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Saturday, 24 December 2011

God Moved Into Our Neighbourhood

(CFRA broadcast date: December 25th, 2011 - #658)
Broadcast Notes:

 ‘God Moved Into Our Neighbourhood’            

John 1:14

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. … and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us."

A grandfather was visiting his grandson one Christmas when he walked into the family room and saw the toddler standing up in his playpen, crying.
His face was red and tear-stained.
When little Jeffy saw his grand-dad, his face lit up and his hands reached out for help as he pleaded,                                         
“Out, papa, out!”
What grandfather could resist this plea?
 And so he walked over to the playpen and reached down to lift his little buddy out of captivity.

Just then, “Law and Order” stepped into the room with a dishtowel in her hand and spoke sternly,
“Jeffy, you know better.
You’re being punished.
Leave him right there, Dad.”
And she marched back out of the room.

The grandfather didn’t know what to do.
Jeffy’s tears and outstretched hands tugged at his heart, but he didn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline either.

He couldn’t stand being in the same room and not being able to do anything but he couldn’t leave without feeling like a traitor.

then had an idea.

Since he couldn’t take Jeffy out of the playpen,  he decided to climb in with him.

That’s a pretty good picture of what Jesus did for us…
He climbed in with us.

The Word became flesh and tabernacled with us.
Do you remember the movie “O God!”
starring George Burns and John Denver?

In one scene, George Burns makes an appearance to the supermarket manager, dressed as an old man, wearing tennis shoes and a fishing hat.

When asked why he looks the way he does, Burns answers,
“I picked a look you could understand.”

That’s a pretty good description of the birth at Bethlehem
God picked a look we could understand  
by having His Son born as a human being.

·         While Jesus probably didn’t wear a fishing cap,
      He hung around a group of men that did
·         He smelled of fish.
·         His hands were calloused from years of handling rough lumber.
·         His skin was tanned from the Middle Eastern sun.

He was human in every way we are and yet was without sin.

Here’s this years Christmas Challenge!
·         Celebrate the holiday
·         Consecrate this holy day
·         Center of the meaning.

Every Lord’s Day should be kept as:
·         Holy
·         Happy
·         Healthy

Here’s this years Christmas Challenge!
·         Celebrate the holiday                           Happy
·         Consecrate this holy day                   Holy
·         Center on His birth
                       His love
                       His forgiveness                    Healthy
The first part of verse 14 says that the “Word became flesh…”

The Message reads like this:
‘The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood’

This is the single, most unique quality of Christianity that makes it different from any other religion:
For 33 years God moved into our neighborhood.

The Message says:
‘The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory.
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
True from start to finish.’

Some of you have been hit with some pretty bad stuff this
year and you’re still reeling.

The question is this: 
Have you invited Him to move into your heart and life?

1   God’s Perfect Timing
Gal.4: 4
 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law,”

Not only was the birth of Jesus on God’s timetable, but also He lived out His whole life on God’s schedule.

Daniel 9: 25 tells us
that there would be 483 years between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, which took place in 445 B.C., and the advent of
“Messiah the Prince.”

In A.D. 32 Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem
exactly 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

1   God’s Perfect Timing
2   God’s Perfect  Plan

He Looks beyond our Fault
and sees our greatest need.

Our Greatest Need

·         If our greatest need had been information,
      God would have sent us an educator.

·         If our greatest need had been technology,
      God would have sent us a scientist.

·         If our greatest need had been money,
      God would have sent us an economist.

·         If our greatest need had been pleasure,
      God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,
so God sent us a Savior.
(Author Unknown)

1   God’s Perfect Timing
2   God’s Perfect Plan
3   God’s Perfect Name

Names are Important!

Zacharias     =   God has remembered

Elizabeth       =   God has promised

John              =   God is Gracious!

Jesus             =   Savior     Luke 1:31

Immanuel      =   God with us

What Child is this?

The Creator
The Ruler
The Great High Priest
The Savior
The Resurrection and Life
The Righteous Judge
The Everlasting Father
Christ the King!

Immanuel      =   God with us  
                           Matthew 1:3

Many religious people see Jesus as a
·         great teacher, and a political performer, but nothing more.
·         Hindus have come to revere Jesus as a self-realized saint  who reached the highest level of "God-consciousness."

·         Buddhists see Him as a perfectly enlightened being, full of compassion who helps other people. 
·         Islam sees Him as a prophet.

Here’s the Christmas Challenge
The Challenge is to ‘Impart’ not ‘Impress’

In 1994, two Christian missionaries answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics in a large orphanage.

About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage.

It was nearing Christmas and they decided to tell them the story of Christmas. It would be the first time these children had heard the story of the birth of Christ. They told them about Mary and Joseph
arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.

Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.

When the story was finished, they gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger.
Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins that they had brought with them since no colored paper was available in the city.

Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw.

Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby’s blanket.
A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt which the missionaries had also brought with them.

It was all going smoothly until one of the missionaries
sat down at a table to help a 6 year old boy named Misha.

He had finished his manger. When the missionary looked at the little boy’s manger, she was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.

Quickly, she called for the translator to ask Misha why there were two babies in the manger.
Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, Misha began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.

Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending. He said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma
and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay.

Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did.

But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift.

I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift" And Jesus told me,
"If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him-for always."

Mishna means  ‘You Matter to me’
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

Friday, 23 December 2011

God in Space and Time

Check out 'God in Space and Time' from Ligonier Ministries

Here is the beautiful closing prayer by Rev. R.C. Sproule:

"Father, how grateful we are that our faith is not based upon supposition or idle dreams, but on real concrete space-time history. That, You, as the 'Lord of Time' prepared history for that event, so that in the fullness of time Christ was born to us; Glory be to God in the highest.
As expressed by M. Henry:
"The everlasting Father became a child of time."

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Immanuel - (Third in Christmas series)

(CFRA broadcast date: December 18th, 2011 - #657)
Listen to Radio Podcast Here - (and follow the notes, below):
Broadcast Notes:
·         God with us
·         God given for us
·         God is the Way for us
·         God lights the way for us

1   God With Us

Matthew 1:21-23

‘She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us’

 John 1:1, 14

In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God…. and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

The Incarnation is the Miracle of God the Son taking on
human form and coming among us.  God with us and yet human.

100% man
100% God

We believe the truth of the Incarnation in which God accepted us without condition and sent Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, to redeem us and restore us to a relationship with Him. 
(Josh/Sean McDowell)

The Incarnation speaks to us and says three incredible things:

·         You may have turned away from me, but I’m not turning  away from you.

·         You are so important to me that I will go to extraordinary lengths to have a personal Relationship with you.

·         I’ll enter your world and become human like you to save you from death and eternal aloneness without me.
      (Josh/Sean McDowell)

The Island of Molokai
Located in the state of Hawaii.
In the late 1800’s the government sent Lepers to a colony on the Island.

In 1873, a brave young priest, Father Damien volunteered to spend his life serving the 700 lepers.

He recognized that the lepers were suffering physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

Damien built hospital clinics, Churches and 700 coffins.

Whenever there was a church Service he would stand up and warmly greet his congregation as ‘my dear brethren’

It was the morning of 1885 at the Age of 45, in a calm voice he began the Church Service with…..
‘My fellow lepers, I am one of you now’

1          God With Us
2          God Given for Us

The Virgin Birth

Mary, impregnated by the Holy Spirit

Isaiah 7:14
‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son
And will call him Immanuel’ 

God With Us
God One of Us

Isaiah  9:6
‘For to us a child is born
To us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.’

1   God With Us
2   God Given for Us
3   God is the Way for us

The Good News

‘I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!

The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been for you tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!   
-Luke 2:10, 11

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’

Here’s the Truth!

·         Christianity teaches that humans are helpless and can do nothing to merit salvation.

·         Christianity teaches that God takes the initiative to reach out to all people.
      Romans 5:6,8

‘When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time… God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners’

This Message is about truth….
now  let’s examine His truth claims.

John 10:9,10
‘I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved……
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.’

John 3:36
‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life but whoever rejects the Son will not see life for God’s wrath remains on him.’

John 14:6
‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.                                                     
No one comes to the  Father except through me.’

These are either ‘truth statement’ by one who tells the truth and never lies or these statements are pure fraud.

C.S. Lewis, professor at Cambridge University and once an agnostic,  said that statement makes Jesus either a:  
Lunatic  - Liar  - Lord
You need to decide.           
The choice is yours

1   God With Us
2   God Given for Us
3   God is the Way for us
4   God lights the way for us

The Light Factor!
Scripture    - John 1:1-14

John 1:4-9
‘In him was life and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to very man was coming into the world.’

The Bible says that we saw His light and beheld His Glory!

As we read the last chapter of the last book of the O.T. and then turn to the first chapter of the first book of the N.T.  …… we are confronted with the fact that God  became silent. He stopped talking to His people for four hundred years.

·         400 years of silence
·         No Word from God
·         No Light, just darkness
·         The Silence of Darkness

And then the Wise Men Saw the Light

·         They saw the light
·         They followed the light
·         They pursued the light
·         Seeing (saw) the Light

John 8:12
‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’

I Saw The Light
I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

I saw the light, I saw the light
No more-darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

Just like a blind man, I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man
that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

I was a fool to wander and stray
Straight is the gate and narrow the way
Now I have traded the wrong for the right
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

As we look to that Stable in Bethlehem

This is Christ the king
Because of Him we can:

·         Release our fears
·         Renew our faith
·         Receive our forgiveness
·         Rebuild our relationships

Christmas is:

Love tugging man back to God with the powerful grasp
of a tiny hand reaching from a bed of straw

Did you hear that…….  God is tugging you back to Himself
Because you are His treasure...

Because He loves you and you matter to Him you need to know that you are His treasure……

Ann Weems, wrote:
"It was a family treasure.
That golden vase, the priceless vase that had belonged to my great-grandmother & my grandmother & now to my mother.

The vase sat on the mantle, out of reach of little fingers. However, I managed to reach it. I climbed to reach it, &I broke it. I broke the family treasure.

"Then I began to cry in loud sobs that brought my mother running. I could hardly get it out. ’I broke the vase,’ I said.
’I broke the treasure.’

"A look of relief came over her face, & she said,
’Oh, I thought that you had been hurt.’ She hugged me, & made it very clear that I was her priceless treasure."

You see, the message of Christmas is that God is our Father, a forgiving Father who stands ready and anxious to take us to Himself because we are His treasures, created in His image, and loved by His Son.
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Jesus, the Reason for the Season

(CFRA broadcast date: December 11th, 2011 - #656)
Listen to Radio Podcast Here - (and follow the notes, below):
Broadcast Notes:
Jesus, the Reason for the Season

Do you agree, or would you say that the reason for the Christmas Season is: 
·         Family
·         Love
·         Giving
·         Receiving

These answers all sound good but we must keep the main thing the main thing…..  Here’s a news alert!

Yes, as families we all love Christmas as a time to renew our love for each other and participate in giving and receiving ….
all that is great…. but if that’s the goal we could get caught up with what many are doing…..
that is, focusing on:
·         Commercialism
·         Materialism
·         Me-ism

Again, let me be very clear….  We need to focus on the primary reason for the Christmas Season and that is
·         The celebration of the birth of the Christ-Child
·         His coming to planet earth

This is a primary focus on His ‘first Advent’
I say this because now, as we are to focus on His Second Advent or the Return of Christ.

I love it when people say:  ‘Happy Holiday’….

When they say that I respond by saying:  ‘Yes indeed it is’

What are you doing to celebrate His birthday?

That question opens up great conversations and really gets people to thinking……

Yes, Jesus is the Reason for the Season

John 18:37
Jesus said:  ‘for this reason I was born
And for this I came into the world to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’

The truth is Jesus is the Christ of Christmas.  And when we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating His birthday and His arrival.

Today, I want to share the real meaning of Christmas.

Let’s begin by talking about:

1   The Joy of Giving

Many today are suffering from Cirrhosis of the Giver

I’m told it is an acute condition which renders the patient’s
hand immobile when he/she is called upon to move it in
the direction of the wallet or Purse and then to the offering
It is clinically observable that this condition does not occur
Ii other places such as a hockey game, or while shopping or restaurants.

One minister stood in front of his Congregation one Sunday morning at the time of the Offering. 

This is what he instructed his people to do.
Reach forward to the person standing in front of you and reach for their wallet or purse and open them. And this is what he said:
‘In the name of Jesus, I challenge you to now give as you always wanted to but felt you could never afford.’

Alright now, let’s get back to the message.

First of all we need to remember that Christmas is about the joy of giving……  do you realize what joy our Heavenly Father must have had by giving His very own son to the world.

Listen to John 3:16
‘For God (the Father) so loved the world that He gave His very own son, that whoever believed in Him, would have eternal life’

Wow!  What a gift!

God the Father made this promise about giving His own son years before Jesus was born of Mary.

Listen to God’s Word:

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.’                          Isaiah 9:6

‘Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel’.  - Isaiah 7:14

‘This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Then the angel said to Joseph, Mary will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel which means, ‘God with us’.

Christmas is a time of celebrating the Birthday and Arrival of God the Father’s only begotten Son.

Who was he?           -  Immanuel   -    meaning:  God with us!
What is His name?  -  Jesus         -    Savior

Listen, this is the Christmas truth.

Christmas is about God Giving us:
·         His very own Love
·         His complete and constant Forgiveness
·         His eternal Hope

Christmas is about our Father giving us:
·         His very own Son

Christmas is about our Savior giving us
·         His life resulting in our freedom from the bondage or debt of sin…..

Remember…. Jesus paid the debt that He did not owe
                         To cancel the debt that we could not pay.

2 Corinthians 9:15:
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

Christmas is about each of us giving God
·         Our hearts
·         Our love
·         Our lives
·         Our time

Christmas is about each of us giving each other the gift of:
·         Friendship
·         Forgiveness
·         Faith
·         Affirmation
·         encouragement

2   The Joy of Receiving

American Express did a survey recently and found that 31% of people said that receiving a “fruitcake” would be the worst gift of all. In fact, more people indicated that given a choice between a fruitcake and receiving nothing at all, they would choose “nothing.”

The survey then went on to find out how people get rid of a gift that they don’t want.

·         30% hide it in a closet
·         21% return it
·         19% give it to someone else
·         One of the best ways to get rid of a gift you don’t want is to  have a white elephant exchange.

The most important gift that God the Father has ever given you is the gift of His very own Son.

The most important gift that God the Son has ever given you
is the gift of His life and love as He went to the Cross for you and me.  And rose again on that third day to guarantee that He has the power over death and He and He alone holds our future.

Now allow me to ask you these very important questions:

Do you know that the gift of Salvation is being offered to you?
Do you know that gift comes from the heart of our Heavenly Father and is guaranteed because of the Cross of Jesus Christ?
Have you received God the Father’s Love gift?
Have you opened your heart in order to receive His gift?

This is the very best gift you will ever receive.

John 1:12
‘yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God…. children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will but born of God.’

1   The Joy of Giving
2   The Joy of Receiving
3   The Joy of Belonging

Belonging is one of the ‘basic needs’ of humanity.

Here’s the good news……  you are invited to be part of the Family of God…..

Can you say today?….

I’m so glad to be part of the Family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
Cleansed by His blood.
Join heirs with Jesus,
As I travel this sod
I’m so glad I’m apart of, the Family of God.
This happens when you receive the given gift from the Father…
His Son Jesus Christ.
Have you received Him…… 
why  not give God the gift of your heart this Christmas…

4   The Joy of Knowing

John 17:3
‘Now this is eternal life:
that they may know you, the only true God
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’

Three types of people close themselves off from the Christ of Christmas:
·         The Proud
·         The Powerful
·         The Pacified

One day the Proud will be humbled
One day the Powerful will be helpless….

Remember you can’t take your pride or power or money to Heaven……
You can’t buy your way in… nor can you take those things with you.

One day the Pacified will come to realize the ‘void’ in their live.

This happens when
·         Family leaves
·         Friends die
·         Finances are depleted

We truly need to focus on the Real Reason for the Season…..
Jesus Christ!
Happy Birthday Jesus…..
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: