New Hope Notes
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Pastor Jon Burgess
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro by video:
As we gather together on this special weekend we will be talking about Mary’s response to Gabriel’s appearance and message to her from God. The angel said, “Greetings favored one, the Lord is with you.” Noticing Mary’s confusion about what He said, the angel said, “Don’t be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God, and 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, and the Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor, David, and He will reign over Israel forever and His kingdom will have no end.”
The story of Christmas began with Mary, a woman used by God in a very special way. Mary was the beginning of God’s plans, and God has chosen you and me to be included in those plans. Christmas is always a time of a new beginning, so open your hearts to today’s message as God begins something afresh in your life. Welcome and Merry, Merry Christmas.
Pastor John Burgess:
We are going to look at Mary’s response as we finish out our series titled, “The Arrival”. If we can put two things that we learn from Mary’s response into practice, then our everyday life will be merry and full of the joy of the Lord.
If we want the joy of the Lord, pervading every area of our lives, then we have to have the same heart that Mary had. God unexpectedly changed Mary’s plans but she was willing to surrender to God. The Bible says, “Mary was greatly troubled as his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.’ “How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.” (Luke 1:29-38)
In Luke Chapter 22, Jesus, Mary’s son, had the same response when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while wrestling with the reality and preparing himself to face the worst possible torture that anyone has ever faced on behalf of every person born. While praying, Jesus said, “Father if this cup can be taken from Me, then let it be taken from Me, but not My will, but Yours be done.”
Maybe God chose Mary because she had a merry heart and was willing to surrender the day. We have a Merry Christmas by willing to
*SURRENDER the day!
Christmas is about this question – “Is God going to get what He wants from me?” Christmas is not about what we can get from God, or what we may want from others. When God asks for surrender, He wants you totally committed, not partially.
As a young boy, I was raised in Kona, but later left with my parents to live in California. God reminded me of a story during my teenage years, of when I went back to Kona for a week with my family to visit and stay with our hanai family, the Matsuyama’s. It was Christmas Eve, and the Matsuyama’s, who owned one of the biggest construction companies on the island, said they were behind on a job and needed to finish it before the end of the year. Well I was less than thrilled and did not feel like getting up early to get dirty and sweaty moving boulders and digging ditches. As I wrestled with this situation, God revealed to me that I had to respect my elders and walk in unselfish love, and that working would add more salt and light to my day. God asks you to surrender so that He can do something new in you - not so that He can take something away.
The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 During this time, the world was in chaos. God created that chaos first. God started with a mess, before He did everything else.
The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary’s plans when she conceived the Messiah.
In order for God to do new things in us, we have to allow God to bring chaos to our plans.
2. Have a Very MESSY Christmas!
The birth of a child is a glorious, but painful and very messy process; however, there is rejoicing at a new life. You cannot get through the birthing process, without being willing to get messy. Christianity is a messy deal, not clean, tidy, and prepackaged.
Everything that has happened in my life, has involved surrendering my plan to God.
Let’s look at how things got really messy for Mary and Joseph as we read some passages from the book of Mathew. “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a Son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.” (Matt. 1:18-25)
Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace, because in Jesus’s days, a woman could be stoned to death if she was found to be pregnant, before she was married. Joseph also planned to marry Mary and have a family, but his plan was taken away when she got pregnant from the Holy Spirit. If you want to be part of a miraculous move of God, then you must be willing to let Him mess up your plans, in favor of His.
On November 23, 2012, it got messy for New Hope, when Farrington High School’s Auditorium’s roof collapsed. Praise God, because no one was hurt. The following year, the church moved its services to Sand Island, but things had to get messy, before we saw a miraculous move of God. The church was able to do this because we were able to
If you are looking at a difficult situation in your life, then in order for God to do a miracle you must SURRENDER the day and SEIZE that day instead of procrastinating. You must jump in with both feet, instead of one foot.
God may want you to see a situation through His eyes or through His lenses.
As an example, Julie sells these really cool glasses that when worn, allows you to see the word joy overlaying and interspersed upon the figures or items that you see. So when I put these glasses on and look at this decorated Christmas tree, the word “joy” appears all over the tree and beside the Christmas tree.
We read in the scriptures that we count all joy or rejoice in the trials. So how can we have joy in this messy situation or in the middle of this hardship? If you surrender the day and seize the day that God is handing to you, then everything you see will be joy. All you need is the right God given perspective to see that the mess in your life will someday become a miracle.
Let me close with another example about a man named Simeon that always gets overlooked in our discussion of the Christmas story. Simeon had waited his entire life, and was well advanced in age, before Jesus was brought to the temple for him to see. So when Jesus was brought to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord, “Simeon took him in his arms and praised god, saying: ‘… For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’” Luke 2:28, 30-32
Simeon saw with his “God” glasses on because he surrendered the day and seized the day, allowing him to hold the messiah in his arms. Simeon recognized when you see the light, you see the joy. When you allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow you like Mary did then there will be light. As the Bible says, “Let there be light.” Genesis 1:3 You will begin to see the joy in the journey and the light in the darkness. God sees you as the joy in someone else’s journey and the light in someone else’s darkness. This allows the world to see why Jesus came, and this is why we celebrate Christmas.