Making more of the seasons when a post Christian society vaguely reconnects with its Christian heritage
We’re not wanting to become traditional for the sake of it … we simply want to take best advantage of anything that will help people to connect to Jesus … his life and mission.
We want our Christmas celebrations this year to be the best ever … as far as that lies with us
We want you to enjoy it … and we want anyone that comes along with you to have a great time with us in God’s presence.
Firstly What you can see here is a small inflatable boat with a largish Wheelie bin. Lifeboat crews have made an unusual rescue off the coast of Anglesey - an 81-year-old man and a wheelie bin. The man had gone out in a small inflatable dinghy to recover his neighbour's bin which had swept out to sea in strong winds, in a high tide. He was blown about a mile off Red Wharf Bay until Moelfre inshore lifeboat was launched to rescue him. He was picked up suffering from mild hypothermia and taken to hospital in Bangor by ambulance. The crew said the man was not wearing a life jacket or waterproof clothing. His dinghy was also half full of water because of the sea conditions.
The Moelfre crew then went back out to tow in the dingy and wheelie bin, which was still half full of rubbish. Moelfre lifeboat station spokesman Dave Massey said: "Everyone at the Moelfre lifeboat station wishes the gentleman a speedy recovery. "The volunteer lifeboat crews at Moelfre have dealt with a wide variety of emergency calls over the years but I am sure that this is the first time we have been involved in rescuing a wheelie bin."
Secondly, my brother … we were on a beach in Elba at the time, I was sixteen, my brother Matthew was twelve.
Bored on the beach. Dad loved sailing in small dinghy's … so he gave Matthew and introductory lesson. About 20mins later my brother had the sail up and off he went. There was a lovely cooling off shore breeze … and Matthew simply didn’t stop.
After about another 20mins we had managed to borrow some binoculars from a German family next to us on the beach … and not being able to see or obtain any powered boats around, we set off after him … on a pedalo. During the next few hours I learned quite a few new quite creative swear words. After abut half an hour … when we had almost cleared the bay … an Italian family in a motor boat came over to us to ask if we wanted any help … oh yes! It took them about 10mins to reach Matthew and we watched an animated conversation which ended when the motor boat turned around and came back … the ‘little boy didn’t want any help’ … and the boat was running low of fuel. During the next half an hour we left the bay and entered the main ocean swell … timing changed as we pedalled. Matthew capsized his boat and we caught up with him, tied the boat to the pedalo and turned around pulling a capsized boat like a sea anchor into an offshore wind in about a 4ft swell. The motor boat returned having refueled and towed us all in … taking about 45mins. My Mum … was a bit of a mess … especially after she was told that we had entered the local shipping lane.
The trouble was that Matthew didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t understand what was driving him, he didn’t know how to change course … and he didn’t know how much trouble he was in. His only hope was that somebody else would rescue him.
We need to re-engage with it … we are over familiar with it … and while it should evoke in us a real season of celebration … we tend to have become somewhat jaded with all the peripheral trappings.
My plan, my desire, my hope is that our celebrations around Christmas this year have greater meaning for you than perhaps you have found for a number of years.
So the first thing to say is that Christmas marked part of an unfolding plan of God to rescue humanity from the mess we had generated for ourselves.
Secondly, the big picture Creation / Fall / Redemption (or Resue) / Restoration
Thirdly, God wove aspects of his plan into the writings of scripture through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and primarily through his prophets.
Fourthly I want us to take a short look at the Genealogies of Jesus to observe some interesting oddities
And Finally I want to remind us of the mission that Jesus came on … why was it necessary for God to come.
During this series I am going to be illustrating parts of it with clips from a film.
And it begins where I am going to begin this morning … towards the end of the Christmas story … in a part that usually doesn’t make it into children’s Nativity plays … you may find this disturbing … it should be.
Starting towards the end of the story. Christmas is not fluffy ... In one real sense ... Its not for kids. This was like a divine SAS mission ... the stakes were high ... And people were playing for keeps. Herod was a brutal man ... History reveals a 36 year reign of terror.
As far as this went, cosmic forces were at work, even though all we can see is the human players.
Joseph seems to be into dreams ... it is the only way recorded that God speaks to him.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus end up in Nazareth ... The place where this story begins .. Which we will be looking at next week.
Jesus birth was part of a divinely orchestrated rescue plan that culminated with Jesus on a cross, paying for the sins of the world and opening a door to us that would allow restoration of relationship with our Creator.
You see ... The four act drama
Jesus resurrection confirmed he had been victorious and succeeded in his mission ... But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here.
I could spend a whole preaching series on Prophecy in hundreds of places in the Old Testament pointing towards the coming Messiah, a hero figure that all Israel ached for especially when in adversity … and they had seen a lot of adversity.
Other prophecies refer to a King from Judah
The branch from David’s stump.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given and he will be called wonderful counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
Men … definition of a Jew was if your Mother was a Jew … but legally, you had to inherit through the male line.
Prophecy … the Royal line and the Priestly line.
Unfolding plan … developing mission.
Jesus came to rescue the lost … he came to restore Kingdom of God
They are one and the same thing … and Jesus Mission is our mission
We’ve talked about it as Community Transformation … and bringing this about through the love of God in the life of his people.
This Christmas season re-evaluate your life … what is your calling? … where are you going? … who are you meant to be with.
“Big Picture, small scene”
SERIES: ‘ADVENT’ [PART 1/8]
The Christmas Story… Advent
... is part of an unfolding rescue plan
... ‘Big Picture’ ... the Bible reveals a four act ‘drama’
... aspects of this plan are laid out as Prophecy
... the genealogies set the tone
... Jesus came on a clear mission
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in
a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Get up, take the child and his mother and go to
the land of Israel, for those who were trying to
take the child’s life are dead.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother and
went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that
Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his
father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having
been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the
district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town
called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said
through the prophets, that he would be called a
The Four Act ‘Drama’ of Scripture
Creation - Genesis 1 & 2
Fall - Genesis 3
Redemption - ‘Rescue’ Genesis 3 to Gospels
Restoration - Gospels to Revelation (and ‘Glory’)
God’s Rescue Plan …
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the
woman and between your seed and her seed; he shall
bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Gen 22:18 and through your seed [Abraham] all
nations on earth will be blessed, because you have
Mat 1: 22-23 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord
had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall
conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called
Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).
They’re all about men.
You can see fulfilment of prophecy
The show an unfolding rescue plan
Genealogy in Matthew...
1:3 Jesus Judah the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar,
1:5 Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
1:6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been Uriah’s wife ...
Jesus’ Mission ...
Luke 19:9-10 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation
has come to this house, because this man, too, is a
son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek
and to save the lost.”
Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he presented himself
to them and gave many convincing proofs that he
was alive. He appeared to them over a period of
forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.