Monday, November 4, 2019

2020 Giving Worksheet

2020 Giving Worksheet (PRINTABLE)

2020 Stewardship Commitment Worksheet


       Resurrection Anglican Fellowship
         P O Box 2127    Centennial, CO
             REZANGLICAN@AOL.COM


  --------------------


(Note: If you desire to give anonymously, please leave the top part blank and mail to the above box number or return this portion in the offering plate by Nov 17, 2019)


Name:

Address:

City, State, Zip:


Phone numbers:
        Home:

        Mobile:
                (  ) please check if you text on your mobile


Email address:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Check all that apply;
        (  ) Member of REZ
        (  ) Regular Attender/Giver
        (  ) Occasional Attender/Giver
        (  )  Non-attending giver
        (  ) One time gift
        (  ) Special needs/projects giver
        (  ) Friend of REZ on Facebook
        (  ) I/We receive the weekly CC email or
        (  ) I/We would like to receive it.


My / Our giving commitment ;

        (  ) Annual          $____________________

        (  ) Quarterly      $____________________   X 4

        (  ) Monthly        $ ___________________    X 12

        (  ) Bi-monthly     $___________________   X 24

        (  ) Weekly          $ ___________________  X 52


        (  ) Special          $ ___________________



Total Giving Commitment  $_______________


If you desire to give to the building and the "Capital campaign" needs please do so by checking here [ ] and include a separate check with this worksheet.

(  ) I am interested in talking about giving non-liquid assets to REZ.  (Car, business interests or stocks/bonds/insurance assets) (This may be accomplished by setting up a donor-advised fund through the National Christian Foundation and can have huge tax benefits. Ask Fr. Phil or Pam Bradbury for info or to set up a consultation appointment)


(  ) I would like to give through my bank, bank card or other fund transfer methods.

We encourage you to set up a regular transfer through your bank's automatic payment system.  We can help you get it set up.


Please call with questions
Fr. Phil 720-219-0055.


God will bless you as you give.

Fr. Phil Eberhart+


2020 Giving Letter

Nov 1, 2019


Dear friend,

God has brought us nearly to the finish line on our building project. Some still remains for us to raise and likely some more to finance, as the year draws to its close. I can't even tell you how important your part in this has been! Whether giving sacrificially or praying overtime or, hopefully, both, we're all vitally important to the work that God is doing in and through Rez.

As 2019 ends we will enter fully into a new life as a congregation, one in which, we believe, God's purpose and plan for us as a congregation will be most fully revealed. We are a congregation moving into our destiny and we are all called to this journey.

2020 will be crucial for us as we transition from the mess and stress of construction to a more settled pace of "normal" life in our parish. I believe that our calling to be a worshipping, loving, healing, welcoming Family of God will remain central to who we are and what we will do in the coming years.

But even more than that, God is calling us to grow! Already we're seeing a number of new faces, many of whom are excited to be here and already finding their places of gifting and service in our midst.

All of this takes money! Big revelation! All of us have gone the extra mile, some 2 and some 10 miles, to get Rez to the place we're at right now. We cannot stop! As we move into 2020, I'm asking you to continue to give generously and hilariously! We have not finished, we've just begun.

Please look at the worksheet that is attached and pray about your giving in the light of God's favor and his supply. All that we have is from Him, and it's in that knowledge that we return a portion to His House, in thanksgiving and in loving obedience to his leading.

May God richly bless you as you give throughout this next year.

Fr. Phil Eberhart
Rector
Resurrection Anglican Fellowship

The Joy of Giving Up, Part 4

November 3, 2019
Part 4... The Joy of Giving Up 
Fr. Phil Eberhart 


Now for the rest of the story! 


There was a discussion between three pastors,  a Baptist,  a Pentecostal and an Anglican.   They were discussing how the offering is divided in each church between our needs and God's.  How much does God get and how much do we get? 

The Baptist pastor said they drew a circle on the floor,  threw the money up and what fell inside the lines of the circle was God's and outside was theirs. 

The Pentecostal pastor said just the opposite.  What fell outside the lines was God's and inside was the church's.

The Anglican pastor,  wanting to be the most inclusive,  said,  "No circles for us Anglicans.   We just throw it up in the air:  What God wants He can keep! 

______________


This morning I want to give you,  actually... remind you, of what Paul Harvey used to call,  "the rest of the story."

Today is the Feast of All Saints!  But I dare say that few of the actual Saints would claim that the day or even their "saint hood" waswasU about them.  I think it's probably some kind of a prerequisite that real saints know Who it's all about.

And WHO the main ACTOR is in all of this drama we call our life.  

Paul said it's "in Him we live and move and have our being! "   Later the writer to the Hebrews says,  "He is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith."  Jesus own words tell us that "apart from Me ... you can do ...  NOTHING!"

Friends, the joy we're talking about isn't just from the act of giving,  that is simply an overflow - an outcome of a life that is GIVEN UP.

Remember the old 50's song,  where you threw your hands up in the air and sang with the tune,  "I surrender - I Surrender!"

That is a life that is GIVEN UP. A surrendered life; one that is counted as no longer your own.   This kind of talk is everywhere in the New Testament writings.  In Jesus' words and throughout the whole body of the letters!

You must die to self to live for God! 

"Take up your cross daily," Jesus said.

"It's no longer I who live,"  Paul said, 

"But Christ who lives in me."

And it's not just in the New Testament either. 

Over and over and over through the whole history of God's dealings with us,  the people He created,  He reminds himself,  "I know that you are dust."   

God takes both the initiative to call us; to pursue us... and the responsibility to finish for us what we cannot complete for ourselves.

Over and over again God said,  "I will do it.  I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh!"  

"I am the faithful One and I will do it."

My point here is that all we are doing is following...  we are willing participants,  we are available to Him and His purposes and we are obedient to his direction in the moment.   Whether it be in offering a smile to a stranger or writing a check for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, whenever and whatever we do, we are following Jesus' leadership.  It's His direction we walk,  not ours. 

That is a "surrendered heart... a surrendered life" 

 Willing ... Available ... Obedient.

In his little book , Absolute Surrender, Rev Andrew Murray says...


O, become nothing in deep reality, and, as a worker, study only one thing—to become poorer and lower and more helpless, that Christ may work all in you.


Commenting on The Vine and branches of John 15, Murray says...


"Christ Jesus said: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” In other words: “I, the living One who have so completely given myself to you, am the Vine. You cannot trust me too much. I am the Almighty Worker, full of a divine life and power.” You are the branches of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is in your heart the consciousness that you are not a strong, healthy, fruit-bearing branch, not closely linked with Jesus, not living in Him as you should be—then listen to Him say: “I am the Vine, I will receive you, I will draw you to myself, I will bless you, I will strengthen you, I will fill you with my Spirit. I, the Vine, have taken you to be my branches, I have given myself utterly to you; children, give yourselves utterly to me. I have surrendered myself as God absolutely to you; I became man and died for you that I might be entirely yours. Come and surrender yourselves entirely to be mine"


Simple,  not easy.


Let's pray. 


This is the covenant prayer by the Rev John Wesley. 


Please repeat it after me...


[93. A Daily Covenant Prayer
Prayed daily by John Wesley]

I am no longer my own, but thine.

 Put me to what thou wilt, 

rank me with whom thou wilt.

 Put me to doing, 

put me to suffering.

 Let me be employed by thee 

or laid aside for thee, 

exalted for thee

 or brought low for thee. 

Let me be full,

 let me be empty. 

Let me have all things, 

let me have nothing. 

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. 

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 

thou art mine, and I am thine. 

So be it. 

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

 let it be ratifed in heaven. 

Amen






The Joy of Giving Up, Part 3

Fr. Phil Eberhart
Rez Anglican
Oct 27, 2019

Hilarious Generosity


We're in the third week of
"The Joy of Giving Up."

In broad terms, we've talked about God's ownership of everything we have! "Whose is it all, anyway? "

How do we say it? ...
All things come of Thee, O Lord, ... and of Thine own have we given Thee!

We're quick to say "it's all God's, " but the actions that follow on from that are a little harder to get to.

Last week we explored the nature and need for sacrifice...
For sacrificial giving. Giving that costs us something and that is acceptable to God. Our 'reasonable service of worship' Paul calls it in Romans 12:1.

The byline for our book, The Joy of Giving Up, by Rev. Dave Roseberry, is...

How giving to God... renews hearts, changes minds, and empowers ministry."


This morning I want to explore those features of giving with you.

Renewal of our hearts...

Transformation of our minds...

Empowerment for ministry.

---------------

I think we can safely say that we NEED to give. It is a moral and spiritual necessity! But why?

St. Augustine warned of a human tendency he called "curving in on yourself." It is something that individuals can do, something that churches and organizations can do, something that tribes and nations can do.

It is becoming 'self' obsessed.
Self-centered. We've developed it to a fine edge in our culture; we even have invented a new word for it in our day...

The "SELFIE!"

We have a 'selfie' culture ...
A selfie spirituality!

Our worship song is...
It's all about me!... not Jesus!
And all this is for me, for my glory and my fame!

Need I say more?

The antidote is giving, plain and simple.

As one writer put it, we're to "give what we cannot keep, in order to gain what can never be taken away from us!"

It's The "Treasure Principle" in the Bible. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!" Is your treasure here on earth, or is it stored up for you in heaven, where thieves and rust can't get to it? Great question!

So let me come back to our three outcomes of giving generously... of giving hilariously (that's the Greek word for "cheerful," by the way.)

When we are hilarious, generous givers...

1. Our Hearts are Renewed...

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!

Have you noticed that our hearts get attached to things... to stuff! We collect it. Sometimes we hoard it. There's TV shows about it.

Giving is the antidote. Let me say it again... Giving Is The Antidote!

Romans 12:1 ... present (give) yourselves as a living, sacrificial offering.

The very act of giving starts a renovation inside your heart. You are no longer the center of the universe. You have turned your eyes away from the mirrors... and looked to Jesus!

Where your treasure is there will your heart be also! It really works.

2. Our minds are transformed...

Do you know what transformation is?

The word that's used here and translated as 'transformation' is the word in Greek that we get the word 'metamorphosis' from. It's almost a direct transliteration from the Greek.

The Oxford dictionary simply says this...
a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

Romans 12:2
Don't let the world press you into its mold, but be [changed in form or nature into a completely different person, both naturally and supernaturally] be transformed by the renewing of your mind!!

You will think differently and then you will be ... differently.
Who you are and what you do will be different from the world around you because of a metamorphoses that God does by his power!

Finally...

3. This transformation empowers ministry.

When it's no longer about me or no longer about us, whose it about. Jesus and others!

It's been said that the correct priority in life spells J O Y... In that order.
Jesus... Others... then You!

Paul writes the whole rest of the Roman letter as the outflow of those pivotal verses in 12:1-2.

Just listen to what happens...
This is excerpted from The Message from the rest of just chapter 12 in Romans...

> hold yourself in a sober regard...

"it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you."


> You are now members of one another...

"we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around."

> find your ministry out of that position in Christ and in the midst of His people

6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Friends, everything changes: Who we are: what we do: how we do it as it relates to others, both in the company of the church and in the day- to- day of our living, and moving and having our being!

EVERYTHING CHANGES!

This week there will be a letter coming to you and a worksheet / commitment sheet for your next year's estimated giving.

You can turn it in next Sunday or on Sunday, Nov 10th. We need them back, so we can look at budget for next year.

We're at a critical point again for the capital funds for our building. We got a great shot two weeks ago... over 11K came in in one Sunday offering. We're there again. This is crunch week. We're about to get about 150K in escrows back from the city and the banks, but we have to pay workers and for concrete this week. You can talk to Pam or Jody if you can help in specific ways or have good ideas. Pray, pray, pray.

God hasn't brought us this far to let us down.

Let's pray.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the efectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Joy of Giving Up, Part 2

Sunday, Oct 20, 2019
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Rez Anglican Fellowship

An Acceptable Sacrifice

This morning we continue our stewardship series, "The Joy of Giving Up."

I heard a story this week about two guys that were marooned on an island in the middle of the ocean. The one was frantic, trying to figure ways to signal and attract attention from passing ships or planes. The other seemed unconcerned and was digging a hole in the sand that served as a chair for him to simply scan the horizon. The one fellow got a bit frustrated and finally asked, "How can you be so cool about all this? "

"Well, you see," He said, "I go to church and I tithe on the $10,000 a week that I make in my business! Believe me...
My pastor WILL FIND ME!"
______________

This morning I want to start again with the 1st verse of Rom 12...
"I urge you, therefore, with eyes wide open to all God's mercies, to present yourself as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service... an intelligent act of worship "

Acceptable sacrifice...

Throughout the whole Old Testament the worship of God entailed sacrifices. There are a whole host of them throughout the Torah, prescribed as worship in various ways at various times of the year. We've just come through the Fall Feast days and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.

On that day each year, the high priest would make special preparations and would present blood from a pure, unblemished lamb on the golden altar, the Ark of the Covenant, inside the Holy of Holies in the temple.

This was to be a pure, unblemished lamb. A "perfect " sacrifice once yearly for the atonement for the sins of the people.

Jesus himself fulfilled this sacrificial role for us on his cross. We speak of this every time we celebrate the Holy Communion here.

All praise and glory is yours, O God our heavenly Father, for in your tender mercy, you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption. He made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;

The blood of the Lamb was poured out as an oblation on the altar to make atonement for us through sacrifice.

Now we, in turn, are to offer our selves, "our souls and bodies"...
"And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice."

An acceptable sacrifice...

Today we're not making a sacrifice for atonement by giving money! That heresy was done away with in the 1500's. We cannot buy our salvation.

But today we need to be mindful that God deserves our best. Whatever we give of our time or our gifts and talents or our worldly treasures, God deserves our best.

The threat of death is done away with through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But our response to that sacrifice is to be what the song calls our "all in all!"

In the next month we will celebrate THANKSGIVING.
Once a year we set aside a day to give thanks. I wonder what might happen if we did that as a matter of course every day?

We've used the metaphor here at Rez of a "treasure hidden in a field." What was the cost to buy that field?
Everything. All the man had.
In order to get the field, the man had to sell all - to sacrifice all for the sake of the field.

Today God's requirements haven't been lowered! If anything they've been heightened! Jesus often did that, but then he turned and offered us a way in too. By his own blood.

Today's sacrifices are the Thanksgiving type.

What are you thankful for today?

What does your attitude of gratitude prompt from your heart and from your gifts, your talents and from you're time and treasure?

That's the question we're asking ourselves today as we consider the sacrifice that is worthy of all our God hs done for us!

Let's pray.

Holy God, you gave your only Son for us and He gave all for us and for our salvation. Help us, Lord, to come to you with grateful hearts and a sacrifice of praise. Help us to return to you from all that You have given us, as you enable and empower us to give.

And all for the sake of Your Kingdom and the fame of Your Name, Jesus.

Amen and amen.

The Joy of Giving Up, Part 1

WHOSE (DEAL) IS IT, ANYWAY?


When we present our tithes and offerings after the peace we say word's that end with

All things come of thee, O Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee!

One of Val's favorite sayings to me is "Whose deal is this, anyway? " With the prayer above in mind, I simply want to ask, "Whose is it, anyway?"

We're starting today a 4 or 5 week conversation on "The Joy of Giving Up."

"How giving to God... renews hearts, changes minds, and empowers ministry."

This is a pilot program for the churches in the ACNA. You can get the book on Amazon.
---------
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0990509060/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_I0XODbED1HY68
-----------

Written by Dave Roseberry, the founding pastor of Christ Church, Plano Tx. The largest Episcopal/Anglican church in the US!

We also have resources for families with children and for adults in the back.
3 weeks of activities with kids and 5 weeks of weekday devotionals for individuals and couples.

Our pledge in-gathering will be the first two Sundays in November. So fasten your seat belts and make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright and locked position... we're going to be asking a lot of everyone right now.

The building process is moving quickly and we're now about to dip into our final pockets of savings in order to pay our workers and our general contractor to finish before the serious cold hits.

It's crunch time, friends.

It's time again for serious prayers thanking God for His favor and faithful supply, just what we've been pursuing God for, and seen answered for the past two years! We're not done yet and neither is God! In fact I think He's just getting started with us!

Faithful Generosity

Last week's sermon showed us that faith means faithfulness!

Keep on keeping on!

When Peter was out on the water, it was when he stopped ...

that he began to sink!

So today I'm urging you to faith! To faithful keeping on.
We're not going to stop or to even pause!

And my question this morning is just a reminder of what we already know... it's all God's!

The final verses of Romans 11 tell us...

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35. “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

From Him...
Through Him...
And To Him !!

Turn in your bulletin to the prayer of commendation at the offertory...

Let's say it together...

"YOURS, O LORD, IS THE GREATNESS, AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY, AND THE VICTORY AND THE MAJESTY; FOR EVERYTHING IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH IS YOURS;
YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, O LORD, AND YOU ARE EXALTED AS HEAD ABOVE ALL!
ALL THINGS COME OF YOU, O LORD...
AND OF THINE OWN HAVE WE GIVEN THEE! "

All things means what?

ALL THINGS!

In Him, we live and move and have our being!

And now turn to Romans 12. It's response time! As we make the good confession of the Lordship and the majesty of Jesus Christ over everything, us included, there is a reasonable response!

Rom 12:1-2

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

(Read from Phillips Translation)

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Next week we're going to say more about the "acceptable sacrifice!" But note what Paul says... that this kind of sacrifice is our "reasonable" response. An act of intelligent worship!

There is no pressure, no arm twisting, no guilt involved! Just a clear view of God's merciful everyday favor and goodness towards us. Eyes wide open!

The early church devoted itself. We've been studying this in Acts, chapters 2 - 5 for nearly a decade now!

To "Devote" is a verb, not unlike faith. It's a formal commitment, a consecration, an act of making holy by a vow!

They devoted themselves!

Friends, the point of all of this is to instill in us a heart of generosity!

Abraham was given a charge... you are being blessed, to be a blessing!
It's not about you, it's about all the others, silly.

And in my study I ran across a hidden Gem! In Acts 2:46 it says...
46. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

The word for GENEROUS here is the only time in the whole NT it is used...
And it literally means
NO STUBBING YOUR TOE... NO STUMBLING!

Friends, generosity is the key to never stumbling... to have a secure and steadfast walk with God... generosity is the key.

It comes from our understanding of Whose it all is! Of WHOSE we all are!

It comes from our humble response to a full and unobstructed view of God's mercies, new every morning!

¹Our living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, who is the Author and the Finisher of our faithfulness!

Faith is the movement and generosity is the smooth surface that gives us the ability to walk without stumbling... with out sinking... step after step after step.

Let's pray.

Lord, we GIVE UP. With our eyes wide open to your every day mercies, we GIVE UP our praises to You.

Lord, we GIVE UP. With our hands extended to You first and then to others, clothe us with your Generous Holy Spirit.

Lord, we GIVE UP. Make us a people filled to the brim and overflowing with generosity, never stumbling or faltering as we follow in your footsteps, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

(Put your hand over your heart and repeat after me)

WE DEVOTE OURSELVES ANEW THIS DAY...

WE GIVE UP OURSELVES TO YOU ...

AND TO YOUR WORK IN OUR LIVES...

WE GIVE UP, LORD!

WE GIVE UP!

In Jesus name and for the sake of His Kingdom.

And everyone said...

Amen and amen.

Aug 25 - A Sure Foundation

Some of us have bought a house here, right? When you buy a house you get an inspection. One of our great friends is a structural engineer, some here know him. He comes and looks at anything I'm going to buy... house.... church... whatever!

In the letter to the Hebrews [11:10], there is a descriptive line about the city of God, that's Zion. It's described as a "city with Foundations, whose architect and builder is God. " It was that which drew Abraham out away from familiar territory to a new "promised" land.

Our prophetic passage this morning from Isaiah speaks of this same place...

"Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
    ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line;

Paul talks about this reality in our study in Ephesians 2:19-22...

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Friends, we are the ones that are being talked about here. We are the Body... We are the Building! Being fitted together and formed to the likeness of the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus, whose "line is justice and plumbline is righteousness."

I know, some of you are thinking - he's really got building on the brain! But this is a great theme throughout scripture and it's dynamically highlighted in this morning's readings.

There is a severe juxtaposition between us who are in the Kingdom and those who are in the world in these readings.

Stuff is coming that's going to shake things up. It's all in here (the Bible).

Our lesson from Hebrews is one very sobering and most incredibly hopeful passage. Did you listen to it? You need to. It was given to this church almost 20 years ago as we prepared to go on this journey of faith. This Abraham journey. Leaving a familiar place with a familiar building and familiar faces. Hard stuff but we did it. For what?

Like Abraham we're being obedient to God, obeying a call to stand in a culture that Isaiah says, "has made a covenant with death and hell!"

But God!

Over and over and over and over for the past 18 years and especially the past 2 years we've seen the "But God!" moments. Over and over things were poised to fall apart... But God!

But God!

What have you come to this morning? A worship service, a place to belong, a place to serve God and others? To sweet music, to hugs and handshakes, smiles and kisses of peace?

But wait... there's more. So much more!

Listen to parts of the Hebrews passage again, afresh...

22 By contrast, we have already come [present tense] near to God in a totally different realm, the Zion-realm, for we have entered the city of the Living God, which is the New Jerusalem in heaven! We have joined the festal gathering of myriads of angels in their joyous celebration!

23 And as members of the church of the Firstborn all our names have been legally registered as citizens of heaven!

And we have come before God who judges all, and who lives among the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect in his eyes!

24 And we have come to Jesus who established a new covenant with his blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat; blood that continues to speak from heaven, “forgiveness,” a better message than Abel’s blood that cries from the earth, “justice.”

So whaaaaaaat is going on here? Much, much, much more than meets the eye! We are here meeting with God, in the throne room! Invited in to take our place, not as guests but as sons and daughters, as family, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, forgiven because of faith in His work on the cross and the presentation of His blood on the mercy seat of the ark- altar in heaven, of which this altar is a reflection and extension! Here, what is unseen is most real!

But now what? As Francis Schaeffer put it, "How shall we now live? "

The writer of Hebrews goes on...

25 Make very sure that you never refuse to listen to God when he speaks!

28 Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom  we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. 29 For our God is a holy, devouring fire!

Friends, we are... we have received a Kingdom that is unshakeable! And what does that King require of us?

I just want to wrap it up with two quick verses...

Micah 6:8.
He hath shown thee, oh man, what is good. And what doeth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God!"


And the second is like unto it...

John 4...
23–24 From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”

Let's stand and as our closing prayer sing again the first verse and chorus of our gospel song, Seek Ye First, from Matt 6:33.


Seek Ye First #478
By Karen Lafferty

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things
shall be added unto you
Allelu, Alleluia !

Alleluia,  Alleluia
Alleluia,
Allelu,  Alleluia !

END.