“But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 NLT


When I was in middle school and high school, I was on the Journalism staff of our school newspapers. I was also a paper boy when I was in the 7th and 8th grades for the Gastonia Gazette.


In the journalism class, we were taught to write stories using the five W’s and one H method. That method is a series of questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. I have continued to use this method when writing or promoting events.


As a paperboy, my job was to deliver the afternoon paper each day and the morning paper on Sundays. I rolled the papers up using a rubber band and delivered them from the saddle bags attached to my bike. It was important to deliver the news to the customers as soon as possible.


Today, news travels faster than ever. With the advent of the internet, the speed of information has surpassed the need for newspapers, magazines, and even television news. You can be up to the minute at the click of a button.


When Jesus was born, an Angel brought the Good News of His birth to a bunch of shepherds outside of Bethlehem. Even though this news is 2000 years old, it is till Good News that it is relevant today. This Good News is indeed for all people.


Verse 11 in the NLT gives us the five Ws of this news. On Christmas day here is the Good News according to the angel: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”


Who: The Messiah. What: has been born. When: today. Where: Bethlehem. Why: Savior. How: Lord.

We have Good News to deliver to people today. Make sure you tell your family and friends the reason of why we celebrate Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Lord.

I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor,


Jeff


31 "The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip." Genesis 32:31.



One of my favorite Bible characters of all time is Jacob. His name means “heel grabber” since he wrestled with his twin brother Esau in the womb and had a hold of his brother’s heel when he was born. His name can also mean “supplanter” or “a layer of snares.” All his life Jacob was a trickster, manipulator, and a conniver and was always getting into all kinds of trouble.


I can relate to Jacob. As a hyperactive strong-willed kid growing up, with two older brothers, two older sisters, and a younger sister, I was always getting into trouble. Most of the time it was my fault. Even when it was not my fault, I still got in trouble. I quickly learned to use humor and wit to try to diffuse the situation. That did not always work.


So, when I began learning about Jacob and all the ways he tried to will his way in and out of trouble, I resonated with him. From trading a bowl of beans with his brother for his inheritance, to working all those years for his wives, to scheming with his father-in-law to obtain the best cattle, to wrestling with God, Jacob speaks to me.


In the story found in Genesis Chapter 32 when Jacob wrestled with God, the thing that stuck out to me was that Jacob was not going to let go, until God blessed him. As a kid, I would cry “uncle” any time my brothers wrestled with me. Jacob would not cry “uncle.” In fact, Jacob injured his hip because of the wrestling match. So, the question is “Why make Jacob limp?’


It has been a year since I fell and injured my knee. Obviously, I will always have a “limp” for the rest of my life because of the injury I had by doing God’s work. Even though I would not wish what happened to me on anyone else, my walk with the Lord, even with a limp, became stronger as a result.


Perhaps you too have experienced a “limp.” Jacob was so changed by his encounter with God, that his name was changed to Israel. The limp was a reminder of that “face to face” encounter he had with God. When we wrestle with God, He will change our lives, especially us strong willed people. When we submit and cry out to him, He truly blesses us.


I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


Jeff

Updated: Sep 28


“It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’” Luke 24:47 NLT


One of the amazing things about Jesus and the Gospel, is that He committed the task of reaching the entire world with the Good News to us, the church. This is called the Great Commission. It is Jesus’ final instructions to His followers before He leaves planet earth.


Probably the most famous commission passage is found in Matthew 28:19-20. The NKJV states: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


A slightly different shorter version is found in Mark 16:15. The NLT version says it this way: “And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”


Luke records a third summation of the Great Commission in Acts 1:8 we read: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


I have preached messages from all these passages. There is one other reference to this Great Commission that is not as well known. In fact, I have referenced this passage quite a bit over the years, but never preached a message from this verse as a great commission verse.


It is found in Luke 24:47. The resurrected Jesus has just explained all the scripture references about Himself to the Emmaus disciples and adds: “It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’” NLT


At Rose of Sharon, we want to be identified as a Great Commission Church. For 143 years we have been a part of this commission given over 2000 years ago. We participate in the commission here in Durham as we share Christ with our neighbors. We support mission efforts in our state, our nation, and the world.


This past summer we had members take this message to France and to Armenia. On October 23 we will host an IMB missionary who served in a nation closed to the gospel. He will share his work during our worship service.


The commission is still the same, no matter which verse you use. We are the ones Jesus has entrusted with spreading the Good News about Him.


I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor,

Jeff

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