Another Monday and another stab at “What I meant to say.”
Yesterday was a compilation of one point sermons loosely stitched together to transition us from Advent back into our teaching series on The Story. Below are the consolidated points I was attempting to make.
God is looking for friends
In the 10 chapters of The Story that we have covered so far, we’ve seen that God has chosen to work out His plan of redemption through relationships with men and women. Whenever God finds a friend, the result is a quantum leap forward in redemptive history. We see this with Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, and so on. Men and women who are genuine friends of God seem to be few and far between, at least in the Old Testament and seem to be progressively more common as we journey through the Scriptures. The point I was trying to make is that God is looking for friends still today, what would it look like for a whole community to take up that call, not just a single man or woman?
God is looking for a dwelling place
It has long been God’s desire to dwell on earth and live among humanity. We see that in the Garden and we see that desire sustained through the Ark, the Temple, the Holy Spirit and the New Jerusalem. King David caught a glimpse of that desire and he dedicated the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen. David has a tremendous revelation of the beauty and glory of God and how worthy God was to be praised night and day. This led David to establish 24/7 worship in the city of Jerusalem that lasted for decades. Every revival that lasted in Israelite history restored this form of worship, it is Heaven’s template for how God desires to be worshipped on the earth.
I believe it is totally possible, even the desire of God, to grace Vineyard Community Church with His Presence in this way. The vision that sustains me as a pastor is the picture of the Presence of God settling over our block and turning everything upside down. I can see hundreds of people making the worship of God their top priority. I can see college students, stay-at-home moms, grandparents and others coming to worship and pray early in the morning and late at night – crying out on behalf of their familes, friends, city, state and nation. God is looking for a group of friends willing to partner with Him in bringing about His plans and purposes. He desires His people to sincerely want to know what He is thinking and what He is feeling.
I believe that if we can tap into that, the very heart of God, it will transform us and our city.
We aren’t called to maintain the status quo
There is a way of living as a Christian that leaves one largely unchanged. We might acquire some bible facts, perform a few good deeds and possibly even get the tingles during worship, but we don’t look much different 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
That is not what God has in store for us.
What I long for, what I am going for, is the type of relationship with God that Noah had, or David. People thought Noah was literally crazy when he warned the people of his day about the coming rain that would flood the earth – it had never rained before! Who would have thought water would fall from the sky rather than well up from the earth? David bore reproach and scorn for his zeal in desiring to love and serve God. He was disowned by his family, despised by his wife and went down in history as the man who danced practically naked before the Ark. But both of these men were dearly loved by God and saved the people around them from more than they could comprehend.
I don’t want a polite, easily understood spirituality that maintains a status quo of mediocrity. I want to be excellent. I want US to be excellent – lavish in our worship and unyielding in our pursuit of God’s heart. I want to pastor of a group of Christians that makes people nervous because they love so extravagently. I want to build and support and be part of a community of believers who will give up everything for the sake of the Gospel. Why not? What have we got to lose?
The Bible is a library, please know what you are checking out
I was more soap-boxish on this than I wanted to be and I think it was the most boring part of the sermon because of it – my apologies for that. This is an issue close to my heart though, because studying the Bible is the most reliable way of discovering God’s character that I know. And I mean studying, not just reading; wrestling with the Word should stimulate every part of our being – our intellect, our emotions, our experiences, even our bodies.
There are a lot of different types of literature in the Bible and I believe every single word of it is God’s revealed truth within it’s proper context. We have to read the Bible and make allowances for literary style (hyberbole, apocalypse, proverb) and context (the state the author is in while writing as well as how the book fits in the grand scheme of the Biblical narrative).
I think that is enough on that. 🙂
Hopefully those clarify things a little bit. As always, thanks for reading.