Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holy-Day to You!

Part 1 - What is a Holiday?
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


With the Christmas holiday over, I find it appropriate that our new sermon series we are beginning will focus on the “real” holidays we are to observe.

The word holiday comes from Old English, and it was originally “Holy-Day”.  This day was set aside for Christians to go to church services and worship the Lord on Holy Days.

God has given us Holy Days in His Word, and it is important that we keep these days in remembrance, not just, because God says to, but because they are important to the history and future of Gods work with humankind.

God tell us in Leviticus, seven days we are to keep.  Seven feasts He has given to us, to mark events in the history of the Jewish people, and to prophecy to us, the future of Gods people.

These days are the “real” Holy Days, the ones He told us to keep.  unlike many of the pagan holidays that have been adopted into the church, which many believe to actually be important to God, while ignoring the true Holy Days He has given us.

Christmas is actually a pagan holiday
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means "the birthday of the unconquered sun".
They placed the festival on the date of the solstice, because this was the day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be "unconquered". Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus, and the church adopted this pagan holiday, which has nothing to do with Christ at all.

Easter, Halloween, etc... all pagan in origin.  Adopted by early churches to “fit in” with the world.

But we are called to be separate from the world.
Some have labeled me cruel in not allowing my children to believe in such nonsense as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, that this in some way has robbed them of imagination and enjoyment.

I challenge them to speak with my children, and I know they will find that they are not only very intelligent and creative with wondrous imaginations, but they have much enjoyment in life without having to believe in a lie propagated by pagan-archaic mythological fairy tales.

How can I in good conscience lie to my children for years about Santa and the Easter bunny, and when the truth is exposed, expect them to believe that I lied about them, but the stories about God and the Bible are true.

We need to be separate from the world, regardless of ridicule, and adhere to the truth of the Bible.


Leviticus 23:1-2
 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.

5772 is a Jewish Leap Year
So there is an extra MONTH added to the calendar,  Adar II.

The Jewish day is not fixed, there is no hourly timekeeping.  Days end and begin at sunset. 

The week consists of seven days.  The days are named for the number of day in the week...first day, second day, etc... Sunday being the first day of the week.  Saturday is called Shabbat, or Sabbath day.

This week is modeled after the week of creation in Genesis.

In a Jewish leap year, an entire month is added to the calendar, Adar II, consisting of 29 days.

The months Heshvan and Kislev consist of 29 or 30 days, depending on the Rosh Hashanah postponement rules.

This is so Yom Kippur does not fall on a Friday or Saturday, and so Rosh Hashanah does not fall on a Sabbath.

This was added to the modern Jewish calendar, after the building of the second temple.

There is a discrepancy of 165 years between the original and modern Jewish calendars because of the addition of the leap year and Rosh Hashanah Postponement Rules.

Because of this, the modern Jewish calendar cannot be used to determine biblical dates before the building of the second temple.

Modern calendars error +-2 days, and +-2 months because of the leap year.

a.      They are Found in Scripture
1.      The Passover (Leviticus 23:4-8)
2.      Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4-8)
3.      Counting of the Omer / First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9-14)
4.      Festival of Weeks / Shavuot (also known as Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-22)
5.      Festival of Trumpets / Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:23-25)
6.      The Day of Atonement / Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:26-32)
7.      Festival of the Tabernacles / Sukkot (Leviticus 23:33-34)
                                                          ii.      Seven celebrations God gave to His people.  Seven festivals they were to have annually, and remember, and pass down to their children.

b.     The ONLY celebration we are told to remember, is Christ’s Death on the Cross!

                                                             i.      God stopped all appointed festivals, but the meaning, what they represent has not changed.

                                                          ii.      We see in Isaiah 1 that the festivals had become rituals, with no meaning behind them, and God became weary of the peoples religious behaviors, and He became disgusted with the festivals and people.

                                                       iii.      Have we done the same with remembering Christ’s atoning sacrifice?  The festival, or feast Jesus told us to continue in remembrance of Him?  Has communion become a ritual with little or no meaning behind it to you?

1.      If so, it is in vain, and actually a danger to you.

2.      I Corinthians 11:29-3129 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.”

3.      There are temporal consequences to taking communion with a disregard for God’s covenant in Christ and the Cross.

4.      Many will become sick...and many will die because of this.

5.      This is why each month when we take communion, I say repeatedly; examine yourself!  If there be any sin standing between yourself and God, remove it!  Otherwise, when you take communion, you are putting yourself in danger.

a.      To the Jews of the Old Testament
                                                             i.      Passover was to remind the Israelites of God’s saving them, with the death of all firstborn sons, those who were covered by the blood of sacrificed lambs on their houses were saved.

                                                          ii.      Feast of Unleavened Bread reflected the fact that the Israelites had no time to put leaven in their bread before their hasty departure from Egypt.

                                                       iii.      First fruits Leviticus 23:10. "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.11. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

                                                         iv.      Shavuot The festival of weeks called the time of the giving of the Torah, or Word of God.

                                                            v.      Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the New Year.  (Days of Awe - 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)

                                                         vi.      Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which God inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.

                                                      vii.      Sukkot Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters.

b.     To the Followers of Christ in the New Testament
                                                             i.      Passover represents the Lamb of God’s sacrifice; Jesus went to the cross and died ON this day!

                                                          ii.      Feast of Unleavened Bread represents Jesus’ body being broken for us (the Passover meal, breaking and eating unleavened bread) unleavened represents Jesus’ perfect, sinless life.

                                                       iii.      First fruits, this festival takes place three days after the Passover. This is the day that Jesus Christ was the first fruit of the resurrection, with His resurrected body.

                                                         iv.      Shavuot The festival of weeks called the time of the giving of the Torah, or Word of God.  Exactly 50 days after the first fruits, God gave us His Word, the New Covenant (Testament), through the inspirational writings of the Holy Spirit, given to us on this day.

                                                            v.      Rosh Hashanah the festival of trumpets, represents the Rapture.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

                                                         vi.      Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which God inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.  On this day, those whose names are not written in the Lambs book of life, will have to atone (PAY) for their sin because they did not accept Christ’ payment!

                                                      vii.      Sukkot Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot is the temporary time we spend in heaven feasting with God while He creates the New Earth.

c.      The Current Timeline
                                                             i.      These days God gave us, if we lay them out like a timeline, recognizing the meaning of each holy day, we can see that all the days of the spring festivals have been fulfilled.

                                                          ii.      Or, we could say that the first half of time has been fulfilled, and we are awaiting the fall-time...beginning with Rosh Hashanah...or, the rapture.

a.      He Gives Us a Timeline

b.     Through the Holy Spirits Revelation, We Know and understand it.

c.      This is What We Will Study in 2011

God has shown us in His Holy Word that He not only has a plan for this earth, and everyone on it, but that His plan has already begun!

God gave us the true Holy-Days in His Word, and told us to teach them to our children, so that they would know His plans He has for them, and never forget the things He has already done.

God’s Holy-Days, when looked at in conjunction with the calendar God gave to His people, give us a map of what is coming.

As we celebrate each of these Holy-Days in 2011 on their appointed time, we will look at how the Jews celebrated that day, and look at how it relates to us specifically today.

Our first celebration will be the Feast of Passover, which will take place on the 14th Day of Nisan in the year 5771, or March 18th, 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nativity - Part 5: Christmas Eve Service

Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


I would like to welcome you all to the 5th annual Christmas Eve Service here at the House of Faith Church.

Tonight, we will be paying homage to God the Father for the Messiah, and His promise of redeeming humankind.

 Though December 25th is not the actual day of Christ’s birth, it is the day many have chosen to celebrate His coming into our world, and His ultimate sacrifice to pay our debt to reconcile us to God and allow us who believe in Him to have eternal life.

Tonight is a special night for friends and family to gather, give reflection, praise and worship to our King.  Not baby Jesus, but Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s, our savior.

So as we celebrate this evening, let the songs fill your soul with the love and joy of Jesus.

Tonight, as we celebrate His coming, give thanks to God for the love He has shown, and given us.

Let us celebrate Christmas in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who came to us from the heart of God’s own being, in the form of a servant, born in human likeness.

Let us celebrate God’s entering into our lives, bringing the light to the entire world.

Tonight, may love be reborn in our hearts as we worship God together.



         1 John 4:9-10 {Slide 3}
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

         Galatians 4:4-5 {Slide 4}
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

And the people cried out for the Messiah to come, the one that God promised, the one that the prophets spoke of.  They sang out, Emmanuel, which is two Hebrew words, El, meaning God, and Immanu, meaning with us.

O’ come, Emmanuel is a cry for God to come and be with us.

SONG: O’ Come, O’ Come Emmanuel {Slide 5}

The time had finally come for the Messiah to come into the world, to be with us, to show us love, to free us from the bondage of sin, and reconcile us to God.

         Luke 1:26-38 {Slide 9}
 26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He 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, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

 34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

 35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God...

... 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

         1 Peter 1:3-4 {Slide 10}
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,”

Advent Candle - HOPE {Slide 11}

We first light the advent candle, which represents HOPE.  God fulfilled His promise of bringing the Messiah, and our HOPE is now in Christ, and His promise to return, which will also be fulfilled.
(Light the shortest purple candle for HOPE)

SONG: O’ Little Town of Bethlehem {Slide 12}

         Isaiah 9:6 {Slide 18}
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, Prince of Peace.

Advent Candle - PEACE {Slide 19}

We now light the advent candle, which represents PEACE.  Jesus is the Prince of PEACE, and He promises to leave His PEACE with us, a PEACE which does surpass worldly understanding.
(Light the purple candle for PEACE)

         Luke 2:8-12 {Slide 20}
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Advent Candle - JOY {Slide 21}

We now light the advent candle, which represents JOY.  We rejoice because of the overwhelming joy Christ has brought to us.
(Light the pink candle for JOY)

         Luke 2:13-15 {Slide 22}
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

SONG: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing {Slide 23}

         Luke 2:16-18 {Slide 30}
 16 So the shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

SONG: O’ Come All Ye Faithful{Slide 31}

         John 3:16 - 18 {Slide 40}
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.”

Advent Candle - LOVE {Slide 41}

We now light the advent candle, which represents LOVE.  As the scriptures say in 1 John 4:8-10 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
(Light the purple candle for LOVE)

SONG: The First Noel {Slide 42}

The last candle represents the light that Jesus Christ brought to the world when He came.

John 1:14 & 16,17 {Slide 49}
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

(Light the big candle for CHRIST) {Slide 50}

Jesus took the disciples in Matthew 28, and gave them the “Great commission”, which instructs that the light that Jesus brought, would be shared with the world through the Body of Christ, which is us, the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world...”

The Word of God tells us that we are this light.  Jesus Himself said to take this light, and share it with the world.

As we sing Silent Night, let us pass this light from one to another, and let it represent the lives we are living in the world. 

SONG: Silent night {Slide 51}

Let us close with our last song, and a closing prayer.

SONG: Joy to the World {Slide 58}

·        Thank you for this evening, and each one here

·        Bless each for coming

·        Pray that each one takes with them tonight, Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of God

·        Most of all, the Love of Christ

·        Pray that each one here tonight, takes this Light that Christ has given us, and shares it with the world as He commanded in His Word

AMEN {Slide 67}
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