Micah 6:8 - A Fireside Chat
Speaker 1:0:02You to take a slightly different posture this morning cause I'm doing something slightly different. I need to, I need to have like a quiet talk with my family, which is you. Is that all right? So, Hey Gabby, would you like to go play with the kids this morning? I need a, I need a more somber spot this morning then this. Okay, sorry. I'm sorry. So the first, so the first thing I need to do is I need to ask your forgiveness for something and that is that this is lent from, some of us don't really know what lent is, but I have, I've struggled my life with the way, not this church, but churches in general and Christians have dealt with went and that was that we kind of gave up something like chocolate or caffeine for a month. And then we thought, wow, we really did something great for God.
Speaker 1:1:15And that's really superficial to me. And it wasn't actually the original purpose of wind, which was that the people of God would make purposeful, intentional decisions to follow the Lord more closely. And in that you'd have 40 days to practice that closer following so that at the end of the 40 days you had a new habit. And so I've sort of resisted and talking about lent a lot because I didn't really like the superficialness of the way that we're doing it and add the, God has sort of talked to me a little bit about that. And so I'm here, can you forgive me for deemphasizing lent on the, on the, on that same side, I want to say it this way, church is a team. Exercise is a team experience, not a personal experience, but the difference between church and a team is that our whole team isn't recruited yet.
Speaker 1:2:25They're not all in the gym ready to play. Some of our team is still out there, doesn't know Jesus yet, but church is, is a group of people that are with their hearts turned outwards toward the people that don't know Jesus. And then that way church is specifically an organization meant to minister to people that, oh, don't really want that ministry yet. Okay. And it's one of the things that I want to say this just outright, that this is one of the things that when I came here just a little under two years ago, I know some of you think it seems like I've been here a lot longer than two years and, and, and for that I apologize.
Speaker 1:3:14Um, I fell instantly in love with this body. And I don't know if you knew that or not. I hope you felt that I loved you right off. But there was a reason why I loved you right off. Your body has had it's hard turn outwards to serve within the community. And not every church in the world does that. I mean, some of you have seen other churches that are not that way. And as a pastor, that is an incredible gift to me because my job is, if it's not there is to turn the heart that way. But if the heart is termed that way, my job is to go, yes, let's go. And it's so much easier to say, yes, let's go than it is then. You know, the way you were doing this isn't right.
Speaker 1:4:11We need to change directions and then change the culture around that direction to a heart moved outwards. And so I'm so thankful for that. Mainly because it is completely counter cultural to our society because we live in a consumer is stick society. Do you know what you know what I mean by that? That's not a fancy word. Do you? You've heard it where we, where we used money to get things to make us happy, which is kind of counter lint counter cultural to the church. I want to say it this way, have it your way, is not just a hamburger advertisement, but an attitude that has permeated our society. And one of the things that starts happening is you might have noticed this, that sometimes you get people in Church that say, I want it my way, my way or the highway per se. And, and that can come in all sorts of ways. Um,
Speaker 1:5:18you wouldn't think of saying most of you wouldn't think of saying this. Let me say that. Most of you wouldn't think of saying to me, I can't worship God with you cause you're not wearing the shirt I liked the most. And then saying you only like it when I wear my French blue one, which is nice and solid. But I know, um, the, the first church that I preached a service in the pastor of was two services. And the Pastor said the first service you can wear whatever you want, but in the second service, if you're not wearing a world, they won't listen to you.
Speaker 1:5:55Well I have a robe. Did you know that Deb knows that because I got them from his wife, but I have robes and if the situation calls for them then I will wear them in the same way that some of you may know that I have suits and ties because you've seen me wear them inappropriate times. But do you know what my preferred dress code is for asked Margene would you say on a ratty tee shirt and jeans? Not just a ratty tee shirt. That's because you don't see the ratty ones cause I don't even wear them here. I went into graphic design business and the tri cities for years and that's what I wore was essentially just the t shirt and jeans and people would say, well, I was hiring it not because I was hiring an artist and so I could get away with it a little bit, but, but it's so important to recognize that that you didn't come here.
Speaker 1:6:57I just want you to say this. You didn't actually come here to worship me and if you did, let me echo what happens every time somebody tries to worship an angel or somebody other than Jesus in the Bible or God, Ah, don't worship me. I'm just a servant like you. Now, one of the reasons that people wear rose in cultures and things like that is to separate the call of the pastor from the church, right? That I have a higher calling. They would say I disagree with that. Fundamentally disagree with it's such that you probably would never see me sit up here except during a funeral because this is the church that I come to worship to. Did you know that? Do you know why I sit back here and it's that I don't always serve communion, but this is the body that calls me to grow as well and I want to grow in the church that I'm here to worship him. Um, but I haven't, I have kind of a difficult job. My job is to guard the heart, the body I'm in front of.
Speaker 1:8:15And, and as that, I want to make sure that we don't end up turning into, I needed my way, which can do all sorts of, it shows up in all sorts of ways. Um, how would you feel if I'm next week you showed up and the pews were gone and chairs were in here and they were in a different configuration and your spot was gone. Did you, do you understand you and your spot was gone? Do you understand how difficult that would be for some of you? And because, well, first off that this is my pew or my spot is a way that the church used to raise money, that they would sell the pews. And you actually, if you were to sit in a pew, you had to have permission or ownership of that Pew. If you go to the church, George Washington things, they even had the gates at the doors at the ends of the aisle so that you could go, you could only go through, right. They, they did that. It's, it's, um, and I thank God for the Free Methodist Church, which changed that culture to say our pews are free.
Speaker 1:9:26Right. And it got rid of an attitude where, I hate to say this, but Bob Eucharist, the cheap seats is a church term. Did you know that? You, let me say that. Let me say that the way my daughter would say that it's so icky that we would do that, that people, that, that we'd have the rich up front because those are the expensive cues in the cheap seats would be in the back because they couldn't afford to be upfront and be seen as holy. Now I know that that attitude has, has, has kind of moved into the church and things like that. But I have it my way happens in lots of ways within the church. I'm so thankful for the altar, which uh, she mentioned a bev mentioned today, but do you know that there are people in the world that wouldn't worship in here if the candles aren't lit?
Speaker 1:10:24And I would say, why are we here? We're here to worship the lord who died for us so that we could have life.
Speaker 1:10:37And you can't do two things. So let me read this scripture or just tell you the scripture from Matthew six 24. This is a no, nobody can serve two masters. They will love one and hate the other or hate the first and love the second. Nobody can serve God and money at the same time. The problem with money as it's an inanimate object, it doesn't actually do anything. We use money in our world to buy things that are heart wants. So it becomes a servant of a selfish heart. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's not money. That's the problem. It's the way we use it. You can use money to serve God. But, uh, I think it was our founding Wesley that said we shouldn't have fancy buildings because then we'll be dependent on the wealthy and then they'll try to control how the building is
Speaker 1:11:37Because, well, I give the most money. I should get my way. No, have it your way is not a Christian attitude. Have it, have it God's way. So we come to church this morning to, this is a, a minor course correction. I hope. I hope I'm just as we approach lent for the final few weeks of it, if you'll do this with me, we could make a choice to follow God and choose him over our own hearts that we wouldn't worship what we want, but we would worship what he wants. That's a difficult concept. Um, you can't serve yourself and God, it doesn't work.
Speaker 1:12:28You have to serve God and let you know he's interested. I just want to make sure you know this, that he is interested in your wellbeing and we'll take care of you. You taking care of you. Um, I have this comment that people have made that they will say to me, are you staying out of trouble? And I've set up never been any good at it. I rely on God that keep me out of trouble, but I rely on God for all sorts of things in my life. I rely on him to take care to keep me grounded, even though I like to study and I do study the word of God. I require him to, to actually be the moving force in that. Does, is there anybody, is there anybody in here that kind of echoes that, that sentiment that no matter how hard we try, we really need God to be at work within our lives.
Speaker 1:13:30Okay, good. Um, churches have done a bunch of things in the past to sort of make sure that the worship experiences exactly right. Um, many of you have been in churches in the past where the pews are all square in the pulpit is really high. They're trying to make sure you have a personalized experience with, with God, which was to re emphasize the word of God in us in a scholarly situation that was deemphasizing the word of God. And so there was this counter cultural movement here. So now, you know, I'm a student of church architecture a little bit. Um, do you know why often churches have stairs here or the pulpit is, and then often there's another stare back here between the altar. Do you know why churches do that? It's the courts and the temple being redone. You have the courts, the court of the public, the court of the priests, and then the, and then the holy of holies is designed into the building. And because of that, we start to think that this is the place that God works. Do you understand? Yeah. So we can't change this place because this is the place that God works. And by extension, if we're not here, we're not in the place that God works. Are you ever not in the place that God works?
Speaker 1:14:58And so we turn our hearts, we come on Sunday mornings to turn our hearts towards God and to get them used to being turned toward God. And that's what lent is about. Um, there's so many places that this shows up. The most common place is music where we have a, where we have a habit my way sort of way. Right. Do you guys know what kind of music I listened to? I was going to bring some end today, but I thought better of it because I didn't want to drive you all out and crazy. Um, I was thinking about bringing a song in by Flyleaf called a body of Christ, which is, has a female howler in it. Do you know what a Holler is in modern music terminology? No, you don't. It's the person that goes at the top of their lungs during the song. Have you heard that in the modern music? You'd say, well, that's not music. They're just screaming. Yes, they're screaming and they're doing it because the situation they're in is so bad. That's all they can do. If you ever had a spot in your life where you felt like there was all you could do is just go, let me do it this way.
Speaker 1:16:26The situation is so bad, you're just, you're just hard. Needs to grow. It's the same thing when you're listened to jazz. You know, some jazz aficionados would tell you that a whiff, certain rifts in jazz means something. And when every jazz aficionado hears it, they go, oh, that's what that means.
Speaker 1:16:45No, I'm not, I'm not conversant enough with jazz to do that. But I have a young man that, uh, that I mentored for a while who's defending his doctorate in jazz bass, um, next month. And, uh, watching him play, he, I watched a video of him playing the other day and he's sitting there going, you know, give it a little stink face on as he plays music. But we all like music our way. I, I, I think Jim Cole stats attitude is probably the best attitude I've heard in a long time. Jim was a big, uh, him lover. Some of you know that and he didn't like the other music and all. Did you know that? He said the Linda and I once right? He said it to me once and he said it to Linda. I think for a moment that I need to learn how to sing those songs I don't like because there's people here that need that music that you have to set yourself aside a little bit to worship this God. If you're only looking for your favorite songs, do you know what you're not doing praising God in the other songs. It's a difficult spot, isn't it? I really want my favorite music too. It's just not a great plan to only like my favorite music because the church is a team sport. We're not, all the players are in the gym yet.
Speaker 1:18:26Let me sink that in. There are people out there that are going to come in here and when we think about the worship experience, that's how we pray. It's why I pray one way. It's why we circle around some people sometime it's why we, we've prayed together with the Lord's prayer. It's why we join in this way is that we have lots of methods of prayer so that when somebody comes in, they have lots of ways to enter into prayer and they have lots of examples of how prayer is done. Now, I don't pretend to be the only good prayer in the world. Matter of fact, I know several of you are much better at it than I am, but you don't have to be any good at it to practice. It's a, it's one of those things you don't have to be good at to do and enjoy. I love hearing the word of God talk and my heart and so I want us to, if you will, join me in this lint sort of thought, where we make a purposeful decision to not worship things we would want, but to worship the things that God wants in us.
Speaker 1:19:42And that we worship that God and we're going to make a purposeful decision to seek after those things. The, the language is seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else will be added to that. I think that's Matthew six 33 if I have my address correct. There's other verses in here. Some of you have asked me about this first. Do you know what this is? This Micah six eight
Speaker 1:20:06It's on the front of this. By the way, this is the third such podium I've made. It's the first podium I put Micah six eight on the others have words appropriate to those churches. This one was appropriate here. Let me read that. This is not the right verse that's up. This is from Micah and I'm going to go back to verse six because I want you to hear the whole context of this. After I tell you the verse, Liz told you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Speaker 1:20:51Okay. I picked that when I was building this because it fits the heart of this church. Did you know that? I want you to hear that word of hope and mercy to you, that this fits you, but the context is a little bit more difficult and requires deeper thought with what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings and calves? A year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams and 10,000 rivers of oil, right? It doesn't matter. These are the offerings people were giving. Shall I give my first born for my transgression, transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
Speaker 1:21:41He has told you, Oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you to do justice, to love, kindness, and walk humbly with our God. Do you see the context makes a difference in that? How do I come before the Lord? Should I make great sacrifices and big shows now live at turn your heart toward the Lord. And then the next verse that comes to mind and this little, um, lent talk that I'm having is from, is from a first Corinthians nine, 1923. Some of you will know this for the lion free from all men. I have made myself a servant to all that I might win the more
Speaker 1:22:32and to the Jews I became like a Jew that I might win the Jews to those who are under the law. One is under the law that I might win those who are under the law to those who are without the law. I became as without the law, not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without the law to the weak. I became as weak that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be at partaker of this with you. What, what in what for the Gospel's sake, are you willing to consider, um, part of the church, which is not just individuals gathered together, but a body that has a heart and a soul that beats because we are one body in Christ. It's why
Speaker 2:23:46I came up here and said, I'm sorry for not emphasizing limp the way it should. Sometimes our hearts need a course correction. They're kind of unruly beasts, if you will. They need, we need like the tethers and things like that to keep us going in the same direction and, and I need that too. Yeah.
Speaker 1:24:13I hope. I have hope. I'm focusing on hope this year that we might be a community of hope, not just for ourselves, but for those that aren't here yet. Okay. To that end, I hope you'll join me as I struggle on, in the way that I've been called, which is to turn my heart from what I want to, what God wants in my life, to what God wants in our lives. Will you pray with me? Lord Jesus, I thank you so much for today. I thank you that lint is not about temporary change. I thank you that I have at least two nights of sleeplessness this week on this issue, that we would be able to turn our hearts to the Lord, that we would be able to put aside some of our personal preferences and say, not what I want, but what you want, Lord. That we might become servants of all, not pandering to them, but helping.
Speaker 1:25:42And your precious little name. Lord, we thank you and we, we beseech you to be at work in our lives, in your precious name. Amen.