Years ago there was a Bible study that came out under the title, "The Search for Significance." As human beings the questions often arise in our lives. If there is really a God in this great big expanse of a universe where I am just a tiny speck among billions, why would that God even notice me. Theories (and I do mean theories) have reduced human kind to everything from off shoots of apes, to a series of impulses, to, well, to nothing of significance.
This life that we have is short. Very short. In fact in the next presidential election cycle there will be a whole bunch of new eligible voters who weren't even born when the events of 9/11 happened. It all goes by in a blink of an eye. And if it all goes by so quick, what significance, if any, do I have.
The Psalmist addressees that question in Psalm 8. We find out that in God's creation human kind is the single most important creation. Last wee in Psalm 100 we were reminded that we are created by God, and that we are not capable of creating ourselves. This week we are reminded that not only are we created by God, we are given lives that have purpose and meaning. The Psalmist even tells us that because of who we are God crowns us with glory and honor.
Sometimes it is just good to be reminded that we are important in the site of God.
I always wanted to be a song writer. Growing up I was blessed with a couple of good friends who were quite musical, one could play the piano by ear like you couldn't believe, and the other one had the best voice I have ever heard in my life. I, on the other hand, could not sing or keep rhythm at all . But somewhere along the way I learned how to craft words.
I remember the first song that Jay and I crafted together on a church trip and then the one that Greg and I did together our junior year of high school. Music seems to speak to most of us in some way shape or form. One of my favorite memories is the song I wrote that was played at my wedding, with Greg on the piano and Jay doing the lyrics.
Now, years later, I am blessed with two children who are musically gifted in the ways I had only dreamed of. The things they can do amaze me. I could listen to them play and sing for days, and my house is filled with music all the time. The music isn't from my like I once hoped it would be, but it is a gift from God through my children.
Music speaks to us in the church still. Songs have been part of our worship for generations. In fact Psalm 100 tell us to make a joyful noise in the first verse and reminds us that God's truth endures to all generations in the last verse. May our hearts be filled with with God's song an God's music this week.
This past Sunday we wrapped the last of 10 stories from the Bible we have been doing in our series called STORY. In the story Jesus sits on the side of a hill to teach, and I commented that if sitting to tell stories is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me, as I did most of the teaching in this series while seated.
When I was growing up Hee Haw was one of the more popular shows on television. I've seen a lot of reruns the last couple years, and one of my favorite sketches was also the one where Grandpa Jones would be pretending to wash the windows and a large chorus would ask, "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?"
He would then go then give a long rambling list with everything from cornbread, to black eyed peas, to peach cobbler, to whatever he could come up with, and the end the chorus would say, "Yum, yum."
We love our food. We all have certain things that we eat, that just make us feel good. We share meals with each other, because there is just something special about gathering around the table and sharing. In our society we are in such a hurry all the time we are grabbing our food and going, and we often miss the connection that comes from being with people and sharing with them.
I think Jesus understood this concept of sharing in a meal. I believe his motivation in John 6 wasn't just to feed hungry people, or to show a miracle to those who gathered. I think Jesus also understood that if feed the crowd that would mean that they would share in a meal, an experience, that would enhance community and engender conversation.
Jesus us wants us to do more than just eat and be filled. He wants us to share in a way that binds us together into his story.
THE END OF ALL FLESH!!!
Sounds like a the total of either a really good, or really really bad horror movie. The line just jumped out at me today as I was reading and preparing for this week's sermon. I remember when I was growing up ___ years ago and there seemed to be prophets at every turn telling us that the end of times were near. Doomsday was coming. Judgement was coming. The cold war was surely going to end with a nuclear holocaust. Personally, I always enjoyed the Planet of the Apes movies, but I digress.
Christians, and people who called themselves Christian, were constantly looking for signs of the imminent return of Jesus, and doing their best to cross reference current events with the books of Daniel and Revelation, and predict how it will all end. BUT, here is the truth, decades, even centuries have passed and we are still here. We have no way to know when the end will come, nor in what form. We do not know when Christ will return, we only know that he will.
We also know that when the time comes, those of us who know Jesus really have nothing to worry about anyway.
This week we are going to look closer at the story of Noah. We are going to look at that time when God said, "I have had enough, time to start over." We are going to see deliverance through one man and his family. We are going to be reminded that someday God is going to say, "Enough" And we are going to be reminded that we have already been delivered, by the sacrifice of one, we are going to have a life in a place where there is no more crying or pain.
With all the pain I deal with sometimes in dragging this body around, and armed with the knowledge that Jesus is coming again to take those he knows home with him, THE END OF ALL FLESH is not something to be feared, but something to be anticpated.
Those of us who are older remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I know we have a whole new generation growing up who have no actual recollection of that moment, but still many of us do.
So this past Sunday I got done speaking and looked at the video from the sermon and saw a run time of 42 minutes, which is a long time for me. Of course I immediately checked with a couple people and they gave me the requisite, “Well is sure didn’t feel like it was long, it was really interesting.” I’m always grateful for people who are smart enough to say such things.
Still, sometimes we find ourselves in the position where things just seem like they are going to go on and on forever. I’ve felt this way in staff meetings, and in church services, and piano recitals and all kinds of places, and when it finally ends, it’s a feeling of great relief.
Sometimes, however, when the waiting ends, things just get more and more intense. Imagine the people living in the city of Jericho when the people under the command of Joshua came against the city. For six days the people of Israel got up every morning and marched around the city. He priests went in front and the the rams horn were blowing. I can see it, on the first day the people inside the city were probably thinking, “What the heck are they doing?”
Day two, “Really? Here they go again.”
Day three, “This is getting a little old already.”
Day four through six, “Is this ever going to end”
Day seven, “Once, twice, three times, how many times are they going to do this today? How long will this go on?”
Then all of a sudden, after seven times, there was a shout, and the walls came tumbling down.
We are going to look deeper at this story this coming Sunday. We are going to look it at from the standpoint of the people in the city, and from the one of the people marching around the city. What we may find is that God’s timing is the only timing that matters.
Shut your mouth! Having grown up in the South for a large part of my younger years I heard that saying many times. It could have a multitude of meanings from "You have got to be kidding me," to "Shut up," all depending on who was saying it, the tone of voice, and body posture.
Years ago I took my volleyball team from Furman University to a tournament in Mississippi and as a treat I decided to take my team down to New Orleans for a day of sightseeing and fun. I had a number of freshmen players on the team that year. For lunch I took them to a restaurant on near Bourbon Street. We were actually on a balcony looking over the street and the setting was just great.