Join us for a special family Christmas Eve worship service as we gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus—Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN and online at https://live.refuge.mn
“And it came to pass in those days…”
So begins the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It's interesting to observe the simplicity that Luke uses to describe the most amazing miracle that would ever take place—God becoming man. And it's interesting to consider the world at the time when Jesus was about to be born. In fact, if you listen closely to the second chapter of Luke, you'll hear the narrative of a young woman observe and consider, preserve and ponder what was happening—not only to her, but to the whole world.
Brutality, war, destruction, poverty, immorality. The world before Jesus’ birth desperately needed a savior. Some expected a civil savior—a leader who would solve all of their outward issues.
Someone like…Caesar Augustus. Scaling the ladder of power through brutality and force, he exalted himself as the “sacred one” and became a man-made savior. He tried to solve man’s outward problems and bring outward peace. But as amazing as he was, Caesar Augustus was still just a man.
The savior the world needed had to be more than a man. The world needed a different kind of savior. The Messiah--God made man—who left His throne, gave up His power, and descended to be born a helpless baby in the most humble of circumstances.
Jesus did not come to be a civil savior. If our greatest need was administration, God would have sent an administrator. If our greatest need was money, God would have sent a business leader. If our greatest need was medicine, God would have sent a physician. But God knew our greatest need was salvation, forgiveness, and fellowship with Him. So He sent us a Savior, His One and Only Son, to purchase and provide what we needed most—permanent lasting inward peace with God. Because that is our greatest need.
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Savior is here,
Jesus the Savior is here!
On Christmas Eve, we looked at the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of John and asked some pretty big questions. Questions like…where did God come from? What is God's history? What would God's birth story be?
Listen to our study from John 1 as we carefully considered the genealogy and birth of Jesus.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…”
This past Sunday, we continued our focus on the Christmas story with a closer look at Luke 2. This may be very familiar territory for most of us, but as we work and worship our way verse by verse through this word from God that never changes, we find that—by His Holy Spirit—we will change as we preserve, ponder, and proclaim the most amazing gift of God's grace—His Son. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” His Son—born of a virgin. Born to live. Born to die. Born to give His life for us so that we could live.
Listen to our study from Luke 2 and discover this indescribable gift of God’s amazing grace!
In the eighth Psalm, David asks two questions of the Lord: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”
God answers those two important questions in one person with two important names: Jesus and Immanuel.
You see, from before time began…before the foundations of the world were established…before God created the entire universe—He saw you! And His love for you is so immense that He began His grand plan to save you.
This plan put a seemingly impossible amount of intricacy in motion—all for you. It spanned thousands of years and involved dozens of generations. It endured from creation through the fall and the flood. It continued through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It included David and persisted through captivity until the plan was finally fulfilled…by a baby boy born in Bethlehem.
A baby named Jesus. A son called Immanuel. Jesus, which means, “God our salvation”. Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” In His infinite wisdom and out of His everlasting love, God responds to our greatest need with Himself.
Oh, come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Immanuel!
This past Sunday, we pushed pause on our Revelation study and Jesus' second coming to consider His first coming. The Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John have detailed accounts of how Jesus was born. On Sunday, we looked carefully at the account in Matthew and how both Jesus' humanity and deity were featured in the genealogy of Jesus. Next week, we'll consider Luke's account. And on Christmas Eve, we'll look at John's record of Jesus' arrival as Messiah.
Listen to our study of Matthew 1 and marvel at the God who chooses to be with us—and who also is our salvation!
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends