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Carols - Week 1

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Well, we're so glad to have all of you with us for the opening week of our series called Carols. During this Christmas season, what we've done is we actually produced a collection of Christmas carols for you to give to your friends. You can get these for absolutely free at iTunes, or you can go to LifeChurch.tv/carols. We want you to give these out and help get people into the family of God. And we're going to dive into four specific carols leading up to Christmas week, as we're going to worship God in well over 100 different worship services. The carol that we're going to talk about today is for many a favorite. We're going to talk about O Holy Night. Let me give you some context of the history of this song and then we're going to talk about it. The song, O Holy Night, was actually written in the mid 1800's. What's interesting is there was a perish priest who asked a guy in town who was actually a French merchant and a poet, his name was Placide Cappeau. The priest asked Placide, 'Would you write a poem to Luke Chapter Two?' The interesting thing is, Placide was not only not a Christian, but he was also known as kind of a hell raiser. He was very far from God, didn't go to church at all, but he was a good poet. So, Placide wrote this poem, and he loved it so much he asked his friend who was also not a Christian, to put the poem to music. And this song became so popular that it ran through the Catholic Church, was played at all sorts of churches until a few years into it, when everyone realized just who wrote the song and who did the music and they said, 'You've got to shut this song down!' But, by then it was way too late and the song was massively popular as it is today. Another interesting fact about this carol then, about five decades later in 1906, Reginald Fessenden was a 33-year old Canadian professor who did what many people thought was impossible. He took, kind of out of his own garage and made a make-shift generator, plugged a microphone into it and broadcast the very first AM broadcast in the history of the world on Christmas Eve in 1906. He took Luke, Chapter 2:1, spoke into the microphone and broadcast that chapter, starting out: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world, and he read the Christmas story. Then he took his violin, played into the microphone and the first song broadcast across airwaves in the history of the world was this song, O Holy Night. Here's our version of this classic carol: O Holy Night The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of the dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn' Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born. Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born. Christ is the Lord! O praise his name forever His power and glory ever more proclaim Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born. O night divine, divine It was a night so holy, so holy You know, you can only imagine what it would have been like to be there on that Holy night. To us today, I think the manger scene; I don't know about for you, but for me it draws so much emotion out. Maybe because when I was a kid, we had sitting out on the coffee table, it was my job to set it up every year. You've got the Baby Jesus, and you've got the Virgin Mary, and you've got Joseph, and you've got the cows that were lowing, whatever lowing means, I have no idea, but they were lowing! And there's this real emotional draw to that, but I really honestly think that the manger scene, as meaningful as it can be, it actually does a little bit of a disservice to us in understanding what that night would have been like. Because the reality is, if you think about it, there was a teenage girl that was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, which is a whole other round of thoughts that we could have. And she and her likely teenage fiance travel on the back of a donkey. Now, you have to picture this, nine months pregnant on a donkey and they traveled somewhere between 80 and 120 miles. Now, when Amy was about to give birth, I took her to the hospital in a Honda Accord and that was rough enough, okay! Can you imagine on the back of a donkey? Then they come into town and there's no place to stay, there's no inn. And so, they go to what is most likely, a lot of scholars believe it was kind of like a cave, it was a place where the animals would go to get some shelter in rough weather. So, she's giving birth in the worst environment possible. We're talking about unsterile, no epidural, if you can imagine, a little girl screaming her brains out, there's no angel going....I mean this is a girl screaming! I mean, I remember the first time Amy gave birth without an epidural. It was our third child and the anesthesiologist was giving her the shot. I don't know if you've seen the needle, they're about this long, it's going in her spine. She says, The baby is coming out now! And so, the guy kind of, I guess panicked, pulled the shot out, blood squirted across the room! Everybody say eww! Okay, I just made sure and asked God not to let me throw up in that moment, because I had to reserve somewhat of my man-card. Amy started screaming, The baby's coming out, the baby's coming out! She was screaming and the anesthesiologist, that wasn't his department so he kind of just stood back. I'm like, Do something, get somebody! And Amy's looking at me and I had three assignments, I knew, one was to get help, two was to keep her from falling off of the back of the bed because she kept pushing herself. Three was to be in the ready position, my Dad always taught me, Butt down, and don't let a ball get under you! And so, I was butt down in the ready position to catch the baby. She's screaming, no doctors around, I mean, it's chaos! And I put my hands down and I actually was the first human being to touch Anna, my third daughter's head as she came! I remember thinking two thoughts: 1. I've never been closer to God at this holy moment. 2. Honestly, I was thinking, I'm going to be the freakin' hero of this story and I'm going to tell everybody how awesome I was! Until right as Anna came out, God as my witness, I panicked. She came out, I let go, she fell only about this far onto the bed, but she did fall down. And there are two morals to that story. 1. It was the closest moment to God I've ever had. 2. Amy is the hero of that story and I have to stick by it through and through! I mean, it was chaos, it's screaming, it's panic, and this is what's going on inside this little cave, as Mary's giving birth to the Son of God. Now, in this song, O Holy Night, there's a phrase that I want to zero in on, and that's what we're going to do in this series. I may pick out some phrases that may be a bit unlikely to you, but I believe that every time you worship God to this song again, this phrase will jump out to you and you will remember the Holy moment as you experience God together at this time. Here's the phrase I want to look at: The song says, ...a thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. Could all of you say weary world? One, two, three, Weary world. Then it says, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. If there's two words that accurately describe our world today, I'd say it's weary world! Wouldn't you agree? I mean, it's just overwhelming, there's so much anxiety, what's going on in the economy and relationships are messed up, and every third person seems to have some kind of serious disease and families are struggling. It's almost like we're fighting to stay above water and I just think so many people today relate to that phrase, 'the weary world'. But what I love about this song is it says there's a thrill of hope. Imagine in the chaos of this holy night, there's a thrill of hope that maybe, just maybe, and those who were putting their faith in God, for centuries had hoped that one day the Messiah would be born. And on that day, everything would be different forever and ever and you can hear that kind of faith that there's a thrill of hope and suddenly the weary world does what? The weary world rejoices! And I pray to God that if there's any weary world in you that you will experience a thrill of hope and inside your weary world you will find the faith to rejoice, why? Because even in the chaos of this night, there is a new and glorious morn. And every time as you move forward, I want you not to just to think about that holy night, but I want you to think about what happens the next day when the sun comes up, the Savior has been born, and on the new and glorious morn everything is different because a day with Christ can change everything. Let's focus in on a new and glorious morning. What I want to do is take you back to the Old Testament, to the Book of Lamentations. The context of Lamentations in the year 586 B.C., Jerusalem fell and the people were as distraught as you could possibly imagine. And the prophet Jeremiah, he was lamenting, he was whining, he was hurting along with everybody else and he just pours his heart out full of hurt in this text. And in Chapter three, we see a switch, where he moves from his mourning to a moment of faith. And I love this, he says in verse 20: I well remember them, and my soul is... What? Say it aloud, he said: ...my soul is downcast within me. In other words, he's not going to just, you know, put his hands over his eyes and, Na, na, na, na, this isn't happening! No, he's acknowledging that there's some significant life-altering difficulties, but he goes on in verse 21 and he says: Yet I... Do what? He said: Yet I call to mind and therefore... What do I have? Therefore: I have hope. I love this, he says, 'I'm going to call this to mind.' I know it's there, but it's not at the front of my mind and I'm going to place it at the front of my mind. I'm going to call this to mind and because I remember this truth, I will have hope when no one else does because I know this to be true. I call it to mind, therefore I have hope. He says: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. And now, I love this! He says about God's compassions, they are what? Everybody, say it aloud, they are: ...new every morning... Then he loses himself and he starts talking to God. I mean, he's talking about God, then he's just got to talk to God and he says: God, great is your faithfulness. Then he says: I remind myself, I say to myself, The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It's amazing what a new day with Christ can bring and I want to show you three truths that can bring you a thrill of hope when your weary world is in darkness. Out of this text, thought number one if you're taking notes: 1. A new day with Christ brings exactly what you need. Every new day with Christ will bring you exactly what you need. Now, I didn't say what you want, because what you need and what you want are sometimes different things. Lamentations 3:24: I say to myself... How many of you know, every now and then you just have to talk to yourself and preach to yourself some truth. Sometimes you've just got to be the best preacher around. You just open up God's Word, you call it to mind, you say to yourself and you remind yourself of the truth of God. I say to myself: The Lord is my portion; therefore I will... Do what? I will: ...wait for Him. The Lord is my portion, what does that mean? Well, it could mean any number of different things. Some scholars believe, and I tend to agree that it likely is referring back to the time when the Israelites were wandering in the desert and God would provide for them their daily portion of heavenly manna. That everyday when they would awake, God would give them exactly enough food for that day. If they ever tried to hoard the food and hold some over for the next day, the food wouldn't last, it would rot. It was as if and we know, that God was trying to teach them that they need Him every single day. Just like in the New Testament when Jesus taught us to pray, give me today my what? My daily bread, because I need God every single day. And I call this to mind and I say to myself, The Lord is my daily portion, He is exactly what I need. The good news is, I want you to understand, God is already in tomorrow and He has everything you need for tomorrow, whatever it brings. He is already absolutely there. If your marriage is struggling, what I hope you'll understand, is God is in tomorrow waiting for you and He is what your marriage needs. If you are weak today, God is already in tomorrow and His strength is made perfect in your weakness. If you are down and depressed today, He is already in tomorrow and He is your joy. He is the lifter of your head. A new day with Christ always brings exactly what you need and what you need is the presence of God; His reality, His strength, His power, His goodness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him. A new day with Christ, it brings us exactly what we need. The second thing, and I hope this ministers to you: A new day with Christ brings us the hope to keep going. A new day with Christ brings us the hope to keep going. It's the thrill of hope in the weary world, it's the thrill of hope and faith when all we see is darkness. It's the belief that there's a new morning coming in the middle of the chaos of the night. Verse 25 of Lamentations Three says: The Lord is good to those whose... What? Would you say it aloud? The Lord is good to those whose: ...hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him. Someone said this and I think this is interesting. We as people, we can live 40 days or so without food. We can live eight days or so without water. We can live four minutes or so without oxygen, but we can only live a few seconds without hope. I believe there are too many people today who are trying to survive with a very hope-deprived life. They're struggling to find places to put their hope. In fact, they're putting their hope in the wrong places. Some of you know, right now the stock market is kind of a risky place to put your hope, isn't it? And it is. Put your hope in your company and you may get let down. Put your hope in another person and they may not come through for you. Put your hope in some outcome that you just need and you may not get exactly what you thought should happen. The reason is, is because we're putting our hope in the wrong places. And when we put our hope in the wrong places, we start to end up hopeless and we become a weary world that wonders where is anything good, because our hope is in the wrong places. I love what Hebrews 10:23 says. Scripture tells us: Let us... Do what? Everybody help me, the Bible says let us: ...hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. I love that picture. Let us hold onto it. Man, hold onto it for your life. Grab a hold, those of you who are Christians, grab a hold of the hope that we profess and don't ever let go. Don't ever let go because He is faithful who promised unto us. The challenge today is that I believe there are too many that are letting go of the hope that we profess and we're grabbing onto all of the fear and anxiety of the darkness of the night. We're letting go of the truth of God and we're hanging on to all of the lies of the evil one. And what we need to do is the exact opposite; let go of the fear, let go of the anxiety, let go of the stress, let go of the panic, let go of the doubt and hold on to the hope that we profess. Hang on to the promises of God and don't let go, don't ever lose hope of what a new day in Christ can bring. Don't ever lose that hope. To this day I can't get over the loss of a friend who surrendered hope. I mean, there's hardly a month that goes by after over a dozen years that I'm not talking about it to somebody, of a friend who lost hope. Great man of God, great friend, great Dad, great husband. And in the darkness of the night, and we still don't know what happened, nobody knows. He panicked, he was in trouble, he made a bad decision, he was afraid; we don't know. But he took his life and he was our friend and his wife called us first and we were the first people over to his house. We took her in and we took her kids in, and we came back, and the longest night of our lives and we held each other and we cried. And we cried and we held each other, and we cried and we held each other. The thing I remember most was not the night, but early the next morning I went into the office just to get away to pray and try to figure out which way is up and what are we going to do. I got in my car and I drove just before the sun was coming up. I looked and I saw the most beautiful sunrise that I've ever seen in my life. I rolled down my windows and I stopped and I listened to the birds starting to chirp and the sun coming over the horizon and I just thought, Man, if he could have just made it through the night. If he could have just seen what this day had to offer. Whatever it was that was up in his mind, whatever fear, whatever lie it was, if he could have just held on to the hope and made it through the night and seen the rising sun that I see. If he could have just remembered the risen Son that I know. Don't lose hope. Hold onto the hope that we profess. I'm going to stay here for a moment because there's somebody who needs to hear this. Don't let go of the hope, don't give up, don't surrender, don't cash it in, don't...understand, it may be dark for awhile, but there is a new day coming and it's amazing what a new day in Christ can bring. Don't give up, don't give up the hope. There's a weary world, yes, but in the weariness there's a thrill of hope and the weary world can rejoice. There is a new day coming, I'm telling you, a new day with Christ can change everything. Oh, if I could give anything to say to my friend, Hang on until the morning man, when you see the sun rise, when you get there God's got everything you need. Don't give up the hope. A new day with Christ, a new and a glorious morning, it brings exactly what you need. It brings the hope to keep going. 3. A new day with Christ, it brings the help that you're seeking. A new day with Christ brings the help that you're seeking. Verse 26 tells us: ...it is good to wait... Sometimes you just have to wait quietly for the what? Sometimes you have to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Some of you need the salvation of your souls and you need to know that, you do, you need to be saved and forgiven by God. Some of you, you already have been born into the family of God, you need to be saved out of a difficult situation. I'm always amazed, and I want you to think about this and never lose sight of this thought; it's amazing, it's unbelievable, you cannot fathom what a difference one day with Christ can make. You can never, ever, ever, ever even put into words the difference that one day with Christ can make. Lazarus, in the New Testament, had been dead for four days. He was so dead that he was smelling bad. The King James version said it best, the King James version said, 'He stinketh!' You know you're dead when you stinketh in the King James version! Four days, everyone had given up hope. Jesus shows up, looks at the stone, looks into the grave and says, 'Lazarus, get up buddy, come forth.' Lazarus walks out and I'm here to tell you, Lazarus would say, 'It's amazing the difference that one day with Christ can make.' There was a woman who for twelve years was suffering with an issue of blood. For twelve years, can you imagine the pain, the embarrassment, the humiliation, the torture, the private suffering of her soul for twelve years. Every day, hoping this will be the day, maybe this will be the day, oh my gosh, am I stuck with this? And for twelve years the agony. One day, she sees Jesus and touches the hem of His garment and she's healed. She would tell you that you can't even describe the difference that one day with Christ can make. One man, for 38 years, since the day he was born was unable to walk. He was at the pool of Bethesda one day when Jesus came up and Jesus looked at him and said, 'Pick up your mat and walk!' And after 38 years of being unable to walk and this man walks. He would tell you, 'It is amazing the difference that one day with Christ will make.' Some of you, you've got to hear this. You're in the weary world right now. I'm telling you, there's a thrill of hope that will make your weary world rejoice. There is a new and a glorious morning that is coming. You may look at your marriage and think, 'It could never be what it should be.' I'm telling you that it's amazing the difference that one day with Christ, what it can make. Some of you, you're sick in body and someone you love is sick in body. And I'm telling you that we serve a God that is able to heal. And whether he heals or He doesn't heal the way we think He should, in the presence of God and His goodness, it's amazing the difference that one day in Christ can make. Some of you right now, you're in the night. Man, there's screaming, there's no epidural, the baby's coming, the cows are lowing! We don't know what that means, but it's no fun. And all of a sudden, in the middle of this weary world and the darkness of the night, you're reminded that because Jesus was born you can have hope in the middle of the night. Because Jesus is here, you can have hope in the middle of the night. Because a new day with Christ, I'm telling you, it brings exactly what you need. It may not be what you want, but it's always exactly what you need. And a new day with Christ, it gives you the hope to keep on going. And a new day with Christ can bring you the help that you are seeking. Romans 13:11-12, this verse for some of you will become a new favorite: ...The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is... What? Say it aloud: ...The night is nearly over; the day is... What? The day is: ...almost here. The night is nearly over and the day is almost here. The night is nearly over and the day is almost here. The night is nearly over and the day is almost here. The darkness is nearly over because the sun will rise again. The darkness is nearly over because the Son of God will rise again. The darkness is nearly over because the Son will rise again. And you are nearer to your salvation than you were a day before. For some of you, that is the salvation of your souls. For others of you, that is the salvation out of darkness. The day is coming the night is almost over. The sun always rises again. The Son of God is risen and because He was born into this weary world there is a thrill of hope. For yonder breaks, a new and what? Say it with me...a new and glorious morn. Father, I pray that in your presence that your Spirit would minister to your people. And every time God, we worship you through this carol that we would be reminded that a new day with Christ can bring more than we can bring more than we could ever, ever imagine. All of our churches, as you're praying together now, God I ask that your Spirit would speak to us in a way that only you can do. As you're praying today, nobody looking around, some of you right now, you may just say that honestly you're in a dark season. It could be relationships, it could be a struggle with someone that you love. A lot of people around Christmas time, it's the best time of the year, but for a lot of people it's the most difficult time of the year. Some of you, you may be really freaking out financially right now, job struggles, or maybe no job at all and you're out buying and spending money you don't have and it's just wearing on you. A lot of you, you're dealing with sickness. I can't even count the number of people close to us that we're praying for that are struggling. You're in a season of darkness and you need the hope that a new day is coming. If you really need a touch from God, His presence, exactly what he needs, the hope to keep going, the help that you are seeking. I'd love to pray for you if you're in the darkness of the night right now. All of our churches, our Network Churches, a lot of you going through struggles right now. God, I pray for those with their hand lifted up. God, I acknowledge that I don't know the details obviously, but I thank you that you know exactly what each person is going through. And God, I pray that they would find the joy that comes in the morning. God, I pray that even at this moment, spiritually this could be that new day; that you are here, you are with us, you are our hope, you're our redeemer, you are our Savior. God, we look to you, we pray that your Spirit would minister to your people. God, that you would truly give them exactly what they need. God some, they need the hope to keep going. God for some, they truly need salvation out of a different situation, or your presence to sustain them through it. God, we ask that you would be present with us in this new and glorious morning. And God, I thank you in advance for all of the ways that you are going to strengthen us, you lift our heads, and God that we would see your goodness and worship you for it. As you keep praying today, all of our different churches, nobody looking around, I want you to think about this, just think for a moment. A non-Christian wrote this song. What does that tell us? That tells us you can know the story of Christmas without knowing the Savior of the world. You can know the story without knowing the Savior. For some of you, you're here because there is a salvation that you're seeking. You may not even know it, but you've been looking all over this world for something that fills the emptiness inside. You've tried things, you've tried relationships, you've tried experiences, you've tried money, you've tried everything and you can't find it. Why? Because you need the salvation out of the emptiness of this world. You need a relationship with God through Jesus. Others of you, you believe in God perhaps as I did growing up and you think, Hey, I'll try to be a good person, I'll try to be better than most people. Hopefully, at the end of my life my good works will kind of outweigh my bad works and then I'll experience the salvation of God. Let me just tell you right now, you try that path and you will end up straight in hell. There is no way possible for any of us to work our way to God. Scripture says in black and white that we can never be good enough, that our sin has separated us from a holy God. You can work your way until you're blue in the face, but guess what? You're just going to end up in a weary world. Here's the good news: Your weary world can have a thrill of hope and the hope, His name is Jesus, He is the Son of God who was born of a virgin. He died on a cross and rose again so we could be forgiven. There are those of you today, that you walked in without a living relationship with God through Christ, and as you call on Him today, you will be forgiven, you will be changed. You're emptiness will be filled and that's why you're here. All of our churches, those of you who would say, That's me, I want to give my life to Him. I need His salvation, I need His forgiveness, I surrender completely to Him. Jesus, take all of my life, I give it to you! Would you lift your hands high right now, all over the place, would you lift them high and say, Yes, that's my prayer! Lift them high, right back over here, praise God for you. ChurchOnline, you click right below me. Others who would say, Me too, Jesus, I give my life completely to you! Lift your hands and say, Yes, that's my prayer today. As there are hands going up at churches all across this world, would you pray aloud with those around you? Pray Heavenly Father, save me from my sins. Make me new. You are the salvation that I seek. Fill me with your Spirit so I could serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you for new life, I give you mine. In Jesus' name I pray. LifeChurch, would you celebrate, would you worship God, would you welcome those today born into His family!

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Duration: 37 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jan 4, 2012

Carols - Week 1 - Craig Groeschel - LifeChurch.tv

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