Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lent V - REZ ... What if ???

March 18, 2018
Lent V
Fr Phil Eberhart

REZ... What if... ??

A few weeks ago Deacon Ethel put a quote in our Thursday evening Constant Contact from John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Churches...  Just wondering?

What would God do if we gave Him the chance? 
What if fear or self-interest didn't restrict us? 
What if the need for control didn't overwhelm us? What would God do?
If our own ministries were not the important issue, what would it be like? 
If "church" wasn't about us, our place, and our ways, but instead was about Jesus and what he wanted to do here on earth, what would He reveal of His heart? 

What if it did not matter to us what was said about us--good or bad--and the only opinion that mattered was Jesus'? What would it be like?
What if we loved what Jesus loved? 
What if we let God be God and we just be His people? 
What if self-protection wasn't the issue and we didn't care about looking foolish?   

What would God do?
Don't you want to know? 
Don't you want to find out?" 

That's probably enough to keep us thinking for a while, isn't it?

What would God do?   What COULD God do?

I want to show you again a video that we played at our advance meetings, but I don't think everyone has seen it yet.

What if ... we found a treasure hidden in a field?

That was the first words I heard from Lawrence's mouth that morning in late July.  "I found a treasure hidden in a field."

Just weeks before that call I had driven past the property, a route I rarely drive, and I remember looking at the church and the land and asking God, "What is up with this?"  So much land and the church looks dead.  God, what about us?

We hadn't yet heard from our funeral home landlords.  There was no reason for me to be asking that question, after 16 years "on the move" as a "church in a box."

Except... it's time.  It's our time. 

I ran across a verse this week in my reading and listening:

2 Cor 9:10
"He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

I want to talk to you for a moment about the nature of seed.  

>  Seed is first of all fruit - it is the fruit of another seed planted somewhere.
and all those seeds lead straight back to God, the creator!  There is no other ultimate source for seed.

>  Seed is for two things:  for bread/food or for planting/multiplication.

Eating and Sharing or for Planting and harvesting.  Both are completely legitimate and one without the other is completely inadequate for life.

>  Seed is only limited by your planting!
In the passage referenced above, 2 Cor 9, as we've heard before Paul is preparing a gift to go to the poor church in Jerusalem.  He is reminding the church  in Corinth of their promise and readying them to meet his request with their readiness to give.

In verse 6, under the heading "The Cheerful Giver", Paul talks about the principles of sowing and reaping.  

1>    You can only reap from what you sow!  If you sow sparingly, you will likewise reap sparingly!  If you sow bountifully, then you will reap a bountiful harvest!  Simple and understandable.

Do "sparingly" and "bountifully" refer to specific amounts?   NO.  They refer to the proportion you give.  We know this from Jesus himself.  He highlights the proportion given by the widow whose two coins made up a penny!  She gave all that she had!  She sowed bountifully!

2>  Your heart matters in this transaction!  V. 7  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  The word for "cheerful" is the word from which we get our word "hilarious."  Remember a couple of weeks we talked about JOY in giving?  God loves a hilarious giver!  Another version says, God loves hilarious generosity.

3>  The process of planting creates harvest - no planting=no harvest! Harvest always includes multiplication of the seed, because its the nature of "seed" according to the grace and plan of God.  Read on in 2 Cor:  

This generous God who supplies abundant seed[g] for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals,[h] is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies[i] every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity[j] will grow. 11 You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion,[k] for when we take your gifts to those in need,[l] it causes many to give thanks to God. 

God's plan is an ever increasing and abundant cycle of giving and planting and harvesting.  And out of that process we get supplied and God gets ever increasing glory and thanks!

Do you remember the verses from Acts 2 that we've looked at for so long as our model for church life?

Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer.  A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility.  
They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life. 

Common Devotion to the Word - Community - Communion & Prayer...
The hallmarks of the New Testament Church!
Holy Awe - Miracles, Signs and Wonders
Sacrificial sharing - radical generosity - daily meetings in homes and in
the temple courts - shared meals with joy and humility.  Filled with praise to God - enjoying favor from every quarter. And the Lord adding to their number daily.

I hope that you are in a place that you can see what's happening here at REZ!  It's incredible and I am humbled to be a part of all of it.  

What if?

What if we took Acts 2 and 2 Cor 8 and 9 seriously?  What could God do?

Now for just a moment let's look forward.

What if a place was given us where Daily prayer happened - all kinds of prayer - intercession, praise, healing, morning prayer, evensong.  

What if a place was ours where we could host the study of the Word of God?
From the Torah to Revelation - from the Psalms and Proverbs to the life of Jesus the rabbi from Nazareth - from the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel to the letters of Paul to the churches.  What if?  Anyone remember Precepts? 
Godspeed?  Soul Keeping? 

What if we were also a house to house fellowship?  What we are doing in our lenten groups expanded and became a normal part of our life together?

What if we hosted groups of pastors for prayer together, business men and women for lunch from the DTC,  marriage retreats, ALPHA or the Jewish version:  ALEPH!  

Friends, I want you to see a picture of what's possible - what hasn't been possible for us for so long!  

And now God has given us an indescribable gift - The Treasure Hidden in the Field - and the building is the medium, it's the FIRE PLACE!  But friends, the TREASURE is sitting next to you!  The FIRE is here in our midst.  The FIRE is the stuff that these verses we've read are made of.

What if?  What if?

Let's pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross in order that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace;  So clothe us with your Spirit, that we, reaching out our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you, to the knowledge and love of you for the honor of your name.

Holy Spirit, come with your flame of love and consume the sacrifices we lay on this altar this morning - cause us to burn with your Holy FIRE.  Let us be a place of warmth and light in a cold and dark world.  Use us to bless others with your grace and peace, reflecting the light of your countenance.  Let your power move through us a we reach out our hands to pray and to heal.
Send your Power in witness again, as on the Day of Pentecost.

God our Father, be glorified as ABBA among us.  Let your broken heart beat in our Body.  Let your love for the world, that sent Jesus, fill us and send us as well.  Bring your people, Father, who love your Kingdom, and let your Kingdom come among us here, as it is in heaven.

Let's sing together:
"For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able...
To keep that which I've committed, unto Him against that Day!"

"For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able...
To keep that which I've committed, unto Him against that Day!"
"For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able...
To keep that which I've committed, unto Him against that Day!"

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! On our way home from Saint Mark’s today we drove right by your new place and saw your Rez logo on that sign. I’m so glad your church is staying in the area (South Denver). This is an answer to prayer. We’ve seen that building there for years. It’s been a bunch of different churches. May yours be the last and best one the property has ever seen or had.

    Build a cathedral of Godly healing and healed people for Christ! You now have the hill for it! lol

    “The Church is not a courtroom, but a Hospital for Sinners.”

    Blessings in the Holy Trinity, One God and may He grant you Many Years