What a great day yesterday @ The Ridge! We kicked off our Christmas series YOUR Christmas Carol and it was awesome!
We began this series talking about the Spirit of the Past. Before the birth of Christ, there was a period of 483 years of silence from God. Between the last of the prophets and the final recorded events in the Old Testament, and the time when God spoke to Zechariah regarding the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, the people of Israel heard nothing from God. All they had in these silent years was the promises of the Messiah to hold onto. Yet we know that a promise isn’t a promise if it doesn’t happen. A prophecy isn’t from God if it doesn’t come true.
In prophecy there is promise and fulfillment
- at least 65 major prophesies of the Messiah in OT and over 270 more references or indications of Christ – all fulfilled in Jesus
- what happens between promise and fulfillment? faith and obedience
When things seem dark and God seems silent and it feels like God’s forgotten His promise…keep trusting…keep doing the last thing God told you to do…stay faithful…
When you see things dark, many times in scripture it is followed by a “But God…” when we read that we know that God is about to step in. The game is about to change. A major contrast is about to happen.
What kind of “But God” moment are you in need of?
What do we do between the promise and the fulfillment? Faith…obedience…you continue to live every day as if He is present even when you can’t see any evidence of His presence or activity. Why? 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 gives us a clue:
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
“But God…” never operates on our agenda…Don’t leave before the end of the game. What God is doing inwardly is HUGE in our lives. He isn’t doing anything temporary, He is all about doing things in and through us that will last….forever!
The ultimate “But God…” moment came in the birth of the Messiah. When the people of Israel had been in darkness and silence for so long, many thought that Messiah would never come, still many more were faithful and obedient, trusting in the promises of God. Then, He came!I love this quote from Henry Blackaby:
“The silence of God means that He is ready to bring into my life a greater revelation of Himself than I have ever known.”
This is what God did in Jesus. This is why Christmas is important. The Lord’s work in the past, shows His faithfulness in the present and future.
Here’s The Thing…during all of these times…While the voice of God may have been silent, the hand of God was still active.
Are you living with your eyes on the circumstances in the present? Have you grown weary and felt like God just wasn’t gonna follow through? Remember the promises of the past…He is the Deliverer…the Redeemer…In Him there is Hope. Will you look to Him? Will you trust His hand even when you can’t hear his voice?
The Band rocked a very cool acoustic vibe with some awesome songs including THIS ONE, which is fast becoming one of my favorite Christmas songs. The rest of the Creative Arts & Tech Teams did a superb job of staging, decorating and lighting. The environment was great.
We also had special guests from the Celebration Dance Company who put a fantastic exclamation point on the end of the message with a very moving interpretation of Rich Mullins’ My Deliverer. Thanks to Mrs. Kari Carter and her team (which includes my 16 yr. old daughter) for coming out and being a part of a great worship gathering.
Many people responded by saying, “Yes, I need a ‘But God’ moment right now in my life.” It was powerful, I think, when many others just went and put hands on these people and prayed for them. That’s what the Church should do. I encourage you to reach out this Christmas…and all the time…and touch someone with the love of Christ.
No matter what you are facing, “But God…is bigger!”
Don’t miss next Sunday as we continue with the Spirit Of The Present! We’ll also be giving The Gift next week. Pray about what your family will give this Christmas.
As a footnote, our staff went out together last night for a Christmas get-together. It was great! I love this team that God has assembled. I am proud to serve alongside these fantastic people, who love the Lord and are passionate about the Church and who are Great Commission minded. Thank you to these guys who took risks to be here and who work hard every day to see the vision God has for The Ridge come to fruition.
This Friday, we will be loving on our volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation Progressive Christmas Party. I love our volunteers @ The Ridge! You all are the heart and soul of this ministry. Don’t miss this special night. It’s probably gonna be crazy trying to fit everyone into our homes, but it’ll be fun!
Speaking of volunteers, major props to all of you who volunteered at Kroger Saturday! Awesome canned food drive for Warehouse of Hope! well over 600 items donated and $112 in cash was given be people int he community too! We handed out over 500 flyers and invites to The Ridge as well. Jeff and Angie Pruet ROCK! They organized the volunteers and took care of all the logistics…even when things kinda tried to unravel, they just pulled it together. Great job! All of these volunteers get it when it comes to reaching out to the community! God is gonna use your efforts to be a blessing to others this Christmas. Thanks for being the Church!