This was the message I gave this morning in church. It amazed me how slowly time went this morning before walking into church. I am so glad I decided to fast, my stomach had no room for the nerves. But the amazing thing is, God was with me. The inner core of me was calm while the outter part was shaking. There is something calming about the Holy Spirit. Here is my sermon with the Bible verses listed first. May my words help you find God’s presence.
Matthew 19:26 With God all things are possible.
John 15:15-16 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Take out a pencil and the sermon notes and write down, God loves you for who you are right now.
One if by Land Two if by Sea
I’ve known about standing up here for at least 6 months. I left the idea ferment in my mind. Something would come, and it did.
And I lost what I wrote. A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t sleep. So, I got up and decided I would start my New Year’s Revolution; I would get up and pray. I would write. And I wrote, I thought I was done writing everything the Lord had to say to me, laid back in my chair to go to sleep, and I had this image of a lamp light being shown across the bay and Paul Revere riding through the towns crying, The British are coming. There was no sleep for me!!! God had more to impart.
Now when I was growing up, I thought the whole story of Paul Revere’s ride was just Paul Revere alerting all the colonists. Somehow, magically, a light appeared in the church steeple and Paul Revere went riding all through the night warning everyone that the British were coming by sea.
In actuality Joseph Warren told Paul Revere that the British would be crossing the Charles River and would be landing in Cambridge and heading to Lexington and then Concord where the ammunition was being stored. Revere had Robert Newman, a fellow colonist; put the lamp signal to warn Charlestown the British would be coming by sea. In order to alert the surrounding towns a plan had been created for riders to ride through the country side declaring the British were coming in order for the militia to be prepared. Another patriot and rider, William Dawes took a southern route and Paul Revere took the northern route. Away they rode to warn the colonists.
Here are some cool things I learned. 1) By the end of the night there were over 40 riders warning the colonists that the British were headed towards Lexington and Concord. 2) A warning system was in place to alert the militia in the surrounding towns. This system included alarm guns, bells, bonfires, drums, and trumpets. It was so effective that towns 25 miles away were alerted. The system was so effective that the militia was ready and prepared before the British were off the ships.
What does this have to do with you? First, God is doing everything He can to signal you. He wants a relationship with you. See He sent His son Jesus Christ to signal you. He allowed His son to die on the cross for you. This is a huge signal. More than 2 lights in a church steeple signal.
In John 15 verses15-16 He is clearly telling us He wants us. Listen to what He says again. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. He is speaking to us, right now!!!
God is calling you to have an intimate relationship with Him. It is not a pew relationship, or a “I’m going to read the Upper Room relationship”, or a I’m going to be active in doing “things” relationship. While these activities can build upon a foundational relationship with God, they do not create an intimate relationship with Him. God wants to know you intimately, and He is using the lantern, bonfires, bells, trumpets, people and His word to get to know you. This Bible is full of examples of people in relationship with God. What’s fantastic is that these are stories of people who fall out of relationship with God, just like we do, just like we do and sin, horribly, just like we do, just like I do. Yet when they come back to God, He is waiting, and they do great, powerful things with God.
George and I are studying 2 Samuel. David, a man after God’s own heart, goes out of relationship with God to pursue his own desires, Bathsheba. This is a very interesting story to explain to a nine year old. Lots of prayers went into this one. But I explained to George that David sinned when he met with Bathsheba, he sinned when he tried to trick Uriah to meet with his wife Bathsheba to cover her pregnancy, he sinned when he told Joab to pull away from Uriah while he was in battle so Uriah would be killed. David sinned all the way through this. David did what we all do. When we do something wrong, we try to fix it ourselves, try to cover it up. Nowhere in this chapter does David talk to God about what he has done. At no time does David say, “Hey, God, I really messed up. I am so sorry. I need your help.”
Yet God still loved David. David comes and talks to God, intimately. Worships Him. Yes, David sinned. Yes David made mistakes, yes, there was a consequence, but God wanted a relationship with David, and forgave him. And God blesses David. Through the line of David comes Jesus.
God wants a relationship with you. Do you want a relationship with Him?
The great thing this book, this Bible, it shows us that we are not alone in our faults and our weaknesses. Story after story people fail, they sin – when they work by themselves. When they come into relationship with God, when they come and ask for forgiveness, God blesses them. And here’s the best part about being in sin; Are you ready for this? God still loved them!!! God still loves you!!! There was nothing any of these people could do to keep God from loving them. And the same is true for you.
It does not matter what we do or say or how we behave because God still loves us because with God all things are possible. Oh, isn’t that a verse in the Bible. I think it is. Matthew 19:26 This is the story of the rich man trying to enter the kingdom of God. Listen to the whole story. (read 19:23-26) God is telling us it is possible with Him.
When we are in relationship with God, we are able to see and hear and smell and touch and be in contact with Him – beyond our worldly senses. We are awakened to the supernatural. We are called to Him. This is when we are able to do incredible works for God as the people of God.
It does not matter if you are a mature Christian or a brand new Christian or you have not asked Jesus to be your savior. God wants to talk with you. He wants to share His love with you. Yes, you sitting right here in the church pew this morning. I must tell you, though, there is one catch in this relationship with God. He does not want you to keep His love to yourself. He wants us, every one of us, to share this love. And that can be scary. It can be difficult to share who God is, how he has transformed your life, how much he loves you with strangers, with friends, with family members. It is very scary. Sometimes the person He calls you to share His love is with another mature Christian.
Now you might ask me, “Jozett, what do you know about this relationship with God that you are talking about?” Well, the truth is, I fall in and out of relationship with Him on a regular basis. Why? Because when He calls me to do His will, I get scared. It is outside of my comfort zone. I think to myself, “I can’t do this. This is a crazy idea. What if I get hurt? Worse yet, what if I fail?” So in my mind, it is easier to put God off rather than follow Him. I’ll let you in on a little secret, God has been calling me to write for the past two years. He has called me to be healthier, specifically in what I eat and how I eat. I have ignored that call. Did God leave me or abandon me while I was shoving potato chips into my mouth, or when He would wake me in the night to write something and I ignored Him because my sleep was more important than His message? No, He stayed with me, He loved me through my stubbornness and sin.
I decided in December I was going to hand it all over to God. I asked for forgiveness and repented. Because I have righted my relationship with God, I am being blessed in ways I do not have time to describe here today. But what is clear to me, is that I am being called to share this same unconditional love with others.
This is where the 40 riders come into play. If I intend to have this intimate relationship with my Father, I must reach out to others. We must reach out to others
He chose us. He appointed us to go and bear fruit. He wants us to spread the love. In Paul Revere’s ride, it starts with one man giving information to Revere to spread the word. Let’s see how this works. We are going to practice reaching out to others right here and now. This will not be easy for some people, but I believe we have to practice what we preach, in a safe environment. Before we do this, let’s pray.
Heavenly Father help to open our hearts to Your will. Allow us to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, guide us to the people who need to hear of God’s love for them. We pray this all through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.
I am going to model what I want you to do, and then I am going to ask for you to find someone here in this church and tell them sincerely, God loves you for who you are right now. This means you may end up getting out of your seat.
So take out what I had you write down at the beginning, once I have given the message, I want you to go and find the person that God wants to hear this message.
Now if that weren’t enough, those of you who have cell phones, take them out, turn them on. I want you to text, email, tweet, facebook people who are in your social network God loves you for who you are right now.
If 2 riders can go out and spread the news, The British are coming, The British are coming, and get 40 riders by dawn to spread the same messge, and towns can signal each other 25 miles away, certainly we can do the same.
God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.