Life at Christmas is crazy, this week Kent helps us look at what matters most to us and reorganize around that. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom! GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Life at Christmas time is crazy. Because we are all being pulled in a million directions. I mean you’ve got Christmas parties to go to, Christmas concerts to attend, and Hallmark movies to watch…
But seriously, don’t you sometimes feel like you’re like one of those stretchy sticky hands getting pulled back and at some point, you end up snapping?
What’s going on with that? Why do we all let ourselves get wagged around by the craziness of this season?
I can’t prove it, but I think it’s because a lot of us have this feeling that we “have” to.
I have to be ____________ for my kids
I have to be ____________ for my spouse
I have to be ____________ for my work
I have to be ____________ for my friends
And all that “have to” is driving you crazy…You’re gonna have to be committed if you’re not careful 🙂
Can I implore you as we get started this season, to figure out a way to find some slow in the crazy that is Christmas?
‘But Kent, how could I do that?’“I’m already booked out through to next year…”
Let me show you, the problem is not with your kids, spouse, work, friends, or anyone else, the problem is with the expectation you’re placing on yourself.
Let me ask you this one thing
What does God need from you this season?
Seriously, I want you to slow down enough to ask that question. Actually, we are going to pause for a moment, I’ve asked Tony to come out with a guitar and just play some music under this part of the sermon. I want you to pray.
I want you to take EVERYTHING that is stressing you out and bring it to God. List it for Him. When you feel like you’ve hit the end, turn your palms over to signify that you’ve given it to him and then ask Him, “God, what do you need from me this season?”
Let me ask you a question, if the people who are closest to you were to write a paragraph about the activity of your life, would it reflect the kind of pause and peace you just found by releasing what’s going on in your life to Jesus?
It’s so easy to let the “have to’s” drive our behavior – but those things are not God.
-You have responsibilities, don’t hear me saying don’t take care of responsibility.
What I’m saying is we all need to change the voice that is driving us.
SCRIPTURE: I want to read you a paragraph that was written about a guy in the bible who had chosen a different voice to follow. Listen as Paul talks about one of his closest friends, even calls him Son:
Phil 2:19-24 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
Paul says several things about Timothy, did you hear them? I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.
For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ
Timothy has proved himself
Who the heck is Timothy? Timothy was a young man that Paul met on a trip – he had come to know Jesus, but had a dad who wasn’t a believer. Paul took him under his wing and invested in him. And Paul is saying, Timothy, is unique.
ILLUSTRATION: I’ll never forget one of my mentors sitting down with me in the middle of a pretty vulnerable time in my life. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Kent, you need to know, the normal person doesn’t think about pleasing Jesus as much as you do, don’t give up!”
It was a powerful moment in my life – to have someone speak that over me
Here is Paul speaking the same things over TimothyHe is like no one else
Why? Because he is looking out for the interests of Jesus, not his own interests…
Even Timothy being willing to show genuine concern for them comes because the most precious thing to Jesus is people – so they become the most precious thing for Timothy.
I’ve preached a million sermons about priorities and getting them rightGod first, family, church, work… etc. But can I say something…
I don’t think that’s right. I think it’s not that God is first on a list, I think it’s about placing your list under God
This is what we all just practiced…What was unique about timothy was he cared more about pleasing God than fulfilling everyone else’s expectations.
It’s as if Paul is looking back at something he had just written in his letter about living this kind of life and he’s saying, “yeah, Timothy is like that…
See, right before this in Philippians 2:3-7b 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing
Paul goes on to talk about how Jesus became nothing by becoming a servant, by shoving himself into a human body (what Xmas is all about), by ultimately dying.
I want you to get this, Paul is saying God… chose… to become…. NOTHING.
Why did he do this? He did it to come after me, and to come after you…
What if you stopped letting the tail wag the dog this Christmas?What if you just simply started each day by praying all the worries of the day into God’s hands and turning your hands over as you let them go?
What is betrayed by all of our “have to’s” is that we believe the half-truth that we can control everything – that I can keep it all together.
You weren’t called to keep it all together, you were called to lose it all to the one who can put you back together.
CLOSING: I want to close today by reading a passage out of the Message Version of the bible and I want you to close your eyes as you hear the words and picture Jesus speaking them over you. Then, we are going to stand and worship our guts out. Some of you are going to come up here and drop burdens at the cross. We are going to get rid of the half-truth of the have to’s and turn to the one who can put us together and who holds all things together.
Matthew 11:28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Sounds good, right, live freely and lightly-all it takes is what Timothy had, the ability to let Jesus REALLY be your leader – not in words, but in actions…