Illustration results for presence
There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)
“Don’t you fear God?” is a great question. It’s a question that I don’t think we hear much anymore. And if we’re not careful, the next generation will miss entirely this all important characteristic of God.
That’s why I’m glad Disney and Walden Media is releasing C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe” this December. If you don’t know anything about this, let me encourage you to pick up the book and make plans to see this movie. In this story, Lewis chose a Lion to represent Jesus. At times the children in the story felt comfortable to run their fingers through his mane, take rides on his back and enjoy being in his presence. But his roar was ferocious enough to introduce an element of fear. It prompted 1 of the children to ask, “Is Aslan safe?” The thoughtful answer was, “No, He’s not safe, but He is good.”
God is a God of love and justice; grace and wrath, and sometimes I think we need to hear Him roar to remind us of His holiness.
Do you remember the feelings of disappointment Dorothy and her friends had when the Great and Magnificent Wizard of Oz was exposed behind the curtain? Do you remember that scene? The Wizard spoke with much sound and fury, but seemed to have little substance once the curtain was pulled back. Did Jesus turn out to be that way? No way – no one pulled the curtain back on him. In fact, he ripped in right in two. When Christ died, the curtain in the temple separating the people from the Most Holy Place, which represented the presence of the Lord was torn from top to bottom. God and His eternal love and forgiveness were made accessible to man in Christ!
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The film takes place three years after the onset of the Clone Wars; the noble Jedi knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the separatists. After Chancellor Palpatine is kidnapped, Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former padawan, Anakin Skywalker, are dispatched to eliminate the evil General Grievous and rescue the chancellor. Meanwhile, Anakin’s friendship with the chancellor arouses suspicion in the Jedi order and proves dangerous to the Jedi knight himself as the chancellor turns out to be Sith lord, Darth Sidious who tempts Anakin to come over to the dark side, with the promise that the death of his wife, which he has constant dreams about, can be reversed. A tussle begins in Anakin’s heart over following the light and the Jedi order or stepping over to the dark side with the Sith lord Darth Sidious. Anakin succumbs to temptation; he steps out of the light and his whole character changes as he enters the dark side and becomes the evil Darth Vader.
Why am I telling you that fictional story? Because it’s a picture of how we are all prone to acts of darkness and how darkness entered into our world in the beginning. I want to share another story this time; it’s a real historical story about our ancestors, the first man called Adam and the first woman called Eve, who were serving and living in the presence of God, who is light and all that is good and perfect. Yet evil lurked in the shadows under the guise of a serpent. It was Satan (Lucifer), a fallen angel who wanted to be like God and who had been banished from God’s presence in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan brought temptation and doubts before them both, with the promise they would be like God and the lie that they would not die. They succumbed to eat of the fruit that God forbade to eat (Gen 3:1-7). Adam and Eve succumbed just like Anakin to the dark side. As a result, darkness has entered into our world and our lives with separation from God becoming the norm, physical and spiritual death awaiting us and the world in utter darkness as evil prevails to this day.
Video Clip: Dead Man Walking: From Videos that Teach -- Fields and James page 52
Can anyone, no matter what they have done, become a child of God?
The Movie: Drama R
Sister Helen Prejan (Susan Sarandon) is a nun who receives a desperate letter from a death row inmate, Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn), a convicted murderer trying to avoid the death penalty. As their relationship develops, Sister Prejean must come to terms with ministering to Poncelet as a fellow child of God despite the horrendous nature of his crimes, while at the same time ministering to the victim’s families.
This clip : Start 1:35:45 “That boy, Walter.” Stop 1:38:01
Sister Helen sits with convicted killer Matthew poncelet in his cell. When he confesses that he has indeed killed a man, sister Prejean teaches him that he can become a child of God by asking for forgiveness of his sins and owning up to his responsibility-which he does, realizi...
HARDLY SAFE: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
If you have ever been through a tornado. ... One personal encounter with a power that before was only theoretical can make all the difference. You live differently after that. You respect the power. You live in awe of its presence and tremble to think of its potential. Above all, you live in profound humility because you recognize your inability to control it.
If all this for tornadoes, then what of the Almighty God? I am reminded of the quote from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where Mr. Beaver describes the might and majesty of Aslan, the lion-God. When he finishes, Lucy asks, "Is--is he safe?" Replies Mr. Beaver: "Safe? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you." This is our God: hardly safe but thoroughly good. We cling to the King in fear, but much too afraid to let go.
(Don Ratzlaff in The Christian Leader (April 23,1991). Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 10)
We recently watched a DVD about prestidigitation. It was called The Prestige and was based on the idea that every illusion has three acts. The first act is "The Pledge" where the magician shows you something very simple and ordinary, though it rarely is. The second act is "The Turn" where something that seems extraordinary or impossible occurs. The third act is "The Prestige" where order is restored and, to your amazement, all is well.
Of course, that describes the nature of stage magic, but I think Peter has used the same kind of showmanship here to depict the divine reality of Jesus as God’s Son. YOU put Jesus to death, charges Peter—the pledge. GOD raised Him from the dead—the turn, but you’ve had to take "our" word for it until now. NOW, you’ve seen the power right in front of you as Jesus’ presence, power, and authority has healed this man to perfect health, the prestige. But Peter isn’t content to leave these observations as part of a sideshow, he wants them to remember for a purpose.
When people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins claim that they can prove that God doesn’t exist, they are making an arrogant mistake. Pardon me while I draw an example from modern animation. When I was a child, the most glorious cartoons were 2-dimensional animations where thousands of painted cels were photographed and shown in rapid succession. Today, children who are used to the 3D graphics of Cars, Shrek, and the like have less appreciation for the 2D art of previous generations. Oh, there is still room for 2D animation on television for budgetary reasons, but motion picture animation is clearly dominated by 3D work. Why would anyone want to go back?
Yet, when we consider God’s presence in eternity compared with our existence in finite limitation, why would God want to conform His revelation to the 2D, if you will, standards of finite limitation, when He can animate all of reality in the 3D splendor of the eternal. Yet, these foes of the gospel demand that we present our theology in the 2D of their limited worldview in order to convince them of a 3D world that they automatically exclude.
Opening Illustration: From the Quickening
Our clip illustrates from history and current day stories the power of revival to transform individual people and who in turn then help transform an entire nation from ungodly nations to godly nations.
Clip is 35 minutes long covers the history of Revival and reveals some principles of Revival in the past and in the present.
The one key ingredient of revival that I observed from our clip was is breakthrough prayers on the part of the people of God. Prayer is a required action for revival to emerge where sin is rampant. Sin always causes devastation and bondage and the answer to sins destruction is revival. Revival comes from breakthrough prayers not by human wisdom, human strength, human money, or even human resources. It comes by God’s divine presence and manifestation ...
REVELATION AND OVALTINE
The word often translated "revelation" or as I translated it, "unveiling," could also be understood as "decoding." Ever heard of those Ovaltine Decoder Rings in the '40s? Ovaltine drink advertisements used to have a coded message on them (as did some of the Ovaltine radio ads you might hear when you listen to tapes or CDs of old radio programs). If you twisted the top of the ring to the symbol in the ad, you'd get a letter or number that was part of the message. Of course, those messages were designed to enhance the ad--much like the scene in the Christmas movie when Ralph finally gets his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and deciphers the secret message only to discover that it said, "Drink more Ovaltine."
God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us decode what God wants from us. But it isn't a disappointment. The Holy Spirit not only helps us to know God's will, but to know how to accomplish God's will and empowers us to do it. But where other religions promised to let a few chosen people in on the special mysteries of their knowledge, promising the ancient equivalent of today's Scientology with its promise of amazing powers for those few special ones who are dedicated enough and donate enough to reach the upper echelons of their religion, God has revealed Himself to us in order to share the mystery of His love, His presence, and His purpose with EVERYONE.
Do you remember the movie called "Crocodile Dundee?" It was a good one.
Crocodile Dundee comes from the land down under. He is completely out of his realm when he came from Australia to New York City. Crocodile Dundee and his girlfriend are out for a walk at night, when all of a sudden some guys, which we would have called a thiefs or a hoods all a sudden appeared out of nowhere. One of the guys pulled out a knife and demanded, "Give me your money!" And Dundee’s girl screams, "Oh, he has a knife!"
But Crocodile Dundee, the cool character that he is says, "That’s not a knife." And he coolly reaches behind his back and pulls a huge knife out of his sheaf and says, "This is a knife." The thieves take one look at Dundee’s knife and takes off.
What would normally bring fear did not bring fear to Crocodile Dundee, because he had something bigger and better. Believer friend, we have someone bigger and better working for us this morning. God does not want you or me to be intimidated out of being the person He has saved us and sanctified us to be.
If you are doing the powerful kingdom work that God has called you to do then you have the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit and you and I are spiritually powerful persons.