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Steve Mickel: Living By Faith, Luke 1:26-38

December 6, 2021

Audio Recording

A Renewed Christmas
Steve Mickel: Living By Faith, Luke 1:26-38
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Sermon Transcript:

:00 You're listening to a Live recording from Westside church in bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us,

00:07 Everybody. It's really great to see you. I'm so happy. That's an inside joke with Evan and me just now. I'm happy. Evan happy. It's great to have you with us. Merry Christmas. I'm home alone, anybody fan of the home alone movies. See, it's just all about which ones you pick Evan in terms of the passion. Did you bring it up two weeks? No, he said maybe it's just the day, I guess, different people, but yeah, home alone. And looking forward to this Christmas season, it's not always easy. And we'll talk a little bit about that today, about how to navigate through some of the points of the detours that we experience during the holiday season. But if you have a Bible turn to Luke chapter one, we're starting launching a new series today, and we're going to be looking at the Christmas narrative from the viewpoint of Mary.

00:56 What did, what did she experience as the mother of the soon to be born? Jesus. I love that Jesus said when he came, that he would make all things new and I don't know about you, but I need a fresh view of Christmas. I need a fresh perspective of this holiday season with everything that we've been through culturally, with everything that's gone on, even just kind the materialism of Christmas and everything that's surrounds it. I just want to, I just want a fresh perspective of this season to see old trues refreshed and to look at the Christmas story through the eyes of a mother, I think what will help us to do that now? have you ever traveled like on a road trip and you've got it all mapped out? Who are the people that like map out, you map out a road trip, like, you know exactly where you're going to stop?

01:49 How long the stops going to be, anybody like that? Like me out there, you just, you don't want to raise your hand because you, because your family gives you such a bad time about it. Like, all right, dad, if we have to stop here, fine, let's go. But for those of us, detours and roadblocks are a major inconvenience, but have you ever like, you know, why, why is it that when you're driving over to the valley in the summertime, when there's more traffic than ever, that's when they decide to do road work, has anybody ever asked that question? Like, I'm curious about it anyway, but what do you do when those moments, when that happens? Like when you, when you unplanned road stop and you're like sitting there, what's your natural response. And we're going to look at that because we see a detour in Mary's life that sh that was unplanned and how she responds to her unplanned detour, I think might inform us how we can respond to the unplanned detours that we've experienced over the last couple of years.

02:48 So Luke chapter one, let's look at this. How does Mary respond to disruption in her life? Verse 26 in the sixth month? The angel. Now, as I read this, I want you to like, be looking for disruption, put yourself in Mary's shoes and be thinking about how, what, what, what parts of this story might she be like? This is disrupting my life. All right. In the six month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a Virgin betrothed, to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David. And the Virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and he said, greetings, oh, favored one. The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at the sane. I don't know about you, but I'm more than just troubled at the sane. I'm like trouble that the guy in my house, like, who invited you?

03:38 Like, what are you doing here? And, and not only is she greatly troubled about what he says, we'll look at that in just a moment. But these like, like, what are you doing here? I mean, this is an angel. So put yourself right as I, okay, this is, this is disturbing. And then what he says to her is even more disturbing greetings, oh, favored one. The Lord is with you. This angel elevates Mary and I to remember Mary is like a 15 year old girl recently engaged. And there's this angel saying, you highly favored. One like you're, you're like really important. And the Lord is with you. And she'll, she was greatly troubled at the same. She tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be because anytime there's disruption happens in our lives, we're trying to discern what's going on. Verse 30. And the angel said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, because she was afraid an angel in our house.

04:31 This is unexpected. And don't be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God and behold, you will conceive in your womb embarrass son, and you shall call his name. Jesus. And she's thinking great, Joseph and I can't, can't figure out the name of our kid. This is perfect. This angel just shows up and says, here's the name? He will be great and will be called the son of the most high. And the Lord, God will give to him the throne of his father, David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom. There will be no end, couple of things here. First she's thinking pregnancy, I'm barely engaged. Joseph and I we've got our five-year plan mapped out kids. Aren't in the picture until we've done some traveling. We've bought a house. I mean, this is not, you got to like, come on you guys.

05:22 I know she's, it's not the same as today, but it's to be pregnant out of wedlock as a young girl, this is not her plan. This is a disruption. And not only that, what the angel says to her about the sun that she'll have she as a, as a Jewish girl, she would know that this was a prophecy of the Messiah. The one that Israel had been waiting for for centuries, and this angel is saying, you're going to have that child. And she's thinking, have you met the man with, in order to get it as she's thinking? But she's like, like, this is impossible. And Mary said to the angel, how will this be? Since I am a Virgin and the angel answered her, the holy spirit will come upon you. And the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the son of God.

06:16 That that whole thing would trip me out, right? I mean, this disruption after disruption, as I w what, how's this going to work? And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son. And this is the six month with her who was called barren for nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me, according to your word. And the angel departed from her disruption after disruption talk about a detour in Mary's life, something that she had not anticipated. And I think she has something to teach us about how we can respond to our detours in this moment, because listen, God is doing something new in us, in this church, in this country and in the world. And what happens often times when we hit a detour, when we hit a roadblock, is we miss the moment.

07:17 You know, in those times when you've driven over the mountain and you've, and you've been stopped at a roadblock, if any of you ever gotten out of your car, because you know, it's going to be like a 10 minute wait, and you just looked around and you've been on this highway hundreds of times and you've, but you finally stopped on it. And you're out. Like, I didn't know there was a lake here, you know, this is beautiful, but we never, because of the way life is, we just never see some things. Intel disruption happens until things don't go the way that we planned on them going. And, and there's a stop that we have to make. And we have to pause for a moment and go like, what is going on? And we begin to see things that we would have otherwise not seen as a result of the disruption, but most of the time, if you're like me and like most everyone else, when you hit disruption, when you hit a roadblock in your life, you get frustrated and angry and you get caught up in fear and uncertainty of what's going to happen.

08:20 And how am I going to get through? And what is this going to look like? And when I think about our culture today, the phrase greatly troubled seems to apply everyone. I look, when I look out at the landscape of our nation, and I look at diff how people are responding on both sides of the pandemic, I see fear. And this fear comes because they're uncertain about the future. They have agendas that they want done or whatever. And when I see fear, and then we get all caught up in that, right? Cause that's what we kind of feed ourselves with. And really ultimately we're afraid that we're not in control. And the sooner you come to terms with that, the better off you are when those disruptions come into your life, Mary's like this. She was afraid. She was afraid. Not only was her her life, that she had mapped out, going to change dramatically, but she's afraid because this is like, I'm going to be pregnant and I'm going to have the Messiah.

09:20 And, and then, and then, and you know, and then she's going to be prophesied later. We'll look at this later in the series that Jesus is going to suffer her, son's going to suffer. And she hasn't even had him. I mean, it's just this, it's this, all of this. And what could have happened with Mary, which happens to us is oftentimes we'll like, ah, no, I'm just going to try to control everything in my life and not have any disruptions. And so then when disruptions do happen, because they do, we miss what God is trying to do, we don't see what he's trying to accomplish because of the fear. And so often what happens when we hit a roadblock, what we do is we go like, you know, I'm just going to turn around and go back. Are you going to ever have any of you who've been struggling with this feeling of, I just want to, I just want to go back to the way it was not just with the pandemic, but like church and like the way our nation was 20, 30, 40 years ago.

10:28 I hear all, I hear these people talk about these things. And I hear the fear in their voices, in the uncertainty and the desire to, and so oftentimes when we hit the detours, like we've hit, we just, I'm going to, I'm going to fight for the way it was. And as a result, we missed the new that God wants to do because we're trying so hard to gain control in a sense of what used to be in when my life was disrupted over five years ago, five and a half years ago, when my oldest son died in a car accident, I, I was so afraid. You know, I was afraid of, I was afraid of what might happen to my other kids. So I'd live with this fear. And so I decided, you know, I'm going to try to control everything. So I locked him in a closet. I took away their car keys, man. I wanted to so badly that no, of course I didn't do that. That's no way to live, but I think that's what we do. Sometimes fear locks us up and causes us to do things that just don't make sense to try to control our lives. So that's what I did. My sons loved it.

11:39 Hey dad, can I, can I go out with friends? No. Why not? No. They loved it when I said, because your, your brother died, you know, they were like, oh wow. That's whoa, dad, easy hold up. So you're like, that's really dark. Steve. There's other moments where I just decided to be angry about the whole thing. It was like, this is not right. It wasn't right. But in my anger, I couldn't see anything. I couldn't see what, if there was anything that God might be doing. And then there were other moments I just decided to tap out and become emotionally distant from everyone. I actually perfected that one pretty well. And I think these are the kinds of responses that we normally have when disruption enters our life. We try to get control. We get angry and frustrated. We, we become emotionally distant. And I think Mary could have done this. She could have been caught up in fear and certainty, but she would have missed the joy of the moment. And I don't want us to miss the joy of this moment. And you're thinking right now, there's no joy in this moment. That's because you have fear and you feel like you've lost control, and you're not certain anymore that God is in control.

13:11 And so you're thinking there's no way to have joy in this moment. It Mary's is going to show us over these weeks that there is a way for us to enter into the rest, the joy of the Lord, this Christmas. And it starts with what she says to the angel after all, she, she knows she's she asks some questions. She looks at, you know, she, she has some CCS and thoughts after all of that, she says, behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me. According to your word, is that up there on the screen? Let's read that together. Ready? Go behold. I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me, according to your word.

14:04 There's this sense in Mary of submission, that's a, it's a loaded word. Isn't it? I just want to apply it in right now. I want to apply it to your relationship with God that if, if you trust that God is still in control, then the natural by-product of that is like I'm submitted to you. But the problem isn't, maybe isn't so much in the submitting to God it's in. Is he still in control? Do you believe that with God? All things are possible. See, you've got to wrestle with this one and I don't want just a spontaneous religious response. Hallelujah. Amen. Yes. I said, do no. It's got to be something that is worked out in your faith to wrestle with too. I believe that with God, all things are possible because if you don't, if you don't wrestle with that, you're not going to be able to get to the place that Mary got to, where she was able to say, behold, the sermon on the Lord, let your will be done in my life. Or Jesus in the garden have guessed so many, not my will, but yours because you can't pray prayers like this without a level of faith in who God is and what he is able to do. You can't get past the detours in this life, the roadblocks in this life to see the new things around you without this kind of faith in God.

15:57 I love the word that she uses behold. We don't use it in our language old, you know, but it means I'm in I'm in God. I don't understand everything that's happening. I don't see everything yet that you want me to see. I don't, I don't get why you asked a 15 year old girl. Who's not even married yet to, to have the Messiah and all there's a lot of questions built into that whole thing, right? I don't understand everything that's happening in my life or in the life of our nation. I don't understand all of these things, but what I'm going to keep leaning into is that I believe God, that you are able, that you haven't given up on us and that what you want to happen will happen.

16:55 I love that. The angel doesn't just tell Mary when she, you know, she doesn't get there immediately. The behold doesn't come until the last verse of this section of scripture, right? She's starts as being greatly troubled. She's trying to discern what God is doing. She's even afraid. She questions, the angel, you know, how's this supposed to happen? Tell me how this is going to work because I'm not married, et cetera. And I love that the angel doesn't just tell her, just stop asking questions, just get on board. He doesn't do that. He there's space for us to ask questions and to ponder what's going on. But then he, but I love that the angel says to her, but then he, he does. He like, he tells her in response to Mary's questions. He tells Mary about Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the relative Mary. And, and at first glance you might just think, well, isn't that nice of the angel Telium Mary, that her relative is pregnant. Cause everybody wants to know about pregnancy. So, you know, there's more going on here where the angels saying, listen, you're, you know, Elizabeth, Elizabeth is really old and they've been trying to have a kid for decades and they can't have a kid. And God gave her the gift of pregnancy. And she's already six months in.

18:26 Why does the angel? He remind he's reminding Mary, listen with all with God. All things are possible for nothing, right? He ends up the same, but for nothing will be impossible with God. She say that with me for nothing will be impossible with God. Go for nothing will be impossible with God. Even as you say that, I can sense the like, Hmm. And that's where faith is wrestled. That's where faith grows. That's where faith deepens is in the, is in wrestling with that phrase. Do we believe that nothing will be impossible with God? I love similar kind of moment is in when Paul wrote about the faith of Abraham in Romans chapter four, verse 20, he writes no unbelief made him Abraham waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith. As he gave glory to God. A lot of times we read the, you know, the, the great people of faith in the Bible, and we think they just had it.

19:43 But this is telling us that Abraham grew strong in his faith. As he gave glory to God, meaning as he declared for, with you, God, all things are possible. He kept telling himself his soul, God has got this. God is in control, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Have you ever met someone that is fully convinced that God is able? I grew up with one. My dad was constantly fully convinced that God was able. And yet I saw in my dad this, this, this consistency of faith, but what I saw in his life was an inconsistency in his experiences detour after detour, after detour. When I, when I was, when I was born, my dad was ministering and sisters. He had planted a church in sisters and, it actually ended up being the church that we replanted Suzanne and I decades later, anyways, he planted that church. And then, and then, and then a detour, he had to, he had to work and make a living. And so he ends up working at Eberhardt's dairy. And he was a milkman. I used to tell my brother, my younger brother, when he was little, that his dad was in the milkman.

21:17 That makes sense to you all. Yeah, he didn't know that it was the same, but you know, not my problem. Anyway, both of our dads were in the milkman and, and he worked for 12 years, forever hearts and ministered in the church just volunteered in the church and he worked the graveyard shift. So I didn't see him very often. And this, he did it just to support his family, make sure there was food on the table. But I saw my dad has never lost faith, that God was able to provide able to work things out. And, and then I remember my dad going back into ministry and ended up in Kenya with my mom as missionaries in Kenya for a couple of years. And they serve there faithfully. And then another detour. My mom has a stroke and has to come home. And so they come home.

22:13 They, the pastor in Madras, Oregon, right? And they just love and people. And my dad just consistently faith, faith, and they opened, God, opened the door for them to go back on the mission field. And they spent five plus years in South Africa. And it was just this. It was just like, it was this convergence of just all that God wanted to do. And, and in the good and in the bad. So my dad faith, he says he never lost faith in God. And then felt compelled. My dad felt compelled to come home. Just, he just felt the word of the Lord said to be with family. That was the word that my, that my dad got from God was like, you need to get home to be with family. We felt it was like an urgent thing. And you just don't leave the mission field quickly.

23:02 Especially when you have all this stuff that you kind of have to sell or give away or whatever. And so it took a while and three weeks before, three weeks before my mom and dad got on the plane, my, my younger brother, their youngest son died from complications related to a liver disease that he had fought his whole life and detour. I, I remember my dad, it wasn't a frivolous like religious, like, like, you know, sometimes you can't, you, you can like, have they really dealt with this in their hearts? You know, it wasn't that it was like, he, it deeply grieving for him, but he never lost faith.

23:55 And it's really a hard to imagine beauty with roadblocks like this, where you end up, you know, getting out of your car and looking around and going like this there's I didn't anticipate this stop. I didn't anticipate this, but I I'm seeing beauty around me. My dad ended up getting his master's degree as a result of coming home. He ended up spending more time with his grandkids and just, it was, it was a beautiful season. That was that w that began with a detour that nobody would ever ask for. Right. And, and I just, I, I want us to see, I want us to take a moment to see the beauty in the moments of this Christmas season, because I'm afraid if we, if we continue to be caught up in fear and an anxiety of this moment of this season, we're going to miss what God is trying to show us what he wants us to see.

24:56 No, have you ever been on a detour and you ended up going through some like roads you've never been on and you're like, what, where am I? And then you find this restaurant it's local little town restaurant. Like it's amazing, you know, and you would have never found it, had it not been for the detour. I think there's things like that that God wants to show us this Christmas season, but we, we have to keep wrestling and deepening our faith. So we're going to go back into worship. And just a moment I want to ask you, how are you going to respond at this detour, this roadblock that we're facing as a nation, as a culture, Will you choose like Mary to embrace the moment and faith that nothing is impossible with God. So I just want you to take a few moments to still let this, but the spirit work in you to come to that same response that Mary had to be able to say from the depth of your soul behold, I am your servant. Let it be to me, according to your word.

26:13 God know, just

30:25 Jesus. We look to you Lord, in this moment, God, we know that we can't see everything there. There are futures that we, we don't know how things are going to turn out. There are finances that we're not sure what's going to happen there. Our relationships. We're not sure where we know that there are unanswered questions that we do have, and they're are legitimate questions. And in the midst of those places of doubt and uncertainty like Mary Jesus, we say, let it be to me, according to your will let your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven, in all of our lives, in all of our situations, in all of our finances, in our relationships, Jesus, let your will be done in me, in us, in your church, in this nation to prayer Lord, that we're praying of face a confidence that you are in control, That you haven't left us, that you haven't abandoned us, that you are with us watching over us, encouraging us, providing for us, renewing our joy and our hope in this season. We love you, Lord. We thank you for your word in Jesus name.