A Christmas Surprise
Of all the people in the world, why did God choose the shepherds to tell first about the savior's birth?
Good morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the pastor of Renovation Church.
You know…Sometimes in life, we are going about our way…
And then boom…we get surprised by something, and it changes the direction of our life
This happens to us in little ways a lot
Forgetting something on vacation example
And sometimes surprises happen in people’s lives that end up changing the direction of their life
And unforeseen circumstance if you will
Example of all the people I met at St. John’s who’s dads were going to be priests until they met their moms
And every once in a while we hear about a surprise appearance of someone into someone’s life that radically alters the rest of their life
Read an article this week about a man who 20 years ago was dating a girl but got called away to do some special forces work in Panama
When he came back, they couldn’t find each other and never connected
But what he didn’t know is: they had a son.
Well, thanks to the miracle of facebook, they recently and finally tracked this guy down.
And now he knows he has a 20-year old son.
Well, that’s a major surprise! That’s a life-altering, path-altering surprise!
Sometimes God surprises people, He shows up unexpectedly
I know He did this in my life.
I had plans. I knew where I was going in life.
And my plans had nothing to do w/ God.
But then He showed up, revealed Himself to me
And if God reveals himself to you, it’s pretty hard to not change
I want to take a look this morning at a story of God surprising some people in the Bible.
Often God’s big surprises in the Bible involve angels.
Angels that apparently get a kick out of scaring people to death
Every time: Do not be afraid!
Let’s look at our passage for today:
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
Let’s just stop right there. Peaceful night right? Everything seems to be going normal. Life is normal. Their path is known.
9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
1 min, minding your own sheep, the next…An angel has good news for YOU for ALL people.
Sometimes w/ the Christmas stories we don’t always do a good job of thinking about them. We’ve heard them so much (whether you’ve been to church a lot or not) that we tend to not ask the “Why” question very much.
BUT, Did you ever stop and think (like our opening video sort of proposed), why shepherds?
When God decided “Whooooo He’s gonna pick” to reveal his good news to.. WHY SHEPHERDS??
Why not the mayor of Bethlehem, local Pharisee, or even the guy at the inn? Let’s come back to this
By the way…You ever stop and think, why you?
Why did God pick you? Why has he reached out to you already? Think about it.
What does that mean for you? What does He want from you?
The angel continues…
11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
The Jews have been waiting since the beginning of time for a Savior to come. They’ve been reading the prophecies, and dreaming about it maybe even happening while they’re alive
And I’m sure they had discussions about, who do you think will find out first? Who do you think God will reveal himself to? Like the king or the high priest?
And on this night, an Angel shows up to of all people, shepherds. And tells them: It’s time. The messiah is here. God is on earth. He’s just down the road.
Every generation has it’s defining moment
For some generations of American past it was WWII, for others Vietnam (interesting how it’s often wars), I guess you could say the moon landing
For many people under 40 or so, their defining moment, (a fulcrum in time in which everything is now changed) was Sept. 11th
I remember my parents telling me growing up how they so vividly remember JFK getting assassinated in 1963.
And I used to think, how could you remember so much about it? I don’t have a day like that
And then, Sept. 11th happened
I was in college at the time…roommate and I never watched TV, but he turned it on and we saw 2nd plane
I remember thinking, “Things are never going to be the same”
And they weren’t. We had entered into a new era in just one morning
Example of chapters of history (1918-1941), now history chapters will bookend at 2001
It was a defining and changing moment
But the most defining moment in the history of the world was when God broke into humanity as a baby
I mean think about it…the most of the entire WORLD now divides their calendar history into two eras. BC and AD (Anno Domini – In the year of our Lord)
And in the most defining moment of our world’s history, who did the angels decide to tell about it? Shepherds.
As the story continues, now a whole bunch of Angels show up
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
I mean, for the Shepherds, it was already a pretty amazing situation, but now you’ve got a whole company of angels singing a glorious song of praise in front of them
Keep in mind, they’re not singing at the temple in Jerusalem, they’re not singing to King Herod, they’re not singing to the Roman Emperor.
They’re singing to shepherds
Well, the angels eventually leave, and now the shepherds have a decision to make
1) Do you just continue with life as normal OR
2) Can your life now never be the same? Meaning, you better go check out the sign that the angels talked about (a baby in a manger in Bethlehem…the town of David)
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Parts of these stories are just funny, and we don’t think about it
Like, what do the shepherds say when they walk in the stable
1. So, um, hey. We were like, out tending our sheep when, um…
And now the shepherds have experienced even more of God’s workings
An angel appears to them, then a whole company of them sings, and now they’ve seen God face to face (as a baby, but still)
What do you do after a night like this?
Let’s find out
17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
HE PICKED YOU
So the shepherds leave Mary and Joseph and they go spread the word
And they also continue to glorify and praise God for the things they got to see
SO, I want to ask you this Christmas…are you a king? Are you the president of the United States? Are you a celebrity? Are you famous?
No, yet for most of you in this room. God has revealed himself to you. Showed you He was real. In some sort of capacity.
For some of you, He interrupted your life. Surprised you even.
For others, He’s always sort of been there
But there are times when He really shows up again
And you stop and think, “Wow, what am I doing? I gotta change. I gotta stop this. I’ve gotta go a different way.”
Just as the shepherds had to go to Bethlehem after they had experienced God moving
And I want you to stop and think this Christmas. Take a break from the autopilot of I gotta get to work, gotta get work done, gotta get home in rush hour, I’ve gotta get the kids ready for this program or this activity, clean the house for this, watch this Christmas program here, shop for this deal here, and this and that and this and that…
And I want you to just STOP… and think… I know Jesus Christ.
I know God!
ME! Some no name from Blaine. From Lino Lakes. From Coon Rapids.
ME! The God of the universe revealed Himself to me! A shepherd. A nobody.
This Christmas, I get to worship Him. I get to feel His love. I get to know Him.
Stop and thank God for revealing Himself to YOU!
Because too often we just take it for granted. “Oh yeah, I know God. No big deal. He’s always been there blah blah blah.”
No…YOU KNOW GOD!!!
GOD revealed Himself to YOU. And if that’s not fascinating to you, then that should cause you to really think about some things
And if God has revealed Himself to you, if he has surprised you in your life, even interrupted your life as you may want it at times, don’t let it be just a minor interruption. Let it be a revolution.
A change in your life. A change in your actions. A change in who you are.
There’s a line in a particular Lifehouse song that has messed with me for a long time
It goes, “How can I stand here with You (referring to God), and not be moved by You.”
Meaning: How can we sit in the presence of God, a God who revealed Himself to us and said, “I’m God! There’s a GOD!!”
And yet too often, we don’t do anything about it, shrug our shoulders, and just continue to look after the sheep…like nothing happened
I think the real problem is as I said earlier: We just plain take it for granted.
So this Christmas, don’t take it for granted.
God is so interested in you, so fond of you, that He’s revealing himself to you…
He got your attention, or He’s trying to get your attention
Even though you’re probably just an average person, a shepherd.
But that doesn’t matter to the God of all creation. The God of the Universe.
This God, who is bigger than we could possibly even imagine, is desperately interested in you…
And is SO interested in you, and so in love with you, that He broke into this earth as a human being, so that He could one day give his life for yours. For you. For you.
Let that mess with you a little bit this Christmas.
Every time you hear the word Christmas this year, I want you to think about that. Wow. God revealed himself to me. He came for me.
And then spread the Christmas joy… Spread God’s love. Let the people around you know how having God show up in your life has begun to change you. Slowly. But change you.
You don’t have to be amazing to spread that news with someone.
If God was looking for perfect people to share his love, he wouldn’t have to chosen the shepherds with the most important news of all.
But most of all, remember, that there’s one thing you can NOT do once you truly realize that the God of the universe is revealing himself to YOU: And that one thing you can NOT do is this: Go on as normal. As if nothing happened. As if God never interrupted our lives. Never broke in.
Because He did. And thank God for that.
If you look under your chair right now, you should see a connection card and a pen. Go ahead and pick those up.
One of the things we do every week at Renovation Church, is fill out these connection cards.
It’s a way for you to connect with us and for us to connect with you.
If it’s your first time here, there’s even a question on there for you about how you found out about us
Last week we put Invitation Cards under chairs for our Christmas series…if you weren’t here (OR want MORE), plenty out at the nametag table!
We are going to take an offering now as well
A way for us to give back to a God who reached out to us
If you’re a visitor, feel free to let the offering cans just pass you by
As the offering goes by, you can stick your connection card in there as well
Let me just pray for the offering quick
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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