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Summary: A sermon for the fourth Sunday in Advent, or Christmas Eve.

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Matthew 1:18-25

“What A Difference God Makes!”

By: Kenneth E. Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

I was talking with a colleage of mine this past Tuesday morning, and he was telling me

about his family. He was telling me how excited he was that his children would be coming home

for the holidays.

During our conversation, he made a very interesting comment. He explained to me that

he and his children have grown especially close now that they are grown, and that they thank

him for the way that they were raised. They thank him that he and their mother took them to

church, and instilled values in them--values that last a life-time.

Obviously God made a big difference in the life of my friend’s family, and I beleive that

this is the case in most instances.

And this is an especially important fact to remember in this day and age when less and

less people claim affiliation to a house of worship.

There are literally millions of families in America today who do not attend any church,

and who do not make God a part of their family.

And we can see the effects of this all around us as more and more families are breaking

up, and as more and more children are turning to drugs and other forms of escapism in order to

fill the void in their lives.

My son Ben for example, came home from school one day and told us that right down the

street at Heritage High School there is a large contigent of students who are dabbling in Satan

worship and witchcraft.

One child came up to Ben and asked him to sign his name on a sheet of paper, but before

he could do this a friend of his warned him that this kid belongs to a group that is trying to win

souls for Satan.

And sure enough, when Ben took a close look at the paper he was being asked to sign, he

saw that it was a contract, and the words of the contract went something like, “By signing my

name, I hereby agree to give my soul to Satan.”

When Jeanne heard about this, she asked, “I wonder what church these kids go to?”, and

I answered, “That’s the problem, they probably don’t go to any church.”

I knew a young couple in Macon, Georgia who joined the church I was serving. They

were having all kinds of marital difficulties, and were just about ready to call it quits, but

decided to try attending church as a last ditch effort to save thier marriage. In essence, they

brought God into their lives.

Over time, this young couple became very involved in the life of the church, and the

husband even started a children’s choir.

And he gave that choir a name. One day I asked him why he had chosen the name he had

chosen, and he told me that he had named the choir after his home church.

He could have named the choir “The Happy Singers,” or something like that, but no he

decided to name the choir after the church that gave him his formative Christian roots.

Obviously God had been a part of his family, and that meant an awful lot to him.

This couple is still married, and last I heard from them their relationship had gotten much

better because they had invited God into their family.

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