Christmas Gift

My family has a tradition on Christmas day to be the first to say, Christmas Gift! to another member of the family. It started years ago but it helps us to remember that the greatest Christmas gift is offered to us all by Jesus.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. – John 7:37-39

God made us for an intimate relationship with Himself, and we cannot get our deepest needs met anywhere else but in Him. Jesus offers the only satisfaction for spiritual thirst. In verse 38, from within them refers to the innermost recesses of the body.

Just as it was a miracle of God for water to flow from a rock in the Old Testament (giving life) it is greater miracle of God to have the Holy Spirit flowing from His people and eternal life.

Praise be to God for this gift!
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Returning Joy

This season our church had a theme of Joy! It reminds me of the great song of Christmas, Joy to the World was written by English hymn writer Isaac Watts. The song was first published in 1719. We’ve all enjoyed singing this song, let’s look at the Word that inspired it out of Psalm 98:

1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King. 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Jesus came 2,000 years ago, and He is coming again!

Be ready always for His return. Amen
Pastor Ty Choate


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Everyone

Today let’s look a little a closer at the Christmas story as found in
Luke 2:8-20.
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.

The Good News of Christ is personal, and is available to all people. Once you have encountered the living Christ you will never be the same – just like the shepherds! They spread the news and everyone was amazed.

May we be excited to take the Good News to the world just like those on the first Christmas. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Slow Down

It’s easy this time of year to get over extended and anxious about many things. Slow down! Take a breath – enjoy a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and be reminded of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6.

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

When we don’t trust in God to provide we end up running around and worrying needlessly. You have what you have because of God’s faithfulness not by our own devices. Trust in Him who protects, provides, and guides. We just need to be obedient.

Be wise and seek to always live life God’s way. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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What Love Is

This is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 that I recently was reminded of. Please enjoy and think about it!

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.
-Author Unknown
God so loved the world that He sent Jesus – to you, me, and everyone. It’s not based on what we did, but on how much he loves us. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Being First

The word “firstborn” can mean first in birth order, but also first in sequence, or first in rank. Matthew 1:25 – Joseph did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

Jesus is “firstborn” in other ways too:

1. He is God’s firstborn. ( Hebrews 1:6 & Psalms 89:27)
2. He is firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
3. He is firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5)
4. He is firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29)

May Jesus always be first in your life- heart, mind, body, and soul. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Drinking

If Jesus was never born we would never experience His baptism. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:13 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Three practical requirements for receiving the Holy Spirit:

1. We must be thirsty Recognize you need more than you already have. Thirst is one of the greatest desires in the human body. If you are really thirsty you can’t think of anything else.

2. Jesus said “come to me”. If you want the baptism then you must come to the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

3. Then He said you must drink. Drinking is receiving something within you by a decision of your will and a physical response. Depending on what you are drinking it could be a good or bad thing. It is the best thing when receiving the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to “over-flow” in your life and that of others.

Thank you Jesus for coming and giving us the Holy Spirit.
Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Directions

We can learn much about honoring God from Joseph and Mary.

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. – Matthew 1:19
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. – Matthew 1:24
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.- Luke 1:38
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their throne but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”- Luke 1:46-55

What quality or faithfulness do you see in Joseph or Mary that you can apply to the choices you have to make?

May we always use the hope, truth, and love of Christ when we make choices. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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Given

This is a prophetic word from Isaiah foretelling the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 9:6-7 – For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

What does “unto to us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given” mean?

I think that it is a reminder that Jesus is for everyone and He is a gift from God. Salvation is available for all who call on the Name of the Lord.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

If we accept this gift of salvation then we too are reborn, and we are given to the Son. To give Him honor and glory all the days of our lives should be our main focus.

Amen
Pastor Ty Choate


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Ye Faithful

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.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. – Luke 2:15-16

We all know the song, O Come All Ye Faithful:

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

We have that same calling and opportunity to experience Christ.

Remember the last verse?

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

Accept Jesus in every area of 0your life. It’s the best present you could ever receive. Amen?
Pastor Ty Choate


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