Special Business MeetingDecember 23, 2018 - 12:00 PM - 12:30 PMSpecial business meeting to discuss and possibly vote to join together with a Hispanic church with the purpose of providing them space until they can afford their own building.
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During the holidays, the five-year-old was showing his little brother around the Christmas display at the church. “Here are the shepherds,” he explained knowledgeably, “and there are the sheep and the cows and the wise men. And here is Mary, she’s Jesus’ mother. And that’s Mary’s husband, Virg.” A teacher, who was nearby, overheard and offered a correction. “Mary’s husband was named Joseph, dear,” she said, “not Virg.” The five-year-old wrinkled his brow. “Then how come,” he wanted to know, “the preacher always talks about Virg and Mary?” (James Dent in Charleston, W.Va. Gazette)Perhaps we can all use a bit of a refresher on some parts of what the Bible teaches.I hope you are at least somewhat familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus.It’s one of great love; God the Father loving the world so much that He sent us is only Son to be born into this world just like us.Today we’ve lit the second candle of this Advent wreath.This candle represents “Love.”A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. --Josh BillingsDarkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. --Martin Luther King, Jr.Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. --Erich FrommMama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. --Stevie WonderINTRO - Most will agree that a mother’s love is something very special.Our fist president had this to say about his mother:My Mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my Mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.—George WashingtonAs great as mothers are, one was blessed among women:and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!Mary, Mother of Jesus, blessed by God.Mary loved Jesus with the love only a mother can have for her son.But there is more.EST - Our text this morning will note how Mary “treasured” and “pondered” things in her heart.ESS - Our message will teach us what the treasure of Mary’s heart truly was.OSS - Our message will bring us to look into our own heart to see what it is that we treasure.TRANS - Let’s turn to the Word that never changes expecting it to change our lives this morning.What does it say?But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.What does it mean?The French Quarter, at Jackson Square, one day some years back, several of us from the seminary were doing some sight seeing.If you’ve never been, let me tell you, there are some sights; some you’d rather had missed.Now, its not all bad.Cafe’ Du Monde has the finest beignets and some pretty good chicory coffee.But one of the most outstanding buildings is the St. Louis Cathedral at one end of the square.In our time there, the fellowship was good, the food great, the entertainment pretty fun too.We enjoyed talking about Jesus with the fortune tellers who set up shop with card tables along front of the Cathedral and tried our best to be a source of good is a place so very dark with sin.As a whole, the place is pretty interesting and somewhat fascinating.People love to tell stories of their trips to the French Quarter and discuss the rich history of the area.Locals tell stories that seemingly spellbind on listeners who can’t get enough of ghost stories and discussions about the grandiose architecture.One thing, however, really gets me feeling a little uncomfortable.See, people praying in the Catholic Church to statues of Mary.See, the Cathedral is pretty fantastic, but it has one of those Mary statues.You know the type.Usually a young European looking women, a bit on the skinny and pale side, wearing a blue garment with a white underdress and candles.Yep, they even have that image hanging from car mirrors and on tall glass candles.But, what gets me uneasy is people pray to those idols.The Cathedral is impressive, the artwork priceless.I get pretty interested in looking around at all that stuff, but nothing makes me want to book it out of a place like that then when I see someone praying to a statute of Mary.Now, I know Catholics pray to Mary, but knowing it and actually seeing it in person are not the same things.It is so very, very, sad that people don’t understand the story of Christmas and worship Mary instead of hers Son Jesus.See, even Mary needs a Savior.Our message is not about Virg and Mary, :-) nor about the Virgin Mary, it is about Mary’s treasure.Mary has a true treasureDo you recall the treasures, the gifts, that Wise Men brought to Jesus?Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.We think of those treasures, but how often do we talk about Mary’s treasure?Our text says:But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.When I was a boy, my dad often had to go to work when somebody’s cable TV stopped functioning.We never knew when he’d go out on a call.I had a pretty good childhood and my parents made sure all of us kids had what we needed and on occasion, we even got a little spoiled.I’ll never forget one special day.Dad was out of town and when he came back he brought us gifts he purchased while away.On that special day, Dad gave me this horn.It’s a bit worn, the strap decayed and fell off, and the end is splitting hear and there, but the memory is still just as special as ever.See, dad thought of me when he was away.I was a boy and missed my Dad, but I always knew I was his special boy and that is the real gift; this horn is simply a symbol of a greater treasure, Dad’s love.Mary had a treasure too, and it was not the things that the Wise Men gave to her Son, but something none the less.So, what was Mary’s treasure?No doubt her first child was something to treasure.Every mom here can give that testimony; there is a sense of something wonderful that comes with a newborn baby.I remember Ashley’s birth pretty clearly.I was in the delivery room and did all I could to get that first glimpse.I remember being told she is a healthy baby girl and I was so happy that day.I love to tell people about Ashley, how great she is and how proud I am of her.I love to tell people how talented she is, how good she is, and how loving she is toward other people.All that is in my heart for her even while she is today an adult.So, it seems a bit different to me that Mary is noted as “treasuring in her heart, pondering.”Mary has a lot on which to thinkMary pondered these things in her heart. Why?See, the birth of Jesus was not like any other birth.Mary was a virgin.For Mary to be pregnant and to give birth to a baby were impossible.Biologically, they were not possible.Impossible, not possible, sounds like something supernatural took place?See, its not that Mary was a virgin; that is her virtue, but God’s power to cause Mary to be with child.Sure Mary treasured her baby, but more-so the way he was conceived and from God.Treasures, certainly.But is there more?Glad you ask.Luke tells us about Mary’s treasure.After the proud parents had turned back from a day’s journey to go back to the temple to find Jesus, Luke says this:And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.What is Mary treasuring up hear?Jesus’ obedience and subjection; absolutely!Is there a mom who doesn’t treasure an obedient son?Still, there is more.To understand Mary’s treasure we can look to her song “The Magnificat”:And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.Look again at verse 49:for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.Those “great things.”What are they?Maybe that God selected her to birth Jesus; that is a good point.It could be childbirth itself, or that Jesus was obedient and those were things she treasured.We touched on all these things.But, if we say its those things then we’ve missed what Mary herself says in her song.In verse 50 Mary quotes from the OT:But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,The verse speaks of God’s mercy to all generations.In the rest of her song, Mary praises God for what He does for all people.“The Magnificat” is not about what God did for Mary and letting her give birth to Jesus.“The Magnificat” is about what God did for Mary and all of the earth by sending the Messiah, our Savior.Mary shares that the treasure is for all peopleMary’s treasure is that her Son is her Savior.Jesus died to give eternal life to Mary, to us, to all who will believe.The angel didn’t bring good news of great joy about Mary; he brought good news of great joy about Jesus.The exact words are:And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.“for all the people” and that was the treasure that Mary acknowledged in her song that is for her and all the generations of the earth.The “good news of great joy” was Mary’s treasure and He can be your treasure too.What does this truth move you to do?Is Jesus the treasure of your heart?Is the joy of knowing Jesus filling your life with love for others?Do you need give your heart to Jesus today?Do you need to give your heart back to Jesus today?What is it that God’s Spirit is moving you to do before you leave here this morning?(end)
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