Sermon – December 24, 2017

Exuberant Christmas, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Sermon – December 25, 2016

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoA New Age”, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Sermon – December 24, 2015

Advent2015SermonIconWhen the Meaning Hits Home“, by Rev. Mike Holly

Mary and Joseph went down from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered or counted, Luke’s Gospel tells us this Christmas Eve. Let us not jump beyond what this truly means. Mary, who seems to be about eight to nine months pregnant, is forced by the occupying government (the Roman Empire) to travel a long distance with her fiancé, Joseph. They must go so that they may be counted which will provide Rome well-informed estimates on citizens and families as they placed tax figures upon each citizen. Mary and Joseph are forced to walk a long distance to simply become a number. An unnamed couple from the lineage of David in Bethlehem.
However, Gospel author Luke knows something that Rome does not know! This new family is anything but ordinary. Mary carries within her God’s son. According to Luke, Mary knows that this child will be named Jesus and that he will be special. She knows that he will be carrying out God’s mission here on earth. Mary and Joseph are not just a number. They are not just a young couple from a poor Davidic family. They are the parents of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.
Sometimes in life, each of us can feel unimportant and insignificant. Like we are just a number. This past month, we have been reading through the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel and time and time again each Sunday we discover that all lives matter to God. Seemingly insignificant Mary is favored and chosen. A simple carpenter is seen as special and essential. And today, we read that outcast shepherds are also important to God. No one is without worth in God’s eyes.
You matter dearly to God. You are a child of God. And who you are and how you live your life mean a great deal to Him. We hope that as you come forward to receive Holy Communion and as you light the candle during the song Silent Night, you hear a soft still voice speaking directly to you saying that you matter. God desires from the bottom of his never-ending heart to have you as His own each and every day. The arrival of His own son, born in a manger, on Christmas Day is a reminder that now and forevermore — God is with us; God is for us. Amen

~Mike Holly

The Word

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Christmas Eve Sermon – December 24, 2014

Christmas SpiritThe Spirit of Giving“, by Rev. Mike Holly

Sermon Series: The Christmas Spirit

Mary and Joseph went down from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered or counted, Luke’s Gospel tells us this Christmas Eve. Let us not jump beyond what this truly means. Mary, who seems to be about eight to nine months pregnant, is forced by the occupying government (the Roman Empire) to travel a long distance with her fiancé, Joseph. They must go so that they may be counted which will provide Rome well-informed estimates on citizens and families as they placed tax figures upon each citizen. Mary and Joseph are forced to walk a long distance to simply become a number. An unnamed couple from the lineage of David in Bethlehem.

However, Gospel author Luke knows something that Rome does not know! This new family is anything but ordinary. Mary carries within her God’s son. According to Luke, Mary knows that this child will be named Jesus and that he will be special. She knows that he will be carrying out God’s mission here on earth. Mary and Joseph are not just a number. They are not just a young couple from a poor Davidic family. They are the parents of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.

Sometimes in life, each of us can feel unimportant and insignificant. Like we are just a number. This past month, we have been reading through the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel and time and time again each Sunday we discover that all lives matter to God. Seemingly insignificant Mary is favored and chosen. A simple carpenter is seen as special and essential. And today, we read that outcast shepherds are also important to God. No one is without worth in God’s eyes.

You matter dearly to God. You are a child of God. And who you are and how you live your life mean a great deal to Him. We hope that as you come forward to receive Holy Communion and as you light the candle during the song Silent Night, you hear a soft still voice speaking directly to you saying that you matter. God desires from the bottom of his never-ending heart to have you as His own each and every day. The arrival of His own son, born in a manger, on Christmas Day is a reminder that now and forevermore — God is with us; God is for us. Amen!

~Mike Holly

The Word

The Birth of Jesus Christ – Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.