Christmas Changes Everything

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV]

Christmas changes everything. 

Not the presents, the food or the fun. If we let Him, then the person of Christmas can change everything (and I don’t mean Santa).

Jesus changes everything. For Mary & Joseph. Parents who have their first child experiences a life changing moment even when they are not the Saviour of the world.

For the Shepherds. Busy at work, interrupted by a heavenly host. The excluded included, something Jesus demonstrates throughout His ministry and calls us to the same. 

For the Wise Men. Not fully comprehending all they were seeing in the sky yet willing to step out and go on the journey.

For all of humankind. There is a before Christ and after Christ moment. From BC to AD. Not just with time but in our individual lives this kind of moment can take place too.

Make Christmas 2016 such a moment. An after Christ moment. A life-changing moment, an included kind of moment, a begin the journey and see where God might take you moment.

Christmas is Family

Christmas is Family.

It’s about time spent with your own family.

It’s about remembering family who cannot be with us or who no longer are.

It’s about creating a sense of family by making the effort to include those who otherwise would be on their own.

It’s about God intervening and working on the solution in such an unexpected way so we could be included in His family.

It’s Father God and His Son Jesus making their home with us, choosing to deal with the divide between us and inviting us to join with them.

Whatever your own family circumstances this ultimate ‘family’ invitation still remains open. Why not step in this Christmas and become a part of the greatest family, God’s.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” [‭‭John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NIV]

Which Christmas Will You Have This Year?

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Yesterday was a great day in Church. Every generation celebrating Jesus in the best ways. Plus we had we so much fun, loads of creativity on show, people using their gifts and talents to show off their love for God. And mince pies too. Does it get any better?

With the help of children and parents, we built a nativity yesterday at Xcel Church which wasn’t quite complete. NO JESUS. Too many have a Christmas full of the trimmings ~ the food, the drink, the presents, time with family and friends but it ends up being one with NO JESUS. Nothing wrong with all of those.

Christmas without Jesus is an empty or half-filled Christmas. Seemingly full of all the right things yet not truly satisfying.

God’s desire is that we have a Christmas where we KNOW JESUS. One where we put Jesus at the centre of all the celebrations.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. [Luke 2:6-7 NIV]

This Christmas receive more that just a gift from a friend, receive the greatest gift and KNOW JESUS.

He came to bring life and light to all the world. He came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to reconnect us to God. He cam to forgive us from all of our wrongdoing. He came to bring life in all its fullness.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full [John 10:10b NIV]

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life [John 3:16]

Spread the word this Christmas. Make sure to take a moment to KNOW JESUS and thank Him for coming from heaven to earth. Why not ask others if they would like to invite Jesus into their life this Christmas, to go from a place of NO JESUS to a life where they can begin to KNOW JESUS.

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If you want to KNOW JESUS this Christmas then why not prayer this simple prayer of salvation to invite Jesus into your life.

DEAR GOD, I AM PRAYING BECAUSE I KNOW I NEED A SAVIOUR. THIS CHRISTMAS I AM DECIDING TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, THAT HE DIED FOR MY SINS AND THEN ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY. I AM ASKING YOU GOD TO FORGIVE MY SINS AND I BELIEVE THROUGH JESUS, I AM FORGIVEN. AMEN.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved [Romans 10:13]

 

 

Jesus Was Generous

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The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out [John 1:14]

Jesus moved in to the neighbourhood. He was one of a kind. Jesus came as a Messiah not in power and authority but rather in humility, to serve rather than to be served. He would lay down His life instead of elevating Himself. He would give Himself willingly for us who could give nothing in return.

This is generosity at a whole other level.

This kind of generous was an inconvenient kind of generous.

This kind of generous was an any time kind of generous.

This kind of generous covered all aspects of His life. And now as reflectors of the love and light of Jesus we are call to this kind of generous. To be people of kindness, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness. People generous with our time and our resources.

Let’s take a moment this Christmas to be generous. To be the right ‘one of a kind’. Look for an opportunities to make a difference. To notice people. To invite and include them in our worlds. After all, when we care, we are blessed. In fact, when we care when we can care, we are sowing the right kind of generous seeds that one day may well reap a harvest of care when we need to be cared for.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for [Matthew 5:7 Message]

Jesus Was One of a Kind

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We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory 

We continue in John 1:14 and see how Jesus moved in and was then described as ‘one of a kind’.

Jesus was definitely different. He was not your traditional religious figure, someone who saw themselves as above others or more important. Jesus crossed the line so many times when different opportunities faced him – he would forgive, he was moved by compassion, he would go beyond the law, he would confront, he would heal.

Jesus stood out in a good way. I wonder, do we?

Jesus stood for a cause that made a difference, not just in society but in people’s lives and for eternity. I wonder, do we?

Jesus was the ‘go to’ person if you wanted a turn around, some help, some teaching and wisdom in how to live life God’s way. I wonder, are we?

Often we stand out for all the wrong reasons, make no difference whatsoever and are definitely not the ‘go to’ person for any kind of help or wisdom.

Maybe this Christmas we should ask God to help us to stand out for Him. To be the right kind of one of a kind. To be different in the right way for Jesus (not weird) and by living for Him become the people those around us know they can come to for help, in all kinds of times.

Jesus Moved In

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.

In John 1:14 we are told that Jesus moved in to the neighbourhood.

It’s a great picture of all that God desired to accomplish when sending Jesus to earth. He wasn’t coming as some great ruler but rather as a man, who would engage in community, connect with people and be compassionate towards the cry of the hearts.

He was everything that the religious figures of the day were not.

Now it’s our turn. To be a Christian is not to be superior to others who are not. It’s not to separate ourselves from others so we remain uncontaminated.

The command of Jesus is that we go, into all the world, reaching people, interacting with others, active in our neighbourhoods as we live out our faith in all kinds of creative ways.

This Christmas, make time for others. Move into the neighbourhood. Be normal but be all for Jesus. What a difference that just might make. 

Make Time This Christmas

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Over the next few days let’s take time to focus on the actual reason for celebrating at Christmas time.

Let’s get past the food, although that’s good. Let’s get past the presents, although I am hoping for some. Let’s get past the tv, although I’m hopeful for some half decent programmes.

Instead let’s pause, reflect and consider the reality of Jesus. Why he came from heaven to earth and how embracing the good news of a Saviour can change everything for ever.

Let’s push all the ‘stuff’ most people associate with Christmas aside and make that deliberate effort to thank God for sending His son. That God would be born as a baby, with all the risk involved in such a move. All so he could be here, dwelling amongst, Immanuel, God with us. 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14]

Break With Tradition

Excited about the message for this Sunday night at Xcel. 

Traditions can be both good and bad. Is there life in it? Or has it just become something we do because we always have? 

Maybe this Christmas it’s time to break with some old traditions and begin some new ones.

To help in this message we will be launching the #xceladventchallenge and I’m designating United @ 5 this week ‘Sticker Sunday’. 

Don’t stay away. Why not come along and find out what I mean, join in the fun and the journey. Let’s mess with Christmas this year and see what God might have us to do.