Advent

Goodwill Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Seeking for Hope

These men had been searching for hope for years. They studied all the ancient writings, they studied the stars; they were looking for someone who could bring hope to their weary world.

God showed his goodwill toward them by using a star to direct them to Bethlehem where a child had been born. When they found him, they fell to their knees in worship because hope ignited in their hearts.

Message Notes

The Wise Men were seeking for hope in a weary world.

Matthew 2:1-12

They had studied the scriptures and knew hope was always the best option.

The thought of my suffering and homelessnessis bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time,as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hopewhen I remember this.
Lamentations 3:19-21

They believed in a faithful, loving, merciful God.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!His mercies never cease.
Lamentations 3:22

They knew God’s new day would bring exactly what they needed.

Great is his faithfulness;his mercies begin afresh each morning.I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;therefore, I will hope in him!”
Lamentations 3:23-24

They knew that waiting, depending, and searching would lead to what and Who they were seeking.

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,to those who search for him.So it is good to wait quietlyfor salvation from the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26

Their hope led to worship.

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

In our weary world, we can have a thrill of hope and rejoice! Hold on to hope for a new day with Jesus!

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Hebrews 10:23

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. Romans 13:11-12

Bottom Line

In a weary world, Christ is the hope.

Action Steps

  1. Really worship this weekend. Give Christ all your worries, and remember He is our Hope.

  2. Share the hope of Jesus with at least one person before Christmas Day.

Good Will Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Afraid of Where I Stand with God

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

Shepherds stayed out on the hillside and spent much of their lives away from the most respectable people. Though their work was honest enough, it was humble, dirty, and disrespected. They were lowly and unable to fulfill the religious rules of the day, so they were rejected by the religious leaders. Everything and everyone seemed better, cleaner, moreworthy than them. They felt continually inadequate. If they didn’t measure up to ordinary people, how could they ever measure up to a holy God’s standards?

Ever feel that way? Ever compare yourself to others and come up continually lacking? If so, you probably have some concerns about where you stand with God, too. You need to understand how goodwill works for you.

Message Notes

In honest moments, we all consider where we stand with God.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
Luke 2:8-11

The shepherds where afraid of where they stood with God because they felt unworthy.

The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt inadequate.

The shepherds were afraid of where they stood with God because they felt alone, even unloved.

Religion will always make us feel that way.

Relationship is why Jesus came.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Romans 3:22-24

Religion says do. Relationship says done.

Bottom Line

Everyone needs a savior.

Action Steps

  1. If Jesus is not your Savior yet, commit to him today.

  2. Look for a “shepherd” who doesn’t know where they stand with God to invite to church next weekend. Make it an invitation they can’t resist.

Good Will Towards Men | Goodwill When I am Afraid of What People Think

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

Joseph had lived his life with integrity and care. Everyone knew he wasone of the good guys.

But then he got a curve ball thrown hard—his fiancée told him she was pregnant, and he knew it wasn’t his child. She made the most unbelievable claim about the paternity, then an angel showed up and affirmed everything Mary said.

What would people think? His reputation was shattered if he didn’tbreak their engagement. But he discovered that actually God’s opinion of him was what mattered most, and God’s thoughts towards him were all goodwill!

Message Notes

The reality is that it is very easy to become obsessed with what people think about us.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagementquietly.As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-21

Being obsessed with what other people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you.

Being obsessed with what God thinks about you is the quickest way to forget what people think about you.

Extraordinary acts of God often start with ordinary acts of obedience.

You always have a choice to make: will I do what is easy, or what is right? Will I care about God’s opinion or people’s opinion?

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matthew 1:24

You have no idea what a single act of obedience might set in motion.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

Bottom Line

Being obsessed with what God thinks of me is the quickest way to not be obsessed with what people think of me.

Action Steps

  1. Consider where I am too worried about what people think. Is there somewhere I haven’t yet obeyed God because of my fear of people?

  2. Pray every morning: “God, help me remember you are listening and watching, and to make that matter most. Help me live for your approval today.”

Goodwill Towards Men | Good Will When I Am Afraid of What God is Asking Me to Do

The angels announced it: “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men!”

Goodwill means favor and kindness, and the Infant in the manger was the bridge of favor and kindness between God and man. The Christ Child grew to truly be the Savior of the world, the tangible and literal expression of God’s favor to us.

In the moments we feel most insecure, confused, or needy, through Jesus we can experience the kindness of God. In our moments of joy, he rejoices with us. He is God’s Goodwill toward men.

An angel interrupted a teenage girl named Mary’s world to tell her God had a job for her. The job was so big and incredible that Mary was dazed and confused. She was afraid. But as she decided to respond in obedience despite her fear, she discovered that God was looking on her with favor. The interruption was actually God’s invitation to experience his goodwill. Out of this came significance she never could have imagined.

Message Notes

Why are we so often afraid of God’s plans?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
II Timothy 1:7

Because his interruptions are often inconvenient.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!”
Luke 1:26-29

Because his purpose is often so different than our plans.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israelforever; his Kingdom will never end!
Luke 1:31-33

“But how can this happen?”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.For the word of God will never fail.”

God says. “Outcome is my responsibility. Obedience is your responsibility.”

Mary chose faith over fear.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
Luke 1:38

God is going to interrupt you with an invitation for an inconvenient opportunity to be a part of a really big plan and purpose.

God takes full responsibility for a life completely surrendered to him.

Bottom Line

Outcome is God’s responsibility. Obedience is mine.

Action Step

  1. Identify an area of opportunity/invitation that looks frightening to you.

  2. Pray and ask God for insight on how this is actually his goodwill and to you.