December 24, 2017 (4:00PM): Matthew 1:18-25 (Rich Merkouris)

  • The Birth of Jesus Christ

    18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[e] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[f] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

    23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
        and they shall call his name Immanuel”

    (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

  • 2:00 We have always been afraid of something.

  • 3:00 Fear often freezes us from speaking truth. And fear can lead to illogical behavior

    • We want people to like us, so we do weird stuff to get people to like us.

  • 3:26 However, there is one common phrase in the Christmas story. Fear Not!

    • From the angel speaking to Joseph 

    • From the angels speaking to the Shepards 

  • 7:13 The angels also tell the Shepards "fear not, behold..." The angels are trying to showcase where our attention should be.

  • 8:40 When the angel tells Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife as it was from God.

  • 10:26 We have God on our team. So often we think "well, I don't know maybe I can do somethings" Are you kidding, you have God on your side.

  • 11:50 What is the number one fear in life... death. Because it is final.

  • 12:20 We have nothing to fear, because in Jesus Christ we have Savior that has conquered death.

  • 13:13 However, if we are outside of God, we have everything to fear. Things can be taken away from you.

  • 14:35 But if you are with Christ, every if they take away your possessions, family, etc we will always have Christ. All they can do is bring temporary pain. In Christ we have a Savior.

  • 17:24 If you do not have Christ, you have everything to fear, but if you have Christ, you have nothing to fear.

December 3, 2017: Philippians 2:1-18 (Rich Merkouris)

 

  • 1:00 The current culture is Toxic

  • 2:42 So how do we live in a toxic culture? How do we live in the midst of this?

    • Many will say, just shut the doors and do not let them in

    • Some Christians will say we need to have an open mind. 

  • 4:21 Unfortunately, these extremes force the middle to become an extreme.

  • 5:00 How does the Christmas story influence how we live right now

    • Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
        Serve the Lord with gladness!
          Come into his presence with singing!

  • 6:20 Philippians 2:1-18

    • So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

      14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

  • 9:00 When we hear Christmas, we should hear "God is for us" in light of Philippians 2

  • 9:45 There's only one character in the Christmas Story that can do somehting for you and that's Jesus.

  • 11:27 Jesus's birth was God coming alongside humanity

  • 12:12 The reason why we get excited about the baby in the manger is that is God coming alongside us.

  • 15:19 Why did God lay aside his power to become man?

    • It was the mindset of Jesus Christ

    • Because he considered you more important than his power or privilege

  • 17:50 Christ came because you are significant.

    • We have a big problem with self-esteem in our culture. We have a major challenge about how we think of ourselves.

    • We have the highest suicide rate

  • 21:00 You need to know you are significant. However, do the people around you know they're significant?

  • 22:31 The true spirit of Christmas is humility. I'm going to put the interest of someone else before someone else.

  • 23:20 the reason why you can put others before yourself is because you now that you are already significant in God's eyes.

  • 27:15 However, we are not in the mindset of deference, we need to be in the mindset of actually preferring what the other wants.

  • 28:11 Imagine what would happen if we would actually prefer each others goals and mindsets.

    • Imagine would would happen with our marriages

    • our kids

    • the workplace

  • 30:00 It's all about looking to help others with their spiritual, emotional, financial, etc... good

  • 30:50 Will you look this Christmas to help others.

  • 32:40 So where do you need to say " I need to exhibit the mindset of Christ?"

    • Marriage

    • Kids

    • Workplace

  • 33:30 What would happen in a culture that is toxic when people would start to say "you're significant!"

December 24, 2012 {Christmas Eve}: Luke 2:1-20 (Rich Merkouris)

December 24, 2011: Luke 2:1-20 (Rich Merkouris)

(Luke 2:1-20, New International Version)
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 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. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.