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Multi-media Worship > Worship Live - Audio/Video

Are You Ready to Believe
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister, Covenant Community Church on Dec 1, 2002, 23:25
Passage(s): Micah 5:1-5
Topic(s): Christmas

Passage:
1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
5 And he will be their peace. When the Assyrian invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.
(NIV)

The Next Step
Holiday greetings and welcome to the next step. This is designed for those of you who wish to take the lessons learned on Sunday just a bit beyond on Monday (or later) Let me share with you a story that you may have heard, it is told by Tony Campolo and helps us put some perspective on life, love, and giving, this time of year.

Miss Thompson was a schoolteacher who every year would say to her students, “Boys and girls, I love you all the same. I have no favorites.” Of course, she wasn’t being completely truthful. Teachers do have favorites and, what’s worse, most teachers have students that they simply don’t like.

Teddy Stallard was a boy that Miss Thompson simply didn’t like, and for good reason. He didn’t seem interested in school. He wore a deadpan, blank expression on his face, and his eyes were glassy and unfocused. When she spoke to Teddy, he merely shrugged his shoulders. His clothes were mussed and his hair unkept. He wasn’t an attractive boy, and he certainly wasn’t likable.

Whenever she marked Teddy’s papers, she got a certain perverse pleasure out of putting X’s next to the wrong answers. When she put the F’s at the top of the papers, she did it with a flair. She should have known better; she had Teddy’s records, and she knew more about him than she wanted to admit. The records read: 

1st Grade: Teddy shows promise with his work and attitude, but poor home situation.

2nd Grade: Teddy could do better. Mother is seriously ill. He receives little help at home.

3rd Grade: Teddy is a good boy, but too serious. He is a slow learner. His mother died this year.

4th Grade: Teddy is very slow, but well behaved. His father shows no interest.

At Christmas, the boys and girls in Miss Thompson’s class brought her presents, piled them on her desk, and crowded around to watch her open them. Among the presents was one from Teddy Stallard. She was surprised that he had brought her a gift. Teddy’s gift was wrapped in brown paper and held together with Scotch tape. On the paper were written the simple words, “For Miss Thompson. From Teddy.” When she opened Teddy’s present, out fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume.

The other boys and girls began to giggle and smirk over Teddy’s gifts, but Miss Thompson at least had enough sense to silence them by immediately putting on the bracelet and dotting some of the perfume on her wrist. Holding her wrist up for the other children to smell, she said, “Doesn’t it smell lovely?” The other children, taking their cue from the teacher, readily agreed with “oohs” and “ahs.”

When school was over and the other children had left, Teddy lingered behind. He slowly came over to her desk and said softly, “Miss Thompson? Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother…and her bracelet looks real pretty on you too. I’m glad you liked my presents.”

When Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her.

The next day when the children came to school, they were welcomed by a new teacher. Miss Thompson had become a different person. She was no longer just a teacher; she had become an agent of God, committed to loving her children and doing things for them that would live on after her. She helped all the children, but especially the slow ones, and especially Teddy Stallard. By the end of that school year, Teddy showed dramatic improvement. He caught up with most of the students and was even ahead of some.

Once the school year ended, Miss Thompson didn’t hear from Teddy for a long time. 

Then one day she received a note that read: 

Dear Miss Thompson,

I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class.

Love, Teddy Stallard 

Four years later, another note came: 

Dear Miss Thompson,

They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I have had a good four years.

Love, Teddy Stallard

And, four years later: 

Dear Miss Thompson,

As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month, the twenty-seventh to be exact. I want you to come and sit where my mother would sit if she were alive. You are the only family I have now. Dad died last year.

Love, Teddy Stallard 

Miss Thompson went to that wedding and sat where Teddy’s mother would have sat. She deserved to be there; she had done something for Teddy that he could never forget.


We can also become agents of God as we reach out to help those who are rejected by others, or those who have great needs that we become aware of. That is one of the things that Jesus came to teach us.

As we celebrate Christmas this year remember the impact of the gift of love we have been given. It will make a difference....

See you here next time, on the next step!



Entrance Ramps:
No Entrance Ramps this week

Main Points:
1. When (v. 1)
2. Where (v. 2a)
3. Who (v. 2b)
4. What (v. 4-5)

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 - Jeff - Opening Comments
 - Video
 - Comments cont.
 - Jeff - Prayer
 - You Shine
 - Michael - Comments
 - Halleluiah
 - Michael - Prayer
 - Famous One
 - Away in the Manger
 - Jeff - Study Opening Comments
 - The Christmas Song
 - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
 - Hark the Harold Angels Sing
 - You Surround Me
 - Are You Ready to Believe introduction
 - Main Point 1
 - Main Point 2
 - Main Point 3
 - Main Point 4
 - Closing Illustration
 - Closing Prayer
 - Closing Song
 

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 - Jeff - Opening Comments
 - Video
 - Comments cont.
 - Jeff - Prayer
 - You Shine
 - Michael - Comments
 - Halleluiah
 - Michael - Prayer
 - Famous One
 - Away in the Manger
 - Jeff - Study Opening Comments
 - The Christmas Song
 - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
 - Hark the Harold Angels Sing
 - You Surround Me
 - Are You Ready to Believe introduction
 - Main Point 1
 - Main Point 2
 - Main Point 3
 - Main Point 4
 - Closing Illustration
 - Closing Prayer
 - Closing Song

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