Light (23-25)
People respond not just to the PERSON of Jesus, but the Call of the Kingdom. We are the ones who share that call with a world dying for lack of love when we extend that invitation to real life in Christ.

Joy To The World: Matthew 3:1-12

Joy To The World: Matthew 3:1-12
~The World Will receive Joy When it:
* Listens To The Message (1-6)
* Heeds The Warning (7-10)
* Prepares For The Result (11-12)
Joy for the World is only found in the Message of the Manger – the lowest of the low places so that no one can reject it out of pride; making room for the Babe in our hearts so that no one rejects Him out of fear.

Found Advent Thoughts

advent candles It’s not often that I find articles in newspapers that I wholeheartedly agree with. When I do, I’m surprised, and a little skittish. Having said that, I found an article about Advent, and I thought I’d some excerpts for your consideration:

– “According to ancient Christian tradition, “Christmas” is not the December shopping season in advance of Christmas Day; rather, it is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Twelve Days following that run until early January. During most of December, Christians observe Advent, a four-week season of reflection, preparation and waiting that precedes the yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth. In many mainstream and liturgical (and even liberal and progressive) churches, no Christmas hymn will pass the lips of a serious churchgoer for another two weeks.”

– “The mood is somber as December moves toward deeper darkness, and the night lengthens. The world waits, and it is time to prepare for the arrival of God’s kingdom. It is not Christmas. It is Advent.”

– “During these weeks, churches are not merry. There is a muted sense of hope and expectation. Christians recollect God’s ancient promise to Israel for a kingdom where lion and lamb will lie down together. The ministers preach from stark biblical texts about the poor and oppressed being lifted up while the rich and powerful are cast down, about society being leveled and oppression ceasing. Christians remember the Hebrew prophets and long for a Jewish Messiah to be born.”

– “Ancient Christian saints, theologians and evangelists would be horrified that those who claim to stand for tradition have forgotten the most important aspect of it. Jesus Christ was not born that human beings would spend December shopping or saying, “Merry Christmas.” Jesus was born to confront the rulers of this world with the love and justice of the God of Abraham — that Jesus, the same Jesus who preached the the poor and marginalized were blessed, is the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

As we observe Advent, watching and waiting, I’m reminded that we’re not watching and waiting for Christmas; we’re watching and waiting for CHRIST. We remember His birth during the Christmas holiday, but we’re really waiting for His return. When He arrives and calls us Home – that will be something worth celebrating like no other. Until that Day…

Relax already! (from archive)

(DATE: December 5, 2007)

Ah! The holidays! The season of joy, the season of cheer, the season of…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got WAY too much on my plate right now for me to even think about kicking back and enjoying the Christmas season. Isn’t this supposed to be the time where we have “PEACE on earth, goodwill toward humanity”?Well, the thing about peace is this: it only has meaning in the midst of conflict. Peace without war is meaningless; peace without strife is nothing.

In order for us to experience peace, we need to add patience to our peace. Not just putting up with stuff, but truly letting go of our attempts to control our own destiny.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

The stress that we so often experience isn’t from being too busy, or having too much to do near as much as it’s about trying to CONTROL what’s going on in our lives.

News flash: We’re not in control!

That’s what Jesus is reminding us in this verse. The yoke was a harness that hooked up a more experienced ox with a young ox who didn’t know what it was doing. Jesus knows what He’s doing; He’s in control. Really.

And us? Well, we’re dumb oxen. Sorry to put it to you like that, but there it is. We don’t know the way; we just like to THINK that we do.

So, RELAX. Let Jesus drive your life, and He’ll take the lead. He knows where He’s going. Let’s just do our best to follow Him.

Pastor Ed Backell

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