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Tag: Genesis

A Reminder of Hope

Now some of you will already know this about me – but for some of you, today I want to share with you a little bit about my life that you may not have known before.

You wouldn’t guess it by the state of my backyard right now – but I’m actually a bit of a gardener. When Heather & I were first married – I actually spent a few months working at the Meadowbrook Greenhouses just west of town and it was somewhere around that time that I took an online landscape design course. I learned how to survey a yard and then how to plan and design a beautiful garden space. I put that to use at our home in Mirror.

This was the plan that Heather & I came up with for our yard. It’s kinda hard to make out everything from this map – but for those who have know us for a while and have been to our house in Mirror before, you might be able to recognize some of the elements.

I’ve actually got a couple before and after pictures to give you an idea of how it all came together.

When we started working on the sidewalk, people thought it was pretty strange to put a fire pit in the middle of the sidewalk…. But no, it wasn’t a firepit. It was for a tree.

I’ll tell you, it was a lot of work, but it’s pretty cool to see the transformation from a barren wasteland to a beautiful, productive garden. I think that’s probably why I love gardening and landscaping. I love to see that transformation. I love to see things grow and flourish and be beautiful and productive.

And that’s probably why I love pastoring too. It’s the same idea, just in a different realm. I love to see God transform people’s lives – helping them to grow and to flourish and be productive!

And I bring all this up today because earlier this week, I received in the mail my annual catalogue for T & T Seeds. This is probably my favourite thing to get in the mail – especially in the dead of winter. When everything is cold and frozen – there is nothing green anywhere – it’s all brown or covered in snow and ice. Summer has been long forgotten and there seems to be no sign of life anywhere. You start wondering if winter will ever end.

And then, in the mail, comes this beacon of hope! The seed catalogue! It brings us the promise that winter will not last forever – spring is coming. Soon the ice and snow will melt – new leaves will sprout on the trees, the little seeds that we buy and bury in the ground will soon push through the dirt and grow into flowers and vegetables. New life is just around the corner. There is hope.

And in a lot of ways, Christmas is a lot like that seed catalogue. Christmas is a reminder of hope.

Sometimes I wrestle with how much emphasis we put on Christmas. You know, the Bible never actually tells us to celebrate Christmas – there’s no mention in the Bible of the early church celebrating Jesus’ birth. In fact, in my Bible there is only about 4 pages out of about 1200 pages of Scripture that talk about the birth of Jesus. That’s only 0.3 percent of the Bible that talks about Christmas. And yet, we often take the entire month of December (1/12th of the year) to talk about it. Why is that? Well, I think it’s because Christmas is like that seed catalogue – it offers us a beacon of hope. It reminds us that God always keeps His promises. God is in the midst – even right now – of redeeming and restoring his Creation back to the way He intended it. 

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A Future of Hope

Over the last three weeks we’ve been looking at background of the Christmas story. And we’ve discovered that this history of hope goes all the way back to the beginning of time when God created the heavens and the earth.

You see, God had set up the perfect system for the perfect life – He would be the source of everything mankind would ever need. He would give them life, food, meaningful relationships, purpose in their work – everything they needed, He would provide. But He would also be their authority. Of course, He certainly gave them responsibilities and authority as well, but He was to be the ultimate authority. That was God’s setup for the perfect life. As long as mankind looked to God as their source and as their authority, life would be amazing.

And it worked great! With this setup, Adam & Eve enjoyed life to the fullest as God intended it – and it was sweet. They had everything they wanted. Their relationship with God and with each was perfect and beautiful – Never any conflict or never any strife – it was what you might describe as heaven.

But something happened. Sin happened. Adam & Eve rejected God as their source and as their authority and they took that role for themselves and as a result – everything fell apart. Their relationships with God and with each other was broken. The sweetness of life became bitterness and life on earth has been a struggle ever since.

But God had a plan. God knew this would happen even before He created the world, so all along, He had a plan. And this is what we’ve been looking at for the past three weeks – God’s plan to put things back to the way they were when He first created them.

And in case you missed those first three Sundays, let me give you just a quick summary.

On week one, we learned how God promised Adam & Eve that one day, one of Eve’s descendants would crush Satan’s head and defeat sin for all time.

On week two, we learned how God promised Abraham that one day, one of his descendants would be a blessing to every family on earth.

On week three, we learned that God promised King David that one day, one of his descendants would be King for all time.

And as we looked at some of the old testament prophecies and as we looked at the Christmas story as recorded in Luke, we came to realize that all these promises were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ. He was the one that God had been promising for some 4000 years.

And that’s what makes Christmas such a big deal – its because finally, after years of hoping and waiting for God to fulfill his promises, finally, God’s own Son, Jesus Christ was born as a man and He would make things right again.

But here’s the problem. If you look around at the world today – it doesn’t really seem like everything right again – does it? There’s still pain. There’s still suffering. Satan seems as active as ever. Sin is still around in bountiful supply. Our relationships with God and with each are far from perfect. So… what happened? Was it all a joke? Did God’s plan fail? Or is it just that the story isn’t over yet? Well, that’s what we’re going to look at today.  

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The Beginning of Hope

We are now in December. We’ve got snow on the ground, people have their Christmas lights up, there’s eggnog in the grocery stores, so it must be time for some Christmas related sermons.

Quite often I shy away from a lot of seasonal messages – just because we hear the same things year after year after year. But this Christmas, I want to take the whole month of December to tell you the Christmas story – the whole Christmas story. I think sometimes we get gypped and we only hear part of the story. We hear about the angels, about the shepherds, about having no room at the inn, about the wisemen, but we miss out on all the stuff that happens before that.

So I want to start us off today, not with the wisemen, not with the shepherds, not with Mary & Joseph – not even with the prophets that foretold the birth of Jesus. Instead, I want us to start in the beginning. Literally. In the beginning – Genesis 1:1

That’s truly the beginning of the Christmas story. Because really, the entire Bible is the Christmas story. Everything that happens in the Old Testament is a lead up to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything that happens in the New Testament is the result of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So this December I want us to take a look at the big picture. I want us to try to see what God was doing right from day one. You see, Jesus’ birth didn’t just happen. In fact, all of history didn’t just happen. God wasn’t just making stuff up as He went along. Before He even created the world, God had a plan. And that plan involved all the stuff that we read about in the Bible – everything from Adam & Eve in Genesis all the way to the end of time in Revelation. God had and still has a plan.

You may have heard the saying that history is HIS STORY. That’s absolutely true – History is God’s story. And believe it or not, you and I are a part of that story.

So over the next few weeks as we try to look at the Bible as one big Christmas story, hopefully we’ll be able to see where we fit into the picture. Hopefully we’ll be able to see how the whole Bible – how all of history – is a History of Hope – a grand story that each one of us is very much a part of.

I don’t know if you’re as excited about this as I am, but I trust that by the end of December, you will be.

Our story begins as I said before, In the beginning.

Table of contents for A History of Hope

  1. The Beginning of Hope
  2. Old Testament Sacrifices – Symbols of Hope
  3. The Fulfillment of Hope
  4. A Future of Hope
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It’s All About God

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

We can learn a lot of stuff about God just in the very first verse of the Bible.

First of all, we need to know what the word “create” means? To make out of nothing.

Humans can not create things. We can take something and form it into something else. We can build things, compose things, assemble things, shape things – but we cannot create things.

But God creates stuff. Out of nothing. It’s not even hard for Him. He just says the word and BAM it’s there.

Look at this salt. One little grain of salt has about 12(+17 zeros) atoms in it. God made all those atoms out of nothing. If there are that many atoms in one grain of salt imagine how many atoms are in this salt shaker…. In this church building…. In the entire earth. That’s a lot of atoms that God just made out of nothing.

But God didn’t just make the earth – he made the heavens and the earth. Scientist have found a star that is so huge that you could fit 7 quadrillion earths inside it. If earth was the size of a golf ball, this star would be the height of Mt. Everest – about six miles high. And that’s just one star out of trillions. And God just created all that out of nothing.

That kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it. God’s amazingly powerful. Do you think a God like that is capable of taking care of you? Do you think a God like that can handle your problems?

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