Summary: This is the Kick-Off Message for the 40 Days of Community adapted from Purpose Driven Ministries
Setting the Table for a God Visit:
How to Get the Most Out of 40 Days of Community
I want you to imagine something this morning. I want you to imagine that the Queen of England is coming to Idaho. The queen wants to get a feel for what real American life is like and wants to have dinner with a typical American family. And you get the call. She’s coming to your house to have dinner.
Knowing the Queen of England is coming to your home, do you think you will need to do any preparation for her coming?
You’d probably start with a thorough cleaning of your home, make sure everything is nice and neat and in its place. You’d probably pull out some of your favorite family recipes. You’d probably spend most the day in the kitchen preparing a meal fit for a queen.
And then you’d set the table. You’d bring out the fine china, the best crystal, and you’d gather your family together for this meal. And here you all are – waiting for the guest of honor to appear.
Well, in a way we’ve been preparing over the last several months for a sort of spiritual meal. We’ve been setting the table, so to speak, for a special occasion. Every one of you has been invited to participate in this special occasion called 40 Days of Community. I am sure we are going to enjoy what’s been prepared.
It’s going to be fun doing it together.
But I also want to make sure that we are prepared for the guest of honor. Because even more important than us meeting together and enjoying one another over the next few months I want to make sure that we also have a time that we meet with God.
We have been setting the table for a God visit.
To set the table for a God visit, I want to take us back to a story in the Old Testament that happened exactly 3,450 years ago.
It’s a God-encounter that I find intriguing.
To help us prepare for a God visit, I want us to try to understand what happened in that story.
Please turn to Exodus 19 if you are not there already...
As you know from the book of Exodus, it’s the story of the people of Israel leaving the bondage of Egypt and making their way to the promise land. And through Moses, God delivers the nation of Israel from the Pharaoh. They cross the Red Sea on dusty, dry ground, and they confidently march toward the promise land. They number a little over 2 million people by now and they have been on the road for 60 days.
Exodus 19 opens with these 2 million people standing at the foot of this imposing mountain called Mount Sinai. And the Bible says that Moses climbed the mountain in order to appear before God. This begins one of the most intriguing God encounters found anywhere in the Bible. From this story I want to draw out some principals and applications that you and I can use to think about how we can spiritually get ready for what’s going to happen during 40 Days of Community.
So let’s jump in. Here’s the first thing we must do to get ready:
1. Look back and remember God’s FAITHFULNESS
As we think about where we are headed in the next 40 days I would encourage you to just stop for a moment and remember what God has already done. Look at what the Lord says to Moses in v. 4... “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
When a young eagle learns to fly the mother eagle often flies just underneath the baby eagle with her wings spread out to support and catch if needed. What a great picture of God’s faithfulness! Always ready to be there in a time of need to support us when we are in trouble.
When Jeremiah talks about God’s mercy and faithfulness in Lamentations 3 verse 23 he says, “They are new every morning.” and he says, “Great is your faithfulness.”
God is faithful!
He is reliable!
He is trust worthy!
You can depend on Him!
We see God’s faithfulness in the universe.
God’s faithfulness is evident every morning when you wake up and the sun rises in the east and every evening when the sun sets in the west.
Every 24 hours when the earth revolves around its axis and tilts at a 23 degree angle. God creates just the right atmosphere and conditions so you can live on this planet.
It’s an evidence of God’s faithfulness.
God is faithful in keeping the universe running.