Update on Oak Hill - Merging with Grace!
It turns out, the Lord had a different idea in mind - what could be even better. The Grace Fellowship church bought us. We were bought by Grace! [...] I love the turn of phrase.
What this means
Grace is also nondenominational, which I like too. Oak Hill had been "southern baptist" but most of the people going there were of a nondenominational mindset anyway - very open and accepting. I dislike denominations, on the whole. Change to this is just fine by me.
Last Sunday was the last day that we officially met as Oak Hill. Some people are sad, but really, we are all one body, anyway. Nothing is changing - we're just getting bigger! We're just expanding our capacity to serve the Lord! The Grace church is not only paying off the two million, but also spending extra to finish off the upstairs of our building, which was never done. It's a wonderful answer to prayer - just not what we expected. But when does the Lord do something that we expect? Almost never - it's always bigger and better.
Pastor's Message: Luke 2:1-20, "Let's Go and See"
Luke 2:1-20, "2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.'
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 'Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."
This was certainly what happened to Joseph. Mary was pregnant and right at the worst possible time for her to travel, a census was called - Joseph probably could have thought of a lot more convenient times to have a census. And yet, God was not surprised.
When they got to the town of Bethlehem, there was no room for them. Having Mary's baby born in stables was probably not what Joseph had envisioned either or planned. He'd wanted them to have been surrounded by family and friends. Here, they were alone, not even in a warm bed.
Bold faith believes God anyway. He's planned it out and how His kingdom will move into this place. He was not surprised by the census or by the stable birth, even as it says in ...
Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Be careful that you are not the person of the innkeeper. He is often villainized but really, he was just a busy man, trying to do the best by his customers. Sometimes during Christmas we can become terribly busy and easily neglect the people who need us in favor of the details and forget what we are celebrating. Don't miss God's activity because of the busyness of life.
Life does not always work out like we anticipate.
God often wants to move in ways that are unexpected and work in ways that are surprising. God's kingdom is a movement in the lives of those who live Bold Faith.
Angels announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds - marginalized people of the society. (I'd acquaint it with the Lord announcing His birth to hobos or someone similar.) The shepherds watched the sheep, used for ceremonial sacrifices. The Lord was telling them that the Lamb who would take the place of the sheep they were watching had come.
The glory of the Lord doesn't show up very many times in Scripture - this is one of them. After hearing the announcement, the shepherds said, "let's go back to work." No! They went to see what the angel was talking about and they found the baby. As they looked at this manger and baby, they had no idea of the real significance of what they saw, what had just happened or what was about to happen. All they knew was that it was what the angel of the Lord had predicted to them and it was a movement of God. They went out to spread the news. Before Jesus had ever given the great commission, people were already talking about Him.
We choose to join the movement of God's Kingdom or stay on the sidelines.
Bold faith is wiling to join God in His kingdom movement. God is inviting people into it, like He did the shepherds! And Mary and Joseph.
King Herod was ambivalent and apprehensive of this movement (see Matt. 2) - no one likes change. He feared losing what he believed was his to lose. But what he feared to lose was God's anyway. God had just given it to him.
All three of these feelings are present today (at Oak Hill, about merging). But, the status quo has been thrown out the window for us so long anyway. When we don't know what to expect, that can be frightening. Let our heart be like the shepherd's to say, "Let's go and see what God is up to." Let's join Him in it.
Comments and Songs
I feel as if He's told me before that I'm traversing an interlude time of waiting on Him, in which He's strengthening me and teaching me to trust Him better, but I won't have to wait forever. There is an expected end and light at the end of the tunnel. For once, I feel perfectly content to wait. I know He is taking care of me. And I'm beginning to understand, He really won't leave me, and ditch me on the side of the road. When He tells me to wait, there's a reason, and I can trust Him to come through in the end.
Sovereign Over Us
There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears
You meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting, Sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust
Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever, Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us
You are wisdom unimagined, Who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens, Reaching down in endless grace
Youʼre the Lifter of the lowly, Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me, Your promises are my delight
Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley You are faithful
Youʼre working for our good, Youʼre working for our good and for your glory
Another favorite song of mine, that I listen to a LOT
My heart keeps beating even though I can't control it.
My lungs keep breathing I admit I don't know how.
Bring the flood or bring the fire in this lifetime
I'm ready for the altar or the plough
There are always days when I don't feel like singing
There are always days when I don't care at all
But I know the King of All Creation reigns completely
Over every moment great and small
Long live the One who gives us
Life and peace and hope for tomorrow
You've given everything we needed
From the palm of Your hand
I'll give my everything to the One
Who pledged to cancel My sorrow
All I have is Yours (Long Live the King)
Humbly we approach Your throne of Mercy
Aware that we're unworthy of Your Grace
(But) You have offered pardon and forgiveness
Grievances are gone without a trace
You restore our lives even though we don't deserve it
And You've given us a love that's not our own
You assemble all our broken, shattered pieces:
More beautiful than I had ever known
You Shall Reign Forever and Ever
You Shall Reign, You Shall Reign
Forever and Ever and Ever and Ever and
After the message, comments
I hope the message spoke to you as much as it did me. The Lord is doing fantastic things! Let's join Him in them. They're better than any of us can think or imagine. I love all you peoples - Merry Christmas!!