Summary: A new series about conversations we have with God. This will lead into a series on prayer.
Conversations with God
April 3, 2016
We are about to start a new series, and I really think this is going to be a great series. The title is Conversations with God. We’re going to look at times when God seems to be distant and we feel that distance and disconnection.
With what’s going on in the world right now, it doesn’t take long to realize there’s a lot that doesn’t make sense. We begin to wonder “Where is God in the middle of all the chaos, all of the violence, all of the tension in the world. Sometimes we’d like to take over, thinking, “If I were God, I would do things a little differently.”
In the first few weeks, we’re going to deal with Bible stories which don’t always have happy endings. We’re going to deal with stories which are very difficult. I’m hoping this is going to push you forward in your walk with Christ. Now you can say, “Gee, I’m glad I came to church.”
We’re going to look at situations and times when God seems absent, distant, uncooperative, and like He’s not listening. Otherwise, it should be a pretty basic series. Then, I’m going to follow this up with a good hard look at prayer!
I got the idea for this series from a series Andy Stanley preached a number of years ago. I like to listen to Andy’s podcasts, so I picked up some ideas from him.
Let me ask you a question - - - how many of you would say at some point you’ve prayed and it didn’t seem like God was listening? You were waiting and waiting and it seemed like God wasn’t listening / distant to you? Raise your hands.
It’s interesting how people can make it even more difficult. There’s that person you know who’s always praising God. You say your house burned down and “PRAISE the LORD!” You’ve got something really bad going on in your life and they got a parking spot at the mall, “GLORY!” You’re like, “Agh, you make me sick.”
Then you look at your friends and they’re blessed, they have a happy family, a job they love, a marriage they love, they’re financially blessed, and you’re thinking - - - they barely know Jesus - - - and here I am, I’m so faithful and they aren’t.
Where’s God in all this? Where’s God when life doesn’t make sense? What do you do when you’re praying and God seems distant? When God seems silent?
Or God was not doing what you thought He should be doing? Or God’s timing wasn’t your timing. The good news is that you’re not alone. The bad news is that God doesn’t always make sense. So what are we to do?
Here’s a key thought for us as we get into scripture . . . Just because God is silent doesn’t mean God is absent. Just because God is silent - - doesn’t means He didn’t hear you. Just because you don’t feel His presence doesn’t mean He’s not with you. Just because God is silent doesn’t mean God is absent. To illustrate this, I want to deal with one of the more challenging stories in the Bible.
I want to look at the story of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ older cousin. He wore animal skins and ate locusts and wild honey. Here’s the back story.
King Herod Antipas was married - - but was interested in his brother’s wife. So, Herod Antipas divorced his wife and married his brother’s wife, who was named Herodias. John the Baptist was all up in their business telling them ~ “This was wrong.” Herodias, the wife, hated John the Baptist. Herod actually believed John was a Godly man so instead of killing him, Herod had him arrested.
Let’s look at the story as told in Mark 6:17-20 ~
17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.
18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not,
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
Herodias wants to kill John. Herod was afraid of John, yet enjoyed listening to him.John was pointing people to Jesus. John’s calling or purpose - was to prepare the way for the Lord. When anyone said, “we want to follow you,” he said, “No, don’t follow me. Follow Jesus.” He baptized Jesus, but felt unworthy to do it. John stood up for truth and he was in prison for proclaiming the truth.