Deliver Me

Read: Psalm 3

 

Middle school is one of the toughest times for students and parents in the United States.   Children are transitioning from kids to young adults and with that change comes the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.  These feelings pour out in various ways to be sure.  One way in particular is when bullying begins and cliques form and… you… have… no… tribe.

 

That feeling of isolation is incredible and through you know you have your family… if you have a family… you still feel lost.  This is particularly true in those moments when someone picks on you and you feel as though you have no defense.

 

I hate feeling defenseless.  I hate thinking that I don’t hive a way out or hat I need someone else to step in for me.  How about you?

 

These thoughts are things every person deals with on some level or another.  We all deal with the feeling of helplessness.

 

After I made it through middle school I remember thinking “I’m glad I don’t have to go through that again.”  Then I had children of my own… who began middle school… and they had bullies of their own.

 

In these moments I cry out to God asking Him to protect me.  I have thoughts like “where are you God?” or “How can you let this happen to my kid?”  In those moments I find myself despairing and wondering if God will ever show up to defend me.

 

Then God speaks to me and reminds me that He defends me… and He defends my kids.  He cares about me and He knows how much I need Him.  Regardless of how many enemies or “foes” we may feel come against… God… will be on your side.

 

The Bible says God is our shield.  The Bible says that we can rest and know that God will care for us during the difficult and great times.  The Bible writer here in Psalm 3 asks God to “break the teeth of the wicked”….  That’s crazy!  And I like it… if I’m being honest.

 

I like that I’m not the only one who wants God’s attention and protection… meaning… I bet you’re interested in God caring for you as well and the Psalmist was looking for God to care for him as well.  This truth,  this desire… it grasps at something deep in you and I… perhaps it is our need to protected or better said… the need for God to be the protector we’ve always wanted.

 

The only problem in this scenario is that we don’t always allow God to do the “caring” or “loving” or “protecting”.  We get in His way… why?  I have no idea… do you?

 

Our God wants us.  He wants you and He wants me and He wants to both know and protects us as we engage Him and the community of God in the Church.  It is so important that we depend on Him this day and the next… it is so important that we allow God to do what He wants to do.. and that is to love and protect you.

 

So.

Let.

Him.

Hope

Read: Psalm 40

 

It is late and my heart is heavy….

 

So many things going on around me. So many hurting people.  I am hurting as well.  I feel like I am surrounded by affliction and suffering and pain… here in my city.  I wish it was different.  I wish I was different.  I wish I had the power to change things and situations. As I write this I am anguishing over the embarrassment I feel for writing through tears in such a public place.

 

Thoughts run through my mind.  Things like “you shouldn’t be here” or “don’t let anyone see your face” or “nobody cares”.  Those statements hurt.  Each one like a dagger. Piercing. Me.

 

I think that is why I like music and art so much… it’s why I like to read or watch a good movie.  I want to escape into the something that will transport me away from all of the pain into a quiet and comfortable pillow of safety.

 

But this is false.  These feelings are the feelings every single one of us goes through on this journey of life.  We all hurt.  We all feel sad.  We all carry some kind of pain in some kind of way.  That is why I know your pain and you know mine.  We feel those deep “cuts” that tear into our soul and then cry out “Why God?!!!!”  “Why me?!!” …..

 

It is in those deepest moments of pain and anguish… when I am despairing… that I remember Jesus on the cross.

 

Then I remember my God knows my pain… and then some.

 

As I searched for an answer for these feelings I came across Psalm 40…. Go read it and come back.

 

This Psalm is a reminder that our God knows exactly where we are coming from.  He’s dealt with us and people like us since the dawn of humanity.  He understands human emotion and the pain and anguish we will or have experienced. 

 

In these moments I’m thankful that my God came down from Heaven and suffered… that is crazy to say but… it’s true.  I’m so very thankful that there is someone bigger than me, smarter than me and wise enough to lead me out of my despairing.

 

I wish Jesus didn’t have to suffer and at the same time… am glad He knows my pain… and more.

 

I hope that doesn’t sound too twisted but…I mean He is God and I worship a God that is greater than anything I can ever imagine.  The power of Jesus is displayed in His willingness to suffer at the hands of His creation so that He may demonstrate His power over life and death. 

 

Those who are with Him are and will always be defended.  They will be protected.  They are children of the King.  No one can come against them. 

 

They need just wait…

 

and God…

 

will…

 

deliver.

 

Is The Bible True?

 

Simply put the problem: we all deal with regarding the bible is we just don’t know it well enough to speak to it’s truth. That means we’ve just not read it enough to be able to do defend those who doubt.  Sometimes it’s easy to doubt the bible is true.  We all deal with doubt when we don’t believe there is enough evidence. 

 

Friends, The Bible is true.

 

Last week we asked the question “Is God real?” and we landed on the answer “yes God is real!” If God is real then we believe something enlightens us to Him and that something is Holy Scriptures.  They are inspired by God.  God desires to communicate with the world the hope and salvation he has offered through Jesus Christ, and does so in the Holy Scriptures. God was directly involved in revealing himself through written words, by influencing the scriptural authors. 

 

Thought the scriptures may have been penned by human beings the influence was purely divine. (2 Peter 1:20-21).  There are many times in the scriptures where God told people to write down a specific message and in doing so these scriptures became God breathed meaning he in his transcendence inspired the authors of the text (2 Tim. 3:16).

 

Now there are those who question whether or not the Bible is truthful in its claims.  Yet, the scriptures undergo constant scrutiny and to date no biblical teaching has ever been found with fault.  The scriptures are true and allow believers to know God in truth. 

 

As I answer the question “Is the Bible real?” my hope is to help you see a few things regarding the bible to help you understand how logical, rational and secure it is.  See with me in Matthew chapter five…

 

Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Verse 18 teaches us the importance of the scriptures.  That each word will last forever and that is important because what we learn throughout history and the study of God’s word is that…

 

The Bible: Is consistent. (Mt. 5:17-20)

 

Explain:

The message of the bible is consistent throughout the whole text.  From the beginning of the first book, which is Genesis to the last book which is Revelation, all 66 books of the bible are consistent in their message.  Our God is a loving God who created humanity and despite our sin He loved us enough to give us a way to be in a loving relationship with Him, or reconcile us to Him. Jesus is that way. 

 

This message is consistent even though:

It was written:

  • By 40 different authors who were inspired by God.

  • In three major languages being, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

  • Over the course of 1500 years.

  • It has been translated into currently636 languages.

  • There are more than 3,200 verses with fulfilled prophecies.

 

When something is so consistent over time it carves deep grooves in history and should settle in our mind that it is stable and trustworthy.  Meaning it is worthy of us depending on it as our truth.  The Bible says it this way in Psalm 19:7…

 

Psalm 19:7-9 (NIV)

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

 

This passage highlights the teaching of God to His people.  This is a call to those who believe in God to recognize that His Word, that is His teachings have integrity, they are reliable, upright, clean pure and this next point which is…

 

The Bible: Is trustworthy. (Ps. 19:7-9)

 

Explain:

The word “Canon” means “measuring stick”.  That is important because here are OCC we believe cannon of scripture (or the measurement of truth that makes up bible integrity) to be a God inspired set of books that make up the Bible. 

They include:

  1. Thirty nine Old Testament books

  2. Twenty seven New Testament books, making up sixty six books in all. 

  3. Some books did not get in the canon. 

  4. The Apocryphal books are an example of literature that was not included. 

 

Therefore we can rest assured knowing God has been at work rightly preserving his relevant message to us.

 

At the Orchard we believe in the full inerrancy of the bible in it’s original manuscripts.  That means we believe there is no fault in the original writing in the Word of God.  Through the years copyist who translated the bible have had slight errors with regard to punctuation but minimally in translation.  This allows for the Bible to be regarded as truthful in its teachings, and accounts for the different observation techniques between biblical authors and the authors of today.

 

Put your trust in God and in the scriptures He has given us.  The bible says it this way in 2 Tim. 3:16-17…

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

The Challenge for you and me is this:  If the Bible is true, trust it and let it guide you. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

 

When you begin your relationship with God, your typical instinctual desires are to know him more, and obey his commands.  The scriptures are the words of God.  Now, God may not spell out everything he desires each individual to take part in, but …. he clearly communicates what he wishes we should not do.

 

If someone chooses to disobey the words of scripture, they disobey God.  God himself influenced the biblical authors to write down what he wished to communicate to his people (Jer. 1:9).  It is important for us to apply the scriptural truths as we become aware of them.

 

 

Is God Real?

 

Here you will find the points I’ve used to define my argument for the existence of God.  I’ve tried to give you my points, verses and arguments.  Let me know if you have any questions!

 

I began the message by making the point: Christians believe there is a God for a reason.

 

We see it here in…

 

Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 

If God was at the beginning of time we see one of the roles Jesus plays here…

 

Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

Thereforewe know there is a God because: Something holds the universe together. (Col. 1:16-17)

 

This leads us to the…

 

Cosmological argument or the argument from creation… It goes like this….

 

1.     The universe had a beginning.

2.     Anything that has begun must have been caused or initiated by something else.

3.     Something above creation, more powerful than anything created, must have created it.

4.     Christians believe that something to be God.

 

Scientific evidence strongly supports that our universe had definite beginning.  The prevailing or most held theory for the creation of the universe to date is the Big Bang theory. The theory states that about 13.7 billion years ago all the matter in the Universe was concentrated into a single incredibly tiny point.

 

Friends we believe something holds the universe together and that something is Jesus. 

 

Look at it here:

 

Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Can I just say that if Jesus can hold the universe together, He can hold you together as well.  You may think your life is a hot mess but let me tell you today… He holds the whole world in His hands.  He created and holds together the universe.

 

Lets see what the Bible says here in Isaiah chapter 40…

 

Isaiah 40:21-22 (NIV)

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

 

Transition:

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.  How would they know it was a circle?  This was written around 701bc-681bc, without getting into the Hebrew translation of the word circle which is the word (KHOOG)….  I’m just sayin… the point that we see is Ancient people of 2,000 or 1,000 BC did not have modern scientific knowledge. Yet they developed perceptions of the physical world based on observations. It was certainly not scientific but practical, based on what they could observe simply by looking at the earth and sky. What we learn is that even in the simplest and non technical study of the earth….

 

We know there is a God because: The universe is not random. (Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:10)

 

Teleological Argument or the Argument from the viewpoint of design.  Here is how the logic works.

 

1.     All designs imply a designer.

2.     There is a great design in the universe.

3.     Therefore there must be a great designer of the universe.

 

Just observing the earth and moon as spheres help us see how the perfect the design is.  It is because they are spheres spinning around the sun, another sphere that we have night and day.  There is a literal line that runs across the earth and the moon where the day ends and the night begins.  It’s called the terminator line.  Only because it’s a sphere.

 

In addition to that the Bible points to the earth hanging freely in space here in Job 26…

 

Job 26:7-10 (NIV)

7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon,
    spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
    for a boundary between light and darkness.

 

We move from design to recognition of power and being.  I mean to say we’ve tackled two major arguments so far, that is the argument from creation and from design now lets take a look at this next verse and see where it leads us..  Psalm 8…

 

Psalm 8:1-4 (NIV)

1 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[
c]

 

Something caused the universe to begin, someone is the great designer of it all, this leads to the position that…

 

The creation and design of the world ask the question of designer therefore:  There must be a creator. (Psalm 8:3)

 

The argument here is from the standpoint of existence itself.  We exist and in our reality we measure things by virtue of perfection and imperfection.  This is called the Ontological Argument or the argument from the standpoint of being.  Here is how the logic works.

 

1.     If something is imperfect than something perfect must exist.

2.     Perfection can be attained by the One who is worth it. (necessary assignment).

3.     We must give that credit where credit is due. (Assign perfection to it’s source).

 

This verse says…

 

Romans 2:15 (NIV)

15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

 

Friends you, me and everyone in the world knows:  Humanity has a moral fabric. (Romans 2:15)

 

When people do bad things, and get hurt there is an outcry because our human existence is dependent on our collective belief in human dignity.  This is why believers and non-believes agree on peace treaties and on the other side we warrant war on those who commit crimes against humanity.  We do all of this because the moral law of God has been written on our hearts.

 

The argument for God from the standpoint of morality is called the Axiological Argument (axios means judgement) or in our terms we can call it the Moral Argument.  The logic works like this…

 

1.     Humanity is conscious of an objective moral law.

2.     Moral laws imply a moral law giver.

3.     Therefore there must be a supreme law giver.

 

God our God is the supreme Law Giver.  He is the author and creator or morality and it is because of Him we have any standards at all in this world.  Our greatest desire is to know we have meaning and purpose in this life and that begins from the basis of a moral law that allows you to navigate life in a way that encourages you to love and show charity to your fellow human beings.  This my friends points not to the depravity or morality of the human heart but the virtues of grace, love and forgiveness God demonstrates for us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To die so that others may live.  This is the greatest example to date of what it means to have the highest moral value in all the land.

 

So my challenge to you….  If God exists you must worship Him.

 

Discipline

Are you a disciplined person?  I'm not... 

I want to say that not being disciplined is hard but there are lots of things that are easier about being disciplined.  Spoiler alert (I'm more disciplined than I let on).  I have to be.  I'm a preaching pastor.  That means I'm reading, studying and writing for roughly 16 hours a week. In addition to that I've recently started my Doctoral studies at Bethel Seminary San Diego.  I work out a minimum of three days a week and eat a consistent diet with one (maybe two... don't judge me) cheat days.  So yeah, I understand the benefits of discipline and appreciate it very much.

In fact I find discipline to be something I admire and have a very difficult time applying...  I can't tell you why, but, there is something in me that rejects that "next step".  This is why writing on my blog is so hard and why I'm not announcing that I've "restarted" my blog.   Back to why... Why am I resistant to the things that will be better for me?  Why do I push back from taking the leap into what I think will be the next best part of my life.  I'm a simple person so bear with me, the answer is 1) I'm comfortable and 2) I'm scared.

Easily stated, I'm scared of being uncomfortable.  This is why working out and dieting have been difficult for me.  This is why taking the next step in my personal pursuit of writing has been difficult.  This is why... you fill in the blank.  But I'm tired of being disappointed in myself and I reject giving myself "a pass" when I know I have more to give.  Maybe that sounds crazy.  It probably is.

My whole life people have been pushing me to be better, take on more, turn up the heat and push past my perceived limit.  Honestly it's been discouraging and exhausting.  My perspective when someone says "you can give more" is "what is wrong with me the way I am?"...  Maybe for the longest time I've had a victim mentality... maybe I've been a victim and I don't want to talk about it... maybe.... (I'll let you run with your thoughts here).

Today I don't feel this way.  Today I feel as though I can do more... and not just that I "can" do more but "I want to" do more.  NOT A LOT MORE!  Slow down.  Don't start putting too many expectations on me.  How about a step?  I can do that.  I can take a step.  I'm okay with an imperfect step.  A step nonetheless.  A step toward discipline

Enough about me.  Two quick questions for you: 1) How can you take a step? 2) What is holding you back?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Reset

For some reason there are times I feel like I find myself needing to hit the reset button on my relationship with God.  Do you ever feel like that?  In the past I’d handle this need for “reset” by reading a good book or taking some time off and getting some good ‘ol rest in.  When things have gotten really bad I would look for a good retreat and get a way for a bit to recharge my batteries.  In fact in the past I’d look for a good house I could stay at for a weekend and maybe sneak a way for a day or two at the max.

Lately I’m feeling like I need something more.  I can’t tell you I fully understand why I need this kind of reset.  I just know it’s time to reinvent my relationship with God.  My desire for deeper connection and dependence with God is growing, therefore my relationship with God needs to grow as well.

When I say “relationship with God” I’m talking about the rhythm of my spiritual life that I am accustomed to.  Similar to the rhythm of life you live as you wake up everyday, get ready for work interact with family, friends and make time for meaningful relationships. 

The rhythm of your life seems manageable leaving you the ability to interact with people, make time for fun events and backyard barbecues.  When you are in this kind of rhythm of life things just seem to roll along and life is good.  Then something, somehow, sometime gets introduced that causes the rhythm to beat erratically or maybe you miss beats.

At any rate things just aren’t the same and you start to feel like you’re struggling in your rhythm… that’s because you are.  It’s the same with your relationship with God.  Maybe you used to have a quiet time every day at a certain time or maybe you enjoyed singing at church or listening to messages but for whatever reason things aren’t getting you to that place where you feel you are in a deep relationship with God anymore.

There is a lot to say on this topic of resetting.  My purpose in scratching the surface is to introduce the topic for those who are ready to go on the journey of reestablishing a deep and meaningful walk with God.  Here are some steps to consider to begin to reset:

First:  Talk to God.

There are a few fundamental things required to effect change in any relationship you have in life.  Two specific things are 1) communication and 2) transparency.  Like any realtioship you continue to invest in the level of transparency and communication must change when the intimacy level rises.  Interestingly it is our desire for growth and depth with God that necessitates our need to be more open with God, more honest with Him.  To do this we must spend tiem talking to him and practicing this new kind of language.  You can liken this to the relationship between a parent and their children.  When the child is a baby it doesn’t need much more than hugs and food.  As the child grows and desires to know it’s parent and vice versa, both the parent and the child must find a new way to talk to each other so they can experience the beauty and depth of close relationship.

Second:  Make an appointment.

If you have ever been on a date with someone you’ll notice that you had get a “date” on the calendar.  You set a time and you had expectations to share a bit of yourself.  The point is that spending time with someone you care deeply for is not just “good”, it’s necessary.  If you don’t’ take the time to sit in the presence of the other involved with your relationship you end up “neglecting” the one you love.  Setting an appointment with God helps to ensure you are not neglecting your relationship with God.  Start by setting a weekly time or monthly time where you can just be.  When I’ve done this in the past I’ve ended up falling asleep….  That is what happens when we go to long outside of the presence with God.  We end up needing rest so God allows us to get rest.  Once the rest is done, it’s time to.  Speak without talking.  Learn to quiet your mind long enough to hear the subtle nudging of God in your life.

Third:  Get help.

100% of the time all of us need someone to find someone to help us grow in our relationship with anyone.  This is simply because we need others to help us understand these new places of depth and commitment.  In business this looks like a business mentor, in relationships or on your own this looks like a therapist.  In your spiritual life this looks mainly like a mentor, disciple or spiritual director.  These people are skilled in the way of knowing and listening to God so much they can help you learn how to listen to God like they do.  You can get a book and read it… but if you have the opportunity to spend time with someone you knows God intimately you would be blown away to see how they can help you develop the skills necessary to hear and talk to God.

There are more you can do, but it is good to start simply and to go slow.  I like to go to the beach or go to the woods and sit and take in the beauty of God’s creation.  It helps me to experience Him in new ways.  When I’m feeling overwhelmed I typically need to find an office space or room in a quiet house where I can allow myself to rest.  A huge part of hitting the reset button is giving yourself the grace to start slow and move slow in your relationship with God. 

I hope this is helpful for you as you begin your journey.  Know the Lord loves you and you only need turn to Him and cry out in humility and he will be there to help you along the way.

The Church

People are important.

The “C”hurch is more than a building, band or great message.  The Church is the people of God who gather together to worship God and love each other through prayer and sacrifice.  This concept is a difficult one for us in Southern California.

I don’t know about you but there was a time in my life early on in my ministry where I asked myself the question “why should I go to church?”  I had at that time experienced much pain and confusion in my relationship with God and the purpose of of gathering together with other believers had gotten lost, at least in my mind. 

I’ve been to house churches and did the whole “Sundays with my family is church” thing as well.  I asked God to reveal to me his purpose for the Sunday morning gathering as a church. What did I learn? I learned that a genuine relationship with God awakens our need for the Community of believers.

At some point we must recognize that we need people and they need us.  Together God uses us to show love, help those in need and prayerfully see the miraculous happen through changed lives.  I believe in a God that still works this way.  He works through His church and I look forward to sharing this message in full.  You can listen online at www.orchardcc.org, we have the message posted on Wednesdays at the latest.

 

 

Preparing Your Heart For Christmas

Right around the Christmas season things begin to happen in a flurry.  Life seems to get faster and faster as we race toward the things we love most about December.  The time we have with our family, the songs we get to sing once a year, the holiday smells fill the air with aromas of vanilla, pine and sweet cinnamon.  Christmas time is an incredibly cheerful idea.

For others the season evokes a sense of instability.  Some if not most have suffered horrible memories and anguish throughout their lives and when they see the happy, joy filled memories depicted on television and their friends facebook pages they are forced to reflect on their painful past.

No matter which family tradition you come from or what your past experience is, all have need for the thing Christmas hopes to bring.  A faith in our fellow human being to be better towards each other, caring for those in need and aspiring toward a better future.  Love between people shared regardless of whatever is in their past.  A hope that causes us to wonder about the absolute way God can intervene in the world, a wonder that forces to dream of a world of possibility.  That is the hope we expect Christmas to bring.

God knew we would need this hope. He presented it to us in a baby named Jesus whom was born by a virgin in a stable because there was no room at the Inn. (Lk. 2:6-7).

About two miles away from the stable some shepherds were tending their flock.  The night the baby an angel went to the shepherds in the field and in the dark night which can easily represents our own darkest nights the a bright light surrounded them and darkness was turned to light.  In the sky the sound of heralding angel filled the void with the words “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:11).

Then the angles of Heaven break forth cutting the dark and silent night with glimpse of what it looks like to sing praises from hearts filled with the joy, the hope, the love and the faith that Jesus brought to earth that night.  They sang “Glory to God in the Highest” and they mentioned something else significant for the shepherds to hear and something significant for us to hear today.  They sang their song and told this to the angles “peace on earth and goodwill towards all people.”

This is the hope that Christmas brings.  That in the midst of the craziness of life and the consumerism that gets shoved in our faces and the keeping up with the jones’ mentality that we deal with… Peace on earth can be found…  Goodwill toward all people can be achieved.  This is not some fairy tale someone dreamed up but the truth that God came down and offered to us something significant.  He offered us wonder in the form a baby.  A peace offering in a turbulent time.  A sign that God is not done with us.  A truth that all heaven and earth rejoiced because Jesus touched down in Bethlehem and brought with Him the faith, love and hope we need.  Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and goodwill to every man, woman, boy, girl.

The peace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind was given to us through Jesus Christ.  He invites us to take an honest look at our lives in the mirror and when we see the parts where we all know we fail, where we see our own pride and selfishness to turn from it and turn toward the hope that came that night to the shepherds in the field.

Jesus came to us as a baby and took on the sin of the world when he willingly went to the cross.  He paid a heavy price for the sin of this dark world, yours and mine alike.  He proved he had the power and authority to forgive and over life and death when he raised from the dead on the third day.  When we put our trust in Jesus we are saying to ourselves and to him that we are willing to believe that he is God, that he can forgive us for not being perfect.

It all begins with a willingness to turn from our own selfishness and pride.  It begins in our hearts and for some of you tonight it is beginning right now.  You are beginning to believe that there is something more to the Christmas story than just a baby.  You like the shepherds are beginning to believe that Jesus is the Lord God come down to truly save us.

I invite you to join me and trust me when I say you can put your trust in Jesus tonight.  He came to bring you a peace that will blow your mind.  You won’t be able to explain it.  He came to show you a love that will break your heart because it in you begin to experience how far he is willing to go to forgive you.  He came to invite you to trust, to have faith and to find hope in him that will change your life forever. 

This happens in a relationship with Jesus and it can start right now if your willing to take a risk right now.  I want to invite you to in your own words talk to God, maybe for the first time.  In this silent moment I invite you to tell the Lord that you are willing to trust Jesus, the baby, the savior, the king, the Lord.  Tell the Lord you are willing to turn from your self and turn toward him and ask him to help you trust him.