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Audacious Faith

On Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached another sermon in his Advent series, "Audacious," this one about Audacious Faith, looking at Mary's response to the announcement from the angel in Luke 1:26-38.

We looked at the character of God-honoring faith.

Sometimes faith is about Risk.

Sometimes faith involves Tenacity.

Sometimes faith is doubting our doubts.

But Always faith involves Surrender.

Moving deeper with God starts with Surrender.

Surrender is yielding to something higher and better, deliberately, not reluctantly.

"I am the Lord's servant; may it be to me as you have said."

If the virgin birth was a myth, where'd it come from?  It wasn't expected by the Jews.  God demonstrated that what was happening in Jesus was unique.

Mary was "highly favored" - "graced" by God.

God's work in us is always grace.  Grace doesn't always come with a welcome face.

What we learn here:

1)  Mary will give him the name Jesus -- Savior.

2)  He will be great!

3)  He will be called the Son of the Most High!  God squeezed Himself into human skin.

4)  He will be the Messiah promised to the descendants of Abraham!

5)  His kingdom will never end!  He is actively ruling right now.

6)  All of this happened through the agency of the Holy Spirit!

ALWAYS, God-honoring faith is about Surrender.

Moving deeper with God always involves another act of surrender.

Speaking of the favorite Christmas song, "Mary, Did You Know?" the answer is that Mary didn't know.  What she knew is that God spoke to her.

Mary knew what to do when God presses on your heart, speaks a word to you.  Do the same thing the Old Testament saints did -- Surrender.

Today we also don't know what's going to happen.  But we know who does know.

We need to surrender.

We don't need to figure it out.

We need to surrender.

Spiritual growth always looks like taking the next step.  The next step is always surrender.

There's something you need to give to God....

Audacious Gift

On Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached another Advent sermon, this one on John 3:16.

John 3:16 -- The greatest Love from the greatest source offered the greatest gift to the greatest extent toward the greatest result.

The Greatest Source -- Not only is God personal, but He moves toward us with love.

The Greatest Love -- Love is so completely connected with God, John said, "God IS love."

The love in John 3:16 is extreme, audacious love.

The Greatest Gift -- an Audacious Gift.

God had no need to give.

In Genesis 15, God made a covenant with Abraham where God took both sides of the covenant.

God gave part of Himself.  What more could He give?

The Greatest Extent -- The World.  Anyone at all.

He gave even though He knew His gift would be rejected.

The Greatest Result -- Eternal life for anyone who believes, bringing the kingdom of God into our lives.

Sometimes we think religion is a set of behaviors and choices.  Jesus is about far more than that.

Our Appetites are a level deeper than our Choices, and drive our Choices.

Jesus drives deeper still.

Northern Virginians like their lives.  Just want a little better. 

That's not the bargain Jesus is willing to make.  He asks you to give up your life and take His.

Identity is the level underlying Appetites and Choices.

Appetites grow out of our Identity woundings and result in our Choices.

Jesus wants to transform us at the level of our Identity.

In John 3, Jesus said, "You must be born again."

It's like a whole new operating system.  Everything will be different!

You've got to believe it, step in.  Biblical faith is stepping in.

That transforms our lives.

It's not a self-salvation project.  Your whole life depends on God.

Remember and celebrate how it happened for you.

Think about the impact God has had through you.

This is not easy, but it's really, really simple.

He concluded the message with time of prayer and an invitation to choose to step in with God.

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