Christmas can so easily become routine or monotonous, or we can get wrapped up in gifts, and trees and carols. We begin to feel like it’s the same story, that we’ve heard one hundred times before.
But what we celebrate at Christmas was not a normal event, it was miraculous and wonderful. The birth of our Jesus should fill us with awe and wonder. A God full of glory, the creator chooses to become one with humanity. God decides to become one with us so that we have a relationship with him. We who are so wretched are at one with a Holy God! That is nothing short of a miracle. It is a wonder!
In this rhyming sermon, Jef speaks from Matthew 2:13-18 about The Wonder of the Warning Dreams.
Flood Church Christmas Rhyming Sermon 2019
Good morning Flood church, I hope you are all well
I’m back once again with a story to tell
I’m back once again with bucket of rhymes
Arranged in a different order this time.
Arranged in a way as to shed a new light
On a very particular blessed starry night
Can anyone guess to which night I elude?
If you don’t listen up cause I’m-a rhyme that now, dude.
A long time ago in a faraway place
Came the fulfilment of our God’s amazing grace
A young lady named Mary had an angel drop by
He gave her an answer to her question, “Why?”
In faith she believed what she heard from that being
That her Son would spend his lifeblood in our freeing
And it came to pass for the Christ-child to come
The birth of our saviour, God’s holy son
The night of all nights when the shepherds would hear
The angelic announcement “The saviour is here!”
And far in the east Magi saw in the sky
The sign that the age of the saviour draws nigh
They gathered their camels and piled them high
And set out to find God, those stargazing Magi.
And here is the point in the story my friends
We should pause for a moment and read what it says
So turn in your Bible to Matt chapter 2
The first eighteen verses, so not all the way through.
Please stand to your feet as I read out God’s word
Please open your heart and let it be stirred.
[Read Matthew 2:1-18]
The Magi Visit the Messiah
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[fn] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[fn]
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”[fn]
Wonder, you know, is the theme of this series
And wonder you’ll know when you hear these true stories
Surrounding the birth of our saviour and Lord
Every verse thick with meaning, a true smorgasbord
So pull up your chair ‘cause it’s time for some meat
This is the best Christmas food that you’ll eat
The wonder of warning in dreams is our topic
A difficult one. Dreams are so kaleidoscopic
How can we know if a dream is from God
Afterall strange things happen in that old land of nod
Is there a way to discern dream truth from dream fiction?
Before we pronounce some grand benediction?
“My friends God has spoken, and given a task
And I am the guy who must bring it to pass.”
Quite a risky statement to make it sure seems
Since you’re the only one awake in your dreams.
Joseph awoke from a great dream of warning
And they left for Egypt without waiting for morning
That’s something to wonder at, I sure think so
Would I have the bravery to just get up and go?
I’m the first to admit my dreams are bizarre
Perhaps I’m playing piano while flying a car
with four rainbow monkeys singing a song
every line punctuated with the sound of a gong
And the guy in the back with the gong is the moon
Crying real tears at that sweet monkey tune
But enough of that nonsense, for the point has been made
The meaning of dreams can so easily evade
But the dreams in our scripture today are all clear
Our dreamer awoke knowing which direction to steer.
We have something to learn from this dreamer’s encounter
So let me give you a few things to ponder
Because sometimes the dreams we are given aren’t strange
Sometimes they compel us and drive us to change
Sometimes they come while we’re asleep in our bed
Sometimes they come when God speaks in our head
Sometimes they come as another casts vision
Sometimes they come vague sometimes with precision
However they come one thing’s always true
If God gives you a dream or instruction to do.
It will always agree with God’s Holy Word
It won’t deviate nor cause a line to be blurred
This is the rule by which all dreams we measure
If it doesn’t add up, then it’s not a God venture
Imagine you’re Joseph, that carpenter bloke
Imagine the feeling when he first awoke
Mary sleeps near you with Jesus all swaddled
The picture of peace but the time can’t be coddled
God’s warning message repeats in your ear
“Flee! Flee this place! Flee at once do you hear!?
Herod has heard of the birth of my Son
He’s coming to kill him so get up and run!”
So Joseph gets up, he gets up with haste
And they flee into the night, gone without trace
So this is the first thing I think can be learned
When we know for a fact God’s voice we’ve decerned
The first thing is this are you ready anzanga?
Get Up! Get Up! Don’t sit still any longa’!
The first thing to do when we hear our God speak
Is to jump to your feet! Get up! I say leap!
If you’ve heard from God and remember our rule
If it lines up with scripture then you know it’s all cool
If you’ve heard from God and there’s no reason to delay
Then get yourself up! Muyimilire!
Joseph heard God, he was certain of that
God gave him the plan in a 3 step format
How nice it would be to have our dreams just so
With a list of all of the things we should know
But it’s often quite different when following Christ
We’re not always given the steps or the price
That’s why I think this first point so important
If you don’t get up, you may stale and go dormant
Like a plant without water will just wither and die
God’s call with no action will just petrify.
There’s no need for us to know every detail
If God’s sent the dream, then the saint will prevail
When I was still young, like almost eighteen
I had a God moment, a “get up now” dream
I remember so clearly what happened that day
Because everything changed when I chose to obey
I was sitting alone on the phone with my bae
Talking and talking as young lovers may
My bae in those days was not yet my wife
I didn’t yet know we’d be together for life
But that is a different story to tell
For now, I was talking to bae lost in love’s spell
When deep from within I heard Jesus speak
Unsure of myself I tried a sneak peak
With bae on the phone I shared what I heard
Half thinking she’d tell me I’m being absurd
“Renatta.” I said with a tentative voice
“I think God is asking me to make a big choice
I think what He’s saying is I’ve got a call
To change my whole future and give him my all
To change my career path from life in construction
To change my career path to disciple production
But how in the world could a hoser like me
Be part of God’s plan healing humanity?
But I can’t shake the feeling that God’s got a plan
And part of that plan includes using this man
Have I just gone mad? Have I lost all my sense?
Is it fabrication or crazy pretense?”
“No.” She replied. “No Jef, not at all.
This has the ring of a God kinda call.”
I’ll spare you more details because you can see
That I chose to get up and missionary
Back in those days I had no idea at all
How it would come together when I answered God’s call
Now I stand here in wonder you see
At God’s master plan, I’m a testimony
So think of that thing that God’s put in your heart
And stop all your stopping by starting to start
Get up! It’s time. That’s step number one
Get up God’s daughters! Get up God’s sons!
Ok, that’s enough now on to step two
What is the next thing we see Joseph do?
The guy got right up once God gave his warning
Then woke his old lady up long before morning
And that little detail tells all married men
Either Joseph was crazy or very sure of God’s plan
Lucky for him the later was true
Step one is get up. Take action. Step two.
Look at the text chapter two verse fourteen
Not many words, NIV has seventeen
But think of all of the action Joe takes
To flee in the night with the highest of stakes
A trip down to Egypt is far if you’re walking
and frankly quite scary if bad guys are stalking
But Joseph maned up he didn’t sit in denial
He moved his young family to the land of the Nile
Joe heard from God and he did what God said.
He took action. To Egypt they fled.
What is the action that you need to take?
What is the change that you need to make?
What is the dream that makes your heart ache?
What is the habit that you need to break?
What is the fear that makes your mind quake?
What holds you back when God’s plan is at stake?
What lies inside of you longing to wake?
What must you crucify? What must you forsake?
It’s time to rise up! Rise up do you hear!?
Take action Flood Church, The kingdom of God is now here!
You have a role, just ask God and see
He’ll surely use you! 100 percent guaranteed
What is the action you should take today?
Stop all your stopping! Start starting ok!?
There’s something important we need to see here
Something to silence a natural fear
Think of this family running in fright
What would they need above all for their flight?
How could they live for the next several years
Unless they had money to help persevere
They were strangers to Egypt in fear for their lives
What would they use to even survive?
Look at our story, and think of their guests
Shepherds and angels. Wisemen on a quest
I don’t think the little drummer boy came
Having a drummer at a birth seems insane
But the wisemen, the Maji those guys are the key
Their gifts could have easily bankrolled their swift flee
Gold, frankincense, myrrh are you kidding?
With these in their wallet they could do all their getting
This would have helped Jesus family in exile
I imagine a nice little house on the Nile
A carpenter’s shop where Joe’s tools were kept
And a broom for wee Jesus cause you know, Jesus swept…
But here is the point that I’m trying to make
God sees the future, he knows what it takes
To do what he asks any person to do
This scripture here proves it. Just read it. It’s true.
Often we fail to take action because
The lack of resources gives probable cause
But if it’s a dream from the Lord you have heard
And it falls in line with God’s Holy Word
Then get up, take action in faith let’s believe
Your need will be met, in due course you’ll receive
Now on to the last of the steps from our dreamer
His actions found safety for our Blessed Redeemer
What is the next thing the Lord said to do?
Find verse fifteen and then go back by two
You mean verse thirteen? Yeah but it didn’t rhyme
I had to be creative. I hope you don’t mind.
The third thing God said in verse twenty-one minus eight
Is to wait….. Is to wait… Is to wait… Is to wait…
Waiting is a thing that I like don’t like to like
In fact it’s like something I like totally dislike
And if you’re like me you like may like to agree
There’s like not much to like in like waiting to see
But that’s what the Lord told ol’ Joseph to do
And sometimes he says that to me or to you
For Joseph this waiting was vitally important
If he disobeyed than Christ’s life would be forfeit
Waiting in safety was all he could do
Far far far far from any people he knew
Waiting, just waiting day out and day in
While that Maji money got painfully thin
Have you ever gone thru a season of waiting?
don’t you just find times like that are so grating?
Especially after action’s fast pace
To find yourself stuck in that old Waiting Place
Dr. Seuss says it best in one of his books
These are not my words. I’m no rhyming word crook
Dr. Seuss says, and I quote:
The waiting place…
For people just waiting…
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Does that sound familiar to any of you?
I’ve been there myself and I bet you have too.
Or maybe, just maybe you find you’re there now
Waiting and waiting and wondering how
You’ll find your way out of that old waiting place
And back to an interesting kind of a space
But waiting is often a part of God’s cycle
It saved Jesus life from King Herod, that psycho
And it has a purpose in your life and mine
It gives us the space to listen and find
The next God command to get up and move
The next action series the next Jesus groove
Another great purpose to which scripture’s clear
Is the strength we can build while we’re waiting here
The waiting place can be used to advantage
If we just press in if we don’t mismanage
There’s purpose I tell you in waiting on God
It’s what prepares you for your next holy job
There is a verse in Isaiah that I’d like to read
Upon hearing it I think my point you’ll concede
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Are you ready to wait? Are you waiting in readiness?
Wait on the Lord. You’ll shake off the heaviness
Even in waiting there’s something to do
This is the time where our strength we renew
Because before long a dream might pass through
And say “hey, get up and take action anew!”
It happened to Joseph, take a look at verse twenty
“Hey Joe, I’m the angel of God with a message to tell thee
Your family should leave and return to your home
Herod is dead with his psycho syndrome.”
So steps one through three began once again
They loaded their donkey named Jedidiah H. Stan
And did as commanded as we ourselves should
This is obedience and obedience is good.
It’s time to conclude this long diatribe
I hope the main points I have well circumscribed
Get up is step one. Take action step two
Step three is to wait as your strength God renews
So have a good think with your thinker today
And hear with your hearer what God wants to say
And see with your see-er what God’s word has said
And line it all up with your brain in your head
Then pass it all down from your brain to your heart
It’s time to stop stopping! So get up and start!
Step one: Get Up!
Step two: Take Action!
Step Three: Wait upon the Lord and renew your strength!
Step four: Repeat.
Go in peace