Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; Sunday, January 24, 2016; John 7:33-44

Due to inclement weather, there will be no worship services held on Sunday, January 24, 2016. Please stay safe and exercise caution while dealing with the snow.

 

John 7: 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

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Each one of us is created in the image of God. That means that we can appreciate beauty, experience love, sadness, and other emotions, feel empathy and compassion, think creatively and make things (our version of creation). Each one of us has a God shaped “space” inside us and I think that this is where our soul is rooted. I think of that “space” as communications central for our personal connection to God.

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We also live in a fallen world. When humans disobeyed God and were expelled from the Garden of Eden, something happened to those God shaped “spaces” inside us. It is as if we are born with those spaces empty, waiting to be filled with something. I believe that God left these spaces open, meant to be filled with God’s essence, God’s love and grace, but it is up to us what we fill this space with.

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It is up to us to open the doors and invite God in… In Revelation 3:20 we hear, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in …” (NIV2010).

One of the problems that we face in our culture is that we have so many things knocking on the doors of our lives that it is easy to miss those times when God knocks on our doors. We have many enticements that cause us to take our eyes off of God.

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On one of my mission trips, our team was stationed in a rural area. Fairly early in the two-week trip, as we walked from our dorms to the work site someone told me, “Look at all these blue rocks. They are so beautiful.” All I saw was a pretty drab landscape with very little greenery and I definitely did not see any blue rocks. The person just reached down and picked up a pebble and gave it to me and it was a most beautiful shade of blue, teal and turquoise that I have ever seen. And all of a sudden I saw it, the landscape around me was littered with blue rocks and for the rest of the trip I saw these rocks everywhere.

Just like that, once in a while all of us (notice I did not say “YOU,” I am in the same boat) need to reminded that God is all around us, with us and among us, and the way we know that is by observing how God is moving in our community.

When we get focused on anything other than God, that is when we experience a spiritual drought. When our neighbors feel the need to be with God they come to church. They come here looking for God.

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If they think we are in a rut, if they see us doing the same thing we’ve done for the last 70 years without reflecting changes in the world around us, it is hard for them to see how God moves among us today, how God rules Kingswood UMC. What they see is a spiritual drought, a spiritual desert, parched and thirsty for God. It may not be the reality of what we experience, but that may be their perception. That is why many visit once and leave, never to be seen again. Nobody wants to go to a drought stricken area when they are looking for spiritual renewal and nourishment.

That is why the first thing that most churches need to do before they experience growth is turn our drought into an oasis. So how do we do that?

{Illustration from the practice of ministry}

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Our closing hymn today is “We Have a Story to Tell to the Nations.”

Verse 1: “We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right…”

Verse 2: “We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord …”

Verse 3: “We’ve a message to give to the nations, that the Lord who reigneth above…”

Verse 4: “We’ve a Savior to show to the nations, who the path of sorrow hath trod…”

And we do that because we know that someday “the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright; and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.” Now is our opportunity and chance to be God’s hands and feet in this world, and to create a community that can nourish our ministries and outreach for years to come.

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