Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas T.I.M.E.

Merry Christmas Y'all!!!

A few Sundays ago, Tyson closed out C4's 2011 year with a message entitled Christmas T.I.M.E. It was a great end to our year and a challenging message for all of us. Christmas tends to be a stressful time instead of a joyful time. Take a moment to refocus on why we celebrate. We celebrate Christmas because we celebrate Christ. It's all well and good to say Happy Holidays but that's taking the focus off of Christ and generalizing this sweet day. He came for the world...but wait...realize that he came for YOU. Even if you were the only person on the face of the earth who accepted him, he still would have come specifically with you in mind! He came for your past, your addictions, your struggles, your family, your roommates, your coworkers...you. It's the greatest story ever told! He came!

We're going to use TIME to help us remember what Christmas is about.

T - Thankful

Christmas isn't about what is wrapped under the tree...it's a time we have to be thankful.
Matthew 1:21-23 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
He came to save people from their sins. The fact that there is life and breath in you - be thankful.

He is Immanuel - God with us. He doesn't care about your past - he is with you in the good and the bad, when you feel him and when you don't.

Jesus came so that God could dwell among us. Be thankful that death couldn't stop him, the cross couldn't finish him, sin couldn't defeat him, and the grave couldn't hold him! Your God is near and alive!

We have a tendency to just think about the bad things that happen in our lives - but you have been given everything and more than enough. There might be a lot going wrong but you can thank him for who he is and what he has done. The Bible says to come into his gates with thanksgiving! Instead of complaining - be thankful, your attitude and your life will be transformed. Be thankful!

I - Invest
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Invest in other people...inform others of what they mean to us. Encourage one another. We get so caught up in relationships and little things that we don't build one another up. Invest in the lives of the people who are iimportant to you. Tell them what they mean to you.

God's will/plan is for families to be united...you might be the only believer in your family...but that doesn't mean anything...make an effort even if no one else does.

Christ came not to take but to give to you of himself. Mend the broken relationships...speak life...don't take people for granted. It's easy to love those who love you...but it's another level to invest in people who don't like or appreciate you. We are called to live on that level.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-16 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always
Always be joyful...the Joy of the Lord is your strength...so even when you feel weak and you don't think you have the strength to go on...remember that in our weakness he is strong. He will give us the ability to live at the next level...Invest.

M - Meditate
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing
Meditate on God daily...without end. Let him constantly be on your mind and let his presence be the focus of your life. Dwell on him. Your life will change by constant prayer.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds
When we pray, we break down walls. There is power in your prayers. If your mind is constantly praying, your life will follow the path of your mind.

This mentality of constant prayer reminds me of my favorite hymn -
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Your mind has to be involved in your meditation/prayer. Until Jesus lives in your heart and your mind, your life will not be on track. Consider what you listen to and what you watch...what you put in your ears and let your eyes see. Those things will infiltrate your mind and heart and take your focus away from God. Meditate on him, fill your thoughts and soul with him...and the rest will fade away.

E - Exalt
Ephesians 1:3-11 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
This promise is spoken over your life. Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God - slain before time - before you. God had a plan before the foundations of the world...he had a plan to show you love, salvation, and unmerited favor.

The Cross was not just to make you new - it was not God's response to sin or an answer to a problem...It was God's act of love toward his people. No greater love will ever be shown than his plan made before the foundations of time was to prove his love to us.  If his love is all you have to hold on to, you should exalt him.

God Almighty was willing to sacrifice his own son to redeem you and give you life and a future. If you can't exalt him for that then I'm not sure if there is any hope that can be given to you.
1 Corinthians 11:23-33 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
On the cross, Jesus body and blood were separated. But it is once again reunited inside of you when you take communion. Our only response is to exalt him for who he is and all he has done for us. This Christmas season, take a moment to remember what it is we are truly celebrating. Be thankful, invest in others, meditate and exalt Him. Jesus really is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas! I hope you have an amazing holiday with friends and family!

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