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That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!" Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God:
"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to all whom God favors. "
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished. (Luke 2:8-18)
Picture yourself in charge of announcing the biggest news the universe has ever heard. Bigger than world peace, the end of hunger, and a cure for AIDS all rolled into one.
Would you contact the president? Call a press conference? E-mail blast the world?
Or...would you get together with some friends and make a brief announcement to a group of homeless people, then be on your way.
That's what Gabriel did. He was appointed the task of proclaiming to the world the news that the Son of God was about to be born. Yet instead of using his awesome angelic powers to get the word out on the World Wide Web, he simply called up the troops and gave notice to a bunch of sheepish shepherds who had the social status of sows- remember? The shepherds of that day were looked upon as last place in the human race. In fact, many of them were not even allowed to worship in the temple basically because they were the 'wrong kind' of people. Yet these were the folks who were honored by the presence of angels and the proclamation of the Messiah's birth.
Not to me, and I'll tell you why.
God loves to use the unusable. He takes the ragamuffins of the religious realm and refines them into remarkable representatives of reconciliation. He chooses the church chumps and the washed-out witnesses to win the day.
Don't miss out on this very key element of the Christmas story, because there are three very strong applications to be considered.
Face it...we're all shepherds, and that's one reason God loves us so much. We'd like to think that we 'got it going', but the truth is we don't. If you think you have something to offer Jesus, then friend- you've been duped by the devil. God could use fruitcake as effectively as us, but in His great mercy He chose us to hear about the Savior and proclaim the good news. Don't ever think that you are doing Christ a 'favor' by serving Him; rather remember the unbelievable 'favor' He presents to you on a daily basis.
Rate yourself shepherd boy (or girl) -
When it comes to my heart, I am:
Stop it...you know what I mean. Stop treating unbelievers like shepherds. No wonder the unsaved world thinks we are a bunch of stuck-up, irrelevant, preachy, judgmental, finger pointing, killjoy Pharisees- because sometimes we are!
Here's a newsflash: sinners sin- yep, people who don't know God actually don't obey Him. Were you expecting something different? Are you holding unbelievers to a standard they don't even know about? Are you expecting them to clean up their act before they come to Christ?
Rate again please -
When it comes to unbelievers, I am:
Tell it...just like the shepherds. Did you notice what happened to these guys once they got a taste of grace? They forgot about the sheep and what people might think and spread the good news like wildfire. They risked being laughed at and persecuted, but who cared? The glorious angels trusted them to be faithful- just like the King of Glory trusts us to be faithful. Who in your life needs to hear the gospel this Christmas?
One more test -
When it comes to sharing the good news of the gospel, I am:
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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