Tonight's message was by a preacher on staff, Nathan Bean. This was actually his last message as he, his wife and children are moving back to Australia. I've always enjoyed him, his ability to delivery the Word with clarity and his quirky sense of humor.
The subject was: God With Us
The greatest gift of all that's been given to us is Jesus.
We often use God “in case of an emergency.” We tend to live life on our own until we need God in a crunch. Emergency seasons lead us to pray, “God be with me.” In busy seasons, praying God be with me is put a shelf but we still want to know that God is near. It’s easy for us to live life without an awareness of God’s abiding presence when we live life by our own power.
We are about to embark on a busy season—Christmas (which is the season where we celebrate God being with us). The best thing about Christmas is not presents but presence—God’s presence. As kids, Christmas was all about presents, but as you mature we are more concerned about whose presence we are going to be in during the holidays.
1. GOD with us 1 John 1, 14 God Himself took on flesh. He came near to broken humanity in the form of a frail baby. In the world, the higher the honor a person has, the more glory they get. But Jesus didn’t send someone else to come down. He took on the form of a servant. The lengths God went through to be with you and I. It should blow us away. God doesn’t sit back and wait for us to rescue ourselves; He gets involved in our lives.
2. 2. God WITH us. We can confront anything when we know He’s with us. God does not start on us like a project and leave us unfinished. He brings everything to completion in our lives. Matthew opens with God with us and ends with Jesus saying, “I am with you.” When we go through the hard parts of life, we are not alone. John 14:27 says we are given God’s peace. He leads us with His peace. It’s not just the absence of conflict but the presence of God’s blessings that equals peace. His presence changes us. We change as we are close to Him.
3. God with US. In the Old Testament, God presented Himself as a burning bush, cloud, earthquake, a pillar of fire, thunder and lightning. His presence was scary and made people want to hide themselves. But in the New Testament, there is no fear in a baby. You can come near to the baby in the manger. In biblical times, shepherds were lowly members of society. But this is who God called to Himself.