“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” – Luke 1:26 – 34 (KJV)
Seasons Greetings Everyone!
We have reached what is going to be the final series of 2015. “The Christmas Story” will be the CLMNWA Christmas Countdown Series, and it will also be the final teaching series of 2015. We are officially beginning the 12 Days of Christmas Countdown, and we will be sure to finish this series up on or by Christmas Eve so that we can take a full month away to enjoy our families, enjoy Christmas, and we’ll see what the Lord want to do from there.
For now, however, let’s get into the first of four messages in our Christmas Series. I don’t think this series would be complete without adding a Christmas song to accompany the message as you read, and as always I hope you’ll believe with me for ears to hear and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what the Lord is about to speak to us through this message this night.
I can’t think of a better song to kick of a Christmas Countdown series that begins with Mary than to have “Mary, Did You Know?” by Jeremy Camp.
Season Greetings once again CLMNWA Family! As mentioned above it’s time for us to get into the final series of 2015 which is our Christmas Countdown series for 2015. It’s only a short, four message series that I’m sure will be finished on or before Christmas Eve. For now, however, let’s get into this series, and this message. I’m pretty sure that many of us will be able to relate to this message. I know I do.
I’ve written this before, but one of my first questions for God when I He was speaking to my heart about serving Him was the same as the title of this message. I was certain God must’ve had the wrong person, but it turned out that I really had the wrong perspective. I saw who I was, and God me as I would be today. Granted it took eleven years for me to embrace that call, and begin to walk in the vocation that God called me to…but I can certainly understand where Mary is coming from.
She was looking at the natural wondering how she could have a child without knowing a man. I was looking at the natural also wondering how in the world God could use someone who was looking in the “mirror” of a jail cell. Before you think it…I am in no way comparing myself to Mary. I am saying that I can understand where she was at the moment she understood God wanted to use her.
Do you know why God found favor with Mary? For no reason we can 100% prove. But God is God, and He can choose to use anyone He wants. There doesn’t need to be a reason. They don’t need to be “good enough.” They just have to be willing to let God use them.
The key to God being able to use us isn’t that we’re qualified, but that we’re available. I have often said that we make ministry overly complicated. I can speak to this from my experience because the first thing most people think of when God’s calling them to serve Him is that we’ll be standing in front of a congregation some where preaching from a podium. That’s not necessarily the case. The Bible says that God distributes the ministry gifts within the Body of Christ as HE pleases, and that includes those who are members of the five-fold ministry gifts.
You see. If everyone was a preacher there wouldn’t be someone anointed to play a guitar or sing to lead worship. If everyone was a pastor there wouldn’t be evangelists to lead people to Christ for the pastor’s to shepherd. If everyone was gifted to speak to crowds there wouldn’t be people like me anointed to write blogs or magazines or books. Sure, many of the people who write books are people in ministry, but when I first understood God was calling me to ministry the first thing I thought was that I was going to be standing in front of people preaching…and I knew in my heart that wasn’t really who I was. Then someone I greatly respect spoke about how I would eventually use my ability to write for God’s glory. Again, I looked at magazines and books and other devotional publications thinking that what I was reading didn’t look anything like what I was qualified or able to do.
You know what, friends. There’s a lot of truth in these words right here: “God is God, and He can choose to use anyone He wants.”. The key as I mentioned isn’t that we’re “good enough” or qualified because in reality none of us are qualified for anything but death, hell, and the grave. I mean let’s get down to the real, shall we!?! If God chose people based on their qualifications no one would be chosen…because even the most holy of men and women are still not qualified in their flesh to serve as holy a God as we all serve.
Look most people look at the outside for qualifications, but as we’ve heard from Samuel (when God was choosing David) while man looks at the appearance God always looks at the heart. So, while people may look qualified and holy on the outside…God knows their hearts. Think about all the people God chose for some major moments throughout the Bible starting with Abraham, continuing with Noah, Moses, King David, and so on. Abraham and Sarah were so old that the only way they could have a child is by a miracle of God. God chose Noah’s family to be the one to build and be saved by the Ark. God chose David to be the bloodline that Jesus would come from, and God chose Mary to be the one that gave birth to the greatest Gift the world has ever been given.
Remember this: God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called.
Look at all the people Jesus chose to be His disciples. They weren’t Bible school graduates they were common people like us…and wouldn’t you know it’s the common people today that God wants to use. All of you know by now that I have never set foot in a Bible college, and likely never will…but God ordained me as Pastor Bryan Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA. It certainly wasn’t because I graduated at the top of my Bible School class it’s because He knew the day would come when I would be sitting in front of this computer serving Him by telling my story one message at a time. As we look down the ages of time at the people God chose to use…again because in reality God is God, and He can and will use anyone He wants to use.
The question isn’t are you qualified…the real question is are you available.
You see, Mary was, well, unqualified for this job. We won’t get into too much detail on this, but to put it simply, it was humanly impossible for Mary to be pregnant. And the last thing we read was Mary basically saying “Who, me? How can you use me? It’s impossible for me to be used for this!”
I think most of us, if we’re honest, answered God the same way when we realized He was calling us to serve Him. I certainly did. I won’t go into the details here either for the sake of time, but my first thought wasn’t about how thrilled I was that God was calling me to serve Him. My first thought was to question God’s judgment as if He was going to be like “your right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”, but His response to me is the same as it has been throughout the ages…and His response to all of us is recorded in the Gospel of John.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” – John 15:16 (KJV)
I believe in my heart there are many people reading this message that have been called to serve God, and like the rest of us you are questioning why or how in the world God could use a messed up individual like you. Do you know why it took me so long to embrace the call of God on my life? I spent part of that time thinking that God would realize He was wrong, and call someone else to do what I was called and anointed to do. God doesn’t work that way…if it would’ve taken me twenty years to embrace the call of God on my life…I would still be chosen and ordained to serve Him.
So…I don’t know where you are or what’s going on in your life, but what I do know is that if you have a calling to serve God…He hasn’t changed His mind. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was that He called you…He’s waiting simply for you to say “Yes Lord”…and before you know it four years will have gone by and you’ll be kicking yourself that it took so long to begin doing what God called you to do.
But that’s what God likes to do. He uses the unlikely. The unqualified. He wants to use you for great things no matter if you feel like you can do it or not. He can and will use you. You just have to be willing to used by Him.
Could you imagine if Mary said no?
So, let’s bring this all the way back to Mary. It was physically impossible (so Mary thought) for her to bare a child because she was a virgin. She had never knew or been with a man that way…not even the man she was espoused to in Joseph. It was just as physically impossible for her to have a baby as it was for Sarah who was well advanced beyond child-bearing years…yet as we know Sarah gave birth to Isaac…and Mary gave birth to Jesus. This is just the long way of saying if God wants to use you…and you are willing to be used He will.
God, our Father, You redeemed us and made us Your children in Christ. Through Him You have saved us from death and given us Your Divine life of grace. By becoming more like Jesus on earth, may I come to share His glory in Heaven. Give me the peace of Your kingdom, which this world does not give. By Your loving care protect the good You have given me. Open my eyes to the wonders of Your Love that I may serve You with a willing heart. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Final Word From Pastor B:
When you really think about it. What if the people God used in the Bible would’ve said no?
What if Abraham would’ve laughed at God like Sarah only to decide against going where God told him to go? What if Noah wouldn’t have ever built the Ark? What if Moses said no to leading the Israelites out of Egypt? I mean, there are a lot of people God used in the Bible that could’ve changed the entire story if they would’ve chosen to not be available to be used by God.
Don’t ever think that your part in God’s story is insignificant. What if you are the one that is supposed to reach the last person that wants to receive Christ before the trumpet sounds? What if you are the person that God is going to use to save your entire family? The point is that God knows exactly what each one of us is destined to do and to be…and when He calls us even though we may wonder how in the world He could choose us to do anything for Him we need to embrace what He’s calling us to do.
On a personal note. I’m thrilled that Christmas is almost here. Lizzie is quite excited about Christmas and Santa Claus, and I’m thankful that so far it looks like there will not be a white Christmas this year. I did put my first couple of strings of Christmas lights out on the house this year, and that means next year I’ll have to get more. We did discover a new Christmas tree farm that has trees that you can pick out and cut down yourself. We are going to soon be welcoming another little girl to our extended family as we found out this weekend that some extended family members will be welcoming a baby girl to the family some time next spring.
There’s a lot of good things happening in the midst of all the chaos in the world. It’s up to us to be the lights that we’re called to be, and be a beckon of hope to the rest of the world. When the rest of the world sees the church freaking out that’s when they lose hope because our hope is always in Someone greater than the circumstances and situations in the world.
Thank you, as always, for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family. Thank you for a fantastic year, and thank you most of all for your prayers, patience and support.
Good night and God bless!
Blessings & Grace;