December 2015


December 27, 2015    “Tell Me the Story of Jesus      John 1:1 – 18 

Christmas 2015 has passed. The Christmas tree is empty and the wrapping paper is thrown away. Toys lay scattered, the electronics are charging and the new underwear is washing.

The supply of leftovers is dwindling after a day of turkey or ham sandwiches and potato salad. Many are preparing for a long drive home while many in Texas are looking at blizzard conditions that are coming just a few days too late.

The joy of the holiday is beginning to fade and we realize the Cowboys will play the 6-8 Bills on Sunday. WE begin to realize ONCE AGAIN that the joy of this world is TEMPORARY.

Where do we turn after the holiday flourish of activity has passed and “normality” begins to return?

How about turning to the One whose birthday we just celebrated? Why not turn to the One who is eternal and will never leave you or forsake you? Now is the time to turn to Jesus, the Eternal One of all Creation who has never changed. Turn to the One who loves you! Receive the gift He is offering. Find faith, hope and love.

Tinsel fades, lights burn out, toys break and clothing goes out of style. The stuff of the world passes but Jesus remains. Our eternal King!

What remains long after the tree and the gifts is the message that started it all:  The Story of Jesus

  • Birth is not the beginning
    • Jesus was always here
    • Jesus has always been with God
    • Everything that is was made by Jesus
  • Christmas is just the Word becoming flesh and living among us
    • The beginning has no beginning
    • The Word has always been
      • The end has no ending
      • The Word Is eternal
    • We put up Christmas lights
      • Connie and I saw a display put to music….that involved 5 houses
        • Very cool – but temporary
      • Jesus is Life
        • The life in Jesus is the LIGHT OF MEN
        • He is the LIGHT we need
          • Christmas lights burn out but Christ remains
        • The light of Jesus is for everyone
          • Everyone who will receive – receives
        • We become PEOPLE OF LIGHT
      • Unfortunately, those of THE WORLD do not know Him
        • They DID NOT receive Him
        • They are people of our human WILL of FLESH
        • They are people born of blood
        • They are born of the WILL OF MAN
      • But to all PEOPLE OF THE LIGHT
        • Those that RECEIVED HIM
        • Those that BELIEVED in Him
        • Jesus gave the RIGHT to become the CHILDREN OF GOD
        • We are born again = Born of GOD –  Born of Spirit
      • We have received Grace upon grace
        • We are saved by GRACE alone
          • We did not deserve this Grace
            • It is a GIFT OF LOVE

Tell me the story of Christmas

God LOVES You

God wants YOU to love Him and become one of HIS Children

Jesus, God’s Light, came to show the way and provide YOU the PATH to God

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”     – Jesus

If your Christmas only lasts a season, then you should meet the One whose Birthday the holiday celebrates! Go, find Jesus Christ. Emmanuel

Christmas

Luke 2:1-14 “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, tor the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ESV

Christmas.   Luke 2

  1. Government causing problems in the lives of regular people.
    1. Some things never change!
    2. We want to count you so you have to go somewhere else.
      1. Travel, overcrowding and they probably still got the count wrong.
    3. Every now and then the government does something useful.
      1. Even if they don’t realize what they are doing
      2. There really is no separation between God and government.
      3. God can even use a government bureaucracy for His REDEMPTIVE purposes
      4. God is sovereign and the government is not
    4. Mary and Josephs Christmas was far from perfect
      1. They had to travel a great distance (on donkey anyway)
      2. She was in her final days of pregnancy with the Son of God
      3. I would have said something like “God, this is your baby in there, can’t you just BEAM US OVER to Bethlehem or something?”
      4. Your Christmas will not be perfect but I doubt you are giving birth bin a stinky barn!
      5. Praise God for what you do have and what He has protected you from getting
    5. You have a choice when you are giving birth in a barn
      1. You can praise God for the new life He has given
      2. You can focus on the smell, the critter and the poop.
        1. Where your focus is will determine your outlook and attitude.
      3. You may have to work on Christmas
      4. feel like you are all alone in the wilderness
      5. BUT God knows exactly where you are
        1. and wants you to know how to find His Son.
      6. God knows you
        1. God knows your location
        2. God knows your name
        3. God knows your need
        4. God knows the struggles you are going through
        5. God knows the choices you are faced with
        6. God knows the opportunities and the pitfalls
        7. His response to you is the same as it was to those hard working shepherds all those years ago
          1. GO FIND MY SON!
            1. Here is how to find Him
          2. Jesus is no longer in a feeding trough
  • Jesus is no longer building furniture
  1. Jesus is no longer on the Cross
  2. Jesus is no longer in the Grave
  3. Jesus is WITH US!
  • He is found BY LOOKING FOR HIM
  • Seek and you WILL find
  • He is NEAR
  1. By GRACE alone through FAITH alone in CHRIST alone

A gun reality  (an unedited work puke)

I have watched with great interest the response of our elected officials and those known as the “liberal left” in response to the recent terrorist attacks in France and the United States.

Gun control and more infringement of our Second amendment rights is their consistent demand.

I can appreciate their right to opinion and belief.  I would never attack someone for their closely held beliefs, no matter how poorly thought out or wrong I believe them to be.

Here are a few issues I believe need deeper thought and self-assessment:

  1. Average police response times in our country is 10 minutes.
    1. A lot of bad stuff can happen in 10 minutes
    2. If someone is bursting into your home, church, workplace, business, etc., you have seconds to react and respond – not minutes.
    3. What is the best use for those precious seconds?
      1. Fumbling with your phone and dialing 9-1-1? You may get the number dialed but not much time to convey any information.
      2. Hide and hope you are not discovered; maybe as you see or hear others being assaulted or killed?
  • Defend yourself and the others around you?
  1. The first person responsible for your safety and the safety of your family is YOU
    1. not law enforcement
    2. not the military
    3. Not this president or any politicians
    4. YOU
    5. Our Founders understood this and gave us a right to keep and bear arms in self defense and the defense of our country.
    6. You will be your emergency responder in times of attack.
      1. The Right to keep and bear arms has been infringed all over this great land and has only created TARGETS in UNSAFE places.
      2. To expand these infringements will only create more targets.
        1. If I am made a target I will be an armed target.
      3. More laws do not create safe spaces.
        1. California, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. have some of the most restrictive gun control laws in our nation.
          1. Gun violence is rampant in these places.
          2. Since when do criminals worry about breaking the law?
  • The terrorists last week broke many, many laws…..on purpose.
    1. They could care less about breaking a few more, they are violent terroristic criminals.
    2. Killing people is against the law.
    3. Assaulting people is against the law.
    4. Making bombs is against the law.
    5. Adding a few gun charges to a life sentence is no big deal to a murdered
    6. Adding gun charges is no big deal to a terrorist on a suicide mission.
  1. Maybe we need to rethink our priorities and outlook of gun ownership
    1. If the police take 10 minutes to respond and we have only seconds to save our life or the lives of those around us maybe we should be prepared to defend ourselves.
      1. Maybe we should turn away for gun restrictions and turn towards promoting gun ownership, training and carrying.
      2. We may not be constitutionally able to REQUIRE gun ownership but it is a thought
        1. Switzerland ISSUES every adult a gun and trains them how to use it.
        2. Switzerland has the LOWEST gun related crime rate in the civilized world.
      3. We need to be advancing thought and policies that create SAFE AMERICANS not targets
        1. Instead of sheep for the slaughter we should be sheepdogs or shepherds ready to protect the flock (those around us)
      4. The more good guys carrying weapons they are trained to carry and use in defense we have the fewer ‘soft targets” or ‘easy pickings” targets the bad guys will have.
    2. Gun restrictions have never worked well for the good of the citizens.
      1. Dictators have removed guns from the general public as a means of control
        1. O Founding Fathers knew this possibility and gave us the Second amendment
      2. England removed the rights of people to carry guns and gun homicides did go down
        1. Murder by knife and sword skyrocketed
      3. We need to blame the PERSON, not the TOOL
        1. In our country today there are basically 2 main issues causing mass shootings
          1. Mental Health issues
            1. Both long and short term issues need to be dealt with
          2. Terrorism
            1. MAINLY radical Islam
            2. Homegrown terrorists as well
          3. Approximately 310 MILLION guns in America were not used in crimes this year
          4. Approximately 115 American Gun owners did not use their guns for illegal activities today
        2. Who is carrying?
          1. In Texas, any person legally carrying a concealed weapon (or an openly carried weapon after January 1, 2017) has been background checked including fingerprints and pictures.
            1. A higher level of check that the process used to simply buy a gun.
          2. The criminal who is carrying illegally has not been checked
          3. When you put up a sign to prohibit carry in your business you are only hurting your customers by removing the legal gun in a proven good person’s pocket
            1. The bad guys will not comply
          4. Ponder that for a minute….you may be excluding the help that can respond in seconds to save you and/or your customers.
          5. Wait, you are a pastor right? Doesn’t the Bible say no to guns.
            1. Yes, I am a Baptist Pastor of over 20 years.
            2. No, the Bible does not speak against guns
  • Guns were not around in the days the Bible was written
  1. What is in the Bible is the reality that there are bad people in the world who are determined to bring harm to others.
    1. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” ESV
    2. Romans 12:9b “abhor what is evil” ESV
  2. What is in the Bible is that there will be times of war.
    1. Ecclesiastes 3:8 “a time for war, and a time for peace.” ESV
  3. What is in the Bible is our need to take up arms to defend the weak.
    1. 1 Samuel 25:13 “And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.”
    2. Joel 3:9-10 “Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”   ESV
  • What is in the Bible is that we need to depend on God for all things, including our preparation and readiness for battle.
    1. Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” ESV
    2. Psalm 144:1-2 “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” ESV
  1. What is in the Bible is our need to stand for the good in our world against the evil
    1. Proverbs 25:24 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” ESV
    2. Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” ESV
  2. What is in the Bible is that we are to always do the right thing
    1. James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” ESV
  3. What is in the Bible is that there is a reality that we may have to sacrifice to save others, just as our Savior did for us.
    1. John 15:13-14 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”  ESV
      1. That commitment and sacrifice define the word “love”
  • What is in the Bible is that true peace and everlasting life requires an absolute victory.
    1. 1 John 5:4-5 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  ESV

I understand that many people will not agree with this paper or the concepts it contains.  That is fine and part of our American life.  You and I both have the freedom of speech and belief.

Remember that those rights were fought for and obtained by patriots with guns and are maintained today in like fashion.

When the wolf comes for you do want to be surrounded by other sheep or by a shepherd and a sheepdog or two?