Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Freedom

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alex kirk and familyDo we hear God celebrating over us?

Do we know the joy of Lord--that is our strength? Alex Kirk discusses the role of joy in feasting and celebrating during Christmas, and how it is God-given. He uses the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem from Nehemiah 8 and the importance of reliving the worshipful attitude toward God to communicate how our lives are to be built around a worship-filled attitude toward God, rejoicing in the King of Kings. Below the video are a few notes from his sermon.

 

 

Best Christmas Ever Series Week 3: Celebration and Feasting
Nehemiah 8

My friends, whether you know him deeply and intimately or not, hear this good
news:

The God over the universe is deeply, deeply happy, good, joy-filled, generous, loving,
kind, just, loving

He is the best boss you could ever, ever, ever dream of. He rejoices over his people

And in Christmas we celebrate his great gift given to us

And so we are invited to celebrate, to feast, to eat, to laugh, to enjoy this life

And we are told to care for others, to make sure they get enough—thank you to all of
you who helped us to do this with the Shoebox several weeks ago and the Holiday

Cheer gifts this morning!

Today, as we really see God, we celebrate. We celebrate and feast and eat and drink
in the light

Because joy is the serious business of heaven.

A couple of suggestions for making this the most joyful Christmas ever:

1. Pray for ears to hear God rejoicing and celebrating over you and/or
someone around you

Just ask to hear the sound of God’s laughter and music and shouts of joy over his
people!

2. Look at gatherings on your calendar as a way to enter into God’s
ongoing celebration!

If you’re attending someone else’s party: not just obligations at the office or with the
family or neighbors, it's a chance to enter into the cosmic dance God has over his
kids!

If you’re hosting a party: this isn’t simply a chance for you to show off your house to
your neighbors or make sure your kids behave for your inlaws.

This is an expression of joy at the wonder of God’s goodness. You can be generous
in your hospitality because God has been generous to you

You can delight over your guests because God himself is at work either already
delighting over them before you got there if they know him OR he’s longing to sing
and delight over them if they don’t know him!

3. Remember that all gifts have right use and the potential for abuse

God gives us great gifts with great potential for blessing: gifts of friendships, food,
drink, sexuality, family, money, all kinds of gifts

And every single one of these gifts has the potential to be a blessing to you and
everyone around you OR a curse to you and everyone around you

It’s all in how you use it.

So be aware that there are right and proper uses of God’s gifts and then there are
abuses and mis-uses of God’s gifts

And some of the ways that things can go wrong with God’s gifts are very specific to
our own issues and struggles like addictions

So if celebration, food, and drink are all gifts from God, and if God is singing over you
as he gives you these gifts

Let me encourage you to match pitch with God, to not abuse or misuse the
gifts he’s given to you

4. Look for ways to bless others in your celebrations this Christmas

The one caveat in the celebration in Nehemiah was that the people should make
sure that everyone got taken care of
God’s celebrations are always looking to meet the needs of the least of these

What if the office Christmas party creates a different kind of context where someone
might be more willing to open up about an issue at home or in their marriage?

What if God is putting you there to care for someone and bless them?

What if there’s someone at your parents or grandparent’s family gathering
who is coming into Christmas after a miserable year?

Is God singing over you so that you might sing his song and speak his word over
someone else?

Who could you invite to the Christmas party that you’re hosting at your house who
might not get another invitation?

How might God’s dance of joy over you spill out over into the party at your
house this year?

My friends, as we enter into a time when the calendars get a little more full with
gatherings and celebrations

My prayer is that as we might hear the Lord celebrating over each of us, and from
that place, you might go and party and celebrate, feast and drink, with great,
incredible joy!

The Christmas season is HOLY! Set-apart for the Lord! Therefore, GO! Eat and
Drink and Celebrate! For the Joy of the Lord is your strength.

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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