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“Hello My Name is…El Kanna”

May 4, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 17 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: El Kanna”

Exodus 34:10-14 NIV Bible

Deuteronomy 4:23-24 NIV Bible

1 John 3:1-7 Common English Bible

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

 

“Hello My Name is…El Kanna”

 

Let us pray… (Pray for God to illuminate His word and that we would have the open eyes, hearts and minds to conceive and receive it)

 

A reading from Deuteronomy chapter 4 verses 23-24…listen for a Word from God to you and me the people of God…

23 Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

 

Have you ever been jealous about anything? Maybe someone who seems to have it all or someone who seems to get all the breaks in life…good breaks that is. Maybe someone who got that big promotion instead of you…even though you know you are more qualified than they are. Having 3 daughters has been interesting…especially when the “green eyed monster” decides to make a visit. Either someone is able to stay up later than someone else…maybe someone gets something and the others didn’t…someone seems to get all/more of mom’s or dad’s attention… The list can go on. Three have even been time when I have felt jealous regarding my children. Times when they spent more time at a friend’s house with their mom…they come home and tell me how cool this mom is or that mom is…stuff like that. Things that make me feel they are happier with other people than with me. I can kind of understand how God must feel when we decide that we “like other things better than Him…when we put the god’s of the word before Him.”

Scripture compares God’s jealousy to what a husband feels when his wife has been unfaithful. No wonder the first of the Ten Commandments prohibits the worship of other gods. The Lord is our Jealous God…El Kanna, who cannot endure unfaithfulness.

 

Shakespeare described jealousy as a “green-eyed monster.” Mark Twain called it the “trademark of small minds.” Robert Heinlein labeled it a “symptom of neurotic insecurity.” But these are descriptions of  human jealousy will only confuse you if you try to apply them to God, whose jealousy might better be described by the words of the English poet Joseph Addison: “Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves.” This is the kind of jealousy that impels God to pursue us, despite our evasions, our indifference, or our waywardness.

 

We are so wayward at times why would our God be Jealous for us? Why would He pursue us and bring us back? Because we are His children…as I said I have been jealous at times when my girls have talked highly about other mothers to me. How must God feel when His children go to idols and forget about Him? 1 John 3:1-7 tells us what it means to be a child of God…let me read it from the Common English bible for you…

See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure. Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous.

 

What does it mean to be children of God…are there thing that are our responsibility as children of God…:

  1. God Loves us (vs. 1)® He calls us His children. We are considered children and co-heirs with Christ. We are adopted into the family of God through the blood of Lord Jesus Christ. How do we know this? Because of the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus…because God’s Word tells us…because of faith and because of the witness of the Holy Spirit within us. Pure undeserved grace given to us from God
  2. We are to be like him (vs. 2)® since we are children of God we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. We have this hope in our hearts and we purify ourselves by the renewing of our hearts. We renew ourselves by the living word of God and having a relationship with Him and our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. As we become more in the image of Christ we become more like who God has called us to be.
  3. We are not to sin (vs. 6)® Now there are some that believe since they are under grace they can do whatever they want and God will forgive them because they are “a child of God.” This is partly true as in God does forgive us but we are called to remain in our relationship with God and not sin. If we keep sinning and not even trying in this relationship have we truly seen God…do we really know Him and His plan for our lives?

 

Real faith arises from contact with the living God, who by his own definition is jealous for our attention, our devotion, our love. He’s not interested in competing with other deities. He neither shares his glory nor compromises his holiness. This is our Jealous God, the one who loves us with an everlasting, all-consuming love.

 

So…how are we doing as we try to become the likeness of Christ? Are we causing Dad to be jealous or are we giving Dad our attention? Are we are looking up to our Big Brother, wanting to be just like Him or are we going our own way? Are we striving to be more like Him each day? We have a jealous God that loves us with a passion. We have a God who will not put up with our putting other gods before Him…the god of money…the god of possessions…the god of envy…the list deities goes on. How will you respond to the call to new life of being the mirror image of our Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ? Will you lay aside the deities of the world and follow the One true God? The choice is ours to make. Which will you choose?

 

Let us pray… (Pray to El Kanna)

Lord, you are holy beyond my understanding, perfect in a way I cannot perceive. Help me to catch a glimpse of your glory and to grow more zealous for your name, that I might exalt it by the way I live and the way I love. Send your refining fire to heal and purge my heart and send your all-consuming love to lead me home.

(Spangler, Ann (2008-09-09). Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide (p. 122). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)

 

AMEN!

 

“Hello My Name is…El Roi”

April 27, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 16 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: El Roi”

Genesis 21:1-21 The Message Bible

Acts 4:32-35 The Message Bible

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

 

 

Let us pray…

God of Jesus Christ, give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Christ,

so that the eyes of our hearts might be enlightened. Help us to know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of the glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of your power at work in us. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(—based on Ephesians 1:17-19, NRSV “Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources.”)

 

 

In the world in which we live there are so many ways we can locate stuff. We have GPS to locate where we are going. There are microchips that we put in or animals so that if they ever get lost they can be found. There are baby monitors so that we can know that our child is safe and sound. We need to know where things and family members are and that they are safe and sound.  Sometimes I want to put a GPS in each of the girls’ backpacks when they leave for school. Just to see where they really go each day… But is that all there is to life? Is that all we need to care about? Well…what about those who feel lost and alone? What about those who think that no one cares what happens to them? How can they have hope for tomorrow? Where can they find that feeling of being cared for and safe? Is there something we can do to help them feel that love? Does God really care about them?

 

Today I would like to talk to you about another name of God…a name that brings hope to those who feel hopeless… This is a name I am fond of and grateful for each day. The Name is El Roi…the God who sees me (or watches over me). The title El Roi reminds us of the God who numbers every hair on our heads and who knows the circumstances of our lives, past, present, and future. Nothing is hidden from him. God has been looking after His creation called human beings for a long time. There are many stories in the bible about God watching over His people. One that I really like is the one about Abram, Sari and Hagar that I read this morning.

 

 

Paraphrase the story of Abram, Sari, and Hagar… before Sarah became pregnant and she banished Hagar. God watched over both women. Hagar in the desert twice and remembered Sari.

 

Ann Spangler states in her book “Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide”: “Even the most watchful parent has to sleep. But Scripture makes it clear God never slumbers, never looks one way while we head off in another, never misses a millisecond of what is happening on earth. It also assures us God is on the lookout for men and women who are totally committed to him. Why? Because he wants to strengthen their hearts as they serve him. If you are feeling weak in the face of life’s challenges, the best way to grow strong is to strengthen your commitment to Christ. Decide to obey fully, to follow completely, to keep your eyes fastened on him. Let El Roi take pleasure as he watches over you, and you will soon find your heart stronger and your confidence deeper without quite knowing how it happened.” As we trust our ever watchful God we are changed without even realizing we have. It is that natural…it really is that simple…and yes easier said than done.

 

In Psalm 139 David talks about God knowing everything about him No matter where he went God…El Roi…was there. David’s God is also Hagar’s God and our God too—the all-knowing, all-seeing God keeps his eye on us and watches over us by day and by night. If you have ever been tempted to believe that no one understands you or that no one cares about you, you will have to revise those thoughts in light of the God who revealed himself so faithfully to this desperate slave girl and her son. He is El Roi…our constant companion on our journey of life.

 

So you may say…Ok Pastor Ruth, this has been a great story for us about God’s provision but is that the end of the story? No it is not the end of the story. As a matter of fact God also provides for us through others…through the church. In the Book of Acts, we hear the story of the first church. Listen to how God used others to provide for His people…

Acts 4:32-35 The Message (MSG)

32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

 

God uses others in our lives to look after us and provide for us. El Roi knows who can help us…who can be His messenger…who He can trust to be the voice of God in the wilderness. But…but…God’s ambassadors…you and I…must be willing to be used for and by God. We need to be God’s church…the church on fire for God and His plan. So what does a church like this look like? Well I think I answered that question in the reading from Acts.

  1. Unanimity of heart and soul→ verse 32 tells us that they shared everything. There were no ego trips…no “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine”. They were all of one mind. Yikes…we have to share and be like minded with people…even those who drive us within our church family? Yes…
  2. Hearing of great preaching→ OK…I had to say that… The apostles gave great witness…passionate witness…of Jesus Christ. They told the truth and the facts of what they witnessed. Is that something we can do? I don’t know…I think I can do that. Just tell others about my witness of Christ in my life and the lives of others.
  3. Reception of grace→ God’s grace was upon them all. DO you think God is still in the habit of pouring out His grace on the faithful? Well…I think so. I have seen the grace of God fall upon this room many times. I have heard stories of God’s grace in life of people of this church.
  4. Love of fellow Christians→ They loved their brothers and sisters in Christ so much that they “sold the farm” so that the proceeds could be given to everyone. It was all shared. None had more or less but all was equal. I can’t believe that there are some churches that have been graced by large amounts of money and they don’t share with those in need and keep it for their rainy day. Well…it may not be their rainy day but it’s someone’s rainy day and we should do what we can, with what we can, to help all we can…

 

El Roi loves us no matter what. He sees all that we may go through in life and goes with us. He sees us worrying about our future and yet our future us un His hands if we would trust. He has numbered and knows ever hair your head. We never go alone. El Roi goes right along with us even though we may not feel Him, He is there. He wants us to be His image in the world. He wants to us not only to supply for the needs of others but to be His face of love. He wants us not only to be His ambassadors but to be the very voice calling out in the darkness of a world full of anguish and fear, worry and depression, loneliness and grief. How will you answer His call? Will you believe in the ever present source of all goodness or will you choose to believe the siren song of the world? We have choices to make. Maybe…just maybe we can be the church that once was. Maybe, just maybe we can be the voice of compassion and love. Perhaps this really isn’t the end of the story but the beginning of the journey with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps maybe…you fill in the blank…

 

Let us pray… (Pray to El Roi)

Lord, I praise you for you know the whole story. From beginning to end, you see it all. Give me the humility to admit my limitations. For I   don’t always see the past accurately, my vision of the present is often blurred, and I am blind when it comes to the future. Help me fasten my eyes on you, trusting in your vision for my life and in your watchful care. Help us to be your presence in the world in which we live. Embolden us with the Gospel of Christ so that we may share with the passion of the first Pentecost believers. May we trust you more as we step out in faith and give you more of who we are. AMEN!