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Summary: This is a sermon focusing on the impact of God’s presence on our lives.

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Matthew 23:13

13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

“The God-Shaped Hole in all of Us”

I’m sure none of you have EVER experienced the unbridled wrath of a VERY… upset… two year old! Let me educate you if you haven’t. It goes a little something like this… WAAAAAAAAAH! At least that is what William does when he does not get his way. Sometimes… it is over the silliest of things. The other day, he thought the soda-pop cooler at the gas station was a tent, and he threw a complete fit in the middle of the store when we would not let him play inside the “tent.” Sometimes, it is over more serious matters, like the night I could not fight his puppy at bed time.

Oh… I had bears, ducks, frogs… even a stuffed Minnesota Viking doll… (which all of you bears fans will be glad to hear that he hates), I even had a different “puppy.” None of them worked… there was only one puppy that he wanted… only one puppy that he needed… only one puppy – that would bring his now quite anxious father salvation.

There was no reconciling him. He was incomplete without the puppy… and there would be no rest until it was found. Luckily… it turned up in the basement… comfortably riding in the bed of his Tonka truck. William received his puppy, and almost instantaneously fell into the soft slumber that I’m sure only two year olds can really know.

Seems silly, to make such a display over such a silly thing as a puppy. I mean… really. He’s going to have to learn sooner or later that life is not fair. He’s going to have to learn sooner or later that he can not always get his way… can’t always get what he wants. We all did! We got tough. We stopped our crying when life gave us less then we deserved, gave us less than we wanted!

But we have never stopped needing. We have never stopped wanting. Sure… we’ve suppressed our selfish cries for fulfillment… but in many ways… we are still like two year olds… needing that warmth and security that only one thing can give us! And we spend our entire lives searching… we spend our entire lives seeking. We ache for that hole inside of us to be filled, and we try to fill it with friends, with companionship, with money, with toys, with work, with admiration, with power, with… so many different things. And we are still left empty. Still wanting… for that hole inside of us to be filled.

You see brothers and sisters… there is a hole inside every single one of us that can only be filled by one thing… and it WILL never be filled until we find that one thing. That hole… is a God-shaped hole, a hole that only God can fill. Everything else we try to fill it with will fall short… and leave us wanting… crying in our cribs for that one thing to come.

A few of us have found that one thing… but many of us are still searching… still wanting… still crying out. Our town of Fairbury now boasts a population of around 4,000 people. Now, just estimating… putting all the church memberships in town together, we would hit a guestimate number somewhere in the ballpark of 2,000 people who attend a church… leaving roughly half the town of Fairbury un-churched. Roughly half of the people of our town… left wanting… left crying out.

And here is the kicker… many of them know that what they are lacking is something of the divine… and they have even tried to come to our churches… and have not found God here. Let me relate the story of one man who went to church on a Sunday… seeking to fill his God-shaped hole… and left that Sunday... still empty.

He relates his story saying, I had made up my mind to finally go to church that day, but that morning I was running late. I almost couldn’t find the place, but I did, and I had to park pretty far away. I felt pretty awkward walking up to that church – I could hear that everyone was already singing. It was my first year of living in that area, and no one knew me.

I slowly opened the big wooden door of that church and quietly stepped into the entry way. That entry way was very small – about the size of two phone booths, put together. I did my best to act like I belonged there, but deep down, I felt awkward. The ushers were sitting on chairs in the worship area facing forward – they were so busy singing their hymns that they didn’t notice me. I looked around, but I could see that there was no place to sit. And there weren’t any hymnals either, so I just stood there, trying to look cool.

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