Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Road To Bethlehem Part 1 "Recovery"

Luk 2:15
(15)    And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Intro to Series:  Thanksgiving anticipation and then 30 minutes of eating, and then the next 30 days trying to get it off our body!  Anticipation…We are leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  When the day comes and the presents are opened and the food is eaten and the family is called or hugged, we want there to be something more left over then just torn wrapping paper, empty boxes and broken toys.  That is why we are taking these five weeks and focusing on just what Christ’s coming means to us.  So there will be more meaning, more substance in our celebration.

The angels announced His coming, telling us that they brought good tidings of great joy to all people.  Presents under a tree, grandma’s ham, sis Martha’s sweet potato pie, may all be good, but not sufficient to announce GREAT Joy to all people. So why is there such a celebration?  Let’s see.

We start today with Recovery, regaining the things that we lost when man sinned.

Intro: Mike Webster…
Kmart…(Filed bankruptcy)
Circuit City…( Filed bankruptcy)
America…(Dire financial straits)

How? We all say: "If it were me, it would never happen like that!"
If I had the money, or if I was the politician, or if I was the businessman, things would have been different.
It is the same attitude people have today!

Then the finger pointing begins
            The democrats say the republicans are too greedy, they don’t care about the poor people.
            The republicans say the democrats are too entitled, giving away money to folks who won’t work.
            The independents are ready to cast stones at both sides.

Fingers are pointing
Blame is being fixed on others
No one takes responsibility for the problem and does something about it.
Mature people want to do something about the problem, others just want to point to the problem and complain about it.

The problem is a discipline problem
We want what we want and we don’t want to wait for it, so we reach into the future and put it on credit…we refuse to wait,  we refuse to discipline ourselves and when the train wreck hits us, we point to the government, the preacher, the church, the boss, and even God to blame.

But there is something we usually don’t do.
We don’t say “I’m sorry,”  I am to blame, I did it.

I.                   Garden of Eden..
a.       God told man
b.      Eve wasn’t born yet
                                                              i.      Men we have to do a better job of leading our families and reinforcing the truths we know are necessary.  Otherwise, the rappers, the gossipers, the talk show hosts will have a stronger hold on your family then you do!
c.       They lost the garden
                                                              i.      They lost the beauty
                                                            ii.      They lost the ease
                                                          iii.      They lost eternal life
                                                          iv.      They lost peace
                                                            v.      They lost divine health
                                                          vi.      They lost their joy
                                                        vii.      They lost their freedom
                                                       viii.      But the one thing that was most important was they lost their relationship with God!
d.      God comes down and the finger pointing begins
                                                              i.      Adams says Eve made me do it
                                                            ii.      Eve says the serpent made me do it
                                                          iii.      Serpent doesn’t have any fingers so he can point to anyone else.
                                                          iv.      One thing Adam never says though
                                                            v.      I am sorry.
                                                          vi.      What would have happened if he would have claimed responsibility for his sin and just confessed?
                                                        vii.      Before there can be a recovery, there must be a discovery
                                                      viii.      I am the culprit
e.       We have been given a story to tell
                                                              i.      Sometimes we make it up ourselves
                                                            ii.      Sometimes our parents gave it to us
                                                          iii.      The doctor
                                                          iv.      It usually starts with “If it wasn’t for….” And ends with “ I never would have done….”
                                                            v.      The problem with this is, it never delivers us from the guilt.
                                                          vi.      Excuses can’t be forgiven.
                                                        vii.      The story may help us get away with it but it can’t help us get over it!
                                                      viii.      Everytime we feel the shame, we start telling our story.
                                                          ix.      You never recover, blaming!
II.                The problem with finger pointing
a.       Luk 6:41-42
b.      (41)  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
c.       (42)  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
d.      When you see something that really bothers you in someone else, we need to take a good long look at ourselves first.
e.       How do we know if we have a beam?  If we are consumed with the speck in someone else’s eye!
f.       NOTE Beholdest not….You don’t know you have it!
g.      Like greed…the assumption that everything that is given to us is for our consumption.
h.      The more we have, statistically, the less we give, as a percentage.
i.        We spend 98% of what we get on ourselves.
III.             What Jesus Did
a.       He owned the sin
b.      In the OT it was always Thou Shalt
c.       In the NT He says I Will…!!!
d.      When God laid on Jesus the sin of all mankind, in effect, He owned it, took the penalty, didn’t make excuses for it, but suffered for us, in our place.
e.       We don’t hear Him saying, but I didn’t do it!  There were extenuating circumstances!  He bowed His head and died, and then went to hell to pay for our sins.
f.       So when we look ahead to Christmas, and hear the prophecy saying His name shall be Immanuel, meaning God with us!  We can shout!  Christmas has a meaning, because we know, His coming means, we recover what we lost, the most important thing, our relationship with God.
g.      I am His son.  He is my God.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Road To Bethlehem: What His Coming Means To Us

The song calls it the “Most wonderful time of the year…” it may also be the most stressful!  The anticipation leading up to Christmas, the excitement, the preparation, the shopping and cooking and then Christmas morning comes…and goes, and we are left with torn wrapping paper, empty boxes and broken toys.  There must be something more!  The angels announced His arrival saying they brought “Good tidings of great joy!” (Luke 2:10)  Auntie’s pie and a new sweater from grandma might be good, but they don’t add up to “Great Joy!”  Join us Sundays in December at 11am for a sermon series titled “The Road To Bethlehem: What His Coming Means To Us!” and let’s find out why His coming means “Great Joy!” to us, and when you come, go ahead and wear the new sweater from Grandma!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

28th Anniversary Photo