It's no secret, I love Christmas!!!
It's the highlight of the year in the Scott house, though Michelle has me warned each year not to get the boys hyped before December.
Have you ever read the bumper sticker "Jesus is the reason for the season"? Actually, the reason there's a Christmas is because we are broken people. The reason we have Christmas is because of people like me.
2008 years ago God did something totally opposite to what you and I would do when he looked at all the junk and relational mess, he didn't turn away, instead He leaned into it! At the very first Christmas God looked at the darkness and the lifelessness and leaned into it. He didn't respond with bolts of lighting but sent His one and only son to live among us and walk among us and at the end of His time - He made known the Father's view of us by telling us that God allowed His one and only son to die on a cross. Merry Christmas!
That's a picture of grace... and that's what we're going to look at in this first week of our Christmas series called The Outward Focused Christmas. Grace is the undeserved favour - the unearned love, the offer of a "supernatural power to be free" - from God, to you.
If we don't understand grace, then we won't understand the heart of God. If we don't understand grace, then we certainly won't understand Christmas, and if we don't understand grace, then we'll never really become outward-focused. Being outward-focused is one of our core values here at the Vineyard; what better time to talk about it than Christmas, when we have a great opportunity to live out the Christmas story.
What if we changed the bumper sticker from, "Jesus is the reason for the season", to "you're the reason for the season", "your husband is the reason for the season", "your mum is the reason for the season", "your workmate is the reason for the season"Let's turn Christmas outward this year and have the same attitude as Jesus.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death - and the worst kind of death at that - a crucifixion.
Phil 2: 5-8 (The Message)
Let's turn Christmas around this year and go serve
During our Outward Focused Christmaswe have a daily devotional of Outwardthoughts and inspiring stories of people serving. http://www.vineyarddungannon.co.uk/ofc_devotional.php