Good morning refuge church online. It is so good to see you today.
I'm so excited about our brand new series called Christmas gifts.
And I want you to know we've been praying for you all week long
that God just does something special in our lives over the next
few weeks together. Listen, before we do anything else, I want to
say thank you to everyone who came out yesterday. As we serve the
city of Athens in limestone County, giving away over 40,000 pounds
of food to people in our community, and also having the
opportunity to pray with people, tell people about Jesus and just
show people Jesus's love. I want to thank you for praying. Thank
you for serving and thank you for your generosity because of your
hearts for people we're able to make an incredible difference in
our community. Also want to remind you that on Christmas Eve,
December 24th, we're going to have a special online, only
Christmas Eve service.
And it's going to be unlike anything we've ever done before. It's
going to be so much fun. It will be a Christmas Eve service for
the entire family, and we'll have more details coming soon. I'll
also want you to know that on Sunday, December 27th, we're going
to have a special online service as well because all of our
campuses will be online on that morning. So I cannot wait for my
friend, pastor Powell, to share with you on that day. Hey, let's
pray together and let's dump in to God's word, Jesus. We love you
so much. And we thank you God, for this opportunity that no matter
where we're at this morning, we can worship with our church
family. God, whether we're overseas, God, whether we're on an
airplane, whether we're sitting in a hospital room, whether we're
at work or whether we're cuddled up at home, God, we can worship
you this morning with our church, family and God, I pray that we
would worship God.
I pray that we would turn our hearts to you. Father. We want to
draw close to you so that you will draw close to us and father, we
pray as we talk about this story that has become so familiar. God,
I pray that it would not be routine, but father instead through
the power of your Holy spirit, I pray that you would speak to our
hearts and God you would change our lives today. Jesus, we love
you. And it's in your name. We pray and everybody said a men, Hey,
I love this time of year. The decorations, the music, the
desserts, but most importantly, the hope there is just something
that is hopeful about this season. That's why the song calls it
the most wonderful time of the year, right? Well, I know this time
can be difficult for some people, especially if you're watching or
listening and you've experienced loss this year, you've
experienced hard times. But what I want us to do is I want us to
focus in over these next three weeks together because I believe
God is calling us to lean in to his hope and to see that there are
more benefits to Christmas than simply presence is he we're going
to look at the Christmas story this month. But my prayer is that
you will see this story through a new perspective, a new lens, a
new hunger to fully seek God,
God with your life. Now, what I want us to do today is I want us
to start by talking about Mary, the mother of Jesus.
You see, I want to be specific because there are several marries
mentioned in the Bible and there are some misconceptions about
Mary, the mother of Jesus that I just want to mention before we
jump in. Because depending on your background, depending on how
you were raised, you might have some misconceptions about Mary.
You see Mary wasn't sinless or perfect. The Bible never tells us
that Mary is sinless or perfect. The Bible doesn't say that we
should worship Mary Mary was not a deity or God-like.
Mary was a regular person just like us. And that is what makes
Mary. So God
Took an ordinary person and allowed her to be a part of something
that is extraordinary
Canary. And that is one of the amazing gifts of the Christmas
God still wants to use ordinary people, just like you and me to
make an incredible, extraordinary impact in this world.
It's God didn't choose Mary because of her education cut.
She was married because of her wealth. She didn't have any God
didn't choose Mary because of her maturity. She was a teacher
Nature. God chose Mary because of her heart because Mary trusted
You want to start in Luke chapter one beginning in verse 26. If
you have your Bibles with you, you can turn there. If you don't
have your Bibles, all of the verses will be on the screen this
morning, Luke chapter one, starting in verse 26. It says that God
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth a village in Galilee to a
Virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named
Joseph, a descendant of King. David Gabriel appeared to her and
said, greetings favored woman. The Lord is with you confused and
Mary tried to think what the angel
Can mean. Don't be afraid. Mary, the angel told her for you have
found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son
and you will name him. Jesus. He will be very great and will be
called the son of the most high the Lord. God will give him the
throne of his ancestor, David, and he will
Reign over Israel forever.
His kingdom will never end. I love this. Can you imagine
How incredible this was
As a teenage girl, an angel showing up and saying, listen, I know
you're a Virgin, but
We're going to give birth to a son and it is going to be the son.
Oh God. It had to be terrifying. What we see is in this verse,
The Greek word for confused
And disturbed is to be petrified or scared to death.
Can you imagine if an angel showed up at your door, we're not
talking about something that looks like a little baby with a harp.
What's an angel. We would be terrified too.
And then she found out why the angel was there. I'm sure there
were more fierce than just the angel, right? What is everybody
going to think? Hell, am I going to be able to handle this? What
about Joseph? Is he even going to believe me? Is he even going to
understand you see many times when God asks us to do something,
our first response is fear, but we cannot allow our fears to keep
us from being used
By God. And that's the question I want to answer today. Like
Mary, how can I be a person who is used by God? Because I don't
know about you. But one day when I get to heaven to be with God, I
want to hear well done. My good and faithful servant. I want to
know that my life counted, that my life made an impact for the
kingdom. That my life made it impact for God that I did what God
called me here to do. How can I be a person? How can you be a
person that's used
By God? If we go down to verse 38, we see Mary's response to this
surprising angelic message. Mary responded. I am the Lord's
servant. That's important. I'm the Lord's servant. May everything
you have said about me come true.
If you're taking notes, the first thing I want you to see is this.
Mary wanted to please God with her life. Mary wanted to please God
with her life. She refers to herself as God's servant. She says,
angel, I am God's servant, whatever you said, I want it to come to
pass. She didn't say Gabriel, go find someone else. I can't do
this. She didn't ask how was this going to happen?
And the scripture
Never indicates that she didn't want this to happen. I am the
Lord's servant. I want God to be pleased with my life.
In fact, later on Mary sings, a song
She writes and sings the song about everything that is happening
in her life. In Luke, one verse 46 through 48, she says, Oh, how
my soul praises the Lord, how my spirit rejoices in my God, my
savior for he took notice of his lowly servant girl. And from now
on all Jews,
Patients will call me blessed luck. Not only was Mary okay with
following God's will for her life. She was excited about it. And
Took a position of humility.
She didn't say
That's right, God chose me. I'm so awesome. I'm so spiritual.
She said, God took notice of me. His lowly servant girl. And from
on generations will call me bliss. You can feel the all and the
humility in her words, friends, if God is going to work in your
We're going to see his plan happen. And you want to become what
God has made you to be. You've got to want it. It's not automatic.
We've got to say,
God, I want to please you with my life. Maybe that's your prayer.
Maybe that's what you need to do. Every single morning is get up.
And before your feet touched the floor, God, I want to
Please you with my life. Let's go back to Luke one 38 for a
moment, because the second sentence in that versus just as
important Mary responded, I'm the Lord's servant. May everything
you have said about me come true. The second thing that we see is
that Mary was willing to sacrifice. Mary was willing to sacrifice.
There are always sacrifices that are going to have to be made. If
we're going to follow God's plan for our lives, there may be
things that we have to give up. We may have to get outside of our
Zone a little bit. And Mary
Said, may everything that you have said come true. One translation
says, I am willing to do whatever
God once. Can we truthfully say that about our lives? All right,
All of us have hopes. All of us have dreams. All of us have
desires for our life. And sometimes our dreams for our life.
Don't, co-exist very well with God's dreams for our life. Can we
truly say God, I'm willing to do whatever
You want me to do. Have you ever said that to God? Have you ever
said, God, I'm willing to do whatever you want. Mary could have
said, no. Mary could have said fond someone else, but she didn't.
And it was going to cost her to follow. God was going to cost her,
her reputation. She was a Virgin who was engaged in those times.
Being engaged was very formal. It was just like being married. And
now she was pregnant and questions had to be swirling. Was it
Joseph's baby? Was it somebody else's baby? What's going on here?
She had to give up her comfort. This baby was going to be born in
a barn. They were
Eventually going to have to flee to Egypt because the King wanted
to kill her baby. She had to give up her dreams.
I'm sure she
Had a dream. She had an idea of what she wanted her marriage to be
like what she wanted her life to be like. But God had a different
plan and it could have cost her her life because in those times
Joseph could have had her stone. If he thought
She was unfaithful, she was willing to sacrifice though, because
she wanted to please, God, am I willing to give up things in order
to be used by God? Are you willing to give up things in order to
be used by God? We will have to give up some stuff. If we want God
to use us, you may have to give up some habits. You may have to
give up some relationships, some friendships that are pulling you
down. Instead of building you up, you may have to set aside some
dreams or ambitions or goals or finances to be who God has made
you to be. Are you willing to do it? Verse 34 says the Mary asked
the angel, but how can this happen? I'm a Virgin. The angel
Replied, the Holy spirit will come upon you. And the power of the
most high will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be
Holy. And he will be called the son of God. What's more, your
relative. Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age. People
used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now
in her sixth month for the word of God will never fail. That is
important. One translation says for every promise from God, shall
surely come true. Basically the angel is saying, listen, Mary God
is going to do what God says he is going to do. Number three, if
you're taking notes, Mary trusted God's promises. God uses people
who trust his promises. And because Mary trusted God's promises,
God did miracles in Mary's life. Many times we don't see miracles
because we're afraid of the supernatural. The reason God doesn't
do miracles in our life is because we don't expect them. You see,
God meets us at our level of expectation. But what we do friends
is we play it safe spiritually. But what God wants from us is God
wants everything. God wants our all. He wants us to be all in. God
wants us to trust him fully trust him completely. And throughout
history, we know that God has kept every promise that he has made
and he will continue to be a God that keeps his promise.
As I said, even
Mary's cousin Elizabeth
Could see why God chose Mary.
We see it in verses 42 through 45.
Elizabeth gave a glass,
Add cry and exclaim to Mary. God has blessed you above all women
and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored that the mother, my
Lord should visit me. When I heard you're greeting the baby in my
womb, jumped for joy. Listen, you are blessed because you believe
that the Lord would do what he said
And what we have to understand France, right?
Is that one of the greatest gifts that God gives you
Us is purpose. You are here for a purpose. You are not here by
You were here because God wants you. Here. You are here because
God has a plan for your life. You are here because God wants you
to make an impact. And in acts, the Bible says that God created
you and placed you in this time, in this place, wherever you're
at, you were there for a reason. He loves you. He created you and
he has purpose for you,
You have to choose. You have to decide to walk in God's purpose.
How can I be a person that God will use? Like Mary, I have to want
to please God, with my life, I have to be willing to make the
sacrifices. And I need to trust
All of God's promises. And it starts with knowing his son, Jesus
Christ. You see that baby that was born in a manger. Didn't stay a
baby. That baby grew up into a man. And that man, Jesus,
He lived a perfect life. The Bible says he healed people. He loved
people. He taught people. But most importantly, he never said
anything wrong. He never thought anything wrong. He never did
anything wrong so that he could be the perfect lamb of God. The
perfect sacrifice, a substitute for you and me because you and I,
we are born sinners for all, have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God. That is all of us.
Yes, we've all sinned. And because we've all sinned, we needed a
savior. And Jesus Christ is that saver. You see Jesus. He
willingly gave himself up to die on a cross. His blood was spilled
so that we could find forgiveness and freedom. They put his body
in a borrowed tomb, but listen, friends, Jesus didn't stay dead.
It was resurrected. He came back to life to prove to everyone that
he really was the son of the most high God. And that he was a God
that kept his promises.
And the Bible
Says that if you will place your faith in Jesus, if you will trust
Jesus with your life, your life here on earth and your eternal
All life that you will be born again, that you will be
Saved. You will be rescued. You will get a brand new life. You
will be forgiven of your sin. You will be set free from the things
that hold you back. And when you die, you will be given a home in
heaven with God. But while you're on this earth, God will come to
live with you in you through the power of his Holy name,
The spirit. And he will never leave you. And he will never forsake
you, but it's a decision
Only you can make. And I want to give you that opportunity this
morning. If you were watching and you would say, Jason, I need to
give my life to Jesus right now. I want to ask you to pray this
prayer with me, pray something like this. God I've been going my
own direction with my life. I've been trying to do my own thing.
And I realized today, God that I am a sinner who needs to be
saved. And God, I now know that your son, Jesus is my savior. God.
I believe that Jesus died on a cross. And I believe he Rose again
from the grave so that I could have a brand new life father, would
you forgive me? Would you change me? Would you give me a brand new
life today? Jesus, you are my Lord and I want to follow you for
the rest of my life and Jesus, it's in your name. I pray a men.
Listen, I want to congratulate you. I want to celebrate with you
because you just made the greatest decision that you can make with
your life and with your eternity because you are forgiven. And one
day when you die, you will have a home in heaven with God for all
of eternity. But right
Now your life is going to be different. Okay?
And I just want to ask you, would you please let me know that you
made the decision to follow Jesus
Today. You can fill out
That connect card in the post above or in the comments below or at
our website. And just give me a name and email address. Just check
the box that says I gave my life to Jesus today because I want to
pray for you by name our prayer team wants to pray for you by
name. And I want to send you some resources to help you grow in
your faith and become more like Jesus. I want you to live out
The purpose that we talked about, but I can't do that. If you
don't let me know. At the end of every service, we dedicate time
to prayer because we believe that prayer is important and prayer
is powerful. And you may be watching. You may be listening and you
say, Jason, that's me. I need somebody to pray for me what we want
to pray for you right now. And in just a moment we're to worship
together. One last time today, you're going to hear the music.
You're going to see the words on the screen. And I invite you. If
you just need to sing out to God, sing out to God. But if you need
prayer, you can post your prayer requests in the comments below,
or you can email your prayer requests to us through our website.
And it would be our honor and privilege to pray for you today.
Let's worship. Let's pray together. Jesus. Thank you again for
To serve you God,
To worship you, God,
To learn more about you. God,
We thank you for the cross. We thank you even more for the empty
tomb. And we thank you, Jesus, that you fill our lives full of
God, I pray for every person watching every person that can hear
the sound of my voice. God, I don't know everything that is going
on in their lives, but are proclaimed that you do God, you know
their names, you know their cares, you know their problem. You
know, every hair on their head, you know, every tear that has been
cried. So God I ask you father in Jesus name, would you meet
people where they're at God? Would you wrap them in your arms?
Would they experience your love? God, could they fill your
indescribable peace in these moments,
Father, I pray that
They would lean into you and they would trust you. God, like never
before it doesn't matter how bad it's getting God, how much it
feels like life is falling apart. How much chaos they're
experiencing. God, I pray that they would lean into you in these
moments and trust you
Because you can be trusted. Jesus. We love you. And it's in your
name. We pray. Amen.
Hey everyone. I'm Mallory. Thank you so much for worshiping with
us at Refuge Church Online. If this is your first time visiting
with us, we would love to reach out to you this week. To thank you
for being our guests. Please fill out a digital connect card at
findrefugehere.com/connect. We are hosting an online Christmas Eve
service this year on Thursday, December 24th. And we've got
something very special planned. Please tune in on Facebook or our
website. Find refuge here.com to find the good news, just a
reminder refuge. We will not be meeting in person on Sunday,
December 27th. Please connect with us on Facebook or find refuge
here.com to view service online. We can't wait to start the new
year with you. Face-to-face again on January 3rd, refuge church is
social. Check us out on Facebook, Vimeo or Instagram. Thank you
for choosing to worship with us today at refuge church, where
everyone is welcome in anything as possible.
Good morning refuge church online. It is so good to see you again
this morning. I love you so much. And listen, I have been praying
for you all week long. I'm just still so pumped up about all God
is doing in our church. All God has been doing in people's lives
since last Sunday morning, and I believe that he has not done yet.
I believe as we go into this season of hope, he wants to encourage
us so that we can be an encouragement to other people. And I'm
praying that he will do just that today. Let's pray together
before we jump into God's word. God, thank you for today. Thank
you for the hope of this. Thank
You for the hope of your son. God, thank you that you are a
manual. God has come to live with us. We claim that over our
lives, God, that you are a God that loves us. You are a God that
knows us. You are a God that cares about us in Jesus. We want you
to know that we love you and we worship you in this moment. Jesus,
we're so thankful for God's word. We are thankful God that you
have revealed yourself to us and father. Today. I pray that you
would speak to us and God, I pray that we would not only hear, but
God, we would listen to what you have to say. Father moved me out
of the way. Me the words that come from my mouth, come from you.
Oh God, it is in Jesus name, pray. And everyone said a minute,
Hey, I feel like God is truly leading us to lead in to his hope
And to see that there are many more benefits fits to Christmas
than just presence. We're looking at the Christmas story this
month. But my prayer is that we see this familiar story from a new
perspective, through a new lens and with a new hunger. As we seek
God with all of our hearts, if you'll remember last week, we
looked at a powerful interaction between an angel and Mary Jesus's
mother. We saw that God has given us the gift of purpose and we
have a role to play. If we want to be used by God to make a
difference. And today what I want us to do is I want us to look at
four more Christmas gifts that God gives us Christmas miracles,
really, that we see in this Christmas story. We're going to start
Luke chapter two beginning in verse one. If you have your Bibles
with you, you can turn to Luke chapter two, but if you don't have
a Bible, you can always go one line to bible.com or Bible
Listen, all of the verses are going to be on the screen for you,
Luke chapter two, starting in verse one. At that time, the Roman
emperor Augustus decreed that a census should be taken throughout
the Roman empire. This was the first census taken when Quirinius
was governor of Syria, all return to their own ancestral towns to
register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of
King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea David's ancient
home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him, Mary whom he was engaged, who is now expecting a
child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be
She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in
strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no
lodging available for them. I know what you're thinking. Okay,
Jason, I've heard this story for years and years who what's the
big deal? Well, I'm glad you ask. If you're taking notes, gift
number one, God came to earth. Did you hear me? God came to earth.
This is the first gift of Christmas. God
Came to earth. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, Jason,
I thought Christmas was Jesus's birthday. What's all this talk
about God, listen to him.
What co Washington's one 15 through 16
Says it says, Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible
God. He existed before anything was created and is Supreme over
all creation for through him. God created everything in the
And on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we
can't see such as Thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in
the unseen world, everything was created through him and for him,
you see friends. The Bible says that Jesus is God and Encore
Christmas. We're not celebrating the beginning of Jesus. Jesus has
been here throughout time. We're celebrating that God would come
to earth to live among us, to be with us. You see, there are many
people in this world right now. They believe in Jesus. They
believe he was a good man. They believe Jesus was a good moral
example. Hey, they even believe he was a good teacher, but not
everyone believes that Jesus
Is God. When Jesus was a good man. And he was a good example.
He was a great teacher. He has all of those things, but Jesus has
so much more
Friends is the most significant event in all of human history.
This event sets our faith apart from every faith in the world.
When we could not get to God,
God came to us. The second gift we see this Christmas isn't that
only did God come to earth. God became a being.
God became a man. And he was 100% God and a hundred percent man
simultaneously Philippians chapter two verses six through eight,
say though, he was God talking about Jesus though. He was, God,
Jesus did not think of equality with God.
As something to cling to
Stead, he gave up his divine privileges. He took the humble
position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he
appeared in human form, he humbled himself in
to God. And he died a criminal's death on a cross. See God could
have chosen any way. He wanted to, to communicate with us, to show
his love to us. And for us,
God could have come and thunder and lightening. God could have
written a message in the sky. God could have come in an earthquake
or in the wind or in the fire. He could have been proceeded by
angelic trumpets. God could have come as a warrior. He could have
come as a conqueror, but he didn't. He came to Choco. He chose to
come as a baby. He chose to become one of us. The Bible says that
Jesus was just like us. He was born like us. The way that we were
all born, the Bible says that Jesus grew up. Like we did
physically socially, spiritually.
The Bible says that Jesus was tempted. Just like we are. He had
the same needs and the same drives and the same desires
Had the same problems and the same pressures. And Jesus went
through all of those things. Why? So that he could relate to us?
No matter what you're going through in your life,
You have to understand that God understands because he has been
there and done that God came and lived a human life. Not only was
God tempted, but he experienced real pain.
There are times when Jesus was lonely.
Tom's when Jesus was tired and worn out and overwhelmed. There
were times where he was under tremendous pressure.
He was disappointed,
Misunderstood Jesus, even wept. He understands everything that
you're going through.
Let's go back to Luke two for a moment, because I think this is
important while they were there. The time came for her baby to be
She gave birth to her firstborn. She him snugly in strips of cloth
and laid him in a manger because there was no room available for
him. You see to be laid in a manger that was a feeding
Trough. There weren't ends that they could stay out and they were
all full because of the census.
And so most scholars believe that Jesus was either born underneath
someone's house or in a cave. And they laid him in a feeding
trough for animals. What does that mean? That shows this gift.
Number three, Jesus. He came for all of us.
He came for all of us.
The Bible is clear when Jesus was born, he was not born in a
palace or a hospital or even a nice home. He was born in a cave.
He was laid to rest in a feeding trough. He was born to ordinary
people and he was born for ordinary people. Jesus didn't come for
just a privileged few or just for the royalty or just for the
religious Jesus came for anyone and everyone who would believe in
him. And what I love the most about the Christmas story is that
the first people that came to see Jesus were the shepherds. We
make them the heroes of the story, but in the area that they lived
in, the Tom that they live shepherds were considered nobodies.
They were the outcasts of society because they did a job that
nobody else wanted to do. But they were the first ones invited to
Jesus's birth. Later on, the Bible says that wealthy wise men came
again. A reminder that anyone from the lowliest of the low to the
most privileged position you can think of anyone can come to
Jesus. Listen, John one 14 says, so the word Jesus became human
and made his home among us. I love the way that the message
paraphrase, puts it. The word became flesh and blood and moved
into the neighborhood. Jesus was simultaneously a regular guy and
he was, God, I don't understand it. But I believe it with all of
my heart. You see today, there's still a lot of controversy about
Jesus, who he was, what he was doing, why he came to earth. But as
Jesus got older, as he began traveling and teaching and ministry,
Jesus told us why he was here. Jesus gave us his purpose. And in
John 10, 10, Jesus said, I came so that everyone would have a life
and have it in its fullest.
Gift. Number four is that Jesus
Came to save you. Jesus,
What's you to have a full, abundant, blessed life while you're on
this earth. And he wants you to have eternal life in heaven
With him when you die, the truth is you.
You matter to God, you really matter to God. You matter to God. So
much that he left his home in heaven and came to earth in the form
of a baby. And he grew up and he lived a perfect life and he died
on a cross and he was resurrected and he went back to heaven and
he says, come be with me. I love you, my child. I want you to be
with me for eternity.
I came so that everyone would have,
I have life. Why did Jesus say that? Because most of us are not
truly living. We're just existing.
And as I was studying
This week, I came across the saying, you're going to recognize it.
I've seen it on websites. I've seen it on Christmas cards. I've
seen it on social media over the years, but I think it has so much
truth to it. It says if our greatest need had been information,
Would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need on earth had been technology, God would have
sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God
would've sent us
An accountant. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would
have sent us an entertainer, but our greatest need was
forgiveness. So God sent us a savior after Jesus was born. Angels
appear to the shepherds out, working in the fields. And as they
celebrated, they said, behold, a savior is born and bet Maya,
this, and maybe you're watching or listening this morning. And
there has never been a time in your life where you've trusted
Jesus, Jesus, can't save you until you stop trying to save
yourself. This is a gift. Salvation is a gift from God. You will
never earn it. You can never deserve it. Send to what? Romans
three 23 through 25 says everyone has sinned and fallen. Short of
God's glorious standard
And all need to be made right with God
By his grace, which is a free gift.
They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. God sent
him to die in our place to take away our sins. We receive
forgiveness through faith
And the blood of Jesus's death. Salvation is a free gift. Let me
ask you a question. Will you accept this gift today? You've heard
the story. You've heard the good news that God loved you so much
You mattered so much to God that he left heaven. He came to earth
as a man. He grew up, he healed, he ministered. He taught, but
most importantly, he never sinned so that he could be the perfect
For you. And for me, he died on a cross. His blood was spilt so
that you and I could be forgiven. He died, but he Rose
Again. He was resurrected and he is still alive today in Jesus is
To himself, but we have to believe it. We have to accept that
Jesus has already done the hard work for us. Will you accept the
gift of salvation? And will you accept this gift from Jesus today?
If you say Jason, I will. This is what I want to ask you to do. I
want to ask you to pray this with me, Lord Jesus. I believe that
you are God in the flesh. I believe you lived a perfect life. I
believe you died on a cross and you Rose again from the grave. I
believe that God sent you to be our savior. Jesus, would you save
me today? I'm asking for your forgiveness. I'm asking you to set
Jesus. I'm asking for our brand new life today. Jesus, you are my
Lord. And I want to follow you for the rest of my life and Jesus,
it's in your name. I pray. Amen. If that was you, I want to
celebrate with you today because that is the greatest decision
that you could ever make with your life. Look at me, listen to me.
You are forgiven and there is a home in heaven waiting for you
when you die. But while you're here on this earth, the Bible says
that Jesus is going to send his spirit to live inside of you, to
lead you and guide you and direct you. You are never alone. Again.
I want to ask you, please do not change the channel. Do not click
off of this video until you let me know, because I want to pray
for you by name. And I want to send you some resources to help you
grow, to help you become more like the Jesus that we talked about
today. You can fill out our connect card in the post above, or
it's going to be posted in the comments below. Or if you're
watching on TV, you can go to our website right now, give us a
name and email address. Let us know you gave your life to Jesus
today. And we're going to be praying for you and celebrating with
you. And we're going to reach out this week to help you become
everything that God has created you to be. Now at the end of every
service, we set aside time for prayer and worship because we
believe with all of our hearts. Prayer is important.
The next few moments we're going to worship together. We're going
to sing one last song together. It may be, you just need to
worship. Maybe you just need to cry out to God and sing to him and
celebrate him. If that's what you need to do. That is incredible.
But maybe you're saying Jason, I need prayer. I've got some stuff
going on. I don't know how to handle. Maybe you're confused. Maybe
you're discouraged. Maybe you're having downs. Jason. I need
somebody to pray for me. This is what I want to ask you to do. If
you're online, I want to ask you if you're comfortable, please
take your prayer requests and post them in the comments below. And
we have a team that's going to be praying for you right now,
Jason, my prayer request is, listen, I get it. If it's private,
you can send it in through our website. You can email it to us.
We'll just pray with our staff, with our pastors. And we'll take
that confidential prayer request and we will lift it up to Jesus
with you, whatever you, this is a time to be ministered to let's
pray and let's walk
Dan. And again we say, thank you. Thank you for coming to earth.
Thank you for becoming a human being. God, thank you for being our
savior for living with us and among us for relating to us for
knowing us God we say, thank you and father. I pray. I pray for
the prayer requests that are being posted below God. I pray for
those prayer requests. God, even as people's type right now is
they send those prayer requests in God. I pray in agreement with
them. God, I lift them up to you. I intercede on their behalf. God
father, we ask you
For divine faith. God we ask you for encouragement. God, we ask
you for provision God, for those that need healing God in jesus'
name, I ask you for healing. God, for those who are dealing with
worry and anxiety and fear, father, I ask for peace. Your word
says you are the Prince of peace.
Jesus, would you move powerfully in people's lives right now?
It's in your name. We pray
Hey everyone. I'm Mallory. Thank you so much for worshiping with
us at refuge church online. If this is your first time visiting
with us, we would love to reach out to you this week. To thank you
for being our guests. Please fill out a digital connect card at
find refuge here. Dot com slash connect.
Hey refuge, family, pastor Jason. Here. I am so excited about our
online Christmas Eve service coming up on December 24th. You'll be
able to check it out on our refuge church, Facebook page,
email@example.com. This will be online only so you can spend
the evening with your family. We're going to laugh. We're going to
have some fun and we're going to make much of Jesus Christ. I also
want to remind you that our service on Sunday, December 27th is
online only as well. I invite everybody to join us for refuge
church online on December 27th at 10:00 AM. It's going to be an
incredible day with one of my pastors, pastor Frankie Powell. I
love you. And remember refuge church, everyone is welcome and
anything is possible.
Refuge church is social. Check us out on Facebook, Vimeo or
Instagram. Thank you for choosing to worship with us today at
wreckage church, where everyone is welcome and anything is
possible. I can see everything. You've every burning stars. your,
you don't speak in. Once you have spoke nature and science, follow
the sound. you speak creatures, cashier, Whoa, pursue. I can see
your heart, everything you say if the stars to shift. So well with
everything access to too high. So if it goes away, your sin savvy.
You chase down my heart through all of my abandon darkness, 2
billion failures. I could find it. If you left the gray you behind
you so I can see everything you've done. throw me, scare me when
Hey church, pastor Mark. Here. We're going to give pastor the day
off today, we're going to finish up our sermon series called the
Christmas gifts. You know, in our first week of this sermon
series, we looked at the interaction and the importance of the
Christmas story talking about, uh, Jesus's mother Mary. And then
last week we talked about Jesus's birth and who God really says
that he is.
And today we're going to take a new, fresh
Look at what the Bible says, the gifts given to us through the
eyes of the shepherds and how the shepherd saw the Christmas
And there's a lot that, uh, God gives us some amazing things that
we don't think about. We always think about Christmases, the birth
of baby Jesus, but really Christmas is when God came to earth and
there were so many more gifts. If you want to read along with me,
uh, this morning, Luke chapter two, verses eight through 14, that
night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding
their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared
among them and the radiance of the Lord's glory, surrounded them.
They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. Don't be
afraid. He said, I bring you good news, that you will bring great
joy to all people. The savior. Yes, the Messiah. The Lord has been
born today in Bethlehem, the city of David. And you will recognize
him by this son. You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of
cloth, lying in a manger.
Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others. The armies
of heaven, praising God and saying glory to God in the highest
heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased. See,
I want you to take notes this morning, because from that passage,
that interaction between the angel and the shepherds, there are
some Christmas gifts given to us, given to Christ's people. And
that's what we're going to look at is the four gifts that God has
given us through his son. Jesus, that first gift that we get is
courage. We need courage. You know, oftentimes we have
interactions, uh, with, uh, the Lord and the Bible, or you have
interactions with angels. They say, don't be afraid because fear
is human nature, but God gives us courage. What are you worried
about today? Are you worried about your bills? Are you worried
about your health, your job, your kids, your marriage, what is it?
Are you worried about your future? Look at the first thing that
happened in this story, suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared
among them and the radiance of the Lord's glory, surrounded them.
They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. Don't be
afraid. He said, you know, it's interesting that line don't be
When I was studying. That's what I, uh, hung up on was that idea
Be afraid. If you think about it, I've read the back of the book
and we win. God is victorious. And that's enough to give us
courage because one of the major themes of the Bible is that God
did not create you so that you would have to live in fear. There
is no need to live in fear. If you have fear about any of those
things, your job, your marriage, your children, uh, hunger, your
health, whatever it is, God will take care of it. We are given
courage through Jesus Christ. We are victorious. We will win
because of him. And just like that. When the angels told the
shepherds, don't be afraid. We have that same promise to not be
afraid because we we'll win. Let's keep going. Luke, two verse 10
says, I bring you good news. That will bring great joy to all the
See the second gift that we get with the birth of Jesus is we get
the good news. We get the good news. It's not just the gospel.
It's the good news of hope while desserts and decorations and, and
presence are part of the fun of Christmas. Christmas really is
about Jesus. That is the good news. You know, this morning I was
walking around singing Christmas songs. Why? Just because of the
time of the year, I woke my daughter up this morning, singing a
Christmas Carol. And she was like, dad, stop. But it's just
something about this time of year that makes us happy and gives us
joy while our world is full of bad news and frightening news and
fake news, we have the good news. We have the good news of Jesus
Christ. Really. It's more than just good news. It's great. News is
the best news in the world.
People won't, they hear it and we need to take it all over the
world. You don't need just to sit on the good news. You need to
spread the good news because that's one of the best gifts that you
were given. You may ask yourself. Well, what is the good news? I'm
confused about that gift. Pastor Mark. The good news is you matter
to guide. It's that simple. The news is you matter to God so much.
God knows everything about you. He knows the good. He knows the
bad. He knows the ugly and he still loves you. Why you say, well,
I'm not lying. Lovable. God loves you. No matter what, that's the
good news. No matter how good, no matter how bad or no matter how
ugly you are. God who loves it. God and loves you. He created you.
You were made for a purpose and God knows that purpose.
You are not an accident. You may think why I'm just messing too
much for God to love me. I can't even walk in a church. I
shouldn't even be watching it online right now or watching it on
TV. And that's so wrong. And so far from the truth, I don't care
what the circumstances are of your birth. I don't care about your
accidents. You know, God knows, and God has a purpose for your
life. That is the good news. You just don't know him maybe. And
maybe that's what you're worried about. He wants you to know him.
So he sent his son, Jesus Christ. So you could know him like he's.
He knows you. I was reading a story this week and it was kind of a
special story of a father and a son. And it's the story of the sun
lays down at night and he in his Bay and he goes, daddy, daddy, I
need you in.
The dad says, now, son, you got your Teddy bear, just hug yet. And
he says, no, no, daddy. I need something with skin. I love that
story because that's us here on earth. We're the children of God.
And we're crying out to God, but yet it wasn't just hugged that
Teddy bear, God said, he gave us something with skin. He gave us
himself with skin. He gave us his own son. Jesus Christ God in the
flesh, 100% man, 100% God to come down to earth. I love that the
angel said this was what's happening for all the people. The angel
told the shepherd. This is for everybody. Doesn't matter who you
are, what you've done. God wants to have a relationship with you.
That's the good news. And that's probably one of the greatest
gifts that we have. And we can't hide that good news.
We have to be willing to share that gift. So let's keep going.
We've talked about the gift of courage that you're promised
because we know that God's in control and we have the gift of the
good news. We have Jesus in the flesh, the son of God, walking
here on earth. But the third gift is probably the most powerful
gift that we see here in this story. The third Christmas gift is
forgiveness. It doesn't say that God's sent us a salesman because
we didn't need a product. It says in Luke two 11, the savior, yes,
the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city
of David, we didn't need a politician. We didn't need a soldier.
We didn't need a scientist. We needed a savior. We needed
forgiveness. Say, I think God could have sent us down anything. He
could've sent us down an educator to teach us.
He could have sent us down a salesman to show us how to get what
we need and buy it. He could have sit down a soldier to fight for
us, but he sitting on a little baby because he knew we needed
forgiveness. The best gift he ever gave us was forgiveness and the
form of a savior because God knew that we needed a savior. He knew
that God sent us to his savior so we could receive forgiveness.
The Bible says that heaven is the perfect place. And you know,
when, when you read in the book of revelation, it sometimes is
exciting to see the streets of gold or the Gates of Pearl. Or you
talk about all the stones and you think about how beautiful it is.
But I think the, the most interesting part of heaven that I'm so
excited about is in heaven.
There is no sin and sin is something that's pretty simple. It
basically comes in two forms. Seeing is when you don't do what God
told you to do, or you do something that God told you not to do,
but in heaven that doesn't exist because sin was not in God's
original plan in the garden. There was no idea of seeing God did
not create sin. Sin is that complete disobedience, but in heaven,
there is no sin. There's obviously no suffering. The Bible
promises made that there'll be no more pain. One day, the Bible
promises me that there'll be no more death, no more crying, no
more tears. I love that verse in the book of revelation. That
promises me that obviously, if imperfect people live there, that
it wouldn't be perfect. That means I don't stand a chance. And you
don't either of getting into hell heaven on your own merit.
I don't stand a chance on my own merit because I'm not perfect.
And I still fall short of the glory of God, but yet me a sinner, a
man, God still sent his son down so that I can get forgiveness
through his ultimate sacrifice. What a Christmas gift, you know,
it's exciting. And I love to watch my kids open presents, but does
I think about the best gift that anybody ever received, including
me, you, my children, my grandchildren one day is that idea of
forgiveness. So we all have a big problem. Here's the perfect
place. And yet none of us are perfect. That poses a problem. So
God comes to earth in the form of Jesus who was perfect. And he
says, you can get to heaven. Oh my ticket, God says, I'll be yours
savior, man. What a blessing is that for God to say, I won't be
I will give you that forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift, but we
have to choose to receive, save it. It's a free gift. It's the
best gift. You just have to be willing to receive it. You don't
deserve it. You can't earn it, but you can't accept that gift. And
the last gift that I want to look at today from this story out of
the eyes of the shepherds that we receive on Christmas gift,
number four is the gift of relationship. See, Luke two 14 says
glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those
whom God is pleased. I love how it reads in the King James version
of the Bible. It translates glory to God in the highest and on
earth, peace Goodwill toward men. What a great, powerful
translation that he is. God wants you to not only have peace with
him, but he wants you to have peace with other people too.
He wants it to be a time of peace and hope this time of year. I
mean, there should be peace. And I know that, but there's so much
stress associated with the holidays. You may be experiencing
family drama. Uh, there may be jealousy, grudges, resentment,
misunderstanding, maybe it's conflict with a sibling. Maybe, maybe
it's a spouse or an ex spouse or our extended family. And there's
fighting going on, especially on social media. You know, sometimes
social media, listen, it's a great thing for churches. We can
advertise, but sometimes families can really get at each other in
call stress. Who do you need to reach out to this Christmas?
Because it's a time of relationships and a relational. God God
said that he was glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace
Goodwill towards men. That's what the angels declared peace on
earth and Goodwill.
It's time to restore those relationships. This time a year, you
need to take the gift that we were given the relationship with
God, and you need to restore the relationships in your family.
Maybe it's a friend that you've you've crossed paths with is that
you had some crosswords with, or our sibling or children. Life is
too short. The angels declared peace on earth and good wheel. It's
time for you to take a hold of that because for receiving
forgiveness is just as important as giving forgiveness and having
a relationship who do you need to reach out to? Who do you need to
ask forgiveness from? Who do you need to restore relationship
with? Say restoring a broken relationship may be one of the
greatest gifts you give yourself this Christmas and you know what?
You had a broken relationship restored by Christ because
ultimately through the great gift you could receive this
Christmas, the most ultimate gift you could receive is Jesus
I love this verse out of Hosea has a, a 10, 12 says it is time for
you to turn to me your Lord and I will come and pour out blessings
upon you. It's time for you to turn to your Lord. It's time for
you to turn to your God. It's time for you to receive that
forgiveness. We pray with me, God, heavenly father, thank you for
your work or today, God, God, thank you for the gifts of
Christmas. God, if I was able to translate nothing else today, my
prayer is that God it's so much more than just the birth of baby
Jesus. It's about God coming in the flesh and giving us the gift
of courage and giving us the gift of forgiveness and
relationships. God, God, it's an opportunity to have hope because
the good news of Jesus Christ on earth, God, in the flesh, God,
God, we pour out this to you right now.
God, we praise you. We command our soul to bless you, Lord Lord.
Right now there's friends out there that I'm praying for watching
this and that are struggling. They're struggling with being locked
in and they ask their self and they need to forgive. And, and how
do they forgive in a pandemic when they're afraid to leave their
house or they can't leave? God, I find a way, find a way to
translate through the telephone or, or through FaceTime or
whatever it is. God, where people need to reach out to families
and restore God. I just pray your blessings on, on those that are
listening today. And God, I just pray. There's people out there
that know that they know that they need you. God, because you are
amazing. Lord, Lord, we praise you. It's in your name. I pray.
Amen. Listen church. I think there are some of you out there that
need so much more than just a restored relationship.
I think there's some of you out there that need forgiveness that
need a savior that need forgiveness and a savior and a promise of
heaven. If you're out there right now and you say, pastor, that's
me. That's me. I need Jesus because I've been good, but I need
forgiveness because listen, being good. Won't get you to heaven.
It's about being with God. It's about receiving that free gift,
that relationship having the good news. It's one thing to hear the
good news. You've heard the Christmas story over and over and over
again. But receiving that Christmas story. Listen, if that's you
right now, what I want you to do is I want you to bow your head
and I want you to cry out to God, God heavenly father save me.
God, forgive me of my sins. Forgive me of my failures. I admit
that I'm a sinner.
God, I admit that I'm lost without you. God. I believe Jesus was
your son that lived a perfect life and died for me on that cross.
I confess him Lord of my life. I know I'm not worthy, but God you
love me. Anyway. God saved me. It's in your name. I pray. Amen.
Listen for, and if that was you, there's a digital connect card.
If you see that and you're watching online, click on the digital
connect card and tell us, let us reach out to you and help you
connect. And, and so that you can learn more. Or if you're
watching on TV right now, Hey, call the church, email the church.
We want to send you a gift this morning. That'll just help you
connect with God and understand what it means to make him your
Lord and savior
Church. I love you
This year. And I'm so excited about the Christmas season and I was
gonna sing you a Christmas Carol, but they said
That I couldn't because you might all turn the TV off, but you
know what church it is, the time that I want to bless you. And I
want to thank you for watching this morning and I want to wish you
a Merry Christmas now go and be the truth.
There's so much to love about this time of year. The Christmas music, the decorations, the food and giving gifts. Most importantly, though, the Christmas season is a reminder of all the incredible gifts God has given us - especially the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.