Monday, December 10, 2007

#2 Be Prepared

The following is not the full text of the talk given at ICCS on December 9.  At points in this presentation, there will only be an outline.  If you have any questions about the talk, please contact ICCS at the address provided in this web site.  Much thanks and Merry Christmas!

What God is offering this Christmas? Be ready to receive His Gift.  

We are not in this LIFE thing just for the ride. This is all for a reason. What is the reason for this season?
Remember the Boy Scout creed? “Be Prepared”
(A bag filled with ‘stuff’ is shown-candy, flashlight, matches, air pillow, silver sheet, knife, Kleenex, shaver, breath mints, bank note, map, Bible, paper & pencil, clean socks, soap, hat and a fishing pole.)  Be prepared for life as well.

Be Prepared for training for a run…what is needed? Practice!
Be Prepared for training for childbirth…what is needed? All sorts of thins to learn and to be ready for when the time comes!

Just in case, Be Prepared.

Jesus says for us to watch and wait. Why? “Cause He is to return.”
Titus 2:13 while we wait for the blessed hope—
the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy 
of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, 
whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Be ready and be prepared.
“The Boss in coming on Wednesday, how to prepare?”

Look at the events of our lives:
  1. Things that brought Pain…
  2. Things that brought Joy…
  3. Things that brought Challenges…
  4. Things that brought Uncertainty…
Events that change us.
  1. Death of a child
  2. Broken promises
  3. Call to a calling
  4. Rejected by parents
  5. Becoming a Believer
Now, take these events that changed us and ask:
  • How does this shape me?
  • How does this move me?
  • How does this change me? 
We need to turn--To Define our Faith
What kind of Faith do you have?

Faith comes by hearing; 
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, 
and the message is heard through the Word of Christ. 

Without Faith-impossible to please God; 
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him 
must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

The Righteous will live by Faith; 
Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, 
a righteousness that is by Faith from first to last, just as it is written: 
"The righteous will live by faith."

Faith by itself is DEAD; 
James 2:17 In the same way, Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Need to increase your Faith; 
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

Examples of Preparation in the Old Testament.
Marker #1
Joshua 7:13 “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow.”

There was a great victory at Jericho but when the People of Israel took on a small hill town of Ai, they lost big time! Why? That is what Josh asked God. God’s answer was that there was sin in the camp. One man, Achan, by name, took some things from Jericho that he was told not to. He paid for it with his life.
  • Maybe, you are Coming to Faith in Jesus
  • Maybe you need to have a Rededication to the Lord
  • Maybe, you are now Determined to follow Him
Remember, in this verse in Joshua, God said: “These is NO Victory IF the cleaning is not carried out."

Marker #2
1 Kings 5:1 Build the Temple

God had given Solomon great wisdom. His father David had been good friends with the King of Tyre, King Hiram. Because of this friendship and trust, the king gave Solomon all the cedar trees he needed to build the Temple.
  • Step by step
  • Directed by the Lord
  • Open to His leading
If these markers are alive and in evidence in your life, THAT is a good marker that He is coming closer to you.

Marker #3
1 Chronicles 22:5 I will make preparation for it.”

All this was done BEFORE David died. He was to give a great inheritance to his son. Men! What are you giving to your children? You MUST…
  • Plan for the future
2 Chronicles 2:1 
  • Built on what was gathered before
Marker #4
2 Chronicles 34:14 “They made preparation for others”
  • Passover; first time it was celebrated since Samuel!  That was many years before.  People just plain forgot about the ways of God.  They forgot to remind their children of God's Work in Egypt.
  • Law was found 34:8, 14
2 Chronicles 35:15 Unity, Community
  • To receive the Full blessing
Question: Is GOOD better than BEST? Is all right always fine with us? Why do we settle for all right when excellence is in our grasp?
Don’t be caught doing ‘just fine’ when the Lord returns—ask for a heart of excellence.

Be fully prepared
  1. In Spirit
  2. In Community
Examples of Preparation in the New Testament
The movie “Mary”.

Marker #5 Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah and Elizabeth
  • Your prayers have been heard—ever call for help? Vs 13
  • Many…people will be brought to the Lord their God Vs16
  • Believe or be silenced by His Hand Vs 19-20
  • Acknowledge what He has done-verse 25
Be prepared for an out-of-the-way sort of event/or situation/or answer
  • He shows His favor to His People
We also know that Jesus is preparing something for us as well. 
John 14:1-4
 1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
  • A census, one language, the Peace of Rome-
  • God made things ready for us!
  • In the fullness of time…
Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

What is the Number ONE thing you can prepare for this Christmas? Are you ready to receive what God is offering this Christmas? Be prepared to see Him and to follow Him and to allow Him first place in your heart. Not the matter of gifts to be bought, cards to be sent, well wishers to be made, but your heart needs to be prepared for His visit—His presence—in your heart, in your life, 
in your family and in your Christmas. 
Be prepared. Be open to be open to His call for you to follow Him.
Wise men STILL follow Jesus. Will you?

Next week: The True~Spirit~of~Christmas
Question: Are you where God wants you to be this Holiday Season?
Luke 1:26-56 Please stay for the Christmas Covered Dish. If this is your first time, just come and be our guest!  If you'd like, you can bring some food or drink to share with the rest.  This is a great time to join in on some important friendship building time. 
 Be Prepared to have some real fun!