The Truth About The Virgin Birth Of Jesus

Did you know that Jesus was not born on December 25th? Actually, it was probably in September or October - during the Feast of Tabernacles. So, does the world end over this? I don't think so. It's actually a good thing that most of the world at least acknowledges His coming on December 25th. Honestly, we should acknowledge His coming every day of the year. The truth (which is most important) is that He came. And December 25th is as good a date as any to celebrate and commemorate His arrival as Messiah!

More significant than the date He arrived is how He arrived: He was born of a virgin. "Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us." (Matthew 1:23) No other human being has ever been born through a virgin the way Jesus was. No other prophet; no other so-called god was ever born of a virgin like Jesus. The way that He came distinguishes Jesus as the only way to the Father.

How could Jesus be born of a virgin? This was a miracle of course. As a matter of fact, everything about Jesus' coming  was a miracle; from His conception to His birth, to His death, resurrection, and ascension back to glory! But how did it happen?

I love the account in Luke chapter 1. The virgin Mary, about 17 years old, was minding her own business when Gabriel, the messenger Angel shows up. What he said to her could've been a bit overwhelming! He told her 3 things: 1.) You're going to conceive in your womb; 2.) You're going to bear a son; 3.) And you're going to name Him Jesus (Jehovah who saves). I can only imagine how Mary felt. And then Gabe began to tell her some spectacular stuff about this child, and what He would be. Mary, a good Jewish young lady says, "How's this going to happen since I am a virgin?" In other words, "How's this going to happen since I'm not married, and I've never had relations with a man?" Listen to Gabriel's response. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. " (Luke 1:35)

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This wasn't anything immoral or kinky. So how did it happen? The Holy Spirit came upon Mary at some point. As a result, the power of the Most High (Supreme God) overshadowed her. Always remember. When the Holy Spirit comes, God comes. How cool is that! Because Jesus was conceived when the Holy Spirit, and the power of God came upon Mary, He would literally be called the Son of God. This is what sets Jesus apart as the ONLY way to the Father.

In the Gospel of John - chapter 3, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." (Verse 2) Nicodemus believed Jesus had come from God, and that God was with Him because of all the signs and wonders He performed. Although this was true, Nicodemus missed the most important thing...Jesus was God! Jesus had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and later literally was born of God. He was God's only begotten Son.

Jesus was the only human ever to be born of God when He came out of the womb. All of the rest of humanity is born of earthly parents into fallen, sinful flesh. We're not born of God (like Jesus), we're born of the flesh. This is due to the fall of Adam and Eve. But Jesus had no sinful nature because He was conceived by and born of the Holy Spirit. So you and I (like Nicodemus) must be born again. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."  (John 3:3)

Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of God He Himself is established as the only way the truth and the life. Because He was born of God, we can be born of God. Because He was born of the Spirit, we can be born of the Spirit. Because He was filled with the Holy Spirit, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is the "first-born" among many brethren. (See Romans 8:29) Because He died to sin, we can be dead to sin. Because He rose from the dead, we can live for God. "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." (Colossians 1:18)

So you see, it's all about Jesus. There is no other way to the Father. There's no other way to the heaven the Bible describes. Only Jesus. It's all because of the way He came to the earth. God is so infinitely good that He made the way for you and me to live forever with Him. His name is Jesus, and He was born of a virgin.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)



We Don't Need A Production, We Need An Encounter!

It's becoming very obvious that many church services are more of a production than an encounter with Jesus. This trend is driven by the belief that the church is less relevant to people than she used to be. The truth, relevance is not the issue. It's the absence of the One who is relevant to All people and every situation - the Holy Spirit. We must remember, a production is man-made. An encounter with Jesus is Holy Spirit-breathed. So what's the answer? We make a place for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in our gatherings.

Sometimes I find it difficult to offer pure praise from the congregation as I am distracted by the show taking place on the stage. Bright flashing lights, search lights, and smoke make it look more like worldly entertainment. It might even be impressive at times, but it doesn't make us more relevant to people. It glorifies people. Trying to look like the world doesn't draw folks to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does. No one is more relevant than He! If we want to be relevant to people, we cannot do it without Him in our midst.

M
uch of what we call praise and worship today has no anointing upon it. It contains no fire. It's polished and professional, but it's powerless. It's a great production, but it lacks the supernatural touch of the Holy Spirit. His touch is what distinguishes His spiritual from the world's natural. Jesus said of Him, "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:14) Oh how we need His involvement in our services! We must seek God for Him to inhabit our praises as we prepare a place in our hearts, and in our midst for Him!

Our stage production style of doing church is not evil. It's just not anointed. In a negative sense, it instills in many folks the "You up there, me out here" mentality. It produces the mindset that church is for entertainment. So we find ourselves saying things like "The worship was really good (or not so good) today." Or, "I didn't like the choice of songs this week." This puts pressure on the folks up front to perform to please man...not God. The question should be asked by everyone, "Was MY worship pleasing and acceptable to Jesus today?" "Did I glorify Him?" When individual hearts are determined to glorify Him, He comes. When He comes, no one in their right mind can deny He is there! That's preparing a place for Him!

What I am about to say comes from my own personal experience in worshiping our incredible God through the years. I am convinced this is the crucial key to powerfully anointed praise and worship; praise and worship that is saturated with the fire of the Holy Spirit. What is this key? It is personal worship. Our personal praise and worship is developed during our personal times with God, as we make the effort to worship Him. Corporate worship should be composed of people who are developing their worship during their own personal times of worship. Guess what happens when people on fire, participate in corporate worship: The fire of the Holy Spirit falls. Frankly, it won't matter whether there is smoke, flashing lights, spotlights, or search lights in the building.

Let me insert something here concerning praise and worship teams. If you don't worship during practice, your are missing much of the anointing God has available for you and your congregation. It's obviously very import to rehearse to be comfortable with the music and the vocals. But it should be equally important that you set aside time to worship as a team. That's where the corporate anointing lies! To rehearse the mechanics only is to prepare for a production, not an encounter!

Never forget, church is first about Jesus, and what you bring to Him. He deserves the purest, and highest praise and worship...first. That is why after Jesus ascended back to the Father, He sent forth the Holy Spirit. He inhabits this praise (See Psalm 22:3). He responds by moving in our midst. He anoints and confirms the preaching of the Word of God with signs, wonders, and miracles!

We are created to worship Him. We exist to bring Him glory, honor, worship, and praise. Jesus has given us His Spirit to help us. He energizes us. He transforms what we sincerely offer up to Jesus into the world-changing glory of Himself! This is how we become more relevant to humans. We worship Him in spirit and truth. He comes and supernaturally connects us to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the awesome Prince of Peace. When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus is exalted by Him. When Jesus is exalted, people are drawn to Him. It's in the encounter, not the production.

Turn Your Sitting Into Serving!

How long How have you been a follower of Jesus Christ? How long have you been part of a local church? How much of that time have you sat in the congregation listening and learning? I have attended church for many years now, because I have been a follower of Christ for many years. It is very important to sit, listen, and learn. But lately as I observe church (including my own involvement), I wonder how the number of hours that we've sat in church would compare with the number of hours we've served in the church; or how the number of hours we've sat in church would compare with the number of hours we've served outside of the church.

Can you imagine the impact the church would have on our local communities if everyone who sat in church served either in the church, or outside the church, (or both)? What about world impact? Imagine the greater impact we would have world-wide if we served more that we sat!

Church is not only about sitting. It is also about serving. Yes, we must sit. But we must take what we get from sitting and apply it to serving. Sitting is the receiving part. Serving is the giving part. Jesus said, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8) We eagerly focus on the things we can freely receive, instead of the costly things we should  give away. However it is the serving/giving that makes the greatest impact on others!

People should want to serve more than sit. This is how churches grow. This is how new ministries are birthed. This is how new vision becomes a reality. When the ratio of serving to sitting begins to increase, churches not only grow, they also become healthier. Folks who follow after Christ grow in their relationship with Him. Don't forget, the heart of Jesus is not only in the sitting, but more so in the serving.

It will always be very important that we go to church to sit. But it is equally (and probably more) important that we don't just sit, but we serve. Add to that the extreme significance of serving when we exit the doors of our church.

Your church is always offering areas of service to those who will volunteer to serve. If not, you can find areas in which you can serve outside of the church. Do something special for your neighbors. Go on a short-term missions trip. That will change your life. Take a leap of faith into something beyond your personal capabilities and watch Jesus do the miraculous for (and more importantly) through you. Do stuff that changes the lives of others who are less fortunate than you. Jesus says if you do it to the seemingly insignificant, the seemingly unimportant, you have done it to Him! "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)