The Word of Christmas

Have you ever looked at how the story of Jesus is told in the Bible?  The writers of the Gospels all start their accounts differently.  Matthew starts with Jesus’ genealogy beginning with Abraham.  Mark just jumps into the story of Jesus’ ministry, starting with John the Baptist’s introducing Jesus.  Luke gives us the most details of the story of Jesus’ birth starting with the announcement of the coming birth of John the Baptist.

The Apostle John, however, begins his account in what might be an unexpected way to many.  He starts with Creation.  John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the Divine Son of God who pre-existed his coming on that first Christmas.  He is the Divine “Word” of God who spoke the world into existence.  John appears to be speaking to the Greek audience in his time.  The Greek philosophers had postulated that life itself must have some underlying, foundational core of logic upon which the whole world rested.  They called this the “Logos” (that’s Greek for “word”).  John says that Jesus is that “Word.”  He is life itself.  He is the light of humanity.

John tells us of Jesus’ birth, but does so in one sentence:  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a).  That one statement says a lot!  John says that the pre-existent Son of God took on humanity.  He came to us in a human body and took up residence among us.  John identifies this God/man as Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

This Christmas when you look at the manger scene, remember what you are seeing:  the Divine Word who spoke the world into existence has humbled Himself (cf. Phil. 2:5-11), taking on the form of a helpless baby, so that He can take away your sins!  Now that is truly a gift beyond compare!

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The Quest – Day 10

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 5, 2006 which is the 10th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 10 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, Week 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 10 – A Guide for Jesus

The Spirit actively participated in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me.” (Luke 4:18 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that he is a household handyman who loves a new challenge. His son Brent worked at his side most of the 13 years they spent working on their “fixer-upper.” The projects gave them good times together and some great memories.

Brent is now married and owns his own home. His father & mother are quite impressed by the home improvements that he and his wife Nikki have made. Now if only his father could get his borrowed tools back!

This reminds us that the Spirit did not work in and with Christ for Christ’s ministry alone. He demonstrated through Christ what He wants to accomplish in your life as a follower of Christ. It might be that just as Brent picked up handyman skills from watching his father Frank work, you can pick up spiritual insights into the way the Spirit works by watching how He worked with Jesus. Let these examples illustrate:

  1. The Spirit placed the fetus of Jesus in Mary’s body (Luke 1:35).
  2. The Spirit spoke through John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus.
  3. The Spirit blessed Jesus through Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-40)
  4. The Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
  5. The Spirit prepared Jesus for His temptation ordeal (Luke 4:1)
  6. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His daily ministry (Luke 4:14)
  7. The Spirit instructed Jesus in His teaching ministry (Luke 4:18-21)
  8. The Spirit performed miracles with Jesus (Matthew 12:28 )
  9. The Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:3-4)
  10. The Spirit validated Jesus’ life and ministry by filling believers to continue His work on earth.

How many of these examples prompt your thinking about ways the Spirit wants to work in your life as well? While some of the above examples may not be repeated in your life, the Spirit stands ready:

  • to help you in time of temptation
  • to empower you for your daily ministry
  • to instruct you as you teach others about Christ
  • to work in your life in unexplainable ways

In the end the Spirit will raise you from the dead, as He did Jesus, and you will live with Him in heaven forever!

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by asking the Spirit to work in you as freely as He did in Jesus!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 2

Welcome to FaithBuilders. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

We will be posting daily devotions, (an increase from our usual “weekly” pace) for a 40 day period, based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read daily one of the 40 chapter of the book along with us. This podcast will include some quotes from the book but will also include supplemental as well as reinforcing material for your encouragement.

Day 2 – You are Not an Accident!

You are not an accident!

Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it. God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates.

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.” Ephesians 1:4a (Msg)

Why did God bother to go to all the trouble of creating a universe for us? Because he is a God of love. This kind of love is difficult to fathom, but it’s fundamentally reliable. You were created as a special object of God’s love! God made you so he could love you. This is a truth you can build your life on!