The emperor and the innkeeper both played their part in God's plan without knowing it. The emperor's edict brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem in fulfillment of prophecy (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6). And the innkeeper, by reason of overcrowding in the town, ensured that the Savior of the world was born appropriately not in a palace but a stable, not in splendor but in obscurity and poverty.
"Virgin birth" is a misleading expression, suggesting that there was something unusual about Jesus's birth, whereas his birth was entirely normal and natural. It was his conception that was abnormal, indeed supernatural, for he was conceived by the operation of the Holy Spirit, without the cooperation of a human father.
"The first and most indisputable fact about the birth of Jesus," wrote Bishop John A. T. Robinson, "is that it occurred out of wedlock. The one option for which there is no evidence is that Jesus was the lawful son of Joseph and Mary. The only choice open to us is between a virgin birth and an illegitimate birth."
To me the humility and courage of Mary in submitting to the virgin birth stand out in contrast to the attitudes of the critics who deny it. She surrendered her reputation to God's will. For us too what matters is that we allow God to be God and to do things his way, even if with Mary we thereby risk losing our good name.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Ray Griener, Me, Michael Fry
Today I visited All Saint's Anglican Church in Peachtree City as their new bishop. This congregation has stood strong for the Gospel of Jesus and Biblical Truth. They sacrificed much for the integrity of the Christian Faith and it was truly an honor to be with them. The congregation has numerous folks who are committed to serving our Lord through intercessory prayer and it is observance in the atmosphere of their worship. Jesus said that those who worship him should worship in spirit and in truth. All Saints does both well.
The rector, Michael Fry, has served in the formation of the new diocese and is the current president of the Standing Committee. He is a man of deep devotion to our Lord who practices a love for the reading and study of the Scripture.
I preached on Matthew 11:2f a sermon entitled, Is Jesus the Messiah, based on John the Baptist's question in 11:3. To hear this sermon go to http://www.holycrosspodcasts.org/C1-media;show,56.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised! (Ps.48)
Posted by Foley Beach at 11:28 PM
Saturday, December 11, 2010
"We need to be constantly looking harder at the God of the Bible. Otherwise we shall discover that gradually the picture we have of him gets domesticated, whittled down to something we can live with. And gods that we live with comfortably are idols."
Posted by Foley Beach at 10:30 AM
Friday, December 10, 2010
John Stott offers six principles of leadership based on the account of Nehemiah and his leadership in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (The Book of Nehemiah). Simply said, they are:
1) The Christian leader has a clear vision. One might say that apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable, whereas leadership begins with a decisive refusal to do so. How can tolerate what God finds intolerable?
2) The Christian leader feels deeply about his vision. (2:17)
3) The Christian leader seeks support from both God and human beings. (2:4-5)
4) The Christian leader develops a realistic plan. Dreamers have to become thinkers, planners, and workers. People of vision need to become people of action.
5) The Christian leader attracts a following. The leader takes the initiative, but he persuades others to join him... The authentic leader, however, inspires people to follow his lead, for he sees his task as a cooperative enterprise.
6) The Christian leader refuses to be discouraged. Once the work of God begins, opposition can be expected. The forces of reaction muster, and hostility comes out in the open. Indeed, discouragement is the chief occupational hazard of a leader.... But the true leader refuses to give in. He or she perseveres.
Posted by Foley Beach at 10:08 AM
Saturday, December 4, 2010
We had a men's workday at the church this morning clearing out the undergrowth in the woods in front of our building. It was a great time of work as well as fellowship. With all the chainsaws and clippers, it did not take much time to get the work done -- nothing like a man and his chainsaw!!!
Our Church Warden, Rick Pruitt, and me at our Brotherhood Meeting today.
A couple of good quotes....
Posted by Foley Beach at 9:15 PM