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James Merritt - Birth Right

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    James Merritt - Birth Right
TOPICS: Christmas

How many of you have a passport? Would you hold your hand up? Do you have a passport? Okay. Then you may remember. I got to thinking back to the time when I got my first passport. And I believe it may have been, don't remember, but I believe it may have been when we were going to Israel for the first time. And I remember how excited I was when I got my passport, but I'll tell you what was so memorable. Going to Israel my first time, or just going out of the country the first time, that wasn't what was so special. What was so special is when I got back. Because it wasn't until I had gone out of the country, and I came back that I began to realize, that of all the rights that we have in the United States, one of the best owned rights is the automatic citizenship that you're given the moment you're born within our borders.

Now, to be fair, it hasn't always been that way. It wasn't until we passed the 14th Amendment, which was passed in part to make sure that in the United States, if you are born on this soil, or even if you're not, you're born to American parents, you are automatically given the right of being a United States citizen. And I don't know if you think about it or not, it's one of those things we take for granted, but the benefits of being a United States citizen are tremendous. For example, you and your children under most circumstances, can never be deported. If you're an American citizen, you can work in the Federal Government. If you're an American citizen, you have the freedom to travel without basically any restrictions. When you're abroad, you can seek the protection of US embassies and consulates. You have the right to vote. If you are an American citizen, you will earn on average 50 to 70% more than people who are not citizens of this country.

As a matter of fact, it has been calculated, this blew my mind. The monetary value of being an American citizen is at least 2 1/2 million dollars. Think about that. The monetary value of being an American citizen is about 2 1/2 million dollars. And that's based on the fact that the median income of an American citizen, and the world can't believe this. The median income today of an American citizen is $56,000 a year. You work 50 years, you will be earning over 2 1/2 million dollars. And that doesn't include all the other benefits we get from being an American citizen. In other words, the moment you are born, and the moment you, the moment you could call yourself an American, you've got unbelievable benefits, unbelievable blessings. Now, I want you to imagine something. I want you to imagine that you're born on American soil. You're born in an American family. And you are an American citizen. But you don't realize all the rights that you're given in that moment.

And I want you to imagine that you live like an undocumented foreigner. You live like you don't really belong here. You live like you're really not a citizen, even though you are. And it would be tragic to have the blessing of being a citizen, but never to enjoy the benefits of being a citizen. That's exactly why we've been in a series that we're calling Holy Christmas. Because I'll tell you the older I get and the more I do celebrate Christmas, the more I really realize how many people, in about four days, five days, they will celebrate the blessings of Christmas, but they will never understand the benefits of Christmas. Because let me tell you something that a lot of people really don't realize. Christmas is not just about one birth. Christmas is actually about two births. Christmas is not only about a certainty, it's also about a possibility.

Now, what is the certainty of Christmas? The certainty of Christmas is that there was the physical birth of a baby who was the savior of the world. The certainty of Christmas is the physical birth of a savior. But the possibility of Christmas is the spiritual rebirth of a Saint. Whenever a pastor prepares a sermon, there's always two questions I'm asking before I even begin a sermon, I'm always asking two questions I want to answer. "So what?" and "Now what?" It's always the two questions. Because it doesn't matter what I say. Doesn't matter how profound I say it. Doesn't matter how nice you like it. Or how nice it sounds or how well it goes over. You're always asking the question, "Okay, so what"?

Well we've already heard the "so what?" of Christmas. You've heard it over and over and over. There was the birth of a baby in Bethlehem born 2000 years ago. And a man who named whose name was John, one of 12 disciples, wrote about it in his gospel, the Gospel of John. And in the first chapter we've been studying, he makes it plain, the same thing Matthew and Luke said, Matt this little baby that was born was not just an ordinary baby. He was God in the flesh. We've heard it a thousand times. Okay. I get it, I understand. That's the "so what"? But now what? Okay, so Jesus was God. That's what the Bible, that's what Christmas teaches us. But so what?

Well, actually we've answered the "so what?" in the first two messages. Today we're going to deal with the "now what"? Because the first answer gives the answer to the second question. Jesus, that little baby, really a baby. Cried, needed diapers, needed to be fed. Totally helpless. That little baby was God, that's the "so what"? But here's the "now what"? Jesus was born, according to John, Jesus was born into a human family so that we might be born again into a heavenly family. Jesus was born a son of God, so that we might be born again as children of God. In other words, John is going to tell us that because of who Jesus is, what we are to do if we want to receive that birthright. When I was born this month, I had a birthright. I not only became a part of the Merritt family. I became a part of the American family. I was born an American. And when you are born again, you have a birthright that you receive. So if you brought a copy of God's word, we're in the gospel of John, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. John chapter one.

Here's the first thing I want you to understand about our birthright. John says, because that baby that was born 2000 years ago, has given us the opportunity to be born again. He says, we should reflect the light of Christmas. Now after clearly stating that Jesus was God, the son, God, in the flesh, both God and man, John does does something for us. He introduces another person named John. This is not the John that wrote the gospel. He introduces another person named John that will actually introduce Jesus. So he says, okay, Jesus was his baby. He was born of God. He was from God. He was God. He was God in the flesh. And then he says this, there was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Now he's called John here. But let's see, those are, you know, your Bible. Where's what is he calling the other gospels? John the Baptist, okay. He's talking about John the Baptist. Matter of fact, the very name John gives us somewhat of a clue as to why John was sent into the world. Why such a, such an important guy. The name John literally means gift of God, okay? If your name is John, your name means gift of God. And that name was so appropriate because what John is telling us, the John, the writer. He's saying this John was a gift from God, that he might bear witness to the gift of God. Well, how did he bear witness? What did he do? John says he came as a witness to testify concerning that light. So that through him all might believe.

Now when you read the gospel of John, there's a word that's very important to John. It's one of his favorite words. It's this word, witness. John uses that word more than any other gospel writer. He uses that word 52 times in his gospel. The nouns use 14 times. The verbiage used 33 times. And I believe it's not only one of John's favorite words. I believe it's one of God's favorite words. God loves the word witness. You say, well, why? Because witnesses are crucially important. That for example, a witness is essential as in a savvy, seeing any claim to a fact or an event when one of my best friends is a reporter. In fact, he used to be in Albany, Georgia. He just moved to Portland, Oregon. He's one of my best buddies and he's, he's a reporter there for a television station. And you know, one of the things you learn when you're out on the field, when something big happens, and you're a reporter, when they send you out to cover an event, the very first thing they tell you to look for is just what it is.

I witness find somebody that was there. Find somebody that solve what happened. Find somebody that heard what happened. So they're looking for eye witnesses. They want to hear from somebody that says, "Hey, this is what happened. I saw where the plane crashed. I heard the motor worry. I knew something was wrong. They will, somebody can tell you I was there. I saw it. I heard it. I experienced it". My one of my sons is an attorney. And he can tell you how important witnesses are to the legal system. Because when credible witnesses testify to an event, we're not only morally bound to accept and believe what they say is true. But here's how important a witness is. A witness... can give you the death penalty. Or a witness can save you from the death penalty. A witness literally can hold their life in your hands. A witness can send you to prison for life.

You said, "Okay, wait a minute. What does all that have to do with us"? Well, I want you to substitute your name for John. And I want to read two verses again, but I want you to put your, I'm going to have to put mine in it, but I want you as you read it and put your name in it. I'm a person sent from God whose name is. You put your name right here. Whose name is... I'm going to put mine, James. I have come as a witness to testify concerning that light. So that through him all might believe. See you cannot be compelled necessarily, to be a witness in a court of law. Or even if you are compelled to be a witness under a court of law, you can take the fifth amendment, but you can't do that as a Christian. The exact moment that you exercise your birthright. The exact moment that you gave your life to Christ. The exact moment you surrendered your life to him. You are to be a witness. Cause what was true concerning John and Christmas.

Is true of us and Christmas. John just happens to be the first specifically-named human witness in the gospel. What I'm telling you is the same reason that God sent John. Is the same reason God sent James. He's the same reason that God sent Richard. He's the same reason God sent Jack. He's the same reason God sent Mike. He's the same reason God sent you. God sent all of us with the exact same reason. We are to be a witness to the light. That's why we tell you every week when you leave this church, you don't leave this church. What do we say? You are what? You are set. You don't leave. You are sin. See John's primary work. John said I've come to do one thing. I will be a faithful witness to the light of Christmas.

Let me just make something plain to you. That's not the only reason we here. I get it, I understand that. we were here for a lot of reasons. That's not the only reason we're here, but I will tell you that is the main reason that we're here. The main reason why you were sent into this world was to bear witness to the light. And I wanna tell you why that that's, that this breaks my heart. In a recent research project that was conducted by the Lutheran Hour Ministries and Barner group. How would you listen to what they found? This just came out, lifted, listen to this. What percent of Americans talk about God at all? You ready for this? What percent of Americans would you think talk about God, faith, religion, or spirituality, even just once a week. What percent? Eight, only 8% of Americans in a week, only 8%, only eight of a hundred people will ever mention God. Ever talk about faith. Ever talk about religion. Ever talk about spirituality only eight and additional 15%. talk about spiritual matters. Even once a month, listen to this. Do you have any spiritual conversations?

The average American say they have in a given year, one. The average American will have one spiritual conversation in a year. Not only are Americans talking about spiritual matters, very little. The American church seems to be following suit. And see this is what I don't understand. There's a difference between being a witness. We're all to be a witness, but there's a difference between being a witness and bearing witness. We came here today and I hope you enjoyed the Christmas music. I hope you enjoyed the worship. We're gonna have great. We're gonna have great worship Christmas Eve. I hope that you did, but I want to say something to you very, very clearly. The moment you become a worshiper of Jesus, you should become a witness to Jesus. The moment you become a worshiper of Jesus, you should become a witness to Jesus. And John goes on and John goes on to add something else.

So you won't be afraid to do it. Listen to what he said about John. He said, "Look, he himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to the light". If you're one of those people and I get it sometimes, well you know pastor I'm just so afraid. I just, I just have this fear. I'm afraid I might mess up. I'm afraid they may ask me a question I don't understand. I'm not quite sure how they'll take it. I don't want to aid in that. I don't want to make anyone upset. Listen, let me help you on something. You're ready for this. It is not our job to be the light. That's not my job. It is not my job to force people to come to the light. It's not my job to even get people, to see the light. That's not my job. My job is just to bear, witness to the light because it's not about who we are. It's about who he is. It's not about how we live. It's about how he died. We are to reflect the light of Christmas, but then John says this. He says, "Now, once we reflect the light of Christmas". He says, "We must respond to the Lord of Christmas".

When you reflect the light of Christmas, you've got to respond to the Lord of Christmas. Now John says, "By the way, what is the light of Christmas"? He said, "It's none other than the Lord of Christmas". And then John makes this amazing statement. He said "The true light, talking about Jesus. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world". I love John because John does not equivocate. John does not hesitate. John says there's only one true light. Oh, there may be a lot of gurus and a lot of religious leaders, a lot of subs. So called messiahs. That claim to be the light. But John says there's only one true light. And then John says this, "By the way, he's not just the light for some, he's the light for everybody". I just love it when people say, "Hey, you know, if Christianity works for you, that's okay. You know, Jesus is just not for me sorry, sir". He is. Sorry Ma'am he is. You go anywhere else. You're going to a false light. He is the true light. And see when we bear witness to that light, people have to respond.

Now, when I read the gospel, one of the reasons I love reading the Bible. Is every time without it fail. I'll read the Bible. I'll say that's exactly the way it is today. Here's the book that was written thousands of years ago when I'll read it and go, that's exactly the way it is today. For example, the way that people responded to Jesus 2000 years ago is exactly the way people respond to Jesus today. They responded one of three ways. Let me show you how people respond to Jesus. Here's the first response John said "He was in the world had though the world was made through him and those, he made all this, even though we did the world did not say that word out loud, recognize the world did not recognize him". I mean, I just, when I read this, when I read the gospels, I go what?

In spite of all the miracles that Jesus did. In spite of all the wonderful things that Jesus taught. In spite of the unbelievable way that Jesus lived. People didn't recognize Jesus. I mean, you ready for this? His own family didn't recognize him. They grew up with him from the time he was born. They didn't recognize him. Let me take you back to a time. Jesus has ministry was exploding. Everywhere Jesus went he left miracles behind. Everywhere he went fed people, the few lows and a few fish, walked on water, raised the dead, gave blind people the ability to see dead people. They built it here. Taught things about God that nobody had ever heard in their life. It got to such a point. He became a celebrity. He became a phenomenon. And how did his family respond? Listen to this. When his family heard about this, heard about what? How popular Jesus was. How his ministry was exploding. They went to take charge of him for, they said, "He's out of his mind". What? He is out of his mind.

Now you're talking about failing to recognize who someone is. Listen to this. Jesus looks like God. Jesus live liked God. Jesus loves like God. And what is his family say? He's nuts. He is four fries, short of a happy meal. There's something wrong with this guy. We needed to take him to a doctor. His own family didn't recognize him. And then you were thought, okay, surely, surely Mike surely one group that will recognize him would have been the religious scholars, the PhDs, the preachers, the Bible teachers. Oh, they'll recognize him. They'll absolutely know him because if anybody should have known who Jesus was, it should have been them. I mean, think about it. They knew the old Testament, like the back of their hand. They had memorized the Torah. They knew all the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah. They knew it. They knew he was going to be born in Bethlehem. They knew he'd be born of the tribe of Judah. They knew so many things about these prophecies. And yet in spite of what they saw with their eyes.

In spite of what they heard with their ears, they didn't recognize Jesus. Guess what? Same thing today? What? For example, what do the Muslims say about Jesus? Oh, he was a great prophet. What did the scholars say about Jesus? Oh, he was a great philosopher. What do the educators say about Jesus? Oh, he was a great teacher. What does the socially conscious say about Jesus? Oh, he was a great humanitarian. You know what? They're just telling us. You don't get it. You don't recognize who he was. It's a case of mistaken identity. That's the first response. Plain pizza I just don't, I don't recognize him. But John says, you know, there's a no way paper respond. Listen to this. He came to that, which was his own, but his own did not receive him. In other words, there are a lot of people. They just don't recognize who Jesus is. But then there are a lot of people. They just reject who Jesus is.

By the way, it helps sometimes to know a little bit about the Greek language. When John says he came into that, which was his own that in the, in the, in the English language, that's neuter, it refers to things. He came to that, which was his own things. But the second word owned that's that's masculine. That's talking about people. So it literally says he came to that, which was his own things. But his own people did not receive him. In other words, here's what he was saying. He came to the house that he created. His creation recognized him. The trees recognized him. The birds recognized him. The rocks representative, recognized him. Sheep recognized him, the created world. We know who you are. He came into his own thing. They did. But then he walks into his own home. His own family, His own people. His own Jewish race. And they not only did recognize him. They rejected him and they executed him. They didn't care about the evidence.

Listen to what they did. They joked about the circumstances of his birth. They accused him of being the illegitimate son of Mary. They reviled his teachings. They questioned his motives. They criticized his methods. They got angry at his message. They say, "Hey, hey pastor I got a question. So why didn't the world recognize him? And why did the world reject him"? Can I tell you the first and the best and the real reason at the end of the day, people don't like it. But it's true. The reason the world doesn't recognize him and the reason so many people rejecting is because they want to, they want to. If you don't want to see the truth, you're not going to see it. If you don't want to handle the truth, you're not going to handle it. If you don't want to hear the truth, you're not going to hear it. But you see, you have to respond to the Lord of Christmas.

Now you say, "Well, I don't recognize him". Well, you're without excuse. you say, "Well, I'll reject him". Well, you're certainly without excuse. But that's the world we live in. He will not be recognized by some. I was in the home about a year ago of a couple that visited our church. They were invited by some friends that came one time. I had to get their name and I went and visit them. There of another different, totally completely different religion. And I got in their home and I sat there and they very polite and they'd let me share the gospel. And they just simply let me know. We believe Jesus was this and this and this. Well, we don't believe Jesus was who you said he was. They didn't recognize him because they didn't want to recognize it. And they rejected him because they didn't want to have anything to do with him.

But then John says, "But there's a third response". And there's that third response that gives you that birthright. There's a birthright while waiting anybody that wants to give that third response. And what is that third response? Well, some will not recognize him. Some will reject him, but then here's what John says. "If you respond correctly to the Lord of Christmas, we will receive the love of Christmas". We will receive the love of Christmas. And I want you to listen to what John says. He says, "We all reflect the light of Christmas, we oughta to respond to the Lord of Christmas". And he says, "But when you respond correctly, you will receive the love of Christmas".

Now, buckle your seatbelt. Now what goes to what John says, this is one of those verses, by the way, you may have read many times you blow over it. Don't blow over this one, listen to this. Yet to all who did receive him. You're sitting here right now. You listen to him, when you say, "Hey, that's me, I've received him". Okay? So did I. To those who believed in his name, I told him when I got up this morning. Lord, I believe in your name. To them he gave the right to become children of God. Children born not of natural descent. Not of human decision or a husband's will. But born of God. If you really understand what you're seeing on this screen right now. That oughta make your jaws drop. It'll take your breath away. It oughta to bring tears to your eyes. It oughta bring a clap to your hands, because if you believe in the Lord of Christmas. You receive the love of Christmas.

Let me tell you what that means. I proudly proclaim. I'm not ashamed to say it. I am a follower of Jesus. I became a follower of Jesus when I was a nine year old boy. And the joy of my life every single day, the joy of my life is who I follow every day. But I'm not just a follower of Jesus. I'm a family member of Jesus. I belong to his family. He is my elder brother. His father is my father. And I want to tell you something. I've got a PhD and I'm not trying to brag when I say this, but I'm a trained theologian. I'm telling you that still incomprehensible to me. That the creator of all things, that's the controller of all things. That's the connector of all things would come to us. Listen to this would come to us. Be crucified, come back from the dead. And instead of punishing me, rejecting me, kicking me out, brutalizing me, doing what, giving me what I deserve. You know what he did? As a nine year old boy in a movie theater. He said, "You are now one of my brothers. You are now in my family. My father is your father. We are a part of the same family. And the birthright of every single Christian is the moment you receive Jesus Christ".

You automatically immediately become a child of the king. You become a child of the kingdom. You talk about a priceless Christmas gift. Listen, this meant so much to John. He never got over it. John wrote the gospel scholars believe when he was kind of younger in his younger years. Scholars believe that John lived to be about 90 years of age. He actually died in exile on the island of Patmos. If you ever get to go with me on a, on a trip to Greece, we actually go to the island of Patmos. Its awesome to go over there and I'll always read the book of revelation. But John actually died on the Alpena. But he lived to be 90 years old. And when John was about 90 years old, he wrote first John, second, John third, John, and the Book of Revelation. But there was one thing that John never got over all those years. And he said it later in first, John chapter three, listen to what he said. He said, "See what great love the father has lavished on us. That we should be called children of God".

Now what? Listen to what he says. He says, "If you're a believer, if you've trusted Jesus, if you're a follower of Christ. It's not just that you can call yourself a Christian, a child of God". He said, "That's what you are". That's what we are. The reason the world does not know us is it did not know him. How many of you remember the TV show or maybe the movie? The Adams family. How do you remember the Adams family? Remember that I'm not going to do it. Did you know that we were all born into the Adam family? You thought about that. Who's the first man, Adam, right? Adam, we got problems. You know why Adam had him? Okay. We got problems. We were born into the Adams family. All of us were born into the Adam family. But because of Jesus, we can be born again into the God family.

Now watch this. I'll wrap this up. The way this birth happens is unbelievably simple, but it's simply unbelievable. If you're watching right now, you'd say, man, I want to become a child of God. I'd like to know that God is not just my creator, but my father can, how can I get on? How can I make Jesus my elder brother? Tell me how I can do that. You won't believe how simple it is. It's all around two words. You ready? Believing and receiving, believing and receiving. You'll why we bear witness. Why? Why does it where to shine the light? Why are we set? Go back to what he said. So that through him, all my what? Believe, that's why we're here. We're set to bear light so that all my belief, the most important verb in the gospel of John is believe. Wait a minute. Do you know what believing is? Let me tell you what real believing is. You ready? Believing is receiving.

That's what believing is. Believing is receiving. This is what a lot of people never get. They don't understand becoming a child of God. Listen, if you don't hear anything else out there, out there, wherever you're listening right now. Watching on TV wherever you might be. If you're some of you are right now, you're in France. You're in Israel. You're in England. You're some of your own kingdom set. You're listening to Saudi Arabia right now. Listen to what I'm telling you. Becoming a child of God has absolutely nothing to do with what you do for God. Becoming a child of God is all about receiving what Jesus has done for you. Can you give the Lord a hand on that? Just give the lord... It has nothing to do, has nothing to do with what you do for God. It's about receiving what God's done for you.

So when John speaks of those, he says "To those who believe in his name". A lot of people understand that you say, "Oh, I believe in his name". No, that's not exactly the way John put it. When you read it, what John says, what it literally says so that we don't, we wouldn't say in English. Those who believe in to his name. You say, "Okay what is the difference in just with believing in his name and believing into his name"? How many of you remember the movie? "He's just not that into you". Remember that? That's the way, John meant it. Though, there are a lot of people who say, "Oh, I believe Jesus was the son of God. Oh I believe in the story of Christmas. Yeah I believe he died on the cross. And I believe he was raised in the day. Yeah I believe all that stuff about Jesus". But you're just not into Jesus.

That's what it means to believe you believe into him. It means being surrendered to him, sold out to him, committed to him. It's not a belief in your head. It is a surrender of your heart. And when that belief John says, "When that belief truly kicks in. When by believing into Jesus, you are receiving Jesus who he said he was God in the flesh". John says, "It does not matter what you've done in the past. It doesn't matter how bad you may be in the present". John said, "For the rest of your life, you can call yourself a child of God". Because that is exactly what you are. You have the right by the way, that word right. Means authority. So if you know me, I've got a wife sitting over here right now. We'll be married next year 40, 45 years. 45 years next year. Nobody knows me better than she does. She sees all of my faults, all of my flaws, all my affordables, all my failures. And she could write a book on them, but she still knows. I'll have the authority to call myself a child of God. Don't always act like a child of God. No, sir I don't.

Do always talk like a child of God. No, ma'am I don't. Do I always think like a child of God? No people I don't. But I never cease being a child of God because of what Christ has done for us. See, that's why Christmas is not just a holiday. It's a holy day. In fact, along with Easter, I believe it's the two days. This is a theory. I can't prove this. I really do believe there are two days. We'll celebrate in heaven forever. I do. I believe we will celebrate Easter. And how do we go celebrate Christmas? I do. Can't prove it in the Bible. I can't, but I believe we are going to celebrate Christmas and Easter because Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again. So we can become children of God. I love to close the things I've never know. I learned when I do research, one of the things I get to do as a pastor, I get to study and read. You don't get to do that. I do what you can't do. And I learn things all the time.

So I'm going to wrap you up, wrap up with this. How many of you have ever bet on a horse race? Don't hold your hand up. Don't you hold your hand up. Don't you do it? I'm just, that's a joke. I know some of you have, but let me tell you something I learned is this, this is, this will be worth coming to church for. In horse racing you know what people, you know, people who know what they're doing bet on you. Don't they don't just say, I like that name. You know, if I go to, you know, if I go to a track and there's eight horses, okay? If one of those horses is Uga, I'm going to bet on that horse. He may be a nag, but I'm betting on Uga. Like, okay, I'm betting on him. People don't bet on names. Don't even bet on looks.

So I looks like a good horse. If you know what you're doing in horse racing, do you know what you're betting on? Not betting on the jockey. Jockey would be riding a nag. Nice try no cigar. You know what you're betting on? If you know what you're doing, you're betting on a bloodline. You're betting on a bloodline. You, you, you do your homework. Listen to this virtually all the world's 500,000 thoroughbred race horses. I didn't know this 500,000 thoroughbred race horses. Guess what? They all descend from about 28 ancestors born in the 18th and 19th century. But it gets even better. According to one genetic study, you ready? We now know that you can trace 95% of the male thoroughbred blood lines all the way back. You ready for this to one super stood stallion. I think they called him Mr. Ed, but it was one Super stud stallion.

I read that story and I thought to myself, hard for me to say it without crying. I am a spiritual thoroughbred. I am a champion. Cause I can trace my blood line today, all the way back. Not to a stoop super stud stallion, but to a supernatural savior. And his name is Jesus. And that's why we say Merry Christmas. Lets bow. Would you bow with me as we pray? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're watching online right now, you're in this building. I just want to say something to you. You have a birthright. That's waiting on you. You can claim that birthright right now. You can become a child of God. Right now. You can become a child of the king right now. You can become a child of the kingdom right now by believing and receiving. And if you've never trusted in Jesus today, I'm just going to invite you to do this one simple thing. Would you right now? Just say this prayer. Not say it, pray it:

Lord Jesus. I'm a sinner. I need a savior. I'm lost. I'm a citizen of this world, but I want to be a child of the king. This, this Christmas, I believe you were born a verge of a Virgin as God in the flesh. I believe you lived a perfect life. I believe you died a perfect death. I believe you came back in a perfect resurrection and I'm asking you as my risen Lord to come into my heart, take over my life. I surrender all that I am. To all that you are. And I ask you today, save me, forgive me of my sins. I receive your gift of eternal life. And Lord help me beginning today for the rest of my life now to do what I know you sent me on this earth to do. Not to be the light, but to bear witness to the light. And I pray this in your name.

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