Summary: Opening Sermon to the "From the Heart" Series. Discusses my life verse.
All scripture listed NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
As we are winding down the year here, I wanted to do a series of messages that to me are very important.
I believe that God call all of us to do and to teach different areas.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 talks about the body and its many parts all functioning differently and together to achieve the same mission.
We each are given different burdens and different desires of ministry. As we listen to different preachers and read different books, this is a way that God uses speakers and teachers and authors to communicate his messages to the world.
Over the next six weeks, I want to discuss with you what I find to be important. Some of the topics I believe are universally important, meaning that every preacher should put them on their list, but others I believe are flexible—they means more to me because I think God has led me in that particular way.
We are going to work through are series that I have entitled, “from the heart”. I was at home on midtour when I began to work on these messages. I was talking to my wife about what I was preaching on and what I would like to preach on. I began to realize that I was going to go the entire year without emphasizing some of the most important topics that I have on my heart. So the result is this series of messages.
As I was a little boy, my Dad was the Music Minister at a church in South Carolina. I remember one Wednesday night, he was asked to lead the midweek prayer service.
He chose that week to pass out the Bible verse for people to read on a little slip of paper. He gave me one, which I still have, which was probably first time I spoke in church. Over the years the verse took special meaning for me as I would visit the prayer garden at Ridgecrest, NC. I often reflected on this verse as it was written on a piece of board at the entrance of the garden.
The verse is
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! (Ps 46:10, NKJV)
This became what I call my life verse; it is what I strive to do and to be. This evening we are going to take a closer look at this verse.
Jameson/The Praise Band is going to lead us in some worship songs and then I’ll come back up and begin to dissect this passage.
As we open our Bibles to Psalm 46:10, we see that this verse teaches first of all to…
1. Be Still.
The April “Best Life” magazine had an article titled “Why I need to be alone.” The author, Peter Nichols told the story of how he began to understand what it meant to be alone. He discovered this during a failed attempt to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, from England. He said in the article;
“During those weeks at sea, I don’t remember thinking deeply about who I was or my few problems in any conscious or analytical way. But a clearer—and disappointing—sense of myself emerged. I was then already in my early 30s, but I felt I had finished nothing, accomplished nothing. Looking back now, that voyage marked the beginning of resolve, beginning of finishing things I started—the beginning of real industry in my life.” (BL, APR 06)
The Psalmist writes;
Be still, and know that I am God;
(Ps 46:10a, NKJV)
It doesn’t take an attempt to sail the Atlantic to be still, but it does take willpower.
For me being still is a challenge. You could say that I have always have had “stillness” issues. I remember when I was in Church, on the second row; my Mother would frequently ask me if I had ants in my pants.
Many of us have “stillness issues”, we are always on the move. We have to be doing something, we can’t sit still. Then we find ourselves in Iraq, where nothing is ever still or quiet. There are generators. There are people talking. There are vehicles. There is even the wind.
Psalm 46:10 is a goal that I strive for. It stands as a wise guideline for how to live a Godly life. And it tells us to “Be still”.
I seek to be still in the mornings. I enjoy going into the office early when it is at its quietest and opening my Bible, my Book, and my Journal. Stillness to me, offers a time of focus and clarity.
Stillness and solitude gives me the opportunity to examine myself and discover who I am and allow God to mold me into the person he desires for me to be.