The Critical Moment of Being Christ-Centered

As I continue to grow in my faith, more and more my desire is to become more like Jesus. On this side of eternity, it is impossible, but I want this so passionately for my life and in our family.

Sometimes, we can be so busy doing ministry for Jesus we miss Jesus altogether. The story you may be thinking about is the Mary and Martha syndrome. As the Scripture says here, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

Let us focus on the Lord and His Word. We are to give Jesus our top priority. I don’t want to ever miss that as a Christian. It is far more important and better to be in the presence of Christ. It is better to be preoccupied with Jesus. To be with Him is more important than doing for Him.

Why does this matter? Because many of these kids are battling depression and public school is saying self-harm is over the roof! Some of us are here coming to church hurting because a close friend just committed suicide. Couples and even Sunday school leaders? Marriages on the rock are shaky at this point. There will be an argument coming in the parking lot of the church. Some people are torn into pieces coming into the church.

I am so glad Jesus didn’t abandon us sinners in our mess. Jesus’s intention for his earthly ministry was for sinners, outcasts, and the poor. Jesus loves the unlovable like you and me. There’s a place in God’s kingdom for people like all of us.

Jesus came even for the Greeks (gentiles) which means, Jesus is Savior for all people. However, Jesus is rejected by the religious leaders but was accepted by the common people. Jesus was a friend of sinners but rejected by religious people.

This Changes Everything when God Shows Up! (Luke 1:1-25).

I am just so thankful that Jesus is still in the business of saving souls and transforming lives.  The Gospel has arrived in the person of Jesus and that is amazing isn’t it?

“Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.” (Col 4:14). Luke traveled with Paul on parts of his missionary journeys, which were a total of three that Paul went on. Luke’s prologue tells us that Luke is clear that his interest is in the truth. Our world seems to have given up on the idea of truth.

Postmodernism says, “I believe what I believe. You believe what you believe. We are all happy campers so let’s not intrude on other people’s belief system.” 
Oh, that is so wrong. You and I can be certain what the truth is! We must unapologetically defend the truth of Jesus! The gospel is in a logical order a person could easily understand.

Do you know a friend who needs to know Jesus? How confident are we about our faith? Can something shake it up? Our feelings come and go. But our faith must be solidly rooted in God’s Word alone. The Bible says this, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

We see this in the life of Zechariah and Elizabeth who are the righteous ones. A lesson from their life is that just because you’re upright and righteous before the Lord, doesn’t mean everything goes the way you hope for.

God is on the lookout amongst his people not for the rich and famous, but just like Zacharias and Elizabeth, for the righteous one who will join wholeheartedly to do his work!

How do we respond when God delays or fails to meet our hopes? When I thought, “I could have, should have, would have. . .” and felt like a major failure of a father, I trusted instead in the sovereignty of God.

God reminds us that, no matter what happens in our lives, we can place our trust in the Creator of all things and be sustained by His irresistible grace.

Jesus is Great! Therefore, Nothing is Impossible with Him (Luke 1:26-38).  

I love the simple message of Jesus coming to save sinners. Isn’t that amazing? That Jesus who is so great to save sinners like us. The gospel is this; the amazing grace that leaves us breathless.

That begins with Angel Gabriel coming to Mary and saying “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (vv. 31-32).

Mary was, “greatly troubled” and that is understandable as she wonders how she can have a child of a promised one since she is sexually inexperienced. Mary is not “foolish” or let’s say, “gullible” She understands very well how babies are made. But she trusted God.

The gospel starts there but doesn’t end here. Jesus will grow up and will eventually go and die for the sins of the world. He will be pierced and die for our sins! He not only does that but conquers our sin and wins the victory for mankind! Mary trusted God for no matter what as she knew nothing was impossible with Him!

Are there areas in your life you struggle to trust God wholeheartedly? What’s one specific situation in which you’re struggling to trust God and His will?

Jesus is inviting us to leap with him. Christians need to keep re-learning this important lesson with childlike faith. Do not let Satan steal that joy of walking with him in complete humility and joy before Jesus.

Leap of Joy that Leads to Magnifying God (Luke 1:39-56).

Do you remember that 1st time when you came to saving faith? As the good old hymns say, “Glory, glory, hallelujah! Since I laid my burdens down.” Being awakened to the “joy of faith” John Piper puts it as, “A radical, Christ-exalting, soul-satisfying faith”?

I love the imagery of “leap” in the Bible. “King David leaping and dancing before the LORD” (2 Sam 6:16). Or “You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Mal 4:2). That is what it looks like leaping for joy! This is rejoicing, a party together!

JOY – is an attribute of the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Gal 5:22). The true everlasting joy that we can have on earth, only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

How many people do you know who claim to be Christians, yet they are very much Eeyore the gloomy donkey character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books? Maybe a person who always sees the cup half empty and sees the negative side of everything?

The opposite of joy is bitterness. Where does real joy come from? Our true joy and happiness can only come through Jesus. Let us return and rest in his presence of Christ alone.

As a result of joy? We sing praise to God! “My soul magnifies the Lord,” (v. 46). It’s true, isn’t it? Faith always leads to action. Worship is not a duty of our work, but the delight of our soul.

“Well, I don’t feel like praising God now!” Are you in a miserable state? Worship him there. Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preacher, once, “My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there!”

Remind yourself maybe on your refrigerator or your mirror you wake up, “Jonathan, praise the Lord! Magnify the Lord! Bless the Lord!”

Fear Not, for the Hand of the Lord is with You (Luke 1:57-80).

God is always on time, isn’t He? I love when God intervenes right in his own timing. “Of course, God! Your plans are better than my plans. Your wisdom is far better! Though I fail, you have never failed me yet.” He is never early, never late, and always right on time!

We see this with even the birth of the Elizabeth’s child. “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.” (v. 57). In God’s sovereign will and providential care, the time had finally come! God’s plan is never delayed or forfeited. God followed his proper timing!

When the naming of the child came along, the plans of man did not go forth as God had other plans! God had bigger and better plans. Elizabeth knew with supernatural intervention that the name to be given was John.

What was the reaction of the people? “And they all wondered.” (v. 63). Some other translation says, “amazed” or “marveled” I imagine they were more in ASTONISHMENT!

If God is in control, then why fear? “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa 41:10).

God’s got you! Just like He always has even the past time, the time before, and the times you have forgotten! He will, again and again, intervene in your life.

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