Sunday, December 25, 2005

Matt 2:1-6 - The Unlikely God - Christmas Special


Passage: Matt 2:1-6
Originally Preached: 18/12/05 - 10am Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: Back to Bethlehem

Description: Our God is an unlikely God, using unlikely places, unlikely people and bringing an unlikely response.

Comment: I preached this one last week. It was a hard sermon to write. The series was based on three ancient towns Capernaum, Nazareth and Bethlehem. I got Bethlehem, the week before Christmas. I was struggling to write a sermon about a town. And then to link it in to the passage. The message didn't really "arrive" until I was having a discussion with my family about it at 11pm the night before. But that happens. I find Inspiration is a fickle friend, there is no good formula to make her come, you can't force her arrival and sometimes it just doesn't seem like she'll ever arrive. To write well Inspiration must just turn up when when she feels like it. When there's a deadline it can get pretty hairy, but she usually comes, to some degree. Every time you need her, it's an exercise in trust that God will bring her to the party. For this sermon she turned up with less than 9 hours to go.

I really enjoyed researching for this sermon. All the info about the Magi was fascinating. Two particular sermons from All Soul's in London by John Stott and Richard Bewes were good. Good, easily accessible sermons are a wonderful resource. I'm so pleased the internet has come into my life.

The illustration about my shy behaviour when I was a teenager was not something I thought much about. I just chucked it in because it did the job. But after the service I had lots of people say to me how good it was to hear the story and how brave I was for telling it. Perhaps because I'm a compulsive blogger and a preacher who constantly uses personal illustrations I didn't find it was a big deal. I wasn't feeling like it was a particularly painful part of my life to talk about, so it was surprising to see people's reactions. I'm glad it was helpful for people.

All up I was pretty pleased with this sermon. It was nice to talk about the Christmas story from a different point of view. God came out looking good, as he tends to do, and looking a little different from usual, and that was good too. I like it how God keeps expanding the more I get to engage with him.


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