This is a sermon I preached the other Sunday. I was invited to preach by First Lutheran Church
FLC Troy 29 May 2016.
Sing song: we wait for you. Sang this song
We wait for you standing in your presence, but if we don’t sense Gods presence in the waiting, it begins to feels so long, and makes us feel uncomfortable, in the waiting or in the silence. The inaction, pushes us or, drives us to do something, the danger of taking things into our own hands, and not waiting for the counsel of God.
We don’t like to wait in line at the store, we get frustrated and inpatient, we only wanted to go in and out, but it feel like an hour at the checkout. Then the Internet connection takes too long, waiting for the website of the information we want to see, we want to see it right now! The demand for this instant gratification, we want answers now! Going to a fast food restaurant we want our food now. Come on 5 minutes has passed already; you know I’m waiting here! We are always in a hurry, and Microwaves even take too long, when we are late. When we are in a hurry we don’t want to be waiting, it is viewed as a waste of time. We’re late were late for a very important date! Is it really that important? Is it more important than having a Tryst with God? A Tryst you may be asking, what on earth is that. It’s an old Scottish word that means an appointed meeting time, but it is more than this, not just a business meeting. The dictionary defines this as 1. An agreement between lovers to meet at a certain time and place. 2. A usually private meeting or meeting place that has been agreed on by lovers. A secret meeting a rendezvous!
There are different circumstances and different feelings connected with waiting, waiting:
- In line for a rollercoaster.
- At home, or at the hospital, when waiting for the birth of a baby.
- A lay off from a job, to be announced in a weeks’ time. Waiting!
- Having had lab work done, waiting the results, do you have Cancer or not?
- Waiting to go to the bathroom, legs crossed.
- Waiting for someone as they get ready to go out.
- Waiting in traffic when it is backed up for miles on the high way.
- A child waiting for their birthday.
I want to focus on one of these points, last summer my family went to Cedar Point, we stayed at a hotel next to Cedar Point, and one of the perks, is that you get to enter and hour before the Park opens its gates to the rest of the public.
We made our way to one of the highest Rollercoasters, Andrew my older son; this was his first rollercoaster experience. We get in line, and wait, and the longer we wait the more nervous he gets, he is with his cousins and they give him the courage to take this step, to ride his first coaster. Eventually we are in the line for the cars, ready to take our seat. The rollercoaster cars draw up; this is our last chance, to back out if we wanted too, as Andrew was very nervous by this time. We step into the rollercoaster and buckle up, and after this long wait, we are in the coaster, it starts to move, up we go, click, click, click, we are climbing the steep incline, we now wait with anticipation, for the drop at the top. We are now just along for the ride, no turning back.
The responses of the ride:
- When will this end! This white-knuckle ride.
- Tears of joy, let’s do it again!
- Tears of gratitude that our feet are back on solid ground. Never again!
- You can think of you own response J
This is like our walk with God, we are nervous and can also anticipate the fun and joy, and the possibilities there are with knowing God. The experience we are about to encounter, if we only believe. Let’s buckle up for the ride of a life time. I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
God says: Come along for the ride. I’m going to take you places you didn’t even comprehend!
Isaiah 55:9 states, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Are you willing to say, YES LORD: I’m just along for the ride, up, down, round and around, loop to loop. We are grateful that the Lord knows what the end looks like the final destination for our life.
The waiting is the preparation time! The discerning time, the getting you ready time, discovering where you heart truly lies, a testing time, what is your motives, discovering where your loyalties lie, all found in the waiting! Are you trusting, confident, hopeful, full of anticipation, or fearful, doubting, discouraged, and feel like giving up and turning away, not want to jump onto the rollercoaster.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride, exhilarating, stomach turning, enjoyable and at times you may be screaming to get off, and this is not the rollercoaster, this is our life!
Who do you turn too, when life feels out of control? Do you turn to self; go inward, get depressed and feel blue, turn to friends, loved ones, a spouse, or to God? I don’t know if you noticed but I put God last. As we tend to go to God last and not first! WHY DO WE DO THIS?
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:27-31The Message (MSG) Version goes like this:
27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
Do we wait for the Lord and believe God is with us, receive strength, and refreshing, by waiting in His presence, anticipating a touch from God. Who desires to give restoration, so we can face the next bump in our lives? We can be coasting along, then all of a sudden our lives take a turn and loop to loop we did not expect. Do you believe that God is always working behind the scenes and has gone ahead of us to make the rough paths smooth? Yes, but also by our side in the hard times.
This is why we have to take Jesus as our template and model; he went to a quiet place and sought the Lord so as to be about his father’s business, receive direction, encouragement, and refreshing.
God is waiting on us to slow down. God is patiently waiting for us to wait long enough for his word to penetrate our very soul. Men and women cannot live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Once that word from the Lord has penetrated deep, this is when we have to act on what we hear.
James 1:19-27The Message (MSG)
19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!
God wants us to wait on him and receive insight, wisdom, revelation, that will make an impact in people’s lives. To give a word in season, that will meet the need of a coworker, neighbor, a friend, your spouse, as if you had been reading their diary or journal. Meeting their very need!
This waiting I also find difficult, and waiting doesn’t always bring out the best in me, or in you, does it? I get angry and frustrated, thinking I have my life direction worked out, then the doors don’t open, the years pass by, and still those dreams, the desires, go un fulfilled, the longings of the heart, still have not come to pass.
What comes out of us can be disturbing. I get angry, with my kids, start finger pointing, blame circumstances, but ultimately the problem lies with me, God wants change in my heart, and also your heart. Transformation, comes from transformed people, transformed people transform people! If we have struggles, other people just like us, also have struggles. Lets start thinking about others as much as we think of ourselves, and look to God to give the encouragement that is needed. We need help, and support, encouragement, someone to listen to us in those time of discernment, in those decision times, pressure time, frustration times, doubt times.
“Abraham, out of his own willfulness tries to help God out, Gen 16, He lay with Hagar and bore a son, Ishmael, that had long term problems that even affects us today.
We probably have not waited as long as Abraham and Sarah, “Though much happened to Sarah and Abraham over the course of the twenty-five years they waited for God’s fulfillment of this dream – [a son] and I’m sure they weren’t just sitting around only waiting – God was doing a deep work in Abraham’s heart: a work of transformation of his willfulness into willingness, his grasping into letting go, his manipulation into trusting surrender.” Pg 113 Starting Something New Beth A Booram.
Surrender, waiting, it feels so passive, and counter intuitive, but is the very thing God desires of you and me, to rest in the embrace of the one who loves us, and also knows what is best for us.
Have you considered that you are tired and weary because you are fighting against God’s will for your life? Remember you are Gods, having been invited to be a co-creator with God. Do you not realize that God wants us to work together, and has given us the Holy Spirit to help us through the training process? We are part of Gods church, we have to remember it is God’s church; we are to be playing our part and fulfilling our God given role for our lives. Have you stopped long enough to wait, to listen, and hear, what God wants to do through you?
The change or the renewing of the mind has to be done with the use of scripture; we are molded like the clay in the hands of the potter with the truth of Gods word not just based on the thinking and philosophy of men. Some of the expectations of men and women are unrealistic, as they don’t know the gifts, strengths, weaknesses, we have. This is why it is good to be surrendered into the hands of God. For God knows the purpose and specific roles we are designed to fulfill.
God is the one who is tending to our spiritual life; He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS 1:6
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
The gardener who is planting, tilling, working the ground, is tending the too the needs of the ground to allow for a harvest. We are the planting of the lord. There is a period of waiting in faith, as we are not able to see the immediate results. Like a seed planted and tended to, we have to wait with anticipation for the sapling to surface. The sapling surfacing isn’t a noisy event, it’s a gradual unfurling, shoot, leaf, bud, and then the flower opens showing its entire splendor.
Decide to be still and listen to his voice
Psalm 46:10 God says be still and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted in the earth.
NASB version, cease striving and know that I am God.
What God is looking for is character development, beauty, fruit that demonstrates his love in the church, but ultimately to the world.
Don’t run away like the prodigal son. He did come to his senses, changed his mind and turned around back to his father, but ultimately back to God. The Father hadn’t left, but was there all along waiting. Just like God is waiting on you and me.
With hope and determination push on and believe! Push through, believing, mixing the word with faith. God has plans for you and for me, let us walk in them.
God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:9b
The template is Jesus, if we put on Jesus, we get more of Jesus, we have to be more like Jesus, he took up a cross, he died to self wanting it to pass, but pressed on because of love. We likewise are to take up our cross on a daily basis and press on because of Gods Love.
I want us to do something a little different now, a response to the message?
This template makes a cross
The cross is a Celtic cross or wheel cross!
Who is steering your life, you or God?