Mary’s Christmas (part 2) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Luke 1:39-45.  This message was part 2 of the “Mary’s Christmas” series.  Below you will find the audio related to this message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the file below to download:

Mary’s Christmas – 2

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To access a free 25 day devotional guide for Christmas, click here.

Mary’s Christmas (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Luke 1:39-45.  This message was part 2 of the “Mary’s Christmas” series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 1:39-45
  3. Imagine you were Mary.  You have just learned that you are pregnant with Jesus.  How would a visit to your cousin Elizabeth be an encouragement to you?
  4. What are some times in your life where you have been encouraged by the presence of another person during a time of challenge or joy?
  5. Can you think of a situation right now in the life of someone you know where you feel prompted by God to simply be a “presence” in that person’s life?  What can you do this week to encourage that person?
  6. Near the end of the message today, a simple 4 step process was laid out for following Mary’s example of faith.  Pick one area of your life that is a particular challenge to you right now and run it through the 4 point grid discussed in the message:
  • What do I feel/think about _______?
  • What does God say about ______?
  • I choose to believe what God says about  _________.
  • Live consistent with that belief & be blessed.

7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

To access the free 25 day Christmas devotional, click here.

Mary’s Christmas (Part 2) Sermon Preview

Do you want a “blessed” life?  Of course you do!  Who doesn’t, right?  Only a hardcore atheist that does not believe in a “Bless-or” is repelled by the concept of being blessed by their Creator.  However, what does the blessing of God look like, and how do we get on the blessed list . . . these are questions we often debate or question.

Before addressing those questions, I want to direct our attention to a very popular Christmas story – Santa Claus.  In this story, Mr. Claus spends his year in the North Pole making blessings with his elves to deliver them on Christmas Eve night to those who have maintained their status on the “nice” list.  “Nice” boys and girls get the prepared blessings, while “naughty” boys and girls get a lump of coal . . . a gift that appears even worse in today’s carbon footprint aware world.

So, in Santa’s Christmas story, his blessings are prizes for good behavior, and are withheld for those who do bad things (verified by Elves-on-shelves everywhere).

Is Santa’s story the same as the Savior’s Christmas account?  Are the blessings of God delivered only to those who are “nice?”  What if we have been a bit “naughty”? What if God has access to the shelves of my heart, not just my house?  How would we ever expect blessing by God if He knows all my thoughts?

Well, thankfully, in the true Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, we see how God blesses His people AND who He blesses.  (I’ll give you a hint . . . it is not based on how nice we are – you can see for yourself in Luke 1:45.)  This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at our second installment of our “Mary’s Christmas” sermon series as we treasure more truth about Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective.  Make plans to join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we will be looking at Luke 1:39-45 together.  See you Sunday!

P.S.  In our 9:45 and 11:00 services on Sunday, the children will be singing in the worship services a collection of Christmas songs.  This is a Wildwood tradition that I always love!

To access a 25 day Free Advent Devotional Guide, click here.

Mary’s Christmas (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 3, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Luke 1:26-38.  This message was part 1 in the “Mary’s Christmas” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Mary’s Christmas #1 12.3.17

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To access the 25 day Christmas Devotional, click here.

Mary’s Christmas (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 3, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Luke 1:26-38.  This message was part one in the “Mary’s Christmas” series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 1:26-38
  3. What have been some of the things you know about Mary?  How does the “mythology” of Mary differ from what we learn in the Scripture about her?
  4. What are some of the reasons why you think God may not be able to/want to use you in His plans?  How does being reminded of God’s grace encourage you that God can use you?
  5. What is your plan to keep Jesus as the “Star” of your Christmas this year?  What are some practical steps you are taking to keep your focus on Him?
  6. Who might God want you to reach out to this Christmas season?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

Mark’s Christmas devotionals can be found on his blog – pastormarkrobinson.com

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

“Mary’s Christmas” Preview

One of the things that God has reminded me of this past year is the natural means by which He does supernatural things.  This principle has many applications:

  • I am praying right now for physical healing (a supernatural gift from God) for a number of people who are struggling, and God may provide that healing through “natural” means (like medicine or surgery).
  • I am working right now on my sermon for Sunday.  I need supernatural illumination of His Word to make sense of it, but God often provides this insight after the natural process of study and preparation.
  • I want those around me to know how much I love and care for them with supernatural depth, but the way God works that out often is through the natural process of affirming words and good deeds over time.

See what I mean?  Certainly God DOES supernatural things, but often the way He does them is through natural means.

This principle can even be used to understand the writing of much of our Bible.  The Bible, no doubt, is a supernatural work (inerrant and authoritative).  However, the means by which God brought us the Scripture involved natural processes.  The supernatural and natural processes of the transmission of Scripture are demonstrated through a couple of New Testament verses:

  • Peter (who himself wrote two of the letters included in our New Testament) says in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  In this verse, Peter highlights the supernatural origin of God’s Word.
  • In Luke 1:1-4, Luke talks of the natural process he used to compose his supernatural letter, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

So, God supernaturally moved the writers of Scripture along to write His Word to His people, but the process by which the Scripture was written sometimes looked very natural — like when Luke researched and compiled the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ disciples in writing his Gospel.

But who did Luke talk to?  And when did he talk to them?  At this point, we are dealing with some conjecture, but conjecture educated by historical facts.  Luke’s Gospel dates to the late 50’s AD, about 25 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.  Many scholars believe Luke (a traveling companion to Paul) probably got a lot of his “eyewitness accounts” during Paul’s imprisonment in Caesarea from 57-59.  During these years, Luke (a Gentile who joined Paul’s ministry as he headed to the European continent) found himself in Israel (possibly for the first time) and interacting with many of the original Apostles . . . and Mary – the mother of Jesus.

Knowing this background helps us understand a bit more why Luke’s Gospel includes so much detail from events ONLY MARY (or the Holy Spirit) would have been able to share.  Event’s like:

  • The Angel’s visit to Mary to inform her of her virgin pregnancy (Luke 1:26-38)
  • Mary’s trip to visit Zechariah and Elizabeth while pregnant (Luke 1:39-45)
  • Mary’s response to this news in song (Luke 1:46-55)
  • The events around the manger (Luke 2:8-20)
  • The story behind the naming of Jesus (Luke 1:31, 2:21)

In all these accounts, Mary opened up the vault of her soul, and probably shared with Luke what she had treasured about the birth of her firstborn son, who was the Firstborn of all creation! (Luke 2:19) In turn, Luke wrote these treasures down and through that natural process, the supernatural revelation of God was preserved for you and me.

This Christmas season at Wildwood Community Church in our worship services, we will be walking through a series of messages (beginning this Sunday, December 3) titled “Mary’s Christmas: Treasuring His birth from her perspective.”  We would love to have you join us!

This weekend, we will be kicking off this series by looking at the Angel’s declaration to Mary that (though a virgin) she would be pregnant with God’s Son.  The Angel’s message was simple, “Mary, the time for God’s salvation is NOW, and YOU are the means by which that salvation will be valeted into the world!”  Mary had to be excited and scared to death with this announcement.  More than 2,000 years later, I think God has a message for us today that is both exciting and scary.  What is that message?  How does it connect with what Mary treasured 2,000 years ago?  Use the natural process of coming to Wildwood Sunday morning in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service to find out what the supernatural message of God is from Luke 1:26-38.  Hope to see you there!

FREE CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL:  I wrote a 25 day devotional guide.  Download all 25 days of the devotional in pdf or ebook format (for free) by clicking here.