Happy Mother’s Day
A couple years ago I read this book about getting a piece of advice from biblical characters if we could. (Great cloud of witnesses) John Maxwell- Running with the Giants.
The idea that while we’re in the race of life, that these characters would come down from the stands and run a lap with us and give us advice from their lives.
Then he wrote another book called learning from the Giants.
Then he wrote a third one he called Wisdom from the Women of the Bible. He didn’t want to call them giants. That’s wisdom right there- No woman wants to be called big anything. Ever notice, “Hey Big Mike!” vs. “Hey Big Stacey” it just doesn’t translate.
So what if we could get advice from one of the greatest Mom’s of all time? Today we’re going to have Jesus’ mom, Mary come out of the stands and give us some advice from her life. She is probably one of the most misunderstood women in scripture.
Mary, who many traditions has turned her into a God that I think she would be the first to say, I am not the focus here, Jesus is the focus.
And she has this incredible story that we re-visit every Christmas and over time the story loses its humanity– we start to think of this as just a story instead of a real person.
And many of you know her story, an angel comes along and said, Hey, I got news for you, you’re gonna be pregnant without ever being with a man. And, and you’re not only gonna be pregnant, but the baby’s gonna be God. So there you go.
For me, that probably came with a lot of wow, what do I do with that kind of information? I don’t even know if anybody’s gonna even believe me when I say it.
And so I think she would come along and say to us, if you’re ever in a place where God makes no sense, if you’re in a place where God asks you to do something that’s outside your comfort zone.
And I think if she were coaching us I think she say
If you’ve ever had a God encounter and thought, I don’t understand him.
He’s not doing this the right way. If you’ve ever felt like you prayed, and God took your whole life story in a different direction, if God has ever been confusing to you, she would say, you need to understand what those moments really look like, don’t miss the moment
Those moments are bigger than you think. And God’s at work better than you think.
And I think she would say because God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. So then therefore, it won’t always make sense, because he’s not like us.
And so I think she would want to coach us and say, No, look, he’s gonna do it this way. But here’s what you need to do, even though you’re not going to feel like doing that.
She would say, don’t miss your God moments. Can I stop right here and say, God is trying to have more moments with you than you realize?
Don’t miss your moment with God.
Let me say it this way. He’s a moments God. In fact, he is speaking. He’s reaching out all the time in some of your thinking, but then why am I why am I missing my moment? I think it’s because we’re, we’re either stiff arming God or we’re too busy to hear it.
God cares about the moments in our lives. Some of us might only reach out to God in our big moments of pain or hurt so we associate Him with the big moments but God cares about all of our moments and wants to be there for all of them.
Because our God is a speaking God. God doesn’t have a speaking problem, we have a listening problem.
So I think Mary would say let me coach you on how to relate to this God who is so different from us.
God is going to come along and he’s going to give you a bit of news, or he’s going to ask you to do something that is going to seem impossible, and that’s what she would say,
God moments often seem impossible.
So let’s look at her story, (Intro Mia)
Luke 1:31-34 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
We often think of Mary as glorious but we forget that she was a scared teenager, scholars tell us between the ages of 14-16 I had Mia come and read this morning because they were about the same age to put some context to this!
We see the angel come and immediately she says, Um that’s not how babies are born. That’s not how any of this works. And what’s she doing is trying to process her fear- Some of her “I don’t get God”
And I’d say it this way to you,
God is gonna move in your life and do things in your life that may never make sense here in this life.
People tell me- I can’t follow until I understand it/get my head around it- reduced God to the size of your brain.
If we can fit God into our box of understanding who He is, then He is not bigger than us or knows more than we do. Then why would we seek God’s guidance or trust His authority?
And really, it’s about moving that information from our heads to our hearts to a place where I’m going to trust Him, even though I don’t understand Him.
And some of you, you’re probably just as confused as I have been in the past, right now- You’ve moved here you don’t know, you don’t why your business isn’t taking off like you thought, why friends at school are treating you the way they are, or adult friends are changing, adult friends- Hard.
And I’m just here just to be your cheerleader, to tell you keep going.
Feeling overwhelmed- Feel God telling me- Just keep going, you’re doing a good job with your life.
I think Mary would say, It’s going to look impossible, but not with God. All things are possible
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
I think she would also say…
When God moments come, just say yes.
She goes on to say…
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
I personally believe that was the moment of conception – after her “yes.”
In the days to come, she’s gonna start to show, she’s pregnant. And she’s out of wedlock. She was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
-And, you know, her family went like, you and Joseph couldn’t wait really seriously.
-And, you know, Joseph came along, like, really?
-The religious leaders were like, Hey, we stone people like this.
And this wasn’t like, “Oh! I’ve got God in my womb!”
No, this was probably ridicule, confusion, and even some anger. Maybe even some worry.
And when you step into a God moment and say YES to God, you may feel in that next moment totally alone, but you’re not, He’s completely with you and…
Your God moment will open the door for God’s best in your life.
So let me tell you what Mary did. I think she got discouraged. And so what did she do? She got out of dodge, she left Nazareth, and decided to go visit her cousin Elizabeth, who would be the mom of John the Baptist.
So she gets there and…
In a loud voice, Elizabeth screams at her, Hey, don’t be discouraged, because you’re blessed!
Luke 1:42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
Now, why would that be in the scriptures? why would Elizabeth had gone outside and said, Hey! you’re blessed. I think it’s because Mary didn’t feel blessed at the moment. In fact, she goes on to say,
Luke 1:45 “…Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”
not the woman who understood it, not the one that saw it happening already. No, just the one who believed
WHY did Elizabeth respond this way? Elizabeth was a little bit older, a little more experience? And your perspective changes with experience
In fact, I’ve been following God for 36 years and serving in faithfully ministry for almost 20yrs now.
And I say that to say that I’m standing up here with some track record of following God, and I’ve had my share of mess ups and failures and heartaches, but I’m here to tell you that God was always right.
And maybe today you don’t have a long track record of following God. – Borrow a phrase from a friend, Let me hold that hope for you.
That what you’re walking through right now, God is still with you and your blessed.
And time and history with God grows our trust and confidence in Him. _That’s why Elizabeth responded this way- And she says from my experience of following God, you’re blessed.
And we see this confidence growing in Mary’s life.
Because- Fast forward Jesus’s life, 30 years later, when he started his ministry, so now Mary’s had 30 years with her son, 30 years, she’s been the mom, her attitude is completely different than here.
-No longer questioning and how’s this going to be? And how’s this gonna work
-No having to get encouragement from Elizabeth?
No, she’s got confidence now.
Even our faith in God is rooted in having a relationship with Him.
Because the very first place you see them next in the story is 18 years later, Jesus is 30 years old.
Mary and Jesus end up at the wedding at Cana, Do you remember this story? They run out of wine? And Mary says,
Hey, Jesus, you need to do your thing and he says, Woman, What does this have to do with me?
He doesn’t want to do it, but she pulls the Mom card.
She just goes and to everyone- let me tell you what’s going to happen here.
Jesus is going to come to you, he is going to say some things to you, and you’re going to think that’s not how wine is made. But just do whatever he tells you because it’s going to work.
John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Now, why did she say that?
In the part of Jesus’ life we don’t have record from 12-30yrs old, but you know he did this kind of thing before.
Jesus go get some sugar- Look in the cabinet
Here’s the point- Her history with God gave her confidence, even though she didn’t know HOW he was going to do it.
I don’t know how he’s gonna do it, but he’s gonna do it.
And I’m just trying to be that voice in your life to say listen to me. You’re blessed.
I’m trying to be Elizabeth to you right now and say, Listen to me, I know you’re sad. And I know you’re confused. And I know you’re hurting. And I know you can’t see the ending or even the next step- But He’s with you, He’s for you, He’s cheering you on, Keep going, you can make it, I’m not giving up on you, you don’t give up on you or me.
And I know you’re wondering where he’s at. I’m telling you, God’s at work in your life in ways that you don’t even realize. Don’t give up now, He’s always right,
I think she would say…
1. Stay connected to God.”
Since God IS and WANTS to work in your life, stay connected.
And I know that maybe sounds simplistic and even trite,
but we need to be reminded over and over again, because I really feel like the enemy of our connection with God in our lives is our pace of life.
Because how many of you know that the reward for being more efficient and getting things done- Is more work.
We never take that time to rest, we are addicted to noise and input and its ruining us. And subconsciously, we’re trying to fill the emptiness inside of us, that can only be filled by God, by filling it keeping our schedules busy
I know it’s true in my own life, then when I have a better pace, I’m at a better place.
Even in the Christmas story we see it..
Luke 2:16 They hurried off to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
They hurried off…
I think that is the picture of us… Hurry.
Everybody’s kind of hurrying, scurrying, but not Mary. Mary had something that all of us need to learn from, and that is Mary was a worshiper. Mary, the Bible says, that while everybody was running around,
Luke 2:16-19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Some of us are due for a little pondering, a little sitting with some worship going on in your room, and just letting God give you the assurance that he’s in your life.
That’s what I do when I feel the most frustrated. In loss.
You try it, sometimes, I don’t even have the energy to pray anything but I just sit there in his presence listening to worship and God begins to heal my heart.
Jesus said it himself in the message paraphrase of the bible:
John 15:5 When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”
And some of you have just gotten disconnected from God, you’re still going to heaven. But you haven’t slowed down long enough to get in the presence of God, where he will assure you that you’re going to be alright. – Just keep going, you’re doing a good job with your life, I’m with you.
1 Stay Connected, The second thing she’d say is this…
And now in the story of Mary, we’re at one of the last verses about Mary. Jesus is 33yrs old.
And Jesus is on the cross. And she’s watching the child she carried in her womb get executed.
We always teach this from Jesus’ perspective, what he went through, or in the father’s perspective, what he gave for you and me to let his son die.
But have you ever wondered what it was like from Mary’s perspective? And I’m not trying to bring up some bad feelings for those that have been through this. But to me, one of the hardest things, if not the hardest thing in the world, is for a parent to bury a child. That, for me, is unimaginable. And one of the hardest things I’ve been through as a pastor was when I first started serving here at the Point, Did a funeral for some dear friends who had lost a baby.
And what do you say when you’re at the graveside of your child? – That’s where Mary is, right there. Thank God she is with a group.
John 19:25-27 Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” To the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.
And as Jesus breathes His last breath, can you imagine being Mary leaving that scene?
Her son’s gone. How did she make it? How do we make it? How do we make it to some of those darkest days? I’ll tell you how. Hope and
2. Stay connected to the bigger picture
Simply put, Heaven. ANd hope for Life eternal with Christ.
We put too much of our hope, too much of our happiness on a place that we’re just passing through.
But the only time the word blessed is added to hope is the hope that we have of being with Jesus for ever and that one day we will see Him face to face.
And I know several of you are tired, and not sure you can make it anymore.
Yes you can, you can do it by staying connected to the bigger picture that this is not all there is- we’re just passing through and the best is yet to come and it won’t be very long until we’re with him forever and all your loved ones who have accepted Christ and gone before you.
3. Stay connected to the people who encourage you.
When she went to Elizabeth’s house, she didn’t go visit Elizabeth, she stayed with Elizabeth for three months. Maybe she said, I ain’t going back to Nazareth.
I’m sticking around the woman who keeps calling me blessed.
And that’s what we’re trying to do here every Sunday, encourage you, challenge you, love on you. That’s why we have a path to mission- not just to give you busy work but because we really care about your spiritual lives and want to see you grow.
- Daily time with God
- Small Groups
Sometimes we have to upgrade the influences around us.
Energy givers vs Energy Vampires- Sometimes you can’t avoid but work to be around people that lift you up.
Bad work situations- So beat down that you question your own gifts and abilities.
Need People that will be truthful with you but say Come on, you’re going to make it, you got this, I believe in you! I’m going to hold onto that hope FOR you and call you blessed.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
God works in our lives but we also need each other.
God give you the assurance that he’s in your life.