July 13, 2014
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”
Inspired by Marcia McFee
Sermon 3 of series-
Psalm 33:20-22 Common English Bible
Psalm 25:1-3 Common English Bible
Romans 8:30-32 Common English Bible
Matthew 11:28-30 Common English Bible
Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination…)
A reading from the book of Romans, chapter 8, verses 30-32 from the Common English Bible…listen for a word from God to you and me the people of God…
30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified.
31 So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?
I have a friend who is just awesome with dogs. She is very patient in their training as she teaches them how to be social animals but also to be obedient to her. She has this one thing she does when she teaches them that really amazes me. I can’t believe how obedient they are. She would have them bring one of their favorite toys to her and she would tell them “Drop it…leave it…” and they would do just that. She can walk away from them, even with her back turned, and they would just sit there and not touch the toy until she told them it was OK. They may sit there staring at their toy…really wanting to pick it up and play with it…but they have been told to leave it and they do.
Now I think it is very cool so I have even tried it with the girls. You know when they touch something or pick up something that belongs to one of their sisters. Well…I haven’t gotten it to work yet. Every time I turn my back they pick it back up. They just can’t let it go and leave it. But then again, we as humanity have a hard time with letting go. We can tend to hold on to things that we really don’t need to hold on to and we wind up carrying all this baggage…like David Broadbent talked about last week when he came to preach for us. I can just see God in heaven going, “Drop it…leave it…no I said leave it not pick it back up…” Why can’t we just leave it alone and not keep picking things back up after we give it to God? Or even give it to God in the first place instead of carrying it around with us like an old worn out, heavy suit case…?
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. I hope that you to bring your beads with you to church as we spend the summer sitting at the feet of God spending time in prayer. My continued hope is that our Summer Sermon Series “All My Days: A Summer of Prayer” will help us learn a way of prayer that will bring us closer to the maker of all we see.
Now, last time we talked about the first bead on our string of beads, the “Adoration Bead”, the one that reminds us to begin our prayer time in adoration of God. This week we are going to the second bead…the bumpy bead. This bead reminds us to tell God our worries and leave then there with God.
Now Marcia McFee states that, “As we move into times of prayer and devotion, we are often faced with the distraction of those things that are worrying us, that are demanding our attention and focus. Letting go of these worries, even if for a while, is a practice of trust in God. This Sunday we wrestle with the difficulties (and the joys) of “letting go and letting God.”
Letting go…how hard is that at times? At times we have stresses and worries and it is so hard to stop thinking about them and redirecting our thoughts and hearts towards God. But how can we give our whole selves to God without letting go of those things that take up so much of our thoughts and hearts?
Now I don’t know about you but for me it can be really hard. I start with prayer and adoration of God and then all of the sudden thoughts and worries start creeping in…thoughts about what I have to do that day…thoughts of someone who may have wronged me…worries about how Shyanne is doing with her diabetes…worries about family and friends. These thoughts can take over my whole prayer time with God. But…but…there are those times that as soon as they come to mind I let them go to God and give them back to God. In the letting go we can find peace. In the letting go we can find healing. In the letting go we can have peace that passes all understanding.
In the Psalms from this morning we heard how our God is faithful. We heard that our hearts can rejoice in the God who is our shield. We heard how putting our hope in the God that created the universe is a source of joy and blessings. We shall not be put to shame. We can trust God with our deepest, darkest fears that we hold inside and He will give us peace in knowing He is in control…as Romans 8 tells us…if God is for us, who can be against us.
God wants us to have peace and hope in our lives. Mathew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” As we let go and let God we are blessed beyond measure. Our burdens in life are so much easier to carry…our worries disappear…when we give it to God and let God be God.
Letting go of what troubles and concerns us is never easy, and sometimes the act of placing these worries in the care of God and the care of others can help us to release them. So this is what I want you to do. As we sing our last song I would like for each of us, as the Spirit leads, to come forward with the note card that was given you this morning with your worries written on them and place them in the basket here up front and I will put them on the altar as we given them to God. But we all must remember to “drop it and leave it” there with God. Now during prayer time if you start thinking about these things I want you to say to yourself “I have given it to God and I know that He is moving in my life and will take care of this worry for me. He is for me and not against me. I will trust and not be afraid.” They are on His altar and that is where they need to stay.
Letting go is never easy but in the letting go we are blessed beyond measure because we receive peace, joy and hope. In the letting go we enter the heart of God. What can be more precious than that?
Let us pray…pray about letting go…