Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today's message at Gastonia First Wesleyan Church

This morning at First Wesleyan Church I shared a message that     I struggled with all week.  I had a message prepared but felt checked by the Lord that it was not right for this coming Sunday. 
With that - I worked each day this past week to perfect the message God was writing in my heart.  I searched and made several drafts until I felt a peace about the message to bring. 

Now, the message has been presented and I pray God used these words to speak to a person whose heart was growing cold and now feels a warmth of the Holy Spirit to have a Christmas season beyond what they thought was possible.

Here is my closing Illustration:

  A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” (Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.
“No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”
The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.
That is what Jesus can do for you – when you surrender your heart for God to hold close – and sacrifice your wants to give God glory!  Oh my friend, don’t miss the promise “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.”  Let God give you a new heart this Christmas. Let it SNOW with God’s forgiveness and transformational work in your life today! 

Feeling a little depressed this Christmas Season?  Here is a bonus for the this blog post added this evening after seeing this on Facebook - I just could not help but post this!

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