At Home Worship

2015 Messages

In this rare service, just two days after Christmas, Todd is reminding us that "family worship" doesn't just happen when we gather on a Sunday, but each time we gather with our family. This short talk serves as preamble for a downloadable devotional guide to be walked through with the whole family in the comfort of your own home.

Todd WagnerDec 27, 2015Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Ephesians 4:11-12; Luke 17:11-19

Good morning, Watermark family. It is a joy to be with you in your homes this morning. We're not gathered here in the place that, well, we call all kinds of names. I have always teasingly called it the "R&R." I think because I have good friends we haven't actually named it that, but we call it the R&R because of times that I like to remind you why we're together. It is for two purposes: to remember the goodness of God and remind ourselves how we should respond to him.

We are not together this morning. We thought it still would be a good idea for you to get to together and remind one another of the greatness of what this time is all about. R&R also has another great meaning. Rest and relaxation is what R&R typically means. It is very intentional that today we're not gathering on our campus together but gathering together this way. We really do want to give you some time just to rest. We want to give you some time just to be still and be with your family.

We hope it is a different kind of sabbath rest. Even as there is an amazing amount of rest we all experience when we gather here, even though it takes a lot of work now to welcome our large family together on Sunday morning… We know many people get up very early to prepare to lead you in song, as well as to greet you, as well as to be ready to receive your kids when you come. We work hard to remind us of the King who has come to give us rest.

This week, we really felt like it was going to be a great opportunity for you to have R&R at home as you still remember God and remind yourself, together with me, of what it is he wants to do. Our job always is to help you be effective in leading yourself and leading your families. It's not to get you together, although our gathering together is so essential and important. So important that on December 27, when we're not physically together, we thought we'd still try to get together in this particular way.

We are to encourage each other day after day, as long as it's called "Today," so that we wouldn't be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. The reason we gather, the reason we encourage, is that we don't want to forget the greatness of who our God is, so that when we're not together (as we're scattered, if you will, like we're scattered in different homes today), we can still be effective for Christ. In fact, not still be but be effective for Christ in the very place it's most important for us to be.

The Scriptures tell us in Ephesians 4 that the purpose of leaders and teachers and apostles and preachers and evangelists is to equip the saints for the work of service. God gives us gifts to serve each other. He gives us his Spirit that we might love each other. In Deuteronomy 6, we see early on, when Moses was talking to his people, that his desire was that they would never forget that the Lord our God is one and we should love him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might.

It says in Deuteronomy 6 right after that, "These words which I'm giving you today, you should write them on your heart. Never let them go of your heart, and you should teach them to your children with all diligence when you're in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." So this morning, we're going to give you some resources and tools to allow you to play the role of priest in your own life, your own communities of friends, or with your own family.

Our Equipping Team has put together a resource for you that I'm going to point you to in just a moment. That resource is going to allow you to remember what Christmas is all about. Even before we started filming this morning, I was just talking with my friends around here about gifts that at different times we have received that we were so sure if we got this one little gift it would be the gift that we would never want another gift again. We all know there are no gifts on this earth that are ultimately like that.

We talked about how one time one of the friends here was at Disney World and was absolutely certain if they got that one stuffed Disney character it was going to change their life, and it did…for 24 hours. Some of the guys I'm with right now are children of the 90s, and we talked about how they were all fired up about playing with Pokémon cards. I know a lot of you, if you're a kid this morning, don't even know what that is, because we've moved well past cards to video games.

But they were certain if they could get this one pack with this one card in there, a holographic Charizard (something I'd never heard of before), it would change the game, not just of Pokémon but maybe their life. As they worked hard to finally get it, laughing about stories where they bought their friend a pack for a birthday, and that particular pack happened to have the holographic Charizard in it, and the bitterness that came with giving that gift, to finally getting the gift themselves. Guess what? The holographic Charizard didn't change his life.

So many more, from talks of Furbys… Kids who are alive today, if you don't know what a Furby was, well, it was all the rage. People talked about that, and if you didn't get a Furby for Christmas, you didn't really have a Christmas was the mindset. Well, that Furby that one friend got was a pretty big deal until he couldn't get it to shut up and bury it deep enough in his closet.

You're just two days from receiving probably some gift from a friend that maybe hasn't been stuffed in the back of your closet, but by now all of us know there really is no gift on earth that's ever going to really satisfy us. Here's the thing. What's a tragedy is that some of us don't even focus on the real gift of Christmas or we don't remember and reflect enough on what the gift was.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns was written in the mid-1700s. It's "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." It's a song written by Charles Wesley, like many other Christmas hymns, including "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." If you want to have a great time as a family this morning… If you're like mine you probably don't want to sing, but if you are a family that wants to really be encouraged with truth, you ought to find a way to get the lyrics of those songs. They're all online. Just read the lyrics to "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

If you want to have a really good Christology, if you want to understand why messengers of God always sing, read the lyrics of that song. They are amazing. It talks about what Jesus has done. Another song Wesley wrote is "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." It's a song that talks about all that the people longed for in Jesus and how they desired to be set free from the condition they were in. One of the problems we have is that we don't reflect enough on the salvation we have received.

We don't reflect enough back on some of the times in our lives when we didn't walk with Jesus and our lives were causing a lot of pain in each other's lives. Maybe there have even been moments in the last 48 hours when you've been gathered with family that you didn't remember the goodness of Christ and didn't make yourself a vessel for his Spirit to live in you and through you, and in those moments when that long expected Jesus wasn't informing your life, it made it a very long, tense time together.

Whenever we forget Christ, whenever we don't remember how great our salvation is, we have a tendency to feel like we don't need that gift, to push him back deeper in the closets of our hearts. When we do that, the fruit that comes from our hearts is not the kind that kids want to sit with, it's not the kind kids want to walk with, and sometimes your lying down isn't peaceful and your waking up is to dread.

It's why we have to always be folks who remember how great our salvation is and how great the gift of Christmas is, that we're loved not because of what we do but because we have a God who loves us and pursues us, and because he loves and pursues us and because he wants us to have a relationship with him, it can change our relationships with one another.

I don't know what you're most thankful for in relationship to your relationship with Christ, but we want to give you a chance this morning with some of the materials we've given you that are on our website that you can go to and work your way through… It talks about a gift some men received and how not all of those men were thankful for that gift and returned to God to thank him for that gift.

We want you to walk through the story in Luke 17 of the 10 lepers, and we want you to be people this morning who, just two days away from the day we celebrate the entrance of the gift of Jesus Christ into our lives, takes some time as a family to remember how great salvation is. One of the ways to remember it is you can talk about times when Jesus wasn't informing your home or didn't inform your life and the peace that has come.

Maybe you can even bring peace right now by saying, "You know what? I haven't remembered him effectively these last two days, and I need to ask your forgiveness for not letting the gift of Jesus Christ changing me and having a relationship with me show up in the way I've loved you." You watch the way peace floods your home when you reconcile with one another.

We hope you have a great time this morning, either meditating on all you have to be thankful for, using those questions we've given you or just celebrating together the goodness of Christ. We can't wait to be with you next week when we start to dive in with a brand new series. The series is going to be called Resolve, not related to resolution, although the very first week we're going to talk about what we resolve to do together as a body as we charge into 2016.

Then on the backside of that first Sunday together, starting January 10, our second Sunday in 2016, we're going to get into specifically how we resolve conflict and how we can make sure we live at peace with one another as we remember that the Prince of Peace has come. It is one of the most important marks of who we are as God's people that we are people at peace with one another because we're at peace with God.

Just like Moses told the people in Israel to be diligent to teach the words he gave them to one another, Paul tells us if we love Christ we'll be diligent to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We can't wait to dive into that in 2016, but I am thrilled that you get to dive into a moment of remembering the gift of Christmas right now. This is not a gift you don't want to stuff away in your closet in just two days. It's a gift that you don't want to ever stuff away.

It's why we gather together: to remember how great the gift is, to remind each other how to respond to him, and it's why we have true rest. I hope you've had a great Christmas. I hope this morning, just our little time together and the sheet we've given you, helps you have a great day of being diligent to love one another and diligent to tell other people about the goodness of God.

Don't miss the application on that little sheet we're giving you, where today, God wants you to take his gift of love to somebody else who maybe has forgotten why he loves them or doesn't remember that they have anything to be thankful for because they're alone today. Be the church. The reason we gather is to scatter to be effective, so wherever you are today, I pray the Spirit of God shines and lives through you.

Merry Christmas. Don't ever forget the gift of the long-expected Jesus who never disappoints if you spend time with him, abide with him, and enjoy him. Merry Christmas. Have a great day and a great week of worship until we get to be together face-to-face again.