Summary: This sermon begins the series in which we want to encounter and honor God in our lives and church. The only real satisfaction we have in life is God. Everything else is a poor substitute.
1. If She Doesn't Hurry... When J. K. Rowling was having trouble finishing her fifth Harry Potter book, her fans grew impatient. One was quoted as saying, "If she doesn't hurry, we're going to move on to caring about something else." That reflects our age. Our attention spans are short, and we want things in a hurry. Our watchwords are now, instant, quick, fast, rush. The Lord doesn't work that way.
2. We get caught up in temporary, and often, depressing distractions as we look for meaning in life and fail to look to or wait on God.
a. Main Point of the Lesson: We have a Universal longing for God in our DNA -- Ecclesiastes 3.11
b. Stop talking about differences and demographics and focus on the common -- Universal Longing
1) The wealthy, with everything money can buy, hate their lives if they are without this
2) The poorest persons in the world, living in mud huts, is joyous, if they have it
3. Only GOD fulfills this longing --
a. Not in accomplishments
* Ecclesiastes is the record of Solomon's great life experiment
* He tried everything under the sun and hated life -- 2.17; 12.13
* Unable to find fulfillment in his achievements
b. Nothing in this world satisfies us for what the Creator made us for -- 2.24-25 (his conclusion)
* Seen in our anticipations "wishing your life away"
* Not in Busy-ness even in good busy-ness; Not even in religious activity
4. Most of us are here, looking for an encounter with the Holy One of the Bible -- It is what we long for -- we long for eternity in our hearts (Melech HaOlam) -- We've experienced it some and want more!
a. Church Growth experts have told us to identify the uniqueness of people and go after them
b. What if we focus on the sameness in people, that universal longing for God? Every person you know has this -- can't always see it, but it's there.
c. Ministry begins in the sameness, not the differences
I. Our God is Transcendent (Supernatural/Superior/Excellent)
Peace Child Don Richardson was a missionary to the cannibalistic, headhunting Sawi tribe in Indonesia. He could not find a way to make the people understand the gospel message, especially the significance of Christ's atoning death on the cross. Their values were so distorted that when they heard of the betrayal by Judas they cheered for him!
Sawi villages were constantly fighting among themselves, and because treachery revenge, and murder were highly honored there seemed no hope of peace. The tribe, however, had a legendary custom that if one village gave a baby boy to another village, peace would prevail between the two villages as long as the child lived. The baby was called a "peace child".
The missionary seized on that story as an analogy of the reconciling work of Christ. Christ, he said, is God's divine Peace Child that He has offered to man, and because Christ lives eternally His peace will never end. In a miraculous working of the Holy Spirit many of them believed in Christ, and a strong, evangelistic church soon developed -- and peace came to the Sawis.
A. God Comes from Above to Below --
1. As seen in Adam and Eve; Mt. Sinai; the Temple; Jesus; Pentecost
2. To Bring us UP to Him -- Exodus 19.4
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.
B. To Encounter the Transcendent God, We Must be Humble (Small)
1. Our root sin is Pride -- thinking too highly of selves
2. Humility becomes a key for us -- James 4.6b "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
C. How to Feel Small (not Shamed) Before God and Gain a Proper Perspective:
1. Stand Before God's Creation -- Ocean; Mountains
2. Consider the Heavens -- Psalm 8.1-9
* [Solar System -- 7.5 Billion miles across -- means nothing; if we drove a car at 65 mph, 24/7 we would cross it in 13,172 years
* [Milky Way Galaxy -- 100 Billion stars like ours (possibly as many solar systems); The Universe may have as many as 50 Billion Galaxies -- If we made the Milky Way the size of North America our Solar System would be the size of a coffee cup!
* Our God SPOKE it into being! Feel small yet?
II. Our God is the Only Fulfillment to Our Longing
A. Our God Created the Longing So We Would Fear Him -- Ecclesiastes 3.14, 12.13
CS Lewis put it this way "If I find in myself a desire that this world cannot fulfill, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."