Isaiah 7: 13-14 (NLT) “Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David!  Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience?  Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?  All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign.  Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”

Luke 4: 22 (NLT) “Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

How many of us are really willing to step up for our kids?  Joseph didn’t have to do what he did, he could have been disobedient (as most of us are), but how many of us are willing to answer God’s call to step up and be step parents, big brothers/big sisters, nurturers and caregivers to children we did not birth…

JOSEPH!!! …Where are you???

Have you ever read the story of Jesus?  It starts with a list of his genealogy.  Matthew 1: 1-24 breaks down Jesus’ family history into three groups of 14.

  1. Abraham to David,
  2. David to the exile to Babylon, and
  3. From the exile to the Christ

The list includes men who did great things, men who had great gifts, men who made big mistakes, and men who did their own thing… Sounds like some people we know right?

Let’s touch on some of the highlights of this family tree.  The major players in the Dynasty that begat Jesus:

FROM ABRAHAM TO DAVID: This list has a man who sold his blessing for the price of a meal.  That same family had a son who tricked his father into gifting him his brother’s birthright (with the help of his mother).  Isaac & Sarah who had Essau and Jacob.  They weren’t the perfect little family!

It includes a man who didn’t want to do right by his son’s wife, who confused a good women with a harlot.  You have heard tell the story about a woman who pretended to be a harlot (prostitute) to get pregnant by her dead husbands father.  And still he ended up in the ancestral lineage of our Lord and Savior.  That was Judah and Tamar mother of twins.

The list includes a man who married a woman who didn’t believe what he believed.  And yet and still when he died she left her hometown, followed his mother, immersed herself in her new culture, and with the guidance of her mother-in-law claimed her mate and married him.  Boaz and Ruth

These people were NOT perfect!!  And neither are we.  Bear with me as I tell you about one more guy, before I finally get to my question.

FROM DAVID TO THE EXILE TO BABYLON: Let’s read Isaiah 7:13-14 again: Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David!  Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience?  Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?  All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign.  Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Isaiah mentions that the Lord will send Immanuel as a sign.  But a sign of what?  Read the chapter from the beginning for yourself, but here’s my simplified version:

There was a war going on.  This is part of the same mess that Solomon was involved in.  The inheritance David left for his ancestors was partially lost by his son Solomon (but the promise would still be fulfilled).  The fighting was starting to get really ugly and new alliances were being formed.  God sent a detailed message through Isaiah:

  1. Take your son Shear-jashub (A-Piece-Will-Return);
  2. Meet a man named Ahaz;
  3. Meet him south of the city at the end of the aqueduct where it empties into the upper pool on the road to the public laundry;
  4. And when you find Ahaz: Tell him, Listen, calm down. Don’t be afraid. And don’t panic… If you don’t take your stand in faith, you won’t have a leg to stand on
  5. Then tell him: “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!”
  6. And when he found Ahaz the reply was: “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!”

How many of us would have said the same thing?  Don’t be shy.  RAISE YOUR HANDS…Who sent Isaiah to talk to Ahaz?  God.  And what did God tell Ahaz to do?  TEST ME.

That was all God told him to do.  Test Me.  Ask Me.  Talk to Me.  Listen to Me.  Believe in Me.

Back to Isaiah 7:13-14 again: Isaiah made no qualms about letting Ahaz in on a secret.  And I’m going to share it with you.  If you don’t do what God wants you to do, God will use someone else to do it.  If you don’t use the gifts that God gave you for the purpose that God gave them to you, God will use someone else.  People sit around looking for signs that God wants them to do something, but they want to sit and wait for the BIG SIGNS cause they are too busy to hear the answers that are already present.  “Listen well, you royal family of David!  Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience?  Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well?”

You were called to do a job, the job might be a simple one.  Hold a ladder while someone else takes hammer to plaster and hangs a picture.  But you are called to do a job.  Stop sitting around waiting for some BIG SIGN of what you are supposed to do.  And start doing the little things that get the big things done.

FROM THE EXILE TO THE CHRIST: I am not going to go through who begat whom in the third section of 14 generations in Jesus’ genealogy.  Let’s just do a quick summary of them:

Some of them slept around, Some became kings, Some showed bad judgment, Some lost kingdoms, Some were soldiers while others’ were followers.  But all were part of the puzzle.  We have to thank them for their contribution to making the man who raised our Lord and Savior.  ((Ask some of the kids to PUT THE LADDER UP…))

JOSEPH, WHERE ARE YOU?: But now, here’s the question… (name a child) please stand up and ask, “JOSEPH, WHERE ARE YOU?”

Matthew 1: 16 says: Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

The bible says very little about Joseph other than, he was “a righteous man who considered divorcing his wife quietly”…  So, what does all this mean in the “Grand Scheme” of things?  He was a good guy.  He was willing to marry a pregnant woman, even if the baby wasn’t his.  He was willing to STEP UP when others in his place would not have…

I am telling you all of this back history to let you see what a show-off our God is when we do what Ahaz couldn’t do: “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant.  Ask for the moon!”

Last year, there was a different church that met in this building in these chairs at this time.  That church had trouble finding men to look up to.  We as a congregation couldn’t fathom a time when Men of Grace would abound and our broken hearts would learn to trust you (a little).

Last year, the children of the church couldn’t come up with a way to speak to the congregation about the qualities that make up a man of God.  We tried.  We found an art project to do together and spent time discussing what each word meant, but when it came to giving those words to the men in that congregation we could count on one finger the man that we could attach a single word to.  Talk about SLIM PICKINGS!  I can honestly say when it came time for Father’s Day we were stood up.  We were all dressed up, with our corsages’ ready and no dates.

Throne of Grace did not give out the presents we spent time working on.  Throne of Grace had little to no involvement in that Father’s Day service.  Throne of Grace left our present at the altar.  And some of us, learned to pray.  We learned to ask God for a sign.  I learned to lay my heart at the altar and ask God for the moon!  And like we read, our God does not disappoint.  Our God responds and He shows off!!  This year we have an over abundance.

And so, I can talk to our Joseph(s) about why I think God placed you here, at this time:

  1. DREAM: (as a congregation) – We as a church are learning to dream big.  We are learning to look for the Rainbow that God placed in the sky as a covenant between Himself and all living creatures. We are also learning that we are part of that covenant.  That we can go through struggles and problems and still be restored…coming out with a new view after the storms.  Thank you MANANTIAL DE GRACIA.
  2. HOPE: (as a congregation) – We are learning to hope for the best and pray to God for our due, even if sometimes what we need is the common sense to ask for something else.  Yeah our God answers prayers but at His time and in His order.  We are all different and our needs are different, but we are Praying Until Something Happens.  Thank you MANANTIAL DE GRACIA.
  3. FAMILY: (congregation) – We are learning that we are all family.  Our earthly parents may not be the same, but our Father in heaven shed His son’s blood as a public spectacle of His promise to us.  All we have to do is foster our bonds to each other, that Kononia so that we can learn from each other.  Thank you D.
  4. FRIENDS:Last year the kids talked about how parents can’t be your friends until you grow up.  Our children at this stage need parent’s, they have friends!  Thank you M.
  5. PEACE:It’s interesting to look at how we painted the word peace.  This child saw peace in terms of the tranquil sky and serene waters – blue and white.  But then they changed their mind and sprinkled some red on top…maybe a hint of rebellion, pepper, who knows.  When we talked about the reason behind the color choice on this painting the thing that I remember most was you can’t have peace without tribulation.  Thank you W.
  6. TRUST: We have been hurt.  We feel pain, we make mistakes and we are learning to trust again.  Be patient with us.  Trust us when we trust you, because we know how hard it is to trust.  We know you recognize it from your end.  Thank you C.
  7. FAITH: We painted this in purple to represent royalty.  We belong to the family of God.  We have a calling.  We are a royal people and if you can’t see it yet, we’ll keep Praying Until You Do!  Thank you V.
  8. LOVE: Love is so simple right.  It’s Pink and Red and Valentines and perfect…That’s not always true.  Some of us have learned about love in the form of tough discipline. For us love has been given through violence excused with the word discipline.  Some of us have been hurt to the point where we only see the red in anger and bloodshed.  And from you we are learning that even if anger can be red, there are men who show their emotions in a gentler way.  Allowing the red to merge into the white of our Lord’s grace and become a softer pink!  Thank you L.

CONCLUSION: We are part of that heritage that was written about in Matthew 1, we are all still part of what made up Jesus’ lineage.  The Bible doesn’t say that for things to be according to God’s plan they have to be pretty or perfect.  The Bible doesn’t guarantee that things are going to come easy.  It also doesn’t say that Jesus came from a bunch of perfect people.

When people see us and they ask like they did in Luke 4:22, “How can this be? Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”  You can take pride in saying yes, because you were one of the few who answered God’s call to step up.  Que Papa Dios los Bendiga.