Revering the Irrelevant (Matthew 1:18-25)

Christmas Day sermon, December 25, 2022 Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, Alabama

Grateful appreciation to Steven Ferber, a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota, whose sermon, “Mr Irrelevant” was the inspiration for this sermon.

Good morning! Please open your Bibles to Matthew 1.

Well, this is the beginning of the last week of 2022, which means, of course, that every time you turn the TV on you’re going to get a “Best of 2022” list. I was scrolling through this week, looking at their top ten of 2022 list. There were all the ones you would expect—Argentina winning the World Cup, Serena Williams retiring from tennis, Lebron James becoming the first NBA player to reach 10,000 career points, rebounds, and assists, and so forth. But one item on the list took me down a rabbit hole where I learned about something I had never heard about before.

December 11: Mr Irrelevant Beats the GOAT.

Now, most of you probably know what the GOAT is. Greatest of All Time. And in the NFL, most people consider Tom Brady to be the greatest of all time. Seven Super Bowl rings. 330 career starts.

But I had never heard of Mr Irrelevant. Mr Irrelevant is the title given to the last player chosen in the annual draft of the National Football League. The award was created in by a former NFL player-turned-millionaire businessman Paul Salata, who died in 2021 at the age of 94. In 1976, Salata got together with some of his friends in the Los Angeles area and raised money to fly the last man picked and his family to southern California, where they would be treated to a day at Disneyland, be the Grand Marshal of the Irrelevant Parade in Newport Beach, the guest of honor at the Mr Irrelevant banquet, where they would be presented with the Lowsman trophy, which is like the Heisman Trophy, only instead of a running back stiff-arming the competition, it’s a wide receiver fumbling a football. Over the years, Irrelevant Day in Newport Beach has morphed into an entire week that includes a sailing regatta, a golf tournament, and a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

So here is a short clip from the 2022 NFL draft. This is what you miss if you turn off the draft after the first round, when all the Alabama players get drafted:

[show clip]

Brock Purdy. Iowa State. Who up to two weeks ago had not started an NFL game. But on December 11, not only did he get the start, he also became the first rookie in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown, and a passer rating of 134 in his first career start.

And he beat Tom Brady, had never lost to an opposing quarterback in his first start. And he didn’t just lose. The Niners beat the Bucs 35-7. Mr. Irrelevant put on a clinic! In the post-game interview, Brock Purdy said:

“I mean honestly, for me, I just kept telling myself, dude, this thing ain’t over with that guy on the other side of the field,”

He’d seen Brady make crazy comebacks throughout his career, and he was determined to put the GOAT down for the count.

Tom Brady was a senior at the University of Michigan the year Brock Purdy was born. And just when you thought the story couldn’t get any better, Brock Purdy was born at Christmastime.  December 27, 1999.

2,000 years ago, another baby boy was born, one that the world might have written off as Mr Irrelevant. Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary. 

Matthew 1:18-25 tells us that

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

A backwater town. Dirt-poor parents. Scandalous circumstances. A people who had been enslaved and exiled and scattered throughout history, who at the time were living in a police state under an oppressive regime.

Powerful, relevant people don’t come from circumstances like these.  In the eyes of the world, this Jewish nobody would be the last person you would expect to alter the course of world history. People would expect him to do what all poor Jewish boys would do: follow his father’s footsteps, learn carpentry, live poor, bow to the Empire, and die forgotten.

He certainly didn’t look like He would be anything special. The prophet Isaiah said that

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him. 

Years ago, in 1926, a pastor named James Allan Francis preached a sermon to a convention of the Baptist Young People’s Union in Los Angeles. You’ve probably heard this portion of it before, but if not, listen to these powerful words:

There was a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman.He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book, but more books have been written about Him than about any other subject.

He never held an office, but politicians everywhere place their hand on a copy of His words when they take their oath of office.

He never owned a home, but he is the cornerstone of many homes.

He never had a family, but he is the centerpiece of many families, and the best foundation you can build a family upon.

He never went to college, but the most prestigious institutions of higher learning around the world were founded in His name.

He never put his foot inside a big city, but cities everywhere, from the largest to the smallest, hold revivals each year to tell people about this man’s love.  

He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born, but His followers have gone to the ends of the earth with His message.

He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

But While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. Another betrayed him.

He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves.

His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he wasdying, and that was his coat.

When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries (twenty now!) have come and gone and today he is the most influential figure in the history of the world, and the leader of the column of progress.

I am underestimating when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.

There are two names given to this baby boy in Matthew’s gospel.

The first is in verse 21: You will call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. God told Joseph to give his son the name Jesus—Yeshua– meaning the Lord Saves, because it defined His purpose for being born: to save us from our sins. Jesus died, He rose, He ascended to Heaven so that we, who were enemies with God, could be reconciled to Him.

And if all Jesus had done was save us from our sins, He would still be worthy of all praise. He would still be the most important person who ever lived. He could have defeated sin, crushed Satan, ascended back into heaven, looked at us and said, “Good luck! See ya when you get here!” And that would have been enough.

But there is another name given, and this one changes everything:

Verse 22:

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

Jesus didn’t just die for us. He lived for us. He lived with us! He set an example for us to follow in His steps. And he promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world. We don’t just have a two thousand year old book of his teachings. We have His presence.

God did it all because He loves you.  You are not irrelevant.  You are not alone; life is not a game of chance. Your life has purpose. Think of it – 8 billion people in the world, God knows you personally; He knows your name.

The night before Thanksgiving, James Michael Grimes from Lafayette, Alabama fell off a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico. He had been on the ship with eighteen of his family members, yet they didn’t realize he was missing until 12 hours later. For 20 hours, he treaded water, with no flotation device, alone in the dark.

As night began to fall on the second day, Grimes spotted the lights of a passing oil tanker, and he took off his socks and started to wave them. Incredibly, he was seen, and a short time after that, he was rescued by a coast guard helicopter. The rescue diver that got him in the sling said later that he believed Grimes was only minutes, maybe seconds, from going under. He had nothing left.

I wonder if any of you have felt that way this year. Maybe you are drifting this morning, wondering if anyone even sees you. Maybe you feel alone after a loss this year. Maybe, in the midst of all the celebrations and Facebook photos of families gathered together, you are wondering if anyone would miss you if you weren’t here.

I have to wonder if, at some point while he was treading water in the Gulf of Mexico, James Michael Grimes thought to himself, “I was on that boat with eighteen of my family members. Didn’t any of them notice when I didn’t come back from the bathroom?

And so maybe you are wondering if God is the same way. Does He see you? Does he know where you are? if He does, does He care? Will He help?

Hear these words from the prophet Isaiah:

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.

Good News – God does see you, even in the darkness.  He does love you.  He sent His son Jesus to pull off your rescue.

Don’t be afraid, don’t give up. Call on your Redeemer, the one who named you His child, through His Son Jesus.  Repent of your sins, turn to the Savior, trust in Him alone, the only path to salvation.  God is with us, in the waters, through the rivers, in the fire.

Immanuel! God with us.  You are not irrelevant.  You are loved. And if you have been rescued, you now have a part to play in God’s rescue mission for the world.

1 Timothy 2:4 says that “God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  God doesn’t want your neighbor just to be fed and clothed, but to live forever in Heaven, in God’s presence, by putting their faith in Jesus, the Son of God. Many of God’s people all over the world are taking the Great Commission seriously, by sharing the Gospel, even in dangerous places.  We’ve been sharing stories of missionaries each week this month as we have talked about the Lottie Moon offering for International Missions. And if you haven’t yet contributed to that offering, I urge you to be a part of God’s rescue mission. There are so many people who are lost at sea right now. You have a part to play in rescuing the perishing.

[Play missions video]

You are not irrelevant; you have new life in Christ, God born in the manger.  And because you are part of the body of Christ, you are now part of God’s Plan A to reach the nations. There is no Plan B. You have great purpose, a great calling. God may or may not call you to cross an ocean with the gospel, but he is certainly calling you to cross the street with it. See your neighbor as one for whom Christ died, to be a brave witness by inviting them to see Jesus, born in the manger, for them, so they know they are not irrelevant; they are loved, just like you. 

Merry Christmas!  Amen.

Three Models of Mothering (A Sermon for Mother’s Day from Exodus 1-2)

Summary: In Exodus 1-2, we see three great examples of what it means to be a mother. But only one is a biological mother. This Mother’s Day, whether you are mothering your own children, raising someone else’s children, or simply speaking up for the rights of children, we honor you today.

Good morning! Please open your Bibles to Exodus 2. Today, I’d like to preach a sermon specifically directed toward women who have a heart for children.

Notice I didn’t say “Mothers.” I hope today is a good day for Moms. That if your mother is still living, that you are finding ways to honor her today. If you are a new mom, or have a new mom in your life, you’ve been looking forward to this day. We’ve got a little of that gong on in our family. This is Trish’s first mother’s day as a grandmother.

And if your mom has gone on to be with the Lord, I hope today is a healing mix of sweet memories and appreciation for the lessons you learned from her. I know it’s been that way for me, as I am spending my first Mother’s Day without my own Mom. So there’s also some of that sadness for me.

Now, I’m also very conscious that there are some in our service today for whom Mother’s Day is uncomfortable at best and even painful at worst because they have tried, sometimes desperately, yet unsuccessfully, to have children. To them, Mother’s Day can be a reminder of unfulfilled dreams. And so I know there were some of you who struggled with whether or not to even come today, and others that may never even hear this message because they opted out of today’s service.

And so, to you, I would like to say welcome. I honor you for even showing up today. And I hope you are encouraged by one simple fact about this morning’s text: In Exodus 1-2, we see three great examples of what it means to be a mother. But strangely enough, only one is a biological mother. This Mother’s Day, whether you are mothering your own children, raising someone else’s children, or simply speaking up for the rights of children, we honor you today. This morning, we are going to look at three different models for mothering in Exodus 1-2, so I hope you will see yourself in at least one of them. Please let me pray for us, and then we will get into our study of God’s word.


Jochebed: Mothering by Biology

The first Mom we’re going to talk about is Moses’ mom. We are first introduced to her in Exodus 2.

To give you a little background if you aren’t all that familiar with the story of the Bible.

At the end of Genesis, a man named Jacob, whom God renamed “Israel” left the Promised Land with his eleven sons to go to live in the land of Egypt, where his twelfth son Joseph was the governor of the entire land. There was a worldwide famine in those days, and through Joseph, God made sure that his chosen people Israel wouldn’t starve to death. So Jacob and his sons and their families all packed up and moved to Egypt—seventy of them in all.

But then we get a time jump at the beginning of Exodus. Four hundred years have passed, and now the children of Israel have grown into a large nation—between 30,000 and 600.000, depending on how you read the Hebrew. And the new Pharaoh, the one who “knew not Joseph” was afraid that they would form an alliance with Egypt’s enemies and form an army against the Egyptians. So Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew midwives to kill any male Hebrew the minute he was born. They defied Pharaoh, and we will talk more about them in a minute. But as a result, Pharaoh moved to his plan B, which was to authorize his own people to carry out genocide. Exodus 1:22 says that

22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

So that’s the background for our first mom. Let’s read together what Exodus 2 has to say about her:

2 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4 And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.

Okay. From this passage, we don’t even know what her name is Honestly, if we stop here, we don’t even know what the baby’s name is. Most of you probably know that the baby they are talking about is the main character of the book of Exodus. His name is… [crowd respond]. Right! Moses.

What’s his mother’s name? Anyone know?

Well, this passage doesn’t say. Her name is given in two other places, Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59. Exodus 6:20 only mentions her as the mother of Moses and Aaron, but the numbers passage adds Miriam’s name.

59 The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. And she bore to Amram Aaron and Moses and Miriam their sister (Num. 26:59)

So we really don’t know much at all about her. She was most likely born in Goshen, Egypt. We know she and her husband both belong to the tribe of Levi. Her name means “The glory of Yahweh,” which is super interesting to me, since as far as we know, Moses was the first one to whom God revealed his personal name.

Before we make some applications from Jochebed’s life, let’s read the rest of this passage to see what happened next:

5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child's mother. 9 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.

Don’t you love God’s providence here? God made a way for Jochebed to nurse Moses until he was weaned, which in this culture could have been as late as four or five years old! How much of an impact did that make on Moses’ identity as he was raised in Pharaoh’s household? The fact that in the very next scene Moses identifies as a Hebrew against an Egyptian tells you that Jochebed’s influence was considerable!

But here is something else I want you to think about this morning:

I had never thought about the fact that Jochebed wasn’t just Moses’ mother, she was also Miriam’s mother and Aaron’s mother. Miriam was most likely the oldest. She was the sister that stood watching from a distance to see what would happen to her baby brother. And we can guess that Aaron had been born before the edict came down to kill all the Hebrew boys, so he may have already joined the slave labor force by this point.

So let’s reflect on what Jochebed accomplished as a mom. She raised a daughter to take both the responsibility to watch Moses from a distance, and the initiative to approach Pharaoh’s daughter with a ready-made solution that would allow Jochebed to stay involved in Moses’ life. Later in Exodus 15, Miriam is called a prophetess, only the third person in Scripture (after Abraham and Aaron) to have this role. She was also the first worship leader in Scripture, leading the women of Israel in song after they cross the Red Sea. Jochebed raised a strong, assertive, spiritually attuned daughter!

What about her middle child, Aaron? We’ve already said Aaron was called a prophet (Exodus 7:1). But Aaron also became God’s mouthpiece to Pharaoh after Moses begged God to send someone else to Pharaoh (Exodus 4:14). And later, he would be ordained as the first high priest for the Jewish people, and every high priest thereafter would come from the line of Aaron.

And of course, there’s Moses himself, the future Giver of the Law. On any list of the most influential people in history, Moses is going to be near the top. Most of us parents are trying to figure out how to get our kids to read the Bible. Jochebed’s kid sat around writing the Bible!

What does it take for a mother to raise not one, not two, but three amazing children, each with their own gifts, their own personalities, and their own callings from God?

I would suggest to you this morning that every single child has gifts for leadership, music, speaking, writing, and spiritual discernment. But not every child has a mom who allows each of her children to grow and mature and thrive on their own terms. Jochebed seems to have been a mother like that.

Jochebed spared Moses from death as an infant. Instead of allowing him to be murdered under a royal edict, she coated the bottom of a woven basket with tar to waterproof it. Then she sat the baby in it and set it among the reeds on the Nile’s riverbank despite crocodiles, changing currents, and the risk of the basket capsizing.

And it “just so happened” that Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing in the river at the exact time the basket came to rest in the reeds. But do you really think that was a coincidence?

It’s possible that Jochebed simply walked down to a random spot at the river’s edge, at a random time, and deposited her child among the reeds.But I can’t imagine a mother who would go to all the trouble of making this basket and then leave everything else to chance. I think Jochebed probably scouted out a safe area first. She probably knew where Pharaoh’s daughter liked to bathe, and came up with a plan based around that schedule. It wouldn’t have been difficult to place him just a little upstream of that spot where the basket would be seen or his crying would draw attention.

So Jochebed was creative. She was courageous! She let each of her children grow into their own giftedness.

And then, she did the bravest, hardest thing of all. She let them go. She entrusted all of them to God’s care. This is most obvious with Moses, because she literally let him go to float down the Nile. But I think this was true for all three of them. And this can be the toughest thing to do as a parent.

So moms, where does Jochebed’s story challenge you the most? Is it her courage? Her faith? Her parenting style? Or is it her willingness to put her child into God’s hands, even when it’s dangerous or uncertain?

The world needs more Aarons. More Miriams. More Moseses. Which means, the world needs more Jochebeds who will let them go.

But one last thing about Jochebed. She was not the only influence on baby Moses. Let’s look at the woman who took him in, and adopted him as her own. Pharaoh’s daughter represents our second mode of mothering: The Adopting mom.

Pharaoh’s Daughter: Mothering by Adoption

Scripture doesn’t give a name to Moses’ adoptive mom, only that she was Pharaoh’s daughter. She may have been the Egyptian princess Hatshepsut, whom history describes as a woman with a strong personality and a bit of a rebellious spirit. Perhaps this was what it took for her to defy her father’s decree to kill all the male Hebrew babies. No matter what her name was, after Jochebed finished weaning her son, she turned the boy over to Pharaoh’s daughter, who raised him as her own and named him Moses because, as she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

And here we have history’s first recorded international adoption! And while Pharaoh’s daughter disappears from the story after this, consider how this act of selflessness has changed the world!

Sometimes a mother, married or not, in dire circumstances might have to consider placing their child for adoption or foster care. Like Jochebed, they should pray and trust God to find a loving home for their child. The heartbreak of giving up their baby can be offset by moms and dads who have the means and character to provide a good home for their baby. This is apparently what Jochebed found in Pharaoh’s daughter. She had years to watch her while she nursed Moses. I imagine she would have had lots of opportunities to change her mind, but she never did.

I praise God for moms and dads who are willing to adopt or foster children!

Several months ago, when one couple in our church was beginning the process of getting approved to be foster parents, they shared some statistics with me that have haunted me ever since:

  • Did you know that every two minutes, another child enters the foster care system in the United States?
  • On the average, nine children will enter foster care every single day in Alabama alone. In 2017, there were 365 kids in foster care in Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore, and Chilton counties. Yet there were only 63 licensed foster homes.
  • Now, think about this: there are over 300 evangelical churches in those four counties. If just one family in every church committed to be a foster parent, then nearly every kid in the system could have a loving, Christian home

So where does the story of Pharaoh’s daughter challenge you? Do you have the means to adopt or foster? We know there’s the opportunity and the need. I want you to think about this, especially as we look at the last mode of mothering. And that is mothering by advocacy. Our example for this mode of mothering is Shiphrah and Puah.

Raise your hands if you even have a clue as to who Shiphrah and Puah were? Some of you are like, “Yeah—I know where you’re going with that. Shiphrah and Puah were the meerkat and the warthog that adopted Simba in The Lion King, and that’s like adoption, right?

No. That was Timon and Pumba, not Shiphrah and Puah. To figure out who Shiphrah and Puah were, let’s turn back to Exodus 1:

Shiphrah and Puah: Mothering by Advocacy

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.

Shiphrah and Puah were two Hebrew nurses who helped the Israelite women give birth. They were most likely Hebrew women. However, in some manuscripts, the phrase the ESV translated as Hebrew midwives is translated as “midwives to the Hebrew women.” So there is at least a chance that they were Egyptian.

Shiphrah is a Hebrew word, meaning beautiful. But Puah is a Canaanite word that just means “young girl.”

So they may not have been Hebrew themselves. Regardless, these two women trusted God, at great personal peril, they chose not to obey the king’s command. They let all the Hebrew baby boys live. And God blessed them for it.

Does that mean God approves of disobedience and lying to government authorities? No! Obedience to governmental authorities is the norm for Christians. Our government, no matter what we think of individual issues, has received designated authority from God and we are commanded to obey.

However, when the government defies God’s law—sanctioning the murder of babies, we are always called to obey God rather than man, no matter where our political affiliations lean.

Shiphrah and Puah feared God and saved Moses’ life, and the lives of many others as well. They advocated for both the unborn and the newborn, even at great personal cost and risk to themselves.

Now, what does that say to us today?

This has been an interesting week. As you probably saw or heard in the news, this past Wednesday a draft was leaked of a Supreme Court ruling that will in all likelihood overturn Roe V. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion on demand legal in all fifty states. Which means that what millions of Christians have been praying for for fifty years now will come to pass. Abortion on demand will become illegal in Alabama, as well as in every state in an over 300 mile radius of us.

This is an answered prayer for so many who believe abortion is murder.

But the question that will face the Christian church in the coming years is, “Ok, now what?” We are a little like the dog that finally catches the car. What will we do next?

I can tell you what the world will be watching for. I have a friend from high school named Endsley who is part of the LGBT community. She and her wife live in the Atlanta area. She is intelligent, thoughtful, and she responds to people who disagree with her with kindness and level headedness.

She posted this on Facebook the day after the Supreme Court document was leaked. I won’t read the entire posting, but here’s the gist of what the post said:

The unborn are a convenient group to advocate for. They never make demands of you. Unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor, they haven’t made any poor choices that you object to. Unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare. Unlike immigrants, they don’t bring any religious or cultural baggage you dislike.

The unborn allow you to feel good about yourself without any obligation. All you have to do is talk about what you are against.

Best of all, once they are born, you can forget about them, because you’re an advocate for the UNborn. Advocating for the unborn doesn’t challenge your wealth, power, privilege, or security.

Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The Poor? Widows? Orphans? Those are all groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible. But being an advocate for the unborn? That’s just so. Much. Easier.

Here’s the thing. My friend Endsley didn’t write this post. It was actually written by a Methodist pastor in Birmingham Alabama. No, Endsley is just one of over 13,000 people that have shared the post on social media. She is angry at the organized church. She believes that now that abortion is overturned, the church will turn all of its focus on overturning same sex marriage.

And maybe she’s right. I’ve already seen posts from Christians saying things like “We’re coming for you, next, LGBT!”

So here are some things we need to be prepared for as the church in a post Roe v Wade world. I believe that the next few years will see unprecedented hostility toward the Christian church.

But we will also see unprecedented opportunity to opt for something more than just easy advocacy.

How will our church respond when more babies are born in poverty? When more babies are born and put up for adoption? When more children are placed in the foster system?

Shiphrah and Puah did more than just easy activism. They stood up stood up for infants that could not speak for themselves, even when doing so could cost them their lives.

What about you? What challenges you about the story of these two advocates for children, even when they weren’t their own children?

There is something from today’s message for all of us. Maybe you don’t have children yet, or your children have grown, you can still commit to praying for and releasing your children. Maybe you aren’t married, or you are unable to have children. You can begin the process of adoption or fostering. You can walk alongside a new mom. You can commit financial resources to crisis pregnancy centers. You can be an advocate not just for the unborn also for the unexpected, the unwanted, the unloved. And you can pray for the witness and the reputation of the church in our world.

Happy Mother’s Day. Let’s pray.

Four Questions, Four Cups (A Communion Service)

How the Gospel is revealed in the Passover Seder

March 31, 2019, Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL
James Jackson, Lead Pastor
Text: Luke 22:7-21

Click here for Manuscript: 4 Questions, 4 Cups Manuscript

Just to give you some context, I preached this after the platform of our sanctuary had already been converted into the set for our Easter production. It was the perfect opportunity to link the story of the Passover to the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples. I toyed with the idea of preaching the entire message from the “Upper Room” that was constructed as part of the set. But I was afraid the people on the front row would get cricks in their neck from looking up there the whole time!


In the sermon, I explained the elements that are on the Passover Seder Plate. Here is a great diagram that explains each one.


I had found an interpretation of the egg that connected it to the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, instead of the new life after Egypt, so my explanation was a little different from this diagram.

(For what its worth, last week I ordered a Seder plate from an online Judaica store, but it didn’t arrive on time. Keep in mind, it took the Israelites forty years to get to the Promised Land, so I guess it was unrealistic to expect two day shipping).

christ in the passoverThere are many great resources for explaining the Seder from a Christian perspective. The most helpful to me as I was preparing this message was this pamphlet from Rose Publishing. You can click on the image if you’d like to order one from



A Person’s a Person (The Sanctity of Human Life)

What does it mean to be pro-life? Expanding the conversation

January 20, 2019
Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL
James Jackson, Lead Pastor

Text: Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 25:31-46

Click Here for Manuscript: a person’s a person manuscript

In this sermon, I tried to get people to think about more than just abortion when they think about being pro-life. And more than that, to think about what it means to be Christian and biblical before they are political. I would love to get your feedback. Thank you for checking it out.

Here’s a link to Daniel Darlings’s book, The Dignity Revolution, which was a major resource for this sermon.

What Mean These Stones?

If you have more memories than dreams, you are looking in the wrong direction.

Sermon preached by Rev. Glenn Brock, January 21, 2018

Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville Alabama

Text: Joshua 4

Our church, Glynwood Baptist Church, was constituted on January 20, 1991. On January 21, 2018, we celebrated our 27th anniversary. We baptized five people. Diane Causey, one of our charter members, read the history of the church. And Mel Johnson, Director of Missions for the Autauga Baptist Association, led the opening prayer. Following the worship service, we shared lunch together as a church family. It was a great day!


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