Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is the fifth message in the Lousy T-Shirt series and it deals with having intimacy with God and others...

Again... This message is an adaption from Vince Antonucci - www.forefront.org

How many of you remember the chick flick, The Runaway Bride. In this all time greatest (yuck) movie Julia Roberts plays this chick named Maggie Carpenter, a bride who has almost been married three different times and each time, just at the last minute, as she’s walking down the aisle - she takes off running. She’s out of there - poof - she’s gone... You end up of course finding out through the course of the movie that Maggie was raised by an alcoholic father who she had trusted, and believed in - only to be disappointed and devastated - so that as an adult...now she trusts no one!

The truth is most of us identify with her more than we probably care to admit. Most of us run from real intimacy. We might be okay with relationships at a distance, but when things get to close - we bolt! Maybe you’ve ruined dating relationships, or personal friendships, or work relationships... Or maybe the guy that you run from is God. Maybe you are here today, but your story is that you and the big guy, you aren’t so sure about... Secretly maybe you fear him. You hear me talk each week about having a relationship with God, but you know - for a variety of reasons, you just aren’t so sure that’s possible... and so you run from God.

I’ve actually been there. The truth is that all of us have. There are two things that keep us from God: We’ve sinned against God or we’ve been sinned against... Let’s talk about sin for a second or two. This story of sin and running from God is actually the first story in the Bible. So if you brought your Bible, open it to Genesis Chapter 2...

The first verse I want to look at is Gen. 2:25 - It shows the beginning, how things should be... The key here is they were nekkid!! and everything was fine... You know if you have kids you get this. As toddlers, you have to really watch those guys, cause they will get nekkid quick - right. It’s natural, normal, and innocent - and that’s how Adam and Eve were... But then they sin.

Look at the change in Chap. 3 verse 6,7 - They go from happy go lucky to ashamed and covering themselves... Sin makes a wall between you and God. You see the Bible teaches that we were created to love God and love each other - that’s really where life gets lived, but sin does something to that - it makes us hide. It makes us run.

In the next verse you have this reminder of what it was like... God’s walking with them each day, but then he sees that they have changed. Look at verses (3:8-9) The intimacy is gone...

Then we also of course understand that if we don’t run because we’ve sinned, we run because we’ve been sinned against. You don’t have to search very hard for people who have been hurt by others. Maybe it was your parents, or a sibling, or something totally random - but chances are there are things that make you run... Hurst you are running from like Maggie.

Where do we run to? As a kid one of my favorite games was tag. It’s a pretty simple game. Someone’s it and they try to tag as many people as possible. But there’s a place of safety in the game right? There’’s one place you can run to and you are safe - home base...

Where is home base supposed to be for us? Well - as strange as it sounds - I think the place that God says for us to run to for safety is the church. There’s a really crazy story in the book of Numbers that I want us to turn to - In this book, God has been giving the people of Israel (his chosen tribe) rules to make life easier... And we come to this crazy rule in Numbers 35:9-15.

In the days of the Israelites, when you murdered someone accidentally, a blood avenger would be charged to hunt you down and kill you - no trial - just dog the bounty hunter on steroids coming to get you - so God sets up these places of safety - these sanctuaries... Imagine running for your life and making it through the gates - worried about who was going to kill you, and out comes the welcoming party! Hey, we are glad you are here, we’re glad you made it... Yeah, but I’ve murdered someone - “Ahhh forget about that - we’ve all done similar stuff, that’s why we’re here too...

The old testament becomes the New Testament and I think Churches are supposed to be the places of refuge for today... The place where you can say, you know, I’m not sure I trust God - that’s okay, we’ve all got our issues... I’m not even sure I trust you - that’s okay... Just come on, hang out, learn about Jesus and see what God does... That’s what I hope Phoenix Church becomes - a place of refuge - a sanctuary of hope and healing... You’re that welcoming committee. Hey, I know what you are going through - I’m just like you... I’ve screwed up, and I don’t have it all together, but I think I want to hear more about this Jesus guy...

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