Come Home To God’s Plan for Your Life
Come Home for Christmas
“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!” Psalm 90:1 (NLT)
“How long will you wander before you come home?” Jeremiah 31:22a (NCV)
God wants you live a maximum impact life by pointing people toward their __________ in _____________.
“Go everywhere and announce the message of God’s good news to one and all.” Mark 16:15 (The Message)
Three Steps for this Christmas Season
1. STOP long enough for ____________ to come into focus.
“Jesus stopped in His tracks….[and] said, ‘What can I do for you?’” Mark 10:49,51 (The Message)
“We must show a new generation of nervous, almost frantic [people] that…speed and noise are evidences of weakness, not strength.” – A.W. Tozer.
2. LOOK for _______ _______ to point people toward God.
“Jesus looked him hard in the eye – and loved him.” Mark 10: 21 (The Message)
3. LISTEN for _______ _________ in reaching out to others.
“My sheep listen to My voice I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
“We are usually surrounded by so much outer nose that it is hard to truly hear our God when He is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction He calls us. Thus, our lives have become absurd ... When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient.” Henri Nouwen
! Come Home To God’s Plan for Your Life
Come Home for Christmas
Part 1of 3
10 December 2006
One symbol that seems to capture the emotions of Christmas maybe better than any other is the symbol of Home – home for the holidays. So many people go to so much effort and so much expense and so much hassle to get home for Christmas. What is it about home and Christmas?
When home is working right (and granted a lot of people didn’t grow up in homes that worked right) it is a place of warmth, it’s a place of security, it’s a place of comfort, it’s a place of acceptance and understanding and empathy and laughter and nurturing and forgiveness and healing and growth and encouragement and hope and love. Home is where we belong.
Those very same words can be used to describe the relationship we can have with Jesus Christ. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses. It uses the imagery of home talking about God. The Psalm begins with these words “Lord, through all the generations, You have been our home.” In other words, You have been the place where we’ve found security and comfort and love and acceptance and faith. You are where we belong. And if you’re a Christian, you know that that’s true.
But God, then, goes further than that. He says if you’re My followers then I have an assignment for you. I have a purpose, I have a plan for your life. And part of that plan involves this. Once you have found your home in Christ you need to point the way for others who are still seeking it.
Once you have found your home in Christ, God says, I need you to go out and point the way for people who are wandering lost, who are still seeking that home. Because a lot of people are far from God. It’s been true for thousands of years. Jeremiah 31:22 “How long will you wander before you come home?” There are people in our villages and in our offices and in our workplaces and in our schools and even in our families who are wandering aimlessly through life without hope, without direction, without purpose, without meaning, without God, without His forgiveness, without His grace, without the security of knowing that they have an eternal home in heaven some day.
And God says, “I have a plan for you to fulfil,” and it is this. God wants you to live a maximum impact life by pointing people toward their home in Christ. Nothing is more important than that. Why? Because eternity very literally is hanging in the balance. That’s why Jesus said in Mark 16:15 “Go everywhere and announce the message of God’s good news to one and to all.”
Not only will the result be that the whole bunch of people who today are wandering lost and aimless will find their home, will find heaven through Jesus Christ; but another impact, another result of this is that the very process encouraging people in their spiritual journey, pointing them toward home will change and revolutionize your life as well. Nothing will stoke the fires of your spiritual life more than intentionally setting out each day with the plan that if God opens up opportunities that you’ll do your best to point people toward their home in Christ.
To do that you need to ask God to give you the words to say, to lead you and guide you. It’s then that your dependence upon God is at it’s greatest. You know that apart from the power of God, no life is ever changed. I can’t argue anyone into the kingdom. I can’t force anyone into the kingdom of God. But God can use us if we’re dependent upon Him.
Words can comfort, words can encourage but when you back up those words with a tangible expression of the grace of God there is something that cuts deep into a person’s soul. Jesus didn’t just say He loved the world. Jesus proved it. He met tangible needs. He healed the sick. He restored eyesight for the blind. He healed the lepers. He fed the spiritually hungry. He gave His life as a sacrifice for many.
Jesus then told His followers in Matthew 5:16 “Your light must shine before people so they will see the good things you do and give praise to your Father in heaven.” In other words “I want you to serve other people in practical ways that will attract them toward coming home to God.” That’s what He’s saying. Look for ways to show your faith, not just talk about it.
This Christmas season is a perfect time to do that. Why? Christmas is the season of sharing. It’s the season of giving. It’s the opportunity for us to look into the lives of people that we know and the people we encounter and ask ourselves: Do they have a practical need in their life that I can meet in the name of Jesus.
There are opportunities for you and me if we keep our eyes open, if we keep our
hearts soft, if we keep listening to God there are opportunities for us almost everyday of our life in one way or the other to gently encourage a person on their journey towards God.
Colossians 4:5 “Make the most of your chances to tell others the good news. Be wise in all your contacts with them.” Here’s something we can all do this Christmas season. Every day pray and ask God to open opportunities to make a difference for Him and then ask for the courage to follow through. When that kind of thing happens, God is going to work through your life.
Three steps we can take this Christmas. We can stop. We can look. And we can listen.
1. We can stop long enough for people to come into focus. The Christmas season is so hectic. It is such a busy season. Everybody and everything seems to go by in a blur. We need to stop long enough to look in the faces of people and realize we have never locked eyes with another human being who does not matter to God. We have never locked eyes with another human being who will not spend eternity separated from God unless they find grace and forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Jesus stopped for others. Remember the story of the blind beggar at the gate of the city of Jericho. People were walking past him as though he never existed. But the Bible says in Mark 10 “Jesus stopped in His tracks,” and later He said to the blind man, “What can I do for you?” and the man said, “I just want to see.” So Jesus restored his eyesight. He did a miracle. He said, “Your faith has healed you.” And the man’s sight was restored. Jesus stopped because that blind beggar mattered to God.
When our Christmas is so consumed by shopping and parties and by working that everything goes by in a blur, that we stop seeing people as individuals who matter to God, something is wrong. The whole message of Christmas is that Jesus came into this world for individuals, that one by one we might find home in heaven through Him.
2. We need to look for specific ways to point people toward God. In Mark 10 a rich young man came to Jesus. Verse 21 “Jesus looked at him straight in the eye and He loved him.” The eye is the window of the soul - Jesus looked him straight in the eye and right down into his soul. He identified the need in this man’s life, the thing that was the spiritual sticking point that was holding up this man from embracing God fully. And by looking deeply into his life, God was able to identify that thing and say, If you really want to embrace God fully, this is what you need to do. In the end that man said, I’m not interested and he walked away. The point is, God looked deeply into his life and identified his need, and presented him with a choice.
We can do that this Christmas. The people we encounter, the people that we know, we can look into their lives. We can stop long enough to see them first of all. Look them in the eye and ask ourselves this question, “What need do they have in their life that Jesus might fill?”
Then we go to the third step which is this…
3. We listen. We listen for God’s guidance on how to reach out to them. We’ve stopped. We’ve looked them in the eye. We’ve looked at their life. We’ve discerned a need that they have. And now we ask, “God, what do I do here? What action do I take? What steps do I take? How do I minister to this person? How do I help this person? How do I point this person toward home?” John 10:27 “Jesus said, ‘My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me.’” We live in an age, especially this season, where there’s so much noise and clutter in our lives that often the still small voice of God guiding us often gets drowned out. We can’t hear it any more.
Henri Nouwen, the famous spiritual writer, said, “We are usually surrounded by so much outer nose that it is hard to truly hear our God when He is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction he calls us. Thus, our lives have become absurd ... When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient.”
This is where the adventure really begins. When we look a person in the eye and we see that they have needs that only Jesus can fill and we say, “God, help me to know how to reach out to them.” We never know what’s going to happen. If we’re listening to God He’s going to take us on an adventure that is going to be like nothing else. This is where the Christian life gets exhilarating. Sometimes you’re going to do something, you’re not going to understand why and you’re going to think you’ve failed. You’re going to think, “I tried but nothing happened.” But God knows.
You’re going to see an opportunity this Christmas season. You’re going to invite someone and they’re going to say no. You’re going to think you’ve failed. You did not fail. You never fail when you do what Jesus tells you to do. As He leads you and guides you, that is where the adventure is. So if we could just say as a church that we’re going to be tenacious in our love this year and not give up on people. We can look for ways we can reach out, for ways we can serve other people in the name of Jesus. We can look for opportunities to bring people to Church. We can stop and we can look at people’s needs and we can pray: ‘God help me to direct them to the source of meeting all needs - Jesus Christ.’ Application: So, ask God each day to open opportunities to make a difference for Him and for the courage to follow through, to gently encourage someone on their journey towards God.
Father, I pray that all of us who are Your followers will seize the opportunity this Christmas season; that if we ask You, You’re going to use us. You’re going to open up opportunities. So give us the courage to invite someone to Christmas, to point someone towards home, in You. We want to follow You now and forever. Father, we know as people pray, that their lives will be changed and their destinies will be rewritten and they will discover a place where they can belong in Your presence; and that that place, they will call ‘Home’. In Jesus’ name. Amen.