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Sermons about 2012
Lesson Aim: Celebrating what God has done and looking forward to where He still wants us to step out in faith.
Mosaic's staff get a chance to share with us about the things they've been learning about their relationship with Jesus. God has been teaching us many things, and this morning we get to hear about a few of those lessons that we've learned during 2012. AM: Kevin Relyea, Doug and Anya Holcomb PM: Donny Abbott, Kim Harris, and Jordan Young
This is a perfect time to reflect on how God has moved and worked over the past year. We look back and see what God has done and how he has been faithful in 2012.
2012 in Review Testimonies Matt Howarth, Ed Wright (video), and Kelly Blanchard Andrew Bonaventura, Lead Pastor
Christmas Eve Message: "Open It" John 10:10b Andrew Bonaventura, Lead Pastor
Well 12/21/12 has passed and the world did not end…and my applause to those who slept soundly on Thursday night believing what Jesus taught in Mark Chapter 13. We read in Chapter 13 verses 32 – 37, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” To claim to know exactly when the Lord will return is folly and many have led multitudes astray with their calculations and predictions. The best advice is given by Jesus Himself. He could come back at any time! That should prompt us to watch and be ready. Watch what though? In 7 verses a total of 7 times He says “watch” because “you don’t know”…it can be anytime!! What do you mean watch?? Well it’s interesting because in Matthew 24 Jesus describes the end of all things as a “thief in the night.” Coming “at an hour not expected.” But then Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, speaking also of the Lord’s coming as a thief in the night…goes on to say, “but you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief…but watch!” Or better put, but you ARE watching! You see, Paul tells us that certainly no man knows the day…but the day won’t be a surprise to those with eyes to see. Eyes to see what? The signs man! The Bible, Jesus was and is very specific about what the scene will look like right before all this goes down… Check it out… Jesus said there will be many false prophets and false Christ’s…folks that claim to be the Prophet or even Jesus Himself! Joseph Smith in the 1820s…Charles Taze Russell in the 1870s…this isn’t ancient history…this is recent! What’s more recent…men like Jose Luis de Jesus who actually claims to be Jesus Christ and this guy has over 1M followers! Wayne Bent, Sun Myung Moon, Rex Farrye…Jay-Z! Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars. Oh Matt there have always been wars…look, I totally agree, but just take a minute to research the pace and rate of increase in today’s world. Just in recent history between 1870 and 1913 the frequency of conflicts between nations rose at about 6% per year. Between 1920 and 1950 the rate rose to 17%. Between 1950 and 1980 the rate rose to 31% and then in the 90s the rate rose to 36% per year. And on it rises today! Well Matt we have more countries than ever before. That’s true but notice these new countries aren’t playing nice are they? What do the countries, especially ours, even the new countries, spend their money on? War! Jesus said there will be earthquakes in diverse places and the idea there is that they would become more frequent and more intense. Oh Matt we’ve always had earthquakes…you’re right! But have you looked lately at the pace and the rate of increase in today’s world? In the 70s, the number of Magnitude 3 quakes were increasing steadily at about 21+ ups per year. Around the year 2000, it increased by about 51% to 31+ups per year and by 2004, the number was increasing sharply by 151+ups per year! The Bible speaks of Israel becoming a nation again overnight in the last days and would you believe it, after being lost for 2,000 years on May 14, 1948…Israel reborn! The Bible says that the nation Israel will be a cup of trembling…troubling to the entire world…is not Israel the center of every news article it seems? The Bible says that in the last days bad will be called good…Michael Jackson did that one for us! Man the writing is on the wall…and it ain’t Mayan! HA! Watch Jesus said! He said you can discern the changing of the seasons…but you cannot tell the time in which you live…oh foolish generation. He was speaking to the Jews as they did not recognize Him as the true Messiah but man that goes for us today! We indeed are living in the last days. Unprecedented days! Israel was not a nation when our Grandparents were growing up! All eyes could not see the Son of Man return until satellite television was launched! Knowledge couldn’t exponentially increase until the internet and the PC and data packets became the norm! 272,000 text messages sent every second! Big data is telling our particular and individual futures with spectacular accuracy and its only going to get more intrusive…WHY? Because its big big money! We are indeed to watch! And if you watch with the correct tool, oh boy you’ll see! Tool? Yes tool. Well more like weapon! The two-edged sword man! If I try to see the details of cell with only my fleshly eye man I’ll miss everything…but peer through a high power microscope and prepare to be mind blown! That is what Paul meant when he said “brethren, that great day of the Lord won’t take you by storm…won’t surprise you like waking up to your window broken and your gold clubs gone! No! You’re watching…and the signs…they’re everywhere when you focus your vision through God’s powerful weapon…His Word! And this morning we’ll encounter some lowly shepherds who were watching indeed…on one fateful night! One fateful night not like Thursday night where nothing ended but the Mayan rediculousness, but one fateful night where something did end…the separation between sinful futile man and a Holy and Perfect God! What do I mean by that? I mean to tell you of good tidings of GREAT joy…because on the cross Jesus cried out Tetalistae! Or “it is finished!” What’s finished? Sin is finished! You could also translate that “paid in full!” Man’s separation from God is finished! Man’s unsurmountable debt of sin...paid! And fellowship with God…restored… All because of a gift given to us. The first gift of Christmas! God’s only Son…the sign given to mankind…to you and to me…that our redemption has arrived…the Savior of the world! What do you mean another sign Matt? Turn with me to… Luke Chapter 2 Verses 1 – 11 The key note of this angelic gospel to those shepherds and to us this morning as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus…the main message, the central theme, the eternal implication…I want you to see this…JOY! Joy, true joy, only comes with freedom…with harmony…all is as it should be…all is calm…all is bright… The angel of Lord stood before man and the glory of the Lord shone all around them…a night that was foretold…prophesied and anticipated by the entire history of mankind for centuries…all the way back to 1500 years before Jesus would be born…planned by the Father as He poured the foundations of creation....as we see in John Chapter 1, “In the beginning (the “arche”) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Revelation 19:13 tells us so wonderfully that Jesus’ name is “The Word of God!” One of the most pointed prophecies was given around 700 BC by the prophet Isaiah as we read in Isaiah 7:14…“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). Immanuel meaning quite literally, “God with us” as John 1 says that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” And this night, this conversation, this gospel given by the angel of the Lord to just some ordinary, regular men…like you and like me…this report that He indeed has arrived, the Savior of the world…and look, centered upon one central theme…again…JOY! Charles Spurgeon said it best as he preached, “this joy was no common thing as the angel did not speak of joy alone but “good tidings of GREAT joy.” Every word is emphatic, as if to show that the gospel is above all things intended to promote, and will most abundantly create, the greatest possible joy in the human heart wherever it is received.” Spurgeon went on to say that, “Man is like a harp unstrung, and the music of his soul's living strings is discordant, his whole nature wails with sorrow; but the son of David, that mighty harper, has come to restore the harmony of humanity, and where his gracious fingers move among the strings, the touch of the fingers of an incarnate God brings forth music sweet as that of the spheres, and melody rich as a seraph's canticle. Would God that all men felt that divine hand.” We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Created to know God and to worship Him. Yet without this wonderful message delivered this night of nights…God has arrived…we are but unstrung harps…mute and cold. Good tidings of GREAT joy the angel said…because unto us a child is born…given to us…Salvation! All of your hurt, all of your restlessness, all of your guilt, all of your condemnation…He would and will take from you, from us…and in return? Great gifts! Christmas gifts! Wrapped up in the wrapping paper of swaddling clothes and not placed under a tree but in a feeding trough and presented to the world by Our Father in Heaven. When Jesus came into this world He brought with Him, (and listen not just to the world but to you and to me as we individually, indepentantly, personally allow Jesus to come into our own worlds…our own lives…He brings with Him), JOY! Jesus, when He stepped down into this world brought with Him, and will bring with Him into your life…LOVE! Security! Acceptance! He brings peace, comfort, rest, truth, grace, wisdom, freedom, hope…life…man…He brings life!!! Salvation! Salvation out of this mess! I struggled for years with what to do with God. What to do with this Jesus. I knew of God, knew that God was there…somewhere…but I never put it together man…the gospel. That God has come to save me! To take me out of all of this disorder, disarray, chaos and confusion. Why is life so hard? Why do I feel so angry all the time? Why can’t I sleep? Why don’t they care about me? Why am I left alone? Why do I even despise myself? And so I turned to false gods. Sports, sex, pride, wrath, booze, drugs…power and they all left me…hard, angry, sleepless, uncaring, alone and diving deep into a self disgust! Then one day God sent someone into my life that for once didn’t bring a pill bottle…didn’t speak of self-help…didn’t speak of get this money, cop this cash…didn’t speak of the one I hated most…me. I was told of Jesus man. Not the Jesus that Kanye raps about, not the Jesus that The Game says will help him get money, get power, get respect…no, the Jesus that brings truth, freedom, peace, rest, love and grace! And with just a baby step towards Him, He arrived…He was born into my world…just as He promised… That day, just like this day here in Luke Chapter 2, I became rich and you yourself, your life becomes so entirely rich when Jesus is born into it! What do you mean by rich, Matt? You mean money, stuff, houses, businesses…? Please, if you can lose it in a night…what’s it worth? I mean to tell you about grace man. God’s riches at Christ’s Expense! When grace arrives, joy is delivered and man peace just flows…how much is that worth? How much is joy worth? How much is peace worth? You see true richness, real wealth…worth…comes only by the birth of Jesus! 2 Cor 8:9 He was rich. He became poor. That you might become rich. How rich? He made and owned everything. The cattle on 10,000 hills, the gold in every mine…chump change. Everything that there is or ever will be…is His. Made by Him, made for Him… Yet He who was rich, became poor. A baby in a stable. Owning nothing. Having nothing. He would say foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. He became poor not just in the material sense but also in the fact that He absorbed our poor sin. Our insanity, our rage, our mess…He was rich…having everything, needing nothing…but He left all of that behind… He who knew no sin was made sin…that we might be made rich! How rich are we? In the Lord we are so rich! My sins are washed away…forgiven and forgotten. There’s substance in our lives, there’s reason…there’s hope after this life…oh how rich! That night in that manger, there in the feeding trough was the bread of life. And He says, take Me in…a forgiven people you are. My body has been broken that you might be whole. I have been pierced that you would not need to be. I have died that you would live eternally! What manner of love is this? That the Father would look down upon us and see us lost, struggling, joyless and without hope…and by His great love for us be moved to the point of sending His own Son…to rescue us? John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come to point a finger of condemnation into our chest but that through Him we might be saved. Through Him our lives might mean something, our days might count for something…and even as we live this life out in this busted body, on this busted planet, in this busted fallen and sinful condition…that even now we can have life and life abundant. Life not filled with the spirit of fear but with the Spirit of love of power and of a sound mind! Good tidings of Great Joy indeed! Will you have Him in your world today? As your world? In place of all that junk? All that guilt, all that restlessness, all that worry and condemnation. Will you today unload that man and take upon Jesus? He’ll set you free… I’d like to conclude today with a story that I’m quite fond of. One that I’ve told in years past and yet every time I read it, it speaks volumes to me… It was Christmas Eve and the family prepared to attend a candlelight service at their church. The father was a kind, decent man. Generous to his family and quite upright in his dealings with other men. But he was not a Christian. The whole story of Christmas and God coming to earth as a man just didn’t interest him…it didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. "I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home…but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service. He sat home that Christmas eve in front of the fire. It was cold out and the snow was blowing. He sat by the fire, warm and comfortable…reading the paper. All of a sudden he heard a loud and repeated thumping. He thought someone was banging on the door. He went to the door and opened it but found no one was there. By the time he got settled back into his chair, he heard it again…and then again. He was bewildered as to what was causing it until he realized that something seemed to be smashing against the window. He went to the drapes and as he pulled the drapes aside to his amazement, a bird standing there on the window sil…it seemed confused and its feathered head was a bit disarrayed. After just a moment of study he realized that it had been flying into the window. The snowstorm had caught the little bird away from shelter and in the chaos of the storm it couldn’t find its way back. It couldn't fight the wind but it must have seen the lighted window and the warmth of the light must have drawn it to attempt entrance. It was literally flying into the glass trying to get to the light to get warm. It would soon be frozen to death if it didn’t kill itself from the repeated impact of the window. And so, the man who had refused to go with his family to the Christmas Eve service because he had no interest in the Christ of Christmas was all of a sudden very compassionate for this poor bird. He quickly began to wonder and deduce how he could save it. He opened the door and went out in the cold and tried to chase it off so that it wouldn't kill itself against the window and that it might find some more suitable shelter. The bird was uninterested and so he ran to the barn and he threw the doors open and he whistled and he shooed it and did everything he could to get it to fly to the barn, but it wouldn't go. He even went so far as to take some corn and some bread and make a big trail from the window to the barn. Still the little bird wouldn't follow. Finally in frustration, he shouted to the bird, "If I could just talk with you. If I could just show you that I don't want to hurt you…that I’m trying to save you…that there's warmth and there's shelter and if you don’t stop beating yourself to death against this glass…then you’re suffering will only end with your own death.” And as he stood there finishing his outcry to the bird he thought to himself, “but I'm a man and you’re a bird…we don't speak the same language. Oh, if I could just become a bird, I could tell you, I could show you…I could save you…" And then it hit him. He was the bird. He finally understood. And as the bird flew into the barn, his own heart opened to the One who stepped down into creation…to reach him. I wonder today, if you would open your heart to Good tidings of Great Joy! Will you have Him in your world today? As your world? In place of all that junk? All that guilt, all that restlessness, all that worry and condemnation. Will you today unload that man and take upon Jesus? He’ll set you free…He loves you so…so much so that He gave all that He had…for you to be free… Merry Christmas to you and with a heart of thankfulness, God, thank you for sending Jesus…
Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and Michael Geer with the Pennsylvania Family Institute sound off on the top stories of 2012
A message for the gathered body of believers at CentrePoint Church, Edinburgh. It has been a tough year, but we serve a resurrected God who has overcome the world. We wrap up our Gospel of Mark series with the final question, "Who will role away the stone?"