Summary: The topic I believed needed to be addressed was how we get so focused on the problems that we don’t look for solutions. We get so wrapped up in what is wrong with the world, the church and each other that we forget the reason we are here, our purpose, our
When I first began writing the sermon for this week I thought I needed to preach something hard, something that would step on people’s toes, wake us up and challenge us. I began searching the Bible for topics. Believing I found what I was looking for I began trying to write. But I couldn’t get past the first page before everything went blank. I tried countless times to form a spark so I could build it into a raging fire, but still nothing would come. I became frustrated, knowing that it was my duty to find something that would demand attention and action. Then through a thought question in the lesson study it hit me. What I thought was the topic to a powerful sermon was really an arrow pointing me to what I needed to find.
The topic I believed needed to be addressed was how we get so focused on the problems that we don’t look for solutions. We get so wrapped up in what is wrong with the world, the church and each other that we forget the reason we are here, our purpose, our goal, and our reward. I wanted so badly to pick at a wound that needed to heal. Then I remembered, “when you preach, you should speak to yourself as well as the audience.” So I argued with God, trying to explain that I too was guilty of overlooking all the positives in exchange for glorifying the negatives. But what to do about it? My thought was to come up here and give a Bible thumping, heart-breaking sermon. But this was not the salve needed for the wound. I knew my heart wanted to go in the right direction, but the rest of me wouldn’t listen. I became more and more frustrated. I prayed God would give me the answers I sought. His response was He already had. I knew then what I needed to do. Instead of beating the proverbial dead horse, search for solutions.
Turn to Psalms 105. Here is part of the answer. We has a nation and a church complain to readily. We have our lists of what is going wrong, but what about the other side. What do we have that is going right? If we earnestly seek the solution, the problems will fade. However, we have bogged ourselves down in despair and disappointment so much that it is no wonder church attendance is falling. People everywhere are still searching for hope, fulfillment, and something to fill the voids in their lives. Yet when they see how distraught and dejected we are, they naturally assume we too have not yet found the answers. When in reality, we have only overlooked them and replaced them with the problems.
We point fingers at the media for corrupting our youth; at money for corrupting our leaders; we complain about lackluster evangelistic seminars; we blame each other for any dissension in the church; and complain because the pastor has not waved some magic wand and made it all better. We are so stuck on ourselves and our right way of doing things we have forgotten it is not ourselves we are to worship and glorify, but the One who gave us minds and abilities to carry out His work. People won’t flock to a church to follow one man or another; they will come when they see God in our midst, shining through our actions, and leading us into victory.
This psalm gives us our clear mission, our complete evangelistic series messages; it gives us why we should and our ultimate rewards. The note in my Bible describes the chapter as an “exhortation to Israel to worship and trust in the Lord because of all of His saving acts in fulfilment of His covenant with Abraham to give all his descendants the land of Canaan.”(read verses 1-6)
A call to worship. Not a call to show up at church, find our favorite spots, go through the motions, and wonder how long the speaker is going to preach today. Worship is not merely a requirement we are obliged to perform, but a full body experience. We may come through those doors at the beginning of the service with the weight of the world on our shoulders, beaten by life. But if we are truly seeking the Lord, we will leave with a pep in our steps, a gleam in our eyes, and energized to take on the world. Nor is it a function that is to stay isolated to one day of the week and remain within the walls of the church. It says to “make known among the nations.” We here know the power and glory of God, we have tasted firsthand the redeeming power of the cross, but do we let that power show. We need to wake up people, we are walking zombies. Witnessing with a frown is useless. So too is have to act Christian, to the point where it seems fake. Keep it real people. You don’t have to have some made for tv movie of a Christian experience to share with others. What you do need is to be able to answer the question “why.” Why are you here? Why do you follow Jesus? Why is it you believe what you believe, do what you do, and say what you say? If we cannot completely answer these questions, why should anyone want to listen, much less follow us in here. If we don’t have it together, how can we give it to the world?