Society of Saint Dismas
Christmas Eve Message - Fr. Charles Brown PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:59

The First Christmas
A Message for Today
Son Wait on This Day since Dec 26 Last Year - December 24, 2013

I. If you like history as a student you would really appreciate Luke’s rendition of the record of Jesus Birth. It’s told as an historian would relate it, he cites, date, place, and circumstances. It is an earthly event which came straight out of heaven.

II. All of the scriptures you heard tonight speak for themselves however, I would like to take this “First Christmas” and relate it to a message for today.
A. I would like you to use your imagination in an effort to receive a fresh revelation of meaning of this message for you today (Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and tomorrow).
1. For over 2 thousand years this message has changed the lives of countless people all over the world.
B.   Tonight we are going to reveal things concerning this moment, events that might not have paid much attention to.
 1. I need you to use your imagination and focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
C.     God had a plan that He designed long before the foundation of this world.
1. God had a plan for your life long before you ever existed.
2. Deacon John once said if you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plan for your life.

III.    Jesus’ birth was planned many years before He was born.
A.    The timing of the birth of Christ was prophesied over 600 years ago before His birth by the prophet Isaiah – Isaiah 9:6, 7 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
1. First, God had to find two people who would agree with the plan (Joseph and Mary).
B. God is a visionary. He says in His scripture Isaiah 46: 9, 10 - Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’
2. God calls those things that are not as though they are.
3. God never gives us the exact time when events and things happen because He wants us to wait on His timing. “In due season if we faint not”.
4. The birth of Christ was the right season, the right time in the right place.
IV. The decree of Caesar Augustus went out that the entire   Roman world should be taxed.
A. A census had to be taken at each person ancestral home.
1. God uses Augustus decree as part of His plan.
2. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem because Joseph was a descendent of King David whose home had been Bethlehem.
3.  Jesus was the fulfillment of prophesy in the book of Micah 5:2 – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clan of Judah,
out of you will come for me  one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
4. Finding the right earthly parents, from the right linage and someone who would obey and be humble enough to believe in God’s plan.
B. Mary was pregnant and in labor and in order to get to the destination, she had to ride on a donkey, not an SUV, or a Lincoln, to travel many miles to Bethlehem.
1.  They didn’t have time to reserve a room at Holiday Inn, or check in the local hospital.
2.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her First born, a Son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
C. Where you are now shapes how God is experience
1.  The important message of Christmas is even when things don’t go as planned. “God arrives”, “He is on the scene”. He said “He will never leave us nor ever forsake us”.
2.  Even if things did not go as planned, new life breaks forth. God’s work arrives in the midst of adversities, difficulties, and fears.
3.  The First Christmas was scary for Joseph and Mary. If the Son of God can arrive in such circumstances, so can truth, so can joy. Hope: peace; joy: love.

V.    Now the shepherd was not expecting all of this, they too were frightened until they experienced Jesus, the Child Jesus. The scripture said “the shepherd returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
1. Again it is important to remind ourselves how God shows up even in small and ordinary ways
2. God appeared as an infant. God says “do not be afraid”.
3. Notice the Angel does not simply say “Christ is born but for you “He is born” “for us”
B.  I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the shepherd.
1. Shepherds are paramount to today’s people, who are despised.
2.  God the creator of the universe was born in a barn and slept in a feeding stall for animals. The question is why?
3.  I believe the Christmas message is clear that there is nothing too hard for God; that access to God is a level field “all is welcome” no matter what you are facing. Homeless, down and out, sickness. “He is tempted in every way as us, yet He was without sin.”
C. Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for a census registration.
1. He had to obey the rulers and the laws of the day (We too, must obey the laws of our day).
2. On Christmas Eve many know what it’s like to leave home and return to the town or the family of their birth.
3. Some of us undertake the journey from home with trepidation, others with joy. Some out of obligation, some by choice, but not many would go if your wife was expecting.
4. Mary and Joseph undertook the journey in the midst of life’s greatest challenges.
5. Remember, God has you in the right place to unfold His plan for your life.

God has a plan for your life but He can’t move you to the next level until you joyfully accept where you are now, as part of that plan.

James 1:2-4 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Romans 8:26 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.



Bill Glass Ministries visites the Orlando Bridge PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 16 December 2013 10:41

On Friday, December 6, Bill Glass Ministries visited the Orlando Bridge Work Release and Non-Secure sites. The ministry, which has been around for over 30 years, visits prisons all over the world to share the good news of the Gospel Jesus Christ.
There were about 150 people attending the event, including counselors and bikers. Duche Bradley and Jack Murphy gave their testimony about their life change when they accepted Christ  and delivered very inspirational messages.
On that day, 25 people accepted Christ for the first time and 47 re-dedicated their lives to Christ. It was a big inspiration for our clients who are now coming to Church services more often as well as to faith-related programs that we offer.

Sheila Raye Robinson Visits Bradenton PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 14:48


This event was sponsored by Bridges of America Chaplaincy Services. We are so thankful for Ms. Sheila Raye Charles (daughter of Ray Charles) and her ministry. This is the second time she has visited the Bradenton Bridge to share her testimony! She struggled with drug addiction for 20 years and served three prison terms, but through the Grace of God she was restored and reunited with her children. What a powerful story!

Family Promise of Sarasota’s Cardboard Box City Event PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 21 October 2013 15:51


Bradenton Bridge Chaplain Sharon Burke participated in Family Promise of Sarasota’s Cardboard Box City event on October 12.  The women at the Bridge designed Chaplain Burke’s home – a cardboard box - that she slept in overnight.  This event raises awareness of family homelessness in Manatee county.  With the help of Bridges staff, family, and friends, Chaplain Burke raised $450 for Family Promise, a nonprofit in Sarasota that assists homeless families to regain their independence.

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