Feb 26, 2009

My First Gig

Well, before I had the chance to so much as visit the seminary I will be attending in the fall, I had the opportunity to stand up and preach in front of some of our congregation. Our pastor has been fighting a terrible cold, and mentioned that he may not be able to perform the Lent service tonight. When I had heard that, I couldn't stop my mind from turning over ideas of what I could talk about in his place. The Holy Spirit was working in me in a big way. So, I contacted him and asked if I could be of service. He said yes, so I went on to get all of these thoughts down on paper, and prepared myself to lead the service this evening. What follows is my notes I wrote up for the sermon. I would welcome and encourage any and all thoughts and comments on what you see here.



Lenten Service Message, 02-25-09 - Why Jesus?
Or, more importantly, why not Jesus right away? God had a plan, and he knew exactly how our minds work, so he had to accomplish that plan in such a way that we would really get it.

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;

We were created in God's image - Sinless, Just, Righteous. We had a nature that, because we were sinless, allowed us to have fellowship with God and that allowed us to remain in his perfect presence without the stench of sin driving us away from Him. But, we were not mindless puppets that God controlled. We were created with a will. A will that can be convinced to go wrong because of the lies of the devil.

So, what happened?

Genesis 2:16-17
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 3:4-6
 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.;

We fell, lied to by the devil, convinced to sin against God's one and only commandment at the time. And as soon as the skin of the fruit was broken by the human tooth...

God shook his head and said, "no." The devil raised his fist and said, "Yes!"

Now, God could have said, "you screwed up, I'm done with you" but the God of Love prevailed. He found Adam and Eve ("where are you", as if He didn't know), showed them their sin, promised a constant struggle between mankind and the devil, and told us that we shall surly die an eternal death separated from God because of our sins, but then cleaned them up and clothed them. He wiped the tears from their eyes, wiped the juice from their chins, and made for them some L.L. Bean for their backs and Birkenstocks for their feet.

Now, God's plan is set into motion to restore us to him and His promise of eternity. We learn slow. He had to do it in a manner in which we would understand how it is that we can be righteous enough to remain with him in eternity.

Part 1 – Figuring it out for ourselves
We were then on our own for a while to try to figure out how to live righteously.

So, what happened?

Genesis 6:5-8
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast,
creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

In trying to sort out what it means to be righteous, we got it horribly wrong and the flood happened. Our floundering around, trying to get it right prepared us for what was to come next. We were now ready for the Law.

Part 2 – A blueprint for righteousness
What did the law do for us? The law revealed God’s righteous nature so that we had a blueprint to guide us in righteous living. We had a way of figuring out how we need to live in order to stack up against God in righteousness. Eventually, we figured out that we don't have it in us to figure out on our own how to live righteously, so God sent His law through Moses.

So, what happened?

Ezekiel 33:17-19
17 “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it.

It took a couple of thousand years for it to finally sink in that we don't have it in us to follow all the rules and restrictions ourselves in order to live righteously. We were now ready for Jesus.

Part 3 – The answer
Jesus came and explained to us what righteousness really is. It is so much more than simply following the letter of the law. Our hearts, minds, and souls also have to follow the law. We can't possibly present ourselves as righteous before God by following the rules because our hearts, minds, and souls remain focused on the sin our nature wants us to commit. Jesus taught us that instead of our suffering and dying an eternal death separated from God, that He would be the one God would punish for all of our sins.
Just try to comprehend the Father pouring out his wrath on His Son for every sin that ever was committed, is being committed, and ever will be committed, all the while knowing that not one of these sins was committed by His Son. Jesus felt the full brunt of that pain, and God had to too. Finally, when Jesus had breathed His last breath, and his heart had beat it's last beat, and his body hung limp in defeat…

God smiled and said, "yes." The devil fell to his knees and said, "No!"

The devil knew that he had been beat once and for all. He knew that now he had no power to win souls for his own purposes in the face of the realization of what the death of God's son had now accomplished. The rest was just a formality. Jesus went down into hell for a one-on-one with the devil to let him know just how beat he was, and then rose again, triumphing over not only His own death, but for all of ours.

God had planned a way to restore us to righteousness that we could never have done on our own. God also carried out this plan in the only way it could have worked: by letting us sin, leaving us to try to be righteous on our own, giving us a blueprint of what it means to be righteous, and finally sending His Son as that one perfect and total sacrifice that paid for all of our sins, allowing God to once again look on us as we once were when we were first created in Adam.

Feb 25, 2009

oh, the nerves

So, today we meet with the realtor. I was suppose to meet her last week. But I got the jitters, overreacted, threw the world on my self, and ran out of the house screaming. I ran to a series of fabric stores! Ooh, fabric. (drool)
So, Jeremy isn't let me overwhelm myself. And, if I flip out, he'll be here to continue after I run out screaming.
I don't know why selling the house is weirding me out. I don't like the house, and I've wanted to sell it since shortly after we bought it. But it is 1 of only 2 things that are freaking me out about the move. I'm good with packing, selling and giving, change in J's career, change in lifestyle, picking out new houses, renting trucks, living in a new town, even (wait for it) meeting new people. But selling the house seems to suck the air right out of me.
So wish us luck. Pray for slow moving feet for me.

We leave this weekend to go up to the new town. We'll see friends, see lots of business people, see 2 schools for Jeremy and Anora's new school. We planned our "to-do" list for our visit, it's daunting.

We were going to stay at our friends' house, but after looking at our to do list, I'll be ready to hide in a hotel room under the covers. Stressed company isn't good company. 

Well, that is where we are at right now.

Feb 18, 2009

class performance

So, today was Anora's class performance. They did a few songs, and then a dance. I hope you enjoy. We made bracelets and decorated cookies after. It was wonderful. And the best part is each kid had "someone" there.

Feb 17, 2009

Anxiety is revealed

So, today is the day I believe I can reveal the cause of my anxiety. 

Plans are underway in the house. Come August Jeremy will be going to Seminary. Great news.

That means us moving to MN. So we're preparing the house to sell,taking care of responsibilities here, and purging our belongings. We don't want to leave any of our friends or loved one, but we are really looking forward to the change. I'll be going back to work, but I'm hoping to do something crafty.

So there is our big secret. God Bless.

Feb 16, 2009

The battle has raged all day. It has at last ended with defeat for me.
My sink is full, the plumbing is clogged. 
My dishes are now clean, but not with out a lot work by my feet. 
As the washer would drain I would bail out the sink. 
To the tub I ran, pail in hand. 
The water rose, my temper did too.
At least plungering is good ab work, you know.
The water will sit now till reinforcements arrive. 
Jeremy will get home, he’ll show the pipes who’s boss of this hive.
The realtor comes Friday, 
I pray, I don’t need a pipe surgeon on Thursday. 

Feb 13, 2009

What a bad day.

Not mine, but Jeremy's. He has had a just awe full day! He had the day off, we were planning on doing some traveling, but plans fell through. He decided he just waned to keep the day free.
First he woke early, remembering he left some stuff at work that he needed this weekend. So he took off early, hoping to beat traffic. On the way home, he ran out of gas. Yuck!
Then we all took a drive to get groceries. That went pretty well.
Being the great guy he is, he went out to buy some home improvement supplies. While he was out though, the car's battery light came on! He limped the car home.
Did have one thing go well. He found he could take off the big belt and the alternator off easily. So armed with the old parts he headed off to a near by big town. He visited several car supply stores. No luck, no one had it. So he came home down trodden, but not beat. He took the phone and called the favorite store in the next big town near by. Wallah they had it. He finally won a small battle. He is now in the garage battling the car once again.

I hope tomorrow goes much better!
I pray that your day goes better.

Feb 4, 2009

When I can't say much, I turn to scripture.

Php 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Mat 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 


Feb 2, 2009

I recieved this from a thoughtful friend today. And as a quilter, and having holes, I had to share.

Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which
were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit,
only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it
up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, 'Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.'

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

God determines who walks into your life ..it's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.'

When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.