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Andy Stanley - Lost

Andy Stanley - Lost
TOPICS: The Way in a Manger, Christmas

So today I'd like to begin with a ridiculous question. It's ridiculous because I already know the answer is kind of rhetorical, so you don't need to answer out loud or raise your hand, but to just get us all on the same page. And I know I know the answer, but have you, have you ever, have you ever lost your way on your way somewhere? Yes, we all have. I Sandra's here. She would tell you that sometimes I lose a use because usually we lose our way on our way somewhere that we've never been before. But she would tell you that oftentimes I lose my way on my way to places I've been multiple times before. Maybe you can relate to that.

Now, we don't usually use our lose our way much anymore driving because there's not much excuse because of GPS and our phones and everything. But there are cont there continue to be places where you can lose your way hiking if you ever hike. In fact, if you hike a lot, you don't lose your way. But if you ever, if you don't hike a lot and you decide you're gonna hike, and one of the most terrifying things in the world is to lose your way hiking. I've, I've done that as well. Parking garages. You can lose your way in a park. Yeah. Parking garage. So a lot of you do what I do, and I'm not too embarrassed to tell you, I get my phone out and I take a picture of level four section, whatever, it's red, here's a picture of the car sitting next.

You know, there's a, you know, because it's easy to get lost in a parking garage, and if you've lost your way in like a big car parking garage, it can be, it can be terrifying. Or for those of you who go to on cruise ships, you know, your first two or three cruises, you realize, oh, you better figure this out quick because you can get lost on a cruise ship. You are sure you're headed to the dining room, you know, and you end up at the casino and then you miss dinner anyway, and you have to go to the midnight buffet walking around in a new city. And then maybe one of the most unusual ones for me, and maybe you've never had this experience, but years ago I went to a conference with my dad to a Gaylord hotel. Oh, okay. It's like a city under a roof. And I was confused the entire time I was there. I was lost in a hotel.

So anyway, the point is, it is, we've all had that experience and we'll continue to have that experience. But here's the interesting thing about all that. The interesting thing is we never know the precise moment when it happens, when we've, when we've crossed over or crossed the line from, I know the way to lost my way. You, you don't know exactly when you're lost. You, you don't know exactly when you go from not lost to lost, and whether it's a parking garage or hiking or whatever it might be. The truth is, by the time we realize we've lost our way, we've been lost for quite some time. Right? And this is when generally men just start driving faster. If we're driving there, there's something in our brains, because most guys know, and guys, you can relate to this, this is certainly me.

There is a direct correlation between our speed and our sense of direction. This is not true for you. Faster makes us smarter. Is this not what we believe? No. Anyway, anyway. And you can guess where I'm going with this. What's true of losing our way when we're going to a physical location? What's true of losing our way on our way to a physical education is true of losing our way in life. Specifically, we're lost before we know it. We're lost before we know we're lost. And and when I say losing your way in life, I mean like your entire way with every part of your life or maybe losing your way in one area of life, you're lost. Before you know it, your, your marriage is kind of lost before you realize that it's been lost. You just didn't know it. She didn't know it. She, he didn't know it. But you suddenly it dawns on you, oh, this is, this is not going well.

This can be true of any area of life. You, you realize we're living in the wrong direction, assuming it's the right direction. And you don't know it at the time. Your foot's on the gas mile on your face, you know, playing the, the music loud and moving, actually moving away from the life that you want, moving away from the relationship. You want moving in the opposite direction of what you ultimately want. And while it's happening because you don't know what's happening while it's happening, and I don't know what's happening. These, these two things collide. But they can exist. They can coexist. We're both confident and clueless at the same time.

Now, you know, this is possible because you've met people who were confident and clueless. You watch, in fact, when you were, I didn't know you then, but when you were 16, you were confident and you were clueless, but you had an excuse. Frontal lobe development is a real thing. Okay? Before there's frontal lobe development, we were all confident and clueless. But it's not just an adolescent thing, it's an, it's an adult thing as well. Because in some area of your life or your life in general, you can actually be moving in the opposite direction. You should be moving in and do it with confidence, but you're clueless. That's happening because we don't know when we've crossed that line from no the way to not no the way.

And here's the other strange thing, and and this is where maybe some of you are today or maybe you're there today, when we begin to suspect that something's off, when we begin to suspect that something's not exactly right, when something that started off as magical isn't magical anymore, in fact it started off as magical and now it feels a bit medicinal. Like this is something I have to do. And then it's something you feel like you can't live without. You used to enjoy it, and now you need it. The relationship used to be so easy and now it's taken so much work. You were absolutely sure he's the right person. Sure, she was the right person. It was, you know, it was Disney-esque. I mean, it was happily ever after. But now there's, it's, it's getting a little wobbly. There's some friction. He's not. And she's not.

And when that happens, when we tend to, when we realize, hey, maybe I've lost my way. You probably wouldn't use that terminology, but at, at that point you would later. But when you begin to wonder and suspect, you know what we do, we just look the other way. And what we essentially, we just move faster. And if we're lucky, even though it doesn't feel like we're lucky at the time, if we're lucky, somebody who loves us comes along and says, Hey, hey. They try to warn us. They, they try to point out the fact that, and it's interesting, they try to point out the fact that things aren't going as well as we think they are thinking that maybe we don't see what they can see.

They, you know, we're not dialed into what they're dialed into. And when they try to warn us, this is so interesting to me anyway, when they try to warn us, they actually use directional language. They use highway language. They say things like, Hey, I don't think you're headed in a good direction. Hey, hey, I don't think the path you're on and that you're, you and your wife and your husband are on. I don't, I don't think the path you're on, I don't think the way you're doing family and the way you're disciplining your kids, Hey, it's none of my business. But hey, I don't think the path you're on is gonna get you where you want to go. Or maybe they're super direct. You, you just need to turn your life around. And our response is, thank you so much for not minding your own business. I am fine. I mean, how many times have you said that or heard that? No, no, no, I am fine.

And you've heard I'm fine from people and you know, they're not fine, but they think they're fine. And maybe somebody's told you you're not fine, but you're sure you're fine. Now here's something really fascinating, at least I think this is fascinating. 3000 years ago, not 2000 years ago, when Jesus was around 3000 years ago, king Solomon writes or writes out a statement or dictates a statement that is so fascinating. And one of the reasons it's so fascinating, it obviously was true then 3000 years ago. Or he wouldn't have said it or wrote, he wouldn't have written it. It was true then. And it's so true now. And the reason it's so fascinating to me is, you know, one of the greatest gifts that God has given the human race, that's one of the things that I think is part of his image, is we're able to accumulate knowledge and passed it forward generation after generation.

So for thousands of years, the human race has accumulated knowledge built on that knowledge, built on that knowledge, built on that knowledge. So that I'm talking into a piece of plastic connected to a wire on my belt, and you can hear me and people all over the world can hear me. I mean, that's amazing. And I don't even know how it works, but I work it, right? Like most of the things that we don't know how they work, but we work them. And if they break, we unplug 'em and plug 'em back in and they work again, right? We don't know how it works. But the point is, we have all this amazing accumulated knowledge.

So you would think when it comes to human nature, that human nature would have evolved along with all this extraordinary knowledge that we have. And in some ways it hasn't. We're still the same old girl. We're still the same old boy we used to be. And 3000 years ago, listen to what King Solomon says. This is amazing because it's true then it's true now. And it's a bit harsh. But here's, here's what he writes, he says, but there is a way which seems right, looks right, feels right in the moment. There is a way that seems right to a man or to a woman, or to a high school senior, or to newlyweds or to, Hey, we're this is how we think we should raise our children.

There is a way that there's always a way that seems right, that feels right, that makes perfect sense to us. And because it makes perfect sense to us, we choose it, we embrace it, we, we commit ourselves to it. And we've all done this. Every single one of us, we didn't think of it in these terms, but we've all chosen a way, we've chosen a way to live. If you're dating, you've chosen a way to date, you've have chosen a way to entertain yourself. You've chosen the schedule, you've chosen the way that you play, you've chosen the way you spend your money, you've chosen the way that you parent. We all choose our way. And the reason we choose those particular ways for those particular areas of our life is because, well, it just seems right to us.

I mean, either is because everybody else is doing it, it's a reaction to what our parents did. Or maybe we've embraced what our parents did. But it just seems right to us When you, if you can remember when you started dating way back, wasn't it true you, the way you dated, you assume that it was the right way to date because it was gonna lead you to something greater. Hopefully somebody great when you got married. If you're married, you were confident, you, you, the way that you were doing marriage was gonna lead to happily ever after. So we all choose a way. And the reason we choose the ways we choose is because he's right. They, they seem right to us. But then, as you probably know, there's a dot, dot dot, 'cause there's, you know, there's another part to this. I'm gonna give you my version because it's easier and softer and kinder than his version.

So my version is, there is a way that seems right to a right, to a person. But just because it seems right doesn't mean that it is right. And this is why you can be on your way and I can be on my way the wrong way and think it's the right way, because it seems like the right way. There is a way that seems right to a man. Here's how he finishes it, but it's end is the way of death. Merry Christmas. It's a, it's a, look what he does here. It's so interesting. It's a death it end, or we would say it's a dead end there. There is a way that seems right to us that has the potential to kill us in some cases. Literally, you've seen that play out.

In fact, maybe it was playing out in your life. And right at the last minute, at the last moment, somebody finally got your attention and you did something to back up. But there was a way that ultimately began as something that seemed right to you, and it almost killed you. But for most of us, the ways that we've chosen aren't gonna kill us. But they have the potential to kill something important to us. They have the potential to kill a relationship that's important to us. There's a way to do marriage that has the potential to kill your marriage. There's a way that seems right to you that could kill your career, destroy your health, destroy who you see in the mirror. And we're all old enough that I think we all know this is true.

This isn't like, wow, I've never thought of this. We've, we've all at some point in our lives, chosen a way that we thought was the right way. That turned out not to be the right way. We were confident we chose the right way. And when we chose it, it was the right way until it wasn't. And then boom, dead end. And when we realized it, because we've all lived long enough to have bumped into some of these dead ends because of ways we chose. When we, when we bumped into it, when we finally recognized, when it dawned on us, Hey, we chose the wrong way. You know what kind of language we used? We used the same language that the people who tried to warn us use.

This is fascinating to me. We, we use that same terminology now to describe our own lives. I'm not sure where to turn. And this is a big one. I don't know how to get back to the person I was, and maybe this is you today and by the person I was. Because there was a time in your life where, where you had peace with yourself. And you may not have used this, this language, but there was a time in your past where you had peace with God that you liked the person you saw in the mirror. And now you realize you're not that person and you're not moving toward that person and you're trying to figure out how to get back to the person you used to be, or we use this kind of language. I don't know how to get through this. And this is something that you created or that I created. It's like, oh no, I've made a mess. It's not a hundred percent my fault, but at least 20% of this is my fault.

You know, the other person would say, 80 percent's my fault. Doesn't matter. I have a mess on my hands and I need to get through this. I don't know how to get through this. I don't know how to get past this. Right? I'm not, say the language is all the language, I'm not in a good place. Maybe today you would say that's, Hey, I'm not in a good place. I need to change course. I'm willing to acknowledge I lost my way. And again, this is the kinda language we use when we think about those moments, those times, that season of life and we lost our way.

But again, maybe, maybe this isn't a distant memory, maybe it's not a recent memory. Maybe for you today, it's a current reality. Maybe you've lost your way and you're fortunate because you do know it, you do recognize it. You are mature enough to recognize it. You, you are secure enough to acknowledge it. You're secure enough to admit it. And if you're that kind of person, congratulations. 'cause some people never get there. If you're at the place where you're saying, yeah, in this area of my life, you know, things are great at work, but not so great at home. Things are great at home, not so great at work. You know, things are great publicly. But Andy, if I'm honest, things are not good privately. There are things that nobody knows but me that I hope nobody knows but me.

But if you're at the place where you're willing to acknowledge, you know what, even though I'm an adult, even though I should know better, even though it's embarrassing, yeah, Solomon's right there is a way that seems right to a man. And I chose one of those ways. And as it turns out, it's not the right way. And it is a dead. And, and I'm not sure what to do. Congratulations. You've already taken the first step required to turn your life around. You've acknowledged where you are, because here's a reality for all of us. This isn't a religious thing or a Christian thing. You, you can't get to where you want to be until you recognize where you are. You can't even begin to move in the direction you need to move until you realize where you're, you cannot get to where you want to be until you recognize where you are.

So this is step one, and it's a huge step. And maybe in the next few minutes, or maybe already, you're willing to acknowledge, you know what, I chose a bad way. Now, some folks never get there. You know that some folks never get to the point where they're willing to recognize or admit that they chose the wrong way. I think it's really hard for men. It's a pride thing. It's an ego thing. We're supposed to have it all figured out. Everybody's supposed to look up to us and to acknowledge to our wives, or acknowledge to a fiance, to acknowledge to our kids. Dad chose a wrong way. It's hard. So a lot of men never do it. They never slow down long enough to look in the mirror. They never slow down on long enough to listen to what people are saying. They refuse to admit that they chose a dead-end way.

So they just, they just stay lost. And people who are lost chose the wrong way. You know what they do? They blame everybody else because their problems, it's not working. They're not happy. It's not working out, it's not getting better. And if it's not working out and it's not getting any better, then somebody's to blame. And it's very difficult to look in the mirror and say, ah, there's the person that's to blame. So they just stay lost and they blame everybody else and everything. If you're a person who, no, I'm kind of meddling. If you're a person, every once in a while, somebody's close to you says you're never wrong.

And your first thought is correct, I'm never wrong. You've chosen a way that is a dead-end and you don't know it. But the people who love you know it. They can see what you can't see or what you refuse to see. And they are praying for you. And the reason they're praying for you. Well, Solomon said it. They're praying for you because there is a way that it seems, right? That's why we choose it. It seems right, it feels right, but it's end well. It's a dead-end.

Now, the question that some of you're asking right now, I hope you're asking is, Andy, what in the world, what in the world does any of this have to do with Christmas? We are depressed. Okay? You've dredged up all this stuff from my past, or I'm having a hard time not elbowing her or elbowing him. I'm thinking about my kids. I'm thinking, and the thing is this, this whole thing of choosing the right way and the right the wrong way. It has everything to do with Christmas. Because here's the thing, look up here. When we, when we think of trying to figure our way forward or our way back, or, or, you know, trying to find the way or figure out the right way, we think in terms of decisions we need to make, we think in terms of habits, we need to break. We think in terms of information, we need to get advice, we need to get goals, we need to set habits to, to begin.

You know, and all of that's good and all of that's necessary. But here's the good news of Christmas. At Christmas, we are presented with another way. We're presented with a person who claimed this is amazing. At Christmas, we're introduced to someone who not only claimed to know the way we should live, but claimed to be the way we should live. He claimed to be the way forward. Now, I wanna read a couple of verses. And for many of you, these are familiar verses. And I know I say this every once in a while, and sometimes I get in trouble for saying this, but y'all are mature. You understand what I'm saying when I say what I'm about to say, when I read these, these, these sentences to you for just a moment, if we could, I don't want you to hear me reading the Bible to you.

I want you to hear me expressing the thoughts of a real person who had a real, genuine experience with Jesus of Nazareth. That John, who spent three or three and a half years walking and talking with Jesus of Nazareth, not storybook character, historical character. John's an older man now, and he's probably dictating this, not writing it himself. And he's trying to put into words, he's trying to put into words what it was like to be with someone that he was convinced was God in a body. And so you can imagine maybe four or five times, he's like, no, that's not, that's not it. Don't, don't, don't write that. No, no, that's not, that's not exactly right. And he's trying to take all of this up here and put it into words for people who never saw Jesus, which is us. But he doesn't, he doesn't wanna, he doesn't wanna dumb it down too much. He doesn't wanna shrink it down too much. It's too big to do this.

And so here's what he comes up with. So you, can you picture it, an older man, he's probably, you know, close to the end of his life. Most of his friends are dead, Peter's, dead, the Apostle. Paul is dead. He doesn't know where the rest of them are. He's been arrested. He's, in some ways he's, he's an outlaw. But maybe by this time he's, you know, he's in prison. We don't know exactly when he wrote this. And he finally gets it right. He says, okay, I think I got it. Write, write this down. The logos us, the, the word, the the everything we've been taught, everything we'd imagined became a person. And he camped out with us. He pitched his tent with us. He made his dwelling among us.

Lemme try to describe it this way. Have you ever met someone who's famous or semi-famous, somebody you'd read about or heard about, or people knew about, and then you met 'em. Maybe they just signed a book, or maybe you just saw 'em somewhere and you introduced yourself or interrupted their dinner and you, or, or somehow you, you just had a quick little encounter with them for the rest of your life. Isn't this true for the rest of your life, whenever that person's name comes up, Hey, did you hear what? So-and-so said. Did you hear so-and-so starring in, did you know, so-and-so had a new book, you can't Help Yourself. What do you say? Oh, I met them. And you say it like your best friends. Oh, I know I met him. I met her, actually signed your book. Yeah, but I mean, I felt like there was a thing between us. Like I felt she knows me.

If I see your sheet, right? There's, there's just like a, when you are in the presence of somebody that you heard about or read about, it's, it's so personal for you. Well, this is John, this is Matthew, this is, this is Peter. And here's what John is trying to describe to us. He's like, look, I know your whole life, you, you've heard of God. And as, as a Jewish boy, we, we read Torah and we heard the stories of our ancestors and all the great things that God did for our people. But all of that out there somewhere, all those explanations, all that information, all that invisible, immaterial John says, I don't know any other way to put it. He showed up in person and we not, we, we, him, we and his guys.

And we have literally seen his glory, the glory of the one and the only son. In other words, we gotta slow down guys. He, he's writing, he wants them to understand this. He wants us to understand this. We camped with him, we ate with him. We searched for firewood with him. We repaired our sandals together. We listened to him, we cried with him. We, I mean, we, we saw the whole thing. We watched him, we followed him. And when all was said and done, after looking at those whole three and a half years and watching him die and thinking it's over, then residents meeting the resurrected Jesus and having lunch, breakfast with him on the beach when the whole thing is said and done, as crazy as this sounds, he's saying to us, we are convinced that he came from the Father to planet Earth to be with us so we could understand the Father.

And then we don't have time to unpack this. This is like a whole series of messages that I don't, I can't even, I I can't even excavate all the goodness in this. And this Jesus who came from the Father is full of grace and truth. See, we think in terms of the balance of grace and truth, gotta have, grace gotta have truth. He says, no, no, no, that's wrong. See, that's how we think because we have like the truth, church, where you're very dogmatic. Here's truth, truth, truth. It's like, oh, I need a little grace. We run over here to the Grace Church, grace, grace, grace. We just love you. Everything's fine. Ah, a little permissive need to go back over to the truth church. And John is like, no, no, no. He's, he's a hundred percent all of it. He never dumbs down the truth. And he never dials down the grace.

And when you're in the presence of Jesus, you're aware of your sin and you're aware of the love of God at the same time, it's overwhelming because he's full of grace and he's full of truth. And all I'm saying is he's, is this, the Father in some ways showed up in a body and revealed himself to us. This is why, sorry to go on and on and on. This is why many of the things that Jesus said we wrestle with and they understood. Because when you spend time that much time with someone, you understand the nuance, you understand the implications. You understand when they say this, that they're referring back to. And there's context for all of that.

And so in one of the most famous narrative pieces of narrative from the life of Jesus, Jesus makes a statement. We have all heard a thousand times and we have a hard time wrapping our minds around. But John didn't. John records it. Matthew didn't. Peter didn't because they were in the presence of God in a body, God who would come to earth to dwell with us. So on the night of his arrest, a conversation we talk about all the time, Jesus lets him know I'm leaving. And they're like, oh, no, no, no, you can't leave. If you leave, we're in trouble. You're our security blanket. He's like, no, I'm leaving. And they're like, well, where are you going? And Jesus, like, you know where I'm going? They're like, we don't know where you're going. You do know where I'm going. We don't know. Oh, and you know how to get there.

What, what, what do you mean we know how to get there? We don't even know where you're going. So how could we possibly know the way to get there? And finally, you know, they can't get it. They go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. And Jesus smiles and he says, look, look, you, you know the way, you know the way. And and Thomas finally says, Lord, no, we don't know where you're going. So how could we possibly know the way you're saying? We know the way to where you're going. We don't know where you're going. This doesn't make any sense. And then Jesus smiles and he leverages this question to make a broader point, that they understand that. I think sometimes we miss friends. He says, you do know the way. And he smiles. I think he smiles.

Friends, you do know the way you are looking at it, you're talking to it. You just spent three years, you know, back and forth from Judea to Galilee to the river, Jordan. I mean, come on. You, you know the way you're in the presence of the way you've been camping with the way, come on, after all this time, Thomas, you're still asking, show us the way you know by now. Come on guys. Here it is. Famous verse alert. I am the way. So here's where we get lost. When we've lost our way as parents and our marriage with our career, with just our life in general. Do you know what we want? We wanna fix. We, we, we want a plan, gimme a plan. And we, we want a list. We want a self-help book.

So we do, we all do this. So you just Google it and there's 50 million resources, you know, to help you. And your heavenly Father has offered you something so much better and me some something so much better. Do you know what he's offered us? He's offered us himself. He sent himself, he became one of us to show all of us the way back, the way back to that place in your life you used to be where you were at peace with yourself and you were at peace with God. And you're thinking, I'll never get back there. And Jesus says, I am the way back, the way through the way through the mess you have made. You're, you're at the point where you're transparent and honest enough and secure enough and mature enough to go, okay, I'm not just part of the problem, I'm a big part of the problem.

But you know what, okay, it's a mess. And I don't, I don't know if there is a way through this. And Jesus would say to you this, they understood this. He's like, I am the way through this and I'm the way forward to the life that you dreamed of, that you, you undermined yourself because you saw a way that seemed right to you and you bought it. And here's the great news His way, this way we talk about it all the time. It has a, it requires a different starting point. We don't start with Google the the starting point that Jesus offers us. It's a different way. It begins with a different question. Instead of asking the question that we all ask, I ask it too. I'm not being critical.

Instead of asking the question, what should I do? What should I do? I've made a mess of my life. I need to get back to where I was. I need to go forward. I need to fix this. I need to repair this. What should I do? What should I do? Here's the better question. And this is the question they understood. And this is why his language made perfect sense to them. Because they could all remember the day when Jesus extended this invitation to them personally. The question is, now what am I gonna do? The question, the better question is, who will I follow? Who will I follow? The reason that the angels could say good news of great joy for all people, implication of every generation, of every Bible language, tribe and tongue, for everyone who will ever live. The reason this was good news of great joy for the whole world is because Jesus' way is the way we were all created to live.

Think about this. If King Solomon 3000 years ago could point to a dynamic that was true, then that is still true. Now, then we can certainly have confidence that when Jesus shows up and says, I can show you the way forward and I will lead you forward, and I can lead you through back and, and around and wherever you need to be led. I've got it covered. Because you know what? You've learned a lot. You've accumulated a lot of knowledge, But you're still the same old girl. You're still the same old boy you used to be. And if you'll trust me, and if you'll ask the question, who should I follow? And if you will choose to follow me, I will lead you through forward and back.

And here's the amazing thing. It's a standing invitation to you today and to me today. And you can begin today. You can begin this journey before anything changes. And I suggest you begin this journey before you make another decision based on, it seems right to me. How many times have you seen someone? I'm not gonna pick on you. We'll pick on those other people. How many times have you seen somebody whose life was a mess and they decided they were gonna fix their mess? And you're like, no, no, no, no, no. That's gonna make it what? Worse. Oh, but it seems right to me yet. But that seemed right to you too. You haven't learned a thing. You keep making decisions based on what seems right to you, seems right to you. But you're gonna keep hitting dead end after dead end, after dead end.

Yeah, but I've met her and she's the one, well, you haven't even, well, you're still with the other one. No, you can't do this. It's so clear to you And it's so clear to your heavenly Father. So he says, just stop. Don't just pick away. Don't try to work your way out or work your way through until you've answered a more fundamental question. Not what are you gonna do or what are you gonna do different? Who are you gonna follow and decide before you make things worse? By attempting to change things, by choosing yet another way that seems right to you.

And here's the other amazing thing. His way doesn't begin with a commitment to turn your life around. You already tried that. It begins with a decision to follow. It begins with, we talk about it all the time. It begins with surrender. Practically speaking, I think it begins with a prayer. Either the prayer my parents taught me as a kid or a prayer similar to this prayer. And my parents taught me to pray this so long ago. I mean so early. I don't remember when we started. And you know, true, true confession or confession. I pray this prayer every day still. It's partly just habit. I pray this prayer usually more than one time a day. It's, it's this prayer.

Heavenly Father, Show me your will for my life. Heavenly Father, I'm not asking for a solution. I don't need a list. I don't need new goals. I've, I don't need new disciplines. Maybe all that'll come. But heavenly Father, show me your will for my marriage. And show me your will for my kids, 'cause I'm not connecting with them. And show me your will for my money, 'cause I keep thinking it's mine and, or you can change the word. Heavenly Father, show me your way for my life. Because there is a way that seems right to me and I keep choosing it. And it's just a dead end. Heavenly Father, show me your will for my life. I've tried the way that seemed right to me. Show me your way.

Look up here. And we're almost done at Christmas. We celebrate God becoming one of us, to show us the way forward, to show us the ways of the Father. How many times have I told you I'm gonna keep telling you, if you wanna know what God is like, you just follow Jesus through the gospels. If you, lemme put it a different way. If you wanna know what your creator is like, who created you, who knows what you're created for and knows how you work best, you follow Jesus through the gospels. So at Christmas you are invited to follow the one who demonstrated and illustrated for us the ways of God, the ways of the Father, and the way to the Father. Because God became flesh and he dwelt and lived in history among us.

And that's what makes the Christmas story astounding, unpredictable. There's, there's, there's no way that the way came into the world the way we're told he came into the world. But here's how it happened in those days. Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, forget the Republic I'm taking over. Caesar Augustus is the most powerful man in the world. Issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone, because the emperor declared it and everyone went to their own town to register.

So, you know, the stories of Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, to the town of David. So much detail because Luke wants us to know, Hey, this isn't once upon a time we're in a land or in some place far, far away. I want you to know when this happened and where this happened. To Bethlehem to the town of David because he belonged. Joseph belonged to the house in the line of David and he went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. And while they were there and that amazing while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. And then we can all quote this part. And she wrapped him in cloths... Imagine this. And placed him in a manger The way fragile, the way your way forward, your way to your heavenly Father. The way came into the world in the usual way, the way so vulnerable. And it means your God as one of us, God, for us to show us the way back, to show us the way through, to show us the way forward. So as we wrap up, if you've lost your way, if you've lost your way, maybe you've not admitted it, maybe you've never even admitted it to yourself. If you've lost your way, I wanna encourage you to pray multiple times a day. Just start here.

Heavenly Father, just show me your way For my life. Heavenly Father, there is a way that seems right to me. I have tried that dead end. Heavenly Father, there is a way that seems right to, but I want your way. Heavenly Father, show me your will for my life. Show me your will for my family. Show me your will for my career. Show me your will for my thinking. Show me your will for my marriage. Heavenly Father, show me your will for my life. I want to follow the way and we'll pick it up right there next time in part two. Imagine it the way in a manger. Heavenly Father is so simple, we complicate it. I complicate it. Give us eyes to see. Give us ears to hear. Give us the courage to acknowledge, to admit, to face up to, to maybe talk about, to confess. We chose the wrong way and we didn't choose the wrong way on purpose. It just seemed right to us and we chose the wrong way. And we've been talking the wrong way, walking the wrong way, reacting the wrong way. So give us eyes to see and then to give us the courage to open our hands and say, heavenly Father, thy will, not my will, show me your will, your way for my life. And I pray all of that Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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