Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Don't Be a Turkey, Tell Someone
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What does the Turkey from Christmas Vacation have to do with the story of the shepherds from the bible?  You’ll have to stick around to find out because the answer will get your gizzard!  Yes, pun intended :).  Love what’s happening at Harmony?  Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give).  Got kids?  Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly)  https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!——————-
Sermon Notes Slide Key:

  • Sermons always start with “OPENING ILLUSTRATION:” and end with “CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:”
  • Red = Scripture slides (reflect formatting of scripture on slides, i.e.  – underlines, bold, etc.)
  • All scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted
  • Bold = Slide text
  • “b” or “B” on a line by itself = Slide break/New slide
  • Bold ALL CAPS WORDS = heading to be ignored
  • [some text] = programming notes to be paid attention to

—————————–[MIKE – have someone read Micah 5:2-4 during worship sometime before sermon – can be between songs]
OPENING ILLUSTRATION:Years ago, a buddy and I were in Phoenix for a conference, he was a big Phoenix Suns fan and we happened to be like two blocks away from where they played.  So, we got tickets in the nose bleed section and started watching the game – they were playing the Houston Rockets back when Yao Ming was playing for them.  By half-time Phoenix was getting skunked, it was so bad that almost everyone that had courtside tickets left.  I looked at my buddy and was like, “this is our one chance, let’s go down and see if we can get in some of those seats…”  It was crazy, we sat 4 rows back for the rest of the game and watched these guys play ball.  It was crazy to watch Yao Ming lumber across the court, taking one step for every two of lots of the players.  It was a crazy moment, it was like it was a basketball game just for us and our closest 400 friends 🙂
Have you ever had one of those moments where you got to experience something special, a once in a lifetime experience?
Maybe you got to meet the president or had lunch with Harrison Ford…
TAKE THE TURN:I need to take you to one of those moments if I can…

BREAKLet’s set the scene…
[Stage lights go blue – give the sense that it’s evening]
It’s dark out, the middle of the night…You are in Israel, 6 miles south of JerusalemYou are in these fields that are situated on terraced hills, if you can picture it, the edges of each terrace are built up with rock walls, limestone caves dot the landscape-it is an oasis in the middle of a desert landscapeThe only sounds around you are the sounds of the evening with the occasional sound of a bleating sheep…
It… is… quiet…Everyone has gone to sleep except for you because it’s your watch of the night, to guard the sheep… 
and that’s when it happens…Well, let me read it to you
[Don’t put scriptures on screen this time, keep camera on Kent]
Luke 2:8-20And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,[I will say, “I said, the glory of the Lord shone around them!”  At this point, bring up single spot, bright white on Kent, rest of stage remains blue]and they were terrified. 

in the Greek, it actually says Megas Phoebos – greatly fearful
You don’t know this, but as far as these guys know. God has been silent for over 400 years
The last thing God had said to the people of Israel was Malachi 4:5-65 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
and then….silence…
BREAKAND THEN… silence broken. These shepherds, out in a field are the first people to have a public proclamation from God in 400 years…-to help you put that in perspective, the United States is 244 years old-Maybe this helps put into perspective – it was 400 years ago that the Mayflower left England 
For 400 years the people of God had been waiting for God to move, to bring the Messiah to free them-they had gone through revolutions and failed attempts to restore the glory of Israel…And then it happens
These Shepherds in a field are visited by an Angel and the hillsides are lit up…Let’s keep reading…10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Listen, you might not know this, but shepherds were not the elite of society – some preachers will make it out like they were religiously unclean, which isn’t true – but they certainly weren’t considered the high society…-They were likely poor, lower class, they were likely young and didn’t have much…
They were the guys in the nose bleed section…
but it is in this moment that God does something crazy-He brings the nosebleed to center court…
God breaks His silence and proclaims that a savior – the Messiah has been born
This is huge news-do you understand the word savior?
these guys would have been thinking small – Messiah as a King who would rescue Israel from Roman occupation and set up a physical Kingdom that all people would come and worship Yahweh
But The Kingdom Jesus came to set up was much more subversive than that. His Kingdom was inside you and it’s eternal. He wasn’t overthrowing just the Romans, He was overthrowing the sin in the human heart. Making dead things alive. Making lost things found. Making blind things see
It is this message that the Shepherds were privy too and then it happens-it’s as if Heaven cannot contain itself and rips through the barrier of eternity…[Bring up more white stage lights]13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Heaven bursts through with angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”-The shepherds blow out of there, and run through the town search for a woman who has just given birth – can you picture as they come up to the manger door finding where Jesus was born.  They pause to take a breathe as the door opens, Joseph and Mary astounded that anyone would be at the door that time of night… The shepherds tell them the story and they are met with the most incredible birth announcement ever…
Here’s what’s crazy to me…
No one else knew about it…Everything took place in a field and a manger. For the rest of Bethlehem, they slept through the birth of the savior
The only reason people knew what happened  is because the shepherds told them-they spread the word that Heaven had come to earth
I believe God is still choosing to use people like those shepherds to spread the message of his love to a sleeping world…The message that a savior has been born into this world a messiah, King – who longs to restore your broken, heal your dead, give site to your blind…
And it is us, the normal, the shepherds, the Line workers, the bank tellers, the truckers, the office workers that God has given the message to…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: One of my favorite scenes from the Movie Christmas Vacation is when they’ve cooked the Christmas dinner and Chevy Chase goes to cut into the turkey – There’s this big build up to the moment, where everything is solemn, the music starts and Chevy stands up to carve  the turkey and he says, “Katherine, if this turkey tastes half as good as it looks, I think we’re all in for a very big treat!” As he goes to cut it, the turkey splits apart and it disintegrates…They cooked it so much there’s nothing there…
Listen, we are living in a time right now that needs hope more than any other.  People are dying, literally, people are depressed, Christmas lights went up earlier than ever this year…  But do you know what most people are going to feast on this year, a fake hope.  It’s all going to be plastic reindeers, Santa’s behind plexiglass, and pretending like the pain of the year doesn’t exist.
This Christmas, don’t let the narrative be about Santa and Reindeers, if ever there was a  time for real hope, it was now!
Church, let’s find creative ways this year to tell people the story of Jesus coming to rescue the world…