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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sermon 12042011 Advent 2

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Gracious heavenly Father, from the smallest places Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ was born.  May we begin to see ourselves here in Goodland, not as a town or church that is on the prairie or the interstate, but a town and church that great things can come from.  For just as Bethlehem was the birthplace of our Savior, Emmanuel can be the birth place of how Your Spirit can move and inspire us as Your called Saints of Emmanuel.  AMEN.

When Michele and I first came to Goodland back in August 2010, one of the first questions we were asked when we accepted the call and moved here was, how would we adjust to moving to a small town.  My answer has not changed and will probably never change, coming to Goodland is like moving to the big city.  We have a Pizza Hut, Gambino’s, a Hallmark Store on main street and even a Wal-Mart.  An added bonus is that I now have to get used to those things with three different colors that stop traffic, because in Charlotte County where I grew up, still to this day they do not have a stop light in the entire county.

This morning we encounter a prophet who speaks about a rural place, like Goodland where the greatest miracle to happen would occur in a little town called Bethlehem.  Hear the prophet Micah:

1 “Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; 
With a rod they will 
(A)smite the judge of Israel on the cheek.   2 “But as for (B)you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From (C)you One will go forth for Me to be (D)ruler in Israel. His goings forth are (E)from long ago, From the days of eternity.” 
3 Therefore He will (F)give them up until the time When she (G)who is in labor has borne a child. 
Then the 
(H)remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.  4 And He will arise and (I)shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the (J)ends of the earth.

In the little town called Bethlehem, ascribed as “to little to be among the clans of Judah,” would behold the birth of a child.  Unlike other children, this child would as God says through Micach, “go forth for Me to be ruler of Israel”.  Now can you imagine, this child’s parents, would not be worried about what this child would do.  They wouldn’t worry about the child being caught up in and with all the wrong people, but would see the child as a ruler.  But the next phrase Micah utters stops us dead in our tracks.

Micah says “His going forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.  But wasn’t this child just born?  It does not make sense.  This child ‘from eternity’?  But listen to the rest of the prophecy of Micah, “3 Therefore He will (F)give them up until the time When she (G)who is in labor has borne a child. 
Then the 
(H)remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.  4 And He will arise and (I)shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the (J)ends of the earth.  This child born of a woman who labors for delivery will shepherd His flock in both the strength and majesty of the name of the Lord His God.  He will watch over them, care for them, comfort them and the promise in this prophecy is clear.  The ones the shepherd watches over, ‘will remain…to the ends of the earth.’

This prophecy is the metaphor of the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ and the church we are a part of today here in Goodland, Kansas.  In Jesus Christ who with Father and Holy Spirit formed the earth, came down from heaven and became human and shepherded the people of Israel and He continues to shepherd we His people today.  Jesus daily watches over us and provides for our daily needs and Micah clearly tells us this is going to happen.  And it will take place in a small town called Bethlehem.
Should we discount what is possible for us today here in Goodland, KS?  Is God unable to do great things in a small town, like Bethlehem or even Goodland?  By no means, we here at Emmanuel are not bound by our past, but loosed to dream impossible dreams and bring to reality a culture, generation and church that embraces God’s gift of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ that Micah the prophet foretold for all of us Saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
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