Summary: The important stuff are Relationships, understanding that Jesus is for Everyone, accepting that with Jesus we are able to stand through anything and that this relationship with Christi is truly Livable.
Let me share a little story with you…
It was the day after Christmas at a church in San Francisco. Pastor Mike was looking at the nativity scene outside when he noticed the baby Jesus was missing from the figures.
Immediately, Pastor Mike turned towards the church to call the police. But as he was about to do so, he saw little Jimmy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the little infant, Jesus.
Pastor Mike walked up to Jimmy and said, "Well, Jimmy, where did you get the little infant?" Jimmy replied, "I got him from the church."
"And why did you take him?"
With a sheepish smile, Jimmy said, "Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to little Lord Jesus. I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas, I would give him a ride around the block in it."
(Illustration not original)
You know what I like about this little story, it is something I think we can all relate to…
Being a child who desperately wants something and we pray to God… God, if you do this for me, I will do that for you. Nearly all of us that been there. Maybe over something small, like a wagon for Christmas, or maybe over something really important.
The story just feels so real… That is why I like it.
• I know with all my heart that be “REAL” is what God wants from each of us.
• Not to put on the mask, not to pretend everything is okay, but to be honest, to work things out and to show love and charity to one another each step of the way.
• That is what being real is all about and that is what God wants from us.
• This evening, I will use the letters from the word REAL as an acrostic.
Let’s begin by talking about what God is most interested in with the letter “R”.
R – Relationships – God is interested in relationships.
We this in the Bible from the very beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve.
They were created for relationship with God.
We see it throughout the old testament, God attempting to restore his people to right relationship with himself.
We see it with the baby Jesus…
John 3:16 - 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus came because God wanted to offer us a way to safety through his Son.
Jesus came because god wanted to offer us an example of how to treat those we say we love… our friends, our family, our spouses, our children.
E – Everyone – Jesus is a gift from God for everyone, without exception.
Ephesians 2:8 - 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.
Doesn’t matter who you are.
Doesn’t matter what you have done.
Doesn’t matter where you came from.
Doesn’t matter how much you have.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t understand all of this Jesus stuff right now… that takes time.
The only thing that matters is that you receive the gift he offers you. He offers it to you, you must receive it.
A – Able – When we have a relationship with Jesus, we are able to stand through anything.
Phil 4:13 - 13For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
At some point, most of us come to the end of ourselves.
It is at that place that we understand how much we need the Lord.
If we have been walking with him all along, the transition from where we end to where he begins, is smooth… if we are without him, those times can be some of the most difficult in our lives.
With Jesus you are able…
To work out your marriage problems.
To become a better mother or father.
To become an employee your boss is proud to have.
To kick the habits you have struggled with for so long.
To finally become the person that God created you to be.
L – Livable – Jesus did not come to beat you into submission to his way.
John 10:10b - My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.
God understands people, he understands you… he made you.
He understands that it takes time for you to grow into who he made you to be.
Some of you smoke…
Some of you drink…
Some of you look at questionable material…
Does God want you to stop? If you are asking me, I would say yes.