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牧師：陳道南 Rev. Peter Chen
Christmas Praise Worship
I. Intro… (“The Christmas Story”)
Today we hear many readings from the Bible… ten scripture passages to be exact. It’s plenty for one worship service. And if you wanted to count them, you’ll have about 2,000 words read from the Bible today. Now tell me, how many of you dozed off or got bored during this service? (It’s fine, we’re in the dark so nobody will see your hand. J) The reality is, many people—even Christians—tend to doze off when it comes to God’s words, which is most unfortunate. However, if you are careful and pay close attention to these words, you will hear a wonderful story, the Christmas Story.
The Christmas Story is God’s plan for creation to be with Him. It tells us how much God loves us. Genesis explains how we have cut God out of our lives, but also reminds us that God will find a way to bring us back. Isaiah prophecies during the dark days of God’s people that God has neither forgotten nor abandoned us, and we see clues of what God plans to do about it. If we cannot find our way to heaven to be with God, then God is coming down to earth to be with us. The New Testament Gospels tell us that “God with us” is Immanuel, the promised one from the Old Testament, the one named Jesus Christ—a little baby, yes, but also God. Through Jesus, God leads us back into relationship with Him. That is a wonderful love story, which you missed if you dozed off.
And it’s a pity when we doze off in our lives because “The Christmas Story” is also a part of our wonderful story to live and to tell. God wants you to be a part of “The Christmas Story.” If you are not yet a Christian, then you become a part of the Christmas Story when you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Once you believe, you begin a relationship with God.
If you are already a Christian, then you become a part of the Christmas Story when you put Jesus as the center of your life. Unfortunately, many Christians live “The Me Story” by putting Jesus around your life with yourself in the center. You may know these Christians because they complain a lot and like to blame others. They wonder why they don’t have better or more things, all the while forgetting how much they already have. Or they do a lot of “right” looking things and yet have all the “wrong” attitudes. Or they spot problems in others and yet never bother to find solutions. These are the “ME-ians,” not the “Christ-ians”, and instead of bringing more people to the church, they do the opposite and cause others to stumble in their faith. Less of “Me” and more of “Christ”—that’s what’s needed.
II. Conclusion… (“Disciplined Love”)
The Church does not need more of these “love ME first” Christians who live out “The Me Story”. We need more people here—including at EM—to live out “The Christmas Story” so that Jesus is central for all to see.
The “ME-ians” have gotten it flipped upside down—they love self first, then love others, and last, they love God (since they don’t listen and obey God). The “CHRIST-ians” love God first, and secondly, love others as you love yourself.
If you’ve fallen short this year, commit yourself to be a better Christian in this coming year. Commit yourself to love God more… to love God first and foremost. Without a relationship with God, anything else is just… boring!
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… AMEN.