Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 20, 2009


Week Three – “No Ordinary Assignment” Matthew 1:18-25

The theme song was very distinctive, "da da da, dadada, da, da, da" and Peter Graves would pull up to remote spot, get out of his car, turn over a stump and find a folder and minature recorder. He would open the folder and remove photos while he listened to the recording. It always began, "Your mission, Mr. Phelps, should you choose to accept it........"
From 1966 until 1973 “Mission Impossible” was a very popular TV Series. It returned in the late – 80’s on TV and then over the next few decades hit the Big Screen in a series of hit movies starring Tom Cruise. In all that time and in both venues, Mr. Phelps never refused an assignment.
That wouldn't have made for a very good episode.

Well, it just so happens that Christmas is an equally impossible mission – if the key players didn’t agree to accept the assignment. Jesus agreed to leave Heaven, Mary said “yes” to the angel and now it was up to Joseph to volunteer for his role.

We have been talking about Joseph this month in our series entitled “No Ordinary Joe”. Joseph was ordinary in everyway except for the three areas we are highlighting:
His Attitude Was Extraordinary:

“I Will Commit”
“I Will Care”
“I Will Contribute”

His Action Was Extraordinary:

OBEDIENCE – Joseph realized that obedience is imperative. God doesn't offer suggestions nor
does he give us options. When He gives assignments He expects obedience.
Joseph also understood that obedience needed to be immediate. Three times God spoke to Joseph and each time he acted immediately. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

This morning we will take one more look at what made Joseph extraordinary. This time it was his assignment from God that was delivered to him in a dream by an angel. Here is the assignment – His mission should he accept it:

“Forget About Everything YOU Want To Do”

“Do Everything I Want You To Do”

“And You Won’t Get Much Notice For It”

You say, “Brad, where does it say that in the Bible?”

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:18-25


It is! It’s tough when you first hear it and even tougher when you think about it!


What did Joseph want to do?

- Marry his sweetheart and enjoy the honeymoon
- Build his business and set aside some money
- Get to Bethlehem, get home and get back to work
- Set up their home and enjoy their new life as newlyweds

God’s plans would not allow him to do any of those things. That IS a tough assignment:


ABRAHAM – “I Want You To Leave Home And Go – But I Won’t Tell You Where”
NOAH – “I Want You To Build A Boat To Save Your Family From A Flood Even Though You Know Nothing About Building Boats And Even Though It Has Never Rained”
MOSES – “I Want You To Lead My People Out Of Egypt Even Though Pharaoh Won’t Like The Idea”
GIDEON – “Take 300 Men And Defeat The Mighty Fearsome Midianites”
JOB – “I Am Going To Allow Everything You Hold Precious To Be Taken From You And You Are Going To Remain Blameless”

God gave Joseph a tough assignment, but He wasn’t the first nor would he be the last. Here is what we know about God’s assignments: He Always Gives God-Sized Assignments To Ordinary Men When He Wanted To Do Something Extraordinary!

How About You? Are You Willing To Surrender Your Dreams And Desires To God? Is There Something You Hold As More Precious Than God?


- Take Mary To Be His Wife But Have No Sex With Her
- Put His Reputation At Risk By Marrying A Pregnant Women Who Was Not Pregnant With His Baby
- Raise A Child That Was Not His
- Live Life On The Run For Several Years

Joseph knew what we sometimes forget, “If you want God to bless you have to say ‘yes’”. God doesn’t bless you on your terms, He blesses you on His terms.

Even Jesus had to surrender to God, “Not my will but yours be done!”

God is not looking for part-time workers. Serving God is not a multiple-choice test.

God Did An Extraordinary Work Through An Ordinary Joe Who Was Willing To Do Everything God Wanted Him To Do.

What Could God Do In Your Life If You Were Willing To Do Whatever He Asked You To Do?


When you think about the Christmas story who do you think of first?

- The Baby Jesus
- Mary His Mother
- Angels
- Shepherds
- Joseph

Joseph was willing to give up everything that HE wanted to do in order to do everything GOD wanted him to do – AND NOT GET MUCH CREDIT.
How many people do you know that are willing to do that? Are you?

Human nature wants the spotlight. We want to be the star of the show and the pats on the back. If you are not careful you can get caught up in doing the right thing – serving God – for the wrong reason – personal affirmation.

Are you serving God for the right reason! Are you motivated by His glory – or yours? Joseph wasn’t like that! And because he wasn’t – Christmas happened!



Who Would Accept An Assignment Like That? Who Would Take That Deal?

Oh, I don’t know – maybe – JESUS!

Listen to this:

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:1-11

Surely, God doesn’t expect us to do that does He? Sure Sounds Like It To Me!
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
This is the call to discipleship. This is what real worship is about. This is lordship. This is what we are called to.

Is there a point of disobedience in your life? If you have been delaying your obedience you have been disobeying. What could God do through you if you would just obey Him?
Is there something that you are clinging to that keeps you from loving God more or serving Him better? Is there a habit you need to break, a relationship you need to end, or a commitment you need to make in order to please God? Are you missing God's best because you won't surrender to Him?
Could God do more for you or through you if you didn't worry about getting the credit?
Joseph had a difficult assignment. He accepted it and God did something miraculous through him. God did the impossible through the average who did the exceptional.
God can do something like that for you if you can do something like that for Him!

December 19, 2009

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

What would be your perfect gift? A gift that is practical, a gift that is enjoyable, a gift that is helpful, and a gift that is valuable. Is there such a gift?

I don't know about your world but in mine I usually have to choose between what I really WANT and really NEED. What I WANT is a new set of wedges for my golf club set. What I NEED is stuff like socks, underwear and pj's. Guess which I will get? I hope you have better luck!

So, is there a gift that gives you what you need as well as what you want? There most definitely is!
Where would you find such a gift?

You only have to look as far as your Christmas catalog, otherwise known as the Bible!

The perfect gift has been given by, none other than - God! Who else?

And what is that gift? Rather, WHO is that gift?

It is the gift of His Son, Jesus, the second person of the trinity.

Here are four reasons why this is the Gift that is both what you need and what you want:

First, in this complex and confusion maze called life, we need counsel and guidance. Isaiah tells us this Gift is a Wonderful Counselor! When you have this Gift you have all the wisdom, and the insight and the discernment to know which path to take, which choice to make and the fine line between what is good and what is best! WHAT A GIFT!

Second, God created us with a need for Him. In the very core of our being is a God-shaped void. Until you find that missing piece you feel incomplete. You know something is missing but may not be sure what it is. The Gift IS God! Receiving Him connects us spiritually with God and gives us a personal intimate relationship with Almighty God!

Third, this is the Gift of peace. When you receive the Counselor and the Almighty God, you have peace! When you are at peace with God you find peace with yourself spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Finding peace with God and peace within naturally results in peaceful relationships with others. God blesses peacemakers - and He IS the peacemaker.

The Fourth and final gift of this Gift is that it's affordable! In fact, it is free! This Gift is offered at no cost to you because the price was paid by Jesus on the cross!

If you have been in search of the perfect gift, this is it! Should you be looking for a gift that is both what you WANT and what you NEED - this is that rare combination!

So, you want this Gift. You need this Gift. Why would you not receive this Gift? What is keeping you from taking it?

Or, if you have received this Gift, what is keeping you from sharing it with others?