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I love the topics we’ve been discussing this year on The Celebration of God. They are daily practical and revolutionary to our lives if we learn them.
But I really miss talking about the holidays!
Now, this year has been an extremely difficult one for me and my family. I daily feel overwhelmed with the weight of my calling. And so I admit that it’s been easy for me to get sidetracked and distracted.
I didn’t even start my family’s advent reading until a week later!
Discussing the holidays in real time last year helped me be a lot more intentional with worshipping God with our holidays.
But just like that I’m slipping back into auto-pilot.
So, it’s definitely high time to have this conversation again.
But before we dive in, I want to remind you that you can follow The Celebration of God on Facebook and Instagram. All throughout the day you can receive super valuable worship prompts that point you toward the character and deeds of our great God.
I hope to see you there.
Also, today’s transcript as well as a ton of holiday resources are available on our blog at CelebrationOfGod.com.
Lastly, I want to let you know about a new opportunity for the Truth.Love.Parent. and Celebration of God audiences.
If you download an app called Wisdom, you can create a free account and follow me @AMBrewster. From there you’ll be notified any time I start a live talk. You’ll also be able to access any of my past talks.
But here’s the cool thing. When you join a live talk, you will be able to actually join the conversation. You’ll be able to ask questions, share what God is doing in your life, and be part of the discussion.
This coming Wednesday at 11am EST, I’ll be hopping onto Wisdom to host a talk about the response God wants us to have to the three annunciations of Christ.
The very next TLP episode is going to be the first part of a sermon I preached about the believer’s response to Christ’s annunciations. It’s the perfect topic for Advent and preparing for Christmas. So, I hope you’ll listen to that episode and then join us on Wednesday to get super practical about applying what we learned to our daily lives.
And if Wednesday at 11am EST doesn’t work for you, I plan to host live talks at other times during the week. Just join Wisdom from your iPhone and make sure to follow me @AMBrewster so that you’ll get notified any time I go live.
And — with that — let’s talk about worshipping God in December.
Recently our pastor has finished preaching through the book of Joshua. It’s taken many months, and it’s been a delightful and necessary and challenging and beautiful study.
But one of the things that continually was thrust back before my eyes was the vacillation and capricious nature of the Israelites.
The Jews who entered the promised land were the children and grandchildren of the people who witnessed the Exodus from Egypt. They walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, they were there for the first Passover, they saw the locusts and frogs and rivers of blood.
These children and grandchildren heard the stories. But most of them also experienced the events at Mount Sinai and the multiple times God had to judge His people for their unfaithfulness in the wilderness.
They also experienced God’s sustaining grace during that time. Their shoes didn’t wear out for 40 years. Every day God miraculously supplied their food.
And not only that, but when it came time to enter Canaan, God split the Jordan river for them. He collapsed the walls of Jericho. He punished Akin for his sin.
And God repeatedly proved Himself powerful and wise and loving as the Israelites were able to route the combined forces of Canaan.
And still . . . despite all of that . . . they still turned to the worship of false gods.
This is exemplified all throughout the book, but even Joshua’s last words to the people were a challenged to choose whom they were going to serve. In the last chapter of the book he said, “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Having experienced everything they experienced, some of them were still carrying around their father’s idols!
Joshua couldn’t say to the people, “Keep serving God faithfully.” He had to give them an ultimatum because so many still weren’t obeying.
And then the very next book of the Bible, in Judges 2:6-13 reads, “When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. 8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, 12 and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.”
The very next generation — who clearly had not been discipled well by their parents and elders — wholeheartedly rebelled.
My friends, we all know that the whole month of December is comprised of Advent, Christmas, and — unless you live in certain Middle Eastern and Asian countries — New Year’s preparation and celebration.
We all know this. Even unbelievers have their own versions of Advent and Christmas and New Year.
But we Christians know that this is the Season of Grace. We know that this is a time to celebrate God for our future glorification.
We all know what opportunities we have to celebrate God this December, but the problem is that we — like the Israelites — forget God.
We forget the awesome things He’s done, we forget His faithfulness, we forget His commands, and we get so distracted by the rat race around us and our own hardships and trials and our own desires and pleasures that we fall right back into worshipping ourselves however we see fit.
So, how do we break this cycle this December?
Well, Joshua gave us the answer.
It starts with us intentionally making a choice.
1. We need to choose this day whom we will serve.
We need to consciously and premeditatedly choose to worship God this December.
We don’t do it accidentally. We don’t stumble into worshipping God. We’ll naturally default to self-worship if we’re not purposeful.
But purposing this day to serve God in December isn’t good enough.
2. We and our houses then need to actually serve the Lord.
We need to choose to believe that God is deserving of our daily sacrifice, and then we need to daily sacrifice ourselves to Him
If we really believe that God is preeminent and worthy, then we’re going to live that out in our thoughts, desires, feelings, words, and actions.
And when we discover that we’ve been distracted, that we’ve taken our eyes off of God and are fully immersed in worshipping ourselves, we need to confess our sin, ask for forgiveness, and repent.
We need to turn away from the altar to self and place our lives back on the altar to God.
By the way, if you’re just joining us and have’t worked through the What is Worship Series or the Grow Your Worship Series, those are both linked in the description of today’s episode and will be a huge help to you.
So, if you want to understand how we can elevate God in our lives during Advent, we have a bunch of resources for you. If you want to better understand how we can give God the preeminence in our homes on the Twelve Day of Christmas, we have a bunch of content on that on our website. And if you want to prepare your family and students and congregation and counselees and fellow disciples to glorify God in the New Year . . . we have study aids for that as well.
It’s not about the availability of the tools. It’s not about the preponderance of podcast episodes and devotionals.
It starts with us choosing this day — and every day — that we will serve the Lord. And then it continues by us intentionally knowing God, understanding His Word, and submitting to Him in our every choice.
Please take full advantage of our holiday-themed resources at CelebrationOfGod.com, and share this episode on your favorite social media outlets so other followers of Christ can take advantage of this timely reminder.
It is so easy for us to turn from God. But — by His grace — we can rededicate ourselves to Him this December.
I’m really looking forward to our next episode. It will be called “Shadows of What’s to Come,” and I believe as we open the book of Colossians, it will help us use The Year Long Celebration of God the right way.
And I also want to invite you again to download Wisdom so that you can continue the conversation with me as we all seek to become better disciples of Christ.
I’ll talk with you there.
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The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.