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MERRY CHRISTMAS
Luke 1:5-25

The Story Before The Story
Luke 1:5-25

December 13-14, 2014
Pastor Chris Brown

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Food For Thought

For the week of December 14, 2014
(Questions and Scriptures for further personal study)


1.  Chris shared how part of our response to the story before the story is to accept how God sees us.  This acceptance begins with a clear understanding of what God thinks of us.  What insights do you see in the following passages about how God views his children?        

1 Peter 2:9-10

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. [NIV]

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place,
       when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
       all the days ordained for me were written in your book
       before one of them came to be. [NIV]

Romans 8:31-37

More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
     we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [NIV]

                 

2. Re-read Luke 1:18-20 and Luke 1:34-38.  How do Zachariah and Mary’s differing responses to the angel of God illustrate principles of faith and doubt for us to follow today?               

Luke 1:18-20

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” [NIV]

Luke 1:34-38

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. [NIV]

                                 

How could Psalm 46:1-7 help someone understand God’s presence in their life in the midst of challenges or struggles?        

Psalm 46:1-7

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth.  A song.

1 God is our refuge and strength
      an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way 
      and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam 
      and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
     the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
     God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
     he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
     the God of Jacob is our fortress. [NIV]

                           

3.  Chris reminded us of the importance of “being real” around our families because “Our Christianity is measured at home.”  How would your family members, friends, neighbors or people closest to you describe your faith?  

How could the following verses help someone seeking to be “more real” with their faith to the people closest to them? 
          
Matthew 5:13-16

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. [NIV]

 Ephesians 5:8-14

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,

    rise from the dead,

    and Christ will shine on you.” [NIV]

 John 3:19-21

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. [NIV]