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Christmas 2017 // Part III

He's Positioned

Have you ever gotten lost? Have you ever trusted in GPS only to be let down? Based on where we are at, we are always thinking about where we need to go.

If I want that manager spot I’ll need to..
If I want that dream job I’ll have to go to that school…
If I want to be married to her I’ll have to…

And maybe things are going well. You’re thinking…

I need to get my marriage back.
I need to get my kids back to church.
I really want to find a friend.
I need to find financial help, or a job.

I want to talk to you about the positions within this Scripture today.

Based on where you’re at, Jesus wants and has a plan to take you to a destination.

Matthew 1:18-25 NLT
This is how Jesus the 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. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered 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 as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

1. This Christmas story is old – never changes, yet it’s so exciting and thrilling.

  • You know it well.
  • Joseph – Mary. What happened. What they must have thought.
  • What they thought probably wasn’t what they’re about to get. But what they are about to get is so beyond their ability to believe.
  • It’s true, isn’t it? Oft times we think we know what we need or what God is up to. If you’re like me, there are times we are disappointed and disillusioned. When things don’t work out according to plan, we often struggle with our faith.
  • You think of Joseph and Mary. They planned a wedding, no doubt talked about children and family and their future.

But God had a different plan. A plan that rocked their world and saved ours!

So here are 3 positions/directions that the story teaches us.

Position 1

  • God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary
  • God takes those in the position of being ordinary and he does great things through them.
  • Mary and Joseph were just middle class people.
  • Young
  • Joseph had an ordinary job.
  • Nothing special about them on the outside.
  • But God used them to change the world. And 2000 years later we are still talking about them. We have statues of them sitting in our houses.

  • Because God did something extraordinary in their lives.
  • He used them.

A. And for you, God sees something special in you as well.

B. All of us have planned and plotted our next few moves only to be baffled at how things change.

  • Single parents – you never dreamed you’d be in this place at this time in your life.

    a. Perhaps a dream of “happily ever after” was destroyed.
    b. I can’t imagine how difficult this is. I tell you, church, some of the bravest, most determined, courageous people I know are single moms and single dads.

  • Maybe you’ve lost your job or you thought you’d be further along than you are now in life. But it just gets tougher for you. God sees something special in you.

  • And to you, young family struggling to make ends meet – just hang in there. Be faithful. God is up to something special in your life.

  • And to you, single adult, he hasn’t ridden in on a white stallion yet, or you haven’t seen any girls with glass slippers lately, guys – but God is up to something.

    a. If He so cares for the flowers of the fields, He cares for you.
    b. We so admire wild flowers along the roads or maybe out in the valley. And we think, “Wow, God clothes the fields with beautiful flowers.”

  • I was thinking the other day, there has to be tens of thousands of acres of wild flowers we never see, but God still clothes those hills and valleys because it means something to Him.

  • And you, though you may be living in obscurity and nobody is noticing you and you’re travelling alone it seems – oh, no! God sees you. He loves you, He cares for you. And He will come through for you!

Position 2

  • The way to God is down
  • The way to God is down not up.
  • Jesus was born in a stable.
  • He was born to a low middle class family.
  • His family had to run for their lives at times.
  • Paul would say this about him in Philippians, “He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant.”
  • Its not through powering up, its through humbling down.
  • Its not in serving me, its in serving you.
  • Jesus always went lower. When the religious elite stood tall and haughty, Jesus went to the poor. When they are prepared to stone a woman caught in adultery, Jesus bends down to her level. When his disciples argue who will be the greatest, Jesus bends down to wash their feet. When they expect Jesus to march into Jerusalem on a throne, he instead hung on a cross.
  • Because he came to show us that the way of God is a way of love. And one of the ways we love God, is by loving each other.
  • At Christmas - Lose the notion you have to out-do last year or the neighbors – or your kids’ friends. And refocus on the meaning of Xmas. And get your family on your knees and just thank Him.
  • Make Christmas special and meaningful.
  • When I was about 14, my church started a bus ministry and they asked me to help.
  • Now I would not be able remember any of the gifts I got for Christmas, but that moment still lives in me.
  • Go and be church to your neighborhood. Community. Workplace.
  • Find a way to help in need.
  • Your family will never remember the gifts you got them. But they will remember those moments that you serve together.

And I have to remember that Jesus didn't come to walk up the steps to his kingdom and be served. He came walking down, he humbled himself, he was born of an ordinary girl, in smelly barn, and began something new. That the way to God is down, not up.

  • Proud of our church
  • 127 baskets
  • Gift Cards being handed out.
  • 100 kids in the community.

Position 3 

  • Jesus wants to be your center

A. God invited Mary and Joseph to take Jesus in as their center. And now the invitation has been handed to you.

B. Its an invitation not a demand.

  • We make demands, not God.
  • Joseph has a choice
  • In the most important event in human history God sets the standard. He did not force Mary and Joseph to bring Jesus into their lives. He waited for their consent.
  • Where are you on this journey?
  • May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

Worship Set

This Is Amazing Grace

- Josh Farro, Jeremy Riddle, and Phil Wickham

Verse 1

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Verse 2

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
Who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Chorus 1

(Yeah) (Oh)
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You laid down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh Jesus I sing for all that You've done for me

Verse 3

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory the King of Glory

Verse 4

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory the King above all kings

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy worthy worthy

Fear Not 

- Jeremy Johnson and Paul Marino

Verse 1

Fear not Mary
This child you carry
Is the Savior

Fear not Joseph
You've been chosen
For this journey

Chorus 1

Hallelujah God is with us
Hallelujah God is with us

Verse 2

Fear not shepherds
The voices you've heard
Are the angels

Verse 3

Fear not children
Come before Him

God With Us 

- Bryan Torwalt and Katie Torwalt

Verse 1

You are matchless in grace and mercy
There is nowhere we can hide from Your love
You are steadfast never-failing
You are faithful
All creation is in awe of who You are

Verse 2

You're the healer of the sick and the broken
You are comfort for ev'ry heart that mourns
Our King and our Savior forever
For eternity we will sing of all You've done
For eternity we will sing of all You've done

Chorus 1

(We sing) God with us God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us
God with us God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us

Verse 3

Your heart it moves with compassion
There is life there is healing in Your love
You're the Father the Son the Holy Spirit
For eternity we will sing of all You've done

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Where there was death
You brought life Lord
Where there was fear
You brought courage
When I was afraid
You were with me
And You're lifting me up
And You're lifting me up

Misc 2 (Bridge)

And You're lifting me up
And You're lifting me up
And You're lifting me up
And You're lifting me up