Summary: Third and final in series The Journey Toward Christ. This Crhistmas message looks at the birth of Christ and the ways in which we are distracted from allowing Christ to be “born in us.”
THE JOURNEY TOWARD CHRIST
Sermon Three: Birth
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
December 23, 2007
As a pastor, I am always dealing with distractions. I don’t mean distractions that keep me from getting my work done. I mean people who are constantly getting distracted from what matters in life. I’m not being critical. We all get distracted sometimes. But a key skill in moving forward spiritually is learning to identify what kinds of things are and are not worth your time and effort. Who are the most mature Christ-followers? Those who are able to stay most focused on Christ.
Let me give you some examples. Before I do this let me say that I love hearing from people. Please don’t hear these things and think, “I’d better not contact Dave with questions – I don’t want him judging my issues as distractions.” Please don’t think that way. If I think you are needlessly, distracted, trust me, I’ll tell you so! You won’t have to worry about what I’ll think because you’ll know.
One thing that endlessly distracts people is prophecy. People get so caught up in that. When is Jesus returning? Who will the antichrist be and where will he (or she) be from? Will the Biblical idea of the tribulation happen literally or in some metaphorical way?
Another is arguments and debates. Things circulate on the Internet all the time where one person or another is spouting off about this issue or that. Does healing still happen today or just in Bible times? Does God still strike people ill and dead today like he seemed to occasionally do in the Old Testament? Should “In God we trust” be removed from our money? Should “one nation, under God” be removed from our pledge? Should the 10 Commandments hang in public schools? What does Wildwind think about speaking in tongues?
Ironically, another distraction is finding God’s will. Who does God want me to marry? What college does God want me to go to? What car should I buy? What job should I take?
There are a million things that distract us from what really matters in the spiritual life. The strange thing about all these distractions is that none of them are wrong to think about in themselves. But right now as I speak, there are people sitting in this congregation who are in darkness. Some are Christians who are still in the darkness of various destructive habits. Some are spiritually uncommitted and are in the darkness of life without God. Some are in bad marriages and are in the darkness of denial about that. All across this room today there are individuals and families who, more than anything, need a real encounter with a real God who can make a real difference. And instead of dealing with the fear and frustration that might come from reaching out to that God, some people want to toy around with silly questions that aren’t going to bring God one step closer to them. In fact sometimes the questions will keep him at bay. See, these are pseudo-spiritual things we tinker with. They revolve AROUND God, they seem to be theological questions, and they give us the feeling that we are dealing with God in our lives. But they keep at a safe distance a God who, if you give him a chance, will be born into your heart and grow there and shake you up and rock your world view and alter your perceptions and quicken your conscience and soften your heart and change your mind and generally just mess you up and move your cheese. This is what God does when he is born inside of us. And how freaky is that, so we tinker.
I proposed to Christy when we were very young. Just 19. And I didn’t know anything about getting down on one knee or doing something special or anything. I just didn’t know about it. So on a fall evening at my parents’ house I asked Christy if she wanted to go for a walk. We went outside and walked up and down the street in front of my parents’ house. I was wearing a jean jacket, and I had the ring in my pocket. I kept reaching inside wanting to slip it out and propose but I was so nervous I couldn’t do it. After about a half hour Christy said, “I’m getting cold, let’s go inside.” I said, “No – let’s just keep walking for a while.” So we walked. And I couldn’t do it and again she said, “Let’s go – I’m cold.” And I said, “Let’s just keep walking,” and I was just blabbing on and on about anything I could think of -- absolutely anything to keep her close enough in a place where I might eventually get the guts to say what I currently couldn’t seem to get out of my mouth. I just kept tinkering and tinkering and tinkering – messing around the edges. Not getting to the point. Not taking the risk of asking the right question – the one that would get me to the goal and score me a wife. I just kept tinkering.