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Peachtree News: Jesus’ earthly birth on Christmas was the gift God picked out

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On Sunday, the Peachtree Baptist Church congregation gathered to worship in celebration of our Lord.

The sanctuary flower arrangement Sunday was presented to glorify God by Kathy and Aubrey Farmer in loving honor of the faithful saints at Peachtree Baptist Church and those who have preceded them who honored their Savior and church by faithful service. Happy birthday, Daddy, in memory of Leslie Knight. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

Jerry Hobgood welcomed the Sunday school gathering. He led the gathering in the song accompanied by Jane May on the piano. Jerry will read one of five Christmas devotionals each Sunday until the first of the year. This is the first one.

A GOD OF ACTION

The big idea: The Bible shows God’s eternal plan to save His children from the consequences of their sins.

Read Isaiah 9:6-7 and Luke 1:26-33.

“6 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, and Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase 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.” — Isaiah 9:6-7

“26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” — Luke 1:26-33

This passage in Isaiah is probably pretty familiar, right? It’s one of those passages we hear a lot at Christmas. And because of this, we can easily kind of pass over its importance. Take a second, slow down and let this awesome truth sink in.

Isaiah 9:6-7 was written by, you guessed it, Isaiah. Now, Isaiah was one of God’s chosen messengers. We call these guys prophets. Isaiah was passing along God’s words at a time when God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had completely turned their backs on God. God’s people had stopped counting on God and His promises. God had given them tons of warning, but they hadn’t listened. So, Isaiah’s message was one of coming judgment. (Which probably didn’t make him very popular at parties.)

However, because God is who He is, even His message of judgment carried hope. Isaiah 9:6-7 is all about hope. It’s about a hopeful future, one in which God once and for all provides a way out from under the weight of our sins. Fast forward something like 700-800 years and you see this message of hope coming to life in Luke 1:26-33.

The little baby God was forming in Mary’s stomach? He was the same promised savior Isaiah was writing about in Isaiah 9:6-7. Long before God sent Jesus to this earth, He knew the plan. In fact, God’s sending His own Son to live and breathe and walk this earth was always the plan.

God has always known that Jesus would be the answer to a perfect relationship between God and His children. Which is great news for you and me. But to see this plan come to life, Jesus had to come to earth. And that’s what Christmas is all about.

God has had a plan to redeem you from the consequences of your sins for all eternity. How does that help you trust Him with your worries, concerns, and future?

Take a moment to pray to God, thanking Him for being a God of action who works in the world, the lives of His followers, and your own life!

Lawrence Edwards led the Sunday school Bible study, “Isaiah’s Prophecy.” “The birth of Jesus was no mere circumstance. It was planned by God.”

Some “coincidences” are not coincidences at all. They are planned. The life and death of Jesus Christ were not mere afterthoughts of God; He planned them all along!

If God came to one of us and said we could “ask for a sign” — any sign, even a sign as “the deepest depths or in the highest heights,” I wonder what most of us would ask for. The Lord gave King Ahaz that opportunity, but he put forth a false humility and wouldn’t and wouldn’t ask for a sign.

Upon hearing Kin Ahaz’s refusal to ask for a sign, Isaiah the prophet would give the people a sign anyway. God had a sign for them: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” The birth of this child was a reminder of God’s prophecy and the comfort that “God is with us.”

There are certainly plenty of coincidences in life, but Christ’s coming wasn’t one of them. Neither is the offer He makes to you to receive His free gift of salvation.

The Median adult Sunday school class’ discussions are very involved and energetic. Come and join us.

Deacon Jerry Hobgood led, “The Prayer of Invocation.”

The Peachtree Choir led by Pastor Whitehouse sang the special music, “O Holy Night.”

Deacon Beverly Ann Wilson led,” The Prayer of Thankfulness.”

Special music, “Immanuel,” was by Jane May.

Memory Verse of the Month for December. Luke 2: 10-12, was led by Pastor Whitehouse.

THE CHOICE OF CHRISTMAS

Pastor Whitehouse began by telling a story about a little girl who came home waving a piece of paper she got in Sunday school.

When her mother asked what she had, she said a picture. Her mother looked at the picture and it was an airplane with people on it.

Her mother asked why the airplane was in the picture and the girl said it was the flight from Egypt. Her mother then asked who was the mean looking man flying the plane and the little girl said it was Punches the Pilot. There was a man behind Mary and Joseph and when her mother asked who the fat man was, the little girl said it was Round John Virgin.

Just a little humor.

What is the message of Bethlehem?

At the heart of the message of Bethlehem is the word “choice.” As it was in Genesis, the choice between the devil and God in the Garden of Eden was all about choices.

The heart of Christmas is the word choice. Presents are a choice from the giver at Christmas. God chose to send us Jesus to save us — we must choose to follow Him! The giver was God and His choice was to send a Redeemer.

We tend to think that presents are what Christmas is all about. We forget it is about the birth of the Savior. Today this is lost, especially on our children.

We did not deserve the present God gave us of His Son. What we did deserve is our wages (the wages of sin is death).

The story of redemption from God’s perspective:

1. Joy

2. Sanctification

3. Love

God chose to have the shepherds — the lowliest among mankind — to be the first to know about the birth of the Messiah!

God knew the choice He planned to make all along. Send His Son as Savior, God acknowledging Jesus as His Son, the baptism and the Dove to be a witness.

The love of God… “For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only Son…”

God chose to send the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, so we could be saved.

We cannot understand the height, breadth and width of His love.

CHURCH BUSINESS

December will be a very busy month at Peachtree.

The Baptist Women have finished their toy store collection.

Dec. 2-9 Is the Lottie Moon Week of Prayer for International Missions

Friday, Dec. 7, from noon to 5 p.m., is Peachtree’s next day at the Faith Christian Ministry Store.

Saturday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. is the church-wide Christmas dinner. We are asking everyone to bring canned goods and nonperishable food items to be donated to Faith Christian Ministries.

Sunday, Dec. 16 will feature the Christmas cantata during morning services.

Monday, Dec. 24 at 11 p.m. is the Christmas Eve service.

Monday, Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. is the New Year’s Eve fellowship.

The Men’s Ministry will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. This group is growing and is becoming a vital ministry of Peachtree. All men are welcome.

VISITS, GATHERINGS

Congratulations to Destiny King. Destiny was nominated by her band teacher to play her oboe in the UNC Wilmington Honor Band last weekend in Wilmington. What an honor.

Last Friday night, about 20 Peachtree Baptist Church members attended a dinner teacher at First Free Will Baptist Church in Wilson. We had a fine dinner and were entertained by Kenny Evans. I was invited on stage to sing with Kenny. Great night.

Last Saturday night, 13 member of Peachtree Baptist attended the Ronnie Ezzell Christmas show at the Dunn Center. They all enjoyed dinner at the Ribeyes in Nashville before the show. Another fun night.

IN LOVING MEMORY

The entire Peachtree Baptist Church family expresses heartfelt, deep sympathy to Lorraine Harper’s family in her death on Saturday, Dec. 1. Lorraine was the niece of Fay Vick and had been suffering with cancer for a number of years.

PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS

Those friends and family members who are sick or taking treatments who need our prayers:

• Dianne Tucker is home from Wake Med Hospital. Dianne had surgery almost three weeks ago. Please continue to pray for her.

• Bobby Sykes is back home recovering from another heart procedure. He is doing very well. We stress prayers for his recovery.

• Jean Bunn has completed her cancer treatment. She has her results from her MRI and everything looks good. She will go back in February for more tests. We stress prayers that she will be cancer-free.

• Lanny Clifton has continued to improve. He will continue receiving outpatient physical therapy for several weeks. His family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support. God is good! Lanny is the brother-in-law of Melba and Jerry Hobgood.

• Art Vick, Violet Hinton’s son-in-law, had a stroke. He is in Duke Hospital Durham. Art is in need of our prayers.

• Billy Bunn, Norman Whitley, Mary Alice Davis, unspoken requests, Gene Braswell, Diane Denton, Trish Bunn, Jake Robertson, Art Munoz, Amy Rowe, Brenda Joyner and Jack Harris.

Birthday blessings to Nikki Cannon (Dec. 2) and Jennie Bennett and Wendy Brooks (Dec. 8).

If you have news, please call or email me. I do prefer an email. My phone number is 252-478-2846. My email is mfpbun@aol.com.

“The long-awaited Messiah has been given to us and there is something wonderful about Him.”

Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.

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