Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Christmas at Central 2021 | Breaking The Silence | Crescendo | Pastor Cal Jernigan

December 24, 2021 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Christmas at Central 2021 | Breaking The Silence | Crescendo | Pastor Cal Jernigan
Show Notes Transcript

Did you know that you are loved? We have all been through some tough times in the last few years. Join Pastor Cal Jernigan as he shows us why the Christmas story means that you are loved and not alone. Jesus didn’t come down to live in a royal palace in perfect peace. He came to suffer for you.

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[00:00:00] Well welcome everyone. And Merry Christmas, we are absolutely honored that you have chosen to celebrate this wonderful occasion with us. Hey, my name is Cal Jernigan. I'm the lead pastor here at central and on behalf of all of us, I just want to welcome you now. Look, I'm not certain where you. I don't know if you're experiencing this in one of our worship centers.

[00:00:19] I don't know if you're experiencing this in the comfort of your own home. I don't know where you are, but what I do know for certain is that we're delighted that you've chosen to celebrate this event with us. Well, by now, you've probably figured out that we're not recording this and the church building we're actually in the Mesa art center.

[00:00:36] This is a beautiful, beautiful building. You know, it was designed really with one purpose in mind. Now, look, there's hundreds and hundreds of seats in this building and there's multiple balconies, but there's one reason this building was built. And that was to give the person who's here and experience specifically an experience in sound so that you would hear and, and be able to literally just take in the purest sound possible.

[00:01:03] And, uh, we're here today for this occasion. Because, well, it's kind of has to do with our Christmas theme. I say our Christmas thing because, well, I honestly, I can't help, but think about Christmas whenever I'm in this building. There's a number of reasons for that. I, I have personally experienced numerous Christmas shows in this building, in these very seats, but also.

[00:01:26] Uh, just when I think about Christmas, I think about sounds now let me back up. There's lots of things other than sounds. I think of when I think about, you know, things you see, you know, lights and candles and trees and things, you smell like fresh cut pine and cinnamon and food cooking, and things should taste like Turkey and ham and beets and fruit logs.

[00:01:49] Just get about the fruit logs, but there's no way you can get around the reality that Christmas is about south. I think about it. You know, we certainly, we would talk about Christmas carols and, and sleigh bells ringing, or just bells ringing. And he could talk about fires, crackling and children giggling and, and all kinds of packages being torn, open the sounds of oohs and AHS.

[00:02:12] And, and like in our house, you'll hear the expression. I love it. I love it. You, uh, everyone says that about everything, whether they hate it or not. I love it. Uh, maybe it's just a sound. Uh, kind of like a teaspoon clink on, on the side of, of a cup of hot chocolate, uh, of people saying Merry Christmas, Christmas is all about sounds.

[00:02:32] Now I don't know how much you know about music, but one of the, I think fantastic things about music and I'm not a musician, but I've studied this a little bit. Is it? Music is a very precise language. There is a mathematical precision to music that's absolutely mind blowing. And so we talk about the third, the fifth and the seventh and whatnot.

[00:02:51] Numbers and music go together and people who know music just realize that there's just a language you speak when you speak music. And, and there's all kinds of terms that you never hear, uh, otherwise like R G Sumo and lintel and Largo and Allegro and prestisimo, and don't ask me what those terms for me, because I really honestly don't know, but I know that people who know music.

[00:03:14] There is a language to music, but there's one word that comes from music that is very, very relevant to our Christmas theme. And that is the word crescendo crescendo. Now crescendo is the idea. Musically speaking, as you build, it gets louder and louder and louder, and then it hits that absolute apex. And, uh, that is the crescendo.

[00:03:36] And the reason we've chosen Christian. Is that Christmas is so much a part of the Magnum Opus of God. Now the Magnum Opus is the masterpiece of somebody, their greatest work. Now I would explain it this way. Christmas is not the Magnum Opus of God. It's the beginning of the Magnum Opus. The Magnum Opus is Easter, but because what happened at Easter with a resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the absolute highlight of all of history.

[00:04:04] But you can't have a resurrection until you have. An incarnation until you have a birth. So Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It, it comes from the ancient Christ, mass, uh, where the church would gather in with celebrate the event of the birth of Jesus. And, you know, Christmas is about the incarnation.

[00:04:24] God becoming. God becoming one of us that literally he took on flesh and bones and he walked among us and you can ask yourself all kinds of questions is why did he do that? And we'll get to that in just a little bit. But the reality of it is that is what we are celebrating. Now we've chosen the theme crescendo beat because as we've talked about in our church over the last month, it's really from silence to celebrate.

[00:04:49] AC, it started with 400 years where, and God didn't say anything. It was just 400 years of silence, just from the book of Malakai to the book of Matthew. And it was just like, where did God go? And then slowly God began to speak. He spoke through a well Elizabeth and, and, and Zacharias and, and then, and then John, the Baptist could became as the forerunner of Christ.

[00:05:08] And then he spoke to Mary and he smoked to Joseph and. On this particular night that we're celebrating, uh, man, the loud, the crescendo just came on and I'm going to show you that in just a moment, but it's all about sound. It's all about the experience. And so we are absolutely delighted that you're with us now.

[00:05:26] Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to just sit here for a few moments and enjoy the orchestra that's in front of me, but I'm going to invite you to stand up and wherever you are, uh, you know, Christmas is about this joyful song of celebration and we're going to sing the songs together. We're going to celebrate.

[00:05:42] And so I'm going to turn this over to your worship pastor on the campus you're on. And then I'm going to, like I said, I'm going to watch these guys just a few, few more moments, and then I'm going to join back up with you, but let's just, let's just put the season to sound. As we celebrate with some Christmas, Carol.

[00:05:58] Wow. So this is what it looks like from up here. I've got to tell you something. I have watched so many people from that side, their view, like I like the people I've seen in concert here, like David, cause I've seen David cause Christmas program many, many times, but Vince Gill and Leanne rhymes and Paul Potts and Gloria Esteban and Chris cross they've stood right where I'm standing and they have such an incredible.

[00:06:25] So much more interesting and intriguing, then what we see when we're sitting in the seats, actually watching them, which gives me a crazy idea. Hey, Hey crew, can we let's just turn this thing around. Hey let's so what I'm going to do is I'm going to let you see what I just saw for the rest of these moments of our message so that you can experience this backdrop.

[00:06:49] So, uh, if you would go ahead and bring me my iPad. Thank you. And also, can we get the table and our Christmas candle out here? And we'll just do the rest of the message this way. You know, I was thinking about this, you know, crazy ideas are just on my mind. Uh, time magazine recently had the 50 craziest inventions ever created.

[00:07:10] Uh, they, they listed them and it's fascinating because everyone one. Uh, literally these inventions came from a crazy idea that somebody had and then they tried to commercialize it. And, uh, again, there were 50 of them on the list. I don't have time to show you 50, but let me just talk to you about a few of these.

[00:07:28] And perhaps you've heard of these, most of these have just kind of, you know, fallen off into oblivion and you've never heard of them, but one of them was called smell of. Smell-o-vision okay. And so literally what it was was just the idea that whatever you're seeing you should be able to smell at the same time.

[00:07:45] And so they created a machine that would actually dispense odors into the air that would match the visual that you were actually seeing on the, on the screen. I thought that was hilarious. A second invention was called hunter. a hundred. Gar is a blend between honey and apple cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar by itself.

[00:08:05] I can never imagine drinking it, put a little honey in it and trying to market it. Uh, that was a horrible idea that that crashed a couple of these. In fact, I look these up they're actual videos where they were pitching the idea. And these videos are just so funny instead of me just trying to describe, I'll just show you as they tried to sell you the idea, like for instance, the somebody created what was called the hula chair.

[00:08:29] And as you watch the video, they just talk about like the incredible merits, uh, of, uh, of a hula chair. Watch, watch this Hawaiian chair while answering phones, using the computer balancing books or filing paperwork. It takes the work out of your work. And then there was the, um, the electric face mask facial mask.

[00:08:53] Okay. And again, I don't know how this would work, but they actually convinced women to put this mask on and to shoot an electrical charge through their face. Watch this, you can get the idea of what doing eight setups a second would do for your stomach. You have an idea of what rejuvenate could do for you.

[00:09:10] Well, the point of showing you those, as simply to say this, you know, crazy ideas, uh, lead to crazy inventions. And when you see a crazy idea, you have to come up, you have to come to the question who came up with that idea. And the reason I'm thinking about this right now, when it comes to Christmas, is that when you really look at the Christmas story, it can seem like a crazy idea and you can scratch your head and go, who came up with this idea?

[00:09:35] Uh, it's from the perspective of how you look at it, though, it starts to, you see it a little bit differently. Like for instance, come on, God is going to become a human being. God's going to become a person God's going to be. Well, one of us and he's going to walk on the earth and then he's going to die on a cross.

[00:09:51] You can look at that and it can sound totally absurd. And many people will look any further at it than just that little basic storyline as go. That's just not even plausible. But if you would think about it from a different perspective and you were actually thinking about it from the perspective of God, Then all of a sudden that might not look as crazy as it wants.

[00:10:13] Did I want to just point out something that you might or might not have realized, but the Bible is one story from beginning to end. It's literally the love story of God for us. It's it's how far God will go to keep up. Uh, from ourselves from literally the way that we all have a tendency to ruin our own lives.

[00:10:34] And, and it's interesting because it starts with what we know is the old Testament. And the old Testament of course, is built on the laws that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai called the 10 commandments. And most of us are familiar with the 10 commandments, even though we might not really understand, like, what was the point?

[00:10:50] The point of the 10 commandments was. Like, this is the list of 10 things do this. And don't do that. If you do this consistently and you don't do that consistently, then you're going to be free and right with God and everything's going to be good. The problem is the 10 commandments were never given with the idea that you're going to be able to keep.

[00:11:09] And this is, what's so hard for us to understand. We want a list of do's and don'ts and the idea being, if I can just do this, then I, I know that God, I'm good with God and he's going to set me, uh, set me free and I'm going to get to go to heaven. The point of the 10 commandments is not to convince you how good you are, but to help you to understand that you're not.

[00:11:29] And you go, what difference does that make? It's a huge difference when you start to understand that God wants you to realize you're not good. Then you start to realize what he wants to do for you. And his goodness is going to come literally to your rescue. The 10 commands were to convince you, you need help.

[00:11:46] You need God. And that is a wonderful, wonderful message. But so many of us, we don't even get that far in Galatians chapter four. It says this now listen. Galatians four verses four and five. But when the set time had fully come, when God's plan and the old Testament had run its course, the set time had fully come.

[00:12:09] God sent his son born of a woman born under the law, the old Testament law born under the law to redeem those under the law that we might receive adoption. Sunchoke the good news becomes good news. The Christmas story is great news because we start to realize how desperate we are to need help. I need help.

[00:12:34] I cannot be the person God wants me to be without his help. And God didn't expect you to be. And that is absolutely great news. Now, as I've already said, our theme is crescendo. Crescendo is, is the high point of the music. It's it's it's as it peaks. Okay. And what I want to do right now is I want to just walk you through one path.

[00:12:55] Yeah. In the Bible that has to do with the birth of Christ. The story of the birth of Christ is recorded really in detail in Matthew and in Luke. These are two of the biographers of Jesus. Matthew tells us from his perspective, Luke tells us from his perspective, what we know about Christmas, what we know about the narrative is we combine these two stories together.

[00:13:14] Kind of, uh, uh, the, the kinda like the whole story. And that's what we've been talking about for the last month. But right now I want to take you to one section in the gospel of Luke that I just think illustrates. So clearly what's actually happening and you're going to see the idea of crescendo here.

[00:13:30] Let me start with this. I'm going to take you to Luke chapter two, verses four through seven. Let me just read to you what it says. All right. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and the line of David. Now, he went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

[00:13:55] And while they were. The time came for the baby to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. Now, this is a story that many of us are familiar with and you probably have an image of this in your mind.

[00:14:15] And it sounds like such a warm, kind of a hospitable story. That just truth of the matter is it's a bit tragic because here's a woman who's about to give birth and nobody will give her. Nobody will give her space. And so they improvise. They have to go. They find a barn it's obviously for animals and a, this birth is going to take place in this barn.

[00:14:35] It's nostalgic in so many of our minds, a manger as a feeding troth. So this baby is born. They, they wrap him in claws, whatever they have and they place them in this feeding trough. Now I want you to stop and think about this. A mom, a dad. Now my guess is the mom was relatively quiet and the dad was relatively quiet, but there was a baby there.

[00:14:56] Can I just say you cannot miss the sound of a baby? Whenever there's a baby. There's one thing that a baby is a master at one thing that we always associate babies with one thing, what is it? It's crying. So I want you to picture this evening, however, quiet. However, still however solemn this evening was, I want you to imagine there's a baby that was just born.

[00:15:18] And I want to suggest to you that contrary to the contrary to the Carol away in a manger. Let me read to you the words that catalog. Poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying. He makes really, you really think that's how that went. Listen, the quiet, the silence was broken by the sound of a piercing babies cry, and that cry was Jesus coming into this world.

[00:15:46] Just like you cried. Like I cried when we were first born because that's what babies do. So the silence is shot. Okay, the noise is starting to the crescendo begins now with the sound of a baby. Let me take the story a little bit further. And Luke chapter two, verses eight to 12, I'm just continuing on in the new.

[00:16:06] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified, but the angel said to them do not be afraid. I bring you good news. That will cause great joy for all.

[00:16:25] Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah. The Lord. This will be assigned to you. You will find a baby wrapped in claws, lying in a manger. Okay. So the silence was broken by the crying of a baby. And then there were shepherds out in the fields, tending their flocks, which they did every other night of the year.

[00:16:48] And all of a sudden an angel appeared and literally of the glory of the Lord shown around this angel literally probably shown around all the shepherds in you. Just for a moment, you have to go there and you have to imagine like, what is this? Some kind of an alien encounter, like what's happening. These shepherds are terrible.

[00:17:04] As they should be as you and I would be. They're absolutely taken back by the scene and this angel, okay. It's not a baby crime, but now it's an angel from heaven beginning to declare a message. And this angel says very clearly something significant just happened. And I believe he pointed up to the city of Bethlehem.

[00:17:23] If you've ever been to is if you've been to Israel you've ever been to Bethlehem, these fields just kind of, you know, so nothing was kind of like on a hill and then the Hills kind of descend down and these shippers are down there. And I think the angels just pointed up the hill and said right up there, right up there, uh, this baby has been born and, uh, and the announcement is.

[00:17:43] And so you start to hear the noise going louder and, and, and, and they're taking it all in. And they're beginning to ask themselves, what do we do? And the angel made it very, very clear what you're looking for. Go to that town, find the baby, you can hear the baby cry and find the baby. So they go up and they, they search.

[00:18:00] Let me take it a little bit further. Uh, and by the way, the angel said, this is an occasion of grief. This is an occasion of great joy. When you think about the birth of Jesus, if it doesn't bring you great joy, I don't know what message you're listening to, but the angels' message was very, very clear. When you understand what's happening here, you should be overjoyed, but we're not quite done yet.

[00:18:23] All right, you go a little bit further. Luke chapter two, verses 13 and 14, the angel makes the announcement and then suddenly, suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the. Praising God and saying glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth. Peace on those on whom his favor rests.

[00:18:40] Wait, what just happen? This thing just escalated further. It's crescendoing so it was a baby crying and then it was an angel announcing. And now there's an inquire. There's an entire choir, a chorus of angels, a host of angels, and they're all singing and they're singing this refrain. It'll glory to God in the highest.

[00:18:58] Oh my gosh. Can you imagine. And, and, and, and this gift has been given this, just go up the hill, just go find them, go see who benefits from this, those on whom his favor rests. Who is that? Those who open their hearts and their minds to him to receive him. Okay. Are we done yet? Have we crescendoed yet? No, not quite yet.

[00:19:19] Not quite yet. Look at the next verses 15 to 30. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, okay, now they're talking, let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and they found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the main.

[00:19:42] When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherd said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and ponder them in her heart. The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God. All the things they had heard and seen, which were Jenise has, they had been told.

[00:20:02] Here's what I want you to understand. The shepherds are told to go check this thing out. Now they didn't have to do that. They could have said, you know what? It's not a big deal. Could you imagine the remorse and the regret, the shepherds would have felt if they never even bothered. And then later learned that right there on that very evening, you could have been an eye witness to the birth of the savior, but you didn't bother to check it out yourself, but they didn't do that.

[00:20:24] They did go. And when they found this baby and they found the mom and the dad and everything was, as the angels had declared, they could not take it in. It was so incredible. And what I find fascinating because the crescendo of it is of it all. Is this, go tell it on the mountain, literally go tell everyone you've ever heard.

[00:20:44] Uh, everyone you've ever seen what? You just heard, what you just saw, what you just. This is what people don't understand about those of us who love Jesus. If I love Jesus, I can't keep this story to myself. If I love Jesus. And I believe that what Jesus did for me is, is straight from God. And I keep that quiet.

[00:21:03] I keep that secret. I keep it moment and keep it, you know, sh don't tell anyone that'd be the worst possible outcome for me personally. I was given a message so that I could declare it for others. So just as somebody took the time to tell me, I can take the time to tell somebody else, this is what Christians do.

[00:21:21] They, they do what the shepherds. They told everyone. They could tell that when you find something, when you experience something, when you discover something and it radically transformed your life, you never keep that a secret. You share it. And, and that's what the shepherds did. And that's what Christians do.

[00:21:39] It's the crescendo. It's the. Th th th God did what God did. And then we get a chance to tell everyone about that. Now, I don't know if you've been told, I don't know how many times you've been told. I don't know if the telling of you has changed your life. I don't know that you've heard the message yet. I don't know, but what I do know is God did what God did, and it seemed like such a crazy foolish just off the wall idea at the time.

[00:22:06] But I want you to think about something. Okay. From our perspective. Now it makes so much sense. You got to realize the very first shepherds that heard this had no idea. They don't have the advantage of history. They don't have the vantage point of time that we have, they literally heard these, these this message and they had to act on it or not act on it.

[00:22:27] As we know, they acted on it and they went and they checked it. And as soon as they checked it out, it just started, you know, things began to change and some really cool things started to happen. The hard part of all of this story is why would God do this? Okay. Now, again, we're talking perspective from whose vantage point.

[00:22:48] Like for me, if, if, if I'm candid and if I'm just fully vulnerable with you, if I was in heaven, And experiencing all that I know of heaven. I'm not sure I could be convinced to walk away from that just because you needed help. I would love to tell you I would do it in a heartbeat, but I, in my heart, I don't know that I would.

[00:23:11] What is so incredible about this story is that Jesus left the comfort of heaven to literally take on the limitations that you and I live with every day. You got to ask yourself the question again, why would he do. And, and what you start to discover is is that if Jesus wouldn't do that, you and I would never have a chance to go to heaven because the 10 commandments taught us.

[00:23:35] We're not good enough and we need God's help. So God came to help. That's what he came to do. Now, again, if I think about myself, gosh, Put myself in that place. Could I take away all the comfort of my life? Just for the sake of helping somebody? I would love to say yes. I just really don't know. What I do know is so remarkable why I want to tell you about Jesus's.

[00:24:00] I know he did. He literally left the right hand of God to come and become one of us. And then I would think about, gosh, well, if I did that, you know, how much would I cheat the story? Because I had the ability to cheat the story I'm going to come, but I'm not going to come as a. I'm not going to come as a B I don't, I'm not going to do any crying.

[00:24:20] All right. We're not doing, and we're not doing any diapers, just so we're and I'm not doing diaper rash. I am skipping all of that. You can get all that out of the story, but how much more would you cheat? The story? Jesus was a kid. Uh, Jesus was a teenage. Oh, okay. Well, I'll be a team, but I'm not having acne and I'm not going to do braces and I'm not gonna have a breakup.

[00:24:43] Did he have, did he fail his driver's license test? I mean, how much does Jesus cheat the story? And here's the answer. He didn't cheat it at all. Everything that you and I go through, he went through except he didn't succumb to sin. And that's where he, that's what made him different. That's what qualified him to be our sacrifice in our place.

[00:25:07] Now, again, that's the Easter story and we'll get to Easter soon enough, but you can't have an Easter until you have a birthday of an incarnation of, of Jesus coming. I want to say this too, about the story. If, if I were God, I'm not sure. I would allow myself to go through the death that Jesus went through the harshness of what they did to him.

[00:25:29] But I just reiterate the fact that God did all of this for us is what's the Jesus to all those forces was utterly remarkable. I want to read to you from a fourth, uh, the writings of a fourth century martyr, uh, his name is Theodosius of Ankara and he wrote something that I think is still all of these centuries later.

[00:25:49] So profound, the Lord of all comes as a slave amidst pop. Choosing for his birthplace, an unknown village in a remote province. He is born of a poor maiden and accepts all that poverty implies for. He hopes by stealth to ensnare and save us. If he had been born to high rank and emits luxury unbelievers would have said that he had been transformed by wealth.

[00:26:16] If he had. Uh, chosen as his birthplace, the great city of Rome, they would have said that transformation has been brought about by, by civil power suppose that he had been the son of an emperor, they would have said how useful it is to be powerful. I imagine him, the son of a Senator, uh, it would have been said, look, look what can be accomplished by legislation, but in fact, uh, what did he do?

[00:26:46] He chose surroundings that were poor and simple, so ordinary as to be almost unnoticed so that people would know that it was the Godhead alone that had changed the world. This was his reason for choosing his mother from among the poor of a very poor country and for becoming poor. You see from God's perspective, the greatest way to catch your attention.

[00:27:11] The greatest way to catch my attention is not to come in way above you, but literally they come in among you. And that's what we celebrate. And the hardest thing for us to realize is that the story of Christmas is the story of how far God will go to communicate his love for her. And then we have to respond.

[00:27:32] Now I want to read one more scripture. Actually. I want to read two more scriptures, but I want to cut. I want to put this in context, Hebrews four, 15 and 16 says something I think is very, very important for, we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are.

[00:27:52] Yes, he did not sin. Let us in approach God's throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. You see, I told you about times crazy ideas. All right. I want you to understand something. Every crazy idea was conceived in the mind of somebody. When God conceives an idea, though, he delivers on it.

[00:28:18] And that is why we celebrate that. God came up with this idea to become one of us, to walk among us so that we could never look at him and say, you don't understand. He will always be able to understand what we're going through because of what he experienced. I want to put something else in context, he came the first.

[00:28:37] He came the first time. And he came in a way that nobody was expecting him. He, he came and, and they wanted a king and they wanted a conquer. They wanted a Messiah who was a military general and he came and he said, no, this is who I am. And he tried to get us to see life from his personal. I want you to understand something, uh, Jesus, before he left, made it very, very clear.

[00:29:00] He's coming again. He's going to return. And I believe this with all my heart now, when's he going to return? How's he going to return those? We can, we can talk about all that, but Jesus Christ, just as God fulfilled his promise the first time, and literally the crescendo happened, the greatest crescendo of all time.

[00:29:20] Is going to be the return of Jesus Christ. So you got a crescendo at his birth. You got a greater crescendo at his resurrection. The greatest crescendo of all is coming when he returns. And the question that you and I have to simply wrestle with is, are we, are we ready for that? And here's what I want to tell you.

[00:29:37] This Christmas, you can be ready because the minute you open up your heart to Jesus, Jesus will literally receive you. And I hope that you'll do that this year. And I hope that you understand how deeply loved you are. And I hope you understand why God would do this. And I hope that you could turn the lens around, see it from God's perspective.

[00:29:54] What would God have to do to convince a person like you. That he loves you as much as he loves you. And I think in the Christmas story, you're going to discover the answer to that. If you'll simply take a moment and look at it. First, John four nine through 11 says, this is how God showed his love among us.

[00:30:12] He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love, catch it. Not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. That's the story of Christmas. This is how far God will go to tell you how much he loves you now. Do you see it?

[00:30:34] Do you understand it? I don't know. I don't know, but I hope you do in our church every Christmas we do something and we're going to lead into that moment right now. It's it's not about sound. It's about sight it, you know, all the sounds of Christmas, uh, you know, crescendo, but there a. There's an beautiful, uh, experience of a crescendo of sight and it has to do with our candle lighting service.

[00:31:00] And so what we do every year, We light a candle and the candle represents the life of Jesus coming into the world and, and literally, uh, and then the, the message begins to spread because what we do is we like this candle and then we light this candle and that candle, and it's just like the candle you were handed.

[00:31:18] And then we pass it around and you see. As it spreads and it grows and it builds in, it's a beautiful, beautiful picture of the story. You know, it's fascinating as beautiful as this place is, they won't let me light the candle in this building. They won't let me light the candle. And I think, you know, what, how interesting is this?

[00:31:39] You know what, in our campus, on our campuses and our worship center in your home, you can't keep Jesus out. I can't leave the candle here. He's not allowed in this building, but he's allowed in our churches and he's allowed in, in your home. And guess what? When you light this candle, Uh, you understand this.

[00:31:56] If you get the message and it gets to you, then you realize that you have something to pass along, go tell it on the mountain and go share it everywhere you go. So I can't like this candle. So I'm going to kick this back to our campus, pastors on each of our campuses, they'll light the candle in the room because we can do that in our church.

[00:32:12] Amen. Amen. Hey, Merry Christmas church who love you.