Wednesday, March 31, 2010
What are you waiting for???
Saturday, March 20, 2010
2nd Annual Kingstowne Easter Eggstravaganza and Egg Hunt
at Top Golf of Alexandria
11am - 1pm
*1 boys bike and 1 girls bike big giveaway @ 12:55!
*2 egg hunts pre kindergarten and under & Kindergarten- fifth grade
*1st Hunt Pre K and under at 12:00 2nd Hunt K-5th grade at 12:40
More Information - www.eggstravaganzadc.com
Sunday, March 07, 2010
TEARS OF DISAPPOINMENT
This morning, I don’t want to preach a safe message. I want to share a dangerous message, a message that will take us out of our places of comfort. I want to share with you this weekend, what God has laid on my heart.
REFRAME THE SERIES: Last weekend, Pastor Mark kicked off the Tears Series, by going through the book of Job and talking about the TEARS OF SUFFERING. This weekend, the Campus Pastors at each of our locations continue this series by tracking with our reading plan with Jeremiah, we are going to be talking about the TEARS OF DISAPPOINTMENT.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you are probably reading the book of Jeremiah. This gloomy prophecy about the conquering and exile of Israel is enough to send anyone searching for some spiritual Prozac.
-After coming out of the book of Job, Jeremiah is a real pick me up. Seriously, you can juxtapose Job with Jeremiah, what we saw in Job, is someone who went through the challenge of suffering that was not by his own choices or anything he could control, and we see the result being redemption and restoration. We also see a group of “friends” that surrounded Job in the worst time in his life, who may have brought some grain of truth with what they said, but ultimately they were off the mark and Job prayed for and forgave his friends for their misguided words.
-As Pastor Mark shared about Job last week, he gave 3 reasons why we suffer. 1. by-product of some sin in our life and God is disciplining us, 2. It is a spiritual attack 3. It is a test
-As we approach Jeremiah, we see someone that was commissioned by God to speak rebuke to a nation who were going to suffer consequences because of their willful choices, wickedness and disobedience. In other word, those that Jeremiah was called were suffering because of sin in their life, what a reminder to us not to take sin lightly and we will suffer and pay the consequences for our sins now or down the road. So, instead of turning towards God, the people were living pagan lives and worshipping idols. While God never had forsaken Israel, Israel forsakes God...again all suffering is NOT connected to sin but in this case Israel was suffering for their sins.
Listen to Jeremiah 2:13 - “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
-A Cistern in ancient times was a place that held water in case of times of draught came along, it would be place to hold their supply of water. God was saying these cisterns were cracked and had no water.
-This is what happens when try to live outside of faith in God…cracks in our faith and nothing else holds water.
-Jesus makes reference to the Living Water, John 7 that can be found when follow Him through the Holy Spirit, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as[c] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
-The true source of life is found when we follow Christ. He is the only one that can truly sustain us!
- As we read through Jeremiah, we see that Jeremiah is torn between two great loves. He loves God and serves God as a prophet with great passion. He also loves the people of Israel, with the heart of a shepherd, a pastor, I believe in many way he fulfills the role of a prophet and priest for the nation, and he is terribly sorry to see what they will have to go through.
- I forgot where I grabbed this article from, but I want to share it with to give you an understanding of the value of tears.
THE VALUE OF TEARS
The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift of tears." Have we considered ourselves to have reached a higher plateau or echelon of spiritual experience? Oh to realize the value of tears in God’s Kingdom. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” The Holy Scriptures places this principle clearly, shall we neglect it? Ask the Prophets, Apostles, or the Lord Jesus Himself, their ministries were bathed in tears.
“E. M. Bounds in the Christian Advocate once wrote; a tearful ministry is at a premium in the Bible; however, it may be discounted by our gospel of fun, which seeks to make people feel good and laugh heartily. God's Hebrew prophets were serious men - men of the tearful eye and of the tearful heart. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet who wanted his head to be water and his eyes a fountain of tears that he might weep day and night.
I grew an avid sports fan, more specific a fan of the Pittsburgh sports teams…which include NHL Hockey the Penguins, NFL Football team the Steelers and the MLB the Pirates…the first two has brought me tears of joy, especially over the last couple of years…The Pens have won the NHL Stanley Cup, and Steelers have recently won the Vince Lombardi trophy, however my beloved baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates have indeed have brought me tears of disappointment - they have recently reached an accomplishment that not other team has done, the record setters - they have set the record for the most consecutive losing seasons at 17.
As a lifelong Pirates fan, I remember very vividly their last winning season - 1992, they were in the playoffs, they Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonillia and Andy Van Slyke ---the best outfield combination. The Pirates went to National League Championship game that if they would have won the series, they would have played in the World Series.
It was one of the most dramatic baseball series especially game 7 of that series - where the Pirates were up 2-0, Francisco Cabrera's two-out single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Braves a 3–2 victory.
I remember watching that game, I remember where I was at and yes I remembered my tears of disappointment. Since then the Pirate have not had a winning season.
However, with that said, I am just glad that I am not a Chicago Cubs fan, every year is there year, they come into every season with great hope and expectation, and every year they come away with nothing…for a 100 plus years of not winning a Major League World Series. I can’t imagine the Tears of Disappointment these fans go through every year, there is a rumor around the office with many Cubs fans on staff that they have support group.
-Ultimately, none of this matters in the scheme of life. When we come to the book of Jeremiah and read about the heart of the prophet…we see he has many tears, tears for people that are his own, tears of compassion, tears of healing for those who are away from God, tears of repentance, most of all he had tears of disappointment for a people he loved and cared so deeply for…
-Yes Jeremiah was commissioned to bring a harsh rebuke, his commission to prophesy the fall and restoration of Israel. Jeremiah spoke words of rebuke but with the rebuke he also brought a lot of tears and compassion for those he spoke to. See Jeremiah had a prophetic voice but with that voice he had a deep shepherd’s heart.
-Jeremiah definitely had a unique calling on his life a calling that God had to deal with things in him first before he was sent out…we need to look at Jeremiah’s calling before we can look at our main text - - -
4 The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,
“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up and plant.”
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”
And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”
12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching,[c] and I will certainly carry out all my plans.”
13 Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?”
And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.”
14 “Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. 15 Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“They will set their throne at the gates of the city.
They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah.
16 I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil—for deserting me and burning incense to other gods.
Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands!
17 “Get up and prepare for action.
Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say.
Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.
18 For see, today I have made you strong ike a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.
You will stand against the whole land—the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.
19 They will fight you, but they will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
***Honestly, I can’t believe I have the honor and privilege of preaching from the book of Jeremiah today, this book especially Jeremiah’s commissioning was used in my life and ministry as God called me to ministry. Every time I read chapter 1, I am always taken back to that moment when I was 18 years old, just came to faith a few months before, I had nothing good going for me, didn’t have a high school diploma, could hardly speak had problems with studdering, too young, no faith background, could barely read had a lot issues and baggage from my life coming to faith…surely God can’t use me. All that I had was a love for God, love for His people and a heart to see lives transformed through the power of God’s Word and His love. In April, it would be 18 years since I received my call to go into ministry.
-What I love about Jeremiah and where I feel that Jeremiah and I have similarities, Jeremiah wore his emotions on sleeve, Jeremiah had such deep love and brokenness for his own people for the very people God called him to.
-So when I read, through Jeremiah, I can truly identify with what he was going through…Jeremiah, a man who was called to minister to his own people, a people that he knew well and yet his words were rejected, when God called me to ministry he called me to my own people, my community, I grew up five minutes from here…my words many times have been rejected and I have experienced disappointment by seeing people that I spoke into their lives reject the faith, reject God and turn toward false gods. I know guys with some amazing potential who turned from God, rejected His ways…many these guys have an awesome calling on their lives. I continue to cry out for these men that they would return back to God before they face the consequences of their choices.
-Let us look at main passage of Scripture this morning Jeremiah 8:18 - 9:1
18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me;
my heart is sick within me.
19 Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people
from the length and breadth of the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”
“Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images
and with their foreign idols?”
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
21 For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded;
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people
not been restored?
Jeremiah 9:1 If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.
Transition: Our text calls us to a place of deep emotion. Jeremiah the Prophet is a man with a big heart with big expectations. The Power of the Text comes from the emotions of the writer, the weeping prophet, the prophet’s heart is the heart of God Jeremiah’s pain echoed God’s pain. Jeremiah felt what God feels for His people! We have a God and a man whose heart was broken over the plight and condition of the people he was called to minister to. So, let us now look through the eyes of one who is “broken in heart”, the one who is filled with Tears of Disappointment and hear his heart’s cry and unpack this passage.
1. TEARS OF DISAPPOINTMENT COMES FROM LISTENING
-LISTENING IS HEARING WHERE PEOPLE ARE
-The people are crying and Jeremiah is listening
-There is a difference from hearing people and what they say and listening to their cries. Jeremiah was intent on listening to the people.
-From a land far away: the illusion of exile & captivity is before him although it has not taken place yet, The Babylonian are on their way to bring the punishment that God has planned for His Wayward People.
My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” Jeremiah 3:22
The people knowing that the end is near cry out to God as if to say, “Where are you?”
v. 19 -“Is the Lord not in Zion??” Is her King no longer there?
-Verses 14 and 15 of this chapter explain where God is and isn’t!! “Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, BECAUSE WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST HIM. We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.”
- Verse 16 allows us to know that the people of Israel have seen the Enemy on the Horizon! The snorting of the enemies Horses is heard from Dan!
-LISTENING IS HEARING HOW THE PEOPLE ARE
-Jeremiah has heard the cries of his people, not as just merely hearing, but really listening. His heart is broken.
-Jeremiah knows that the people lives are at stake.
-His response is a word to us today, My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.
-Jeremiah is so upset, He calls on the “Comforter,” his comforter in sorrow. Only God can comfort him he is so grieved.
4. Note the dual role of God! To the disobedient He brings terror, to the obedient he brings comfort. Jeremiah and the people share the same situation, however.
-LISTENING IS HEARING THE WORLD AROUND US NOW!
-Do we listen to the cries of those around us?
-Are people around us still crying? Do people still need a voice to speak into their situations and their need?
-Are lives still at stake? Is destruction still on the horizon?
-Have we heard! Have we responded with a broken heart fainting within us?
2. TEARS OF DISAPPOINTMENT COMES FROM SEEING
-SEEING IS THE PERSPECTIVE OF GOD
Seeing is understanding.
-God speaks: “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols?”
-God’s desire is for us to have a relationship with him, God wants you, why? Because He loves you.
God states that only sin separates us from Him, following after what is worthless!!! Going after other gods and idols…In Jeremiah, he refers to the people as adulterers.
-The bottom line is that Sin makes God angry and Sin will not be tolerated. Sin has consequences!!
-Jeremiah knows why God is about to punish His people. Because Jeremiah sees what is going on, this is why he is so compelled to go against popular opinion, why because he know the result of their sin is captivity.
I believe, Jeremiah’s message of rebuke and the fact that there will be consequences to their sin, shows a lot of mercy by drawing us back to Him, back to a place where we can find true fulfillment and joy.
Jeremiah sees God’s actions clearly according to verse 19, the people don’t see what has happened, their sin is not visible to them. Sin has a way of doing that…it has a way of harden our hearts and dulling our senses to it’s effects.
SEEING IS THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PEOPLE
Another lament: verse 20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
In other words, Life is passing them by.
-Jeremiah sees the signs of the times (ALSO VERSE 13!!)
****Possibly the people see their lives before them unfulfilled.****
-I have personally seen too many people who turned away from God and are living unfulfilled lives and they aren’t living in their full potential that God has for them.
-It truly breaks my heart, when I see, people I have invest my life into and countless hours in prayer for them, speaking into their life, turn their back on God and fall away from the faith.
-There is an understanding here that Jeremiah has, I am hope that we can all get glimpse of it as well, it is this, that there is only one life to live and it soon will pass, but only what is done for Christ will last.
3. TEARS OF DIAPPOINTMENT LEADS TO BROKENNESS FOR GOD’S PEOPLE
-In Jeremiah 8:21- we come to the true heart of the prophet for the People.
v. 21 For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded;
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me
-Jeremiah does not abandon his people!! He claims them as His own. Since my people are wounded I am wounded.
-Jeremiah is in mourning and dismay has taken hold of him…one version say it like this “I mourn and Horror grips me.” Can you feel his pain? He can feel the Pain of the People. JEREMIAH SHARES THE PAIN.
-When we see Jeremiah we see him as a prophet, we can see him as a priest with his shepherd’s heart…when we fast forward 700 to Jesus, we see that Jesus fulfills the roles of Prophet, Priest and King…As Jeremiah identifies with his people---Jesus identifies and sympathizes with us…Hebrews 4:14-16 - Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
****-Jesus is our GREAT Jeremiah! And as Christ followers, God has called us to these roles as well, we need to prophets, we are all priests, we are part of the royal priesthood, we co-heirs with Christ. We are a part of His Kingdowm****
-Do we ever feel the pain of the world around us. Do we mourn over what is happening to OUR PEOPLE! Do our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God? Does it break for those that God has called us to?
Jer 8:22-The sickness of the people has come to the point that there is no cure, no salve, no balm to cover my sores. By the way, Gilead was known to be a place of renowned herbal remedies, and no remedy can help at this point!! Also, No doctor can intervene. There is no one who can help.
When we look at our world around us, do we want to say why things are happening or are we moved to action with COMPASSION?
-Compassion is a spiritual gift, if we don’t have it we need to ask for compassion towards others. Colossians 3:12 says, Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
-Jeremiah has had all he can take and His plea is that he could wash away all the pain and destruction with His tears.
-He has heard, seen, and understood the plight of his people, and of himself, for he is one of the people. He is a broken man!
*****-Henri Nouwen wrote in his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, “There are so few mourners left in the world. But grief is the discipline of the heart that sees the sin of the world, and knows itself to be the sorrowful price of freedom without which love cannot bloom. I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving”.
Hebrews 5:7-8 tell us that the days of His flesh (His life), Jesus offered his supplications and prayers to His Father with loud crying and tears. *****
- Back to the idea of a drought, Jeremiah yearns to be the water that will heal the land.
-But the bottom line in Jeremiah’s understanding is that GOD is the living water that needs to be poured out once more on the People.
-He remembers God’s word that was given to him: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (2:13).”
CONCLUSION: I love how Jeremiah heard and saw the people around him. So much and so clearly that his heart was broken to the point of tears.
-He was grieved completely by what was going on around him, even to the point of wanting to be poured out for the healing of his own people.
-That should not be a foreign thing for us to hear, when we look at Jesus, we see the Son of God, who poured Himself out for our sins. So much so that He died you and me, so we might be redeemed.
-LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS SAID RIGHT BEFORE HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US ON THE CROSS: Matthew 26:28 26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
-Where does this leave you and I? To what have we closed our ears, eyes and hearts? To what are we willing to see and respond? God is calling us to be His light and love in a broken world. A world He has placed us in on purpose. Are you willing to be pour out for the world around you?
*****Don’t let the FEAR of disappointment keep you from being used to speak with a prophetic voice to those around us.*****
-Jeremiah as a prophet and pastor to the people of Israel fully identifies with their weaknesses and sin. He has the heart of the pastor.
-The pastor is always between heaven and earth. His or her heart is always torn apart. God has placed a call on the pastor to bring the good news to the people. The perfect God places a vision of perfect relationship in to the pastor’s heart. And then he places the pastor in the reality of the world. It is enough to make a grown man cry.
-God loves. He loves us enough to send us messengers with a pastor’s heart. He also loves those people that He placed us in community with and He desires to use you and cultivate within each of you a prophetic voice to speak into lives to temper that with a heart of shepherd, allowing our hearts to be broken for the things and the people that break God’s heart.
-How is your heart today? Is it hardened with the rejection that this life and people bring? Is it filled with disappointments and unfulfilled expectations? Are your ears listening to the people around you, are your eyes seeing the hurt of other? Are you ready to move to action and heed the calling of God?
-Don’t reject the calling that God has for you and allow Him to use to speak into lives He has placed in your path. Let us be willing to shed tears for those around us...let us get back to the heart of God that is for His people!
LET US PRAY!!!
-As I pray this morning, I want to pray a prayer that will disrupt us and disturb us
Lord, we thank that Your priority is to redeem and restores lives back to You through your son Jesus.
My prayer is that you would challenge us to step out into our priestly calling and speak to those that you called us to with prophetic voices in a culture and a world that need to turn back to you.
God remind some that are here this morning that you are running after them, because you love them and you are using messages like this as way bringing them back to you, your desire is that they would not live a life in captivity to their sin, but you would restore hope to their lives…
*****FOR ALL OF US>>>I WANT TO PRAY THIS PRAYER OF THE OLD PURITANS!
Help us all fix our eyes on you
You are indeed God alone
You are our only hope.
All we have to lose is our very soul.
Save us from these comforts.
Break us of our need for the familiar
Spare us any joy that’s not of You
Oh God we will worship You…
Satisfy us with your unfailing love
Lord you are indeed enough for us.
In Jesus Name AMEN!