Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Lakeside Christian Church · The Peace of God in Christ | In Christ episode 05 Scripture Verses Ephesians 2:11-22 Worship Playlist Sing We the Song of Emmanuel by Matt BoswellThis Is Love by Paul BalocheHere Comes Heaven by Elevation WorshipO Holy Night by Chris TomlinHigh King of Heaven/Jesus We Love You by The McCluresSilent Night by Chris Tomlin Downloads & Resources The Peace of God in Christ Dr. Jon Morrissette - 12/24/2022 If you could capture the Christmas season in one word, what would it be? Maybe you would say it’s been hectic, or even crazy- making? Jesus once observed how worry can become all consuming! We worry about what we will eat or drink. With the forecast, will there be food left on the store shelves? Will I be able to find that one indispensable ingredient… and even if I do… will everyone be able to make it for Christmas dinner? We also worry about our bodies—what we will wear. On Thursday, AcuWeather showed the temperature shifted from 30° to -12°. Honey where did you put my thermal underwear! Our dogs refused to go outside! In a rather comedic (but also sobering) way, Jesus observed how we “run” after all these things. I say “comedic” because going to Walmart is hilarious. Why is my oversized cart brimming with so many carbohydrates? I say “sobering” because right now may be the first time you’ve actually slowed down long enough to catch your breath or engage in some badly needed introspection. If we’re honest though, what we will eat, drink, or wear is probably the least of our concerns this Christmas. I look at the world, and my heart aches. Will the nations, or even our nation, ever be at peace? People are enduring unimaginable hardships in life—and not just economically. Our world is being ravaged by erratic events, unstoppable diseases, cancers, and pandemics. And at the top of the list is death itself. It’s not that we don’t try to be lighthearted! It’s just that the world has us on the run. I look at families, including my own family, and my heart aches. We ought to love getting together with family and friends. It truly ought to be the most refreshing, life-giving time of the year. But sitting around the table is anger, betrayal, disappointment, animosity, and regret. The Bible often talks about the dividing walls of hostility that exist between people. Why can’t we come together as one family, why can’t we do this “love” thing better? Maybe relationships have you on the run. You’re doing everything you can to avoid those we ought to most love. We don’t just run from broken relationships, we also run from own selves. A bigger problem than changing other people is changing myself. Am I living my best life? Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Do I have a healthy sense of identity and purpose? Am I mentally and emotionally healthy? Am I filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control? Am I living a sober-minded, holy, God-pleasing life? Maybe this Christmas, you’ve been running from the life you’ve always wanted and known you should live? By far though, our core problem isn’t just running from the world, or relationships, or even our own selves. We also run away from God. There have been so many times in my life when I was drug to a Christmas service, and in all honesty, I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to sing the songs, feel the vibe, or listen to the message—I just wanted to get out of there! Some of you are sitting there wondering if there is indeed a God of both Heaven and Earth. It’s easy to accept a notion of a heavenly God—but what about an earthy God? What about a God who knows how hopelessly lost this world feels? Or a God who knows the hostility than tears even husbands and wives apart, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters? Or a God who knows the helpless struggle we daily face, deep within our own heart, mind, body, and soul? Maybe this Christmas you are saying: “God I’m tired of running. I just want to know that you are truly somewhere and can be found. I want to know that you are truly here with me, and I’m not alone. God, I just want to hear one clear word from you on earth from heaven. Speak to me! God, I just want to know if you have heard my prayers, and you listen to me. God I just want to know if there is hope for this darkening world, hope for my family, hope for my silent struggle within.” An alternative to “running” is “abiding.” Running implies desperation, dissatisfaction, avoidance; but abiding implies peace and satisfaction. Jesus says the godless run after all these different things… but it doesn’t have to be so. Jesus invites us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” Seek first my Kingdom and righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you. When I asked what one word best captures Christmas season for you—how many of you said peace? I love how the Bible declares that Jesus Himself is our “peace.” Peace isn’t a gift that God can pass out like candy. In fact, peace isn’t even a thing in itself. God Himself is our peace. The only way God can give us peace is to give us Himself. This is the meaning of Christmas. That the God of Heaven sent his Peace (the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus our Lord) to earth. He sent peace right into the middle of our chaotic and cruel world. He sent peace right into the midst of our hostilities. He sent peace right into our very lives. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary, and I will give you rest to your souls.” He says, “I do not give as the world gives.” “My peace I give you.” The Bible says Jesus has torn down the dividing walls of hostility. He has created in Himself one new man out of two, resulting in peace. He came and proclaimed good news of peace to you who were far away and to those who are near. In him were being built together, with Christ Himself being our cornerstone, and His own Spirit dwelling within us.” This Christmas do you know PEACE?