This month will see a lot of Christmas sermons preached, and if you actually go to church somewhere, you might actually get to hear some 😉
But if you aren’t planning on attending any church services this December, or if you just can’t get enough of sermons on the subject of Christmas, I would encourage you to listen to the one I’m attaching below.
Several years ago (2012) while pastoring at another church, I delivered a sermon entitled “Christmas Is the Gospel.” It was recorded on my iPhone that was sitting on the pulpit, so don’t expect too high a quality of production.
Why did the angels tell the shepherds what they are about to hear was “good tidings”? Pick up a Bible and turn to the book of Luke, chapter two, and follow along.
In my last post about the possibility of Biden listening to and acting upon questionable or sinister science, I might have given the wrong impression. I say that based on a comment I received from a friend, Joel Ziegenmier.
If Joel was correct, then I do apologize for the confusion or spurious impression. Please allow me to clarify my stance on science and faith.
I believe that science and faith are completely compatible and non-exclusionary. Both can exist side-by-side without conflict. Why do I believe that?
First of all, we must understand what faith and science are. Once we do that, everything will become a little more clear.
Science, unlike what it’s made out to be in the news media, is a process of acquiring knowledge. It is not dogma, doctrine, philosophy, or religion. All it is – or what it is supposed to be – is a process through which knowledge and understanding can be acquired through theorizing, testing, observing, repeating and replicating, and so on. The scientific method is not a Truth in itself, but a process by which we discover and make application.
Faith is trusting in something. Blind faith is putting one’s trust in something without any evidence that the thing is trustworthy. On the contrary, orthodox Christianity is not a religion or set of beliefs based on a blind faith, but on tangible, historical, and verifiable evidence and Truth claims.
Science and faith are not opposites, but complimentary. Where faith can be tested, it should welcome it. Where science yields information, faith is placed in the interpretation of the evidence obtained.
Certain things, however, are beyond the realm of the scientific method. Those things that are supernatural (outside of the realm of what is considered naturally possible) cannot be observed, tested, and repeated, especially if the supernatural event is beyond natural capability.
Science, too, is limited in its ability. A prime example is the question of the origin of the universe. Although observable and repeatable theories can be applied to current natural processes, science in and of itself cannot observe and test the origin of the universe, nor account for where natural law may have been broken. Ironically, it takes faith for both the Christian and the naturalist or atheist to make dogmatic claims about the origin of all that is.
But for the Christian, science is not an enemy; it is only a tool. Thanks to a quick Google search, I was easily able to find a list of famous scientist whose works contributed to the way we live today, and each one was a Christian. They include the likes of Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Arthur Compton, Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Francis Collins, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine John Eccles.
So therefore, it’s not a matter of whether or not Joe Biden listens to the scientists, for that’s a fine and noble thing to do. The problem is which scientists he’s listening to. Every scientist has presuppositions and assumptions. Every scientist has a personal worldview. Are the scientists that Biden trusts knowledge seekers or agenda pushers? Are they rabid naturalists who deny their own presuppositions and assumptions, or simply honest men and women who simply go where the facts lead them?
I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, but just keep in mind that it was the “scientists” of the 1930s and 1940s who concluded that a perfect and superior race was achievable through the elimination of all who were sick, retarded, deformed, homosexual, and Jewish.
It’s when “science” determines that faith is a detriment to society, a scourge on humanity, or a drug from which society must be weened for its own sake, that we have a problem.
It’s happened before. It’s been observed. It can be repeated.
OH! Look! It’s my birthday! I am a whopping 53 years old today, and I’m excited! Why? I don’t know, but probably because I’m alive.
Yes, 53 years have passed since I was born in Chattanooga, TN. A whole lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
But just last night, as we were heading home from Waffle House – that’s where we went for my pre-birthday dinner, I noted that, in reality, I didn’t do anything to be recognized for; my mother did all the work! She, of all people, should be celebrated!
It was long overdue, but I said, “I didn’t do anything on my own to be born; it was YOU who made the choice to have me … thank you.”
It was then that my wife said, “Then maybe we should not buy you a birthday present, but get your mom something!”
Ummm, nice, but it doesn’t work like that.
The OTHER Birthday
But then there was another birthday: the day I was born again. And the interesting thing about THAT day is that once again, similar to my earthly birth, the credit really belongs to a parent – my dad.
On a Wednesday night in September, 1973, I realized that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. Unfortunately, although I was convicted of my lostness, I didn’t know what to do about it. That’s when my daddy, my godly father, took notice and asked me what was wrong.
“I’m not saved…I’m going to hell!” I said.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked. I nodded.
Then, right in the middle of a song service at 34th Street Baptist Tabernacle, my dad I snuck off to a tiny Sunday school room with tiny tables and tiny chairs, and there he walked me through a classic “sinner’s prayer.”
I was gloriously and miraculously regenerated! I was born again! I was saved!
I can’t remember if I ever actually thanked him for that day, but because of that day I know I’ll get another chance.
Below is what is written in my dad’s tattered old Bible. My new-birth certificate 🙂
Sometimes God uses the smallest things to remind us of His caring love, provision, and strength.
As I look at this recent picture of my little George when he wasn’t feeling well, I can’t help but notice how at rest he is. Look at how little, yet how trusting. Just a tiny little guy, but he knows where he is loved, safe, and taken care of.
In reality, how much bigger is God than us? How much more capable is He than me when it comes to protecting, providing, and comforting? Why is it I run around the yard in a panic like a little dog with no home?
Trust – the word so often missing in our relationship with our heavenly Father. But with trust (and unconditional love) comes a readiness to lay our head on God’s strong arm. There we will find rest.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
(L-R) My paternal great grandfather and grandfather.
I’m a Redneck
Yes, I confess. I am a redneck, especially considering how burned my neck is after standing out in the sun for five+ hours. Which leads me to ask a question of myself…why do I never remember sun screen unless I go to a beach?
And I also know that I am a redneck because Jeff Foxworthy told me so. If you remember, Foxworthy’s comic routine made famous the line, “You might be a redneck.” Here are some that I know have applied to me at least once over the 50-plus years of my life.
You might be a redneck if…
You read the Auto Trader with a highlight pen.
Every socket in your house breaks a fire code.
The taillight covers of your car are made of red tape.
Directions to your house include “Turn off the paved road.”
Going to the bathroom at night involves shoes and a flashlight.
You use the term `over yonder’ more than once a month.
I’m a Sinner
Unlike a whole lot of people in this world (and in a world of their own), I can admit that I am a sinner. The only difference is that once I confessed my inability to change my nature, I traded my “filthy rags” for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). Now, I’m still a sinner, but I’m am a saved sinner.
So, based on the actions of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis, I took a cue from Jeff Foxworthy and came up with my own list of “you might be’s.” From that list I preached a message entitled “You Might Be a Sinner If…”
You might be a sinner if…
You have ever talked to a Serpent – and taken its advice (v. 2).
You know the difference between “Naked” and “Necked” (v. 7). Side Note: If you consider fig leaves appropriate attire, you might be a sinner.
You feel like running when the law shows up (v. 8).
God is searching for you, and not the other way around (v. 9).
You feel self-conscious or defensive about anything you’ve ever done (v. 9-10).
You ever play the “blame game” – Others, “The devil made me do it” (v. 11-13).
You were born (Romans 5:12).
Change of Status
Some people try on their own to change their status in life. Sometimes rednecks move away from Redneckville in order to become a different person. But what they find out is that Redneckville never left their heart. They still have those same desires to grill Spam and fish with dynamite.
In the same way, many people think, once they finally realize they are sinners, that change can come with a simple change of atmosphere, or the turning over of a new fig leaf.
The fact is that sinners don’t become “saints” on their own. It takes outside intervention.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9