Fathers in waiting

Today is, once again, question and answer Sunday. Today is also Father’s Day. So, I am going to put the two together.

Question: “How long do we wait for the Lord?”

I want to talk about this while talking about fathers in the Old Testament and the New Testament. I ultimately cannot answer the “how long” part. This is situational. This also deals with a broader subject of knowing God’s will and how do we know what we are waiting on is something God wants us to wait on. These are specifics that I cannot answer for everybody. I would love to sit down and talk with you about God’s will and what you are waiting on.

A 10 year old girl sent a letter to God.  It read:  Dear God, when exactly will hell freeze over?  My dad said that’s about the time I’ll get my new pony.

I know that people are waiting on a spouse. They are waiting for God to bring the special someone to to them.

Others are waiting on a someone to come back to them. Maybe they have had a disagreement of some sort. Or, maybe their spouse has had an affair. Maybe their child or children have been the prodigal. Maybe their child or children have walked away from God and they are waiting for them to come back.

Others may be waiting on an answer. They are wondering why something has happened to them or has happened a certain way. They may be wondering why they have an illness or a family member has an illness. They are waiting and asking God for answers.

Some are waiting on a new job. They are sticking with their current job, but they hate it. They are sickened by their job. They want a new job and they keep asking God to give them the new job. They want God to help them understand why they are in this current job.

Others are waiting on something else. The question was “How long do I wait on God?” Let’s talk about Biblical examples of fathers waiting on God.

My title is:

Title: Father’s in waiting

I will give some insights on waiting on God.

 

  1. Examples of Fathers waiting in the Bible
    1. I am limiting this to fathers because there are many people who are waiting for the Lord in the Bible. Isaiah 40 even says: but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
      They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
    2. Psalm 40:1: I waited patiently for the Lord;
      he turned to me and heard my cry.
    3. I will summarize the following dads waiting and you can read about them later. The references are in my notes.
    4. Just think about Abraham. In Genesis 15:4 the elderly Abram is promises a son. Isaac was born years later in Genesis 21. In Genesis 21:6 it says that he was 100 years old when Isaac was born. We know that Abram was less than 86 years old when he was first given the promise of Isaac. Genesis 16:16 says that Abram was 86 when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.
    5. Waiting is tough and I imagine Abram and Sarai had a difficult time waiting. They must have thought repeatedly about taking matters into their own hands until they actually did and Sarai gives Abram her maid to mother the child. But that child was not the child of promise. Abram was to wait on the Lord.
    6. Now, here is an important application: Abram was to wait, but God had given him special revelation on multiple occasions of God’s future for him.
    7. We better not get our own idea and claim we are waiting on the Lord. First, we must discern God’s will.
    8. In the New Testament there is another example of a father waiting on the Lord. There are at least two. One of them is Zacharias. We can read about him in Luke chapter 1. He was elderly and had not had any children. The angel visited him and he was told that he would not be able to talk until the baby was born (Luke 1:20). That must have been a long 9 months of waiting.
    9. Another example is Joseph the step father of our Lord Jesus. In Matthew chapter 1 he is going to divorce Mary, but then God communicates to Him. Then in Matthew chapter 2:13 Joseph is told to take the child, Jesus, to Egypt for safety. Then in 2:19 an angel communicates to Joseph to bring the child back to Israel.
    10. Joseph constantly waited, following the Lord’s instruction.
  2. Recommendations on waiting for the Lord
    1. Remember the patience of God: 2 Peter 3:8: But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
    2. God is waiting, God is outside of time.
    3. Patience is a virtue: 1 Cor. 13:4: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
    4. David says there are three things to do as you wait –
      1. Wait quietly— “I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” (Psalm 62:5 NLT)
      2. Wait patiently— “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7 NLT)
      3. Wait expectantly— “I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised.” (Psalm 105:5 LB)[1]

When God Makes You Wait

In his book It Happens After Prayer, Pastor H. B. Charles Jr. provides the following helpful illustration of why God often makes us wait for the answer to our prayers.

One hot afternoon, a certain woman walked to her neighbor’s produce stand to buy grapes. The line was long. And each person seemed to get special attention. But she waited patiently. When she finally made it to the front of the line, the owner asked for her order. She asked for grapes. “Please excuse me for a minute,” was the answer. Then the owner walked away and disappeared behind a building. For some reason, this rubbed the woman the wrong way. Everyone in line before her was greeted warmly. They were given special attention. And, most importantly, they were served immediately. But she was forced to wait. And when she got to the front of the line, she was forced to wait some more. She was offended. She felt the owner took her regular business for granted. The longer she waited, the angrier she became.

Finally, the produce stand owner reappeared. And with a big smile, he presented her with the most beautiful grapes she had ever seen. He invited her to taste them. She had never tasted grapes so good. As she turned to leave with her delicious grapes, he stopped her. “Oh yeah, I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” said the farmer. “But I needed the time to get you my very best.”

How long have you been in line waiting on God to get to your request? How long have you been waiting in line for God to meet a need, solve a problem, or open a door? Whatever you do, don’t get out of line. And don’t stop praying. Wait on God.[2]

 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

Prayer

[1]These come from Rick Warren: http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/wait-expectantly-for-god-to-answer

[2] H. B. Charles, It Happens After Prayer, (Moody Publishers, 2013) p. 37; submitted by David Finch, Elk Grove, California.

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Luke 10: Be here now

We have applications for both of us.

 

 

  1. Let’s start by learning from Martha for church.
    1. Let’s notice first that Martha was caring.
    2. Let’s talk about caring as a church. Jeff is going to make a special announcement that connects to our church and how you can be caring.
    3. This is an application. You can all be caring as Martha was caring.
    4. I believe that we can learn from both Mary and Martha. Sometimes Martha gets a bad reputation and, after all, she is rebuked by Jesus. But I think there are some good qualities to learn from Martha. However, if you have these good qualities, don’t gloat in them, notice the things to improve on.
    5. Today’s focus is on the church gathering and my applications will be in accordance with that subject.
    6. Notice that Martha was welcoming. It says that she “opened” her home to him.
    7. She welcomed Him into her home.
    8. But we soon find out that though she welcomed Him into her home, she missed Him.
    9. àWe find out that she is very busy
    10. àWhat is it like to on the one hand be very welcoming, but on the other hand be so busy that we don’t notice people. On the one hand we say, “Come over.” But when they are over we serve them, but we really don’t fellowship with them.
    11. What does it mean to be welcoming?
    12. Greek word is a verb: To take under one’s care, as if placing the hands or arms under a person or thing, to receive hospitably and kindly.
    13. We see this word about four times in the New Testament.
    14. How welcoming are we?
    15. Being welcoming does not mean condoning sin or denying who we are. Truly, I know of a seminary of a major denomination that was going to cover their cross so that a speaker could come for a conference.
    16. When we are that welcoming we compromise truth and Jesus is not welcomed.
    17. Do you notice people when they are here?
    18. Do we all greet them?
    19. Do we all have conversation with them?
    20. In the next few verses we see that though she was opening her home to Jesus, once He came in she really did not pay attention to Him.
    21. Such is the case with some of us. We may welcome people into our church and we say come and visit, but we really do not talk to them or visit with them when they are here. We all love each other and we can tell that we do, but we ignore others. It may be because we are so busy. But in this passage we see that busyness is not an excuse.
    22. That is a message about noticing others, but what about Jesus?
    23. Could it be that we get so busy, even at church, that we miss Jesus? Could it be that our busyness through the week keeps us from Jesus on Sunday?
    24. We may be here, but are we here?
    25. In verse 41, in the Message, Jesus says that she is “fussing” about things.
      1. That is what I do I fuss and Mercedes shows my weaknesses. I get frustrated when things don’t work right. Then I see Mercedes throwing a fit when her shoes don’t go on right. I think “where does this come from?” It comes from me.
      2. I can get so busy and then frustrated and miss Jesus.
  • On Sunday we are here to worship in community, but life makes us skip or miss out when we are here.
  1. Don’t miss it, it does seem that Martha wants to be with Jesus. She is just busy. I get this because I am always thinking about details too. Let go, worship.
  1. Learning from Mary for church
    1. It appears that Mary is one where we would think, “Teacher’s pet.” Mary is the student who when you are sitting in class and class is about over and you think “great, no homework!” But then Mary says, “Teacher you forgot to give us homework.” You are sitting thinking, “Noooooooo!”
    2. Mary was close to Jesus, look:
    3. We find out more about Mary in John 11:2: It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.[1]
    4. Mary has a theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkdjfwMwfXw
    5. Slow down by Nichole Nordeman

 

Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone

 

  1. Jesus rebukes Martha, but not Mary.
  2. We love from Mary to focus on Jesus. We learn to be here now.
  • What can we learn for Sunday mornings?
    1. How can you be here now?
    2. Maybe if you start out Sunday mornings earlier or maybe on Saturday night and pray you can ask the Lord to prepare your heart for worship.
    3. Maybe you need to cut something out, so no to something. Maybe you are too busy.
    4. Maybe you are too busy, even at church and you are missing Jesus.

 

Close:

One writes:

While I was serving in Paraguay, a Maka Indian named Rafael came to sit on my porch. I was eating and went out to see what he wanted. He responded, “Ham, henek met.” Again I asked what I could do for him, but the answer was the same. I understood what he was saying but not its significance: “I don’t want anything; I have just come near.”

I later shared the incident with a local veteran missionary. He explained that it was Rafael’s way of honoring me. He really didn’t want anything; he just wanted to sit on my porch. He found satisfaction and pleasure just being near me.

“What brings you here, my child?” the Lord asks.

“Ham, henek met.”

Doesn’t that reveal the heart of true worship?[2]

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

 

 

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 11:2.

[2] Stuart Sacks, Villanova, Pennsylvania

You are the Church, Part One: Preparing for Sunday morning worship (Mark 1:35)

You are the church, good things happen when we come together:

What happens when we mix Vinegar and Baking soda? It fizzles up, it reacts. There is a reaction when the body of Christ comes together. The Holy Spirit is powerful when we come together.

An athlete must prepare. Actually, marathon runners prepare the night before and even days before.

How a runner eats the day before can ruin his or her run. What a runner does the day before can ruin his or her run. I love running marathons because I have an excuse to carb load the days prior to run. Seriously, all the books tell you to eat more carbs in the days prior to your marathon. There was actually someone training for a half marathon and she was struggling. She went to talk to her doctor and the doctor asked about her diet. She replied that she would eat about 1300 calories a day. The doctor told her that that is not enough. You have to eat more.

 

So, can how we live our lives on Saturday impact our Sunday? Can what we do on Sunday morning affect Sunday worship?

 

Do you believe people are saved in a worship service?

Do we believe that God can teach you something in a worship service? What is this about? Is this simply about making yourself feel good, then don’t read the Bible because there are some hardcore passages in there. Or, is this about God shaping you to be more like Him.

Do you believe you are here to express your love to God and worship Him as worthy?

 

You are the Church, Part one: Preparing for Sunday morning Congregational worship My theme today is that we must prepare for worship.

To begin, let’s read Mark 1:35:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

 

  1. Jesus modeled prayer.
    1. We just read this in Mark 1:35.
    2. Even though Jesus had a lot going on He retreated for prayer.
    3. If you read the verses before this the whole city is gathering at the door where Jesus was so that they can be healed.
    4. Jesus was a busy man. He was very important. Yet, He retreated for prayer.
    5. He knew He needed time with the Father.
    6. I struggle with this. Honestly, let’s apply this together. My struggle is because many times I act like I can live the Christian life by my own power. I’ve talked about the Holy Spirit, right? So, why don’t I spend more time with God through the Spirit. It is like I do not believe in prayer. The Bible says The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16) So, why do I not function like I believe that. How about you?
    7. I will tell you that in the last few months I have been convicted to pray through the church on Saturday and or Sunday. I walk through each room and pray as the Spirit leads me. I pray for the childcare children by name and most if not all of you by name. This is part of my preparation for Sunday morning worship.
  2. Old Testament examples
    1. In Exodus 19 God instructs Moses to instruct the people to prepare themselves to encounter God. In verses 10-11: And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11 and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
    2. There was preparation to meet God.
    3. In Exodus 40 there are 34 verses of instructions for Moses building the Tabernacle.
    4. Today our Tabernacle is us. The Holy Spirit resides in us (1 Cor. 6:19), but when we come together we are the people of God.
    5. We must take this seriously and prepare.
  • How do we prepare?
    1. I am very planned. But before children there were many times when Meagan and I had an idea and we just did it. We would think, “Let’s go out to eat,” and off we go. We would think, “Let’s go get a movie,” and off we go. That is just the way we could function then. Now, we have children. We must think more seriously about things.
    2. Likewise, as Christians we must take church seriously. We must take corporate worship reverently.
    3. Reflect: It is often hard to concentrate on God when the world and its cares try to take first place in our hearts. What gets in the way of your ability to focus on God and hear what He says?
    4. Spend time in prayer Saturday night and/or Sunday morning.
    5. Pray that God will open our hearts to hear Him.
      1. Pray for others that they will come to know Him as Lord and Savior.
      2. Pray for me and those that lead worship.
    6. Spend time in the Word. Read the passage that will be preached on.
    7. Perceive what Jesus has done for us through His sacrifice on the cross.
    8. Praise Jesus for our salvation and for the freedom to worship when and where we choose.
    9. Prepare to share what we have learned with the world, teaching others to follow Jesus step by step.

 

Close:

Do you believe that God will work through Sunday morning worship?

As Christian we must prepare for Sunday worship just as we prepare to build our house or do any other job.

Close regarding the church:

You are the church. Today we get to recognize graduates and celebrate as a church. Further, we prepare for church, we prepare for life.

 Sunday morning is preparing for life.

Today, we recognize graduates…

 

Let’s celebrate together

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

The Holy Spirit and First Baptist

Introduction:

You are not alone.

A few years ago when Mercedes was about two years old I was away on a continuing education trip and when I got back Mercedes had learned something new. She said, “One, two…” then Meagan said, “She is going to jump on you.” Mercedes said, “Three.” I had to catch her. Now, that is faith. Mercedes could not do that if she was alone. But she knew that I was there to catch her.

 

Do we live the Christian life knowing that we are not alone?

You see, one may think, “I can never overcome this addiction.” But you are forgetting, you are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with you.

You may think, “I can never get rid of alcohol.” But remember you are not alone, the Holy Spirit is with you.

You may think, “I can’t read the Bible, I don’t understand the Bible.” But remember the Holy Spirit is your teacher. (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 Cor 2:14)

You may think, “I can’t be a witness, I don’t know enough. What if I don’t know the answer?” But you are not alone. (Luke 12:11-12)

You may think, “I can’t pray, I just can’t.” Or, you may think, “I am so sad, I don’t want to pray, I am mad at God.” But the Holy Spirit prays for you and with you. You are not alone. (Romans 8:26-27)

 

My theme today is that the Holy Spirit is still with us. The same Holy Spirit in the early church is in your life now. Live knowing that you are not alone.

 

The Holy Spirit is still active today. But how do you lean on the Holy Spirit? Understand that the Holy Spirit is not a force. This is not Star Wars. The Holy Spirit is referred to as a person.

 

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); One God manifested in 3 persons. The Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a force. He is intelligent (1 Cor 12:11), has a will (1 Cor 12:11), teaches (John 14:26), can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), and can be insulted (Hebrews 10:29). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). (See also John 14:16-19, 23. Jesus says He is leaving , yet He will come to the Disciples with the Father.) The Son and the Father come into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The degree of separateness and unity in the Trinity is a mystery. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share Divinity (One God), yet are distinct in personality.

 

As Christians how is the Holy Spirit active in our lives?

  1. Teacher of spiritual truths. (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 Cor 2:14)

John 14:26: But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

 

    1. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. Many times we don’t act like we have a supernatural teacher. We avoid the Bible, we avoid Theology, we avoid doctrine and I think this is because we diminish, or trivialize the Holy Spirit as a God with us.
    2. Jesus said that He was leaving but He will send the Helper. (John chapters 14-17 (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7))
    3. I must always remember that as I preach the Holy Spirit is active in the congregation. Our church leaders must remember that the Holy Spirit is active in our congregation.
    4. Do you realize how many times I have preached things and people talk to me and I am like, “that is an awesome Truth, I did not get that.”
    5. Chuck Swindoll writes about preaching a sermon and after the sermon a man said, “My wife called you, didn’t she?” Swindoll said, “No.” He said, “Come on, I know she did, she called you.” Swindoll said, “I do not even know who you are, your wife did not call me.” The Holy Spirit was at work and sometimes His work comes out as conviction.
    6. If you throw a rock at a pack of dogs the dog that bites is likely the dog that got hit by the rock. The Holy Spirit teaches. The Holy Spirit convicts.
  1. Mouthpiece in witnessing to others. Luke 12:11-12: When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
    1.  This is hard for me.
    2. But I meet with a man and regularly we are at a restaurant and he will say, “We are going to pray for our food, can we pray for you?”
    3. You know I must remember that when I witness I am not alone. But I will never know that the Holy Spirit is with me if I do not lean on Him and depend on Him.
    4. Peter walked on water, right? He did. (Matthew 14:28ff) But this would not have happened if he did not trust Jesus to get out of the boat.
  2. Helper in prayer. Romans 8:26-27: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
    1. My youth pastor lost his daughter to cancer and he said there were many days when he could not pray. But He knew that when I got on His knees and wept the Holy Spirit was interceding for Him.
    2. Understand that it is okay and quite good to be silent before God in prayer.
  3. Purifier of our hearts. Acts 15:8-9: God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them,for he purified their hearts by faith.
    1. The Holy Spirit is at work transforming us.
    2. You are not alone.

 

Close:

I hate being alone. I do not do good being alone. Solitary confinement would mess me up. Thankfully, I am not and I never will be alone.

Are you alone?

Are we alone?

The Holy Spirit is at work within each of you. Then when we come together, the Holy Spirit is active in the whole church and that is powerful.

 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)