Summary: God has provided us with nature to benefit us in many ways.
When I was in high school, I went to a retreat where they had us go out into the woods and sit alone by ourselves for 5 hours. At least, it seemed like 5 hours. It was actually around 40 minutes. I was thinking, maybe we should do that. But then I thought, ¡°if I did that, these guys may hate me for the whole weekend,¡± so I decided against doing that.
I want to make our worship experience out here memorable. Now usually pleasant experiences aren¡¯t as memorable as painful experiences. For those of you who have been on mission trips, you know that the most memorable experiences were the ones where you experienced difficulty and suffered. So in order to make our experience memorable there¡¯s got to be a little bit of pain. Is that okay if we make it a little painful? That¡¯s why I brought the brown paper bags. We¡¯re going to have a multisensory pain experience. Now I¡¯ve got you all expecting something, and you are probably going to be disappointed, but that¡¯s all part of the pain.
Let¡¯s begin with a word of prayer.
Ps 19:1 ¡°The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.¡±
When is the last time you thought about the heavens? Can you see the stars? You can only see one star although the heavens are littered with stars. What is the name of the one star that you can see? We call it ¡°sun.¡±
The sun is our nearest star. How big is the sun compared to our earth? A million spheres the size of our earth can fit into the sun. How far away is the sun from the earth? 93 million miles. If one inch represented 10 million miles, how far would I have to go before I reached the sun. I could take one step and I¡¯d be there. If I wanted to get to the next nearest star, do you know how far I would have to travel? I have to walk forty miles. The second nearest star is 300,000 times as far away as the sun. By the way, our sun is one of the many stars in the galaxy called the Milky Way. A galaxy is a vast ¡°island¡± of stars in space. Do you know how many stars there are in our galaxy alone? There are some 100 billion stars in this galaxy.
¡°The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.¡±
You don¡¯t have to study astronomy to be amazed. Study the human body and you¡¯ll be amazed.
Ellen White says in Desire of Ages 20 that ¡°all created things declare the glory of God.¡±
Everything God has made says something about Him. This is why Christ in His teachings would often point to nature and say things like, ¡°Consider the lilies of the field;¡¦ they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.¡±
The love and glory of God can be seen in His created works. Did you know that Adventists have received special counsel that encourages us to live away from the cities and out in the country. I think our parents all understood that very well which is why they chose to live in Seattle. When you live in a big city, you are surrounded with very little that God has made. You see very little evidence of God. All you see in a city are things that are man made. It draws you away from God and the tendency is to become more materialistic. But the more you are out in nature, the more you are likely to be reminded of God¡¯s goodness.
When my wife was growing up, she was a hard core atheist. The people she hated the most were the ones who would walk around carrying their Bibles. And she had no appreciation for nature. My wife was very materialistic. When people would say things like, ¡°the trees are so beautiful,¡± she would think in her mind, these people are so dumb. But then she met God, and she began to see God in His creation. My wife has the greatest appreciation for nature. When springtime rolls around, the day the flowers begin to bloom, she¡¯ll notice it. This past Wednesday, my wife and I were answering calls at my brother¡¯s office in Snoqualmie. At his office, he has a variety potted plants. Some plants had longs leaves that extended out. While I was answering phones, do you know what my wife was doing? She had a wet napkin in hand, and she went around wiping the dust off of each of the long leaves. Now, you might think she¡¯s gone crazy. That¡¯s okay. I thank God for my wife. Do you think my wife begs me for expensive things in order to be happy? I could buy her a small plant, and she will be happy. Isn¡¯t that a blessing, because happiness does not consist in the abundance of things anyways! Amen!