Sunday, December 20, 2015

God with us. Unspeakable Joy
Christmas Eve services
Wednesday December 23 6:30pm
Thursday December 24 5:00pm
Thursday December 24 6:30pm
Sunday December 27 10:30 church service and communion
Logan is going to Thailand to work with MB missIons

Of the characters involved in the Christmas story do you most identify with?
In a survey most people identify with the shepherds.

Delbert Enns
I was asked to be a shepherd and told to act like a palm tree.
Who knows the nativity story?
John 3.16 God sent his only son into the world.

Ravi Zacharias:
"During this Christmas season I think often of that extraordinary verse in Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given." Let us be sure of what is being said here. The Son is not born; the SON eternally existed and is GIVEN. The CHILD is BORN and entered our time.

He who dwells in the realm of eternity entered time. He understands our times. And so it is that eternity breaks into time to give us a glimpse of what always was and is and will be. God in that divine moment revealed Himself as He had never been revealed before, through His Son. That is what the Christmas message is all about."

Who gets the birth announcements in this day of social media? The grandparents before the friends?

Shepherds were the most zero of all people. No help was to be given to heathen or shepherds.
They were labeled isolated likely and forgotten.
They were brash and bold. They were considered unreliable.
We play the game of our labels. Shepherds were story tellers. Not reliable.

Why did God choose the shepherds to hear the birth announcement? Jesus said he came for the underdogs. Not the self righteous.
We are all lost and unreliable. Like the shepherds and tax collectors. Luke 19 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today." Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

Have you ever been audited? That makes you feel a millimeter high.
Tax collectors were hated and despised. Labeled as crooks. The chief tax collector had others working for him ripping off the people.
He runs. Rich guys don't. He climbed a tree. Rich guys don't. Jesus called him by name. A zero becomes SOMEBODY known by name.
Jesus knows your name even if you are sitting in a tree. Jesus says get out of the tree because I want to dine with you.
Jesus brings faith into our lives.
You can't Find Jesus. He finds you.
Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost.

Zacchaeus is overcome with exuberant joy and stood before the Lord and said, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"
4X is amazing.
God gave His one and only son to us. He gave us everything.

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