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What Do You Suppose God Looks Like? (Sermon)

Throughout Advent I am reading Michael Slaughter’s book “Christmas is Not Your Birthday: Experience the Joy of Living and Giving Like Jesus.”  Along the way, many of the themes Slaughter addresses will, no doubt, find their way into my preaching, teaching, and thinking.

In the sermon for Advent 1/C – preaching December 2, 2012 at Patterson Avenue Baptist – I ask the church THE question of theology/Advent/Christmas:  “What Does God Look Like?”

The question is so very important because out View of God influences (and is reflected in) our understandings of life, gospel, judgment, ethics, morality, behavior – pretty much everything.

So, what do you suppose God looks like?

This is the question to explore before you engage in preaching and teaching.  It needs to be the backdrop to teaching, preaching, Bible study, devotion, mission, ministry…

That’s where I found myself a little uncomfortable with Slaughter’s book.  Early in his book, Slaughter talks about an occassion (in 2004) when he said to his churh, “I want you to have a slim Christmas this year . . . and whatever you spend on your family, bring an equal amount for hunger relief… Because Christmas is not your birthday; it’s Jesus’ birthday.”

It’s certainly a nice thought…typical fodder for Advent preaching and the challenges of Christmas.  The problem is that it can turn God into a legalistic list-keeper, a callous judge, or a celestial Santa who dolls or withhold blessings based on our being naughty or nice.

Before we face such a challenge, we need an adequate picture of God.

Before we can be workers of God’s miracles, we need to celebrate the miracle of God’s grace, revealed in Jesus, by which we are liked, loved, accepted, included, and adopted into relationship with the Triune God.

That’s the direction I take with this sermon., based on Jeremiah 33:14-16  and Luke 21:25-36

You can watch the sermon “Miracles Worker” when you click this hyperlink now.

Oh, WHAT DOES GOD LOOK LIKE?  — Like Jesus!

Christmas Is Not Your Birthday: Experience the Joy of Living and Giving like Jesus
by: Mike Slaughter
publisher: Abingdon Press, published: 2011-08
ASIN: 1426727356
EAN: 9781426727351
sales rank: 4007
price: $6.92 (new), $6.12 (used)

Every year, we say we’re going to cut back, simplify, and have a family Christmas that focuses on the real reason for the season—Jesus. But every year, advertisements beckon, the children plead, and it seems easier just to indulge our wants and whims. Overspending, overeating, materialism, and busyness rob us of our peace and joy and rob Jesus of his rightful role as the center of our celebration.

This Christmas, cut through the hype that leaves you exhausted and broke at the end of the year. Instead, experience the peace of knowing that God is truly with us, the joy of giving sacrificially, and the love of a Savior who gave everything he had for us. In five short, engaging chapters, Pastor Mike Slaughter inspires readers to approach Christmas differently, and be transformed in the process.

A Different Kind of Christmas: Devotions for the Season
by: Mike Slaughter
publisher: Abingdon Press, published: 2012-09
ASIN: 1426753608
EAN: 9781426753602
sales rank: 47769
price: $4.42 (new), $4.48 (used)

Every year, we say we’re going to cut back, simplify, and have a family Christmas that focuses on the real reason for the season—Jesus. But every year, advertisements beckon, the children plead, and it seems easier just to indulge our wants and whims. Overspending, overeating, materialism, and busyness rob us of our peace and joy and rob Jesus of his rightful role as the center of our celebration.

This book of devotional readings is designed to draw your entire family into closer fellowship with God as you respond to this Christmas season and the call of God to live generously all year around. The devotional includes thirty short readings, Scripture, prayer, and stories about helping others at Christmas.

A Different Kind of Christmas: Devotional Readings for the Season is a great gift idea for family, friends, teachers, and ministry leaders.

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