Last week we determined that everyone is looking for meaning in life. There are many music artists that change their name to give them identity in the genre they are in.
For example, Drake, the rapper, likely changed his name to effect his marketability and so he’d be taken seriously as a hip-hop artist. Names do matter.
We are all looking to be taken seriously. We are all looking for meaning in life!
Jesus coming to this earth is a powerful display of meaning for all humanity. There is no one name that can fit all of what Jesus represents to us.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Because he is your wonderful counselor, you don’t have to walk this earth aimlessly. You can have direction. When you walk with Jesus, he will show you the way.
God is also MIGHTY GOD.
The original word “Mighty’ in Hebrew is ‘gibor’ which means Vigorous, Hero, or champion.
God sent us a hero because no one can rescue us from the sting of sin and death, but Jesus.
Jesus is the mighty God who has shown up in vigorous strength, to help us overcome as a champion!
If God is for us, who can be against us?! (Romans 8:31)
The Bible says, “We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.” (Roman 8:37)
Our conquering and overcoming is predicated in who we trust in.
People are always looking for strength in the wrong places, heroes in the wrong people, and to overcome in their own strength.
God came on a rescue mission and that’s why he is mighty, he IS the Hero, he IS Mighty God!
No hero in the past, present and future, fictitious or otherwise, has his superpowers.
• Omniscience = All knowing.
• Omnipresent = Everywhere.
• Omnipotent = All powerful.
When no one understands, He does. When you feel alone, He is there. And when you are weak, He is your strength!
Jesus’ name is a powerful name and brings purpose that surpasses every expectation.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK IN YOU, FOR YOU, AND THROUGH YOU!
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13
It takes work to do what pleases God. Practice and intentionality will lead to a passion for pleasing Him. Passion is doing it even when it’s hard, simply because you are committed to it.
We need to let God work inside of us through His Word and guide us. However, we can’t use grace as an excuse to keep us from God or working to do what pleases him.
‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. ' Romans 6:1-2,6-7
Jesus wants to be our hero and our champion, but He cannot be what we need if we brush him off. He cannot be our champion if we aren’t willing to play on His team.
His power is at work in us through the Holy Spirit so we need to let the Holy Spirit lead and convict us.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK FOR YOU. Sometimes people think that adversity means that God doesn’t care. We completely forget that Jesus was born in the midst of adversity. First, Mary was a virgin conceiving a child that didn’t come from her fiancé. Second, Herod killed all the infants that were born in his vicinity because he didn’t want competition. He didn’t want the newborn king to take over his throne. Third, there was no place in the inn so Jesus had to be born in a manger.
All these things were a struggle!
However, He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. His grace is sufficient.
Check out Isaiah 40:29-31 & 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
KEY THOUGHT: God works for you if you surrender to Him.
JESUS’ POWER IS AT WORK THROUGH YOU.
In Acts 1:8 it says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 2:4-5 also describes the need to rest in God’s power.
KEY THOUGHT: God’s power is as strong as we are reliant on Him.
Let’s rely on Him so He can work in our lives. We cannot do life on our own and why would we want to when we have a mighty God! Join us tomorrow for the next chapter of And He Shall Be Called...
Merry Christmas UPChurch! We kicked off the season with a new series “He shall be called..”. Our God is so great that just one name doesn’t fit all that He is!
Have you ever heard of a celebrity using a completely different name than that which they were born with? Or someone changing their name to fit who they think they are? This shows that we are all looking for meaning, purpose, and to be known. And we all carry certain insecurities with who we truly are.
We are all looking for meaning in life. And this is the reason why Jesus cannot just have one name attached to him. He is truly all we will ever need and becomes the solution.
Are you are looking for guidance/direction? Strength and empowerment? Are you looking for meaning or peace? God has got you!!
Isaiah 9:6 says,
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah wrote this prophecy at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity. That’s nearly 600 years before the birth of the Savior! Looking at the history of failed rulers, and sitting in the rubble of Israel’s kingdom, Isaiah looked across the centuries to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son.
We can sit just like Isaiah, in the list of failed politics, failed legislation, failed policies, the rubble of a great nation and look across to the future promise that Jesus will come again!! But he won’t come as baby in a manger, but as a king on His throne! And he will make all things new!
Christmas is the promise that there is more to this world that we can see or touch. There is more to the name of Jesus!
HE is our WONDERFUL COUNSELOR!
Wonderful means Supernatural or Beyond comprehension and a Counselor is an Advisor (a person who helps layout and execute a strategy or a plan)
A wonderful counselor is a supernatural heart changer!
You can’t change your life until you change the matters of your heart. And you can’t do that unless Jesus is your wonderful counselor.
Harvard professor, Harold J. Berman said:
“Our whole society seems to be facing the possibility of a nervous breakdown.”
We are a frustrated society. We want to find direction, strength, meaning, and peace in the wrong places. And it shows!
Where do you turn for your strategy, your advice? Who is your counselor when things are going upside down in your life?
WHERE DO YOU TURN TO?
There are two places where people usually turn to for Counsel.
The first is Ungodly Friends. We need to pay attention to the people we talk to. We often go to them because they are assessable and they will agree with us but real friends only agree when there’s something to agree about. A real friend will tell you that your bad decision is going to hurt you and those around you.
Here’s the bibles advise on where not to receive advise: Psalms 1:1-3 “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. 2 But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely.”
Direction comes from Jesus and walking with Him closely. Get close to people who are close to God. Look at the fruit in the lives of the people around you and aim for godliness.
Another place we turn to is Social Media.
Social media gives a false perception of life and bad advice.
Proverbs 14:7-9 (MSG) says, “7 Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
We need to stop getting our advice from people on facebook, and start putting our face in God’s Book.
The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing. How much are we spending praying, reading scripture, or even going to LG or church? We don’t need more time, we need better time management.
Here’s the bottom line… As a society we are hurting, and we need a counselog. We need someone that cares enough to tell us what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear.
We can BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH THE COUNSELOR.
Do you realize that you cannot hide anything from God?
See Psalms 55:22
We need to LISTEN TO THE COUNSELOR’S VOICE.
Jesus took his 3 closest friends to a high mountain to be alone where God Himself spoke and said, “This is my Son, Listen to Him.”
John 10:17 says, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
And Third, we need to DO WHAT THE COUNSELOR TELLS US TO DO.
In the story of the RICH YOUNG RULER, he asks, “teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?
And Jesus listed the commandments in Mark 10 which the ruler had kept.
Then Jesus says,
“… go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” Mark 10:21
The bible says that the young ruler’s face fell, and he went away sad…
Jesus was testing his love and commitment to God. And money won!
Some people sit with the counselor and they want change without being honest to the counselor, listening to the counselor and doing what the counselor tells them to do.
We need to start letting Jesus into our lives to guide, and layout a strategy for life.
Don’t walk aimless when you have a wonderful counselor.
Not just a counselor, but a supernatural, heart changing counselor!!
Join us tomorrow for the next chapter in “He shall be called...” and bring a friend!!
The Thanksgiving Service last Sunday was a great reminder of all we have to be thankful for. And not just what but who we need to put first...Jesus. This is How we Do it.
The first week of the series, Pastor Juan talked about Generosity and How to put God first with his blessings. Then the following week we talked about how in order to put God first, we must be our authentic selves, because God cannot elevate or bless who we pretend to be. Then, two weeks ago we learned to put God first by demonstrating a genuine faith, and keeping a heavenly perspective in the midst of trouble and tribulation.
The series was wrapped up at our Thanksgiving Service with talking about putting God first by thanking Him first.
It’s important to remember that:
Your perspective determines your attitude of thankfulness.
People who are never happy or satisfied have a perspective problem. Their perspective is always thwarted by their negativity. People who are always grateful carry a perspective of contentment. They always revert to where they used to be, and compare it with where they are now. Those who are always negative, usually, have selective amnesia because they only remember the bad and never remember the good.
The hardest thing we can experience in our faith journey is learning to recognize the hand of God. Not so much in the BIG things, but in the small, and insignificant things.
Are you recognizing the hand of God in the small things? How have you seen the hand of God in your life lately?
There’s a story in the bible that speaks on the subject of thanksgiving. Unfortunately, some people don’t celebrate thanksgiving, they celebrate thanks-taking.
So, the question is: WILL YOU BE THE ONE?
Take a look at LUKE 17:11-19 MSG
11-13It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14-16Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan. 17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”
For the Hebrews, leprosy was a dreaded sickness which rendered its victims ceremonially unclean—that is, unfit to worship God (Lev. 13:3).
Anyone that came in contact with lepers were also considered unclean. Therefore, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community so that the members of the community could maintain their status as worshipers.
This was Not the case with Jesus. He didn’t make that distinction between clean an unclean in the way he treated these individuals. A person’s outward condition did not make someone unclean but rather that which proceeds from the heart determines a persons standing before God. Therefore, Jesus did not hesitate about touching lepers and even commanded His disciples to cleanse lepers. Jesus even made a leper the hero of one of His parables in Luke 16:19–31.
Can you imagine being isolated and stripped away from everything you hold dear? Everything that is important to you. You can’t work. You can’t function right in society. You can’t have human contact because you were deemed unclean and unworthy. You even got ripped away from people and God and left to die to your condition. It was the epitome of hopelessness.
There’s a story of Francis of Assisi who was terrified of leprosy. One day on the narrow path that he was traveling, he saw in the bright sunlight what he thought was a leper! Instinctively his heart shrank back. He suffered and recoiled at the thought of the contamination of that loathsome disease. But then, ashamed of himself, he ran and cast his arms around the sufferer’s neck, kissed him and passed on. A moment later he looked back, and there was no one there, only the empty road in the hot sunlight. All his days thereafter he was sure it was no leper, but Christ Himself whom he had met. (G.K. Chesterton)
In the story, Jesus took a good look at these men, and said to them… “go show yourself to the priest.”
In order to restore these men back to society, they needed the priest to determine that they were purified to go back to worship and get clearance.
Faith in action is going where God tells you to go, even though your circumstances haven’t changed yet. WHY?! Because Jesus said so…
These leprous men went on the word of Jesus though their circumstances hadn’t changed yet.
You cannot be grateful if you don’t take time to reflect.
The problem we have in this culture is that it moves SO fast, that we don’t have time to reflect. So, our thankful meter is often shortened to one day of the year.
What if we take time to reflect every day. “Be still and know that I am God!”
Get to know the God that heals. Know the God that is generous. And know the God of hope. If we just take time to be still and to know who God is and what he has done, gratefulness will emanate from the deepest part of our soul!
There were ten lepers, but only one reflected. Only one said, “hold on a minute.… I can’t just keep walking. I can’t just keep going and not worship God. I can’t just ignore the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
He came back worshipping. He didn’t allow the norms of the society that said, I need to be cleared by the priest in order to worship. He realized at that moment, all he needed was to worship with a thankful heart. All he needed to worship was Jesus!
At that moment, he remembered that not too long ago he was on the side of a road begging for his life!! He couldn’t touch anyone. He couldn’t worship. All he could do is scream from the top of His lungs, “Jesus!! Have Mercy on me!”
Some of us have reduced thankfulness to material things.
We can’t be thankful, because We don’t have the material blessings that others have. Our material perspective, has thwarted our spiritual reflection.
Don’t let your material perspective thwart your spiritual reflection.
We cannot afford to forget that at one time in our lives we were all leprous!! That leprosy is called sin. We couldn’t get close to Jesus because we thought we were unworthy and unclean. But when we shouted the name of Jesus, he came to us and cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Jesus turned around and cleansed us from the sting of sin and death.
One way to show our thankfulness is REFLECTING.
Reflecting helps you realize how Good God is!
“One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back…”
Another is WORSHIPING.
Thanksgiving is synonymous to worship.
“One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful.”
Another way is CONTENTMENT.
“He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan. 17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?”
This Samaritan man was not focused on his status in society, rather, he was focused on his status with Jesus. Everyone else kept going because they wanted to show themselves to the priest, and restore their societal status. This Samaritan man was in the moment! He slowed down. He reflected, he worshiped and he was content in the presence of Jesus!
Contentment is a learned behavior:
…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation… 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
Being content is trading your earthly motivation for your heavenly purpose.
JESUS: “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”
Let’s continue with a thankful attitude throughout the year, giving praise to God for His goodness. Even in times of struggle, we have much to be thankful for.
Join us Sunday as we start our Christmas series. This is an exciting season and we are so blessed to celebrate with you. Bring a friend at 10:15 am Sunday!
(Mark 7:1–23; cp. Acts 10:9–16).