Hebrew break time.
Thanks to those of you who put in input for my sermon last week…namely just the four of you. If you feel so inclined to see what I came up with you can click HERE to find an audio of my sermon. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to, I’d understand. I rarely want to listen to sermons online so you’ll get extra friend points if you do.
So, instead of writing out on here the things I preached on, instead I’m going to reflect on the process of sermonizing (a word I think I might have just made up although maybe not?) So here goes some random thoughts on what this process looked like for me.
I picked the passage Isaiah 43:1-7. Upon talking through some thoughts with my friend/Worship Arts Director at my church, Paul, I came up with a basic theme and direction for the sermon. I basically was choosing to talk about what we should do when faced with adversity in this life. Mostly the kind of adversity that we cannot control. What do we do when life just sort of sucks? (I said it a bit more eloquently on Sunday, don’t worry…I didn’t offend anyone). So I chose to look into these words that the Lord speaks to the people in Babylonian exile and see how they could speak into our lives. Little did I know it was going to be intense. …. alright, so I did know.
I started looking through commentaries because I was really intrigued by this passage and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure how it lined up with the history I learned in OT. So I searched. I started to see how the words of the Lord would have applied to these people and realized an even deeper meaning than I had even imagined.
Isaiah begins and ends this particular passage recognizing God as the Creator. The crux of the this passage is found in the middle where it says “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you.” The last thing that tugged on my heart was the use of the phrase – “you are redeemed.”
So let’s put those things together and think about this for a moment. We are precious in the eyes of the Creator of the universe and because of that love, we are called redeemed.
Did you get that? The same God that spoke the world into being LOVES us. Not only that, but he calls us precious and redeems us. The commentators point out that the form of the verb used for redeemed shows a complete action. It’s already been done for us.
So when we face the flooding waters and the consuming fire of this life, we have the ability to draw into the embrace of the Father and hear these reassuring words. Even though it seems like these raging rivers and fires are going to over take us because we don’t have the full picture. Even though there is evil in this world that we can do nothing about… God is God. He is the creator of the universe and he chooses to love and protect us.
SO… from that reality we must live. We must live into communities that support each other through the storm. Because, friends, it’s not a matter of if the storm is going to come into your life, it’s a matter of when. And when that storm comes, will you be completely dependent on God? Completely dependent on those around you that also know God is good?
Because sometimes, instead of being dependent on God and our community, we become dependent on a life circumstance. And when the bottom falls out of that, we are left in the shambles. But if you’re dependent on God and those around you, at least you have people around to help you rebuild.
One year and five months ago, as part of a bible study exercise I identified the biggest fear I had at that time. I had to fill in the blank of the statement. “If ______________ happens, then I’ll be wrecked.” In that bible study I learned to replace that sentence with “if _________________happens, then there’s God.” I didn’t learn it a moment too soon. Then, two months later, my blank happened. That thing I feared, that phone call I never wanted to come, that news that brought me to my knees.
But there was God. and a community of believers that surrounded me and helped me to start rebuilding.
So, friends, a lot of these reflections happened post sermon, but the basics were there on Sunday and one really big thing I learned is that I really like preaching. And while I was really nervous and I know that there were things I could have done better, overall the experience was really good. Because God is good, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Hebrew break time.