Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When I finally realized that God was real, that He did care about me, I began to hunger to know Him and know about what He was doing in the world. And when this truth hit me, that God is with the poor, I found myself wanting to go back, to spend time

We Still See Him

When We Join the Poor We Join God

ľ As ideologies and judgments and rancor have crumbled, we still see Him crouching in the dark places of despair.

ľ As policies and budgets and treaties have come forth still-born, we still see Him with those wallowing in a bed of sickness and regret.

ƒæ As regimes and czars and military forces have waxed and waned, we still see Him digging stubbornly through the trash in the streets for the children we’ve thrown away.

ľ We still see Him in the night.

ľ We still see him in the heat.

ľ We still see him in the filth.

ƒæ We see him with the invisible people that we who live in mansions have forgotten because we’ve confused charity with justice.

ľ Charity is giving our resources to appease our sense of obligation, our sense of responsibility.

ľ Justice is giving ourselves in the pursuit of defending the widow, giving hope to the orphan, standing with those who suffer and this is where we find Him.

ľ We find God where we see suffering and despair, where we see hunger and disease, where we see bondage and oppression; this is where we see Him.

ľ In one sense, Bono is a prophet for our age when he says this, "...the one thing we can all agree is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house... God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives... God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war... God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

ľ Tonight, we in the Christian community want to stand with God as He stands with the poorest of the poor.

ƒæ This week we’ve drawn our attention and our resources and our energies to the AIDS orphan pandemic in Africa.

ľ We are partnering tonight with World Vision and their work to give hope where there is despair tonight.

ľ We are joining our hearts with the poor AIDS orphans in Africa tonight and when we join the poor, we join God.

God is Like a Garbage Man, Inviting Us Into the Garbage Dumps of the World

ľ God is Like a Garbage Man, Inviting Us Into the Garbage Dumps of the World

ľ We still see God, salvaging all He can from a hurting world. We still see God calling to us to join Him in His work of redemption.

ƒæ This is a different way to think about God, isn’t it? As a garbage man? As a junk collector?

ľ In America, religious people are more inclined to think of God as a magic Jeanie, dolling out blessings of health and wealth and victory over the mundane.

ľ We are more inclined to think of God as the CEO of brick buildings where people in funny clothes play games to pass the time.

ľ We are more inclined to think of God as a warm and decorative novelty item to be purchased in a Bible book store to make us feel fuzzy on the inside.

ľ But I want to say to you tonight that God is a garbage man.

ƒæ His hands and feet are dirty. His breath stinks. He doesn’t play the social games of politeness.

ƒæ He’ll get mud on the carpet of the living room of your heart-if you let Him in.

ƒæ He’ll embarrass you in front of your neighbors-if you let Him in.

ƒæ He’ll break the rules of safe suburban living-if you let Him in.

ƒæ He’ll get you out doing risky things because the things that He wants takes him to those places our parents warned us not to go to-places like the one I came from.

ƒæ I grew up on the end of a dead-end street with burnt out buildings all around me. A crack house with armed drug dealers guarded the only entrance to my street. I walked to and from high school through a neighborhood where there were 21 homicides the year I graduated. Because of my dad’s involvement with drugs, my family lived on the street for a short period of time.

ƒæ When I went to the University of Michigan, I studied hard. I made the dean’s list semester after semester. I graduated with honors and went to work developing my own business.

ľ As I gained more and more knowledge about the business world, I found it easy to make money and you know what I said? I said, "I deserve this. I earned this. I will never go back to that dead-end crack ally."

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