A Sacrifice that Brings Hope | Christmas Time Week 2

Have you ever wondered why we have Christmas trees? After all, putting a tree in your house and decorating it is a bit…weird. Turns out that Christmas trees tell an important part of the Christmas story—in fact, they connect us to Jesus himself. Join us today as Brian talks about Christmas trees, lambs (yup, they’re in there too), and the sacrifice of Jesus.

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    Hey, this is Brian.
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    Good stuff happening in our church, Crossroads in 2020,
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    although I'm excited that 2020 is about to be over.
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    Let's get ready for 2021.
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    But let's also recognize that
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    God has used us incredibly beautifully.
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    Many of us are givers out of a spiritual discipline.
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    We give a percentage of our income to God as clockwork.
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    Others of us give in different ways.
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    I want to make sure you understand
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    God has used us and used your giving
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    in a massive, massive way.
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    Do you realize when we support Compassion International
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    we try to get more folks to help kids
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    who are in poverty and who need educated?
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    And for all of the country we accounted
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    for more than 40% of all new sponsorships
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    for Compassion International.
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    Come on. That's amazing.
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    Some would have said, "Well, why would you do that?
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    Why would you try to funnel your resources
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    outside of your own church
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    when this is a critical, difficult time for all of us?
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    There's a lot of financial uncertainty.'
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    Yeah, there is.
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    We're not a business. We're a church.
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    We don't save our money for a rainy day.
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    Right now, it's raining right now in our country.
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    It's raining right now.
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    And we've been spending the resources
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    that God brought us through your generosity.
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    We want to continue to do that,
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    which is why ending 2020 financially strong
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    would be really, really important.
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    So please take a look at your finances,
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    look at how God has blessed you,
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    and just pick something that you know
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    that would honor God to help us continue
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    to build into the things that God is calling you
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    and I, our church to.
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    A lot of ministry is yet to be done in 2020 and 2021
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    and our giving fuels and pushes that.
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    So thanks for being on the team.
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    I look forward to the future with you.
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    (cuckoo clock)
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    - Is Christmas cancelled this year?
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    - Does Santa have to wear a mask?
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    - Does Santa have COVID?
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    - Am I still going to get presents?
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    - Yeah, this year's a little cuckoo.
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    The good news, Christmas is coming,
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    a season of hope and light.
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    It might just be exactly what this weary world needs most.
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    Christmas Time 2020:
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    A new weekly series from Crossroads.
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    - Are we still having Christmas?
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    - Heck, yeah, we are, kid.
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    Check out the Crossroads app on your smart TV
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    or go to Crossroads.net/Christmas.
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    (cuckoo clock)
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    - Welcome to Crossroads.
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    We're in week two of our Christmas series
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    called Christmas Time.
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    And I am right now at a tree farm,
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    a Christmas tree farm.
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    A lot of people get freaked out about,
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    "Oh, Christmas trees.
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    It must be some old pagan thing.
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    It's actually not in the Bible."
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    Well, Christmas trees may not be in the Bible,
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    but the spiritual meaning of Christmas trees
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    are because Jesus actually has
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    a connection to the Christmas tree.
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    Jesus is known as the Lamb of God.
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    Christmas is all about the Lamb coming into the world.
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    And believe it or not, it has a connection
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    with this living, actual breathing Christmas tree.
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    So we're going to talk about that today.
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    Before we get into that,
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    can't think of anything better to do right now
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    than connect with God through worship.
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    Let's sing to Him right now.
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    Let's connect with Him and with each other
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    by telling Him He's really, really good and He's worthy.
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    And let's do that by singing.
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    - One of the things I love about the holidays
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    is it means we get to come together.
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    And I know here in 2020 that looks way different
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    than all of us ever imagined.
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    It looks different for me and my family.
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    But it is still a time,
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    whether with close friends or close family,
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    where we still come together.
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    And in these next few moments
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    with these songs that we sing,
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    you're going to be tempted
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    to think we're not together.
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    You're going to be tempted to think
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    this is a music video that you're watching.
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    No, no, no.
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    This is a time where we come together as a church
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    to sing and give Him our hearts and our focus.
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    So lean in this time, come together with us
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    and let's worship Him.
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    - Hey, I'm Hannah,
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    and welcome to the Crossroads Christmas Workshop.
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    - I'm Kyle.
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    We're here to spend a little extra joy
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    to all the little boys and girls this Christmas.
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    - And you know what?
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    We get to read all these sorts of cool letters
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    that come in from all around the world.
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    And this year we've got a lot more questions
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    than normal because, you know, 2020.
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    - It's been a different year.
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    I don't even like bringing this up.
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    I feel like it's already in our minds.
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    You already know why it's been such a terrible year.
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    - Right.
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    - Because back kind of late winter,
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    the whole world found out about this event
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    that Prince Harry and Meghan were stepping down.
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    It's just like every day has been different for me.
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    I think every day has been different
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    for you because of that.
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    So just maybe just keep -- Just keep going.
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    I don't want to talk about it.
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    - Yeah, Kyle, definitely been a hard year.
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    But you know what?
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    These are important questions.
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    And we wanted to just, you know,
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    get into a couple of them
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    and read some of them for you guys.
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    - Yeah, this one comes from Arrow in Kentucky,
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    addressed to Mr. Santa Claus, North Pole, America.
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    Arrow, first of all, North Pole, not in America.
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    I'm going to let that slide, open your letter anyway.
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    See what you have to say.
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    OK, Arrow asks: how will Santa stay safe
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    from Coronavirus and get to all the houses?
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    - That's such a good question.
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    You know what?
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    Santa doesn't come out until everyone goes to bed.
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    So it's like a safe quarantine situation.
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    But you know what?
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    Consider, rather than milk and cookies this year,
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    maybe we leave out some disinfectant wipes
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    that are different colors and we pull them out.
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    It's like red, green, red, green, red, green.
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    That would be amazing. He would love that.
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    - Something else to think about.
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    Santa can't get sick.
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    - Oh, I didn't know that.
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    - He can't, he has Santa-bodies, so he's safe.
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    It's cool. He can't get sick.
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    - I think that counts as a dad joke. Yup.
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    All right. This next one, let's get into it.
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    This next one is from Javelle from Detroit.
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    Let's see what he's got to say.
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    How can I give back and help others this Christmas?
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    - First of all, can you get to my house
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    and influence my children?
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    Because that is an amazing question.
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    - Oh, my goodness. Incredible question.
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    You know what? One of the ways that Kyle and I
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    are trying to make a difference around here
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    and around everywhere is by giving.
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    - If you want to give
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    or just learn more about where it goes to,
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    you can go to Crossroads.net/give.
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    - You know, there's a lot going on this December.
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    I mean, a lot.
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    But we have an incredible Christmas special
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    that you can experience wherever you are.
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    I mean, we've just been putting the work in.
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    - Working hard.
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    - We might even have this mug at the Christmas Special.
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    It's going to be amazing.
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    - I don't know. It's going to be amazing.
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    To see it you can download the Crossroads TV app
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    to watch it on the big screen,
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    or you can go to Crossroads.net/Christmas
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    to learn a little bit more about all things Christmas.
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    - Now, let's get to Brian.
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    He's going to talk about
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    how Jesus came with a purpose of dying.
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    - I'm sharpening up this knife,
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    it's going to have some significance later on.
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    I'm always hesitant to do that in front of people
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    because everyone has an opinion
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    about how you're supposed to sharpen a knife
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    and, "Oh, it's too dangerous. You're not doing right."
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    I'm getting it sharp, OK?
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    It has significance for us today.
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    We're going to talk about lambs, talk about shepherds.
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    I'm not going to do a deep dive on shepherds.
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    We're going to have a Christmas Special coming up.
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    It's going to be amazing.
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    You're not going to want to miss it.
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    You're going to want to get all your friends,
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    It's going to be seriously one of
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    the most inspiring things you could possibly do
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    this Christmas.
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    We're not going to talk about shepherds,
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    but we're going to talk about the lamb.
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    What does the lamb have to do with Christmas?
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    The Bible refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God.
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    What does that mean?
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    A lot of us would say, "I know what that means, I think."
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    Oftentimes we we don't ask questions because
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    we don't want to appear to look dumb or sound dumb.
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    You're not dumb at all.
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    You're very smart to be here,
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    to be stimulated spiritually today.
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    That's what I want to try to do is build into
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    and get you to a new place spiritually.
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    And I want to read for us a classic Christmas text
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    from the Book of Luke 2, and here's what it says:
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    The point of a shepherd's job is to be around the lambs.
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    There is deep, deep spiritual significance about that.
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    These lambs had very little control over their life
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    and in many ways they were victims.
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    Do you find yourself frustrated
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    with how little control you have over life these days?
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    I do. I do. I find I've lost all control.
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    Things have been happening all through 2020
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    that I can't control.
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    I can't control the economy.
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    I can't control the pandemic.
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    I can't control the government's response to the pandemic.
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    I can't control how much money
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    Mike Brown pays the offensive linemen
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    who are supposed to protect Joe Burrow.
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    I can't control any of it.
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    And in a sense, I'm a victim of something
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    and of things that I can't control.
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    That's actually the first big idea
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    I want to blow out today, we're all victims.
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    I'm here at a Christmas tree farm,
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    and we're going to go out and have
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    a little bit of fun with Christmas trees.
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    Christmas trees are sort of like lambs
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    in that their meaning is to die.
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    That is their point.
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    These Christmas trees are victims
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    of our holiday festivities.
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    I'm going to take my death instrument out
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    to those trees or as Gimli would say, "And my axe."
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    All the Lord of the Rings geeks going,
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    "Oh, he quoted Gimli."
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    Yes, I think I got that one exactly right.
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    We're going to take this sucker
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    and we're going to go out into this Christmas tree farm
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    and we're going to see
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    the deep spiritual significance of Christmas trees,
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    of lambs, and of what it looks like to have a life
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    that is ruled by the meaning of Christmas.
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    This jacket has been in front of more campfires
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    than you can imagine.
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    It's just not worth buying a new one.
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    So whenever I start to see fuzz come out,
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    I stick some tape on it.
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    You could say that this jacket is a victim.
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    We're born victims. We're all victims.
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    That doesn't sound very complimentary.
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    Let me let me try to explain this a little bit.
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    When I was in high school, my friends and I,
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    we had a scam that we used to operate.
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    We would tell the study hall teacher
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    that we were going to the library.
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    So we'd have -- we'd signed the thing there,
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    we're going to the library.
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    Before the pass would get to the library,
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    we'd scratch our names off the pass.
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    So a study hall teacher thought we were in the library,
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    the librarian didn't know we're supposed
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    to be there because it was scratched off.
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    Then we would go to an empty room in the building.
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    We would take our skull chewing tobacco
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    and our backgammon, and we would just hunker down
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    and play backgammon the whole period and chew chew.
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    It was wonderful.
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    God Bless America, it was really great.
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    Eventually, after several months, we got found out.
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    We got found out,
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    we all got called into the principal's office.
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    When we got called in, the principal said
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    to one of our friends said, "Did you play backgammon
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    and lie on the form?"
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    And my friend said, "Well, well, well, we all did."
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    And I was sitting there going, "No, wrong question.
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    Just say yes so you take the fall."
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    He said, "Well, no -- Well, we all did."
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    In hindsight, he knew we all did.
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    My friend was just covering his butt
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    and wouldn't have mattered one way or another.
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    But it was interesting that that was
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    a representation of a biblical truth
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    that's known as original sin.
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    It's this idea that Adam and Eve sinned
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    and they were our representative.
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    And so when they sin,
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    when they took of the fruit they should have taken,
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    we all sinned. They represented us.
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    I know that might be a real bummer for some of us,
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    but believe me, if you were in the same place
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    and Satan was tempting you,
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    you wouldn't have done any better.
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    They were our representative,
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    in that way we all sinned.
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    We are all a victim of sin.
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    It affects and infects all of our lives.
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    It affects our thought patterns,
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    it affects our relationships,
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    it affects my motives.
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    It affects how I spend my money.
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    It affects everything.
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    But here's the deal, there's a big difference
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    between being a victim, that is having
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    something done to you that you had no control over.
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    This jacket is example, the sin in our lives.
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    We had no control
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    that sin was going to infect our lives.
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    There's a difference between being a victim
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    and playing the victim.
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    Playing the victim is when you use your sinfulness
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    or your issues or whatever is happening America
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    as a way to justify all of your behavior.
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    We all have a level of control.
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    We all have a level of responsibility in our life.
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    Now, here's where it gets really, really interesting.
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    Jesus is the ultimate victim.
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    The ultimate victim is named Jesus.
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    When Jesus comes onto the world stage,
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    He comes on the world stage in order to be victimized.
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    When he first comes out in public,
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    his cousin John, the John the Presbyterian,
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    or I mean John the Baptist.
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    John the Baptist sees Him coming.
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    And then John 1:29, John says this:
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    Would you like to have a surface-y Christmas
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    or would you like to have something of substance>
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    It doesn't matter what you say, because
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    you're going to be the victim of something of substance.
  • 00:24:10
    You know, I know that we like to think
  • 00:24:13
    Christmas is just a nice feel good holiday,
  • 00:24:15
    but I think you want something more.
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    I think you need something more.
  • 00:24:18
    We've got to understand that John was a prophet.
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    Actually, he was in the line of Old Testament prophets,
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    even though he was record in the New Testament,
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    he's in the line of Old Testament prophets
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    where he would say and do really weird, strange things.
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    He wore camel hair, pretty scratchy, pretty uncomfortable.
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    You would eat locust.
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    He would go out in the middle of a field
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    and he would he would call people to repentance.
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    That is a turning away, turning away to being
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    a victim of my current sinful circumstances,
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    turning away and turning to God.
  • 00:24:49
    And he understands all of the imagery
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    in the Old Testament.
  • 00:24:53
    There's so many things in the Old Testament
  • 00:24:54
    that we don't understand, so many things are confusing,
  • 00:24:57
    but we have to understand to interpret
  • 00:24:59
    and understand the parts of the Bible
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    that came before Jesus we have to realize
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    that all those things were there to set us up for Jesus.
  • 00:25:07
    All those things are there that are confusing,
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    like intense acts of violence that are against
  • 00:25:16
    lambs and other livestock are spiritual
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    and religious and significant.
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    They're setting us up for who Jesus is.
  • 00:25:25
    All the dietary laws were setting us up
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    for a new way that Jesus was to have us operate.
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    That's why those things are there.
  • 00:25:34
    They're not just difficult things in the Old Testament,
  • 00:25:37
    but they're there to set up Jesus.
  • 00:25:39
    And so when John says, "He is coming.
  • 00:25:44
    I'm not worthy to untie His sandals,"
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    is what he's saying here.
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    He's recognizing, "I'm not worthy
  • 00:25:51
    to untie this guy's sandals, this Lamb of God,
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    because it's God Himself coming."
  • 00:25:59
    Jesus didn't begin existence
  • 00:26:05
    when He was born in Bethlehem.
  • 00:26:07
    Jesus's life existed long before there was ever Christmas,
  • 00:26:12
    long before Mary and Joseph took their travels
  • 00:26:16
    and bore him inside of a stable, Jesus existed.
  • 00:26:21
    He's God.
  • 00:26:22
    He's always been God.
  • 00:26:24
    He's always been around.
  • 00:26:25
    It's just that John was saying
  • 00:26:27
    He's going to come cloaked in humanity.
  • 00:26:29
    He's going to become clothed, if you will,
  • 00:26:31
    in wool this little lamb.
  • 00:26:34
    The Book of John 1:1, it says this:
  • 00:27:00
    That passage is talking about Jesus.
  • 00:27:04
    He is known as The Word.
  • 00:27:06
    When God speaks all things into creation
  • 00:27:09
    in the book of Genesis,
  • 00:27:10
    Jesus is the actual word that's being spoken there
  • 00:27:15
    because He has existed,
  • 00:27:16
    preexisted before Bethlehem ever came around.
  • 00:27:19
    He just gets born and takes on human flesh.
  • 00:27:23
    But He has always been.
  • 00:27:27
    In the book of John 8:58:
  • 00:27:35
    He's saying before Abraham,
  • 00:27:36
    the father of the Jewish nation existed, I existed.
  • 00:27:40
    It's not only is He saying
  • 00:27:42
    I existed before Abraham existed,
  • 00:27:44
    but He's using the very name of God, which is I Am.
  • 00:27:48
    I told you, we're going deep here today.
  • 00:27:51
    I think you can handle it because
  • 00:27:53
    you can't appreciate Christmas unless you understand
  • 00:27:56
    the spiritual depth of Christmas.
  • 00:27:58
    The name of God is the actual name
  • 00:28:01
    that He gave Himself is I Am.
  • 00:28:04
    He gives it to Moses, who asks Him,
  • 00:28:08
    "Who will I say has sent me? Who?"
  • 00:28:10
    And God says, "Tell him I Am has sent you.
  • 00:28:14
    I Am, that's my name."
  • 00:28:15
    Meaning God says, "I am sovereignly independent
  • 00:28:18
    of all creation, I've never had a beginning.
  • 00:28:20
    I just am."
  • 00:28:21
    I is who I is, if you used today's bad grammar.
  • 00:28:24
    I have some friends that bad grammar really bothers,
  • 00:28:26
    so I like to say it.
  • 00:28:28
    Tom, I know you hate it, but there it is.
  • 00:28:31
    It's just for you.
  • 00:28:32
    Actually seven times the book of John
  • 00:28:35
    there are I Am statements where Jesus says,
  • 00:28:37
    "I Am the Light of the World.
  • 00:28:38
    I Am living water."
  • 00:28:40
    In all of these things, He's trying to speak
  • 00:28:42
    in the Jewish theology, in the Jewish vernacular,
  • 00:28:45
    "I'm God. I've been around forever and ever."
  • 00:28:51
    Jesus needs to be the point of our life
  • 00:28:53
    because He is life itself,
  • 00:28:56
    because He is God Himself
  • 00:28:59
    and He comes as a human being,
  • 00:29:02
    because he's fully God, fully man at the same time.
  • 00:29:05
    And He comes fulfilling the role of the Lamb.
  • 00:29:11
    Lambs play a central role in the Bible.
  • 00:29:16
    It was a lamb in the Book of Exodus
  • 00:29:19
    that led to the nation of Israel
  • 00:29:23
    having their exodus out of bondage and slavery.
  • 00:29:26
    And there was multiple miracles
  • 00:29:28
    that enabled this to happen.
  • 00:29:29
    The final one was they took the blood of a lamb
  • 00:29:33
    and they put it over top of their doorposts.
  • 00:29:36
    And when the angel of death comes to the land,
  • 00:29:39
    every place that's marked with the blood of the lamb,
  • 00:29:43
    the angel passes over that household.
  • 00:29:47
    And wherever he doesn't see the lamb,
  • 00:29:49
    he takes the first born in that household.
  • 00:29:50
    All of the Egyptian slaveholders
  • 00:29:53
    lost their firstborn sons because
  • 00:29:55
    they didn't have the blood of the lamb
  • 00:29:57
    over top of their their house.
  • 00:29:59
    In Exodus 12:5, when God tells His people to do this,
  • 00:30:02
    He says:
  • 00:30:11
    John is saying that the Lamb of God,
  • 00:30:13
    the one who is celebrator on Passover
  • 00:30:16
    when God's judgment passed over the people of God,
  • 00:30:22
    that that Lamb is coming here,
  • 00:30:24
    so you don't have to be a victim.
  • 00:30:27
    Because His power and His presence
  • 00:30:30
    and His identity and His work is going to cover you.
  • 00:30:35
    The Lamb is going to be slain for you.
  • 00:30:38
    And all the Old Testament stories
  • 00:30:40
    of sacrifices in the temple, all those sacrifices
  • 00:30:43
    that were happening in the temple
  • 00:30:44
    where a priest would have these immaculate garments on
  • 00:30:49
    and they would take the lamb
  • 00:30:51
    or whatever the livestock was,
  • 00:30:52
    and they would take the knife
  • 00:30:54
    and they would cut its throat.
  • 00:30:56
    And they would put it on top of the burning fire.
  • 00:30:59
    And then they would take the blood
  • 00:31:00
    and they would put it on the four horns of the altar.
  • 00:31:03
    This was all an elaborate display
  • 00:31:06
    of the grace of God that said
  • 00:31:08
    this animal is dying right now
  • 00:31:11
    so you don't have to die.
  • 00:31:13
    This animal right now is paying the price.
  • 00:31:15
    And you can remember that your God
  • 00:31:17
    is incredibly merciful and gracious
  • 00:31:20
    and He's not requiring you to lose your life right now.
  • 00:31:24
    All of those sacrifices, all of those lambs
  • 00:31:27
    that were slain were slain to prepare
  • 00:31:30
    the people of God for the ultimate Lamb of God,
  • 00:31:34
    the very Son of God was going to come
  • 00:31:37
    and lay down His life.
  • 00:31:39
    You can't control the government.
  • 00:31:41
    You can't control COVID.
  • 00:31:43
    You can't control the stock market.
  • 00:31:44
    You can't control your skin tone.
  • 00:31:46
    But neither can you be a victim to those things.
  • 00:31:49
    You can control your perspective.
  • 00:31:52
    You can control your attitude.
  • 00:31:54
    You can control your response.
  • 00:31:56
    And the starting point for understanding
  • 00:31:59
    all of those stimuli and more is understanding
  • 00:32:01
    that Jesus, as the Lamb of God,
  • 00:32:04
    has come to take away the sin of the world
  • 00:32:07
    and to take away your sin so you don't have to be
  • 00:32:10
    a victim to your sin or your family baggage
  • 00:32:13
    or your family of origin or your bankruptcy
  • 00:32:15
    or anything else.
  • 00:32:16
    You have a fresh and new start because He has made a way.
  • 00:32:20
    Christmas is about the people of God
  • 00:32:22
    who are saved from the judgment of God
  • 00:32:26
    by the Lamb of God, Jesus.
  • 00:32:30
    Jesus is not just a good preacher guy.
  • 00:32:32
    He was a great preacher.
  • 00:32:33
    That's all Jesus was.
  • 00:32:34
    He's not just a good moral example.
  • 00:32:36
    In fact, if He's only a moral example,
  • 00:32:38
    Jesus can be oppressive because
  • 00:32:40
    we can never live up to His example
  • 00:32:43
    because he was utterly perfect.
  • 00:32:44
    If He's just an example we're supposed to be like,
  • 00:32:46
    if that's all what He is, it's a form of bondage
  • 00:32:49
    because we'll never, ever, ever make it.
  • 00:32:51
    He is a preacher.
  • 00:32:53
    He is an example.
  • 00:32:55
    He's also a sacrificial lamb who goes in our place
  • 00:33:00
    so that we don't have to go to
  • 00:33:01
    the very place of the judgment of God.
  • 00:33:05
    Christmas is that, it's a celebration
  • 00:33:07
    of God's divine nature, His amazing love
  • 00:33:12
    pouring out His judgment on His Son,
  • 00:33:15
    who didn't need to bear the judgment
  • 00:33:17
    because he had never, ever sinned.
  • 00:33:20
    Pouring it out on Him so that you and I
  • 00:33:22
    could experience His grace, His mercy, His fullness.
  • 00:33:28
    So when Jesus goes and He dies on the Cross
  • 00:33:32
    as the Sacrificial Lamb, Le does it because we all did it.
  • 00:33:38
    Right?
  • 00:33:39
    So on one hand, we're a victim of being sinful.
  • 00:33:43
    But then on the other hand,
  • 00:33:44
    we're also a victim of having the holiness
  • 00:33:47
    and love of God transferred to our account.
  • 00:33:51
    He was the ultimate victim and we now get
  • 00:33:54
    to enjoy the experience
  • 00:33:56
    of all of His goodness brought to us.
  • 00:33:59
    He was the ultimate victim.
  • 00:34:01
    That's why when He goes to the Cross,
  • 00:34:03
    He keeps his mouth shut.
  • 00:34:05
    That's why when He goes and He is tried at His trial,
  • 00:34:10
    He keeps His mouth shut, He doesn't defend himself.
  • 00:34:14
    The Book of Isaiah 53:7,
  • 00:34:17
    again, an Old Testament passage that was
  • 00:34:18
    all setting up this amazing Christmas story.
  • 00:34:22
    It prophesies about this ultimate lamb and says:
  • 00:34:40
    Jesus was born to die.
  • 00:34:44
    That's the point of the Sacrificial Lamb,
  • 00:34:47
    He was born to die.
  • 00:34:48
    He was given gifts at his birth:
  • 00:34:50
    gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • 00:34:52
    Myrrh is embalming fluid.
  • 00:34:56
    It's kind of a sick gift for a little kid.
  • 00:34:59
    It's embalming fluid.
  • 00:35:00
    Gold, He's the king.
  • 00:35:02
    Frankincense, this aroma used in worship.
  • 00:35:06
    Myrrh is a -- It is -- It is an embalming fluid.
  • 00:35:11
    It was like the magi when they came
  • 00:35:13
    and they brought these gifts to Him,
  • 00:35:15
    they knew your whole point is to die.
  • 00:35:19
    These trees, their whole point
  • 00:35:22
    of their existence is to die.
  • 00:35:26
    Just as there was somebody however many years ago
  • 00:35:30
    that took and planted seeds in this ground.
  • 00:35:34
    So God planted His seed in Mary.
  • 00:35:37
    And just as the seed was planted in this ground
  • 00:35:41
    so that this could be cut down and die for you and I
  • 00:35:46
    to have a great Christmas, you know, visual experience.
  • 00:35:49
    So also the seed of God that was put inside Mary
  • 00:35:52
    was put there so that He could die for you and for I.
  • 00:35:59
    Now, as you start to understand the depth of Christmas,
  • 00:36:03
    that this wasn't just an AD I kind of thing.
  • 00:36:06
    This is a BC, way, way, way back when.
  • 00:36:09
    The whole scripture start to come to life.
  • 00:36:12
    In the book of Isaiah, it says this:
  • 00:36:32
    Handel's Messiah had that, you know,
  • 00:36:35
    (singing) For unto once a child is given
  • 00:36:39
    and He shall reign forever and ever.
  • 00:36:42
    You know that whole Handel's Messiah, beautiful music.
  • 00:36:44
    But if you don't understand
  • 00:36:45
    the spiritual meaning behind Handel's Messiah,
  • 00:36:48
    it falls short.
  • 00:36:50
    That Isaiah passage and John saying that
  • 00:36:53
    He is the very Lamb of God is the reason for the season,
  • 00:36:58
    not to borrow a cheesy Christmas bumper sticker,
  • 00:37:01
    but He is the reason for the season.
  • 00:37:04
    I am a victim of my sinfulness,
  • 00:37:07
    of the sinfulness that I have inherited.
  • 00:37:09
    He is the ultimate victim, that He went in my place,
  • 00:37:13
    the ultimate victim who didn't deserve
  • 00:37:15
    or bring any of it on Himself,
  • 00:37:17
    as God himself who took on flesh.
  • 00:37:20
    And all of my sinfulness is transferred to His back,
  • 00:37:23
    all of His holiness,
  • 00:37:25
    all of His perfection is transferred to my back.
  • 00:37:28
    So when God sees me,
  • 00:37:30
    and when God sees anybody who received Jesus,
  • 00:37:33
    He doesn't see a victim.
  • 00:37:34
    He doesn't see somebody who has problems.
  • 00:37:36
    He doesn't see someone who has issues.
  • 00:37:38
    He sees Jesus himself.
  • 00:37:41
    Friends, that is good news.
  • 00:37:43
    Actually, that's called the gospel.
  • 00:37:45
    That's the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • 00:37:48
    That's the good news of Christmas.
  • 00:37:52
    Now, this victimization,
  • 00:37:55
    we can get off the victim thing because,
  • 00:37:57
    again, no one can stay a victim.
  • 00:37:59
    And you can't own your victimhood.
  • 00:38:01
    You can't act as a victim.
  • 00:38:03
    We have things that we inherit, yes.
  • 00:38:05
    But we can't be playing the victim.
  • 00:38:07
    And God doesn't want us to play the victim either,
  • 00:38:12
    because the Book of Romans tells us
  • 00:38:14
    that we're not victims any longer.
  • 00:38:16
    In fact, it says this in Romans 8:37:
  • 00:38:27
    We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
  • 00:38:32
    I go from being a victim to being a conqueror.
  • 00:38:36
    The victimization of Jesus leads to our victory.
  • 00:38:40
    Our victory doesn't come from
  • 00:38:42
    my self-help improvement plan.
  • 00:38:44
    My victory doesn't come from my New Year's resolutions.
  • 00:38:48
    My victory doesn't come
  • 00:38:50
    by whatever the government funds for me.
  • 00:38:53
    My victory comes from the riches of Jesus,
  • 00:38:56
    the death that He's given to me,
  • 00:38:59
    the riches that He has purchased for me.
  • 00:39:03
    Let me give you one more verse today,
  • 00:39:04
    just so you see that this thread of Christmas,
  • 00:39:07
    this thread of Jesus being the Lamb,
  • 00:39:09
    this thread of victimhood to conquering
  • 00:39:11
    goes throughout the entire Bible.
  • 00:39:13
    In the book of 1 Peter 1:18 it says:
  • 00:39:34
    So it says we were ransomed, so we were bought.
  • 00:39:39
    We had things that we inherited from our forefathers,
  • 00:39:41
    that was all sorts of sins, all that stuff,
  • 00:39:45
    and Jesus doesn't buy our freedom with silver or gold.
  • 00:39:51
    (singing) Silver and gold. Silver and gold.
  • 00:39:54
    That's another Christmas song.
  • 00:39:55
    I don't even know --
  • 00:39:56
    I don't even know if Earl Ives,
  • 00:39:58
    or whatever his name was, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • 00:40:00
    Herbie wants to be a dentist.
  • 00:40:02
    I haven't seen Rudolph in a long time.
  • 00:40:05
    I've got to find that one.
  • 00:40:06
    I hope they stream that some place.
  • 00:40:07
    Anyway, silver and gold
  • 00:40:08
    probably was prompted by this verse.
  • 00:40:11
    And Jesus didn't use silver or gold.
  • 00:40:14
    He used His own blood.
  • 00:40:17
    The blood of a lamb that had no blemish.
  • 00:40:20
    Remember, the blemishes of the ancient Israelites,
  • 00:40:23
    they were supposed to get an unblemished lamb.
  • 00:40:25
    That is not one that was about ready to die,
  • 00:40:27
    a really good lamb, and smear its blood over?
  • 00:40:30
    Jesus is an unblemished lamb.
  • 00:40:33
    He's never committed a sin,
  • 00:40:35
    as only God can never commit a sin.
  • 00:40:38
    So while we were all born victims,
  • 00:40:40
    we don't need to stay a victim,
  • 00:40:42
    because the ultimate victim, Jesus Himself,
  • 00:40:46
    God Himself lay down His life for us.
  • 00:40:49
    What a great, great act of love,
  • 00:40:51
    a great act of mercy, a great act of power,
  • 00:40:54
    of lavish generosity, of giving us a new identity
  • 00:40:59
    and freedom and forgiveness.
  • 00:41:01
    So now, not only are we not victims,
  • 00:41:05
    but we're actually conquerors.
  • 00:41:08
    We have the ability and power, spiritual power
  • 00:41:11
    to get over our past, to get over our problems,
  • 00:41:14
    to create a new future while we walk with Him
  • 00:41:17
    side by side, going towards the things
  • 00:41:21
    that He wants us to go toward.
  • 00:41:24
    These trees, when you sit around a tree this Christmas,
  • 00:41:29
    you sit around a tree knowing that
  • 00:41:31
    there's all kinds of different theories about
  • 00:41:32
    why the Christmas tree popped up in our culture.
  • 00:41:37
    But when I look at a Christmas tree,
  • 00:41:39
    I remember the verse in the Bible that says
  • 00:41:41
    that Jesus was hung on a tree.
  • 00:41:43
    When I look at a Christmas tree, I remember
  • 00:41:45
    the ultimate victim, the ultimate king hung on a tree.
  • 00:41:49
    And I celebrate that this Christmas,
  • 00:41:52
    that this King, this Lamb of God Himself
  • 00:41:57
    was planted here to die.
  • 00:42:02
    And believe it or not, we celebrate that death,
  • 00:42:05
    because He did it on His own.
  • 00:42:07
    And He did it to give us life.
  • 00:42:12
    I think this is the one right here.
  • 00:42:14
    I think this -- I think this is the one.
  • 00:42:19
    Yeah, this is the one.
  • 00:42:31
    It's going to be a good Christmas,
  • 00:42:33
    not because I hope this thing looks really great.
  • 00:42:36
    It's going to be a good Christmas
  • 00:42:37
    for everything that this represents.
  • 00:42:41
    Don't fall for a normal life.
  • 00:42:45
    Don't fall for being a victim.
  • 00:42:46
    God has not created you to be a victim
  • 00:42:48
    or to stay a victim.
  • 00:42:50
    You can be more than to conquer
  • 00:42:51
    and you can be that way because the very Lamb of God
  • 00:42:56
    is going to take away your sin
  • 00:42:58
    and give you a new future.
  • 00:42:59
    He's the one that we celebrate this Christmas.
  • 00:43:08
    You know, some of that might have
  • 00:43:10
    made sense to you for the first time.
  • 00:43:12
    Maybe you've never heard it before.
  • 00:43:13
    Maybe you've heard some of the words,
  • 00:43:15
    but your heart heard it for the first time.
  • 00:43:18
    You can receive that Lamb of God right now.
  • 00:43:23
    You can have all of His goodness
  • 00:43:24
    transferred to your account
  • 00:43:25
    and all of your sin transferred to His account
  • 00:43:28
    simply by turning to Him and saying a prayer
  • 00:43:31
    that's one that so many of us have prayed
  • 00:43:34
    a long time ago.
  • 00:43:35
    Let me just lead you in that prayer,
  • 00:43:37
    if you want to pray this prayer.
  • 00:43:38
    Just just say it after I say it.
  • 00:43:40
    It goes something like this:
  • 00:43:41
    Jesus, I want You in my life.
  • 00:43:46
    I ask You forgive me for my sin.
  • 00:43:50
    Please transfer to me all of Your holiness.
  • 00:43:54
    Fill me with your spirit.
  • 00:43:58
    I give my life to you.
  • 00:44:00
    And as best I can,
  • 00:44:02
    I'll follow You the rest of my life. Amen.
  • 00:44:09
    That's good stuff right there, friends.
  • 00:44:11
    That is life changing, eternity changing things.
  • 00:44:17
    We ought to sing a song right now
  • 00:44:18
    that was done earlier before about beholding the Lamb.
  • 00:44:21
    Now we can behold the Lamb in a new way
  • 00:44:25
    given that we've experienced what we just experienced.
  • 00:44:28
    So let's sing that together right now.
  • 00:46:18
    - Hey, thanks for coming today.
  • 00:46:19
    I hope you got a great, great time.
  • 00:46:21
    I tell you what, we've got an even greater time coming.
  • 00:46:23
    We have our Christmas special that's about ready to roll.
  • 00:46:25
    I think you're going to be incredibly encouraged
  • 00:46:28
    and inspired and get something
  • 00:46:30
    that is exactly what the doctor ordered
  • 00:46:31
    for your life and for my life.
  • 00:46:33
    So we'll see you then.
  • 00:46:35
    - We're tapping into the original setting of Christmas,
  • 00:46:38
    which is grungy, it's dirty, it's unideal,
  • 00:46:42
    kind of like 2020 is.
  • 00:46:45
    This might be the year where you have
  • 00:46:47
    the most true to form Christmas that you've ever had.
  • 00:46:52
    And it may be the time
  • 00:46:54
    when you encounter Jesus for the first time
  • 00:46:58
    in a very significant, profound way.
  • 00:47:04
    Shepherds were in wonder over this first Christmas.
  • 00:47:07
    They were in wonder over angels visiting them
  • 00:47:10
    and talking to them.
  • 00:47:11
    They were in wonder over
  • 00:47:12
    what they see with Mary and Joseph.
  • 00:47:15
    They are utterly astounded.
  • 00:47:16
    I think that we've lost the wonder in our culture
  • 00:47:18
    in our time.
  • 00:47:19
    We need to have a healthy dose of wonder
  • 00:47:21
    and mystery in our spiritual walk.
  • 00:47:23
    And that happens at Christmas.
  • 00:47:25
    We can't fully understand
  • 00:47:27
    and know everything about the Christmas story.
  • 00:47:29
    I like it that way.
  • 00:47:31
    I think God likes it that way because
  • 00:47:32
    He wants us blown away by the possibilities,
  • 00:47:36
    by the mystery, and by the wonder
  • 00:47:38
    of this whole thing that's playing out.
  • 00:47:40
    God himself comes to the earth and takes on flesh
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    to bring something to our lives
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    that we could manufacture on our own.
  • 00:47:49
    That's Christmas and that's wonder.
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend Follow-Up. The questions below are for the weekend of Dec 12th & 13th.

  1. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! From the music, to Christmas baking, to festive home decor, to cutting down a Christmas tree like the Griswolds, we love to create memories with traditions. Share your favorite Christmas tradition and why.

  2. Read Romans 5:12-21 — it’s a lil’ long, so three volunteers help us out. We are all affected by sin (missing the mark of God’s perfect holiness and design), our own sin and each other’s. Brainstorm ways you see this play out in your daily lives.

  3. Read John 1:29. We get to experience a full life we don’t deserve because Jesus took on our sin. Discuss what it means that Jesus died for you, specifically, and what it looks like to receive that gift of life.

  4. Christmas is a celebration of God’s love that makes a way to have a fresh start, because Jesus took on the sin of the world. Take two minutes to think of an area in your life that you can live more fully by receiving the freedom Jesus gives. What’s a practical way you can step into the life Jesus died to give you this week? Share that with the group.

  5. Close your time taking turns praying for each other, or read this over the group. “God, thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for not leaving us to our mistakes, but for making a way to have a relationship with you. Make us aware of sin in our lives, and help us accept your love and freedom. Help us live out of that love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

More from the Weekend

We have a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience for the entire family to watch at home by the Christmas tree. You will be incredibly encouraged and inspired so make sure to check out more details here.

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Dec 12, 2020 48 mins 14 sec

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