Yesterday morning I was given the opportunity to preach at our church. I love preaching this time of year because of the diversity of the crowd and the openness to hear the truth of what Christmas means. Our church has been using Isaiah to frame our sermons through advent and walking through the names that the prophet has given the child: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Yesterday, I was asked to unpack Everlasting Father and spoke about how he is our protector, our provider, and gives us our pedigree.
As I was preparing for my sermon, I was thinking back to my days serving in a church full-time during the Christmas season. I was thinking about the swell of activity during this time of year, the busyness, and all the details that had to be done. While I am one who loves to be busy and loves to be running, I also know that if I don't pause and truly drink in the wonder of this time of year, my soul will pay the price. I doubt I am the only one.
So, this week, as we head into Christmas Eve, the many services and celebrations, my prayer for you is four-fold:
- I pray that you will know that our God is your protector... that he is actively at work protecting you against that member who is still upset about COVID, against the person irritated about meeting or not meeting on Christmas Day, and those that think your sermons are too academic or not academic enough. He is ferocious when you need defending and tender when you need nurturing.
- I pray that you will know that our God is your provider... in times of plenty and times of need, he is working to give you what you need and wants to see you thrive. He is at work in you and through you, even on the days that you don't see it.
- I pray that you will know that our God has given you a pedigree... that you recognize that you are a child of the King, that you have been made new, and that he has done a great work in you and given you a great calling.
- I pray that you will have a chance to revel in the wonder of Christmas... that you will set aside some time for you to truly soak in all that Christ has done for you, all that he is doing, and all that he is about to do. Celebrate with your congregation, celebrate with your family, but please don't forget to celebrate with yourself.
I am so grateful for the work that you are doing. Thank you for the long hours, the tears shed for your congregation, the nights away from your family, and the sacrifices that you have made for the sake of the Gospel. All of us at Chemistry are praying for you this week and throughout the year.
We love you, we are grateful for you, and we are cheering for you.
Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in Orlando, with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.