This morning as we gathered for prayer in the Worship Center I noticed again as I do every Sunday that we are missing Jesus in our Nativity Set in front of the stage. Every Sunday I think to myself, “I have to do something about that.” Every Monday I forget to do something about it. Well, today I did something about it. I pulled my phone out and I order Jesus off of Amazon. Actually Denise ordered Jesus off of Amazon because she has Amazon Prime and we will get it shipped quicker and for free. Who would have thought that you can actually order Jesus on Amazon? You will be relieved to know that this Sunday we will have Jesus back in the manger.
This Christmas is a time to put Jesus back in His place – at the center of everything that we do. Many times throughout the year we can get off track just by moving off course as small as 1 degree. That could represent a missing habit or discipline, an attitude that has taken residence in our minds, or being too stretched to invest in our relationship with Jesus. After many days of that small adjustment, we can find ourselves in the middle of things that God did not intend for us to experience. Discouragment and loneliness can set in quickly. We have to remember that life is mostly lived in consequences rather than circumstances.
Let me encourage you to fill your heart with Jesus and not let Him go missing from any part of your life. I get into trouble when I live my life by compartmentalizing everything. I have a tendency to assign everything I do to a bucket system. I have a bucket for work, home, the kids, church, hobbies, and the list goes on. By doing that, it is easy to leave Jesus in one of the other buckets but feel alright with not including him in some of the buckets. Let me make a statement, “Jesus needs to become your bucket.” He should be the designer of your day. Everything you do must be through Jesus. In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
I’ve asked this question before, “What part of all do you not understand?” God has created everything and His love cannot be measured with any measuring method that we have available. It is too vast to measure. Our faith ought to hinge on God’s ability. On Sunday I ended my message with a familiar passage in the Message paraphrase. Look with me:
John 3:16-18 (MSG)
16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
On Sunday, I encouraged everyone to personally invite someone, in your sphere of influence, to our Christmas service and Christmas Eve service. Have you done that yet? What are you waiting for? We have room for your invitee. An overflow will be set up in order to have a place for each one invited. This may be the year that they truly believe and that belief in turn becomes their new walking orders. Pray for the services as we anticipate the presence of Jesus.
Let’s don’t let anyone accuse us of missing Jesus in our everyday flow. He ought to be the first thing people see in your life. Another thing I don’t want the men to forget – your socks! Don’t forget to wear your red socks this 4th Sunday of Advent. We are going on 18 years of this tradition. Pray with me for the Lord to anoint everything about these special days just ahead of us.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene