2014.02.23 Sermon (Kevin Tengvall)

After many months of praying and searching we finally got to meet a candidate for a minister for our parish.

I for one really enjoyed meeting John and Bronwyn and was glad of the opportunity to talk to them about their plans and ours for ourselves and our congregation, which got me to thinking what a great responsibility we have, to make the right choice, or do we?

I know that many of us have been praying (since before David left) that God would prompt the right person to feel the call to come to Merredin and lead us into the next phase of our journeys with Christ.

And I urge all of us to continue praying for God’s wisdom to shine, let us put our own agendas and desires to one side and “Let go and let God” send us the right person to be our paster.

In one of today’s readings it tells us to be Holy.

Leviticus 19:1-2

19 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

As God spoke to Moses let us open our hearts to him that we might hear also, our call to worship this morning is Psalm 119: 33-40, more particularly in verses 33-36 it tells us what we must do when we ask God for guidance ,

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
God tells Moses to

Teach

Follow

Obey

Direct

May God be with us all as we seek his guidance in calling the right person or couple to serve in our part of his wondrous Kingdom.

Today’s sermon is about Trusting God, this saying has become something of a cliché, something we say and mean but then we go and let ourselves get in the way. Is it because we don’t trust God? Or is it because we think we know better? Or is it that we are so impatient that we think things must be done in our time?

I don’t know about you but if I’m honest, I have been guilty of all of these. Is it so hard to trust God? Why is it so hard to let go? Why are we so arrogant that we forget to let go and let God and try to take over ourselves?

The answer I think is that we are human, and suffer all the frailties of that, that make us who we are.

ALWAYS BELIEVE IN GOD

BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS

EVEN GOOGLE CAN’T ANSWER

I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives?

For instance, if your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it works most of the time.”? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think Western Power would mind?

In our walk with God do we hide behind colloquial language? Are we trusting God when we use Christianese? For example, do we use these sayings to cover up our failings?

Christianese: “If it be God’s will.”

Translation: “I really don’t think God is going to answer this one.”

Christianese: “Let’s have a word of prayer.”

Translation: “I am going to pray for a long, long, long time.”

Christianese: “That’s not my spiritual gift.”

Translation: “Find someone else.”

Christianese: “Fellowship”

Translation: “Organized gluttony.”

Christianese: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Translation: “I’m totally clueless.”

Christianese: “Lord willing . . .”

Translation: “You may think I’ll be there, but I won’t.”

Christianese: “I don’t feel led.”

Translation: “Can’t make me.”

Christianese: “God led me to do something else.”

Translation: “I slept in instead of going to church. “

Christianese: “God really helped me with this test.”

Translation: “I didn’t study but I guessed good, so I’m giving God credit in the hope that He helps me again.”

Christianese: “She has such a sweet spirit!”

Translation: “What an airhead!”

Christianese: “I have a ‘check’ in my spirit about him.”

Translation: “I can’t stand that jerk!”

Christianese: “I’ll be praying for you.”

Translation: “There’s an outside chance I’ll remember this conversation later today.”

Christianese: “Prayer concerns”

Translation: “Gossip”

Christianese: “In conclusion . . . ”

Translation: “I’ll be done in another hour or so.”

Christianese: “Let us pray”

Translation: “I’m going to pretend to talk to God now, but I’m really preaching at you.”

Christianese: “You just have to put it in God’s hands.”

Translation: “Don’t expect me to help you.”

Christianese: “God wants to prosper you!”

Translation: “Give me all your money.” (Author Unknown)

Trust

Trust Your Instruments

Inside every airplane are instruments that are critical to flying the aircraft.  The instruments will give a true reading of how the aircraft is flying, even if a pilot’s mind may tell him differently.  On a clear, sunny day a pilot may not need some of these instruments, but at night or in poor visibility, these instruments become vital to his survival.  Many planes have crashed because the pilot became disoriented and failed to trust his instruments.

While attending Texas A&M, Jeff Patton and I became friends as members of the Corps of Cadets.  He is now Lt. Col. Jeff Patton and flew as an F-15 fighter pilot in Desert Storm.  On the first night of the war, his mission was to escort a large formation of fighters in bombing a chemical weapons plant in northern Iraq.  The date for Desert Storm was chosen because the absence of moonlight and the high clouds helped the attacking allied fighters from being detected by enemy defenses.  Flying in total darkness, the pilots became completely dependent upon their instruments.

Shortly after crossing into Iraq, Col. Patton’s jet was “locked on” to by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile radar.  He violently maneuvered his aircraft to break the radar’s lock on him.  His maneuver successfully broke the lock, but it created a new problem.  Those radical movements in the dark threw off the balance in his inner ear (which is what happens when a person gets dizzy), causing him to become disoriented.

His mind was telling him his plane was in a climbing right turn, but when he checked his instruments, they indicated he was in a 60 degree dive towards the ground!  He was sure he was in a climb instead of a dive, and his mind was screaming at him to lower the nose of his F-15 to halt the climb.  While his mind commanded him to correct the plane in one direction, his instruments instructed him to do just the opposite.  Because he was flying in total darkness, he had to decide quickly whether to trust his mind or his instruments.  His life depended on making the correct choice.

Even though it took everything within him to overcome what his mind was telling him, he decided to trust his instruments.  He rolled his wings level and pulled his F-15 upward, which drew seven times the force of gravity, pulling the aircraft out of its dive.  It only took a few moments to realize he had made the right decision.  If he had lowered the nose of his jet like his mind had been telling him, he would have crashed the plane.  Trusting his instruments saved his life!

Immediately he looked at his altimeter, which told him the elevation of his aircraft.  He had narrowly escaped colliding into the mountains of Iraq by just 2,000 feet.  Although he had made the correct decision by trusting his instruments, he realized if he had delayed just three more seconds his plane would have crashed into the mountains.  Even right decisions can be wrong ones if they are made too late.

God will guide the “instruments” inside our hearts through his Spirit, even though our minds may tell us to do just the opposite.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 17-18)

At the End of Your Rope

During the 1930s, 250 men were holding the ropes to a dirigible (an airship similar to a blimp) to keep it from floating away. Suddenly a gust of wind caught one end of the dirigible, lifting it high off the ground.

Some of the men immediately let go of their ropes and fell safely to the ground. Others panicked, clinging firmly to the end of their ropes as the nose of the dirigible arose to greater heights. Several men who couldn’t keep holding on fell and were seriously injured. One man, however, continued to dangle high in the air for forty-five minutes until he was rescued. Reporters later asked him how he was able to hold on to the rope for so long.

“I didn’t hold on to the rope,” he replied. “I just tied it around my waist, and the rope held on to me.”

So as we pray and ask for God’s will to be done lets us truly put our trust in him. Instead of trying to hold on to God, let God hold on to you.

You Have Got to Ask for It

“Just remember that when you don’t know what to do, God always knows what to do, and He will tell you (James 1:5).” –Kent Crockett

Blessing

Rom 15 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2Cor 13 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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