Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Normal Into Miracle
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What can you give to God that He doesn’t already have?  Tune in to learn how God can take normal and turn it into a miracle  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

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SCENES TO FILM:

  • Opening
  • 3 minute History
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

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OPENING:Luke 2:1-7In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
OPENING ILLUSTRATION:A few years ago our family was traveling from Kansas out to Washington DC.  We had figured out that if we left after I preached one Sunday that we could make it to… You guessed it, Kentucky to stay for the night.  Actually, the plan was to stay in Louisville and travel the rest of the way the next day.  So, I booked the hotel on a website that will remain unnamed and we booked it out of Kansas.  By the time we got into Louisville, it was midnight… Kansas time…  Do you know how wrong it is that Kentucky is on Eastern time when you are driving this way.  We pulled into the hotel, I was exhausted, tired as all get out, I woke Jen up, everyone else in the car was asleep.  I’d driven like 11 hours and all I wanted was to crash into a comfy bed.  I wait in the car with the kids as Jen goes in to get our keys and find out where the room is.  that’s when I see her come out with one of those looks on her face.  you know those looks where you think, I would not want to be the person who put that look on her face.  She got in the car and she said, “they don’t have a room for us, they gave it away…”
I don’t think I’ve ever quite understood the idea of “No Room in the Inn” before that…
Have you ever wondered why Mary and Joseph are traveling to a place where they need to find a guest house?
It’s because there is a census that has been initiated and everyone has to go to their home town-the town is overwhelmed with people-Bethlehem was not a large town-Mary and Joseph have been looking for a place to stay and they can’t find anything…
They are stuck having their baby in a manger – a space that was designed for animals…
But what was that space like?  Was Jesus born in a cave?  Was he in a barn?  Where was He born?
[5 Minute History Lesson]
It’s time for a 5 minute history lesson with KentMost people have a misconception about where Jesus was born.  This misconception came from Christmas songs, Greeting cards, and even well meaning pastors.  
The word in Greek for “guest room” in vs. 7 where it says She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
The word is KatalumaIf Luke had wanted to say Jesus was born in a Motel 6, there were Greek words available to him to use to convey the idea of an inn.  And let’s honest, would you have been looking to a Motel 6 to give birth in when you likely had family that lived in the town you were in?
A kataluma was used to refer to a guest room (which doubled as storage when there were no visitors https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/was-there-really-no-room-in-the-inn), it would  have been off the back of the house.  What Luke is telling us is that the guest room was already taken so Mary and Joseph had to give birth in the manger.  
We all have this picture of the manger being a barn, and some pastors will tell you it was in a barn, but scholars actually think the manger was probably a room off the front of the house.  This idea comes from Justin Martyr in the second century A.D. stated that Jesus’ birth took place in a cave close to the village. Over this traditional manger site the emperor Constantine (A.D. 330) and his mother, Helena, constructed the Church of the Nativity” (2005, p. 1669).
But Archaeologists have found that, ancient Jewish people had a room in the front of the house that you would walk into first – it was a small long room that they would bring their animals into during the night to protect from theft and to use their body heat to help keep the house warm on cool nights.  They would put straw down for these animals.  It was a part of the house.  What is most likely happening is Jesus was born in this house or possibly this room, swaddled and then placed in the trough of this room, which would have worked nicely for a cradle.  He was likely born into the house of a kinsman, a family member who would have felt like it was their duty to care for Mary and Joseph.  It is also possible that the placement of them in the manger is due to Mary being pregnant outside of wedlock, although whether they would have known that or not, we don’t know.
[back to kent]What we do know, is that Mary and Joseph had a place to stay.  It’s interesting to me that the part of the story we have focused on so much is the fact that there was no room in the Kataluma – I get it, it drives your emotions, you end up thinking, “How could they…”
But what we miss is that, while the guest room was full, whoever it was that owned this manger, gave Mary & Joseph what they had.  
It was warm, dry, the noise would have been dampened by the straw.  It was a place where the mess of birth could easily be cleaned out and replaced with new straw.  
I’m telling you, for Every Christmas of my life I’ve missed the gift that was given for Jesus because all I saw was what wasn’t available to give
I know a lot of people who feel like this, like they don’t have much to offer Jesus.-People who aren’t rich-Don’t feel like their gifted at anything – ordinary-don’t have influence
People who just work normal jobs, have normal families, are normal people.
What I love about this story of Christmas is that the miracle was found in the normal
Jesus does this all the time-He takes what is normal or weak about us and turns it into His strength
-A boy only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes – Jesus took the normal and fed 5,000-Jesus took a donkey – and rode into Jerusalem like a King-Jesus took Paul in His weakness and said
2 Corinthians 12:9My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I know you might not feel like much, but you are exactly who God is looking for!
1 Corinthians 1:27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
God Chose you!  You have something you can offer to GodThe question you have to figure out how to answer is…
What is it that I can offer to God?
[Part 3]I wanted to give you something practical todayA way for you to Advance the Kingdom by living for God and loving people
The 4 P’s of Giving a “Nothing Fancy” only “Normal” Gift to God:
Open your bibles to Romans 12:1-2Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

  1. A posture you assume

ILLUSTARTION:You can now buy devices to help with your posture, to keep your body in the right position to maintain health…  I need a device that shocks me when I eat sweets 🙂
Your posture matters, right, we’ve all seen the elderly gentlemen who’s almost bent over and thought about how uncomfortable it would be and felt sorry for him.  
Paul tells us that our posture matters when we think about our walk with Jesus, he says it this way… Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Offer your bodies as living sacrificesPaul has just got done describing the incalculable mercy of God, and He says – “in view of that mercy” offer your body as a living sacrifice…
You know this is a conundrum – most sacrifices died.  But Paul is asking us to live our lives in a way where we are living as an eternal offering to God
The posture we assume is to live life through the lens that every breath you take is a breath taken FOR God – a living sacrifice.

2.  A post Mortem you conduct
ILLUSTRATION:Murder mystery shows use the autopsy room as a way to give you tons of information about the episode you are watching in a very succinct way in order to move the mystery forward quickly.  It’s an ingenious way to tell a story…
For our purposes, your post mortem that you need to conduct is about starting to unravel the life of Jesus from the life you’ve lived…
Paul says it this wayDo not conform to the pattern of this world
This is huge, it’s something I don’t think many of us take the time to do…
We don’t CSI our own thoughts and behaviors to determine if they are something that has been birthed by God or by our cultureBYou’ll see, but giving a gift to God, that’s acceptable, is about being in His will, and you can’t be in His will if you are not in His will…  meaning you are operating on a different set of values
This means looking at what informs your thinking-are you more informed by a political party than the scripture?-does your view of leadership come from the word of God or the world?-How about your money, your family, parenting, how you pass on spiritual training to your children, sexuality, drinking, lying, etc.
The post mortem is about looking at where you come from so you can start going where you want to
3.  A position to takeDo not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
I don’t mean position like you would think politicallyWhat I mean is that you position yourself under the word of God-that as you allow your thinking to be transformed and your mind renewed by learning to answer the question
What is the God way of thinking about this?
This means studying God’s word-spending time with believers-etc.

4.  A path to walk There is this interesting passage in the bible, Acts 16, Paul is planning on going into Asia and he says the Holy Spirit kept him from going there and then he has a vision of a man in Macedonia…
It’s interesting to me, because Paul was just doing his best to do what he believed God wanted him to do, and God was reaching in to gently direct him – like helping a kid learn to ride a bike, you let them balance but occasionally reach in to correct their balance
Paul says if you have done all these things-Assumed a posture of a living sacrifice-Performed a post mortem to understand where you came from-Taken a position of submitting your thinking to God’s way of thinking
Then…Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
You can walk the path of “trying” for God This is where as you give yourself to God he can take your Normal and turn it into miracles…
CLOSING:I used to have this buddy who would always offer to help me with things but would never follow through.  It was probably one of the most frustrating things ever.
God is not just looking for empty lip service, but he’s also not looking for the best, the brightest, the wealthiest…
God is simply looking for those who are available and willing…
What could happen if you gave God your parenting – and reset your thinking on it? What could happen if you gave God 15 minutes a day in the morning to spend in His word? What could happen if you turned off the radio every time you were driving and prayed the whole time? What if you gave your life to Jesus and found salvation Him?  Look, Jesus is looking to take normal and create a miracle, are you ready to give it to Him?
Why not spend some time talking online or with your family about what you could start giving to God?