Is Your Scene in Order? Christmas 2019
Is Jesus the central focus of your life? In the Christmas nativity scene, the center is Jesus. Joseph, Mary both focused on Jesus. The wise men the shepherds and even the animals are all focused on Jesus. Your scene is set up correctly when the central focus is on Jesus.
Verse 16 so they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby lying in the manger.
One central setting of Christmas for most bible belt raised individuals is the nativity scene. Stable, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men and animals. We often include angels.
Mary and Joseph were part of that scene. It was the virgin Mary that God chose to give earthly birth to his son Jesus. Joseph was the man whom the angel appeared to and was told fear not to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the holy spirit. They became the earthly family that would raise baby Jesus, teach Him a trade, and stand by Him till his death.
Shepherds were part of the scene. When it was time for Jesus to be announced to the world, God chose a shepherd. The hardest working group, the ones who pulled the all night shifts, and many times were the lowest and loneliest group to be the ones he told the world through of Jesus birth.
Wise men were part of the scene. We usually choose three because of the three gifts presented to baby Jesus. Even though they were not at the stable when Jesus was born, it was more like when he was two years old that they arrived at the place where Jesus was. But the nativity scene looks better with them in it, so we put them there.
Animals were part of the scene. There because when they traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register there was no room in the inn to stay. They were sent out to the barn, the stable where the animals stayed and that was where Jesus was born. Jesus was actually born in a feeding trough where animals were fed.
The earliest idea of creating the nativity scene was traced back to 1223. Saint Francis is credited with creating the first nativity scene and the idea has been handed down through the years to you and i.
Now you see the nativity scene on post cards, set up on lawns, used in Christmas programs for churches. And if you are my age, you remember them being set up on town squares, in front of court houses, city halls, and schools. The culture war that has taken place over the last couple decades has laws that prohibit the use of nativity scenes on government places and that is sad. I’m not so concerned that it is not set up in previous places and I am how it is established in all our lives.
In many ways it is a picture of life, it is a picture of your life and my life. It is a picture of something that is in the center of a life and everything else revolves around it. All of us have something that our lives are focused on, something that everything else in our life is effected by.
Like the sun in our solar system. Every other planet revolves around the sun. Every other planet draws strength from the sun. In the nativity scene, the center is Jesus. In our lives the central focus should be Jesus. You can only draw strength for life’s journey when Jesus is the central focus of your life.
The nativity scene is set up correctly when the central focus is on Jesus. Joseph, Mary both focused on Jesus. The shepherds all focused on Jesus. The wise men main focus was Jesus. Even the animals all focused on Jesus.
In the present culture we live in today, Jesus is no longer the center of the nativity scene. As a christian you may not have Jesus in the proper place in your life. You may have allowed things to move Jesus from the central focus of your life.
Replaced Jesus with the shepherds.
Many have taken Jesus out of the center of their nativity scene and replaced them with the shepherds. I have to be careful not to do this myself. The shepherds represent Work and if we are not careful we let work become the central focus of our lives.
We spend the majority of our week on a job. In fact we give most of our best effort to our occupations. Even our social life is influenced by our jobs. Many of the marital relationship problems have there beginning in work place relationships. When you take Jesus out of the center of your life and replace Him with shepherds, your life begins to reflect this change.
The problem is when you need something to draw from in times of difficulty and you have shepherds in the center, you have nothing to lean on, fall back on, and our lives fall apart. And we can’t understand why because Jesus is still in our lives. You may still go to church. You may still be a believer. You have just gotten Jesus out of place.
Proverbs 16:3 commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.
Don’t put work in God’s place in your life.
Replaced Jesus with the wise men.
If you didn’t know anything about the story, you would think the wisemen should be in the center. They represent fame, popularity, dreams, they are smart, they are educated, they are successful, they have a lot of wealth, they give gifts to others. And they are always good looking. They seem like a good center piece for our nativity scene.
Not many would confess that popularity, success, or wealth is the central focus of our lives. None of else would say that these are the things that are most important to us. The problem is that many end up living there lives like they are.
Again, when your life begins to crumble and you start looking for answers you can’t rely on fame, success, wealth, popularity, or social standing to bail you out.
Some of the most miserable, unhappy, struggling, people in the world are those who have been the most successful with money. It will not replace what you need to have in the center of your nativity scene. The center has to be Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:17 command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Don’t allow success to take God’s place in your life
Replace Jesus with Mary and Joseph
This represents family, marriage, children, relationships. Now we have the nativity scene set up right in many people’s minds. Family first!! It almost sounds right doesn’t it. Family ought to be first, they should be put in the center. I agree that family needs to always be a priority, but let me caution you. The reason a lot of people get hurt in marriage, in families, in relationships, is because you put so much pressure on people to be something they were never intended to be and can never be. They were never intended to be the central focus of your life…Only God is supposed to hold that spot.
The question was asked in a pastor’s conference, does your wife make you happy? Does Mikki make me happy? The answer would be no….. Mikki and I have a great relationship, we have enjoyed 46 years, 2 children, 6 grandchildren, a dog, and we never let a day pass without telling each other that we love them…..But Mikki does not make me happy…..I need to be happy long before I put my wife and family into the mix.
If you think getting married is going to fix your life, you need to think again. If you think another relationship is going to complete you, you need to think again. If you think a change from your present situation is all it would take for you to know happiness again, you better stop and wake up.
Happiness comes from having Jesus in the center of our lives and not putting the responsibility of our happiness on people. If you are looking anywhere else but to God for your happiness this Christmas, you are looking for happiness in all the wrong places.
Joshua 24:15 but if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the Gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the Gods of the Amorites, in who land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Don’t put family in God’s place in your life
Replace Jesus with the animals
We don’t put animals in the center of our lives….Yes you do. I’ve seen some of your facebook posts. I’ve seen animals dressed up in Christmas outfits….Don’t do that!!
Let’s say the animals represent all the things that bring us pleasure in life….Like hobbies, sports…For me golf…Football teams…Recreation…Vacation places, which by the way God created for our pleasure, you just can’t allow it to become the central focus of your life.
If you put your hope in pleasure, especially if it was Alabama football this year, it will let you down quickly. Can I get an amen?
I still go to church, I am here today, but your life is out of order. Your nativity scene needs rearranged.
Revelation 4:11 you are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
Don’t let your pleasures replace God in your life
I love what I do. I know that I am where I am today because God chose this path for my life. God called me into the ministry. He chose me to help people put their lives back in the correct order. I’ve learned those steps because I’ve had to rely on God to put my life in order and I rely on Him daily to keep it in order. I’m not swayed by people’s opinion of me. I am confident in who and what God has chosen for me to be. I’m not challenged because people do things on a bigger scale than what I do.
I love to encourage people. I love to stand by them when things are difficult. I love to share with people how to get there nativity scene in order. I love to share with them the importance of thanking God for the job or occupation that provides their lifestyle. It is a gift from God.
I love to share with people the importance of family. The importance of loving every day that you have to spend together and relying on God to provide the happiness and to make you complete, so you can fully enjoy one another.
But, you don’t need pastor Irwin, myself, brother ford, pastor Brandon, brother Mark or any other preacher tell you when your life is out of order. Your life will preach it to you everyday. The question is, will you listen and will you do anything about it?
When your life is in order, it not only looks right…It works right!
If you’ve every read the new testament, you find that it has much to say about getting your life set up right. It talks about money, time, marriage, children, jobs, stress…..It is very practical to our lives.
Colossians chapter one….The heading of that chapters says something along the lines of “the sepremacy of Christ.” It means you can’t even start working on the practical until you put Jesus in his rightful place of your life.
You couldn’t have a solar system without the sun. You have to start with something that the rest of your life can revolve around. You and I can not have a solar system without the “son” the son of God for our lives to revolve around.
15. The son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16. For in Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
God gave us a gift at Christmas…God commanded for us to serve Him and we said but we can’t see you…So God came to earth to be born in a barn and to die for our sins…..But He did so much more than that…..He lived 33 years so He could experience everything that you and I would face in life. Pain, disappointment, betrayal, loneliness, problems, issues, so He could quality to become your best friend. A friend that sticks closer than a brother.
He is a God that is not far away, He is a God that understands because He went through it Himself. What a precious gift!!!
He is the creator of all things…Every thing finds it’s purpose in Christ. Your family, your job, your wealth, your recreation, ….. You can’t put anything back in it’s right place until you go back to the one who created it. The best way to get your car repaired is to take it back to the one who created it.
Verse 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Most of us have our Christmas faces on today….You may have on your Christmas colors but so many lives are falling apart instead of being held together. We have gotten things out of place in our nativity scene. Our lives no longer revolve around the correct center.
If you find yourself in that position this Christmas season, there are a few things you need to do.
Invite Jesus to take his rightful place in your life.
You do have to invite Him to come back to his rightful place. Though it is a place that belongs to Him and it is a place that no one else can fill…You have to invite Him to take that place in your life. He will not barge in and take over your life without your invitation.
He knocks on your heart’s door…For some of you He has been knocking for a long time…Isn’t it about time to open the door and let God change your life…..If your way hasn’t worked and your way has gotten you in the mess you are in today, why not let Jesus change things for Christmas 2019.
September 9, 1973 on a Tuesday morning, I invited Christ to take his rightful place in my life. I prayed the simplest prayer and I made God a promise. I told God that if He would take his rightful place, I would make Him supreme in my life. My life has not been perfect, but He has been Lord of my life every step of the way since that day.
2 Involve Him in every area of your life.
He doesn’t want to be your Sunday God. He doesn’t want to be your Christmas and Easter God. He longs to be your everyday best friend and the Lord of your life through everything life throws your way.
He wants to go to school with you, go to work with you, go hunting, fishing, golfing, shopping….He wants to be the Lord of your life in everything you do. I try to put Him there and I try to be the same in this seat and I am in the golf cart seat.
I found out I do a couple things differently in church. Adam and the sound crew tell me I saw mountain instead of mountain when I preach. My daughter in law says I use my preaching voice when I walk into the pulpit….Maybe I do, but God is still on his place on my mountain.
We need to involve God in every are of our life…Let Him be the center of your marriage, let Him be the center of your job, let Him be the center of your recreation, let Him be the center of your success….Let Him be Lord of your life.
Ignite a fresh passion to know Him more.
I love the fact that the year end with Christmas….All that I have faced this year ends with celebrating the one who was able to see my through everything I faced in life.
The year ends with Christmas and brings us back in focus with the gift God gave to us. One week later we begin a new year. All things begin new….Fresh start….Past is left behind us….And the excitement of starting a new year with Christ in his rightful place in our lives creates a passion to know Him better than we have ever known Him before.
Make it a point to want to know Christ better than you already know Him….You may say, “I’ve been a Christian 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75 years”…..Yes but there is so much more to learn about Jesus than you know now.
Ignite a fresh passion……Don’t wait on someone else to prompt you to do something….Make that step to know Him better than you have before.
When you put Jesus in the center of it all….Your life will light up everyday with the joy of Christmas and you will experience the thrill of walking with God everyday….Feeling his presence in the midst of tough days….
Set your scene in order…. Pray this simple [salvation] prayer with me
Dear Lord Jesus , I need you. I am calling out to you and asking you to change my life. I’ve done things my way long enough and today I ask you to help me to do things your way. I invite you into my life to be my Lord and savior. Fill this emptiness in my life with your spirit and make me whole. I believe you died for my sins. Help me to love you. Help me to live for you. Help me to trust your grace, your mercy, and to accept your peace. In Jesus name… Amen
8. and there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10. But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; He is the messiah, the Lord.
12. This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
13. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying.
14. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
15. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
16. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.