The Call Of Christmas Part 4: A Call To Praise
On Christmas Day at our morning service, we finished our Christmas series 'The Call Of Christmas' with the topic 'A Call To Praise'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
One of the things I look forward to between Christmas and New Year is the World’s Strongest Man competition on TV. About 15 years ago, I actually got to meet a three-time winner of the title “World’s Strongest Man” namely Bill Kazmaier (or Kaz as he’s known).
I was in Phoenix, Arizona, at a fitness trade-show (in those days I ran a health club) and was taking a look around with one of my colleagues and friends, Aaron. Suddenly I spotted Kaz and was really excited!
“Aaron!” I gasped. “I don’t believe it! Look! It’s Bill Kazmaier!” I composed myself as I went straight over and introduced myself. Kaz was great, as this awe-struck English weirdo stuck his hand out and started praising him effusively. After a quick chat I asked if he could hang on while I ran (like the wind!) to get my camera (this was before mobile phone cameras were commonplace!) and he was great fun mugging for a couple of photos and he also gave me a personally signed poster. The poster and photos are on the wall of my little gym at home to this day!
Afterwards I was waxing lyrical to Aaron about all the amazing things I knew about Kaz – not only had he won the WSM title three times but he won so easily the organisers actually stopped inviting him! He’d also broken many powerlifting records and had been the super-heavyweight powerlifting champion… widely regarded as one of the strongest men of all time…. etc etc.
Interestingly, Aaron’s initial reaction (when I first spotted Kaz) was rather different to mine. While I was really excited, he was like… “Who’s Bill Kazmaier?”
I rushed to him, full of praise, but my friend was bemused. Why the difference? Well, because of course I had heard all about Kaz, and it was amazing stuff – and when I saw him I recognised him immediately. He matched the description. Aaron just hadn’t heard anything!
That’s why I was red-hot to meet Kaz, and came away full of praises because he was really gracious and responsive. Aaron (and our other colleagues Mikey and Claire, when I rushed to tell them!) weren’t much bothered – if anything they found it funny that I was so enthusiastic.
Why the different responses? Because…
• I’d heard about him from reliable, credible sources – so I believed what I’d heard
• What I’d heard about him and was amazing stuff!
• I recognised him when I saw him – and he responded to me when I went to him
When we read Christmas story, we find a similar thing going on when some ordinary hard-working guys – some shepherds – working on the night shift, hear about someone – Jesus. We can read about this in Luke’s account of Jesus’s life (Luke 2:1-20). To read this click here.
The shepherds, these ordinary working guys on the night shift, said “Let’s go!” and hurried off to find Jesus and when they met him, they were filled with praise for Him. My question is – WHY?
Why did they go looking for Him and why when they found Him were they filled with praise for Him?
Why today do some people go looking for Him, while others don’t?
I think there are clues in these verses. I believe they pretty well match up with the story I told you earlier about when my friend and I saw Kaz. Why did I go and meet him and come away full of praise, when my mate just… didn’t. I was amazed and full of praise – he was kind of bemused by it all. I think it boild down to three things:
RECOGNISABLE & RESPONSIVE REALITY
What we hear about someone really influences how we feel about them. What we hear about someone can make the difference between our wanting to rush to meet them, or not being much bothered. And it’s not just what we hear – it how credible our sources are too. If what we hear is amazing but the witnesses aren’t credible… who cares what they say?
The description must be accurate, truthful, compelling and amazing. Christians – what are you telling people about Jesus? Is it accurate, truthful, compelling and amazing?
And also… Are you a credible witness to our incredible God?
What we say about Jesus – not just in our words but in the way we live, the example we show of a Jesus-follower – really matters! Why? Because it can make the difference between someone wanting to meet him, and recognising him… or not being bothered. Are you a credible witness to our incredible God?
Non-Christians – so that you know about Jesus, and so that you recognise him when you meet him and so that you want to meet him and get to know him personally …
• He is good news!
• He brings great joy to all the people who know him
• He gives hope and a future
• He is Saviour, Messiah, Lord of all, King of Kings, Immanuel, God with us
• He is our, redeemer, wonderful counsellor, everlasting father
• He is compassionate, loving, forgiving
• He is the light of the world and only light can drive away the darkness
• There is power in His very name
• And He wants you to get to know Him better – He will respond when you approach Him!
• Do not be afraid! He is good news!
If you want to know more about Him, read the bible. If you don’t have one we’ll give you one.
If you want to know more, ask people that already know Him – people you’re sure of, people who are trustworthy and therefore credible. If you want to know more, how’s this for a New Year’s Resolution – come to church and keep coming next year. Come and see. You’ll be glad you did.
I know you’ll be glad you did and there are many others here who would agree. Because there was a time when we didn’t know about Jesus – but now we do, now we recognise Him, now we know the actual Jesus more than matches up to the amazing descriptions… and that’s why every week we get together like this to talk about Him, to share news about Him and to praise Him.
Praise Him because He really is the most powerful person ever to walk the face of the Earth! Praise Him - because He truly is God’s most precious gift to us all.