The Christmas Miracle
Good morning. You're awake. Must have been the coffee. Merry Christmas. Or almost, I guess anyway, it's here again, right as you get older, it's like it's Christmas again. It's Christmas again. That's good. Wow. Crazy. All right. If you're new here among us, my name is Gene. I serve here at C3 church as your pastor. And I heard a story about a pastor. So it's Christmas time. And he notices this one guy is only common like on Christmas and Easter, Christmas and Easter. So he tries to find his opening tries to, you know, why don't you come back next Sunday. But as pastors do, we're looking for our opening. We're trying to find some kind of commonality. Well, he gathers that the guy was in the military. So he's like, Okay, I'm going to use that angle. So he tries to come up with something. He says, hey, you know what? Why don't you enlist as a soldier in the army of the Lord? kind of bad. But anyway. So this guy says, Pastor, I am a soldier in the army of the Lord. And the pastor says, Well, how come I don't see you? Every Sunday? guy looks to the right and the left. And he says, that was the left and the right, but and he says, Pastor, I'm in the Secret Service.
Work could have been worse it has been so. Anyway, ah, the ice is broken. So we are going to talk about kind of a secret. And if you are in the Secret Service, you're welcome here. It's okay. But a couple of things we do here just a little bit differently. I think, a lot of churches. So I'm a foodie. And this is how I relate to it. Right. So on holidays, I avoid my favorite restaurants. Why? Well, because I have things on the menu I like there's certain things I like to get. I look forward to it. I think about it all week. But I'm fasting and dieting. Right? So I get ready to go. And when I get there, and they give me the prefix menu, I get upset, right? Because it's not the stuff I want, like for the weekend warriors or the holiday people. I am here all the time. Right. So we don't do that as a church here. We don't give you the prefixed menu, right. So we don't really do that. So this is about what you're going to experience. You know, the following Sunday minus to the theme, right, so I won't be wearing this shirt again. Thank goodness. So Right? That's what you're going to get. Why? Because if you do come the next Sunday, you're like, wait a minute, what's going on here? Why is this guy going on? Like twice as long? Where's the like, people Christmas tree choir thing. And you know what? Whatever else we're doing, right? So it's also a bait and switch, right? So try to get people in like that. And that's not a good thing if you're being a church. So this is it. This is a full course nine year today. This is what we do. We're not going to trim it down too much, maybe a little bit, right. So here's the thing. Speaking of which, apparently, I started a tradition of ruining traditions, like that's what I do here. So I'm going to start by just ripping the band aid right off this morning for you guys. Right? So believe it or not, Christmas was not a thing in the biblical church, like the New Testament Church nor in the church, it wasn't even celebrated or known about till about 336 ad. So now let's put that into perspective. For all the work like craziness like you know, Tony can tell you former like megachurch pastor, right, I'm going to hold that against you, you're. But he'll tell you like you do 13 services, big production. I mean, like craziness, the amount of money that gets spent on is unbelievable. So for all the work we do as a church, like the early church was like, What are you doing? You know, um, no, they're not because they don't know. But I imagined they would be like, What are you doing? Like, we don't even celebrate this. What are you talking about? Like Easter was the big thing, but it wasn't called Easter, like the resurrection. But they did that every Sunday. So it's kind of weird. Just think about it. Right? So you have generations upon generations, including the apostles, right? They're all saved without Christmas. Just perspective. Okay, so totally demolish this for this morning. I'm glad we can start on just a positive note. We're fine without it, because I'm going to give you a window into next week. Colossians we're going to look at Colossians because they knew this. Their theology was right Colossians 115. Christ is a visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and his firstborn are supreme. over all creation. He existed before anything. He's God. Right. So John one right in the beginning was the word that's Jesus in the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him. I can keep going, but I want you get the point. Right. All right, good. That's correct. Because you Understand it. That was New York speed. You just returned it up to New York speed there for a second. I'll slow down. It's okay. But here's the thing. It's okay to celebrate. Because what we celebrate is Emmanuel, God with us this miracle, this real Christmas miracle that God came to be with us in the flesh. So crazy. So it's okay to celebrate. We're good. We're back on track shirts still on. So. So what we're going to do today is we're going to look at what the Bible says about Christmas, not what Hallmark says about Christmas. So the real Jesus has been a really big problem, I think, in our society. And these Christian programs don't really help very much when they depict a different Jesus than the biblical Jesus doing insane things that he never did. He never said, right. So really important to look here where the water is the purest and we get the real Jesus. So that's what we have going on here. Now. We're going to look at the biblical accounts. But is that is that old? Old time again, we'll stop rolling in history, and get back in mind back in mind. Did I talk about that last week? Stay here later. So don't get up and sing. All right. In case you don't know the Bible, it turn your ringer off. Check your phones, check your phones. Don't let that happen to you. No jokes. Okay, good. We're back on track. Sorry, had a moment there. So you may not know the Bible is not in chronological order. So it gets really confusing and people are like, Okay, I've forgotten. It's okay. You don't have to leave. You don't have to leave you. Okay, but come back. But come back. But come back. Zack, he can't see you. Okay, you're good. I said his name and everything that was going on. There's four Gospel accounts. Why? Right? So they're different perspectives, not contradictions, right? They're different perspectives on Jesus's life and ministry. So maybe Matthew comes along first. Right? So Mark is a little bit shorter. But Luke comes along, and he's like, oh, yeah, but there were also these things that happened. So if we tell the story about someone's life, it's not all going to be the same, right? So we have to pick up different details even within them. They're not always in chronological order themselves. Right. So you kind of got to put it together. We did this a lot in the series, a lot of work. Right. So I'm going to do that for you this morning and explain some things right. So let's hop right in Matthew 118. This is how Jesus as Messiah was born, his mother, Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now Joseph trim she was in cage was a righteous man did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the engagement quietly. As you consider this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, Joseph, son of David, the angel said, Do not be afraid to take Mary's or wife for the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And he said, What? No. So anyway, you have a son, and you want to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message to the Prophet, look, the virgin will conceive a child, she will give birth to his son and they will call him Immanuel which means God is with us. When Joseph woke up, he did is the angel of the Lord commanded and took marries his wife, but he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus who caught when I did their nondenominational church until, okay, nobody Okay, good. Anyway, so seriously, just be real about when we read these things. It's okay to like, try to think like, reflect get into like, Joe what? So think about it for a second. Like if I had that dream, I'd be like, I just forget about it. Right? Like it must have been pretty powerful. Right? And that's my wife came up to me like I'm pregnant. There's not by you. By the Holy Spirit's. I'd be like, Have you been hanging out with my handsome friends like so?
It's okay to have a little humor. So okay, we're going to pop over to Luke Now, because this is the chronological thing, Luke two one. At that time, the Roman Emperor Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Glenbrook Roman Empire. This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria, all returned to their own ancestral towns to register for the Census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea. David's ancient home, he traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with a married to whom he was engaged, who is now expecting a child. And while there were there, the time came for a baby to be born, she gave birth to her firstborn son, She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them. So John, the Gospel John doesn't really talk about his actual birth account. But it does say this. John 110 Hey, Jesus came into the very world he created, but the world didn't recognize him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him, but you all who believed and accepted and he gave the right to become children of God, they are reborn, not with a physical birth, resulting in human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the word became human, The Word became flesh, it says and somebody and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only son. So this is the point of what happens at this moment. Luke two eight, that night, there was Shepherd staying in the fields nearby guarding their flocks of sheep, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them, they were terrified, but the angel reassured them, don't be afraid. He said, I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David, and you will recognize him by this sign, you will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger. Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others, the armies of heaven praising God saying Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth, to those with whom God is pleased, and the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherd said to each other. Let's go to Bethlehem. Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about, they hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in the manger. After seeing him the separatists told everyone what had happened, and what the angel had said to them about this child, All who heard the separate story were astonished. Mary kept all these things in her heart. And thought about them. Often, the shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God, for all they had seen and heard, it was just as the angel had told them. And that is the true Christmas account. And the spirit of ruining Christmas traditions, I'm going to take you a little further through the story and give you a few details that you might not have gotten. So eight days later, according to the law of Moses, Jesus is circumcised and in their purification offerings, Mary has to give you get a hint into the fact that they're not wealthy people because in the Law of Moses is supposed to give a land and then like two birds like pigeons or turtledoves. Those are like a concession that something you give if you can't afford the land, and that's what they give doesn't even mention the land lamb here. So then we read this thing. And if you're in math, you're going to hop back to Matthew a for loop. And you're either thinking about the wise men, or the Magi. Right, so they arrived there following like, a light a star in the east, and they arrive in Jerusalem, like where's the Messiah? Right? Where's this king and everyone freaks out. Especially Herod the king there, he's like, What is going to be another king? So they search the Scriptures. They find Micah five to find that number then but anyway, they read that he's supposed to be in Bethlehem. Okay, great. So herons like hey, to the magic, go find this king and come back and tell me because I want to worship him too. He's lying. He wants to kill him. So they follow the star. Girls are Bethlehem they find Jesus they worship Him. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then they're told don't go back to her trick. Right? So they go away. Harry gets really mad and has all the baby boys two years old, and younger, killed. Tragic, horrible thing. Now, you get a couple of clues. And I forgot to mention one of them. When the Magi arrived there, they arrive at a house. Wait a minute. Where's Jesus? In a manger? No, he's not. He's in a house. Now, clearly, there's lodging. The other thing, why would Herod kill all the babies two years old and younger? Because it's two years later. That's why. So it's interesting. Now kings, I love it. The Kings We Three Kings about not going to do. So it's Daniel NG. So and that's how you say it like San Diego. I always say that. So anyway. They're not kings. There's King Jesus and King Herod. But that's it. They're not kings. They're Magi and Greek magicians, or you can think of them as astrologers. And we don't know how many there are. It doesn't say right? So there could be 50 of them. So here's what you're going to have to do. If you want to make your names or seem really legit. You're going to have to bounce those kings from the major saying they got to go put them on the shelf with elf, get rid of them. Now you've got a legit almost manger scene. There's some things about like the color of Jesus's skin that we're not going to talk about right now. Because we don't do that. But anyway, it's okay. Right? So anyway, be almost legit. You'll have an almost legit who's going to do it. I want to get the kids. Right. It's like someone with kids at home like you get like, No, it wouldn't. That's like an antique manger scene. Why would they do that? I could really ruin Christmas for you. Alright, So, if we, if we go back 2023 years and nine months or so, we're going to see that Mary is told she will conceive, right? So she that's one of the things she's struggling in her heart as well. Right? She's going to concede by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's a miracle. It's like this crazy when you think about that crazy, miraculous thing as much as I joke. Now, if we go back even further, and go back to Matthew, we're going to find just like that. We're going to find an Easter egg in the genealogy. So at the beginning of Matthew between, like verse 18, and one there one through 17, you see just this list of all these people, and nobody reads genealogies except me. Right? So I like to read them because each name has a story. And if you read the Old Testament, like, oh, yeah, that's what happened. And you try to connect them. And these things come to mind. Now, what is the genealogy family tree, like this family tree of Jesus, right, showing that he's all the way back there? She goes all the way, as the scripture say, here, line is even further back, like Luke, Adam, you know, so all the way to Abraham. So all the way to the beginning. So Ahaz, so we see a guy named Ahaz. Now he has if you're reading, you know, again, repeat stories, right? So you have Second Kings, you have Second Chronicles. And so they tell some of the same stuff, I believe the second king 16, check my work, probably Second Chronicles 28 Or so he has, he has his Hezekiah is that you probably don't know. Hezekiah is anyway, so whatever, we'll keep going. But King Ahaz. When you read those accounts, he's a bad king. He's really not a good king sacrifices his kids, he copies Tiglas Philezer. These are the king of Assyria copies, his altar and all this stuff really not good. But if you look at Isaiah, where he appears again, so it's telling like different perspectives, it doesn't seem all that bad. In fact, he's worried about these other invading army armies attacking In fact, he goes to Syria for help. So he's, he's worried about him nervous about what's going to happen, right? So much. So they sell stuff. Also, there's enlist to Syria to help him out. Why? Because there's like the civil war going on before him. So you know, David, everybody knows about David. Right? You know, Solomon, Solomon really messes up. It's kind of a bad guy. He breaks all the commandments for King and Deuteronomy 17. And so the kingdom will be torn from it'll fall, but not during his time, for the sake of your father, David, that's going to happen during Ray bones time. And it does the kingdom splits. And so you have Judah and the south. And all the other tribes are 12 tribes of Israel except like Benjamin and Levites. But anyway, the other child, the other tribes up in the north, and that's called Israel just as a as a blanket default. Don't think of it like today. So there's the Civil War. And then there's all these other countries coming to war with them. And that's what he's worried about. So reason and pika. So
Isaiah comes to kind of assure him like, yeah, you know, you're going to get attacked, but, you know, there'll be prosperity after that. It'll be okay. And he's like, you know, ask for a sign. And in Isaiah, he's like, better than the other depictions of him because he's like, No, I wouldn't test the Lord to the sign. I'm like, what the sudden, are you a good guy now? Which is kind of interesting. But the Lord's like, no, no, I'll give you a sign. That's going to be okay. And this assures him of a couple of things. Isaiah 714. All right, then the Lord himself will give you a sign. They know the context, right? Look, the virgin will conceive a child, she will give birth to a son. And we'll call him a manual, which means God is with us. And so this is what's happening. And this brings me back to the genealogy. It's talking about Jesus. And this is amazing. When we just kind of like overlook this stuff. Sometimes we bring your attention to the fact that it's around 700 years before Jesus, this is predicted and a King and King Jesus is lying to a king. Right? So there's a lot of context going on. But just inside there, this is the sign. So it's a prediction of Jesus's birth and this kingly line being continued. Now, if we keep reading, we learn a little bit more about it. Like what kind of king is this going to be? I really said God with us, okay, is that just his name? Isaiah 964 child is born to us a son is given to us the government will rest on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, his government and its peace will never end that's the kind of king and kingdom he will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor, David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's armies will make this happen. So this is King Jesus, he's the only one that can be eternal, whose ring will never end right Mighty God Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. I'm not going to sing Handel's Messiah to you, although I want to. Alright, so if we keep reading, we'll see some more. Isaiah 11. We know that he's from the line of Jesse who is a David's father there right so and it says of some interesting stuff like from its roots, a branch up here. So from the stump. This is Ranch is going to appear not the only place that appears. It's going to bear fruit the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him like it did at His baptism. We know Jesus is the seed of Abraham. Paul calls him in Galatians seed, not plural, all nations on earth will be blessed through the seed of Abraham, Genesis 22. We also know he's from the line of Jacob, Abraham's grandson or grandson number is 2417 I see him now. I behold him but not near a star will come out of Jacob a scepter will rise out of Israel. On Jacob's deathbed and Genesis. He talks about the Lion of Judah, and says, The scepter it all connects will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler staff, from his descendants until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor that's Jesus, the line of Judah from Jeremiah 23. From the Lion King David talks about a righteous branch again, coming from that line, Micah five to mentioned it really, really fast. He's going to be born in Bethlehem of Judah, after Jesus was born, so remember the Magi, right? We kicked them out of the manger. So Jeremiah, all babies are killed Jeremiah 3115. voices heard in Ramah morning, great weeping, Rachel weeping for children refusing to be comforted, because they are no more all biblical prophecies in your Old Testament to happen hundreds of years before, these aren't miraculous predictions about Jesus and the things surrounding his birth account. Amazing. It's a miracle.
No, Christmas. If you're from the north, it might be reasonable to pray for a white Christmas.
Or maybe you don't write because if you're the one wants to shovel the driveway and clean the car, I do not miss that. Where's he going? I'll tell you in Florida, you're more likely to get a wet Christmas. All right, than a white Christmas, and maybe some thunder lightning. But don't worry. The odds of you being injured by a lightning strike on any given day are only one and 250 million. Why do you need to know that? Well, a you're probably more likely to die shoveling snow. Be a number of years ago, a couple of guys Peter W. Stone. I'm going to read this. And Robert Newman wrote a book entitled science speaks. The book was based on the science of probability and vouched for by the American scientific affiliation means nothing to me, but that's probably pretty good. It set out the odds for any one man in all history fulfilling even only eight of the major 60 prophecies and 270 ramifications fulfilled by the life of Christ. So all these prophecies, right? So basically, you're taking all a tremendous amount of like, just say, 60 prophecies, okay, we're only going to boil it down to the eight, we looked at today's like nine surrounding Jesus's birth, but specifically about Jesus, eight prophecies, right? So the probability that these by these people, same kind of scale, the probability that these prophecies that we talked about today that they would be fulfilled, is a number I can't even comprehend. It's one in one quintillion. Right? So that's 1 billion billions. One bit, one in 1 billion billions. Now, I can so just help me if I get this wrong. math fact check. So a billion is 1000. Millions, right? Is a billion 1000 Millions. I didn't I did my Bible homework before this message. I didn't do that. I wasn't as concerned about right. Billions of 1000s How many? Smart say Yeah, right. So but a billion billions, like what does that look like? Okay, so these guys who wrote the book, this is how they kind of put it out there for you to Texas. No songs. I'm not going to sing anything. So Texas. So imagine Texas and then imagine this is a little older and you can tell because they talk about silver dollars. What's the silver dollar right? I don't even know people don't even use money anymore. We just tap or phones and things. What are you doing? I'm paying right? So that's how we do it. But anyway, we only have JFK coin showing my age. I don't think so. But silver dollars bigger. Right? So it's a bigger coin. And so imagine covering something like that. Just whatever. The whole state of Texas covering it. Not once but two feet deep. That's how much a billion billions that these coins cover. Texas, I smarter people than me two feet deep. Then you mark one of those coins. Just mark one anywhere in Texas, right? I don't know anything about that. So anywhere in Texas, my mother in law's house, it's really good. So you hope she doesn't watch it. So anyway, you put the coin in my mother in law's house cover. And she doesn't buy something with it. And it's still there. Right? So and then you get this guy in Dallas and you blindfold and spin around, he walks to my mother in law's house, bam, first coin, he picks up his that coin. One and what that that's how they kind of framed it out, right? That's the probability that even eight, these eight prophecies would be fulfilled. It's insane. It's like the miracle of miracles. You have to think about the timing, like him doing on all lined up, like everything just felt fulfilled perfectly. Who he is what he did what he's, I mean, it's just astounding when you really think about it, or use that kind of illustration. Now, what we celebrate today, is the miracle of miracles. Now,
speaking of miracles, do you think you're going to get what you asked for this year?
That's really funny, right? Like, so I think about kids, right? So we often ask for things or, like, sometimes ask for things like we can't afford, that's what kids do, because they can't afford anything. They don't have money, right? So they might now just tap your phone to pay. But anyway, right? So they just ask for it. And there's happy and they get toys? Would you ask for you want to share with the rest of us? What was it? You have money? Okay, my name is Jean. I serve here at C three church as a pastor, we don't make very much money at all, man. So afterwards, maybe you can help me out. I asked for a car for Christmas. Right? But that's what we do. Right? So you get older, like, you know, I can afford everything like toys. Like why would I want toys? Right? So anyway, but there are toys, but you know, I have everything I need, right? So you start asking for bigger stuff. And it's so funny, because you see the car commercials, right? And like the cars out there with the boat. And they're always like, really happy they got this thing. But like, just my first words on my mouth to be like, great. Now we got another car payment. Like that's what I would say. Like, I wouldn't even be happy at all with that. So I don't ask for things like that at all. I just asked for underwear because I have realistic expectations. That's it. So but maybe some of us are praying for an even bigger gift than that. This year. Maybe some people are really praying for a miracle. Could be a health miracle health related issue, a bad diagnosis, some came down line, maybe it's for a relative, they've been given some bad news, right? They're just praying for a miracle. Like it has something to do with your house or making the next mortgage payment. Right? Like, just it'd be a miracle something came in, Lord, just a miracle, like really praying for something important. And again, that puts Christmas in perspective, doesn't it? You know, really puts Christmas in perspective, like what is this really about? Now, truth be told, we may not get that miracle. But here's the good news. No miracle could be greater than the one we celebrate today. Regardless of what we pray for. God so loved the world. He gave His one and only Son for us. For all who believe like, we can be with Him for eternity, we're safe, no matter what. We're praying for unanswered prayer, no matter what happens here. Or good or good. It's okay. It's all going to turn out just fine. Even better than just fine, right? So, if you're praying for a miracle, that prayer has been answered and fulfilled in Jesus. That's what we celebrate. today. Jesus is the ultimate answer to all our prayers. And here's the thing, and it's just, you know, we've talked if you've been in the surgery talked a lot about like, kind of the, the sad state that the church has gotten into, you know, when you read the Bible, and you look at the biblical church, and they got their problems, it's, you know, we talked about that, but it's just so far, it's a one degree of separation off here. Like 1000 Download, we're like a billion billions off when we really look at it. And what people are preaching today, you know, you might have heard it, we don't do it here. A lot of people call it like, the prosperity gospel, right? I call it the half gospel and because God can bless us, but moreover, it's the short sighted gospel. It's the perishable gospel. The Bible doesn't tell us to be concerned with things It's like that at all. But then on Christmas we are. That's like what we're putting forward to. And then the church does it. More churches should be saying, Yeah, I mean, great. Look, we'll tell you what we're going to do upstairs later. If there's a Christmas tree up there, it's fine. Look, I'm wearing a stupid shirt. Right? So I'm not a lumberjack. The like, you know, I it's cool. We celebrate this Christmas tree, my house, we get presents. But we know that none of it has anything to do with Jesus doesn't, I'm just aware of that. I'm like, Oh, this shirt does not have anything to do with Jesus. But you know, even what the Bible says it's unreal to just take these lands out of context. And even though Jesus said right from his mouth, don't store your treasure here on Earth, right? But in heaven where moss can eat it, Russ can't destroy it, thieves can't steal it. Everything is the focus is always there. You have to really take things out of context to get this like whole prosperity gospel thing, when you look at just what Jesus is saying. It's impossible. Gets us to focus on things we shouldn't be focused on Christmas, should cause us to look beyond all of that. Right? So the greatest miracle, give me another window into Colossians. Because if you don't read the Bible, this is what it says. And this is very redundant. In the Bible, especially the New Testament Colossians three to think about, think about the things of heaven, not the things on earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ and God and when Christ who is your life is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. He's talking to Jesus coming back. That's what we're really excited about. Not Santa. Sorry. Okay, I don't know what they believe. So I'm really going around Christmas. So. And we had Santa right when my daughter was a kid. It's okay. Not unsaved if you do that, but some churches will tell you that it's kind of crazy. But look, this is what it truly means to be a Christian. Does what it means Jesus didn't die, so we could obsess over all of our stuff. He died so we could die to this life. The only way you can be resurrected from the dead? We talked about what Paul's attitude, right? So if you've accepted Jesus, or not, you may say, Well, what about the meantime? What about like, from here to there? Like what about now, right? Because we're just retrained to be now creatures, right creatures of the immediate now. Now we own everything. Now it's instant. Well, with Jesus, you also receive the Holy Spirit, who will open up the eyes of your heart, as Ephesians says, we looked at that, you get a godly perspective on everything, it changes everything for you. You see everything with a new eyes with a new heart, with this lens instead of the other way around. So I mentioned Paul, and if you just know anything about till you smoke in this series, we see just his attitude. And he says that, um, you can't find one of 13 books of the Bible letters of Paul, if you don't know. He can't find like one of them when he doesn't talk about like suffering for Christ. Some believe he's like, always join me in my sufferings with Christ. But Romans five, what does he say? These tribulations actually will bring endurance, and that endurance will bring proven character. And that proven character leads to hope. And it's hope that won't disappoint like the world does mind. Words added, right? You receive the Holy Spirit. And these things build you up, finds joy in these struggles, why we saw perspective and Second Corinthians four and five in our series that we're in right now. And if you put them together, right, so Paul is just giving perspective. He talks about all these trials in chapter seven and fears within it was just crazy for this guy. Chapter 11, beatings, shipwrecks, all these things that we think we have about it's crazy. But he says, You know what? These, like small moments are these light momentary afflictions are nothing compared to God's glory when it is revealed you. That's what he's concerned about. If you keep reading, reading, before that he likens his body to fragile clay jars, and then in five or 10, that he's going to have to pack up and leave. That's how he talks about his body. And he says, When I'm here in this body, I'm not at home with the Lord. Read it. This is not what it's about. The power of the Holy Spirit gives you faith, hope, love, right, so those Galatians five things right? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self control, faithfulness. These are all the fruits of the Holy Spirit. And when you're in Christ Jesus, you begin to see things that way. You begin to look at things very differently. Even the worst things that Paul went through. They're nothing. They're momentary afflictions compared to the glory of Jesus when he's revealed to us. When it comes again, he's coming back. So it's kind of funny, like, for perspective I think about some of the things I asked for as a kid. Alright, so you guys, you have your phones, direct line, Santa Claus or some fine. Yeah, like a Santa app now or something. Right. So we didn't have that. Right. So what we had to do is we had to get out the Sears and Roebuck catalog as an adult. We had to start circling things and marking pages and then leaving the catalog everywhere. My parents were right. So like, if there was a favorite chair, like, what's that Sears catalog again? Right? It'd be like on the dinner plate. Like, why is the Sears catalog? You know? Make sure they see it call Santa for me, right?
It's crazy. So you think about these things in the obsession, right? Think of the beloved Christmas story right? You know, the kids obsessed Ralphie in the red Ryder BB gun. He's telling everybody right? He goes and see Santas. And I was like, oh, shoot trial. Kid. Right. And so like the report to the teacher, everything. And I just think about this, right? Some of the things I can think of like a couple of things when I was a kid that I was like this obsessed about, right? Like from Thanksgiving all year, all on the toy commercials. Every time they come on, like, I need to have it right. So but here's, here's the gist like that. Like I was crazy. So there's hope, right? So I think about some of these things. But truth be told, like I'll see old Christmas pictures. And I'm like, I remember that toy. But it's worth $5,000 right now. It's like a robot RTD Do you think you know what I mean? And I'm like, sold it at the garage sale? Because I could have put my daughter through college. It was all my Star Wars toys. But I'll look in the picture. I'll be like having that. Where did he go? And then I call my mom like, why did you sell it? So it's weird. Nobody else has had that happen to them where they like look at this old toy and then you look it up on eBay and it's worth a lot of money and comic books. I had Spider Man number one, there's a resentment there. Okay. There's a little bit, just a little bit I'm good. Jesus tells me I have to forgive it. Or it's going to be consequences. Alright, so we'll work on that. Just a joke. But anyway. No, it's not. So you look at some of these totally obsessed over some of this stuff. Right? And for perspective, I'm like, I don't even care about that. I'll talk to you about that later, Tony some of the toys but I don't always anymore. A lot. So, you know, but I don't care. Right? So it's interesting. Like, how do we view some of those things? Be careful if the red Ryder BB gun like and now I'm going to go and care. Well, how will we view them in the same kind of perspective, like when Jesus comes back the things we're obsessed with now? Bible says we won't. We won't care. That's funny if you could go back, like through different stages of your life. And maybe it's not like the disappointment of their own Christmas gifts, something maybe it's something more important, like, like really big disappointments, really big things. And reminder, like you ever go through something when you were younger? You get not yet but when you're younger, that like was life and it was like the end of the world. Like it was the it was that was it? Like, that's it just I'm going to die if this happens. Oh, it happened? Just life. And you're fine now? And what's the perspective? Like, whatever is not bothering you? If it is, I'll see you in my office. It's fine. But what would you tell yourself? I think I tell myself look, then the end of the world. I'd go Romans five, right? This is going to build your character it's going to make use of that which does not kill us makes us like it's, it's going to make you stronger. It's going to build your character. And hopefully, you don't, I'd probably knock myself on the head a few times, right? It's going to change the way you think about bad things in the future. First Corinthians 1311 When I was a child, I spoken thought and reasoned as a child, but when it grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever. Faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. And indeed, God loves us so much. That he blessed us with this miracle of himself. Regardless of what you asked for, what you're praying for what we have is an imperishable gift. Nobody can take it from us. It's not going to wear out. It certainly won't disappoint us like everything else does. And you can take it with you. It's an eternal gift. Now again, just to kind of wrap up here, that means there's like, at least 15 more minutes. That's a pastor language. I'm just helping you. Anyway. He's bound to get excited again. I want to acknowledge what we experienced in the meantime. Because this is an interesting time. Very interesting time. And again, expectations, right? I put expectations, you put all these things if I broke them when you first came in here, so expectations, right, so it's always going to be the same, you know, no one's going to die. You know, no one's going to let me down. No one's going to leave me right. But they do. That happens. I'm a pastor. I don't think anybody in here has a perfect family. If you do just get out or stay, it's okay. Bye. But you know, really, people pretend they do. They know, everybody has a broken family in some way, shape, or form. And some are more broken than others. Right? And it can be lonely this time of year for certain people. I get it. I hear it. Lonely. You feel left alone, abandoned. But let me just tell you something. It's kind of the sad irony in the seasonal depression that we get around Christmas time, is that we're celebrating Jesus. If you're celebrating Jesus, because you've accepted him, you have Jesus. So you know what? You're never alone. That's the sad part with Jesus, if you have Jesus, you are never alone. And I'm preaching to myself, I get it. I get it. I feel like that to my wife, like stop crying, you have Jesus. I'm like, oh, yeah, my pastor. Okay, I get it, I get it. It's okay to vent and feel you feel certain things, right. But we got to come back to reality. If we have Jesus, you need anything. We have everything we need. You're never alone. The other thing too. And so I just kind of want to tell you a little bit about the church, if it's your first time here, and then we'll go. You're welcomed into a family of faith. That's the thing, you're welcomed into the church, the church is the body of Christ. That's what it's supposed to be the body of Christ. He's the head where you're the body. And so we want to invite you if you're not already a part of it, to join us, in the family of faith, you don't have to do life alone. Right? So yes, there's in the meantime, and we're here to equip, support and build each other. That's what we do here. So just a little bit about what this church does. You don't know. And this is good for you know, if you consider yourself a member of the family, you're a member here, good for you to hear again. And a reminder that we are a non denominational church. So we'll just a small amount of education, no rants, but most calling themselves non denominational or not. It's important ask the pastor, where did you go to seminary? And did you get rid of some of those beliefs or neutralize them? So we are a church where we have people from all different denominations here. And we all believe the same thing about the gospel about Jesus and what's important about Jesus right? He's got all these things in First Corinthians 15, there's your gospel. Right, but the other things there's a Paul is also writing in First Corinthians, right, he's writing a lot, don't don't divide over the pastor and who you think the better pastors, you know, so eight or 10 make sacrifices if different issues that they'd have some what we call secondary doctrine. Don't argue about that. One of those things. It's the Sabbath, right? And I say this all the time. Yet now. You have people will say, No, you can't you're not saved. You can't come to this church unless you observe like the seventh day Sabbath like the 10 commandments blocked. Paul, the Bible says don't divide over that right? So that's a nondenominational church so it means we are a drama Free Church. Imagine out of family with no drama, drama people don't stay here so we lose a lot of people because we don't deal with it. I don't deal with it. No, no. Right Do not get you can have problems we can meet my office you can cry talking about roads. It's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about now you're making everybody's life difficult because you have no right or complaining or this and that stop it. This is awesome that we even have this right so drama. We're also the expectations are clearly not trying to be a mega church. But a lot of people are and there's always scandals in the mega church. Why the month money. That's right, all this other stuff, trying to get rich and fair when somebody like me is trying to get rich and famous off the church. You can't see the problem with that. Unbelievable. But of course, they have a problem, right? My wife and I have, you know, our stories are over it. Been there, done that, if you know our stories, we were saved through the church, both physically and spiritually. I said this couple weeks ago, right on the stage, my wife would be dead. If it was not for this church. What do I owe it? My life? Everything. So we have changed a lot. I'm just devoted our lives to it. That's what we're all about. It's not about anything else. Been there, done that. So we live to share that experience with other people. That's it. I want other people are going to be selfish. You're like, Yes, I'm set, you know, see? Me know. Right? I want to share that with you. If you don't know Jesus yet. I want to share I want to get you there. Right. Change your perspective. So part of my wife's stories recovery show, so I've been sober nine years is going to be 10 years in April. So April 30. Pretty good, right? Alright. So good day. It's just showing off there, though. Not always. Right, silver for that long. Right? So we host recovery meetings here. Alright. And so we're trying to get more of them going on silver events. When you see the cafe upstairs. It's not like sobriety is not a punishment, right? So they think like, I'm going to sit in a lawn chair and a high school gym. No, it's really nice up there. And there's like pool tables and all kinds of cool stuff. It's an alternative to hanging out in a place where you're going to get yourself in trouble. Another thing we do is we like to feed people. So we'll feed you today. I hear the food's pretty good. So the insiders know what I'm doing. Coffee mugs that boast it's not really pride. So anyway, so we like to feed people. The other thing here again on divide? We don't we don't see socio economic status here. We don't see race here. We don't Nope, we don't do that here. We don't do that here. We all sit and eat together. We're not a program church where we patronize certain groups and needy people. We don't do that either. If you're poor, you're part of the family. If you're rich, you're part of the family. If you're homeless, you're part of the family and how can we help? That's it. We're all the same. And we sit down and eat together, cook for one another. We fellowship with one another. That's what we're all about. Right? A real body of Christ genuinely here for Jesus. So if you don't have anyone to celebrate Christmas with this year, you can celebrate it with us. Right after the service, right? We have a Christmas tree and everything. And if you want to present ask my wife, she'll buy you one. Merry Christmas, everyone. God bless you. I love all of you. Thank you for coming and spending the time with us investing the time with us have a Merry Christmas, enjoy whatever it is that you're doing. I know a lot of people have lunch plans. That's fine. I love lunch here in Naples, but just pass through the cafe, even if you do say hi, see what we're all about. Let me pray for you, Lord, I thank everyone. Thank you for everyone who came in here for sending everyone who came in here and I just hope you open the eyes have their hearts Lord, so that they can receive your spirit if they haven't already. If they have remind them that they are not alone. They're not alone. Even with nothing else they have you And Lord, we thank you for that gift so much. Be with us as we go out this week, encourage us, equip us and build us up so that we can be better messengers for your gospel. That is the good news. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.