BORN: GOD’S GIFTS REVEALED

“The Birth and Gift of God’s Passion and Power” 

As we have come into the Christmas season, we are bringing a series of messages on
how Christ’s birth revealed the gracious gifts of God that were to be bestowed on
people everywhere, for all time. These messages will lead us toward our annual
presentation of The Gifts We Bring on Christmas Eve. We are believing that the more
we know about the birth of our Savior, the more the fullness of God’s gifts we will be
birthed in us.
This week, we are giving attention to the Father’s passion to send His Son as our
Savior, the power He expressed through His plan of salvation, and the person of God
becoming man which provided the fulfillment of all of God’s promises—promises to
bring people back to Himself and onto the fullness of His purposes for them.

The Passion To Pay Any Price True passion has to do with sacrifice and suffering—a willingness to pay any price for a worthy pursuit and a righteous cause. God our Father deemed the sacrifice and suffering of our Savior to be a worthy pursuit and a righteous cause—nothing less than the redemption, reconciliation and restoration of lost and sinful mankind. The Father sacrificed and suffered in the giving of His only begotten Son. The Son sacrificed and suffered in leaving heaven, coming to earth and laying down His life as salvation’s price and provision. The Father’s commitment to redeem and restore man to His originally intended purpose was an act of passion beyond measure—and an act of love without limit for a world hopeless and helpless. No wonder Jesus said that God loved the world in a manner no one could have imagined. Let’s pray that the Father’s passion to seek and save the lost would be ours each and every day.

The Power Able To Overcome Any Enemy The Gift of the Son and Savior was an expression of passion—the grace of the Father through His Son was an expression of power. Through the gift of the sinless Son, the Father unleashed power to conquer Satan, sin, death, hell and the grave. The price that had to be paid was matched by the Father’s ability to release the resources to pay that price—the sinless life of the Son, Christ Jesus. As we have said, it is one thing to be willing but not able. And it would be another thing to be able but not willing. But is quite another thing to be both willing and able, which God was by His great grace through the child who was born and the Son who was given. Let’s pray that the power of God would overcome and defeat every enemy of His purposes and plans.

The Person Able To Fulfill Every Promise The prophets foretold the coming of a divine person who would bring about the fulfillment of every promise of God’s plan of salvation. That person was Jesus Christ of Nazareth—conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, sent by God the Father to make all things new. It has always been

God’s plan to give gifts to people, and then make gifts of people that the needs of all people would be met. The consummation of that plan was fulfilled in the Father’s gift of the eternal Son. And through the Son, every person receives gifts that then are to be released back to God and into the lives of others. When we put our faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, we not only receive the gifts of God’s grace, but we receive the ability to release those gifts of grace for the glory of God and good of man. Let’s pray that God’s people would be freshly aware of the need to trust God and cling to the promises He has made to His beloved children.

Remember: The Father’s passion and power provided the person who could save us
from our sins and restore us as beloved sons and daughters, filled with passion and
power to release every spiritual blessing we have received.

BORN: GOD’S GIFTS REVEALED

“The Birth and Gift of God’s Presence and Person” As we come into the Christmas season, we are beginning a series of messages on how Christ’s birth revealed the gracious gifts of God that were to be bestowed on people everywhere, for all time. These messages will lead us to our annual presentation of The Gifts We Bring on Christmas Eve. We are believing that the more we know about the birth of our Savior, the more the fullness of God’s gifts will be birthed in us.

Unto that end, we invite you to join us on a journey of discovering the depths of
God’s devotion to us in the advent of the Father’s amazing plan of redemption,
renewal and restoration in the presence, person and purpose seen and secured in
the face of Jesus, God come to live among men as Savior and Lord.

We believe that this journey will become an important capstone for this Year of Light
and Knowing. May God open our eyes more fully to the revelation of His gifts to us
and how we can respond to these gifts with the gifts that we bring and give to Him.

God’s presence came to dwell among all men. God’s desire was always to have His presence abide continually with mankind. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden diverted God’s desire for a time. But from the beginning, God always had a plan for redemption, restoration and renewal. He was committed to providing His ongoing presence through the coming of His Son to dwell among all men for all time.

God’s person came to dwell among all men. Jesus came to earth as Immanuel—God dwelling with all people for all time. He didn’t just come with His spiritual presence, but with a personal visitation that would redeem mankind and enable them to relate to God personally and powerfully. Jesus came as the Son of God and the Son of Man—a child was born in His humanity and a Son was given in His divinity. God became man in Jesus Christ. This was not only a gift of help and healing—but a gift of God Himself—individually and intimately.

God’s purpose came to dwell among all men. Jesus brought the grace, greatness and goodness of God’s divine plan and purpose for everyone, everywhere. Our God and Father is a good Father who longs and lives to give good gifts to all who will look to Him by faith’s perspectives and posture to receive the fullness of His benevolent blessings. God’s divine purpose is one of truth and transformation—enabling all those who are willing to be conformed into the image of His Son—the One sent to explain the Father and express His love, light and life. The Eternal Son brought the eternal purpose and plan of the Eternal Father who desires all men to be saved, strengthened and sustained forever.

Remember: The birth of Christ Jesus brought the presence and person of God to a helpless and hopeless world in need of understanding God’s purpose and plan to redeem all people to Himself.

Jesus Our Lord: Lord In His Royalty (Part 2)

In this year of Knowing God and Knowing Others, we are currently focusing on
knowing Jesus Our Lord. Our God is one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy
Spirit. It is vitally important that we understand the person and work of each
member of the Godhead—and in this vital understanding, that we embrace and
engage each member particularly and powerfully.

In our focus on Jesus our Lord, we have focused on His humanity—as our life-example and our life-giver. He is the One who models what a life that pleases God the Father looks like and the One who makes a way for those who follow Him to do the same.

We have also focused on His divinity—fully God and fully man, enabling His followers to become partakers of His divine nature. He has given us a pattern to follow and a path to walk. The Scriptures tell us that we are not only called to identify with Jesus in His humanity, but also in His divinity. Jesus was and is the Lord that brings divinity to humanity and leads humanity to share in His divinity—not as co-equals, but as joint-heirs in all that He brought to us and provided for us.

This week, we are again focusing on Jesus as Lord In His Royalty, the King of Kings who came to earth to establish a spiritual kingdom that mankind could respond to, receive and release by faith and loving obedience to the King and the kingdom. He came as the royal seed of David and the royal Son of God. He came in royal honor, endowed with royal authority, releasing royal power. When we know Jesus our Lord as King, we can make this King and the authority and power of His kingdom known to all men, everywhere.

Royal Honor In Hebrew and Greek the words for honor have to do with weight and worth. Jesus, as the King of all kings, is worthy to receive the measure that his majesty demands. He is to be honored above all, for His weight of worth is above all. And as we commit ourselves to honor Him for all He’s worth, it is His good pleasure to allow us to share in His honor, enabling us to live lives of worth and weight—lives that are honoring and honorable. Then we share that honor with on another, acknowledging each believer’s divine position in a dynamic interdependence.

Royal Authority Jesus came to bring the royal authority of heaven to bear on earth. He had both the legal right to rule and the lethal power to destroy the works of demonic darkness—and destroy them He did. Matthew records that when Jesus healed a man whom demons had rendered blind and mute, He told those gathered that it happened by the Spirit of God and that the kingdom of God had broken in and bound every person and power that would try to resist Him (Matt. 12:22-30). Jesus told His followers that the same keys – the right of divine entry into the spiritual realm of authority – were theirs as they believed on Him and recognized Him as their Sovereign Lord (Matt. 16:13-20).

Royal Power Jesus brought the mighty and manifest power of God to be expressed and experienced among men. As the Supreme Ruler over all, empowered with the Holy Spirit and having the armies of heaven at His beck and call, there was nothing He couldn’t do to fulfill His divine mission. Everything Jesus did, whether lifting up and loosing human lives, or laying down His own life to save men forever, He did by His royal power. Jesus promised this same royal power to those who passionately pursued Him and His divine purposes. People like you and me a kingdom of priests unto our Lord, who live our lives everyday for the King and His glorious kingdom.

Remember: Our Lord in His royalty is the King and supreme commander of all who
bow to His name, look to His face and live for His will and works to be done in the
earth.

A Three-Way Missional Reach

The words mission and missional are used a lot in our modern church world. But do wereally understand what they mean? Are we truly living with a sense of mission in
our lives and ministries? The early church certainly would not have used exactly the
same words to describe what it meant to have a sense of and commitment to
mission, but in Acts 2, Luke records that they live with a divine passion and
purpose—divine structure and strategy that reached real people with real needs in
a truly effective manner. Perfect ?—no. Powerful and productive?—without a doubt
(Acts 2:40-47). Acts 2:40-47 is a well-known, well-used and well-worn passage. And for good
reason: it contains so many principles and practices that reach people in dynamic
and even dramatic ways. This is a church in its infancy learning how to influence
and impact a diverse international community that had come together on the Day of Pentecost. They were on mission with Jesus to reach people with a message of redemption, reconciliation and restoration. And all the while they were learning a theology of place—the secret place, the gathering place and the public place—connecting to and communicating with those who were crying out, whether they knew it or not, “Bring Jesus to me.” Let me suggest to us a three-way missional reach that can help us focus on how to be the redemptive force that Jesus has called us to be, as we reach those within our reach—reaching more people with the gospel by making more disciples for the gospel.

Reach Up To God—through the ministries of prayer and praise. Prayer is basically seeking to discern the will of God by the word and the spirit and to come into agreement with it with words of faith. Praise is lifting up and exalting God the Father and Jesus the Son for who they are and what they have done—it is both declarative and descriptive. Worship, which has to do with both prayer and praise, functioning as a kingdom of priests of prayer and praise—bringing people to God and God to people. This is our first missional reach.

Reach In To One Another—through the ministries of making disciples, developing leaders and multiplying covenantal communities. It takes a healthy and vital community of faith to engage and effectively reach the people in the culture they live in. As the church, crisis is not our brand—cultivation is our brand. Our primary focus is not the sickbed—it is the seedbed. Of course we respond to every crisis and run to every sickbed to comfort, aid and pray. But it is the long-term commitment to cultivating godly character where we find our greatest successes. Making disciples, developing leaders and multiplying covenantal communities takes intentionally organic processes where people are touched, taught, trained and tended to daily and ongoingly. This is our second missional reach.

Reach Out To The World—through the ministries of evangelism, compassion and
justice. A people gathered then become a people distributed and dispersed, speaking the good words of the gospel and adorning them with good works that either follow or precede the sharing of God’s good news in Christ Jesus. We are called to the widow, the orphan, the poor and the immigrant stranger—this quartet of the vulnerable is deeply imbedded in God’s heart and should be in ours as well. We are called to rich and poor, young and old alike. We are called to freely and fully give to others what has been given to us in declaration and demonstration—proclamation and power. This is our call—this is our commission. This is our third missional reach.

Remember: A truly missional local church will be reaching up to God, reaching in to
one another and reaching out to the world with influence and integrity.

Jesus Our Lord: Lord In His Royalty (Part 1)

In this year of Knowing God and Knowing Others, we are currently focusing on knowing Jesus    Our Lord. Our God is one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is vitally            important that we understand the person and work of each member of the Godhead—and in this vital understanding, that we embrace and engage each member particularly and powerfully.

 In our focus on Jesus our Lord, we have focused on His humanity—as our life-example and our life-giver. He is the one who models what a life that pleases God the Father looks like and the One who makes a way for those who follow Him to do the same.

 We have also focused on His divinity—fully God and fully man, enabling His followers to become partakers of His divine nature. He has given us a pattern to follow and a path to walk. The Scriptures tell us that we are not only called to identify with Jesus in His humanity, but also in His divinity. Jesus was and is the Lord that brings divinity to humanity and leads humanity and leads humanity to share in His divinity—not as co-equals, but as joint-heirs in all that He brought to us and provided for us.

 This week, we are focusing on Jesus as Lord In His Royalty, the King of Kings who came to earth to establish a spiritual kingdom that mankind could respond to, receive, and release by faith and loving obedience to the King and the kingdom. He came as the royal seed of David and the royal Son of God. He came in royal honor, endowed with royal authority, releasing royal power. When we know Jesus our Lord as King, we can make this King and the authority and power of His kingdom known to all men, everywhere.

 Royal Honor In Hebrew and Greek the words for honor have to do with weight and worth. Jesus, as the King of all kings, is worthy to receive the measure that His majesty demands. He is to be honored above all, for His weight and worth is above all. And as we commit ourselves to honor Him for all He’s worth, it is His good pleasure to allow us to share in His honor, enabling us to live lives of worth and weight—lives that are honoring and honorable. Then we share that honor with one another, acknowledging each believer’s divine position in a dynamic interdependence.

 Royal Authority Jesus came to bring the royal authority of heaven to bear on earth. He had both the legal right to rule and the lethal power to destroy the works of demonic darkness—and destroy them He did. Matthew records that when Jesus healed a man whom demons had rendered blind and mute, He told those gathered that it happened by the Spirit of God and that the kingdom of God had broken in and bound every person and power that tried to resist Him (Matt. 12:22-30). Jesus told His followers that the same keys – the right of divine entry into the spiritual realm of authority – were theirs, as they believed on Him and recognized Him as their Sovereign Lord (Matt. 16:13-20).

 Royal Power Jesus brought the mighty and manifest power of God to be expressed and experienced among men. As the supreme ruler over all, empowered with the Holy Spirit and having the armies of heaven at His beck and call, there was nothing He couldn’t do to fulfill His divine mission. Everything Jesus did, whether lifting up and loosing human lives, or laying down His own life to save men forever, He did by His royal power. Jesus promised this same royal power to those who passionately pursued Him and His divine purposes – people like you and me—a kingdom of priests unto our Lord, who live our lives everyday for the King and His glorious kingdom.

 Remember: Our Lord in His royalty is the King and supreme commander of all who bow to His name, look to His face, and live for His will and works to be done in the earth.

Jesus Our Lord: Lord In His Divinity (Part 2)

In this year of Knowing God And Knowing Others, we have focused on knowing God Our Father. Now, we are focusing on knowing Jesus Our Lord. Our God is one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is so important that we understand the person and work of each member of the Godhead—and in understanding, that we embrace and engage in knowing each member particularly and powerfully.

Jesus, the Man, our Lord, Savior and King must be known, loved and imitated in every way if we are to influence and impact the world the way He did. The divine Christ that is high and lifted up, seated at the right hand of the Father, is the One we bow to and yield to as our life-example and our life-giver, to represent Him well and in a worthy manner in our world.

This week, we are taking another look at our Lord In His Divinity. Jesus was fully God and fully man. As such, He gives us a pattern to follow and path to walk. The Scriptures tell us that we are not only called to identify with Jesus in His humanity, but also in His divinity. We have been made partakers of the divine nature of Jesus, commanded to speak the divine words of Jesus, perform the divine works of Jesus and display the divine wonders of Jesus, just as He did—submitted and surrendered to the will of God our Father in every moment of everyday. (Philippians 3:7-11)

The Divine Words — Jesus only spoke what He heard the Father saying. His message was a divine declaration and a divine dialogue concerning the will and work of God to reconcile the world to Himself. His words were divinely conceived and divinely communicated. This is what He modeled and what we must follow. The words that we use are to be the words He chooses and the words He uses to communicate to and connect with those who we connect with in the world.

The Divine Works  Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He said that the Father and He were working as a perfect and powerful team and in perfect and powerful tandem. He helped and healed everyone He encountered. He brought the resources of heaven to remedy the needs of humanity. As those who have had his divinity invade our humanity, we must take His divinity and invade humanity with His words and works of truth and transformation.

The Divine Wonders — Everywhere Jesus went He performed signs that made people wonder—powerful proofs that God the Father was ready, willing and able to meet humanity at their deepest points and places of need. He was the miracle-working Messiah that brought the blessings of a gracious God to a needy people. This is our call and this is our cause—to reveal lives of redeemed people as powerful proofs that our God is great, good and gracious to all who open their lives to Him. We serve a wonder-working and wonderful Savior. Let’s know Him personally and make Him known powerfully.

Remember: Jesus, the divine one, has made us partakers of His divine nature that we might be ministers of His divine love, life and light to a world in need of the power of His great name and nobility.