His Story, Our Story

January 15, 2019 | John Freedman

Long ago, on the Judean hills surrounding the city of Bethlehem, a small group of blue-collar laborers were on the night shift. Conscientious, curious and honest, they believed in God and hoped for the soon coming deliverer of Israel. On this night, God granted them the privilege of being a part of the most important story in the universe.

God first sent them a message: “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10–11).

The message is inclusive — “for all people.” No one is excluded. All humanity is included — no matter who you are, where you live or what you have done. A Savior is born for all people. He is not born for Himself, nor just for Israel. A Savior is born for all people — good and bad, rich and poor, young and old.

The message is personal, “to you.” A Savior has been given as a gift from God to you. Wrap your minds around that for a moment. The Savior, who is Christ the Lord, has come to forgive your sin, deliver you from the power of sin and recreate His character of love in you. Because it’s personal, you have a choice to make. You must decide for yourself what to do with the Savior born for you.

Check it out. See if it is true. Open your mind and heart to the possibility. Seek a personal relationship with your Savior. He was born for you and will live in you through the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes in peace for He is the Prince of Peace.  

Only in finding peace with God are we able to find true peace with each other. Whenever church members turn their focus from Jesus to other issues, the evil one quickly sows seeds of discord and discouragement. Unity, even in the church, cannot exist without a complete surrender to Christ. It cannot happen unless His people receive the anointing of His Spirit.

The gift of His Spirit has never been more important than now. Our church is filled with flawed people — you, me and host of others. We cannot consistently share our Lord’s message or fulfill His mission without allowing His Spirit to change us into His image. No human efforts to bring unity among us will succeed, unless we have each made Jesus the primary focus of our life.

Many of our members throughout the Northwest have intensely followed some of the recent dialogue over unity and compliance throughout the world church. You may be troubled about how our church will truly bring differing groups of people together in common mission, when we disagree on the fundamental nature of our church governance. I share your concern.

But, as prayerful discussion continues, let me assure you of several constants throughout the North Pacific Union Conference: 1) We will recognize Jesus as our Captain and look to Him to chart a course through the wind and the waves; 2) we will focus beyond human politics and policies to share the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness with our communities; 3) we will support our local conferences, churches and members in brightening the corners where they are in the Pacific Northwest with the light of Jesus’ love; and 4) we will promote additional avenues for young men and women to grow into leadership roles for our church.

Jesus was born in one of the darkest times of human history. He left heaven because imperfect people like us needed a Savior. And now, here we are at the end of 2018, waiting for Jesus to come again as the darkness of this world thickens. Like that small group of Judean laborers, we too can enter the greatest story in the universe. Let’s not get distracted from His story. This Christmas season, point your family and friends to Jesus, the Prince of peace, the Light of the world!