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"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke
January 9, 1795

The Most Important Message You Will Ever Read. . . More Info
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 And Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
- John 14:6

VOLUME 18  |  NUMBER 1| JANUARY 2008 |  ONLINE EDITION   |  (636) 936-8119

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The Incarnation of the Triune God; The True Message of Christmas
By Pastor John MacArthur

††† Iíd like to invite you to take your Bible and turn to Philippians chapter 2. I want to take Philippians chapter 2 verses 6 through 11 as the text of our Christmas message.
††† Before we read the text and specifically present what the Spirit of God has said, let me just set our thoughts in context. At Christmas, we are confronted again with the sometimes very difficult task of separating the reality of Christmas from the clutter that surrounds that reality. There is so much confusion that sometimes you feel like the real Christmas story is like a diamond lost in a haystack--it just seems impossible to find.
††† Christmas has really become a hopeless muddle of confusion. The humility and the poverty of the stable are somehow confused with the wealth and indulgence and selfishness of gift giving. The quietness of Bethlehem is mingled with the din of shopping malls and freeway traffic.  The soberness of the incarnation is somehow mixed with the drunkenness of this season. Blinking colored lights somehow have some connection to the star of Bethlehem. The room in the inn, so obscure, so dirty with such meager fare, somehow embraces the thought of a warm house, a fireplace and opulent feasting. Cheap plastic toys for kids are mixed up with the true value of the gifts given by wise men. Salesmen somehow get mixed up with shepherds.  Angels are confused with flying reindeer. The pain of childbirth is mixed with the parties. The filth of the stable is confounded with the whiteness of fresh snow. And then thereís Mary, Joseph, Perry Como and Bing Crosby. And so it goes.
††† The great reality of Christmas, which is the glory of the Lord being revealed, is obscured by so much tinsel and activity and commercialism. And I think itís true that Santa Claus really has become the focus of Christmas for most people. And Iíve noted in the years that Iíve been ministering, that more and more each year, Santa Claus takes a dominant place.
††† Now, as we face the reality of Christmas, I want us to see the true story and this time not from the perspective of Bethlehem or Joseph or Mary or shepherds or innkeepers or wise men or Herod or Old Testament prophets, but I want us to see the Christmas story from the viewpoint of the Holy Spirit of God as revealed to the Apostle Paul. And I believe it gives us the real Christmas story. The scenery isnít there.  Bethlehem isnít the issue. Shepherds and wise men and Joseph and Mary and mangers and oxen, they donít appear in this perspective. But what is here is the reality of the incarnation. This is one of the greatest texts in all the Bible. It is, perhaps, the most profound statement of the Christmas story anywhere in the Word of God.

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A Sweet Reminder of Our Lord
By Jim Day

††† Thereís a tradition at West County Assembly of God Church in Chesterfield, Missouri, which the congregation and former senior pastor, John Wilson, use to share each Christmas; Pastor Wilsonís famous Candy Cane Sermon. With Christmas just a few days away, I thought I would once again share his sermon with our readers. Itís one of my favorite messages and well worth sharing with your family, friends and everyone else you come in contact with during the holidays Ė or year round for that matter.
††† Holding up a candy cane, Pastor Wilson always started out by telling the audience that there are a lot of ďfake candy canesĒ on the market today. Fakes come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, tastes and sizes. The size of the cane, according to Pastor Wilson, doesnít make a whole lot of difference. However, the color, shape, flavor and number of stripes on the cane separate the real thing from impostors.
††† Authentic candy canes are shaped like a shepherdís crook with a white background, have one wide red stripe, two or more thin red stripes and must have a peppermint flavor. Any other candy cane not having these exact characteristics is a fake.
††† So, whatís so special about real candy canes? Letís take a closer look at this traditional Christmas treat and see.
††† As mentioned earlier, authentic candy canes must be shaped like a shepherdís crook or staff.Shepherds use their staffs to this day to nudge straggling sheep, gather strays, ward off predators and separate their goats from their sheep. Christ Jesus is our Shepherd. He came to earth to save His lost sheep and one day, when we least expect it, He will return to gather His flock and separate the goats from the sheep.His sheep will spend eternity with Him while the goats will be forever separated from His joy and love and spend eternity in pain and suffering. In addition to being shaped like a shepherdís crook, if you turn a candy cane upside down, it becomes a ďJĒ for Jesus.

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