Sermons

Summary: Are leftovers really mentioned in the Bible? You bet they are!

For me there is always something exciting about coming to the end of another year. It marks completion for me, a conclusion to 12 months of the “daily grind”, hammering out life and blazing my own trail. It’s the transformation from what I was doing and who I presently am into what I can soon become and what God has waiting for me around the corner. This metamorphosis almost always comes with a price and usually comes too late “in my thinking”. You see, all of us are in some type of transition-beaming out of one season and into another. For many this time of year is not simply a glance back and a gaze forward. Rather its more like a stare into a dismal year of unresolved issues, unprofitable ventures and unreliable people. For these folks, everytime the ball drops in Times SQ it’s a reminder of all that didn’t happen; the overwhelming sensation of failure and wasted time. This year I have realized how easy it is to get caught up in this feeling of depression.

Last week the local paper asked Tulsans to vote on the top news stories of the year. The list included the most current events on September 11 , anthrax attacks as well as the Timothy McVeigh execution and the right to work vote. Most of the nominations dealt with disasters and tragedies; just a lot of bad news. So you do not have to look far if you want to be discouraged.

I’m a big fan of the OT thought on “memorials”…setting up reminders of the highlights in life so that I can often look back at them to gain courage and hope. I need to be reminded of times when I felt the thrill of victory because they are the only things that get me through the agony of defeat. But as I already referred to, glancing back can prove beneficial, gazing back can prove tragic. You have most likely heard people tell you that “you can’t live in the past”.

To not live in the past you have to discern the difference between completion and expectation. Too often we want the “expectation” but we do not want to bring about any completion. It just feels like sometimes its more fun just getting there and when we get there we wonder what all the fuss was about:

Optional:Even though Easter is what its all about for the church, Midas Dekkers in his book “The Way of all Flesh: The Romance of Ruins” points out that “Easter can’t hold a candle to Christmas. For Christmas cities are decorated and wars are put on hold but Easter with its meager chocolate eggs is over before you know it. You don’t receive any expensive presents, trees are left in place in the garden and no one-(fortunately even in America)-has ever heard of Easter songs. We’d rather celebrate Christ’s birth rather than His death even though that’s what it is all about. A promise is more fun than fulfillment. Our hearts beat happy with anticipation. Goals are there to be looked forward to”.

I like the idea of waking up to a new day, an unfolding plan of events from God and the inspiration that comes from wondering who I will meet, how will I influence them or they me, and what is God going to do to enhance His kingdom through me today.

I believe that God wants to bring all things to completion …even you! Completion means completion, finishing, resolving, leaving your plate clean…

That leads me to my thought today… something that I have a hard time with…leftovers! Some people like them…I even found a band that is called The Living Leftovers…sounds great doesn’t it? Leftovers :Food that is ordered by sight and not by size of the stomach, food that is prepared expecting some additional families to join you at the table. For many years Bridgette and I used to take home Styrofoam containers of over-ordered delicacies from the restaurants we would visit and place them on a shelf in the fridge. The idea here was to consume the remains within a short span of time from when they were boxed, bagged or shelved. When we cooked at home, Tupperware was the order of the day and many a lid “burped’ in order to lock the freshness in. However, most of my traumatic times came when going to that fridge in hunger and pulling out some of the Tupperware that was “hiding its contents”, popping off the lid, and uncovering the “guess of the day”.

Often this food( or at least I think it was food) would expand and grow what looked to be “hair”…that’s the best way I could describe it. Lasagna, could look like an Italian Chia Pet in just a few short days.

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