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The Refiner's Fire: The Fuller's Soap
Scripture: Malachi 3:1-4
Track 2 of 5 in the Transforming Story: The Tale Begins--Again series
Running time: 30 minutes, 12 seconds.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

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"Missed the messenger? Don't miss the Message!"

Once Upon a Christmas reminded us of how God often surprises us. When we least expect it He sends a "Grandma Sally" across our path. Through the story, He prepares our hearts to hear His story. Suddenly Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.

God's arrival may be unexpected, but should not be a surprise. After all, the story's been around for a long time. And His "messengers" are everywhere. He uses cards and carols, programs and presentations, choirs and cantatas, nativity scenes, etc. He uses messengers of every sort to remind us "Jesus has come."

Yet we're still surprised . . . surprised that this child carries so much impact on the world. But, so were they . . . those who were there when He came the first time. They'd had 1400 years of expectation. They'd read the books of Moses and sung the songs of David. They'd heard the predictions of Isaiah and Micah and Malachi. They knew He was coming.

But when He came . . . they missed Him. In spite of the bold preaching of John the Baptist . . . they missed Him. John told them one was coming "greater than I." He told them "the lamb of God" had arrived. He wasn't what they expected.

That's just it, isn't it? It not that we miss Him, it's that He isn't what we expect. He doesn't come as a nice "bundle of joy" in a cradle. He comes as King. He calls us not merely to see Him but to surrender to Him. Not a little sacrifice here or there, but total, absolute surrender of all we are.

God's message was clear . . . "This is my son . . . listen to Him." Jesus' message was clear . . . "I am the light of the world." Paul's message was clear . . . "The grace of God has appeared to all men." Grandma Sally's message was clear . . . "The answer to life is Jesus."

Whatever else may take place this Christmas . . . don't miss the Message. Even if you somehow miss the messenger . . . don't miss the Message. "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."