Great precedent in the Scriptures for thanking and glorifying God even during times of great difficulty.

  • Many Psalms
  • Paul and Silas in jail
  • Jesus at the Last Supper
    • Broke bread and gave thanks with full knowledge of what was to come
    • Said the Father is greater than I, and I love the Father
    • John 17: 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Make known: Expression in the NT often means to bring something that’s hidden into the light.

  • All that Jesus heard from the Father, he made known to his disciples – John 15:15
  • God makes known to us the mystery of his will (uniting all things in Christ) – Eph 1:9
  • The church makes known the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places – Eph 3:10
  • Paul makes known the mystery of the gospel – Eph 6:19

Making God known to others leads to drawing them into relationship with him

  • As 2020 comes to an end, we want to thank the Lord as a community and as individuals for his goodness this past year. To glorify him. And to make him known – among us and beyond this group, so that his beauty and goodness in our lives wouldn’t be hidden, but would be on full display.

A.        “Let earth receive her King” 

This is our critical prayer. It’s us praying, “Let the people on earth receive Jesus as their king.”

This is us, praying for the conversion of the world – starting with our families – that everyone would receive Jesus as Lord, Savior, King.

God revealed his plan to us when the angels said, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The Lord’s Prayer similarly says, “Let God’s will be done.” Let what is lived in heaven be lived on earth.” In essence, the glory of God’s world wants to have an effect on our world – on us and on everyone – and it does.

Heaven is God’s will, being lived out without any human sinful distortion. Earth is God’s will, being lived out. But earth has a certain amount of distortion. Too much distortion cuts us completely off from God. For us, we all have some distortion. But, the more we seek God w/ all of our hearts the more heaven influences us and the more the distortion is limited.

This is initial conversion and it is ongoing conversion. This is us, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, influencing our minds to give ourselves over to Jesus initially. And, over time, giving over our all as we win the ongoing battle for our minds. (See Ephesians 4). This is how we receive our King, Jesus.

Does the Scripture say that, “we on earth can influence heaven?” (Hint – Luke 15)

B.        Let every heart prepare him room

Making room for Jesus is the first step in God’s plan. Ironically the Innkeeper did not have any room. Making room is us opening our heart to God. It is the key foundation of our faith. God’s plan is hampered by a negligent or divided heart that has no room. His plan flourishes when we realize that our lives can be influenced by heaven – as we make room for him. It’s not just prayer, it’s the entire way we think, act, and live.

We all know how heaven has influenced our lives. We all know God’s love, his mercy, and his guidance. We all sense the way he wants us to live – overall, and as situations arise each day that are more grey than black and white. And, even when we are not clear, we are at least learning how to discern his will.

C.        Access to ever-increasing joy. 

We sing, “Joy to the world.” We sing, “Let earth receive this joy.” The Holy Spirit wants to teach us how to increase our joy. It’s by growing our the talents AND by our “joy for the Lord.”

We all have talents. Let’s use them to build the kingdom of God. Tw servants gained more talents for the master. Scripture says they were told, “Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . .  Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matt 25:21).

How did the master reward his servants:

I _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _        R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Y

I _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _        J _ Y

On our talents, may we all set our hearts on giving “All of my life for the rest of my life.” May we all say, “We are a community of Disciples on Mission. May we all do whatever we do each day at work, at home, and with others “for the Glory of Jesus” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

About Jesus, Scripture says, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (Hebrews 1:9)

What is applied to Jesus is said to us. Joy, in this verse is “gladness or exuberant joy.” The oil of joy, which God pours over us, tells that our father is not distant and uncaring. It’s the opposite. Our Father wants us to embrace a lifestyle of joy and be models of joy – just like Jesus. And, Psalm 133 says, he wants us to live this joyful lifestyle together.

Scripture says, Living In “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:9). Our peace and our joy – lived out – will touch our family members and friends as we display the kingdom of God to them. In fact, nothing else in creation can model God’s joy in us like you and me.

The Wise Men were full of joy. When they saw the star, “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Matt 2:10). “Exceedingly” means excessively – like we do when we worship at prayer meeting.

When the woman poured out the bottle of expensive ointment on Jesus, every one thought it was excessive (Matthew 26:6-13). But the woman came to worship Jesus, and the fragrance of that oil filled the house. She displayed excessive worship, love, and she received excessive joy. The leper who returned to thank Jesus displayed the same excessive worship, love, and gratefulness (Luke 17:11-19).

Evil power and the ways of the world want to take our focus away from Jesus – away from giving him excessive praise. The enemy loves to turn us on ourselves—searching for answers apart from God. But, we were designed to recognize him and to know his love. And, we were asked to be God’s instruments of joy and peace – to give him away.

In the world, we rejoice when something makes us joyful. In God’s kingdom we rejoice as we understand revelation. As I said last week, Faith explores what revelation provides. We are not paupers. We are children of God. We have talents and gifts. 

Let’s pray tonite for a fresh release of the Baptism of the Spirit – a new and refreshing outpouring. The more we understand who God is, the more the divine nature grows in us and the more we are filled with the joy of the Lord. And, joy is what Jesus wants to fill us with as we “receive our King” and celebrate Christmas.

I.         Rejecting A Pauper Spirit
Too many of us are chained to a false perception, and Jesus wants to set us free. 
I do not have much in the way of talent;             I can’t do much; 
I do not have any gifts; I am not that valuable;  I am a terrible sinner

2.         What is Revelation?
It’s God opening our inner eyes; showing himself, his power, or his plan to us 
Eph 1:17-19 – Paul give us 4 points about Revelation
a.         I keep asking God to reveal himself to you so that you can know him better. 
b.         I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened so that you may know . . .
c.         It’s the same power that God exerted when he raised Jesus from the dead.
d.         It’s for this present age (his age) and the ages to come (our age).

3.         Being filled with the fullness of Jesus
a.         It a grace to realize who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us
b.         It’s a grace that shows us the depth of God’s love
c.         Spirit filling is God opening our eyes and what we see moves us to believe
d.         Paul writes: “I pray that you may know how wide, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ. This love surpasses knowledge. I pray that you are filled with the fullness of God’s love – (Eph 3:19; Also see Eph 4:13; Col 1:19; 1:25; 2:9; 2:10)

4.         So what does the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us – Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us – this is the essence of Baptism in the Spirit
a.         Faith explores what the Holy Spirit reveals:
b.         Jesus has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom. 
c.         In Jesus we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. 
c.         Jesus is the image of the invisible God. 
d.         Jesus has reconciled all things through his blood, shed on the cross.
e.         Jesus presented us – “holy in God’s sight, without blemish or accusation 
f.          This is the gospel that I serve with all the energy of Christ that is powerfully at work in me (See Colossians 1). The inward grace moves us outward

Conclusion: Faith explores what revelation provides
Let’s reject the false notion that all we have is a pauper’s spirit
Let’s pray we all experience the Holy Spirit filling us up tonite and every day
Let’s spur each other on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

Some Scriptures: 
Matt. 3:11          “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Also see Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16).

John 1:33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’

Acts 1:5; 8           Jesus said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses


  • Ancient church spent Advent preparing converts for baptism – lot of prayer and fasting.
  • We are constrained in ways by the pandemic – an opportunity to focus our attention on our prayer lives, the wellspring of our community.

Martha & Mary

  • 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
  • Who’s the hero in verse 1?
    • Martha, she does something really good. Opens her home to Jesus. Maybe Jesus doesn’t even come without her!
  • We hear that Martha has a sister named Mary.
    • Luke wasn’t just saying where Mary was (sitting on the loveseat…). Sitting at a teacher’s feet is what students do. Mary is hungry to learn from Jesus. This is countercultural, because women weren’t usually allowed to be disciples. But Jesus elevates women. He says, I have time for her.
  • So far, everything is great. But… Martha gets distracted. Literally “drawn away”
    • Have to believe she wanted to hear Jesus, after all, she opened her home to him, but felt constrained to make Jesus a really nice meal. Maybe the culture has something to do with it.
  • “Few things are needed” – I’ll be happy with a simpler meal. 
  • “Indeed only one thing is needed” – I’ll be really happy if you come sit with me.
    • Simplify your life to make room for sitting at Jesus’ feet. This will not be taken away from you.
    • Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but every words that comes from God’s mouth.

For Us

  • Sometimes we can lose sight of how good it is to sit at Jesus’ feet.
    • I was struck this morning by how good and patient a listener that God is. 
      • What a good friend. He has time for us.
    • And when he speaks, just one word fills us. 
      • With just one word, we can be baptized in the Spirit all over again.
    • Lord, we pray for more hunger. Hunger to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn.
      • We pray for grace to simplify our lives to make space for the one thing that’s most important. That’s even more important than our service to God.
  • There’s something about the cross-pollination of our prayer lives, influencing and encouraging one another.
    • I bet that after a while, Martha learned something from Mary – “I should have sat with her”. And maybe Mary said, “next time I’ll help more”
    • Your prayer life doesn’t just affect you. 
      • It ripples out to your family, your small group, your community.
        • Mary’s “prayer life” is still rippling out to inspire us!
    • There have been so many times when I’ve been inspired by what God is doing in your prayer life.