Sermons

Summary: We need Jesus because we need to be changed by God!

A person who knew nothing about football was taken by a friend to a college football game. The friend explained the game as clearly as possible before they arrived.

As the officials met with the captains of both teams for the coin toss, the football fan was asked by the clueless friend what was happening. The fan explained that a quarter was tossed in the air and the visitors got to call "heads or tails." If the visitors called correctly they got to pick whether or not they wanted the ball first or not.

Well the game got underway and it was a thrilling game. It was back and forth. First the home team would get ahead and then the visitors would gain and regain the lead.

Finally the game was done and the stands began to empty. As they left the stadium, the fan asked his friend what they thought about the game.

A quizzical look came over the friends face. "It’s all about money." "What?" was the shocked reply. "Yeah, all night I long I thought to myself, ’Why is everybody yelling, "Get the quarter back, get the quarter back."

Some of us are groaning and some of us are laughing and some of us are asking, "What’s the point?"

Let me share another scene. You are a fly on the wall of the plant manager’s office that stands a floor about the plant floor and allows him to look out at the entire operation.

He sees everything: shipping, receiving, quality control, and the various production departments. In his office are sheets of paper that have various numbers and plans and directives that give him his orders.

You are on the floor. You run one machine. You are aware of the station to your right, and your left, and maybe behind you. But, you operate a station that is in the middle of the production process.

An order comes from behind the glass walls that a change in design is coming because the customer has to have it changed. What is the usual first thought? (Be nice now.) "What is going on up there? That is the zillionth change today! Why don’t they come down here and do it themselves!"

Now, good managers try to help an organization understand the big picture. Why? Because it is very easy to see things from our station and think, "yadda, yadda, yadda."

But the manager has a window to a larger picture that needs to be understood throughout the organization. (Make that should be understood.) It is a matter, and this is point I am trying to make, of perspective.

I think about the challenge of perspective on sports teams. Egos get in the way don’t they? Much has been said in the last few years about several player-coach relationships in the NBA. And fans tend to side with one side or the other, correct? The coach sees things one way; the player sees things the other way. The baseball situation last summer was the same thing.

As we move into the Christmas season and we hear the same carols again, and see the same TV specials and classics, and hear the same familiar Bible passages, I can almost guarantee that we will almost go on autopilot. Why?

A very good reason has to do with our perspective. We process the Christmas story and season from our perspective. What does Christmas mean to you, to me?

We get caught up in the gift list, the calendar, and the decorations. Now, they are wonderful and they are fun, but I have been struck this past week about the issue of perspective. And I have asked myself, "What if we tried to see and understand Christmas from God’s perspective?"

The communion table stands in front of us and forces us to think about Christmas differently this morning. And as we do so, several questions come to mind. But one in particular comes to the forefront between the intersection of manager, the cross, and the tomb where the table is. "Why do we need Jesus?"

In our text for this morning, Isaiah gives us an answer to our question and an important view of God’s perspective about our existence and this holiday season.

Perspective number 1: "I’m looking for godly people." In verse 5 we read, "You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways." God is looking for people to follow Him. His heart is thrilled when we make the choice to change our ways and our lives and turn them to Him and choose to cheerfully do good and follow godly or pure ways.

This is clearly stated in the gospel accounts of Christ’s birth where the angels announce "Peace on earth and goodwill toward men." God is interested in people who do good to and for others. But it is a good that comes as we follow God’s godly ways because the baby boy whose birth is announced to the shepherds will make it possible for God’s godly ways to become a part of our lives.

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