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December 19, 2021 12:55 am
This week Phil reminds us that Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts to receive Christ in a fresh, new way. And sometimes that involves us realizing that to become more Christ-like, there may be a few things in our lives we need to remove.
Series: CHRISTMAS BREAKTHROUGH
Christmas Breakthrough on Amazon
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life. Welcome back the words of life. I'm Bernie Dake and I'm sure Cheryl it is good to be back on this December 19 episode is all of your shopping done.
Well, we hope that you're enjoying this Christmas series with Commissioner Phil Needham as a reminder, this series is inspired by a book that he wrote a few years ago called Christmas break through and you can find it on Amazon and will have some links on our website as well.
Check out Salvation Army sound cast.org I don't know if all of our listeners know Commissioner Phil very well.
You and I know him and so I wonder, could you tell us a little bit about them. I have the utmost respect for Phil and his wife Keith there they go to church with my wife and I and we could to see them. Usually every week and they sing in our chorus or are our songster's sewing. I am lucky sometimes to see them twice a week, but I'm I have a real love for something that he started more than a year ago now, which was a multigenerational discipleship group, where he has a number of people representing every walk of life.
Age wise culture. Whatever we get to share biweekly what the Lord's doing our life things that are being revealed and are reading are in our study and just get to encourage each other critically based on statements that we make annually about what we hope to accomplish in relationship to our relationship with the Lord. It's inspiring really and now there are other groups that have started in our church so it's like a small group but just a little bit different. Such a godly man and so intentional about pouring into others lives in his books reflect this. He wants to see people grow in their relationship with the Lord. So I don't and this is a secret.
I think he would say this to whoever but he is actually an introvert so his first thought isn't, you know to be loving and just out there and hugging and all the things, but he heaved loves the idea of community and I think he has a personal desire to spend one day a week at our church while working with her homeless ministry. Just meeting he has to put himself out there. He overcomes the idea of that introvert nature many alleys and intentional yet he's great for Tim and I he's always been intentional about encouraging us and speaking into our lives in some very grateful for for who he is and send this week. Phil reminds us that is a time when we prepare our hearts to receive Christ in a fresh new way and sometimes that involves us realizing that to become more Christlike. There may be a few things in our lives that we need to hello this is Phil Needham again with our series on the Advent and Christmas season. Talk about starting over in the Scripture.
You could consider is Luke 33 and verses 10 through 14. Advent is about preparing to receive Christ into our lives in a new way. This invasion of Christ always asks of us some change for the follower of Jesus.
The change typically requires the removal of something that doesn't conform to Jesus like this in the addition of what does I will remember something that happened that one of our family dinners when I was a teenager.
Surprisingly, the biscuits my mother served that evening were just plain awful and unspoken rule and the family was that we never criticize mother's cooking.
But that night there was tension in the air because well we were appalled at the taste. Finally one of us children who will not be named blurted out that these were the strangest biscuits. He or she had ever eaten. This was immediately followed by the stern stare of our father of the sibling who dared to demean mother's baking mother. However was already trying to solve the problem, Phil.
She asked Phil, are you sure you got the right thing when I sent you next door to borrow some baking powder, baking powder, I asked sheepishly. I think I asked for baking soda during the Advent season we are invited to remove something in our lives that is unworthy of a follower of Jesus and replace it with something that is in case you were surprised to hear the purpose of the Advent season described in a way similar to how we describe the purpose of the Lenten season leading up to good Friday and Easter, the Advent season leading up to Christmas was originally established as a shorter Lenten season at time of self-assessment and prayer in preparation for receiving the incarnate Christ come Christmas. The first step of this process is what we call confession confession is the admission that something wrong or defective in our lives needs changing. As followers of Jesus, we can approach the father through Jesus to confess our sins and receive forgiveness and cleansing, recognizing our sins almost always affects our relationships. James invites us also to confess our sins to each other. We are a part of each other's healing.
This is especially true when our sin has harmed a specific person to whom we simply must go in humility and confess even after doing so. Sometimes we must live with the person's refusal to forgive us. We still honor that person. However, whereas before we had dishonored him or her Christian confession does not stop with the confessing is followed by the determination to replace the wrong or defect with something that is a genuine creation of Christ. The change we seek is more fully to acquire the character and compassion of Christ. We not only own our sin and shortcomings, we begin the process of changing toward his likeness, John the Baptist, Jesus, forerunner help to begin the revival in Judea by preaching to large crowds that they needed to confess their sins and receive God's forgiveness.
Use the traditional practice of water baptism to help people mark and remember their confessions. Those who were baptized. However, were not left without some very basic guidelines for how they were to live differently. Whoever had two shirts was to share one with the person who had none. The same was true for once food supply, tax collectors, who typically kept back from their collections more than they were authorized to were told not to take anymore than the legally set percentage soldiers were told not to cheat or harass anyone to be satisfied with their pay. This was to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah was spelled out in far more detail and even more exceptional and radical way to live.
The whole point of confessing and receiving God's forgiveness is to clear the way and empower us to live the life of Jesus. Some see confessing is getting off Scott free receiving another excuse slip for sending true confessing is starting over. Some of us need to start our whole lives over again so far have we strayed from God. Others of us who have been on this journey with Jesus.
Realize that there are some ingredients still needed in the mix of our lives that will bring us closer to likeness to Jesus, whichever description fits us there is is starting over, to which Jesus calls us if we confess without making a new start. Our confession, no matter how emotionally high-powered is empty.
Beginning again is God's gift to us. He gives us a night of renewing sleep every 24 hours so we can start over refreshed the next day he gives us the freedom to fail to learn from our failure and then to try again a little or a lot wiser. He gives us the grace to admit our mistakes and confess our sins and the freedom to try again.
That's why the Bible's insistence on not hiding our failures is good news. We can confess and start over. The Jesus of the Gospels never meets a person he doesn't believe can start over at the top of that list of those who are sinners and know it at the bottom but still on the list of the self-righteous to find it's so very hard to admit that they are sinners. If you are a seeker after God and his forgiveness. You need have no worry over your qualifications. You can start over, forgiven, and begin your journey with Jesus.
If you are now a follower of Jesus and his Holy Spirit has revealed to you that there is an ingredient in your living that detracts from the taste and character of your life. The Holy Spirit will give you the ingredient of Christ. It does us no good to sit around the dinner table of our church family and pretend that there are no inferior or wrong ingredients in our lives. Not that we are called to condemn one another. We are called to be a community of forgiveness and grace, a place where we can start over and change in the presence and love of Christ. This is what the true church of Jesus looks like.
Could there be a better way of better preparation for welcoming the Christ into our midst. This Christmas please join me in prayer living Lord I bring my imperfections to you this Advent season and I ask your Holy Spirit to show me how I can discover completeness in Christ. I confess my sins again to you and I ask your forgiveness and if I have hurt or send against another person.
I asked that you humbled me before that person if I've been guilty of the self-righteousness that you so much deplore. Help me to see myself through lands that are clear of my obscuring pride so that I can truly confess and start over. And if there is any ingredient in my life that is unholy or inconsistent with Christ. Please show me, forgive me and change my heart so that I can change my living. I pray this through Jesus Christ my Lord and my life marvel. Amen. The Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 tell us how we can help share prayer request or share your testimony. Would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes favorite podcast store and surely give us a rating.
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