Jesus In The Stable

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Matthew 2:9-12″

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

I want to start by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas on behalf of Diamond, Judah, Lily, and myself. Diamond and I certainly received our Christmas Gift early this year on April 22nd when our baby girl, Lily Bernice Friedel came into this world . This is truly shaping up to be the greatest Christmas ever for the Friedel Family!

As we enter into this Christmas season, we are not only celebrating santa claus. We are not celebrating the fact we get to open presents and get a day off from work, or even how we get to stuff our face full of delicious Christmas ham.  No, we are celebrating the night two thousand and eleven years ago when the Son of God became the son of man, so that the sons of man can become the Sons of God.

Most of us have heard the story of the three wise men who saw a glorious star shining in the Arabian sky. This star was so beautiful and bright and it lit up the entire sky. Boy, did these three wise men get excited and so began their famous quest to chase down their star. They started their journey with such hope, joy, and anticipation. They knew this star would lead them to their Savior. This great journey lasted for months and then those months turned into years, until finally their star led them to of all places: a dirty, smelly, and old stable.

What I love about these wise men is that just because they followed the star and it led them to a smelly place, they didn’t get discouraged and give up. They didn’t complain. They didn’t get angry.  No, they kept looking for their answer. They kept looking for Jesus and they found their prize in the most unlikely of places.

So what do you do when you follow your star and it leads you to a stable?

See, these wise men were not expecting to end up in a dirty and smelly stable. They were expecting a palace. I mean surely the Son of God would be born in a mansion with servants, golden crib, diamond pacifier, and everything a king deserves. But He wasn’t in a palace, He was in a stable.

I believe many of us can relate to this story. Maybe you are reading this letter and you started out chasing a beautiful dream. You started out following your star and you were so full of joy and hope, but along the way your star led you to a stable. It led you to this smelly, lonely, depressing place and it is not at all what you were expecting.

 

So what do you do when your star, your dream, leads you to a stable?

Maybe you had a great opportunity and you just knew you were going to succeed and get ahead in 2011, but suddenly the bottom fell out and now you’re struggling financially. You really don’t have the money to give your family the things you wish you could this Christmas.

Maybe you started off chasing a beautiful and exciting relationship. You were in love, so much promise and everyone saw an amazing future, but this Christmas for whatever reason you’re by yourself. Your marriage is broken and now you feel like you are in a stable.

Maybe that’s you and you feel like you’re at the lowest point of your life.  All you want to do is turn to that bottle or shoot up with drugs just to get through this season. Or you just want to be a victim and blame everybody else. Well, the Holy Spirit has a word for you. You need to do exactly what these wise men did. You need to look for Jesus in that stable because Jesus is in your stable. He is not just with you in your high place when you’re on top. He is not like santa claus, who just because you had a bad year is going to give you a stocking full of coal.

No, the message of Christmas is this………….

God is not simply the God of the palace, He is the God of the stable. He is the God who is still by your side, when you lost it all and you don’t have anyone that seems to care. When no one else is there for you because of your stable season, Jesus is with you.  “Lo I am with you always even until the end!”

Weak Christians only serve God in good times, but strong Christians look for Him in those bad times.

The message of Christmas is found even in His name: “Emanuel,” God with us.

He is with you right now, no matter where you are. You may be in a stable this Christmas and it feels like God has abandoned you, God is mad at you or God doesn’t love you. That’s not the voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came off His Heavenly throne to be with you in every season of your life.  If He is with you, then He is for you. If He is for you, then who can be against you?

Look for Jesus if you are in a stable this Christmas. He is there. Those wise men found their answer in that dirty, smelly stable and you will too.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Isaac

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God Wants To Redeem You, Not Exchange You!

Good morning everybody,

I pray you had a blessed weekend and are excited to see what God is going to do the rest of this year for you. If you were unable to attend this week’s Thursday Night or Sunday Morning services, you missed two very special events. We were able to bless over one hundred kids from Asbury Park and SCC with beautiful new back-packs and school supplies, and to see the smiles on the faces of these boy’s and girl’s was absolutely priceless.  (You can see the pictures athttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Jersey-Shore-Dream-Center)

One little girl, after getting her back-pack, looked inside and turned to me with her face glowing with joy and said, “Pastor Isaac everything I was praying for is in my back-pack! How did you know?” I said, “Sweetie God loves you and He will always know what you need.”

But He uses people like little old me and little old you to carry out his works!!!

God cannot carry out his master plan without you. No matter where you are, no matter what you’ve been through, God needs you! And here is the message I want to impart to you today: God more than anything else, wants to mold you into the best version of yourself! He doesn’t want to make you a different person; He doesn’t want to turn you into someone else, NO! He wants you to be the best you, you can be.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

You are not your handiwork. Your life is not your project. It wasn’t even your idea. Your life is God’s project. God thought you up, and only He knows what you were intended to be.

GOD MADE YOU TO FLURISH! In mans eyes we associate flourishing with outward signs, like income, possessions, or outward beauty. In Gods eyes, in your creator eyes flourishing is simply becoming the person He created you to be. Flourishing means becoming God’s best version of you. As you begin to grow in the Lord, sure you will change, but you will always be you.

For example, a caterpillar can grow into a butterfly, but it can never become a bumble bee. It can be a glorious butterfly or it can be a butter fly who is too scared to ever leave its comfort zone, but it can’t ever be an eagle. You will always be you, a growing, beautiful, soaring you or a languishing, insecure you. But God did not create you to be anyone else.

God never creates something and then later because it breaks down or gets beat up, then decide to throw it away or replace it. No, He creates something and then if there is a problem, He redeems it. God is in the restoration business, not the land fill business.

I heard a story of a man who had a chair his grandfather built decades and decades ago. He loved the chair so much, but it began to literally fall apart. The arms were broken, the wood was chipped, and the upholstery was worn all the way through. He finally gave up on it and sold the chair for 50 cents at a garage sale. The person who bought the chair was a master restorer.

Ironically, a few months later the man received a picture in the mail of his old beat up chair. This chair looked brand new. It was repaired, refinished, and reupholstered. It was the same chair, but on the outside it looked entirely different.

The man said, “Still to this day I keep that picture on my dresser to remind me every morning, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here!”

God wants to redeem you, not exchange you!!! So let him and become the best You, You can be!!!

Much Love,

Pastor Isaac

 

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God Loves You “JUST BECAUSE”

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

I have an announcement to make! That despite some popular belief you, me, your neighbor who kicks his dog, your uncle who drinks Jim Bean straight every night and swears like Charlie Sheen on a roller coaster, did you know we are all crafted in the image of God. Everyone who ever made it to planet Earth. Everyone from the rooter to the tooter, we are all created with god-like qualities inside of us.

In fact the belief that all people are made in the image of God has woven its way into our great countries Declaration of Independence. Which reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by THEIR CREATORwith certain inalienable rights; that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sure, in life you will find that every person has degrees or levels of talent in certain areas; such as strength, intelligence, and beauty. However, in the words of MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: “There are no degrees of the image of God!” No matter where you were born. What you have done. What you look like. GOD LOVES YOU! YOUR PICTURE IS ON HIS REFRIDGERATOR!

Let me give you a story from my childhood.

When I was tiny I had this amazing, beautiful, brand new blanket called Silky. Oh I loved Silky more than any of my other toys, blocks, or anything else in my life. For a good few years I couldn’t go to bed without Silky and I would literally never go anywhere without it. Eventually, Silky got so much love and attention it began not to look so good anymore. The material got worn out and holes started appearing. Silky did not look the same, but that didn’t at all change how much I loved Silky. I still to this day cannot sleep without it (just kidding, I’m weird but not that weird).

Here’s the point. After a while Silky wasn’t loved for its beauty. It actually got pretty ugly, but Silky was loved “Just Because.” I could never throw out Silky. I love Silky no matter what and now my son, Judah, has Silky and loves it too. Why? Because Silky has “bestowed worth!”

We all know this kind of LOVE. Maybe you have a pet, living in your home for 20 plus years, raised along with your kids. You have come to love it, not for any one reason, but “Just Because!”

Writer George MacDonald wrote many stories about princes and princesses. Later someone asked him why he always wrote about princes and princesses. He replied, “Because every girl is a princess.” The man was very confused, so MacDonald asked the man what a princess is. He replied, “the daughter of a king.”

“See,” MacDonald said, “Every little girl is a princess, because every human being is a child of the King!”

So Today I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are so loved by your heavenly Father. Not because of anything you do, not because of your resume, or your pedigree, but “JUST BECAUSE”!

Isaac Friedel

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Break On Through To The Otherside!

Enlarge the place of your tents, and let them stretch out the curtain of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and makenthebdesolate cities inhabited.”  Isaiah 54:2-3

This past week I came across one of the most interesting stories of a man named Chuck Yeager and I just had to share it with you all.

If you don’t know Chuck Yeager, he was the World War 2 hero who first broke the sound barrier. He was a true pioneer. Everybody who had tried it before would come to a certain speed, at which the plane would begin to shake so violently that it seemed as if it would literally disintegrate. Some actually did disintegrate and many pilots died. In other words, all the facts proposed that it could not be done with the current technologies of the late 1930’s. Despite all of these discouraging circumstances Yeager knew in his heart, it could be done.

When Yeager was only twenty four years old, he had trained for months and was ready to finally conquer the sound barrier. However, weeks before Yeager was supposed to try and break the sound barrier in October of 1947, he cracked two of his ribs in a horseback-riding accident. He was in extreme agony from the injury. People advised him not to go through with it and even he wondered if his body was capable of performing well enough under the stress.

Never-the-less, he got into the plane and did it. He said, “At seven hundred miles an hour, the plane began to rattle and shake uncontrollably.” Bolts were coming loose. The plane was making the most gut retching noises, but then suddenly he broke through into a “great calm.” He had done the impossible. He had broken the sound barrier and lived to tell about it.

As I read that story, I realized that is exactly how it is when we break through barriers in life. When we step out in faith and face our fears, it so often feels like everything around us starts shaking and falling apart. Every thing’s going haywire in our life. It’s scary and feels as though the whole world is falling to pieces. But that’s not an indication that you’re going to crash.

So I have to ask you, “Do you want to break barriers and break the limitations the world has already put on you?” If your answer’s yes, then you have to understand that those times of shaking will happen, and the more severe the shaking, the greater the break through!

We have to realize that the world is always going to put limitations on us. Your friends will put limitations on you. Even your own family will put limitations on you. Well let them shake, rattle, and roll all they want, because all God is looking for is someone who is willing to step into the plane, fight through all the shaking, and inevitably your breakthrough will come.

The prophet Micah put it like this, “The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it.”

What’s Micah talking about? Break out of what? He’s proclaiming that we break out of self-imposed limitations, negative thinking, and insecurities. Breaking out of your past that says you can go this far, but no further. Break out of a self defeating mentality that says, “Nothing is ever going to change.” But I’m telling you, when you break out, God will break you through.

Thomas Edison was asked how he became so successful. He answered, “I failed my way to success.” Which means he learned more from his failures than he ever did from his victories. I’m not saying the manifestation of your dreams will come over night, but you don’t have to wait forever. You can stir yourself to break out of whatever mind-set is holding you back and when you do it’s a God given guarantee.

Much Love,

Pastor Isaac Friedel

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Stay The Course

Have you ever hit a road block in life? Have you ever run into a setback while chasing your dream? Well if you have I hope this message will help encourage you to stay the course for the rest of this week and the weeks to follow.

As you know, just as sure as death and taxes, you can bet that at some point this week you are going to feel like you’re hitting a roadblock. You are going to experience some challenges, some defeats, and some setbacks. As you continue to fight the good fight of faith this week and every week of your life, it is your responses to those challenges that will develop you into the man or woman that God has called you to be. You are an over comer! It is in your blood line! Hitting road blocks is not at all an indication that you are out of God’s will. No one has ever become a champion in the Kingdom of God without experiencing struggles and setbacks. In fact, a person’s value is 100% built, refined, and tested in the fire of life’s challenges.

Every one of you has been personally chosen and hand picked by God for His team.

“For you did not choose him but he chose you.” John 15:15

He did not choose you for who you are but he chose you for who you can become! When God looks down at you He sees a winner. He sees what you were created to become and to do. Here is the bottom-line… to be a championin the Kingdom of God you cannot emerge until you make up your mind and proclaim,“I am going to stay the course. I am going to get in the game and not quit. Iam not going to quit on my marriage. I am not going to quit on my Family. I am not going to quit on my church and maybe most importantly I am not going to quit on Gods plan for my life!”

Once you make up your mind, you had better see it through. Do not let Coach Jesus down. Because inevitably the day will come for each of us when it is “Game Over” and you will hear those words from the King of Kings: “Well done good and faithful servant!”

Stay The Course!!

A few years ago a young man named Mike Dereco competed against 127 other runners in the Division II NCAA cross-country championship atthe University of California in Riverside. During the 10,000 m race Mike Dbegan lagging to about the middle of the pack. Then about halfway through therace the leader made a wrong turn and consequently myriads of runners behind him blindly followed the leader. Mike D, however, realized what had happened and he stayed on the correct course. Mike even tried to urge the runners around him to follow him but he was unable to convince the masses to go his way, the true way. Inevitably Mike finished in first place simply because he chose not to follow the crowd. He had prepared in advance.  He knew the path. He stayed the course.

The reason I wanted to share that story is because the bottom-line is champions recognize and choose the right path, even though it may not be the popular path. God’s road is not widely traveled by the majority of people in the world today. I even go as far to say most people who call themselves Christians do not truly follow God’s path for their life. Nevertheless God is watching us, each and everyone. Don’t ever forget, when people try and malign the word of God what He said in John 15 “I am the Way. I am the Truth. I am the Life.”

This week I pray that when challenges come into your life, you will take a page from Mike D’s play book and not follow the crowd, but take the path that God has laid out for you and your family. It may not be the most traveled path; in fact I’ll guarantee that it is not the most traveled or most popular path. However, it is the only path that will one day lead to tota lvictory in every aspect of your life. Don’t give up. Don’t quit, and stay the course.

Pastor Isaac Friedel

Shore Christian Center Church

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