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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20181202 JOY AT CHRISTMAS

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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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              Pastor Ray Scott

 

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JOY AT CHRISTMAS

SERMON STARTER

 

          I came across a collection of letters that children wrote to Santa Claus. Some of them were pretty good. One said,

"Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred."

Another honest child wrote,

"Dear Santa, I thought you might forget me, so I thought I would write you a reminder. I smashed everything you sent me last year. I won’t tell you what I want this year, but you better not mess up. Jackie"

My favorite went like this:

"Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey; he is 2. There is David; he is 4. And there is Norman; he is 7. Jeffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman."

          In the Old Testament the word, JOY was always mentioned in the context of the joy of the harvest. Harvest and ingathering always meant Festivals and Parties in the Jewish culture. The hard work of gathering, preparing and storing the fruits of harvest was done. Now, there was a time of relief, joy and celebrating.

          Let's think of some adjectives to describe Christmas. How about headaches, conflicts, busyness, expensive, trouble. . . It's sad we have commercialized the holiday and made it about gift giving to one another. Hmmm. . .I read the true story of Christmas was the Birth of Jesus. It's sad that an event which caused such celestial joy among the angels brings to little joy here on earth. Love and Joy are a choice and a decision.  

          You make a decision as to how much joy you will allow yourself today. You decide WHAT you're going to think about this season. Think about Jesus and the great JOY that mankind experienced because He came to us on that First Advent. My sermon today is about Joy At Christmas. 

Pastor Phil  <><

First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018

Sheepfold Ministries - Pastor Phil Roland  <><<

 

JOY AT CHRISTMAS

JOY WAS BORN AT CHRISTMAS

ISAIAH 9:1-7

"I've written over 100 Advent sermons just since we started the Sheepfold in 1991. The Birth of Jesus is  a topic that never gets old. This is probably my 10th or 11th sermon about Christmas Joy. Why do I keep preaching about the Joy theme? Because the world is in short supply of the Joy of the Lord."                                                                    Pastor Phil  <><<

 

3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  Isaiah 9:3

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.   Isaiah 35:10

 

Sim-cha (Hebrew: שִׂמְחָה śimḥāʰ; Hebrew:  [simˈχa], is a Hebrew word that means gladness, or joy, and is often used as a given name.

 

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. Luke 2:10-11

 

JOY IS A EASY ACCROSTIC TO REMEMBER:

I.   J - ESUS - FOCUS ON JESUS

3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  Isaiah 9:3
         
A. We rejoice in Jesus, who is the Lord of the Harvest - Phil 4:4

          4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

                    1. We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord of the Harvest

                    2. Too many are obsessed about the content of the harvest

                    3. Things are to be USED and people are to be LOVED

                    4. We love Him because He first loved us

          B. We rejoice because God has sent us Jesus - Gal. 4:4.5

4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,                       born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the                         full rights of sons.    NIV

                    1. Five year old girl has it right,

                       One year a Christmas afternoon visitor asked five-year-old Ruth,

                           "Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?" After a

JOY AT CHRISTMAS, cont. p.2

 

                             moment’s hesitation, she answered,

                            "No, but then it’s not my birthday!"

2. The world walked in darkness until God sent His own Son

                    3. HE is the Reason for the Season

          C. Focusing on Jesus we are changed - 2 Corinthians 3:18

                    18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the

              Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just

              as by the Spirit of the Lord.

                    1. We are being changed into His Likeness

                    2. You become what you look at. . .

                    3. Moses looked at God Himself on Sinai and was changed

                              a. Face shone like the sun

                              b. Reflected glory of the Lord

                    4. This Christmas, WHAT are you looking at?

                    5. What gives you joy this year?

                              a. New Car, Appliances, New Clothes?

                              b. Birth of children or grandchildren?

 

SECOND LETTER IN OUR JOY ACCROSTIC:

II.  O - THERS - FOCUS ON OTHERS - Ephesians 4:32

32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

          A. Your JOY isn't dependant on others

                    1. The Joy comes from Voluntary service to others

                    2. Focusing on others is a choice

                    3. Keeps the focus on caring for and about less fortunate

          B. Jesus reminds us Focusing on Others is service to Him

                    40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you,

               inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it

               to Me.'   Matthew 25:40
                    1. Sheepfold Theme for 27 years: Serving Jesus thru Others

                    2. Roland's theme for 37 years

                    3. Feeding the poor is Love and Comfort

                    4. Hard to think about spiritual things on an empty stomach

          C. Written in our Bi-Laws / Articles of Incorporation -  Matt. 25:35-36

          35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me

               drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed

               Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'      

          1. Service to Christ and His Body

          2. Ability to meet your immediate needs

                    3. Having a surplus to reach out with the Love of Christ

          D. Ministry itself when done right produces Joy - Philippians 2:3        

                    3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness

              of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

                    1. There is no competition in the Body of Christ

                    2. We serve one another through Love

JOY AT CHRISTMAS, cont. p.3

 

THIRD LETTER IN OUR JOY ACROSTIC:

III. Y - OURSELF - FOCUS ON YOURSELF - 1 Corinthians 6:19,20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

          A. Must not ignore, demean or devalue yourself

                    1. Regularly take time to rest, refuel and relax

                    2. Yourself is last in the "Joy" Acrostic

                    3. But NOT in the order of importance

          B. Use the HALT acrostic for Spiritual/Emotional Maintenance

                    1.  H  UNGRY - If your hungry re-fuel your body

                    2.  A  NGRY - Stop Obsessing on injustices / Cool Down

                    3.  ONELY - Visit, Call a Friend, Go to Social Media

                    4.  IRED - Take a Power Nap, Refresh yourself

          C. Spend some time reading God's Word and Meditating

                    1. What about Turning your life over to Jesus?

                    2. What about finding His Joy in your own life?

                    3. How about allowing God's Holy Spirit to Set you Free?

                              a. Free from negative, obsessional thoughts

                              b. Free from unhealthy desires? (Addictions, etc.)

                              c. Free from the Prison of Self?

          D. The Best Christmas Gift to give youself is Jesus Himself

                    1. He is the real source of Joy

                    2. I urge you to do it TODAY!

 

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Nehemiah 8:10

JOY AT CHRISTMAS, Text:

Isaiah 9:1-7 (NKJV)
1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

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CONSUMER FACTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN THE U.S.A.

 

The United States' retail industry generated over three trillion U.S. dollars during the holidays in 2013.

 

BLACK FRIDAY - In 2017 American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates.

 

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $992 for gifts this holiday season, up from $983 last year according to the 34th annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2018 is $9 above spending in 2017

 

Most Americans celebrate Christmas, but its importance to people as a religious event continues to wane, according to a new survey by Pew Research. The poll found that while 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, only 55 percent regard it as a religious holiday

 

According to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, the average American expects to spend about 42 hours buying, wrapping, and returning gifts, as well as partying and traveling to visit family and friends. Consumers will spend lots of time gift-shopping, 15 hours on average.

 

Surveys sponsored by the National Retail Federation report that shoppers spent an average of $380 per person at retail during the holiday, putting Walmart's 2014 Black Friday haul in the neighborhood of $8.4 billion. And its not just brick and mortar sales

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Nehemiah 8:10
10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

 

 

THE STRESS AND STRAIN OF CHRISTMAS

          This morning I heard a story of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at rows of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her 2 kids.

          She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year. Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

          Finally the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her 2 kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot."

          From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond,

"Don't worry, we already crucified Him."

For the rest of the trip down it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Pastor Phil  <><<