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Latest Blog Posts in December 2016

Holidaze: Amazed By Light - Friday

Posted on Fri, Dec 30, 2016

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:12-14
 
New Year’s is coming. The ball will drop and we’ll dance and kiss. We’ll take in the fresh air of 2017 and decide to start over. We’ll make our resolutions to be good, better, thinner, faster, more punctual and less frustrated. 
 
But before all of that, would you stop and look at the Light of the World? The one who has come and says, “I am making all things new.” Fully man and fully God. All in this little baby born to a virgin in a filthy stable in Bethlehem. The One whose message turns the whole world upside down. Through Him God pulls the mighty from their thrones and exalts the lowly. He gives the hungry their fill and sends the rich away empty handed. He is the one who walks on water, turns water into wine, eats with sinners, and lifts the heads of the poor. The One who ultimately gives His life so that you and I can have ours. This little one has come. The only true Light in our dark world. 
 
So maybe this year we should forget the petty resolutions and make this our only resolution: to truly live in the Light of Christ. To allow His light to shine in and through us. To expose the dark, be thankful in the hard circumstances, and to invite, make safe, connect, and unite. 
 
  • What does that look like for you to be the light of Christ? What is He calling you to? Write it down. Say yes. Don’t wait any longer to walk in His Light!

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Holidaze: Amazed By Light - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2016

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5 (NLT)
 
The saddest part about Christmas for me is when the decorations come down. I love the smell of pine and having a live tree in the house, covered with ornaments and sparkling lights. I love driving around neighborhoods and seeing all of the lights on people’s houses that just naturally extend an invitation, “Come and see!” 
 
One of my favorite memories of Christmas is from when Reid and I first got married. After Christmas dinner with his family, instead of passing out on the couch in a food coma, we decided to walk the neighborhood and take in the lights. One street over we were met with a full cul-de-sac of bright shining lit archways over the sidewalks. I have this specific moment burned into my brain. We were walking through the arches, all together as a family. No one was saying anything. We were all just taking it in. Cold breath visible. Warm smiles. Feeling safe and connected. United. It was as if we had all been invited to this special moment together. 
 
On any normal day, you wouldn’t just go walking in the dark around a neighborhood. But there is something about Christmas lights that makes you feel safe. Invited. Connected. Isn’t it funny that we have this nostalgic tradition that is actually deeply connected to the story of the birth of Christ? The Light of the World has come. A light in the dark. He comes, inviting, creating a safe place, connecting and uniting us all. And now that very light is in you and me. As the lights of Christmas come down in the coming weeks, don’t forget to continue to extend their invitation to the world around you. “Come and see!” The Light of the World has come!
 
  • So the questions is, who are you inviting? Who needs you to be a safe place for them? Call them today.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Holidaze: Amazed By Light - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Dec 28, 2016

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. John 1:4 (NLT)
 
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. As a kid, I’m not sure that I fully understood what I was singing. Or the very real ways that Satan would try to “hooph!” out my little light. The truth is, life is hard. And even children’s songs portray that reality. 
 
To be honest, my husband and I have just recently been through a pretty tough season of loss. And I have felt my light grow dim. I have felt the hot breath of the enemy threatening to puff it out altogether. But the funny thing is, God meets us in our lowest of places. I was reading a devotional a few weeks ago and came across a truth that I really needed. It said, “When we give God our thanks (despite our feelings), He gives us Joy (despite our circumstances).”  So in my pain, I decided to do exactly what that little devo suggested. I began to make a list of all the hard things that had happened recently, and I thanked God for them. Specifically, by name and pain. And in the middle of my list making, the Lord began flooding my heart with the truth of how He had used my suffering. Truths like: My relationship with my husband is stronger and sweeter than ever; we had to take care of each other in ways we had never imagined in this season. My ability to empathize with others has grown. And my appreciation for God’s sacrifice of His son is deeper today than ever before. God gave me joy… despite my circumstances. 
 
There is always something happening in life that’s trying to puff your little light out. But choosing to be thankful for the hard things is the sure way to keep on singing. 
 
  • Make a list today of the hardest things from 2016. Thank the Lord for them, and expect His incredible joy to follow. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Holidaze: Amazed By Light - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Dec 27, 2016

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.  John 1:10-11 (NLT)
 
Light exposes dark. The early sweet pictures of Luke and John quickly turn into hard realities because the light reveals what is in the dark. The truth is, the peaceful picture of a tiny baby born in a manger quickly turns into a family running away in the dark of the night to seek safety in a town they barely know. It turns into many other baby boys being killed en masse by Herod. And it turns into a lifetime of rejection and suffering for this tiny, perfect newborn babe. The light of His birth quickly exposes the dark of the world. 
 
Life with Christ isn’t an easy road. Maybe you’ve spent this season feeling low, because the light of Christ in you is exposing the darkness around you. In his message entitled The Hard Side of Epiphany, Fred Craddock said it like this:
 
This is the crisis of the world, that light has come into the world and people love the darkness. It’s hard to accept that the gospel,
the Good News, has enemies. But the fact that announcing the Good News arouses that enmity is even moredifficult to accept.
But it’s true. What does that mean? It means that the coming of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Good News has aroused
the ugliness of sin and violence in the world
 
Following this long awaited Savior does not mean finding perfect happiness and the end of all suffering here on earth. In fact, it might mean more suffering - because the light exposes the dark. We are at war, light and dark. Pain and suffering are markers in the life of Christ and the life of a Christian. But have hope, little lightbearer. Because as the story goes, this is not the end.
 
  • It’s true that good news has enemies, and that the light exposes what is in the dark. But it’s also true that one day the light will completely overcome the dark, and our present suffering will be no more. Read Revelation 21

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Holidaze: Amazed By Light - Monday

Posted on Mon, Dec 26, 2016

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:9 (NLT)
 
Five days. Monday through Friday. Five days between His birth and the last day of the year. And the next day we make our resolutions to be better. Five days of old crumpled wrapping paper, pj’s, leftovers, and 007 movie marathons. Five slow days before the world becomes all sparkly and champagne filled and the ball drops and we hit the redo button. Five days. To sit in the simple amazement of what is. 
 
I wonder what the first five days were like for Mary and Joseph? Sleep deprived, full of wonder, fear. Could it really be true? This tiny little bundle is going to save the world? Our son, the one we’ve all been waiting for? 
 
I wonder about Mary. A teenager, watching the God of the universe asleep in her arms, fully dependent on her body for food and nourishment. God dependent on me? I wish I could hear the conversations they had in those first five days. Remembering the crazy things they had seen and heard. Angels, stars, random shepherds crowding in to see the one who would be king. And then, finally, it was just them. Mary and Joseph and their tiny newborn babe. I imagine Mary saying, “Joseph… now what?” 
 
And so it is with us. The Light of the World has come. Now what? What if, over the course of the next five days, the last five days of the year, we just stopped and really took in the birth of Christ? Really allowed the Light of the World to shine into the darkness of what has been 2016? It’s not 2017 yet. Before you take on the “do betters” of the new year, let’s bask in the best 2016 has to offer - the birth of our Savior. The Light of the World.
 
  • Slow down today and sit in His presence. Ask God what He wants to teach you in these next five days. Take ten minutes to just sit and listen.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Holidaze: Amazed by Hope - Friday

Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2016

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  (Luke 2:19, NLT)
 
We’re not told much about Mary in Scripture. We don’t know who her parents were, or if she had siblings. We know she was born in Nazareth in Galilee. Beyond that we know very little, other than that she was a virgin who supernaturally became pregnant as a young teenager.
 
I wonder what she thought and said after Gabriel appeared and told her what would happen...  
  • I wonder if her parents thought she was lying.
  • I wonder how she managed her fear.
  • I wonder how her first conversation went with Joseph.
  • I wonder if he was angry or unkind.
  • I wonder if she ever thought about running away.
  • I wonder if she ever cried herself to sleep at night.
When Joseph told her he'd need to take her to Bethlehem, an 85 mile trip late in her pregnancy…
  • I wonder if she was afraid she’d deliver before they arrived.
  • I wonder if anyone other than Joseph encouraged her.
  • I wonder if she was cold.
  • I wonder if she was uncertain about how to pray.
  • I wonder if she ever thought, “This is all a terrible nightmare.”
When they arrived and could find only a stable for lodging…
  • I wonder if she panicked.
  • I wonder if Joseph had to hold her for a long time.
  • I wonder how it felt to lay on the cold ground and go into labor.
  • I wonder if she winced from the pain.
  • I wonder if she wished her mom were with her.
  • I wonder what she said as she delivered God.
I wonder how it felt to place Him in an animal feeding trough… to feel His tiny hand grasp her finger… to look at God’s chubby cheeks… to hear Him cry… to be the first to look into the Creator's eyes… to stroke His forehead… to calm His beating heart with a mother’s embrace.
 
Father, sometimes I wonder about Mary. I thank You for her. I thank You for her faith. And Father… I thank You for her Baby. He changed the world… and me.

Gary Black
Teaching Development Director

Holidaze: Amazed by Hope - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2016

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared… (Luke 2:9, NIV)
 
Ever notice how suddenly the ordinary can become extraordinary? Moses experienced that one morning when he left his tent to go out and push sheep around the back side of the Midian desert. The status and glitter days in Egypt were a distant memory, but on this day, just an  average day in an average place, God showed up in a burning bush and radically redirected his life. Amazing. 
 
Same thing happened to Paul as he galloped on his “high horse” toward Damascus, jaw set and eyes aflame with anger. Who would’ve expected that the Jesus he hated, would physically appear and literally knock him off the horse? Amazing. More of the same with David, Esther, Ruth, Rebecca, and Abraham; all of them experienced unexpected invasions of God that changed everything.
 
But it was in Bethlehem, in a manger, on a clear Judean night, that God painted His greatest, most magnificent masterpiece. He made His first public appearance, not as a celebrity, but as a baby. The star witnesses were barnyard animals, and some lowly shepherds. Angels in the sky sang the first Christmas carols. Kings mounted their horses and galloped westward. Herod paced the floor and worried. Joseph nervously assisted with the delivery. Moments later, Mary looked at God and oohed and aahed as she pondered a boatload of Bible prophecies and promises.
 
Amazing? You bet. The Jewish people wanted a deliverer who would drive a dagger into the heart of Rome. Instead, God sent a chubby little baby who would someday die on the Cross for our sins. Rome would pierce Him, and, in the process, save the world. 
 
The whole deal will forever fascinate me, this whole thing called Christmas. The matchless creativity. The intricate detail. The utter simplicity. Such a perfect picture, even today, of this inexplicable thing called… the love of God. Hush! Shhhhh… can you hear the Baby cry? Listen!  Can you hear God sigh? Can you see Mary beaming, the angels gleaming? Glory to God in the Highest, they said, peace on earth, good will toward men. Amazing. Just Amazing.

Gary Black
Teaching Development Director

Holidaze: Amazed by Hope - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2016

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. (Luke 2:10, NIV)
 
What are you afraid of? Who are you afraid of? I always find those to be interesting discussion questions. Many of us who’ve struggled with fear can easily identify with the shepherds who were terrified when the angel appeared to them in the Bethlehem sheep fields. Indeed, whenever an angel appears in the Bible, people are usually afraid. 
 
The first century was a frightening time for the entire Jewish nation. They lived under a tyrant named Herod who often executed people at will. They were also living under Roman occupation. Their freedom was gone. Every day brought more uncertainty, potential violence and hostility. 
If you’re like me, you may find it  difficult to be joyful when surrounded by sadness, tragedy, and all the scary acts of terrorism in our world, yet the overarching message of the Christmas story is this: “Don’t be afraid!” Why? Because Jesus is here. That means that, in every situation, we can say, “I have Jesus for this.” Aren’t you glad? When I remind myself of this, I find that fear loses much of its grimy grip on my life.  
 
Maybe deep down you fear not being able to do your job. Maybe you fear coming to the end of your life without accomplishing something significant. Maybe you fear a marriage that might not last as long as your parents’ marriage did. Maybe you fear the empty nest after the kids are gone. Some of our fears are obvious; many are hidden, and though others may not know the fears we wrestle with, Jesus knows. He’s aware of all of them and He cares.  
 
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid.” Then he said, “This good news will bring you great joy.”  Perhaps joy is a remedy for fear. Just knowing Jesus... brings comfort, but it also brings joy.
 
He has come! Everything’s going to be okay! Friend, if there’s any better news, I’ve not found it.  Please, don’t be afraid. Merry Christmas.

Gary Black
Teaching Development Director

Holidaze: Amazed by Hope - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2016

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. (Luke 2:16, NIV)
 
Ever search for something? Car keys, wallet, tax forms; just the right gift for someone special? Maybe it was a misplaced school assignment, a lost dog, or a lost child. Searching can be a harrowing experience.  
 
I remember when Saddam Hussein was finally apprehended. The NY Times had a one-word headline: “Captured.” After an eight month “find the needle in a haystack” kind of manhunt, they found him hiding in a dirt hole at a farmhouse ten miles south of his hometown. He offered no resistance. Some suggested he was glad to be found. Life in a spider hole can be pretty miserable, especially when you’re used to a palace.
 
Some years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote a book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. He shares about some neighborhood kids playing hide-and-seek outside his home. One kid was hidden under a pile of leaves for a long time; everyone else had been found and his buddies were about to give up the search. Fulghum writes, “I considered going out to the base and telling the other kids where the boy was hiding. Finally I just raised the window and yelled, ‘Get Found Kid!’”(1)
 
It’s interesting that medieval theologians described God in hide-and-seek terms, calling Him Deus Absconditus (hidden God). Jesus was born into a world that was searching. After 400 years with no word from a Prophet, the Jews desperately wanted a Messiah. But the amazing thing about the Christmas Story is that God wanted to be found. He wanted the shepherds to come to Bethlehem. He wanted the wise men from the east to locate Jesus. He wanted everybody to discover His pride and joy… His boy.
 
He came to our neighborhood, not to play hide and seek, but to make Himself known! Aren’t you glad?  
  • Ask God to lead you to someone this week who is seeking; then without sounding preachy, tell them what Christmas means to you. Tell them God wants to be found.
 (1) Robert Fulghum, All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, p.56. 

Holidaze: Amazed by Hope - Monday

Posted on Mon, Dec 19, 2016

Glory to God in the Highest Heaven... Luke 2:14, NIV
 
When the angels said “Glory to God in the Highest Heaven,” they meant that nothing God had ever done could compare with sending His Son to Earth as the baby Jesus. The Angels’ comment is quite remarkable. I mean, God created the universe, and they were there to watch, but for them, not even Creation compares to Bethlehem. That was their well-informed assessment. 
 
Astronomers tell us that there are about 3 million, trillion stars. That a 3 with 24 zeros after it, an incomprehensible, mind boggling number. Let’s break it down a bit.
  1. A million seconds ago was December 8th (about 11 days ago).  
  2. A billion seconds ago would take us all the way back to 1984, when the first CD player was introduced and the Jedi returned for the first time. 
  3. 96 billion seconds ago is about the time that Jesus was born.
  4. A trillion seconds ago, is about 31,688 years ago. (A million seconds=11 days. A trillion seconds=32,000 years)
Now think about this. Of the 3 million, trillion stars out there, the sun is just one of those stars (and not a very big one), yet it emits the same energy as a trillion megaton bombs… enough energy to run our civilization for another 500,000 years.    
 
Now the angels had seen all that at Creation, but that’s not what they thought was God’s most magnificent deed; the Christmas story was… the Son of God being born in a manger, and later dying on a Cross for our sins. Glory to God in the highest heaven! they said, meaning “For this, He deserves the greatest praise!”
 
Incredible. When He said, Let there be light, millions of galaxies appeared and the Angels surely applauded, but when He said, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11 KJV), the angels gasped. They were breathless, totally undone by the mystery and majesty of the incarnation.    
 
You know something. I am too. How about you? Jesus changes everything

Gary Black
Teaching Development Director

Holidaze: Amazed by Peace - Friday

Posted on Fri, Dec 16, 2016

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet. “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’  Matthew 1:21-23 
 
When I was 20 years old I had the opportunity to live in Israel for a summer. It was a phenomenal experience on many levels! I was able to live with people who were very different from me, I was able to meet Christians from all over the world, and I was able to visit the very places where the events of the Bible actually took place! 
 
One of the most impactful aspects of the entire summer came during a conversation with Azar, an Arab pastor who lived in Nazareth. Azar was a wise man who had a deep love for Jesus. And one morning he shared with me about the severe racial tension that existed between the Jews and the Arabs in Israel, explaining the history, the politics, the economics and the practical implications of it all. After listening to more than two hours of his fascinating insights about the great divide, I asked him, “Is there any hope that there will ever be peace?” He looked me straight in the face, and with tears in his eyes said, “Yes. His name is Jesus.”
 
What a great word of reminder! No matter the division. No matter the country. No matter the history. No matter the pain. No matter the relationship. Jesus is the path to peace. On the cross, Jesus not only paved the way for us to be reconciled with God so we could have peace with our heavenly Father, He paved the way for us to be reconciled with our fellow man so we could have peace with one another.  
  • Is there any relationship in your life where you need to allow Jesus to bring about miraculous peace?
 
 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Holidaze: Amazed by Peace - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:9-11
 
It’s fun to set out on a journey in search of a great experience. In the winter, people like to travel south in search of warm weather. During UK basketball season, people like to travel to watch the Cats play. When a great band is on tour, people like to travel to hear their favorite songs performed live. And ideally, the greater the distance, the greater the reward.  
 
Christmas season is a great time to reflect on the journey of the Magi. When the Magi saw a star which foretold the birth of Israel’s King, they left the comfort of their home (likely in Babylon) and set out on a journey which required them to travel more than 800 miles. A trip like this in the ancient world would have been no small task. This trip would have required a large caravan with attendants and guards. And they would only be able to cover about 20 miles per day, so the trip would have taken almost a month and a half. This journey came at great personal cost, but no doubt it was worth every cent and every minute. 
 
Because the wise men fervently sought after Jesus, they saw Him and were able to worship Him and offer Him gifts. This is the wisest decision anyone could ever make: to set out on a journey to see Jesus, worship Jesus, and offer Jesus the best of what you have. 
  • How fervent is your desire to see Jesus this Christmas? How willing are you to go out of your way to have a dynamic encounter with the newborn King?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Holidaze: Amazed by Peace - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2016

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God...Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.  Luke 1:34-35, 38
 
Sometimes when we find out that God wants something from us that we didn’t initially plan on giving, there is a struggle. 
  • Sometimes we pretend we don’t actually know what God wants and are still uncertain, even though in reality, we know. 
  • Sometimes we justify in our minds why complete obedience wouldn’t really make sense. 
  • Sometimes we look for other people to counsel us in another direction. 
  • Sometimes we try to barter with God toward partial obedience. 
  • Sometimes we drag our feet and wait, thinking that if we can delay long enough, we won’t have to follow through with it. 
There are so many ways of trying to circumvent and get around God’s will, God’s commands, or God’s plans for our life. But the wisest, best, and most honoring thing we can do is simply to surrender. God wants us to be willing servants who are open to doing whatever He asks, who trust Him implicitly and completely. 
 
Mary modeled this in the ultimate way. God’s plan for her life wasn’t easy. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t celebrated by her community. But she was humble and open. Because her ultimate desire was to please the Lord and do His will she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
 
What a perfect model for us in regards to any and every situation in life!
  • In what situation in your life today do you need Mary’s level of openness to the Lord’s plan? Regardless of the specifics, commit to saying:  “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you desire for my life come true.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Holidaze: Amazed by Peace - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2016

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. 1:24-25
 
God wants His people to trust Him enough to obey Him, even if they don’t understand all the details in His plans. 
 
Can you imagine being in Joseph’s position? He was an upright and righteous man who truly desired to honor God in every aspect of his life. The filter for every one of his decisions was likely, “What has God’s word said about this? Whichever path most glorifies God is the path I’ll take.” With that mindset, Joseph became engaged to Mary and began to love her. As a righteous man, he wanted every aspect of their relationship to honor God. Every aspect. They were pure and innocent and honorable in their interactions. Just as every God-centered relationship should be.
 
Then, in what must have been the most crushing news he had ever heard, Joseph found out Mary was pregnant. Can you imagine the emotions? Betrayal. Jealousy. Anger. Pain. It was devastating. But even in that crisis Joseph wanted to do the most God-honoring thing and end the relationship without bringing any shame upon Mary. Most men would want her to be exposed in her sin so that they themselves could be justified. Not Joseph. 
 
Then, when an angel appeared to Joseph and told him everything was from God, Joseph altered his course of action and did everything he was commanded. Joseph married Mary, he maintained purity with her for months until after the child was born, and he named his son Jesus, just as he was instructed. 
 
At every turn and in every decision, whether he entirely understood or not, Joseph obeyed the Lord. And because of his obedience, God was able to use him to bring Jesus--peace incarnate--into the world. 
  • Are you willing to obey the Lord in every aspect of your life? What examples can you point to as proof?
 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Holidaze: Amazed by Peace - Monday

Posted on Mon, Dec 12, 2016

Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Matthew 1:2-3
 
God works in the most unexpected ways, at the most unexpected times, through the most unexpected people. The Bible contains one story after another showing this to be God’s pattern. 
  • God used Abraham, an old man who was married to a barren wife.
  • God used Jacob, a conniving younger brother who would do anything to get ahead. 
  • God used Moses, an exiled murderer who had been shepherding animals in the wilderness for decades.
  • God used Gideon, the lowest ranking member from the lowest ranking clan. 
God has always worked through the least likely of people to accomplish His purposes. And the genealogy in Matthew is the ultimate proof. Matthew’s genealogy highlights Tamar, a widow who dressed up as a prostitute in order to sleep with Judah. It also includes Rahab, the prostitute who helped the Israelites in Jericho and then became a part of  God’s people. It includes adulterers, murderers, thieves and liars. Imperfect people. Broken people. Unlikely people. 
 
It is so common for us to think, “I’ve made too many mistakes for God to use me to do something great.” Or, “I am not smart enough or gifted enough or charismatic enough for God to use me to do something great.” Or, “I am too old for God to use me to do something great.” Such thoughts run in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture. 
 
God brought His Son into the world through people who were unbelievably unqualified. Because it was never about them in the first place! It was about Him. Being used by God isn’t about your competency; it’s about God’s competency. And what God is looking for is availability, willingness and surrender. 
  • Do you believe God can use you to bring the peace of Christ into the world? If so, who do you hope to be able to extend His peace to this holiday season?
 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor


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