Merry Christmas to all!
Whether you read this before Christmas day, on Sunday, or after Christmas, I want to encourage you to come out for our Sunday morning worship service on Christmas day! (Note: There will be no Sunday school or evening service.) Our Christmas morning together will be a time filled with Christmas worship, special music, and a Christmas message from Isaiah 9. I trust you look forward to passionately praising our Jesus this Christmas day! As mentioned, there will be more special music than normal, and the worship team will be comprised of our young adult team. Finally, I am especially amped (super excited) to break open God's Word on this special day! If you have anyone God places on your heart, please invite them... the name of Jesus, our Salvation, will be lifted high!
Now, you may be wondering what's up with the "God is Not Dead" title above. We'll be breaking this down further from our text in Isaiah 9:1-7 on Sunday. Basically, the concept is that Christmas is all about redemption! Amidst times when all hope seems lost, God has an active plan of redemption. This Christmas, will you see the profoundness of the simple Christmas story?
In keeping with this theme, the lyrics and backstory of the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" fits so well. Watch the video below for a depiction of the hope of redemption found in the story behind this well-known Christmas song.
Also, one of my favorite modern Christmas-themed songs is "While You Were Sleeping" by Casting Crowns. I included a video/song below for your additional reflection!
May you all truly have a joyous Christmas week, and may we all joyfully anticipate our time of worship and reflection this Christmas Sunday!
Resting in His Redemption this Christmas,
Below is a link to Sunday's message podcast file as well as the full message text and Theology of Suffering Chart download.
I pray that God continues using His Word in our lives this week! I'm sure you can relate to those moments where God really speaks to you on Sunday, but as the week ensues those particular truths begin to fade in our minds and practical everyday lives. May we truly reflect on our God's goodness, on His greatness, on His sovereignty, on His power, on His love, and on His perfect plan through the course of history. May we set our minds on His good work in our lives as a part of humanity's history. May we maintain awareness to the fact that He is redeeming a people to Himself throughout each corner of this globe. May we relish in the awesome truth that we as followers of Jesus are a part of God's full plan of redemption.
Finally, may we along with the apostle Paul develop a theology of suffering that causes our hearts to rest in our sovereign God's work of ongoing redemption of His grace-endowed people in a marred world! As we read Paul's address to the Corinthian church and then examine our own lives, may life's hardships not nullify our belief system in our eyes or the eyes of others. As our week and the days ahead ensue, may we steady our minds and hearts with the truth that our God is our sovereign refuge! May we trust in Him!
When suffering and hardship comes knocking at our door, may we submit to God's work and relish in the comfort He gives us. May we submit then to ministry opportunities He gives us as a result of our own hardship and Divine comfort. Finally, may we along with the apostle Paul be able to honestly say, "Blessed (or all praise) be to God!"
"All praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort!" - 2 Corinthians 1:3
In His Grace,
Below is the video played at the outset of Sunday's service. May we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus who suffer persecution for their identification with Jesus. No turning back, we follow Jesus!
Also, below is the video posted on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday night. May the message of this song (rooted in Psalm 62), "My Hope is in You Lord," truly frame our worship perspective!
If interested in more in-depth look at this topic, below are two links to two books particularly helpful related to suffering and the sovereignty of God.