Message from Pastor Dex..
8th December, 2016
An Event for Everyone
-Luke 2:8-20 – The Message (MSG)-
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!
What does the announcement of Jesus’ birth mean to you personally?
4th December, 2016
The birth of Jesus took place like this.
His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus-‘God saves’-because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:
Watch for this-a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
How does the story of Jesus birth speak to you?
Thinking About How We Think About Other People
Last Sabbath, the text for my sermon was taken from Matthew 5:43-48
which spoke about loving our enemies. I noted that these verses are hard for us because they challenge us to our core. But, I don’t believe we can disregard the very words of Jesus. I believe as disciples of Jesus we are called to be lovers rather than haters. Scripture tells us that even when we were enemies, God reconciled himself to us through his Son Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10).
During this political season, it is easy to forget that God loves everyone whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians or people who belong to the Green Party. As I stated last Sabbath God loves Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. And I know that people in different camps aren’t crazy about reading words like these. As we go through this political season and the seasons of our lives, I think it is important to ask ourselves are we representing our Lord and Savior Jesus in our actions, attitude and speech? The Holy Spirit is the power we need in our lives to truly change and transform us if we are falling short. What will we be remembered for when we are no longer here? Will people remember that we were loving followers of Jesus? Or will we be remembered for something else? My prayer is that we will develop a deep spiritual Jesus maturity that allows us to love our enemies and those who may have different political points of view than we do. I am not suggesting it is easy, but I am suggesting that we can’t afford to be indifferent to the issue of how we treat those we consider our enemies. I like the way the Message Bible puts it in Matthew 5:48: “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”