This Christmas we celebrated together the arrival of our redeeming, saving King, welcoming into our midst dozens and dozens of friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers. In this, the last in our sermon series "Upside Down Christmas" we spoke directly to the people who don't always feel comfortable in church, people like the shepherds to whom God entrusted the heavenly announcement of His baby boy's birth.
We explored what it must have felt like to be the last person God should want to talk to, and the first person He does in this monologue, delivered by Jennifer Gerhardt from the perspective of a shepherd:
Later in the service, we explained that not only does God welcome the unexpected, He calls those same unexpected, sometimes rough around the edges, folks to be the messengers who deliver His good news to others. We explored this truth through the eyes of an angel as played by Ryan Crowder:
If you have a friend who thinks church isn't the place for her or a co-worker who thinks maybe the world would end if he ever entered a church building, THIS is the sermon you need to have them watch. The truth is God calls who He wants to call. You are (however surprising it is) called. What are you going to do about it?
You can watch the sermon here:
Finally, we ended worship with a most upside down offering in which we asked you to TAKE money OUT of the plate. Thanks to our 2016 giving surplus, we were able to put $4,000 in five dollar bills into the offering plate. We asked you take money for yourself if you're in need, for your neighbor, for a friend or relative or needy stranger. We wanted to equip you to meet the needs you see around you, to help the people only you can help. We said we'd keep passing the plates until all the money was gone. And while so many of you put even more cash in, we were never so happy to collect empty baskets.
Watch the offering here:
Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us! It was a joy to be with God's people on this holy day.