Rap Sheet 12/13/20
Message: Hope on the Horizon
This week we took a closer look at the classic story of the "3 Wise Men."
To many people's shock, we learned there were not just 3 of these travelers! Not only that, they also were not actually there the night that Jesus was born. We have few of the facts right in this story, and that has led to a lessening of their true significance.
In John 1, we learn that Jesus came to and through the Israelite people, and yet the Israelite people rejected Him! They had waited thousands of years for the Messiah, and when He came they missed it. This taught us an important lesson for 2020:
SUFFERING SHIFTS our SIGHT!
Israel was suffering under Roman occupation when Jesus showed up. Their circumstances in that season had caused them to desire more of what they wanted FROM God than what God wanted FOR them.
What are some ways you have suffered in 2020?
How does suffering shift your perspective?
Suffering makes us self-protect. It causes us to look down at our problems and in at our own needs. Jesus came to His own people and they missed Him! However, The Wise Men, they did not!
What makes their story so amazing is that they came from a distant land and worshipped Jesus as a Divine King. They did not grow up as an Israelite, taught to look for the coming Messiah. They were from Babylon, meaning they were pagans! But, when Christmas came, they were watching and waiting. Most of creation paid no attention when the Creator showed up - but the Wise Men did!
We learned 3 things that the Wise Men did to make sure they were ready for this big moment. These 3 things will help refocus our own sight to make sure we are aware of what God wants to do in our life this Christmas season.
They Anticipated! These Wise Men were in the lineage of the great prophet Daniel. They had a sense of expectation. When is the last time you woke up EXPECTING God to do something in your life? God is always moving, are we ready and anticipating how He is going to use us?
The Looked Up! The Wise Men's anticipation shifted their attention. Everyone is suffering, which means everyone is in danger because Suffering Shifts our Sight. However, trusting and expecting God to act allows us to not look in or down, but to look up! To trust that Hope is on the Horizon. What do you need to take your eyes off of? What ways have you grown selfish during this time?
They Moved! Once they saw Hope on the Horizon, these men did something about it! They gathered resources to give, they followed where the star led, and they worshipped when they found Jesus. We are not a church that simply Meets together - we MOVE together. God is moving everyday. Look up and follow Him!
Be fully honest with God. He does not want you to hide your suffering from Him. He sees it anyway and wants you to cast your hardship on Him. God can handle whatever you are going through - let Him in! Ask Jesus to fill you with a sense of expectation this season. Anticipate that God is opening opportunities for you to make a difference in the world around you. Look for those opportunities and MOVE where the Holy Spirit is at work.