The Light of Christmas PT. 1 | A Light in the Dark

Christmas Reminds Us That Jesus Is The Light In The Dark World.

Tim Lundy
Dec 6, 2020    46m
Have you ever wondered why we decorate with lights at Christmas time? The message teaches us that the lights we put up at Christmas are a symbol to remind us that Jesus is the light in a dark world. He brought the love of the Father and came to light up the darkness and to ease our fears, loneliness, and anxiety. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Well venture as we start this Christmas season, we began this week, frankly, with the setback. We had to cancel our Winter Wonderland, the whole Christmas festival that we had planned for this campus. And it's in light of the fact of our County has the rising COVID cases, there's new restrictions, protocols put in place. And we understand that, we understand the reasoning behind it, but we're just disappointed because we were looking forward to reaching out to our community, providing you a place where you could come and celebrate Christmas.

Tim Lundy: 00:42 Now we're not doing the Winter Wonderland, but we are still reaching out. and that's where we need your help. If you remember, I told you last week, we were going to have gift boxes that we give out to not only our church family, but also the community. And we've got all those boxes. in fact, we ordered 4,000 of them. You see one here, I love the way they've turned out, we've put them together as a church staff. And in the box, you'll see the front of it, it invites people to our Christmas Eve program. And then inside the box, you can see another invitation, some candy, some wrapping. And the key component is, this is the gift, the candle, and this goes with the Christmas Eve service. You know, one of my favorite things we do as a church, is when we gather here and we have the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. We can't do that this year, but we can provide a digital Christmas Eve service. And so on Christmas Eve, that whole day, all day, any family, any group, any person will have the ability to live stream the service and engage with us, and we'll tell them about the light of Christmas.

Tim Lundy: 01:50 And a key part of the service, instead of lighting candles here together as a church family, we'll be able to light candles all throughout our community. And so you're going to need one of these gift boxes, you're going to want one of these candle., But we don't want you to just take one for your home, we want you to take as many as you like, as long as you give them away. Guys, this is one of the easiest ways to invite people, to engage in the service. If you would take this gift box, we're going to take several with the Lundy family, and we're going to put gift cards in them. And then we'll just go and have it, it's already wrapped up there, and give it to our neighbors, and give it to friends that we have invited to Venture over the years. And through that simple gift, we're able to invite them to come and engage the service. And so I want to encourage you, you need to sign up, you can see on the screen there And as you see there, if you'll go there, take a picture of it right now with your phone or write that down. But you need to go there and look how you can get a gift box. Some of you, if you want us to come and deliver, we'll deliver them to you. You can sign up for it there.

Tim Lundy: 03:05 One of the best ways you can do, and this is also a way you can engage with us as we're helping our community. Is this coming Saturday and Sunday from one to four o'clock December 12th and 13th, one to four, we're going to have a drive-through pickup here on the campus, and you can drive through and pick up as many of these boxes as you want. And when you come, would you do this also, we're also doing a toy drive. We're partnering with city team, and the city team is partnering with a lot of the families in our community who don't have the resources right now to buy their children's toys for Christmas. And so we're going to collect as many toys as we can at the toy drive, and then we'll give them to city team. And what I love about it is they're going to give the toys to the parents, so the parents can have the joy of giving the gifts to their kids. And I think it's a great way for us to tangibly share the love of Christ. So December 12th or 13th, from one to four o'clock plan on coming into church campus, dropping off toys, and picking up several gift boxes. Guys, this is not the season we would have planned, certainly not the way we wanted to celebrate. But you know I believe God's in control, and I think he can use simple tools like this, in a time period when people need to hear about Jesus.

Tim Lundy: 04:32 So will you partner with us? Will you come and pick them up, or will you let us know, we'll drop them off at your house. Will you donate toys? Will you partner with the families? We've got many families that we're partnering through our COVID fund, and we're linking them up with life groups. We're looking for every way possible that while we can't do some of the normal activities we would do, we can be active in our community, sharing the light of Christ.

Tim Lundy: 05:00 In fact, that's what this whole series is about, t's about the light of Christmas. And to that end, would you pray with me, and let's just lift up this message. Father, I do thank you that you're in control. I thank you that in this COVID Christmas time, when so many things are not like we'd want them to be, we can still look to you. And you've given us a unique opportunity to share with people who need you desperately right now, Lord, I pray you'd mobilize Venture, would you mobilize us to give away all these boxes? And with them, the invitation for people to join us on Christmas Eve. Would you mobilize us as a church, as we collect these toys, as we look with our partnership, as we help these families through the COVID fund. Mobilize us to make a faith promise commitment, Lord, I continue to lift that up before you, because I know how important it is that we give that money away next year to our missionaries, and so I pray you'd mobilize our church to respond by faith. Lord, I pray right now as we launch this series, as we think about the light of Christmas, as we think about who Christ is and what he's done. Lord, I pray, specifically, for any person who's hearing this, that they need the encouragement, they need to know that Jesus is near. They need the light of Christmas right now. And I pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Tim Lundy: 06:30 You know, as we think about Christmas time, and we think about all the things that come with it, one of the things I love, I love Christmas lights. We strung some lights at our home last week, and our neighbors all up and down the street, we put the arches out, and so that all the way down the street you see the Christmas lights. And I love the meaning of it, I love the beauty of it. You know, as I think about Christmas lights, I'm always reminded of a guy in Little Rock, Arkansas, he's passed away now, but years ago he was known for his Christmas lights. His name is Jennings Osborn, and I don't care how much you decorate your house, I can promise you, it pales in comparison to Jennings. It started in 1986, when his daughter Breezy asked him, dad, can we put lights up? And Jennings, I met him once when we lived in Little Rock, he was a larger than life guy. He was an entrepreneur, very wealthy, and so he started out that first year and he put up several thousand lights. I mean, he went all out, and he loved the response. And his little girl loved it so much, that the next year he added to it. And he started to just keep adding to it every year, so much so, he had a huge house and estate, he ended up buying the two houses next door to him, just for the Christmas lights. And he would put out millions of lights, he had a huge globe that rotated in the backyard, and on the globe, you could see Little Rock and Bethlehem were lit up with it. He had a 70 foot Christmas tree, with 80,000 lights on the tree alone. He had a light carousel out in the circular driveway that would spin, and these lights would run from dusk until midnight. And people started traveling from all over the world, news crews would come in to see it.

Tim Lundy: 08:21 Everybody loves it, except his neighbors. So many cars were blocking the driveways, that the neighbors, it would take them a couple of hours just to get out of the neighborhood. And so they took him to court, and they sued to have it limited or stopped. And Jennings was not the kind of person that took that lightly, so when they took him to court, his response was he added 3 million lights to the display. And it was so bright, you could see it from space. And finally, the case went to the Arkansas Supreme court. He tried to take it to the, ultimately to the U S Supreme court, and they wouldn't listen to it. But he was shut down, but his lights weren't, because he had such a name for himself that the Walt Disney Corporation, they showed up and they purchased the whole display, and they moved it down to Disney world, and it became a permanent fixture there. I mean, you think about it, and I'd encourage you, you can go online and see. Just type in the name Jennings, Osborne, just this amazing display light.

Tim Lundy: 09:29 We love light, we love Christmas lights, we loved the joy of it. And as I was thinking about Christmas themes, you know, I was thinking about the different stories and parts of Christmas. One of the great themes I love of the Bible, especially when it talks about the coming of Jesus, is that he is the Light of the World. He's the light that we need. And I was thinking about this year, if that was ever a year we need light, that we need a light at Christmas time, it's now. Let's be honest, it's been a dark year, and even as we go into Christmas, there's certain parts of it that feel even darker. It's not like we want it, we can't celebrate in the ways we'd like, we can't be with the people we want to be. And in a lot of ways, and especially emotionally, there's a lot of people right now that you're struggling with that, and we need the light of Christmas.

Tim Lundy: 10:33 You know, there's a passage, and it's a Christmas passage, even though it was written hundreds of years before Jesus came, that begins this theme of Christ being the light of Christmas, of Jesus being able to bring a special light into life. And is that say that, maybe you're listening to this and you've not been a part of church, maybe you haven't really celebrated Christmas in this way. Maybe you don't even know why you're watching this, other than there's something in you, that you know you need something different this year. You know, you're looking for some hope. And I love this passage because it was written to the people back in the prophet Isaiah's time, about 700 years before Jesus ever even came. And they were a people going through a dark time, too, they were in a country that was full of turmoil, they had really bad leadership, they had enemies around them, they didn't know who they could trust. There's all these world events that were playing out, they had a lousy king.

Tim Lundy: 11:37 And in the middle of this hopelessness, the prophet Isaiah makes this promise to these people, look how he describes them. He says, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." I love the juxtaposition of those two, because I could feel that. He's writing to them, but not just to them, he's talking about anybody that's living in darkness. He says, there's this new hope that's coming, there's this new light that's coming, there's a light that has dawned. And when you're in darkness, man, you long for light. Let's be honest, we don't do real well with darkness. In fact, I was thinking about what are some of the normal emotional responses? What are some of the ways that we respond, when you're in the dark? And I'm talking about physically, but also in the season of darkness. You know, kind of three things stood out to me.

Tim Lundy: 12:46 The first thing, when you think about people in the dark, we're often afraid. We're often afraid. In fact, if I were to ask you right now and you were to answer, honestly, how many of you are afraid of the dark? I am not just talking about children, obviously little kids, you know, we have nightlights, they're afraid. There's a lot of adults afraid of the dark. In fact, in surveys, 11% of adults admit to being afraid in the dark, and that means that 89% of adults are boldface liars. No, I'm not saying everybody's afraid of the dark, but there's always a little bit of fear that comes. I mean, if you've ever been that moment, when it's really dark, I'm talking about when you don't have any light outside. Or you wake up in the dark, and your senses are attuned, and suddenly you hear something, you think you feel something, and our minds start playing those tricks, don't they. Isn't it interesting, in the dark, you immediately go to something, it's got to be bad, doesn't it? I mean, when you're in the dark, you never sit there and think, I wonder if somebody's going to jump out and give me a hug. No, we don't think that way, do we? We always wonder if somebody's going to come out and attack me, is somebody's there, we immediately go to that place of fear, they go hand in hand with it

Tim Lundy: 14:12 And maybe it's not physical things, sometimes it's just the stuff in life, the things that we can't see. And if we're honest, it scares us. You know, I think I've told you before, but my kids love the story of the time that, literally, I was the most scared in my life, and it was in the dark. I was in college, and I worked on a night cleanup crew, we would clean the buildings on campus. And I worked in a building that housed the faculty offices. and it was a big building. And my job was cleaning these faculty offices, little bitty windowless offices, in the center of the building. And we work from 11 to about 1 at night, and at one o'clock we'd gather back in the lobby and the whole system is on a timer, and the breaker would shut off for the whole building. It would shut all the lights off, the only thing that would be left on were these red exit lights at the very end of the hall. And right when we were gathering as suddenly remembered, I had left some spray cleaner for the dusting in one of the profs offices, and right at that moment the lights went off. And I told the supervisor said, oh no, I left the cleaner in so-and-so's office, I remember the exact office I'd left it in. And he said, well, you need to go get it, it can't be there till morning. And he said, do you want me to turn the breakers back on? I said, no, I know where it is, I can find my way there. And so I started down the hall, and then I got in those staircase, and the staircase was pitch black, and as I got to the top, there was a little bit of that red exit light. And then I started on that third floor hall down to that office, and as I started going into the center of the hall, so it was getting darker and darker, and it was just that strange feeling. I thought, you know, I probably should have told him to turn the breaker on.

Tim Lundy: 15:58 Now, here's what I didn't know at the time, as soon as I went that direction, a friend of mine went to another stairwell as fast as he could. He took another master key with him, ran up the stairs, and was waiting in that office. So here I am walking down the dark hallway, and I'm already kind of having those thoughts of like, this is a little strange, feels spooky, I felt like it was in the middle of a movie. And I get to the office, I can barely see enough to be able to get the key in, and I opened the door and it is pitch black in there. And then I start reaching on the desk, because I knew the cleaner was right there. And as soon as I put my hand on the cleaner, suddenly I just felt it, something's not right in here. And in that moment, he played it as well as you possibly could. In that moment, all he did is he leaned in, in the darkness, and he said my name, Tim. And I screamed, I screamed like a little girl, I screamed. I mean, I screamed, I hit my hand on the cleaner and it scared me so much. I threw the cleaner and it went through a ceiling tile, went up into the ceiling. I mean, he had me dead to rights, I don't think I've ever been that scared in my life. Because in the dark there, I mean, you can't see it. And then to hear my own name, I thought it was a Grim Reaper. I know a lot of you younger people are like, why didn't you just take out your cell phone, why didn't you pull out the flashlight on that? There were no such thing as cell phones, okay, we had to be brave people back then, even if you didn't feel like it.

Tim Lundy: 17:40 See, in the dark, it's easy to be afraid. And I think in the darkness of what we're feeling now, more than just a jump scare, I think there's a lot of people afraid. We're afraid because we don't know what's next. We're afraid because we can't see. We're afraid because we've been in this a long time. We're afraid because we don't feel in control. It's easy for people in the dark to feel afraid.

Tim Lundy: 18:14 You know, another thing you feel in the dark, is you often feel alone. Isn't it interesting how loneliness really comes in deep at night, when the darkness is around, when the world's quiet. And guys, we've been struggling with loneliness as a culture before this pandemic ever started. Loneliness has been one of the greatest health threats that are out there. In fact, I was reading an article from a year ago, written right before the pandemic. And Psychologist Shara Nyman, she points out this, she says, "Loneliness is perhaps the greatest of human aches, it thwarts our fundamental urge for connection. Even as infants, we look into the eyes of our parents to seek the reassurance of their mirroring gaze. In our early lives, the security of our attachments with our caregivers, help shape the degree of confidence with which we'll move through the world. And the unique gift, and beauty, and complexity, of language, is most priceless, because it allows us to share each other's delights, burdens and amazement. I mean, and at a core level we're looking for others, at a core level we want to engage with others, but the reality is as a society we're getting lonelier.

Tim Lundy: 19:43 And some of the core things that would draw us together, you know, researchers would say, churches, one of the reasons churches are so fundamental, is it gives you that fundamental place to belong, a fundamental place where people look after you, a fundamental place where you can serve others and you have purpose. And as they list those core, it's churches, and civic organizations, and rotary clubs, and things that people were involved in, people aren't engaged anymore. And then you had a pandemic, and you feel that disconnection. And then you go into a Christmas season, which is built around social gatherings, and the Christmas parties, and the family dinners, and so many of the things we don't even know if we can do. Some of you that have been alone for a long time, you haven't seen your friends face to face, you haven't held your grandchildren. My heart breaks for those who are in hospitals or assisted living, and the feel the aloneness. See when it's dark, you feel it that much more.

Tim Lundy: 21:03 There's one final thing it's saying, we feel anxious. We feel anxious, even the best of us. Maybe you're not afraid. Maybe you go, you know, I'm not struggling with loneliness. But you know, everybody I talk to right now, there's a certain level of anxiety, it's almost like white noise, it kind of bears down on you. And some, you feel it because you're anxious economically, man, you're feeling the weight of it. Some of the anxiety work-wise, some of the anxiety of just not knowing, and that anxiety can build at a level. And especially for young people, you know, since COVID has begun, anxiety has doubled. All the rates of anxiety, for young people in particular, who are trying to process this all.

Tim Lundy: 21:59 So as we look at people in the dark, afraid, alone, and anxious, again, I go back to that promise of Isaiah. He's writing to people in the dark, he's writing to a country going through a hard time, he's writing to people who desperately needed hope. And you know what he said? He said, here's the hope, the light is coming into the world. And that light he's talking about, is Jesus, specifically, it's Jesus. How do I know that? Because he tells us a few verses later, he describes it exactly. He says, "For to us, a child is born." He said, this is not just general light, it's not the idea of light, it's not some cosmic light, it's actually personal light. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders." He's talking about the baby that would be born in the manger on Christmas, he's the light that dark people need.

Tim Lundy: 23:05 And then he describes some of the titles, some of the characteristics, of it. And as he went through them, and as I was reading them, I realized he brings in his light, everything we need because we're struggling in the dark. Look at the first thing, "He's the one who will be called wonderful counselor." And, and in the Hebrew, that literally means a wonder of a counselor, it's a counselor like no other. It's the kind of counselor who's always right, because he knows what's coming, he knows what's around the bed, he'll never steer you wrong. And as I think about it, for people who are struggling with fear, you know, one of the things that stokes the fear is, I don't know who to listen to, you don't know who you can trust, even the experts on it.

Tim Lundy: 24:00 Let's take a simple topic, it should be pretty straightforward, let's take something like masks. I've got these awesome masks here, and these were made by a member of our body, Nancy, I appreciate it. And I got my Shark's mask here, and a Warrior's mask, and one of my favorites, the World Series Champion Dodger's mask there. I won't start a fight with that one. But with masks, I mean, even if you looked at the experts. And right now, let me ask you, and I want you to answer aloud wherever you are. Should we wear masks? Say, yes or no. Now, many of you right now, you immediately said wholeheartedly, yes we should wear mask, we are trying to curb this pandemic. Many of you as well, you immediately said, no, we should not wear mask. And both sides have experts, and you have studies, and you have...And trust me, you've sent them to me, I've read them, I'm not reading them anymore. I'm not bringing this up because I want to start the mask debate, I just want to point out something that should be pretty simple and straightforward, we can't even agree on that, and we have different experts on both sides of it.

Tim Lundy: 25:20 Now, as I say that, I will wear a mask. When I go out in public, when we're in the office, anytime, I wear a mask. Here's why I wear a mask. One, I do believe that it does help curb this, maybe I'm wrong in that, but I believe that, I believe it helps. But even if it didn't help, here's what I do know, that if I don't wear a mask, people who do believe it, they're going to feel anxious around me, I'm going to add to their anxiety, I'm going to add to their anger. So one of the simplest ways I can serve all people, is to wear a mask. So that's why I wear a mask.

Tim Lundy: 25:58 Now I don't bring all this up to have the mask debate here. I bring it up, because it's just one topic that we're grappling with, and in it, you have all this information. And you look at it, and do you ever have days where you just go, I don't know who to trust, I don't know who to listen to in it. Wouldn't it be great that you knew you had a counselor you could trust no matter what, and he never steers you wrong. Guys, I've had a lot of counselors in my life. I can think back at guidance counselors, personal counselors, consultants I've brought in, business counselors, there's a lot of people I regret listening to. And it wasn't their fault, they were doing the best they could, they just couldn't see in the future. In fact, do you know the person I regret listening to the most, is me. I have given myself some bad counsel over the years, not because I was trying to sabotage me, I just couldn't see.

Tim Lundy: 27:03 Here's what I love about Jesus, and here's what I can tell you unequivocally. Maybe you've never had a relationship with him, maybe you've never looked to him in this way, you need to hear me on this, I have never ever regretted listening to Jesus, I've never regretted doing what he tells me to do. I haven't always liked it, sometimes it really cuts across what I would like to do, but I never have regretted it. Because he gives me counsel about the things that really matter the most. Now, the Bible is not some guidebook that tells you about mask and other things. But all through it, here's what you'll find, you'll find the truth about the things that matter to your soul, you'll find the truth about the things that matter to your family, you'll find the truth that matters to the things that matter how you do work, and how you live your life, and how you conduct yourself, and how you build a character, and how you have a relationship with God, and how you know that you have eternity with him. And I promise you this, he's a wonderful counselor, he never steers you wrong. Because if you're in the dark, it's one thing to have someone counsel you to tell you what to do, it's another thing to actually have someone who can help you do it.

Tim Lundy: 28:29 That's why I love the next term that he uses here. Look at it, he says, he's not just a wonderful counselor, he's a Mighty God. The translation in the Hebrew, actually, he's a mighty warrior, El Gibbor is the Hebrew word. He's a warrior, he's the Victor, he's the one who overcomes. And really the stress of this is, he's stronger than anybody else, he’s bigger than anybody else, he's badder than anybody else. He is the bad, bad Leroy Brown of the Universe, and nobody can stand up to him. And I think sometimes we forget that at Christmas, because he was humble enough to come as a baby. He was humble enough to come in such a frail, vulnerable form, that you don't realize when he showed up on the scene, no, he's not just any baby, he's a mighty warrior.

Tim Lundy: 29:18 In fact, if you read through the stories about him. I love Mark in Mark chapters 4 and 5, two of my favorite chapters, because in it, Jesus is just a mighty warrior in it. He faces this storm on the sea, and he stands up to nature, and he calms it in a moments notice. He steps out on the sea shore, and a guy runs up to him, filled with demons, and he makes the demons afraid. There's a woman who's had a disease her whole life, and he cures her like that. There's a little girl who's actually dead, and he raises her from the dead. I mean, kind of in one chapter, you go, yeah, he's the El Gibbor. He's the one who can show up. He's the one who can do it.

Tim Lundy: 29:57 And I love, for me, I love the Book of Revelation. Revelation, for me, is the ultimate smack-talk. I'm not talking about trash-talk, but smack-talk, when somebody can claim their shot, where somebody can say what they're going to do. I love Michael Jordan, he was like the king of smack-talk, he would tell him exactly what he was going to do. Or Larry Bird, I remember back in 1989 at the NBA all-star game, they have a three point contest. And Larry showed up in 1989, he looked at the other competitors, and the first thing he said to him was, he said, so which of you guys are going to come in second? I mean, he was calling his shot right there, I'm winning this thing, and he won.

Tim Lundy: 30:37 And here's what I'd encourage you, if you read through the Book of Revelation, the end of Revelation, Jesus is just declaring what he's going to do. He's writing history in advance, and he says, I'm coming back again one day, and when I come back, I'm coming with my army. And all the forces that stand against me, boom, I'm going to take care of them. And the world leaders that stand up to me, the Anti-Christ, I'm going to take care of them. Satan, himself, I'm going to cast him in the Lake of Fire. Death, itself, I will cast it out forever. He's calling his shot in advance, and why can't he do it? Because he's the El Gibbor, he's the Mighty Warrior. And he so powerful that he can write it out, and Satan and all the enemies, they can read it. He doesn't care, read it, you can't stop it, it's what I'm going to do.

Tim Lundy: 31:36 And I've got to tell you for people who live in times of darkness, when you get afraid, and you don't know what to do, to have a Wonderful Counselor, who always tells you the right thing, who is also a Mighty Warrior, who has the power to back it up. See, here's what he does for us, he overcomes our fears because he knows what to do, and he has the power to do it. He knows what to do, and he has the power to do it. And some of you, this Christmas season, right now, you are grappling with new fears, you're grappling with old fears. I'd encourage you, look to him, he knows, he can, he will. And that's why when Paul writes, he says, "If God is for us, who or what can stand against us?"

Tim Lundy: 32:40 It's not only that, look at it, what about our loneliness? Look at this next line, he's Everlasting Father. He's Everlasting Father, he's the Father from all eternity. We know the Father's love because of Jesus, he loves us like a dad. And this is a really a unique line, because I would just say, I think there are few things more powerful than a father's love, there's few things more powerful than a father's blessing, there's few things in our life that we long for more. And I know I feel it in my life, my dad died when I was six years old, and I remember years of longing for that. I mean, even as an adult, now, I've got to tell you, there's times that I go, man, I'd love to have a dad to process this with, to be able to talk to. I work with men's ministry, I teach Better Man, and I've worked with men for years. And I'm telling you there's few themes that go as deep, it's often that father wound, or is that longing for him. You see it with athletes. I was noticing, I watch the show chopped a lot on the cooking channel, you know, that cooking competition. And it's always surprising to me. How many times they'll ask the contestants, why are you here? And if you listen for it, you'll often hear, I'm here because I want to make my dad proud. I'm here because I want to prove something to my dad. You walk into a prison, walk in there today, and ask how many of them grew up without dads, and almost every hand will go up. You listen to music, you watch movies, you'll see how deep this theme is. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus comes into the world, as this Light of the World, one of the things he brings is the love of the Father. It's the love of a Good Father., and he meets us in that.

Tim Lundy: 34:45 See, I think one of the ways that he meets us in our loneliness is with the love of a Dad. And some of you, you need to feel that, you need to feel the love and blessing of a father. And not just any father, a forgiving father, a gracious father. Because if we're honest, a lot of times the darkness we live in, is the darkness we created. And there's few times that are more lonely than when we're lonely in our shame, and we have this concept of God that he shows up to shame us more, that he shows up to point out what we did wrong. And some of you, maybe you have some wounds from your dad, where that's the only voice you hear. Let me tell you, that's not our Savior, that's not our Heavenly Father.

Tim Lundy: 35:45 You know, writer Shea Serrano, he gives a great story, a picture of the kind of dad you'd want to have. Shea was driving home, and right when was he's getting off the interstate on the ramp there, his car stopped, just shuttered and stopped. He got it over to the side, and he opened the hood and looked underneath, he didn't know what to do with it, he's a writer, he wasn't a mechanic. So he called a tow truck, they took it to his house, put it in his driveway. And he called his dad, he was trying to describe it to his dad. And his dad said, look, Shea, after work tomorrow, I'll come and I'll look at it. And he knew what that statement meant, because his dad was a bus driver, and so his dad would drive a 10 hour shift, and his dad lived 215 miles away. And the next day his dad drove his shift, as soon as it was over three hours later, he was knocking on Shea's door. He said, hey, let's look at this car. And he went out there, he took his toolbox out, he opened the hood. He looked at it for about 15 seconds, he shut it, and he started to pack up. And Shea said, is something wrong? Do we not have the right parts? And he said, no, Shea, it's just out of gas, that's all this wrong. Here's the interesting part of the story, his dad went in and had dinner with Shea, and then he got in the car and he drove the 215 miles home because he had to go to work the next day. And s Shea sat there and he thought, how could I be so stupid? He said, his dad never brought it up one time, his dad never condemned him, never said anything derogatory about it. In fact, as he was writing these words, nine years later, he said, my dad has never brought it up because he loves me and he's for me.

Tim Lundy: 37:44 When Jesus describes the kind of love of the Father in the Bible, especially for sinful people, especially for people who blew it...You know, the most powerful story he uses is of a prodigal son, who when finally decides he's tired of being alone and he goes home. He finds a dad who's been looking for him, who runs to meet him, who throws his arms around him. Now, I think some of you need to experience that love this season, that maybe you're separated from some of the people you love, maybe you're in a dark place because of your choices. When the Light of the World came, he came with the love of an Everlasting Father. And because he came, you can experience that too.

Tim Lundy: 38:48 There's a final term here, and I love this, he's the Prince of Peace. He's the Prince of Peace. He came to bring peace to the world, it's what the angels cried out at the very beginning. When they told the shepherds, because he's been born, what did they say? Peace on earth. And here's what they meant, you finally can have peace with God, you finally can have peace with each other, you can finally have peace with yourself, because no one brings peace like Jesus brings peace. And I've got to tell you, as people who are going through a dark time right now, as people who are dealing with anxiety that is off the charts, do you know what I love? I love this is what he does for us, you can see it in this next phrase, he calms our anxiety with his perfect peace. He calms our anxiety with his perfect peace.

Tim Lundy: 39:40 You know, anytime I teach on that, I'm always asked, people go, yeah, but what if I have clinical anxiety? What if I'm seeing a counselor? What if I need to take drugs? Hear me, I'm not against any of those things, and Jesus isn't either, by the way. I think Jesus would go, hey, I'm thankful we have medicine to help. There are physical issues that require medication. There are emotional issues that require therapy, and counseling, and all that. God is for that, so take advantage of it. But hear me, hear me, there are physical issues, there's emotional issues, but there's always spiritual issues. And there's something spiritually only Jesus can do, and don't pursue the one without embracing what he also provides, that he's the Prince of Peace, and he wants you to have peace at a spiritual level. He wants you to have peace with God, and I think as you experience that peace, it actually helps with the other parts of it, I think all of us long for that Now peace doesn't mean that the problems go away, peace does not mean that trouble goes away. In fact, it's been said, peace is not the absence of trouble, it's just the presence of Christ.

Tim Lundy: 41:06 That's why I always, I love this verse, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” You know, for a long time in my life, especially when I was younger, I didn't really believe this, I thought trouble was the exception. I didn't realize when Jesus said in this world you'll have trouble, and I've come to realize, you know, every day has trouble of its own. And so instead of getting so upset every day when I face some kind of trouble, do you know what I tell myself, I just kind of go, oh, there it is, glad I found it today, I knew it was out there somewhere. It's good to go ahead and identify, because this trouble, whether it's here or not, is not the source of my peace, Jesus is. And this trouble, if it's in my life, God's going to use it in my life because he's overcome it, and he's overcome every enemy. In fact, I've read the end of the story, he's called his shot, he told them what he's going to do, I know that he wins. My peace is in him, whether this trouble is here or not.

Tim Lundy: 42:19 But then I have to make an active choice to do what Peter tells me to do in First Peter 5, he says, "Cast your anxiety on him (why) because he cares for you." Cast, you let go of it, you give it to him. You make that decision, oh, wait a second, he's God, I'm not. He's the Wonderful Counselor, he's the Mighty Warrior, he's the one that can accomplish it, I can't, so I actually have to cast, I have to throw it to him. And I love that, all of it, we're not allowed to hold onto pieces I think I'm able to accomplish, give it all to him. And why do I do that? Because he's a loving Father as well, and he loves me so much, he cares for me and he cares for you.

Tim Lundy: 43:15 Guys, as we go into this different Christmas season, there's many of you out there, you're afraid, you feel alone, or you're so anxious right now. Jesus came for you, this is what Christmas is about, that the Light actually came to the world, and he knows what to do, and he has the power to do it in your life too. He loves you like a father who wraps his arm around the prodigal who comes home. And he cares enough about you, that you can give him all that anxiety. It may show up the next day, give it to him again. It may show up the next hour, give it to him again. Sometimes I'll have days where the anxiety keeps showing up, that's not an indication that I don't love Jesus, it just an indication that I need him that much more, and so I have to cast it on him. And in that moment I cast it, not begrudgingly, I give it to him and in that moment I go, oh, I'm so thankful you love me enough that you care about this.

Tim Lundy: 44:41 Would you embrace the light this year? Would you look to Jesus like this? Over the next several weeks, we're going to talk about all the ways he shows up as a light. But my prayers that this week, as we begin this journey, you will truly embrace all that he brings.

Tim Lundy: 45:02 Let's pray. Father, I thank you. I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for Christmas. I thank you for the light that I need every day. I thank you that you are God and I am not, and you know what you're doing, and you have the power to do it, so help me to trust you in that. Lord. I thank you that you are a loving Father, not a condemning Father, not a judgmental Father, but a loving Father that I desperately need. Lord, I thank you that even today, whatever anxiety I'm carrying, whatever anxiety we feel, we can give it to you right now because you care for us. Lord, I pray for anybody that maybe they've never experienced this, maybe this is really foreign to them, would you give them enough ability to just trust you to take a baby step, a next step, to really believe that you're real, to really believe you operate like this, to put some faith in you today so that they can experience the light of Christmas. We pray this in Christ' name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032