Summary: 1st message in an 8 week series on the Lord’s Prayer. This one deals with the phrase: "Our Father in Heaven..."
“Can You Hear Me Now? Good!” - Week 1
“CHOOSING THE CORRECT CARRIER”
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES:
Like millions of others, I have a cell phone. In fact, our family uses them almost exclusively for our long distance needs, which comes in handy with two of our children living in Florida. We presently have a carrier that we are very pleased with. For those of you in the know, we are “IN” and so are our kids. But that wasn’t always the case. Previously, we had a carrier that we were not at all pleased with! I will not mention the company’s name, but it did have 3 initials & merged with another rather recently (probably had to). The reason it was frustrating was because of the “dead spots,” “dropped calls” and “outages” we had with this wireless provider. It is maddening to try & communicate when you can’t hear or understand the other person.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the phone, in fact, I had the latest design, a clip on my belt and it even had cool programming - it had games!! (Ask the guys, that’s important!) No, it wasn’t the phone that was frustrating it was the “soul” of the phone if you will, the provider. Because it doesn’t matter how good the phone looks externally or even how cool it works internally, if the heart of the phone, the carrier is bad, the whole thing is pretty much useless.
That got me to thinking. For a lot of people, that situation with my cell phone describes the life they lead. Oh, they have the “latest hot look”- hair professionally taken care of, cosmetics, name brand clothing.. And the programming on the inside is cool.. Exercise, education, the right diet.. All to make their “phone” enjoyable to use and pleasurable to look at. They look good on the outside, may even be healthy on the inside, but deep within, where it really matters, where no one can see, in the service area, their souls, their hearts, there is little if no attention given. The Bible, over and over again, refers to your soul, your inner being, as your heart and tries to communicate how important this part of your life is.. 1 Sam. 16:7 - “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”(NIV) Proverbs 27:19- “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects a person.”(NLT) And I believe God gets a little frustrated with us at times, I know he could with me, because there are times when we are so concerned about the “cool”things, the easily seen things in our lives we miss the really important things He’s trying to get across to us. It’s as if he could ask: “Are you listening?” “Can you hear me now?”
Well, for several weeks I want us to see if we can hear God with greater clarity. My prayer is that in doing so we can effectively evaluate the condition of our souls. How? By looking at the Lord’s Prayer. Most of you can quote the words.. but chances are you’ve never looked at it as a blueprint for living. Jesus didn’t just provide a “model prayer” here, although it is that, He was also providing a model for living. These words do more than just tell us what to say to God, they tell us how to know God and how to clearly hear and understand what He wants for us. When we hear him clearly and apply the principles in this prayer it’s as if we can hear God say, “Can you hear me now? GOOD!”
INTRODUCTION TO SERMON:
We begin with, Our Father in heaven..” With these words Jesus gives us the ultimate carrier, the one we can count on for the best clarity and benefits. Jesus begins by introducing us to the Creator and Sustainer of life. So, let’s dig into this first phrase but before we do let’s ask Him to bless our time together. (PRAY)
I. UNDERSTANDING THE PHRASE: “Our Father in heaven..”
(Video Clip - “In Good Company” - Chap. 8 - 0:41:30 - 0:42:10 - Length:0:40)
Does that bring up any memories about your Father? You may see a clip like that and remember an intrusive, blunt, inconsiderate man. Or maybe worse: abusive or neglectful. The fact is, for many people the word "father" conjures up a negative image. Because your earthly father was not all that he should of been, the term brings back childhood memories, arousing regret, resentment, anger, fear, frustration, guilt. The term "father" stirs up deep feelings. It’s like when you’re a little kid and your mom says: "You just wait until your- what? father gets home!" Then you go to church and you hear, "God is like your father." You feel like saying, “No thanks. If that’s the way God is, I’m not interested!” But that’s why Jesus qualified Who He was talking about. Not an earthly, imperfect father but a perfect ".. Father, in heaven..."