New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon and Cyndi Burgess
Merry Christmas, New Hope! You’ve heard it and seen the sticker “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” You ask, “What is the reason for the season?” Over the next couple of weeks, we will explore the reasons Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us) came in such a unique way! Today, we will look at 1 John 3:8…
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
Scripture says Jesus showed up for one reason: to destroy the devil's work in our lives for all of eternity! What works of the devil has Jesus asked you to destroy in your family, workplace, school, neighborhood, and relationships?It all comes down to one point—obedience!
1. Emmanuel Means We Serve A Multitasking God! It means He’s got it covered—He’s taking care of everything else!
Matthew 1:10-25 NIV says, “19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23’The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us.”) 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
The characters in the nativity scene represent real people; each had to make a real choice to do the one thing that God was asking them to do:
Joseph - had to make a choice when he finds out that his soon-to-be wife is pregnant—but not by him! He's a respected man, what should he do? Then an angel of the Lord (Matthew 1:20-21) appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet in Isaiah chapter 9, that the virgin would conceive and give birth to a son, and call his name Emmanuel.
How did Joseph respond to the angel? Matthew 1:24-25 says that when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife; but did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born, and called his name Jesus.
Wise Men - In Babylon, Daniel had prophesied hundreds of years before about the coming of Messiah! Our multi-tasking God had set this up so that the wise men brought the provisions to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus—at just the right moment, all the way from Babylon!
Shepherds - The Shepherd’s Field was very specific because the lambs born to them were used as sacrificial lambs in temple worship. According to Levitical law, the lamb must be without spot or wrinkle. It had to be perfect! So, as soon as the lamb is born, the shepherd would carefully examine the wool that it is completely clean; then wrap the newborn lamb in swaddling clothes to keep it spotlessly perfect, until presented for temple sacrifice!
Our multi-tasking God set this up hundreds of years ago: It was an ordinary day when the shepherds showed up for work as usual, and had no idea they would be given a front seat to the arrival of Emmanuel. Then, suddenly, angels appeared and told the shepherds, "You will find the savior of the world, the Messiah, wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger." They would become the first evangelists to tell the world about the arrival of the Messiah!“It's real! He's here! Emmanuel (God with us) has come! Our spotless lamb wrapped in swaddling clothes arrived for us!”
Have you wondered why you were born at this time, live on this island, go to this church? Could it be that the multi-tasking God has orchestrated all this to reveal Himself in a new way to people around you? Your decision will show that Emmanuel is not just God everywhere else—He is God right here! Don’t underestimate the power of your obedience. The one thing that He’s asked you to do right now could change the trajectory of your life and those around you!
On November 8th, last Thursday, God moved the pieces at New Hope to show us who He is.There were four specific things going on the same day:
New Hope Ohana: Nick Vujicic ministered three nights; saw 279 people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. The services were simulcast, worldwide; salvations were over 500. It would not have happened had not all our volunteers said, “We will serve in this moment, right here!”
Japan: Our Life Change Ministry, along with our church plants and our churches in Japan, ministered to 150 people who came broken and left healed and whole!
Aloha Stadium (Honolulu): Bruno Mars’ historic epic concert in Hawaii’s history! Our very own Pastor John Tilton led a crew called Live Nation to facilitate the concert. About 50 New Hope volunteers served, not only to raise money for future missions, but also to be a light in the darkness!Since this was the last stop of a two-year, 200 show tour, the people were weary and cranky! Yet our New Hope people responded with such grace, kindness, and understanding that by the end of the concerts, they were remarking that our team was the best team they’ve worked with in the entire 200 shows! They referred to our group as the church. “Hey, can you get the church to help us out.” “Hey, where’s the church, we need help with the lights!” It was evident that the church was there—Emmanuel was at the concert!
Holy Land with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro: 150 people from New Hope were learning what God had called us all to do.
All together, over 500 New Hopers were in Israel, Japan, Sand Island, and Aloha Stadium, because Emmanuel was moving His pieces. But each person had to say, “I’m in. I’ll be there. I don’t want to miss out on what God wants to do through me!”
[Video from Shepherd’s Field in Israel]
Pastor Jon: Roman, for those in Hawaii that didn’t get a chance to go on this adventure to the Holy Land, tell us a bit about your background.
Roman: I was born in Russia to a Jewish family. My mother accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah, and her whole family was in shock! Her Jewish parents thought she had disowned them, so for almost two decades, my mom was as good as dead from the family. Her husband (my father), a devout communist, would ridicule and mock her every single day.
My mom would go into her little room and cry, and pray that God save her family. Then I accepted Jesus, then my younger brothers, then her sister, her brother-in-law and their children, then my dad; then her mother. Finally, my grandpa accepted Jesus on his deathbed, after my mom had prayed for 14 years! (In the Holy Land today, less than 1 percent of people follow Jesus—out of 8.2 million people, only 25,000.)
Pastor Jon: That blows my mind! We read in scriptures that the angels split open the sky, and announced that a child would be born—this was Jesus’ entrance in a common, dirty, and not holy or celebrated way!
Roman: I would say that in the word of God (His promises and fulfillment), there is nothing coincidental—everything is tied together!
Pastor Jon: Even though your mom was persecuted for her faith in Christ, she refused to give up on each generation. She has inspired me to celebrate Emmanuel by thinking of people we’ve written off or have not forgiven. The best gift you can give to people you do not want to associate with is the opportunity for reconciliation: to show them that God is not far from any of us—that we all need forgiveness and the love of the Lord.
Pastor Cyndi Burgess:
Roman’s testimony is powerful! His mom’s salvation changed everything. His grandfather had watched 25 of his family members buried alive by Nazis, in the name of God, so he hated Christians. That hatred bled through the family; when his daughter accepted Christ, he thought she was turning her back to the family. Yet, she persevered even when her husband abused her physically and verbally. After 14 years of praying, one by one, they came to Christ, and the family experienced Emmanuel, God with us.How powerful is that?
2. Emmanuel Means We Can Expect Jesus To Show Up!
But sometimes, it is not quite what we expect!The Jews were expecting the Messiah because there are over 300 prophetic scriptures about the coming Messiah and what He would be like; Joseph and Mary had no idea that Jesus would come through them!
Luke 1:26-35, 38 NLT says, “26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’ 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God!31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’ 34 Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’
35 The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.’”
38 Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’ And then the angel left her.”
Mary said yes to the unexpected. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to come as a king to set up a kingdom and free them from the oppression of the Romans; Jesus came as a king and set up a kingdom—but not the kingdom they were expecting! He came humbly, quietly, befriended sinners, and healed on the Sabbath. What king does that?
Because the Jews’ expectation was different than expected, they missed the Messiah right in front of them. I understood this better when I visited the Wailing Wall: It is sacred and special to the Jews: Abraham took his son, Isaac, to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah; God saw his obedience and stopped him! He would not need to sacrifice his son—a ram was provided, instead. God reaffirmed the covenant with Abraham that the Savior would come through him!
Mount Moriah is also special to Muslims, as millions come here to pray. I watched Orthodox Jews as they were rocking their heads and praying, seeking God. I saw the beauty of their commitment to their faith, but it was heartbreaking that they were praying to God for a messiah that had already come! It wasn’t what they had expected, so they are still waiting.
Our expectations can become a wall, and we will miss what God wants to do in our lives! He’s still knocking on the door of our hearts!
1. Describe times when doing something unplanned turned into blessings.
2. What are some things that keep you from believing that God is with you?
3. How can you destroy the works of the devil in your workplace, family or relationships?
4. Describe times when you have witnessed Emmanuel, God with us.