Archive | June 2014

All My Adoration

June 29, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”

By Marcia McFee

Sermon 2 of series-

“Adoration”

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adoration

Psalm 105:1-6 Common English Bible

Exodus 15:1-3 The Living Bible

Psalm 89:1-18 The Message Bible

 

“All My Adoration…!”

 

Let us pray…(pray for God’s illumination…)

 

A reading from the book of Exodus, chapter 15, verses 1-3…listen for a word from God to you and me the people of God…

15 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord:

I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

He has thrown both horse and rider into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength, my song, and my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him.

He is my father’s God—I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior—

Yes, Jehovah is his name.

 

Adoration:

ad·o·ra·tion  [ad-uh-rey-shuhn]  noun

1. the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship.

2. reverent homage.

3. fervent and devoted love.

adoration  (ˌædəˈreɪʃən)

— n

1.       deep love or esteem

2.       the act of worshipping

 

 

 

I love reading the Psalms. They help me in my times of trouble because they remind me of God’s goodness and mercy even through those rough spots in life. One of my favorites is Psalm 105 verses 1-6. It reads:

Psalm 105

105 Give thanks to the Lord;

    call upon his name;

    make his deeds known to all people!

2 Sing to God;

    sing praises to the Lord;

    dwell on all his wondrous works!

3 Give praise to God’s holy name!

    Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the Lord!

4 Pursue the Lord and his strength;

    seek his face always!

5 Remember the wondrous works he has done,

    all his marvelous works, and the justice he declared—

6     you who are the offspring of Abraham, his servant,

        and the children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

I love how it talks about God and how awesome He is. It is right to give God the praise for all He has done…is doing or will ever do in our lives. But…I have a question for each of us. How many times do we begin our prayer time in adoration to God? Do we take time to address God for who He is and what He has done in our lives or do we just get right down to the “nitty gritty” of why we are there? Do we stop and think of how wonderfully awesome our God is or do we just skip that part and get right to our request from Him?

 

I have found in my own prayer time that when I take the time to stop and thank God for who He is my whole prayer time is transformed. I feel that connection with God because I have brought to mind who He is. I feel even stronger that my prayer will be answered because I have reminded myself of how God has answered in the past. It is at these times when I feel am sitting at His feet having a personal conversation with Him…a heart to heart so to speak…from my heart to His…

 

So how do we approach the throne of grace in such a way? For what or how do we really pray so that we can build a closer relationship with God. We want to have that “living-room conversation” with God. This summer, we are going to try and do just that. We have begun learning about prayer and what it is and how to pray. We have all had those times when we have gone to God and not known what to say…what to pray for. My hope is that our Summer Sermon Series “All My Days: A Summer of Prayer” will help us do just that…learn a way of prayer that will bring us closer to the maker of all we survey. But we are going to do it in a very tangible way.

 

This morning you were all given a set of prayer beads that Jessica, Ray and myself have made. Now the tradition of using a string of beads or rope knots is an ancient tradition as well as being a ritual action shared by many faith traditions around the globe. The common connection is the ability to give structure to personal prayer devotion. It offers a way to remind and revisit various areas of focus and concern. Repeated rituals can be powerful as they help shape our habits. This summer, we are invited to pray “All My Days” and to make a habit of prayer wherever you are. Each Sunday in worship we will focus on one of the steps of the prayer beads but you are encouraged to pray these categories all summer long. Now I want you to bring your beads with you to church as we spend the summer sitting at the feet of God spending time in prayer.

 

Last week Ms. Sally started us off by explaining what prayer is…it is a conversation between the created and the Creator. This week I would like to talk about a little thing…OK a BIG thing…called adoration. Now I have given you the definition of adoration at the beginning of my sermon this morning.

 

After reading the definition I really had to rethink how I use this word. For instance…“I really adore these shoes…they fit just right…they are my favorites” or “I adore how much you care for me Ray…”…“ I adore my cat Fiona”…adoration of things and people in my life. Now I “love” people and things but do I really “adore” them…do I really show “adoration” to them and if I do…am replacing God as I do it? Do I worship my things…my cat… or my husband? Do I look to these things instead of God? Well my cat seems to think so but my answer to that is no. But… I need to think more about how I use this word and what I really mean when I use it.

 

Prayer…it begins with adoration of God. Our God is so awesome how could we not want to spend time thanking Him and adoring Him? As we begin with adoration our whole perspective is changed. As a matter of fact, we can give god adoration any time, not just during prayer time and it will change our perspective on life. Case in point…”My life is so filled with pain and anguish, how can I keep going on?” … “God…thank you that you are so awesome and powerful and that you are always with me. Even in the desert parts you are there. Thank you for helping me to get up out of bed today and move about. I trust that you will get me through whatever I need today by Your grace and mercy…” “My life is so tough, I never have the money I need to do what I want…” “Thank you God for how You provide what I need and some of my wants. I know that I have been in this spot before with low funds and I look forward with expectation for how you will help me through this. You are so wonderful and loving to Your children making sure we never go without.” Makes a difference doesn’t it?! As we begin to rethink our lives we begin to see the blessings all around us. Adoration…it makes a life good…

 

Let us pray…pray in adoration of who God is…

 

Amen

The Conversation of PRAYER

Hillsong: 40 Days of Revival

1 John 5:14-15

Ephesians 3:12

 

WHAT CAN WE PRAY FOR?

It is obviously a great privilege for us to pray, bringing our needs and requests before an omnipotent God. Yet amazingly, Jesus has made it possible for us to approach God with confidence and to come before Him boldly. God hears us when we pray and it is His will that prayer would allow us to know Him more and receive His grace.

Perhaps you haven’t always prayed with the confidence that 1 John 5:14-15 and Ephesians 3:12 speak of. Consider why that is and allow the truth of God’s Word to replace the old mindsets you may have had about prayer.

During this time as we seek God to see a change in our lives and the world around us, let’s be united in prayer for:

1. Salvations – for loved ones in our world who are yet to know Jesus.

2. Our city and nation – let’s believe for our leaders and authorities to lead with Godly wisdom and counsel.

3. Revival – let’s believe together for people to awaken to the things of God and for Him to move mightily across the earth.

 

Let us approach the throne of grace not as aliens to the kingdom but as friends…as beloved sons and daughters of the Most High God! He is Abba Father and is waiting, Day and night, to hear from His children. Let us stand in the gap for others as we pray for God’s Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven…

Prayer…it does the body good!

Matthew 6:9-13

There are times when we just don’t know what to pray. We have so much that we want to pray for but we just can’t get all our thoughts together. The prayer that Jesus taught is a great place to start. As we continue in prayer, our Spirits will tells us what to pray for. Our Spirit is aligned with God’s purpose and it will help us in intercessory prayer for others…

Pushing Through

Galatians 6:9

 

I Love the way Joyce Meyers puts it about what to do during our desert times…in our times of trouble…She simply states:

 

“Keep in mind that in the heat of our struggles, the Holy Spirit is probably doing His greatest work within us. He is not moved by the circumstances. If you and I really trust Him, we shouldn’t be either! He’s not in our lives for good times only, but for the difficult times as well.

 

He will lead us through anything if we’ll just hang in there and follow Him. This means being diligent in prayer, relentless in our resolve, unwavering in faith, and determined to stand firmly on God’s Word and His promises to us.”

 

If we persevere through the tough times we will come out in the end a changed person…better than we were before. It is within these rocky places that we grow in our faith and trust in God. 

 

Instead of giving up we need to have a different perspective…a different view…of the problem. “How can I grow through this? How is God using this situation to help me grow? What is God trying to tell me about myself in the midst of this struggle?” It is when we have a different perspective that the struggle looks different. Instead of fear, we can face it head on knowing that what ever happens, God will make good come out of it…

Put On Love

1 John 4:8

 

Each day we have a choice. Will we love others as Christ loved and still loves us. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we need to love unconditionally. This can be hard at times. There are those around us that seem “unlovable”. They may have rough spots about them that we just don’t want to deal with. But in order to help them smooth out the rough spots we need to set an example for them to follow. Love is not just a verb…it is also a noun. Sometimes we need to just love others into changing. It is when we decide to put on love each day that we can make a change in our world and in the lives of others. We need to “suit up” each morning with the love and compassion of Christ. You never know…it may be our lives that are changed…

“Hello My Name Is…Abba”

June 8, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Peace with Justice Sunday/Fathers Day

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 23 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Abba”

Luke 15:11-24 Common English Bible

Romans 8:14-17 Common English Bible

Galatians 4:4-7 NIV

    Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup), The Baker Publishing Group

Spangler, Ann, Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

 

“Hello My Name Is…Abba”

 

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination of our hearts, minds and souls.)

Creator, Sustainer, Almighty God, you who created all that we see. We have come into your house to worship you this morning and hear the word you would have for us this day. We pray for your presence and your Spirit here with us as we listen to your word. May we leave this place today understanding more about you and your will for our lives. May the meditations of our hearts and the words of our mouths be pleasing to you oh Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. Speak Lord; your children are waiting to hear your voice…

 

Today is Fathers Day. It is a day that we, as society, have set apart to honor our earthly fathers.

It is a day that we think of those who have been like fathers to us…mentoring us and loving us as if we were their own. You know…it is only fitting that not only is it Fathers Day today but it is also Trinity Sunday…the day that we celebrate and give thanks to our Heavenly Father…the day that we think about the “3-Faces of God”…The Father, Son and Spirit that together make up our God.

 

As we continue our journey of learning about and praying in the Sacred Names of God, we have heard many names for God on our journey thus far. How fitting it is that today we talk about our Father in heaven…the Father of all fathers.  The name Abba…Father is the name that has so many images attached to it. It is a name that for many brings to mind the love and mercy of our Father…which art in heaven…our Abba Father…

 

The Names of God Bible states:

The Hebrew Scriptures normally depict God, not as the Father of individuals but as Father to his people Israel. Pious Jews, aware of the gap between a holy God and sinful human beings, would never have dared address God as Ab (Hebrew) or Abba, the Aramaic word for “Daddy,” which gradually came to mean “dear father.” Jesus shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father-Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce outside of the temple. Rather than depicting God as a typical Middle Eastern patriarch who wielded considerable power within the family, he depicted him primarily as a tender and compassionate father who extends grace to both the sinner and the self-righteous.

 

Though the Old Testament provides many rich names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals him most fully. Jesus, in fact, shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father/ Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce. Also, by inviting his followers to call God “Father,” he made this the primary name by which God is to be known to his followers. That’s why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, “Our Father who art in heaven….”

 

One of my most favorite stories of a father and son relationship is the one found in the scripture I read this morning…the Prodigal Son. Most of us have heard the story of the prodigal son numerous times. But have you ever noticed that Luke 15:20 states that the father saw his son while he was still at a distance? The New International Version says that his father spotted him while he was still a long way off. This detail is there for a reason. It implies that the heartbroken father had been eagerly looking for his son, longing for him to come home.

 

 I like to think of God this way, as an eager father searching for his child. We may think we have strayed too far for God to take us back, but he is beckoning us home, watching for us even while we are still a long way off. How comforting and hope=giving is the fact that our God…Abba…our Daddy is there waiting for us to reach out our hand to His as He leads us in the path of righteousness for His namesake…

So…with this information…with this knowledge of God and the relationship He desires…no He longs for…from His children, how should we act and feel? Well…let we read a couple of scriptures that might give us a clue to not only who we are but whose we are…

Romans 8:14-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.

We are given the right to call God Abba and we are co-heirs with Christ. Now think about that for a moment. We can call the Maker of Heaven and Earth Daddy and not only that but we are adopted as His children… The Spirit within us tells us…reassures us that we are children of God… How awe inspiring is that? It gives us hope when we feel hopeless knowing that God has adopted us as His children…even though we are flawed and imperfect. You see…God signed the adoption papers for us in the blood of His son and our Brother Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross so long ago…and like our earthly fathers He protects us…even unto death.

 

Galatians 4:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to son-ship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

We are no longer a slave to sin and death. God purchased our freedom through His Son Jesus Christ. Our Spirit within us calls out to Him because we are children of the Most High God. God…in His time set us free so that we could be adopted into the Family of God. We no longer are enemies of God but we are called friends of Jesus who for the sheer joy of it, went to the cross for us so that we too can have a relationship with our Father…Abba Father in Heaven.

 

Knowing that the Father will keep our souls safe…Abba Father is there watching over us… means we can put our energy not into building up our sense of self but into building up his kingdom. Secure in his arms, we can learn to take the risks that faith requires. If we have been playing it safe, resisting some new direction in our life that we know to be right, maybe…just maybe we need to take some time today to meditate on God’s faithfulness. Tell him you want his will more than you want your own. Then go ahead and do whatever the Father asks! Just saying…

 

Today is Fathers Day and we celebrate those men in our lives that have loved us and mentored us. Scripture tells us that we…being human and flawed…know how to give good things to our children, how much more will our Father in Heaven…the perfect in all His ways Father…give to those who love Him and are called by His name. Is there someone you may know who needs the love of a good and perfect Father who will never leave them or forsake them? Perhaps it is time that we, as Christians help them find the ultimate Father figure found in our heavenly through the blood of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Maybe…just maybe we could reach out our hand and lead them to life everlasting. Perhaps then there will be a shift in the tide of despair and hopelessness. Let us celebrate our fathers here on earth as well as Abba Father and honor them with our lives. You see Abba Father loved and still loves the world so much, that’s you and me…all of humanity that He sent His only Son and everyone one who believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life. What an awesome privilege we have…what a daunting task we have at hand. But perhaps that’s the whole reason why we are here…to make a change in others lives. Maybe…just maybe if we reach out to the lost…just maybe…

 

Let us pray…

Father, thank you for loving me even when I was “still a long way off.” You showed your gracious, fatherly love even when I bore little resemblance to you. Strengthen my identity as your child and help me to glorify your name by reflecting your character. Help us to be Your image to the lost and hurting of this world as we live out the Great commission, “Go into the world and make disciples of all nations…baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”Amen.

Adapted from: Spangler, Ann, Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide