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26: More Than a Christmas Message

Crossroads Connection / Pastor Andy George
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2020 12:00 pm

26: More Than a Christmas Message

Crossroads Connection / Pastor Andy George

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August 15, 2020 12:00 pm

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Welcome to Crossroads Connection. This is a show all about having conversations surrounding life, ministry and culture. Honestly, thank you to our friends at the Truth now for airing this program.

Well, I want to welcome everybody who are tuning in right now to Crossroads Connection. And as Tyler said, we are very grateful for this opportunity. We have every single Saturday at noon to come at you right here live on the truth network. And so we're grateful for this opportunity. We're grateful to be speaking to you today. And this program is really all about talking and having conversations about life, ministry and culture. And our hope and goal is that's something that we say today will help transform and continue to transform you to be the person that God has created you to be. And by having conversations and interviews and listen to the sermon clips that deal with how to make ourselves more like Jesus when it comes to our life and our culture and our mission and purpose in being here is very, very important to me as the senior pastor. So my name is Andy George and I'm the senior pastor at Crossroads Fellowship Church, where a non-denominational multi-site church in Raleigh, the triangle area. And we're so grateful for the opportunity. And we're also great for the people who are supporting this program, for the people who not only support it financially, but also the ones who call, who write in, who'd send text, email, social media and encouragement and encourage you. If you want more information about Crossroads, you can simply visit crossroads.org and you can find out all of the information you need. And if you missed any of the previous episodes, you can actually go to crossroads.org/radio. That's crossroads.org/radio. And you can catch up on all the previous 20 plus episodes that we've been doing here on Saturdays. Well, we are in a trying time right now, aren't we, my friend? Wherever you're listening from. At this moment, at this noon hour, I am sure and positive that like me, you have got a lot of decisions that you're trying to make everything revolving around how to navigate through social distancing, too. How do I get my kids back to school to maybe your job, maybe your own health and welfare? And it's a very interesting time. I think every everyday I look over to my wife and I kind of shrug my shoulders and I think to myself and even say aloud, boy, I can't believe that we are living in this time right now. It's a very interesting process that we're going through in life, trying to figure out virtual learning. And and, of course, as a pastor of a church. And there's a lot of pastors that listen to this program. I'm with you. We're trying to figure out how are we doing church right now in this new era, this new world of digital life and media and social media. And for us as a church, you know, we have services online. We offer things, Strout, the week that are all virtual. But as we look to the fall and typically fall, like most churches and probably many of you, it's a new season. It's a time to grow. It's a time to expand. It's exciting. And now we're here looking at this unprecedented time going what is going to happen next week, let alone what's going to happen, Midvale? What's going to happen next week? But I'm guess I'm here to encourage you and let you know that it's not all bad either, right? It's not all like it's is a horrible time to be in either. It's created some great innovation in my life. It's called great innovation in our church and in our family. But it's also done something else that I want to talk about today. And then actually in just a few minutes, we're going to listen to a sermon clip from a message I preached called. It's not just a Christmas message and it's coming out of Isaiah, which is a powerful book. And the passage we can talk about is a very iconic Christmas passage that many of you here at Christmas time. But the depth and meaning behind that really paints a picture to this wonderful Jesus that we serve. And what I want to get across today is it's trying and hard as it might be today. Don't lose sight in the reality and the fact that Jesus is still wonderful. And don't lose sight that what is God trying to show you. I think for me, if I was honest, I would say that this last couple months has caused me to really reflect a lot about who I am, not only as a pastor, but also as a husband, as a father, as a friend, and as a child of God. And I got to tell you, it's been a tough little process to think through to have enough quiet time. You know, we've been at stay at home orders and I work from home for the first several weeks, if not for six months. And now I'm back and forth from the office. But because of all that, it's allowed me to have time to just process and think about who am I? And who am I becoming. And honestly, some of the things that I found out about myself as I had this time to reflect were encouraging. And I thought, wow, this is this is good. I'm on the right path. But there are also things in my life that I've got to deal with and I got to work on. And having that quiet time really helped process that a lot. But then to take that and not just look at the world, because let's face it, we could turn on the news and turn on the world and we get depressed really quick and you can get pretty upset and pretty emotional. Not only is all this happening now with the Corona virus, but also there's still the racial tension that we're going to face and feel that we're dealing with the navigating. And of course, this is an election season, which is a highly hot button for many people, especially this year. And then, of course, we all have, like, stuff going on. And it could get really has to get overwhelmed real quick. And you might be listening right now and maybe you are overwhelmed. Maybe you're driving in your car right now and it's the noon hour and you've got a list of things that you're running to do that you did that you had to do over the weekend and you're trying to figure out how to do it and when to do it. And you're feeling stressed. And I hope that for the next few minutes that you could just let that go. And my prayer for you is that you will refund in love with the wonderful Jesus that we serve. So, as I said, in just a few minutes, we're going to listen to a sermon I preached not that long ago out of the Book of Isaiah. And I really do hope it encourages you. And before we do that, I want to thank our very awesome, incredible sponsor. And we have a quick word from our sponsor. And then we're gonna jump right into a sermon I preached and then I'll catch you at the end of it.

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So J a chapter nine versus two to five. It says this is prophesying. He's saying the people who walked in darkness have seen a gray light. Those who dwell in a land of deep darkness on them has light shown. You have multiplied the nations. You have increased its joy. They rejoice before you. As with joy at the harvest. And they are glad when they divide the soil for the yoke of his burden and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor. You have broken, as on the day of Midian, for every boot of the tramping warrior in battle torment and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as a fuel for the fire. Now, that could sound like a pretty heavy intro. I want to break it down just real quick, because it really does set the hope and the tone for the remainder of Chapter nine that we're gonna read this morning as you dove into this a little more. He's making a prophecy. Other people who once walked in darkness. These are the northern tribes of Judah. And these are the first tribes that are invaded by the Assyrians. And so it hasn't happened yet. It's about to start happening with this northern tribe is going to get invaded. It's gonna get decimated. They're going be enslaved. They're going to run away. And this from a series of so what what Isaiah is prophesying is that you who are in darkness, you're about to experience kind of wrath and, you know, God's going to let the enemy come in and and really destroy because the sins of the nation. But there's hope coming. And you who are in darkness. There's gonna be light that's gonna be coming along the way. And as I read that and I thought about that, of course, Isaiah speaking to those people, Gruzman is also speaking of the coming messiah and the hope that you and I have, that you and I do not have to live our life in darkness.

A man, somebody that even though it might be dark for a moment, there is new mercy and new joy coming tomorrow. I mean, like even though things seem bleak in life at times and darkness at times, that you and I have this hope of this messiah that comes and we're going to read a bit that not only does it bring life, but he brings light and that darkness cannot overcome that light. So I'm just here to tell you, as dark as the world may see today, it cannot compete and it cannot compare to the light of Jesus. Come on, church, somebody. That's the Jesus we have as a.

Two years ago, as prophesied, that that's gonna happen. And, of course, he's given hope to people haven't experienced yet. And as he as he speaks to it, he speaks about multiplying the nations and increasing the joy. The minister, the messiah, is gonna bring great joy and gladness to Israel. And again, I'm just here to tell you the same messiah came and is able to give you and I great gladness and joy today, this morning. He says they're gonna rejoice as the time of harvest when all the hard work has paid off in the bounteous come, then rejoice as a divide up the spoil. He is homage to Midian, which is homage on a judge's Chapter seven to Gideons. Great victory. And I love the word picture. Don't miss this. At the end of that passage, we read it. It talks about rolling up the garments that have been dripped in blood and the boots and the shoes that were worn and they burnam and what they would do in biblical times is a difficult thing. Listen to this. This is so I love this when the battle is fully won. Do you hear me? When the victory is complete. That's what they would do. And what he's saying is that there is victory coming for the church as victory coming for Israel. There is a messiah coming that is going to bring with him victory over everything we're facing in life and that we're picture that is that Isaiah is giving them. It's that in the days when battle and victory is absolutely complete and he's paying the picture of victory that the messiah is coming, that the messiah is here. This victory is solid. And again, each one of these promises just listen to these promises. The references to great joy. The breaking of the yoke and the burden and the rot of the oppressor. And the complete victory over all the enemies has got major spiritual and life applications of Jesus's work in our time. Right now, I'm in somebody's desk that Jesus he's painting. And that's who we serve. To me, it is a great reminder, especially right now, especially as there are so many complete unknowns tomorrow. It was such a great reminder that the work of Jesus is done, that the victory is already his, that even though he says in this world of troubles and trials and tribulations. What else does he say? He says, but take heart have already overcome them.

Listen, I believe that you believe that. I really believe that. I believe that when Jesus says you're gonna have troubles, I believe that I'm married.

Hillo somebody there's gonna be troubles. All right. I got a teenager and a college student. I get it. There's gonna be trials and tribulations. My daughter is gonna be driving in August. Come on. There's gonna be trials and tribulations. I get it. We see each other all the time. We we we live with people. There's gonna be trials, but then there's gonna be the deep trials. You know, I'm saying this. Give me the deep trials of that report that comes give the deep trials of life that hits us and we respond. And sometimes we feel like life just keeps hitting us and we're just responding. And it's hard and it's difficult. There's loss, there's pain, there's hurt, there's wounds. And Jesus never promised that I was gonna be easy. He never promised us that we'd be free from pain. He never promised us that we'd be free from trials and tribulations of any kind.

But what I'm excited about is that, as true as that is, it's also true when he says he's already overcome it.

And you and I can live a life of victory, a life that is filled with the lights and life of Jesus, if we grab a hold of who he is and the characteristics and the pictures of who he is. These promises are for us. It's a great reminder that Jesus is never afraid. Jesus is never surprised. God and Jesus did not have a conversation back in March wondering where in the world this corona virus came from.

None of them panicked. None of heaven panicked when that happened. They're not panicking today.

Those who were singing that song speaks about trust and hope. We spoke a little bit about it last week, that because Jesus is with me today, I can have hope for tomorrow because I have hope for tomorrow. He gives me power for today, not just to endure it, not just to make it one more day, not just to make it another hour, but to truly have life to to live life where we are right now. Isaiah, Chapter nine for six or seven. You're with me this morning.

Church as a nine, six to seven. There's a verse you're all going to know you're in recognized. For two hours, a child is born to us. A son has given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

On the increases of the government and the peace, will there be no end on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore, the zeal the Lord of Hosts will do this.

I want to focus in on that verse six where speaks about the name and his name will be called. And it mentions actually five different attributes that are woven within those four context of his name. You know the name that he's given this name? The idea is that he's not just called those names. The idea is that it's not just something that he can have a title for and that these are aspects of his character. The very character of Jesus is woven inside of those five names, those five attributes. It describes not only who he is and also describes what he can do. And how about you? But I can use every single one of those characteristics today in my life. There is so much meaning behind the name and the power of Jesus. As we said already, there is no other name under heaven. There is no other name that matches the name of Jesus, not only his salvation, but also in power, in life and all that he is.

And it's that name that everybody is going about one day, either on this side or on the other side of eternity. Every knee that's ever been created is going to about the name of Jesus to the person of Jesus.

I can't wait to jump into this with you. The first one is this number one. Pride, the most important thing here and here this morning is that the Messiah is wonderful. That is wonderful.

In some context and texts, they break apart. Wonderful counselor to two different pieces. Wonderful and counselor. But either way, he is wonderful. And again, I just want to remind you this morning of the glory of who Jesus is and his character, who he is, that he is wonderful and that wonderful name of Jesus should absolutely fill us with wonder and that he is wonderful. Tell any of you don't think juice is wonderful, you don't really know Jesus. You don't. You cannot know Jesus and not think that his wonderful. You can't experience his freedom and his salvation and his love and not no, that is wonderful, that he absolutely is wonderful to us. Let's think about the context of how wonderful he is, this wonderful savior comes and he dies on the cross for us. This wonderful, beautiful savior comes and gives me life is wonderful.

And I get it at times, it's hard to see the wonder in the ah, at times we take this Jesus and make him our size, we make him human size. We take away the honesty and the wonder and the beauty and the power that is in the name of Jesus. And maybe this morning you're wondering, hey, I hear you, but I haven't seen how wonderful he is. I'm still waiting on this wonderful Jesus. I'm still waiting on the good news. This are happening in my life. And I get it. I do. And I think for everybody here in this room or watching online understands that as well, that at times we know in our minds and understand how wonderful he is that he's got the power to heal us. He's got the power to teach us to give us life, to heal wounds. He has all these powers of resurrection, life inside of him and his wonderful.

These beautiful.

I wonder how often we lose sight of that, how often we lose sight of the beauty and the ah and the wonder of Jesus. And we lose sight because of circumstances. We lose sight because of what we're going through in our life. Batswana, courage yourself. I really do want you to get this. You can imagine the day that one day that every one of us is going to stand and look into the face of Jesus. Everybody, it's urban cred is going to stand and look into their face of Jesus. There's something just so magical and beautiful and all about the fact that Jesus, with his nail pierced hands, will embrace us one day. I want to curse you as something that you and I don't have to wait until we step into eternity to feel the love of a savior. The nail pierced hands that died for you and for me to embrace this right here and right now and fill us with wonder. And with all. But again, I get it. Times it's tough at times circumstances.

And the news and everything else that's going on in our lives sometimes that it makes God feel so very small in our life, sometimes we lose sight of the wonder and are part of what I hope in this morning is that this will be a reminder that we separate Jesus as so wonderful.

And he knows you. He does just know about you that he knows you and he wants to do life with you, just like he wants to life with me.

And. And in our circumstances, something I've learned over many years is often times and our circumstances, it's hard to see Jesus.

But then as you go through it and you look back, you see Jesus, his hands all over it, and you see how wonderfully actually was going through it. I thought a lot about this this week. You might not realize this, but today to the day.

A year ago is when we had a fire in our church. A year ago today. I remember getting that call late at night. I thought David was joking and messing with me because I was on sabbatical, I was on break and I got a call about eleven, eleven thirty at night saying, hey, there's a fire at the building. And at first that I was joking. Then I'm thinking, well, he wouldn't do a joke at eleven thirty at night. This is pretty serious. And I remember getting here to the building and standing right out in the parking lot out there and fire trucks. You can see smoke coming through all the doors and they had punch holes in the ceiling and the walls get smoke out and we're standing out there and I'll be honest with at that point, I wasn't like, hey, thank you, Jesus, for ruining our church. There is nothing in me that was at that time, at that moment saying, hey, Jesus is wonderful. It wasn't I wish it was I wish I was that spiritual, but it wasn't. I was thinking. I think we got a canceled church tomorrow. But what are we gonna do? I would say out there, in fact, David House, I mean, the email that I sent to our elders in our church and I wanted to read a part of it. I guess I want to get across that there are times in our life that sometimes we feel that Jesus might not be wonderful. And so we go through what we have to go through and see how absolutely wonderfully was the entire time. Elders, I'm wrote this, I'm letting you know that I'm here at Millbrook as it's 130 in the morning.

There is a fire in the warehouse was triggered, the sprinkler system, we're still waiting to get into the building. By this point, it appears as though most of our building has severe water and smoke damage.

I'll update you all as soon as we know more. And at this point, it seems highly unlikely they will have church on Sunday at Millbrook. We'll have to see what next week looks like. Said a similar e-mail to our church that same morning, I remember around 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, was the first time we were able to get into this building. And I've never seen any like you walk in those buildings, buildings to 1000 square feet. More than 80 percent of the building there is about two inches of water everywhere there. There's smoke in this room so thick you couldn't see your hand in front your face. The fire in the warehouse had triggered sprinkler systems and smoke is everywhere. I mean, we're taking my first steps into the door, looking down the hallway and you could see the strobes and there's smoke and everything that first step and my foot hitting water all the way up there from the warehouse.

You are walking around that building with just a few of our staff that were here all figure out what to do, and I remember just saying out loud multiple times. What do we do now?

Listen, you might think I'm really smart. I don't I don't think that. But you might think that. But I never took a class in seminar and how to deal with a church fire, just like I never take a class on how to deal with a global pandemic. And if you did it passively and if you took a class down south eastern about that. But they didn't do that.

Valley Forge, Emory, walk around. Go on. What were we supposed to do? What's next? And you just feel like you just got a gut blow and you don't know what's happening.

I remember going home and then coming back with my wife a few hours later and the restoration company that did a phenomenal job here, they were already reben things out and putting blower's in and putting tubes in. And we had to cancel church. And we were like that for weeks and weeks and months. We had some tubes in this building is still smelled like smoke. As if that wasn't bad enough, we start to get a little bit of hope going into the New Year.

Zikr transformations give me an awesome year.

And then early on, we start hearing a virus in China. Then in Italy and then the West Coast, then we start having conversations internally about what we can do this Sunday. And sure enough, four months go by and we don't have anybody in the building.

Now, here's the other side of that. Just as an example, something that we all experienced and I lived through this last year has been a rough year and a lot of ways for a lot of us. And there are a lot of times where I sat there and when God, I know you're here somewhere because I I've known you long enough to know that you're here somewhere. You ever find yourself saying that, God, I know you're here somewhere. I know you're somewhere in the middle. And I know somehow, someway you're going to do something from this. But right now, I just don't feel that way.

Right now, I feel a little abandoned right now I feel a little lost.

Right now, I don't feel like Jesus is so wonderful. Can I be honest this morning? Because I venture to say that many of you felt that way over this last year. And the good news is, if you haven't yet, you pray, will those next year, so just hang in there. They'll circle around to you. So that's the first part that Jesus talks about in this world, you have troubles.

But then you look back.

And I look back standing in a worship center today in a gorgeous building that we would not have been able to do in the rest of the years that I would have here to get our building to look and to be this way had it not been for that fire.

And you look back and you say, God, I, I would much rather you had a multi-millionaire come hammie a check for a few million dollars and say, hey, why don't you redo your building? Here's several million dollars.

But I never got that and said I think God said, well, then we're just going to have a little fire and we're just going to get there this way.

And you look at everything else going on.

And then, of course, you step back and you start looking at finances and everything else happening, cash, a little good news with you. You know, not only do we have what we're able to get this building because of that fire. By the way, without spending a dime out of our money, can I get a name in on that?

It wasn't. Somebody is money. It wasn't our money.

But also, we just ended our fiscal year last week. Our fiscal year started the first day of a new fire, which is not a good way to start a new financial year. Started August 1st, just ended. And despite a fire, despite a virus that had a shut down from in the building for months and months and months. Can I tell you the good news is that we ended our general giving within just about twenty thousand dollars of our actual needed giving this last year. Come on. That's it. That's an awesome thing.

Well, health and found that message encouraging. As I said, this is a time for us to now talk about life ministering culture. But hopefully today this is an opportunity for you to be encouraged and be reminded. Listen. Jesus has you. He has a situation. He's got it under control. And he is still wonderful. So, my friend. Thank you again for taking time to listen in on this program. And for more information about this radio program being there, crossroads.org/radio. You can also go to crossroads.org for more information about Crossroads Fellowship, and if you do not have a home church. I want a personal invite you to come check out one of our locations. You can find out all the information on the Web site. And we want to encourage you. So be blessed. We're praying for you. And thank you again for listening to Crossroads Connection.

Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope that that message, practical wisdom, was an encouragement to you. Thank you to see three advantage. And thank you to all of our listeners for joining us. We look forward to you joining us on the next show.

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