Summary: Bringing a message of hope to people who believe they have little to offer! They have everything to offer! The Hope of JESUS CHRIST!
Sunday January 3rd 2009
Over the past few months the leadership of the church here in Butler met together multiple times and wrestled with deciding what it is that we value as a church. By asking the question what do we value we begin to see a vision for our future. If I were to ask each of you today what it is that you value most in your life many of you would say basic things like I value my family, I value my job, I value my relationship with Jesus Christ, I value being American, and being able to worship freely and openly.
Those are all very good things to value! We sought to be more specific, because as a church we can say that we value children, and we do and we can say that we value teenagers and we do, we can say that we value families, and we do and we can say that we value senior adults, and we do. But why? Why do we value people? Why does God care about the people that we care about?
Over the next few weeks you’re going to start to hear for some of you the first time…the core values of his church. It is my hope that you will find that these values are right out of the pages of this Bible. This church doesn’t exist for you it doesn’t exist for me it exists for God. So this morning we find ourselves at a juncture at a fork in the road in the history of the church… things can not stay as they are…we will grow cold and will begin to isolate ourselves and like so many other churches across this district, across this denomination, and across this world we will die. Unless we begin to imagine what the kingdom of God looks like in our midst and imagine what it looks like not to satisfy our own desires but be satisfied when the desires of God are being lived out among us.
Jeremiah 31:7 -14 is where we land in our scripture this morning to get a glimpse of God’s desire for his people to be people full of Hope!
Butler Church of the Nazarene a Christ centered community loving God serving others! And a core value we focus on today and our core values are in no particular order….
Hope: in a world where family is being broken down, we seek to be a light guiding our families toward Christ who gives us lasting peace.
Listen to the words of Jeremiah this morning and here about a God who desires his people to be full of hope.
Verse seven starts out with the call to sing for joy that Yahweh God has saved his people. The northern land was Assyria, where northern Israel had been taken away, taken captive, and enslaved.
And verse eight is saying look look ahead all is not lost Yahweh God will lead this people, Yahweh God will comfort them, and guide them by flowing streams on a smooth way where they will not stumble.
This is a very different from the first exodus we read about earlier in Scripture! There was no smooth away in the first exodus it was hard and they were there 40 years. There is nothing smooth about a 40 year journey!
Verse eight continues with a safe travel promise to women who are pregnant or giving birth! The Bible tells us of another story where Rachel who is mentioned in verse 15 of the same chapter died in childbirth while on a similar journey from Mesopotamia to the same sworn land! Traveling was dangerous Yahweh God is saying I will keep you safe!
This word this name for this people the word “remnant” it is a word that we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around. This word means that this people has suffered so greatly in the past they are all that’s left their weak, there in need! Some may even say if they are indeed hopeless in their endeavor to enter into the promised land again.
The word “crying out” this verb this action in Hebrew refers to a desperate cry of need. We see this word in other places like Lamentations 2:19
Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at the head of every street.
Can you imagine what it would be like to see your children starving. The children of your community starving at the corner of your street. This image is a desperate image! For the children in this church this morning, for the teens in this church this morning. Know this… your generation is starving. Some of you may even feel like you’re withering away. Parents maybe you see teenagers children withering away. Becoming more like the world and less like Christ! The leadership of this church sees what’s happening in the lives of our young people! We meet this month to discuss strategies, ideas, and passion for our youth. Were in need. We can’t do it alone! Pray with us that God will guide us so that the head of every street in Butler has HOPE! Not the image of God inside of a trial a teenager withering away! God help us! Guide our leaders equip them, transform them as they serve!