Alive Wesleyan

Waiting (Broken Halos - Week 4)

January 03, 2019
Alive Wesleyan
Waiting (Broken Halos - Week 4)
Chapters
Alive Wesleyan
Waiting (Broken Halos - Week 4)
Jan 03, 2019
Alive Wesleyan
The Christmas story is one of real people who had real lives and faced real events that sometimes got real weird and produced real fears in a very real Bible.
Show Notes Transcript

The Christmas story is one of real people who had real lives and faced real events that sometimes got real weird and produced real fears in a very real Bible.

I stink at waiting.  Waiting is part of learning to trust, its part of having hope. 


Luke 2:25 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting (to remain in a place or state, with expectancy) for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

Speaker 1:
0:00
Uh, well, uh, I don't know, I had a hard time finding some pants that fit today, so I'm going to have to do something about that problem in the new year. Kind of getting everything closed up was a difficult challenge. So I'll just ask Lisa not to wash these for like two months and they'll be fine. Right? Salvage, I'll be able to always fit, but in a way that's personal and. Well, that's my story. So I recognize many of you are visiting maybe from out of town, some of you may be visiting for the first time or maybe you've even forgotten kind of what we've been covering. So this is the last installment of this series and I've actually been been so excited about this installment actually since the series began. And so let me do a quick review just by catching you up on a couple of big phrases and then I'll share with you where we're headed today.:
Speaker 1:
0:39
Here's the first kind of big statement we started with and who is this that God chooses people now we wouldn't choose to do things that we never thought possible in ways that we have never considered, and that's a pretty big statement because when we think of people we wouldn't choose perhaps for some of us, the person that when we wouldn't use the most is the person we're looking at in the mirror. When we think about what God might be calling us to do, what God might be putting on our hearts, and we look at ourselves in the mirror thing, there's just no way. The problem that we face in the mirror is that we don't keep secrets from ourselves. We all know what we're looking at in the mirror. There's no hidden items there so I can fool all you people, but when I stand in front of that mirror, there's no secrets.:
Speaker 1:
1:26
There's no facade, there's no image. We sort of see ourselves and our Ra glory or what I would call our Ra and glory, if you will. That's kind of the real deal right there in that moment and we, many of us stand in front of that mirror and the memories come, come clouding any maybe what happened last year or maybe what happened when you were a kid or maybe what happened last month or you know last night and we remember these things. Maybe we remember our childhood or some seasons of struggle or trial in our lives, and our conclusion is this, well, God will never use me. God could never use me because I struggle with fill in the blank. God will never use me because I have struggled with. Fill in the blank. God will never use me because this fill in the blank happened to me.:
Speaker 1:
2:12
And if that, if that's you and you kind of battle those thoughts, or maybe there's something in you that identifies with what I'm saying, let me encourage you with just this simple statement. Don't say no for God. If God's not going to use me, well, let him make that call, but I'm not going to say no for him. You know, that's not my role. That's above my pay grade. So don't say no to God and the Christmas stories, this reminder that God chooses people that maybe many of us wouldn't choose if we were selecting sides on a playground. He uses people that we wouldn't choose to do things that we never thought possible. If you and I were to get together in a room and plan a strategy to see the world, this would not be the plan fair. This isn't what we would come up with.:
Speaker 1:
2:59
If we put the best and the brightest in the room that we have, like a coaching staff at Clemson, if we put all of them in the room, you know that we have and said, what's the, what's the best way? They wouldn't come up with this plan and that's because of this world reality, this personal reality that God chooses people we wouldn't choose to do things that we never thought possible in ways we've never considered. Guess what? That's not just true for Christmas. That's true for today. That's true for what your working on right now. That's true, and that encourages my heart. The other big idea, we've been driving kind of home and it's broken halos series is this this Christmas story? It's not from like a bunch of things we can't relate to. It's actually right up in our last [inaudible]. The Christmas story is one of real people who had real lives and they faced real events just like everybody here, everybody pleasant beer ever been chapel that sometimes got real weird and produced real fears and a very real scripture. So when we hear this Christmas story, there's this temptation to think we're. We're not talking about real people. It's like a combination of mother goose and Jesus and we sort of put them in that category. We're talking about Bible people. We tend to put them in the other category and we think Bible people were different than we are, but that's not the case. They live their lives like we do. They thought that today's going to be like yesterday and tomorrow's going to be like today, but then everything gets interrupted:
Speaker 1:
4:27
and most of us can relate to a scenario where everything got interrupted. Most of us can relate to that, like the Christmas story, when our ordinary lives are ordinary, schedule got interrupted and accident and incident, diagnosis, determination, a chart change in a relationship and the ordinary was interrupted and from this point on, nothing will ever be the same and when the ordinary is interrupted, we, we all ask the same question, at least some version of it and it's not just us. Actually the people in the Christmas story asked the same question too, and it was this how, how could it be or my, how did this happen? How did this happen? How did my ordinary get interrupted? And if it's, you know, physical, what did my body do or what's happening in here? If it's relational, what did I do to hurt that relationship or to cause that struggle or what can I do to fix this tension kind of thing? What did I do wrong? And in these circumstances, it's pretty common to pray something like this. You know, God, are you there or God, are you good?:
Speaker 1:
5:40
No, I, I don't. I don't judge you for praying that prayer and I hope you wouldn't judge me for it because I certainly do pray it. God, are you there? And God, are you good now? No. I interact with a lot of people and often at points of crisis in their lives and when our ordinary is interrupted it like we default to one of two responses when other words, when I'm sitting down with someone and there's this moment where they say, Tom, this went on and like it's how did this happen moment. It seems like there's one of two responses that are common no matter where the people come from and see if you agree with what I'm saying. The first response has been people respond in fear and they'll come and say, Tom, this happened. How did this happen? And then they'll fret and worry about what will happen, what the outcome will be, what are the people will think how much pain this will cause.:
Speaker 1:
6:30
And I'm, I'm really good at this. When I can, I can play out lines of fear a long way and I, I got a creative mind. So it goes 1400 different directions and, but some people don't respond in fear and it's rare, but some people don't immediately respond in fear. When they're ordinary is interrupted. They actually respond more in faith on the answer the question, God are you there? That answer has to do with where they're putting hope, their hope. They had this hope that God cares for them to have is hope that God hasn't forgotten them. This hope that they're not alone with whatever they're going through and the hope that God hasn't given up on me and and when I'm at a point of crisis, when I'm going through something where fear is my response. I love being around people with faith. I love being around people that get it.:
Speaker 1:
7:28
I love being around people that have that kind of hope. You can form your own conclusions, but at this point in my life, I think hope plays a major role in how I respond to life's unpredictable script. I'd say it this way. I would suggest hope is really the only way we move from a fear response to a faith response. Hope that there's something more hope that someone is actually in control. Hope that this can be redeemed. The shepherds face this, if you remember, they saw what the angel said to them in the field. They received hope. When they saw the angel said to them in the field was true, so after seeing that baby, they returned to the exact same circumstances they were in before they saw the angel, but this time the shepherds were rejoicing and glorifying God. Why? They had hope. That was it. Nothing in their circumstances changed. They just had hope. Hope that God is good and God keeps his promise. Mary, Mary and Joseph with these real life issues, deal with these real life issues. They were real people, no Halos, something. Something interrupts their ordinary and they resolved as sort of trust that God is good, but you need to hear this. Once they got to the point of trusting that God was good, that didn't mean life got easier for them. It actually meant life became more difficult for them,:
Speaker 1:
8:58
and I'm so glad this is in the Bible actually. Once the angel comes and they said, okay, we're going to ponder these things in our heart and all that, things actually get really jacked up for them and I'm glad it's in there because I've been there. I, I try to be better. Have you tried this? You tried to be better or you're trying to change your ways or try to change an attitude or her behavior or perspective and then life hits you again. It's kind of like we're caught in this cosmic punching contest and I'm losing and Mary and Joseph get it. Cause following Jesus involves a lot of something that I, I stink at and it's, it's waiting. Following Jesus for me and for you involves a lot of waiting because waiting is part of learning to trust. It's part of having hope waiting. So that's what I want to go after for you. Just a few minutes this morning waiting because this is a massive part of Christmas. Do you have any waiting going on in your life? So like if we took a moment and just sort of listed some things out, maybe just like the top three or five things, you're waiting for something miraculous to happen, waiting for God to show up, waiting for God to provide, waiting for God to heal or to repair or to mend,:
Speaker 1:
10:24
waiting for the relationship to get better or the job to change or for a raise or promotion or for finances, waiting for a kid to stop rebelling or waiting for your parents to stop rebelling. Waiting is part of life. We wait and we wait for God to answer a prayer. We wait for God to redeem a situation, to remove anxiety, or we wait for God to allow us to not feel guilty anymore. Waiting for a baby, maybe waiting for a mate, waiting for something good to happen and waiting is a huge part of Christmas. Eight days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph Take Jesus to the temple as part of the normal ritual, normal routine of the Jewish culture. She's headed there for a purification ritual and Jesus is going to be circumcised according to Jewish tradition. So Mary and Joseph go to the temple and there they meet. This dude named Simeon. This is in Luke Chapter two, verse Twenty Five. Now there was a manager, Jerusalem called Simeon who was righteous and devout, and he was:
Speaker 2:
11:35
great:
Speaker 1:
11:38
for the Constellation of Israel. Come back to a minute, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Now, if ever there's a assignment, this is certainly it fair. So He's told by the Holy Spirit, because at that time the Holy Spirit wasn't taken up residence in us like it does today like he does today. The Holy Spirit would speak to individuals and this particular individual, simeon had actually heard from the Holy Spirit,:
Speaker 1:
12:16
you're not going to die until you see the messiah. So he's waiting and this dude is old. He's getting really old. But he's been told now this constellation of Israel. Let me just explain what that means. There are promises in the Old Testament throughout the old testament and they pointed to a day when God would send his promised one to strengthen Israel, and so everybody was waiting for this to happen. Everybody was waiting this promise, hope in this promise, and it would bring comfort to Israel. Even when Israel is under a pressure and even in Israel was being abused or Israel was in exile, they will wait because they knew that someday the promised one would come. They had this hope that someday things are going to get better for them and you get this right, some it's going to get better. It's like a kid waiting for dad or mom to show up at the, you know, because I dented the car to show up at school because when mom and dad show up, things are going to get better and all of Israel was waiting for that day, the day when things would get better.:
Speaker 1:
13:22
Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would see the day, and so simeon is waiting because he believes God is good and God keeps his promise.:
Speaker 1:
13:37
Mary and Joseph Take Eight Day old Jesus to the temple, and the spirit of God prompted Sim in. As soon as this young family stepped into the temple courts and Simeon took Jesus in his arms and Simeon said these words over Jesus, eight day old baby Jesus. Simeon speaks sovereign Lord, as you have promised, come on. God is good, and he keeps his promise. Even though this one, you and I would say what took you so long? He took. He kept his promise, Huh? All the way back to Abraham. Honestly, all the way back to the first three chapters of genesis, and God keeps his promise. You now dismiss your servant in peace. Send Me and speaking for my eyes. Have seen your salvation. You just want to slap your name in there. Send me insane. My eyes have seen Tom, salvation, hot dog, okay. You, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, light for revelation to the gentiles.:
Speaker 1:
14:41
In other words, he's reiterating this point right here. This isn't just going to be a Jewish thing. This is actually going to be for everybody. All y'all so southern way. All revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people. Israel, and this is a point. We are all envious of the point in time when the waiting pays off. That's what you really want and that's what I want. I don't like waiting. Waiting is horrible. If anyone tells you waiting is a good thing, punch them. I mean, I don't know. I just don't. I just don't believe that. I don't think waiting is not fun for me. I don't enjoy it. Waiting pays off. The doubts are removed. The I told you so is exclaimed. I told you the Messiah was coming. I knew that Jesus would not leave us hanging at Gaba now, but all the way back, you remember what he said to Adam and eve. This is the moment hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years later. God is good and God keeps his promise. This is that moment we sense when our prayers are answered as we long for them to be answered. It is a good day is a good moment. Hope is. They're waiting is finished:
Speaker 1:
16:03
and everyone's excited. Let's do a parade and this will be a great place to end the story because then we could all sort of walk out of here and think, you know, all we gotta do is wait for awhile and then one day it's going to be great up in here.:
Speaker 1:
16:23
This would be a great place to end, but it doesn't because God uses weird people and God does weird things in weird circumstances that we wouldn't choose. Send me and then turns to Mary and Joseph in scripture. Here. You can read this right for yourself. There's no break here where I broke it and essentially shares good news and bad news. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother blessed Mary Joseph Baby Jesus, and then said to Mary, this child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel. You think about this as a mama here in these words and to be a sign that we will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed and the sword will pierce your own soul.:
Speaker 2:
17:14
Two.:
Speaker 1:
17:18
Now you can put the word also there. Now this is Mama here in this, so Jesus is going to do some awesome things. Everybody's waiting for him, but I gotta tell Ya, you're going to get hurt in this to not just him. Interesting how to use the word. A sword will pierce, right? It's almost like he's talking about something in the future. I don't know.:
Speaker 2:
17:50
Let me break:
Speaker 1:
17:50
this down. At the risk of oversimplifying what Simeon says, this the scripture. Now what's jumping out just out of Tom's head. The road ahead is eventually going to be really good, but between now and then it's going to be a rough road. Pause. What if that's true for you right now? What if it's true for me? Whatever is true for what you're working on right now, this lesson right smack dab out of Christmas, the road ahead is going to be good, but right now it's going to be a rough road. In fact, a day's coming when it will feel like you got stabbed in your very soul. That's essentially what sent me and just said to Mary, so let me just give a quick review of the characters of this broken halo series. Mary asked, how can this be? How'd this happen? The Joseph? This is a whole lot different than what I thought it would be. Lord, I hadn't planned on this scenario playing out. The shepherds were terrified and frankly thought God didn't care about us or maybe lost track of us, and then Simeon was waiting business as a whole lot of work.:
Speaker 2:
19:07
Let me ask you something.:
Speaker 1:
19:11
Do you see yourself or your circumstances in this cast to Christmas characters?:
Speaker 2:
19:16
Look again, come on. Get in this with me.:
Speaker 1:
19:23
Anybody out there wondering right now about something happened in their life? How in the world can this be? How about this? Lord, I know you're good. I know you keep your promises, but this is certainly would not what I thought it would be.:
Speaker 2:
19:37
Huh?:
Speaker 1:
19:39
How about this one? We're terrified and I basically didn't know that you even knew I existed. I'm tired of waiting. See, I think I see myself in a bit of all of them and I don't think we're talking about the Christmas characters anymore. I think we're just talking about real people like you and like me trying to figure it out. Something out of the ordinary happens in our responses tend to be pretty similar. I've never seen this happen before. I certainly didn't expect this to happen. I've been trying to do the right thing. Sometimes I just feel like I'm on my own. I've been waiting, but things don't seem to be getting any better. Can you apply that butter your bread? Can you find it? Because whatever that is, if you can do the hard work of out how to apply that to your life, that's the very thing God wants to talk to us about that thing and so why Christmas is so important. One of the reasons why Christmas matters so much because we see ourselves.:
Speaker 1:
21:09
You know what? I was a kid. One of the things that drove me bonkers about the Christmas story, it actually intrigued me, but now I guess as an adult it drives me bonkers, but there was this phrase that's repeated throughout the Christmas story and it's this one and this shall be assigned to you. Angels will fly in, rainbows will happen, and Unicorn will run across this anal, all these whatever. There's going to be assigned for you and as a kid that really jumped in high gear for me. So how would always pray for signs? Anybody else with me on this? Ever done that before. It was like, Lord, if you're a really real then make it snow six feet tonight and cancel school. Wake up. I knew you weren't. Were you? You know, that kind of moment. You know, that's kind of the things we pray about. Lord, if you're really real, get me a puppy for Christmas. I knew you weren't real. That's a bird. You know, whatever it is, you know, we all have these things. Signs are important and Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the wise men all saw sign. Laura, did you want me to be with this person? Show me a sign.:
Speaker 1:
22:09
Simeon heard his sign. He said, he heard. You're going to see the messiah signs matter. Look for this from God. When you are afraid, remember the sign shepherds. When you go running back to that pasture, don't forget the sign that you saw. Wise men when you dropped off the gifts and head back. Don't forget the star. That's your sign, Mary and Joseph, when it's going to be piercing in your side. Don't forget the signs. Signs matter. Look for this from God. When you're afraid or feel alone and wonder if you're going the right way or tired of waiting, look for the sign. If you feel that God is no longer good, look for this sign. So have you ever asked God for a sign? Man, I have. I sense God moved me in a specific direction, but I want to sign to make sure I'm discouraged and the leadership and the decisions I'm making or the way the church is going and asked for a sign. Is this still what I need to be doing or someone I love is feeling fearful or anxious and I'll pray with fervor, Lord, give them a sign. Come on Lord, give me a sign. Just let them know. Let them know they're with you. You're with them still and give them hope:
Speaker 1:
23:51
and if I'm going to be really honest with you and I really wanted to sort of amp the offerings up I should say at this point in time and I've received all kinds of signs. One time I asked for a car and a new car show up in my drive. Never happened. In fact, let me be more honest. I've prayed for signs a lot and most of the time don't get one. Have I ever? Yeah, I think I have, but most of the time when I pray for a sign, it's like crickets.:
Speaker 2:
24:23
No signs, no:
Speaker 1:
24:26
rainbows, no UNICORNS, no gamecock. When I mean, you know, all these different things. I try to find no sign, but I still pray for him, but I've come to the point now at this stage in my life, see if you agree with what I'm saying. I don't know. When I asked God for a sign, especially at Christmas time, it's almost like I forget God is the one in the manger and instead I put myself in there,:
Speaker 1:
25:09
hear me out on this and see if this out. If I can connect this. It's like I'm giving God the creator of the world. Jesus hop out at Major. Just a minute. We're just going, I need a sign. So you know, hop on out of here and then you throw yourself into mangers. Okay? God, I would love to have a sign. I want to be the center of all things here. I'm giving you this ultimatum. Give me a sign. Prove your love for me. No, Jesus, get out of there. Get, get. This is me. So Lord proved to prove that I'm not alone.:
Speaker 2:
25:39
Jesus. Now:
Speaker 1:
25:43
I have worked really hard in this series to share that there are great many similarities between the cast of Christmas characters. In our lives, but there is 1:00, sharp distinction. There's one thing that separates us from Mary and Joseph, from the shepherds and the wise men, and of course from Simeon. See everybody who lived before Jesus. Their faith was based on one thing. God is good and eventually will keep his promise. That's how they live their lives. Constantly waiting and believing that one day God will keep his promise.:
Speaker 1:
26:32
That was someday in the future. Not Today, but someday soon. Mary, you're not going to understand today, Joseph, this isn't gonna make any sense to you today. It's what Simeon said. Mary, you're not even going to get this basically, but someday this is going to be a good thing. Shepherd, you're going to go to the fields, but one day and they're all waiting and they're all anticipating and they see the baby in the manger and they had angels at the foot of their beds and they had divine visitors in their dreams and they had people travel from afar bearing gifts. There's this chapter in the Bible called Hebrews Eleven. You've probably heard of it. It's like the hall of Faith Chapter is called Moses and Abraham and David Ray have all the big guns are in that chapter, and yet they all believed they all died believing that one day God will keep his promise but not in their lives,:
Speaker 1:
27:38
and that's the perspective that separates us from them. Why? Because of the very thing we're just finished celebrating. You see, our faith is not an assign that will happen. Our faith isn't a sign that already did happen and we live in this era, in this time when we know the Messiah came and we know exactly how the Messiah came. Your children can tell you how messiah came, just as God said he would do. God is good and keeps his promise and the people demanded from Jesus would they say as an adult, give us a sign and Jesus told them something and he told the same thing to us. It tells us saving a day is coming, a day is coming, and so they waited and they watched and they watched Mary's heart get pierced as the side of her son was pierced on the cross and they watched him die and then they watched him get rolled into a grave and three days later he rose from the dead, and now we have a sign that God has already given to us that the cast of Christmas characters didn't have.:
Speaker 1:
29:08
No. We're living in that age. For God so loved the world. Here's your sign that he gave manger Wiseman, shepherds, dreams, angels, and if you'll just believe in that sign, the promised one, you have eternal life. Paul said it this way. He said, God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. You see, we're living in sign that already happened. We are that people were that privileged generation. We're not praying for one that will. We're praying. We're living in that sign of what had already happened. This will be assigned. Signed for what? Well, it's a sign that I can take away any shame, any guilt and condemnation if you choose to keep it. That's on you, but I can forgive anything. I can take it away and I can make you holy. I am good. I keep my promises and I can get you through today's crisis and tomorrow's.:
Speaker 2:
30:14
Here's my sign.:
Speaker 1:
30:17
God is good and keeps his promise.:
Speaker 2:
30:24
And and today:
Speaker 1:
30:29
the church where this incredible, wonderful tension and fusion of all things, God, if you will, where all of a sudden we're living in a sign. Jesus came and yet we find ourselves like Simeon:
Speaker 2:
30:50
waiting, waiting for what?:
Speaker 1:
30:55
We're waiting for a moment when God says:
Speaker 2:
30:59
he'll come again.:
Speaker 1:
31:03
We're waiting for the moment. When heaven stops and God says, today's Today, it's time. People have waited long enough and all of heaven will be put into motion and Jesus will come again. This time not as a baby, but this time in victory riding of victorious horse, so to speak.:
Speaker 1:
31:25
And as we wait for that day, and as we deal with the frustrations of life, the nuisances of life, the game changers of life, the fears brought about by this world, the weight of shame or guilt or the worries of uncertainty, the aches and pain. Remember were people living in a promise. I'm going to send the Messiah and waiting with hope for the promise to come. That's who you are. That's who we are. It's this privileged point in history where people living in a promise, in fact, it's such a big part of our culture. Churches will gather around and little kids will dress up and act this story out year after year after year after year because we know God is good and his keepers promises, but when we're tired, when you feel lost, disoriented, remember, you're a people promise, living in the promise of what he's done, and yet we're also in the promise of what's to come when Jesus comes back again. God must think quite highly of you, people to call you as people have promise to be, as people have promise. How blessed are we? Jesus? Thank you for your goodness to us, Lord. I feel important as I think about it as living in this almost parentheses of promises:
Speaker 1:
33:17
and Lord, I look at scripture and you've been doing it since the very beginning. I'm gonna make you a great nation, Abraham Moses, you're going to set those people free. I'm going to send you a promised one. Jesus says, you're gonna. Tear the temple down. Three days are going to be rebuilt again. Nobody's ever tasted death and lived again, but you keep your promises day after day, moment after moment, year after year, decade after decade, century after century. God is good and keeps its promise, and in this very moment, this very moment, people listening to the sound of my voice, or people have promise, it had the promise, privileged promise of knowing the Messiah came, Jesus, Savior of the world and network of people have hopeful promise. One day he'll come again. He'll come and victory and power and strength. I pray. These words would encourage the hearts of my friends in your name. Amen.:
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