From Pastor Johnny

The Impact of Christmas On Our Communities Sermon Blog Day 2

Moving Right within His Plan:    2:2

          “This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.”  This is all about timing. The mention of Quirinius by Luke was to specify the exact time in history by using a historical reference. God’s timing is never off and never wrong.  It is not late nor is it early.  I love what Paul writes in Galatians about the coming of Christ.  “In the fullness of time, God sent His Son...”

            God’s timing is perfect. God’s timing is impeccable. Sometime man’s time is off, but God’s timing is perfect.

             Some years ago the Associated Press ran a story about a lady named Cathy Mullikin in Jackson, Tennessee. It seemed that her bird was cooked, and her calendar was toast.

              Mullikin had her Thanksgiving turkey dinner already cooked on Thursday, November 21 of that year, “and my friends and family are coming on the 28th and they’re going to think I’m a kook,” she said.

               She should never have believed that free calendar. Jackson-Madison County General Hospital gave out 40,000 of them last year and every last one said Thanksgiving was on the 21st instead of the 28th.

      THANKFULLY...GOD’S CALENDAR IS NEVER WRONG.

               Do you fret over something that has not worked out or shown a clear solution? What may appear to be askew, God is working with perfect precision. Continue to seek the Lord, fellowship with Him, and follow Him.  His timing CANNOT be wrong.

 Moving Radically among His People: 2:3

          “So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.” These words remind us of the vast scope of God’s movement among His people Israel.  This act by Caesar was fully ordained of God.  This act also caused ALL of God’s people to be put into motion. Everyone of the people under the Roman rule would be registered for the census. This census would determine taxation for the Roman government. Oftentimes, God will move us in ways we could not have anticipated even months earlier.

            I am currently finishing up a book by Dr. Tony Evans titled Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We Are Stronger Together. Part of this book is the personal story of Tony Evans, and how God put him in a place to be influenced by both the traditionally white and black evangelical churches. His experiences there have helped him to bridge the gap in ministry, and impact a nation in ministry, in a way that very few have.

            One of his stories is how his father would not go to church, but one time he visited with Dr. Evans’ mother. While there, several men witnessed to his father and he was born again. This changed their family. God moved radically.

            Another story was how Dr. Evans, as an 18 year old kid, was invited to Ghana for a month long crusade. While in Ghana assisting in ministry, he met a lovely young lady named Lois. That young lady would become his wife Lois. They would be married almost 50 years before she died last year. Their ministry together, as well as the ministry of their children, has impacted the world. God moved radically.

            God does not need you or your family in a particular place. All He needs is for you to walk in His will.  GOD DOESN’T NEED YOU ANY PARTICULAR PLACE TO BE SUCCESSFUL OTHER THAN HIS WILL.

 CONCLUSION

When God is bringing His plan to pass, He will impact our communities for His purpose.

WHY WOULD GOD NOT IMPACT:

YOUR COMMUNITY USING YOU…?

YOUR NEIGHBOR USING YOU…?

YOUR STREET USING YOU…?

YOUR SUBDIVISION USING YOU…?

           

 

 

The Impact of Christmas On Our Communities Sermon Blog Day 1

          How many of you have already watched the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the Christmas holidays?

            George Bailey, who owns a small savings and loan in a small New York town called Bedford Falls, has helped people for many years.  In a turn of events, a large deposit is misplaced, and his business stands on the verge of bankruptcy.  At that point, he believes that he would be better off having never been born. 

            Clarence, a bumbling angel, comes along to help George see what things would have been like in the small town of Bedford Falls if he had not been born.  Clarence takes George to the small town without George Bailey.  In a series of scenes, George comes to see how drastically things would have changed if George had never been born.

          It is amazing how many people and events can be impacted by the life of one individual. Lives, events, actions, and individuals can radically impact the events of history. But, in reality, it is God who controls all of these things. In fact, God can move entire nations just for the purposes of His plans. Christmas is a great example of that.  Is there any story that more clearly exhibits the sovereignty and omnipotence of God better than Christmas?  When God is bringing His plan to pass, He will impact our communities for His purpose.

           As the book of Luke begins, the last prophetic word 400 years before was in the book of the prophet Malachi. In Luke 1 an angel arrives to speak to Zechariah the priest as he serves in the temple. Later in Luke 1, an angel appears to Mary to inform her of the coming pregnancy, in spite of her status as a virgin. In Matthew 1 an angel appears to Joseph to inform him of his fiancée’s miraculous pregnancy. Then, in Luke 2, after the birth of Christ, angels appear to the shepherds to announce his birth.

          From 400 years of silence to multiple appearances by angels, God begins to speak to his people just before the birth of the Savior. It is in this context that God begins to move and take steps to impact the world.

          In the same way that He impacted the communities of Luke’s time, so God can and will do the same things today through His people. Consider three steps God might take in impacting our communities like He did in the Christmas story.

 Moving Rulers for His Purpose:            2:1

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.”

           Caesar Augustus was the ruler of the entire Roman Empire beginning in 44 B.C. His name had been Octavian Caesar until he crushed Egypt in 27 B.C., then the Roman leaders attached to him the name Augustus (“the illustrious one). Many see him as the greatest emperor of one of the greatest empires in history.

          At a point in history, this greatest emperor issued a census. In issuing a census that Augustus believed he controlled, he was part of the sovereign will and plan of the God of the universe. It was the census that would bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.  It was while they were in Bethlehem that Jesus would be born and fulfill the prophecy regarding His birth. 

          Scripture is clear that, though God places rulers in positions to lead, He ultimately controls all things.  He will position a ruler to carry out His purposes.

          In the Old Testament, after Joseph was the second most powerful man in Egypt and his family moved there as well, a new Pharoah came to power who eventually enslaved the Israelites.  This would set things up for the eventual Exodus led by Moses. God moved the government to fulfill His plans.

          Later, in the New Testament days, it was the Roman Empire – originally gaining power under Alexander the Great – who paved a system of roads and set things in place for the perfect time of a coming Messiah and growth of the church.

         The Sovereign God of the Universe, at times, will move rulers in order to accomplish His plans. Why fuss, fret, and wail over a government official?  There are times where government officials are certainly better than others.  Yet, ultimately, these officials are overseen by God Himself.

Water All Around

          In 2008, in Villermosa, Mexico, one of the greatest disasters in Mexican history took place. People were dehydrating and dying of dehydration while there were millions of gallons of water all around.

          Heavy rains caused massive flooding in that part of Mexico. USA Today reported that close to 500,000 people had homes destroyed by flooding. Many people died. Lives were ruined. Food was in short supply in that area. President Felipe Calderon declared, “We are seeing one of the worst natural catastrophes in our nation’s history.”

Reports claimed that people were even fighting over food and water. Electricity was also in short supply.

          All that as people became dehydrated – yet there was water all around. As residents pushed and fussed over water supplies – tons of H2O was everywhere they looked.

          All that water around, yet none of it could help sustain life. The water in the streets and canals was rain water, contaminated by chemicals from the streets, that could not be consumed by humans. This water, far from nourishing people, would poison and kill them. In other words, what seemed to be life saving liquid was actually death in the form of water.

          Sometimes, that which seems so great, so nourishing, and so good, can actually be deadly. Too often, human beings embrace that which looks good but is terribly wrong.

          Too often spiritual life and eternal life is the same. Men and women all around look at the culture as if it is the most important thing, rather than a detriment to their eternal existence. Not only will this culture not save them, but it might actually be deadly.

          In Romans 6:23 we are taught that “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” God is instructing us that there is no amount of good works, good actions, and great effort that will now cause us to meet with God.

          It is too bad that so many people think that jobs, cars, homes, money, and success is what will help them. All around they see advertisements that the right car, right clothes, right position, right house, or right job will save them. The reality is that no amount of this can save a person – anymore than contaminated water can save the people in Mexico.

          Has it ever crossed your mind that the things you put the most effort into achieving and securing might very well be that which will not help you? God has offered us a way to embrace and experience that which is critical, eternal, and most important. Salvation and eternal life through God matters more than anything else, because it will last longer than anything else -- including the “eye-candy” offered in this culture.

          God offers real salvation and real life through Jesus Christ. Would you like to know more about what it means to embrace that which offers real life? If so, log on to www.gabcpc.com for more information.

Previous12345678910 ... 3132