Summary: More Than Enough Sermon Series for Stewardship, week 3
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve." 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
Our scripture starts with a sermon… and what is their reaction? The people cry?
Why do they cry? After hearing the message… they are focused on themselves… they are focused on their condition… they are focused on their sin (Celebate vs Celebrate)
CELEBATE VS CELEBRATE!!!
A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.
The head monk says "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, he goes down into the cellar with one of he copies to check it against the original.
Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. So the monk asks him what's wrong.
The old monk sobs, "The word isn’t celibate… it’s celebrate.”
So…the crying people… what does Nehemiah say to them? Celebrate! For the joy of the LORD is your strength! WHERE IS YOUR FOCUS! Put it on God!
Look around you… see with God’s eyes… celebrate what God is doing! (celebration stories)
I have been on Worship and Sacraments committee for several years. A few years ago, this committee was discussing the direction we would like to see our worship go. What could we do better to enhance our worship experience? One of the main things we focused on was highlighting all five senses in the worship service. This past year, the HPSF project has helped us bring some new elements to our worship space, enhancing sight and sound. Just look around you. That is something worth celebrating.
When you see the excitement in a child's eyes that they remembered a verse or are excited they have a part in the puppet program; when you see more adults getting involved through attending a class or volunteering time, donations, or baked goods; when you see a congregation pulling together - all to make the Christian Ed Department stronger - you know God is working his magic. ; )