Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Bethany Bullet - Week of December 18, 2016

“It Shall Come to Pass…Presence”

In this season of Advent we have been looking at the prophetic words of Isaiah each week.  The past three weeks Pastor Kevin talked about how Peace, Paradise, and Perpetuity shall come to pass with the advent of the Messiah.  If you missed any of those messages you can click HERE to listen to them on our Podcasts.

“And it shall come to pass…” is the phrase that is used by not only Isaiah, but many of the prophets as they communicate God’s truth to the people. 

Often times the story of Christmas begins with the words of the prophet, “And it shall come to pass…” 

As I kid, I was not a fan of this phrase.  To me, it just meant that in worship the story of Christmas was going to be delayed by boring words from a dead guy. 

Seriously, don’t you know that we have been waiting to get the most important part of Christmas?  That’s right, presence!

Kids, you know what I mean; the weeks of Advent seem to drag on forever, don’t they?  Lighting one candle each week in a seemingly endless countdown to presence is almost too much to bear. 

The tree has been decorated for weeks, the stockings have been hung, the lights strung, it’s time for presence!

Presence is the most important thing at Christmas!  Can I get an Amen?!?

While the phrase, “And it shall come to pass…” is not in our Old Testament lesson today, it is implied. 

From the prophet Isaiah, the 9th chapter, “So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us].”  (Isaiah 9:14)

There it is! The most important thing at Christmas, presence - the sheer joy of presence in the babe of Bethlehem.

Oh, some of you thought I meant p-r-e-s-e-n-t-s?

No, no, I meant p-r-e-s-e-n-c-e!
It is the presence of God himself; with us that is THE most important part of Christmas.

In the mind numbing madness that is the dash toward Christmas, we so often get our eyes clouded with presents, with a T, that we often over look the presence, with a C, of the Christ child. 

There are only six more shopping days till Christmas!
  • Does that make your heart begin to race?  
  • Are you stressed that your to-do list is growing and your time is shrinking?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed at what faces you in the week ahead?

It’s time to stop thinking about presents and remember the presence of Immanuel - God with us!

There is a story of Pastor Clifford Stewart of Louisville, Kentucky, who sent his parents a microwave a few Christmas’ ago. Here's how he recalls the experience:

"They were excited that now they, too, could be a part of the instant generation. When Dad unpacked the microwave and plugged it in, literally within seconds, the microwave transformed two smiles into frowns! Even after reading the directions, they couldn't make it work. Two days later, my mother was playing bridge with a friend and confessed her inability to get that microwave oven even to boil water. 'To get this darn thing to work,' she exclaimed, 'I really don't need better directions; I just needed my son to come along with the gift!'"

You see When God gave the gift of salvation, he didn't send a booklet of complicated instructions for us to figure out; he sent his Son, the very presence of God.

His presence is a present far greater than anything that will be under the tree this year.  It is a gift wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. 

As the world pauses for the celebration of Christmas next week, we remember that it is the presence of the Savior that makes this day so special.  But the presence of God is not limited to single day.

The presence of God comes to us every time we gather in this place.

It comes to us when we hear from the prophets and apostles of Old.

It comes when we gather at the Lord’s Table and are fed by His presence among us in with and under the bread and the wine for the forgiveness of our sin.

His presence is tangible today, and every day we are gathered in this place.

  • 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. 
  • If our greatest need had been stuff, he would have sent us stuff.
  • But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
It was sin, handed down from our forefathers that made Christmas a necessity.

Without the presence of God at Christmas, there would be no Good Friday and no Easter Sunday and no forgiveness of sins.

  • For all the times you have felt alone. 
  • For all the moments you have wallowed in your own guilt and sin.
  • For all the days you wasted following your selfish ambitions.

The presence of God in your life means that you are loved by the creator and he sent his son who gave up his life so that in Christ you have been forgiven. 

But it doesn’t end there.  In Christ, we have been given a great gift, peace with God, the forgiveness of sins and the result is that the Children of God will experience the abiding presence of God forever.

For in Christ it has come to pass that you are always in the presence of God, now and always.

-Pastor Seth Moorman

Please Note:
The Bethany Bullet will go dark the weeks of December 25 and January 1. The Bethany Bullet will resume the week of January 8, 2017. 


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter