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John 9 – The Sending of God – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – 4/28/08 – Dr. Geoff Hammond

This podcast is pretty cool. It left me with this driven point: the sending of God, along with His call, is what will sustain us in our mission, whether it’s in “secular” jobs or otherwise.

He says that too often we take the “call” of God (which he believes in and which is very good!), go where we’re called to go, and then sit there and fellowship. We hang out with other Christians, basically, until we have further instructions.

He said that it’s the sending of God that will sustain passion in us wherever we go.

For a guy considering a church plant someday, this is a good word. I’m not to find a comfy group of Christian friends and veg, I’m to constantly act on the sending of God, being sent to do a work with an unknown time limit. The urgency of the call is one thing, but once you go there, the urgency is finished. The urgency of being sent is daily.

If we plant a church, we are not called to go do it and get comfy, we’re called to go do it and share the gospel with people, contextualizing it, explaining it, relating with God while fighting against disease, hunger, death, etc.

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David Bisgrove Sermon Notes — Series: “Practicing the Christian Life: Walking” — Sermon #4: The Bridge to Prayer

Sermon preached on April 27, 2008.

Teaching is based on Psalm 1:1-6

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction: Intellectual belief in itself doesn’t contain change in character.

  • I know these things, and yet I struggle with behavior in all of these things. Ex: I know I’m not supposed to lust, and yet my eyes grope women.
  • Thinking that intellectual belief itself will change our character is like saying we belong to the gym and expecting to get in shape without going there and working out.

Outline

I. The promise of meditation

II. The practice of meditation
III. The passion of meditation

I. The promise of meditation

  • “Blessed”=happiness, but much deeper than our common usage. It’s interesting that this word “blessed” starts off Psalm 1:1; the beginning of the book of Psalms–a book of prayers–is this deep happiness.
    • Many people out of a deep yearning in their hearts come to New York City
      • Yet nothing will satisfy the fundamental restlessness of our hearts
        • Jobs and careers are wonderful, but they just won’t do it.
      • We’re all meditating (walking, standing, sitting as the Psalmist writes) on something, and that something (whatever it is) is shaping who we are.
        • If we walk, stand, and sit (meditate) on success, success will shape who we are, and we’ll do anything for it. It will shape our character.
    • Unless we put our roots deeply into the God who made us, we’ll never find that answer to this deep yearning.
      • If we’re cold to God, we need to acknowledge that we’re not so good at meditation.
  • The tree, the Christian with roots deeply into God, walking, standing, and sitting, meditating on God
    • Stability (by streams of water)
      • Ability to thrive not dependent on circumstances
      • “Joy is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God.” Elizabeth Elliott?
    • Productive (bearing fruit)
      • Stick your roots into His story, connect it with your story, and you’ll be reaching your full human potential. You were made for this story.
    • Wise (bearing fruit in season though leave doesn’t wither)
      • In times like winter when no fruit is forthcoming but you’re growing
      • A wise person understands the purpose of suffering and God saying no

II. The practice of meditation (vs. 2)

  • To love being told what to do by God
      • We value freedom, this idea of loving being told what to do is alien to us (we came to NYC to get away from that!)
    • The degree to which we do this…
      • Ex: His three year old daughter who wants to pull away from Dad and do things her own way would have a life expectancy of thirty minutes in downtown Manhattan.
      • The gap in loving authority between child and father is infinitely smaller than that between us and God
  • The essence of meditation is listening to God
    • Meditation is sort of the opposite of prayer. Prayer is us talking to God (which isn’t bad!). Meditation is us listening to God.
      • The dominant communication paradigm should be: He talks, we listen.
      • Ex: in Psalm 103, David is talking to his heart
      • Ex2: J. I. Packer (theologian): Meditation is arguing with oneself until information becomes sensation in our lives.
  • Do it day and night: don’t stop doing it
    • Wife didn’t train for NY marathon by watching inspirational videos and reading books about it; she practiced.
    • Meditation takes time–it’s not magic. Practical advice: as a minimum, do 30 minutes.

III. The passion of meditation

  • Here’s the problem with all this on meditation: who really does it like this?
  • The sermon on the mount is basically Jesus’ meditation on the law (He listens to God’s command about adultery, and hears that lust actually is the same concept, etc.)
  • Vs. 5 and 6 of this Psalm describe a standard of righteousness that is terrifying; they will fill you with guilt.
  • Jesus is the stream of living water in this psalm
    • On the cross, He knew that He was being poured out like water; He quoted Psalm 22; at the well, He knew
    • Eternal life is knowing Him and knowing He knows us.
  • Jesus filled verses 5 and 6; He gave us the fulfillment of this

Close: One way to approach meditation

  • First, ask: what does this passage teach?
  • Then, use ACTS naturally, as they come, in whatever order:
    • Adoration
    • Confession
    • Thanksgiving
    • Supplication (asking for things)

Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: Arguing with Jesus — Sermon #1: Arguing about the Afterlife

Teaching is based on Matthew 22:23-33 Sadducees questioning Jesus about the afterlife

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Jesus responds to the Sadducees (educated, liberal, upper class) with
I. A rebuke
The gospel is not a derivative or form of conservatism or liberalism, nor is it the perfect middle.

  • Conservatives like the idea of a God of justice and morality
    • Yet the God of the gospel isn’t satisfied with anyone but Jesus’ moral life and the sacrifice of Jesus alone satisfies this God’s justice
      • God is more conservative than the conservatives
  • Liberals like the idea of a God of love, compassion, and social justice
    • Yet the God of the gospel is more loving than that, offering His Son’s life as a sacrifice
      • God is more liberal than the liberals
  • In sum, Jesus rebukes everyone with this: the gospel is not like anything else.

Practical implications of this:

  • For Christians: Get used to people misunderstanding you and thinking you’re an idiot, because the Gospel is unlike anything else. People will have no grid for understanding what you’re marinating in.
  • For Seekers: Take your time. If you hear something about the gospel and really like it, it’s probably because of something you like, not the gospel. And if you hear something about the gospel and really hate it, it’s probably because of something you hate, not the gospel. It’s unlike anything else.
  • For Christians trying to show friends Christianity: Be patient. This takes time.

II. An argument
The Sadducees don’t understand the love of God or the Scriptures.

  • The scriptures: Jesus uses Scripture that the Sadducees will accept (okay, you want to talk about Moses? Let’s talk about Moses). He speaks on their terms to contend for the gospel. He points out that God speaks of Abraham and Isaac to Moses in the present tense, though they’ve been dead for centuries. This means that the relationship cannot stop.
  • The love of God: When God enters into a loving relationship with us it cannot stop. God won’t lose anything that’s precious to Him.
    • Hellfire preaching: There is an afterlife, it’s heaven or hell, so you better know God.
    • Jesus’ preaching: Know God and then you’ll know there’s an afterlife.
      • Once you start tasting the love of God, you’ll start to realize instinctually and logically that it can’t end.

III. A Promise

  • This lack of marriage in heaven doesn’t sound fun to us. We envision a bunch of platonic relationship. We envision us not being us anymore, no longer remembering our spouses.
    • We will be us. Remember, God is the God of Abraham, a person, an individual.
    • The afterlife will make the most intoxicating, intensely pleasurable moment of the best marriage in the history of the Earth look like a dew drop next to an atomic bomb.
    • St Teresa of Avila: “The first moment in the arms of Jesus is gonna make a thousand years of misery on Earth look like one night in a bad hotel.”

Rick McKinley Sermon Notes – Worship Through Prayer

Worship through Prayer – 8/29/04 – Rick McKinley

In college Rick crank-called some believers on TV. All of them stood up and prayed for him; 6mo later he was saved, now he’s a pastor. He was a little punk crank calling these Christians, but God showed up anyway.

Nine Months of Prayer and Repentance:

When they started the church, they started it on prayer. 15-20 people, knew what God wanted us to do: be a church that builds the kingdom, be a church that serves the lost and broken. And yet every Sunday it was everybody’s buddies from other churches. We recognized that we didn’t want to love the world and this city. We got honest and said we didn’t want to. God called us to repent. We started meeting every Wednesday night at Evangel Baptist and we started praying and repenting before God. The prayers were very honest: “God, I hate my neighbor, he drives me crazy.” Our hearts started to change, because we were before God. Our prayers started to change. Instead of “I hate my neighbor” we were praying for him by name and doing acts of kindness and actually reaching out and loving these people. Over the course of 9 months God converted us. When we started, before our conversion, we were believers in Christ but not in his mission. Once we got out there, we saw the massive harvest that sin had reaped in the lives we were encountering and serving. We then prayed, God, you’ve gotten us to believe in your mission, you’ve gotten us outside the church walls, but there’s just no way we can change lives so broken unless you show up. No way, not gonna happen. The brokenness is too great.

Call to Prayer of Dependence

There is a sense that if we ask to pray with someone else, honestly and openly, that they will be down on us and judging us and treating us differently. The family of God comes together to talk to each other and say, “I need you.” A lot of you are involved in ministries in which you’re working with people that you can’t fix. There’s an overwhelmingness to it that puts us into despair sometimes. We live between the tension of our lives and a broken world spun out of control and yet this God who says I’m here, I’m attentive, and I’m listening.

Rev 5: Elders coming before the throne of God with bowls of incense. Incense is a powerful, overwhelming scent, it’s unavoidable, you have to pay attention to it.

Sometimes we’re so overwhelmed by the brokenness that we assume God isn’t there, that he’s not near and that he’s not attentive and that he doesn’t care.

What are the principles that we see from Gen to Rev that people are engaged in when they pray?

Phil 4:6-7

1 Tim 2:1–I urge you then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone

As you travel through the NT you see the Apostle Paul saying over and over and over again, pray, pray, bring everything to God, fall on your face, give thanks, make requests, intercede, ask God to show up. Paul is living on both sides of the coin—he’s not in an office, he gets stoned to death with rocks twice and left for dead. He can look at his circumstances from A-Z and say, God, you’ve left the building, I’m getting my tail kicked out here, where are you. He takes the brokenness of his circumstance and he says God is near and is attentive: pray, pray. That has to be the motivation behind prayer, or it becomes this weird work thing.

I was going to God saying, God, look how spiritual I am, rather than saying, God, I’m powerless, these circumstances in my life are out of hand and unless your goodness and care and attentiveness doesn’t break in, I have no hope. There was no power in my motivation. God says, I’m never going to make that a super good experience for you because that’s a false gospel, you need Jesus. There’s a bloodstained cross, so call out to him.

James 1:5—If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault

Prayer focuses us on the greatness and goodness of God, and that’s why unbelief is so detrimental to prayer. If I believe God ignores me, where is the motivation to cry out to him?

Why go to someone else when you can go to God? We’re sitting here saying, Hmm, I don’t know what to do, this is beyond me, and God’s behind us saying, Hello, I made the world, I’ve got a pretty good helicopter view of history and everything else. And we say, I’m gonna go to Bill, he’s smart.

James 5:13 If any of you is in trouble, he should pray.

If someone’s coming to you confessing, don’t try to fix them, just put your hand on em and pray. So much more will happen in the 10 minutes praying for them than your 4 hours babbling at them.

Ephesians 6:18 – Paul asks them for prayers. Says there’s nothing you can’t pray about. Pray for all the saints and for me. That whenever I open my mouth words will be given me that I may fearlessly let know the mystery of the gospel. Pray that I might declare it fearlessly, as I should.

1. Courage in Mission: Paul goes into towns and gets beat up for preaching the Gospel. Now he’s in jail, writing this. What would your prayer sound like in this situation? Mine would sound like, “I don’t want to get hit by rocks anymore God, please stop people from throwing rocks at me.” But Paul prays that when the rocks are coming at me next time I won’t be scared and quit talking. I believe because Paul prays all the time and he’s always in God’s face, that at the heart of mission he says, Yeah, cruddy things are going to happen in this life, but I’m not really banking on this life, I’m banking on the hope that is in Christ. God says, Pray to me; ask me for courage. It’s scary to get rejected, but they probably won’t throw boulders at you. It is scary, but you say God give me courage so they can see Jesus.

Ephesians 3:14-19: A prayer of boldness, for God to encounter your soul. Paul says I know that connecting with an infinite God is not super easy, but I also know that beyond me stands the all-powerful who wants to dwell in your life. He knows that only God can change you.

Prayer:

  • Begins with a belief that God is good and near and attentive.
  • Includes an honest examination of where their life is at: God, we need you, we’re desperate for you, you have to show up, we’re being straight up with you about that. Confess your sins to one another, quit playing games and be straight up with God.
  • Includes a confession that they are powerless to change it.

God wants to give himself away, but he wants you to come to him and ask. He leaves himself vulnerable in his way.

I pray not for megachurches but that the Church in United States will wake up and start being the church, building the kingdom.

We realize that if He doesn’t show up we could still be thousands and thousands of people playing games. But if He does show up, we could be a church that if we went away the city would miss us.