Now What?
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 10 months ago

Now What?

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Happy New Year! It's the day after New Years Day. We've just celebrated a couple big holidays. Now what? Wait until the next big event? Miss the holiday season? Message from Denny Foreman

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. It's the day after the day after January. To the Sour Crout is gone, many of the football games have been won or lost, the roses on the parade floats have wilted and the tree in the corner is dead. They're dried pine needles sticking to my socks. If that weren't bad enough, many of us have to return to work tomorrow. There's no major break in sight. Here we are, friends, coming off of a forty day high intensity bunch of days, beginning with the lead up to Thanksgiving, then all the preparation and excitement leading up to Christmas, New Year's Eve, and then now the prospect of the gloomy months of January and February. And Heaven Forbid you follow the News, because things on the horizon up here bleak, Yay, and that's why I decided I should just stay in bed this morning, because all the excitement is over for another year. INSID I'm asking this question today. What do we? What to I rely on when the excitements over? What do I do when waiting for life's next big high? Here's the deal, folks. There are approximately one thousand four hundred and twenty three pages in my Bible some mathematicians who obviously have more time on their hands, and I do figure that there are approximately four thousand years between Adam and Jesus, which makes me wonder. You see, we know that some pretty spectacular events happen during that time. For instance, what happened in the downtime? Think about it. What did our original God's image parents do as they face the first week outside the garden of Eden and Noah, after Shell trade with countless animals for approximately three hundred and seventy days in the confines of the ARC? What was daytoday life like for him after that? And Abraham? What did Abraham do after having that oneonone conversation with God under a Starry Sky? Some you remember Miriam. What did she do after seeing baby Moses fished from the Nile River by Pharaoh's daughter? What was her life like and, for that matter, what was Moses daily routine growing up in the palaces of Egypt? What about the Israelites as they stood in the banks of the Red Sea after walking through it? Now what we know that they got bored from eating man of from heaven. I wonder, how would have I reacted to having the same meal day after day?...

Joshua, there's a biggie. After marching and marching and marching, he's standing looking at the rubble of the walls of Jericho. What did he do next? You See, there's a lot of downtime between the many spectacular, exciting events chronicled in Scriptures. And then there's that four hundred years downtime that I mentioned when I spoke on December ten, that period of time when God didn't speak, a four hundred block of silence between the close of the Old Testament and that Oh holy night we sang about just last Sunday. Remember the thrill of hope the weary world rejoices. So I'm asking you this morning what do we do when the thrill is gone and God seems to be absent? My the only one. Do you ever feel that your spiritual life is one big roller coaster? You love those highs and you feel like you're losing control on the downside? But let's be truthful this morning. Most of our life is not spent on a roller coaster. In fact, much of our lives are spent kind of waiting in line. The daytoday, the not highs, the not lows, the just being. Now what? My Day job is that of a teacher. So we're going to take a quick quiz this morning, and so just feel free to shout out your answers. These are all bays to see if you were paying attention the last couple weeks here at connectors church. Number one, is everybody ready? Just shout him out. You don't have to raise your hand. I we don't do that anymore. Most schools shout it out. Okay, here we go. Number One, the air to David throne is to be born to marry who is a Oh, nice job, very good. Number two, because of an infamous poll tax and sensus, Mary and Joseph must go to where. You're on a roll, folks. Yeah, the woman therefore a census. Number three, while they're Mary gave birth to Yes, it'll lowly stable and number four, and Jelly hosts proclaim this news to who come to worship the newborn king? Number five. Last final question. Here, several years later, wise men from the east come in response to something above a a star. Okay, nice job. Okay, yes, they witness the star and they recognize this as a proclamation of the birth of a Jewish king. How many of you knew all your answers. They go ahead. So I want you to turn to your neighbor if you got all the answers right and brag this morning. Just just tell them you got him right. Good Gel. Okay, there's nothing that. We don't want anybody getting too prideful this morning. So here's the deal. It our hallmark card version of Christmas. We kind of jump from...

...the Herald Angels Sending The bewildered shepherds to the stable. We jump from that to the wise men kneeling by the manger. There's a pretty significant time gap between the shepherds and the wise men, and Kevin reminded us just last week that there may have been a good two to three years between that time, between the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the wiseman. So if you're adding the wise guys to Your Nativity, seemed at home. You might want to add two additional people to that story, to people that actually saw the newborn king long before those astrologists from the east came. So we want to pick up the story this morning with some verses that are frequently skipped in the Christmas narrative. So if you have your bibles with you this morning, please turn to Luke, chapter two and we're going to be looking at versus twenty one through twenty four. If you don't have a Bible, we do have bibles available in the lobby. We'd love for you to take one with you this morning. So when you leave this money, just see the good folks. They're at the welcome center reading from Luke to twenty one to twenty four. Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the Angel even before he was conceived. Then it was time for the purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child, so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says if a woman's first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord. So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the lord either a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. We don't know if it read that when we're doing our Christmas services Christmas Eve Christmas Day, but when we skip verses twenty one through twenty four, we miss events of great importance. First of all, Joseph and Mary had followed through with the message given to them by angels, name the Child Jesus. God asked them to do something. They did it. They did what God asked them to do. We need to remember this morning. That's circumcision and the presentation ceremony were clearly established. These were not options in the Jewish community, while Jesus circumcision established him as Jewish. The right of circumcision was the physical representation of God's Covenant to Abraham. I want to repeat that because it's important. The right of circumcision was the physical representation of God's Covenant to Abraham. It's hard for me, and if you were following the words to some of that worship time this morning and talking about God in the flesh and forming the rocks that became his tomb and all that, could say think about this. It is hard for me to wrap my tiny little brain around the fact that God who made and gave the original covenant and established guidelines with Abraham, this same God who was now literally in...

...the flesh, was humbling himself and submitting himself to this ritual and that presentation ceremony was also not an option, it was an obligatory it was a blivoculatory according to the law of Moses, it was a ceremony that was done hundreds of times. Hundreds of times throughout the New Testament we see examples of Jesus fulfilling the law. He was filling the law, he was fulfilling the prophecies concerning the Messiah. And let there be men O mistake. Jesus was and is the long awaited savior, and it is within the context, forty days after Jesus is born that we meet too often overlooked individuals, nearly forgotten individuals. In the Christmas story loop to twenty five to thirty two. At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly awaiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day, the spirit led him to the temple. So when Marian Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord, as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praise God, saying, sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations and he is the glory of your people, Israel. And if we jump a few verses to two thirty six, to thirty eight, we read that somebody else was there. Anna, a prophet, was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Fanuel from the tribe of Ashure, and she was very old. Her husband had died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty four. She never left the temple, but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Marion Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to to rescue Jerusalem. Simeon and Anna, they weren't there the night Jesus was born. They weren't in the fields being serenaded by a host of angels. In fact, they weren't on some Middle Eastern Zigguratte counting stars with the Magi. They were doing what Jewish people should have been doing for century after century. They were waiting. They were waiting for God's promise of salvation. That had...

...to have been a banner moment for Simeon and Anna. They were old. They had waited a lifetime to see God's promised one. And then that day they met Jesus face to face and that day ended and life went on. You See, life is like that. We have special, once in a lifetime, exciting moments and life goes on. Even for Joseph and Mary, with the exception of a rapid trip to Egypt and an episode of a missing child in Jerusalem, we don't really know much about anything. We don't know about Joseph and his carpenter shop. We don't know how many times Mary Change Diapers. We don't know. We don't know about their life, their daytoday life. It would appear that they lived a routine life. We don't have any record of any more angelic visits. There's no more astonishing stars in the sky for them. I'm just getting started. Think about these guys, Matthew, Peter, John The twelve. What was daily life really like for these guys? And then there are those names that we skip over, like a Nessimus, heart ofmnus, zenus, Dorcas, Apollos, early believers. What was life for them as they awaited letters from the Apostle Paul? And, speaking of Paul, what was his daily life like when not in prison? And, truth be told, we know a lot more about the apostle Paul's daily life then we know about lesser disciples. I love that lesser disciples. I would to be a disciple of Jesus, walking with him day by day. Yeah, but I'm talking about guys like Simon, the Zealot, are Bartholom, you. What do we really know about them? What was life like for any of the characters we read about in scripture between those important events that are chronicled in our bibles? which leads me back to where I started this morning. What about us? The holidays are officially over. Now what? What's next? I I really appreciate when Kevin gives me the opportunity to speak. To be honest, I didn't know if anybody would show up this morning. This particular Sunday does feel very much like the day after the day after. If I wonder, I really wonder, if I weren't speaking, if I would have gotten out of bed this morning, there's a pretty good chance I'd still be at home drinking a third cup of coffee, knowing up that we completed the do you see what I see? Message is last week and knowing that Kevin will be starting this balancing series next week, I kept wondering what, what, what shall I cram into this particular Sunday when I don't think anybody's going to show up? So I asked Kevin if you wanted me to speak about something in particular, and he kind of gave me free free range. Say you can share perhaps something that you learned during the past...

...year or are maybe something that life's verse, something like that. Knowing that I'll be three quarters of a century old at this same time next year, I've learned several things, not just in this past year but perhaps over the course of a lifetime. One of them is, drum roll please. I do not like waiting. I am not a patient person. I know those of you that are living just listening online and know me, that are part of my family, you would be saying aloud a men are roaring laughing at this spot time, because I'm not patient, not at all. When I was growing up in the S, it was very common for churches on New Year's Eve to hold watch night services. Basically, these services were kind of a Christian option for those who didn't want to spend New Year's Eve getting, well, let's be blunt, party getting blitz. Did any of you grow up with watch night services? Any of you? Yeah, a few of you, a couple of you that it's not really a thing that has dropped out of sight. In fact, that the origins of Watch night services you can trace back. Some people would say that watch night services began with the children of Israel the night before pass over, that as they were watching and waiting and praying, knowing that that that that the angel death was going to pass over them. Some people say that the watch night services began with the Moravian tradition. They were, they were great missionaries and they hosted these watch night services in their various churches around the globe. Others Point to Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation, so that December thirty first eighteen sixty two, the night before the emancipation proclamation went into effect, was definitely a watch night for of those African American slaves who were waiting for their freedom. The Watch night services of my youth were scary affairs, if you will, calling for the repentance of sins, asking God for forgiveness and mercy. Even the hymns some during those watch night services were somber. Much of the services were heavy and Guilt Laden, with people sobbing as they repented and promised God to do better, a kind of Christian version of New Year's resolutions. I don't mean that description to be snarky or unkind. These dear believers from my past were at the service specifically to observe the call to watch and wait for the fulfillment of Jesus's own promise to return. The emphasis on those watch night services was to call. Was this call to watch, wait and be prepared, which brings me back to Simeon and Anna. Look Two twenty five tells us that there was this man. We read this before, but I want to repeat it. There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous, devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy...

Spirit was upon him and he had revealed to him that Simeon would not die until he saw the Messiah. So Mary had our Angel Visitor, as did the shepherds. Joseph had several dreams. The wise men had a star. We don't know how God's spirit spoke to Simeon. I'm not even sure that that matters how, but this much I can tell you. A righteous and devout Jewish man, as Simeon was would have known scripture. I'm told that there are over three hundred scriptures in the Old Testament pointing to Jesus as the promised one. In fact, later in his ministry, Jesus would turn to Jewish leaders and he would remind them from John Thirty nine this he would remind them. You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These, these scriptures, are the very scriptures that testify about me. Simeon knew these scriptures and he believed them. He believed those Old Testament scriptures and prophecies and he was eagerly waiting to see them fulfilled. Simeon and Anna didn't have the New Testament, they had the Old Testament. They believed it, they waited and they saw the Messiah's advent and there was more to come. There is more to come. While they didn't have the New Testament, we do get this. Of the two hundred and sixteen chapters in the New Testament, there are over three hundred references to the return of Jesus Christ. Twenty three of the twenty seven New Testament books mention his return. In my mind, it is more than ironic that we just celebrated a holiday that emphasized mankind's long awaited promise, promise of a Messiah and the fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. And for some of US we've lost the desire to see the rest of the prophecies of Jesus fulfilled. So when Kevin told me that I could speak about something I've learned during my rather long lifetime, it's this. I'm not certain that I'm really watching and waiting for Jesus. What. What did foreman just admit to stick with me, because I believe Simeon and Anna have a great, a huge deal to tell us about waiting. CITIAN watched diligently and eagerly waited for Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus. We could compare him to another righteous man in scripture, one referred to as a man after God's own heart, David. David's desire to seek God was so great he refers to eagerly desiring God as the need for water in...

...a dry, desolate place in psalm sixty three, and again in Psalm one nineteen, verse one sixty six, the psalmist states, I hope and wait with complete confidence for your salvation, oh Lord. Simeon knew God's Word and he knew its promises. More importantly, he believed them. So watching for the fulfillment of God's promise, Messiah, was something that was deeply ingrained in him. I don't think we can or should overlook the adverb eagerly waited. There was anticipation, there was growing excitement, there was complete trust that God's promises would happen, and so Simeon waited with confidence. Let's return to Anna, in loop to thirty six to thirty eight, and again I'm going to reread it because it's important, because we so frequently skipped this during the Christmas season. Anna, a prophet was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Fanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty four. She never left the temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Marian Joseph and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Now, if we accept that Mary was approximately fourteen or fifteen when she was engaged, and we can assume that that was true for Jewish girls at that time, then we could assume that Anna was a similar age when she was married. Her husband dies after seven years. The big events, the exciting events of Anna's life died with her husband's passing. So let's say she was let's zoom. She was about twenty two when her husband died. Now a DA eighty four. She has been in the temple non stop for sixty two years. As a prophet, she would have been keenly aware of the prophecies concerning a coming Messiah and she waited. Anna was committed twenty four seven for sixty two years. Specifically, Anna was devoted to worshiping God, with fasting and praying to God, worshiping God twenty four seven. MM. Last week I was listening to a Christian radio station while driving and heard someone make this statement. Worship means something different to everyone. When I hear Christian music, I feel good. I feel good. Okay, I I get it. There's validity in that. I like to start my...

...day by playing my Apple Music Library while I showered. Specifically, I like Phil Wickham, red rocks worship and Michael Card. It's a particular favorite. Makes me feel great and it's a super way to start the day. That's not necessarily what scripture has to say about worshiping. If we look at Romans twelve, one to two, it reads. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you. Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let your bodies be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. So I guess another thing that I've learned this past year is that my idea of worship may need to be reconsidered. First, Corinthians to sixteen tells me that I need the mind of Christ. All too frequently, I'm afraid, my idea worship is based on some kind of emotional buzz rather than a transformed mind. True worship is being grounded with the knowledge of all everything that God has done for us, by giving him our hearts, our hands, our minds, our thoughts, everything, and replacing the world's wisdom with the truth of God's word. I'm not sure who made this statement, but it goes like this. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in God's truth, they can be destructive and out of control forces. It's extremely easy to get caught up with the emotional wisdom of the world today. Many of us are surrounded by it at work, at home, the news, what we read. In desiring to be nice and loving, we, I frequently fail to see God's truth. Worship involves turning our entire being over to God and allowing him to transform us. Back in November birth our good brother John Munchel arranged for an evening with global disciples. I'd had some minor surgery earlier that day and I felt well lousy, but I came to connect us and as I watched the film that night and saw men and women from around the globe praising Jesus, I was convicted. In particular, there was a young man from me and Mar who shared his faith. For fear retribution, his face was shadowed, yet his words radiated with his understanding of all that Jesus had done for him and even knowing that his...

...own life could be forfeit, he spoke of his love for Jesus and all that Jesus had done for him. Even with his face block hope radiated in this man's testimony. Love for his savior was manifested in his words. He was waiting and watching not for the infant Jesus, but the resurrected son of God, the Alpha and the Omega. This brother in the oppressive state of me and Mar, who could be called upon at any moment to give his life because of his faith, was like Simeon and Anna Watching, waiting, worshiping, praying and sharing his faith. Christmas two thousand and twenty one is past, our New Year has begun, the excitement of the holidays are gone and we're back to the routine of daily life. My question for myself this morning, my question for you now, what what's next? Is My life all about? The next big event on the calendar? Is it prepping for my next class? Is it prepping for a job advancement or looking forward to one? Is it looking forward to a wedding, a birth? What exactly am I waiting for? I believe as believers, we need to become like those two nearly forgotten individuals in the Christmas story, Simeon, and like them, we need to watch for the one who says, behold, I'm coming quickly. Like them, we need to wait for the one who says be alert, because you don't know either the day or the hour when Jesus will return. And while we wait, we need to be worshiping him, the lamb who was slain to redeem US and transform us. We need to be praying without ceasing, and while we wait, we need to be sharing the good news to many who are unaware that I'm too. US, a child is born a savior, Jesus thus savior. Let's pray. Father God, thank you for coming, thank you for coming to redeem us, thank you for our salvation through the blood of your son, Jesus Christ. And father, I pray, as we look forward to the coming days of this New Year, that we would be faithful in watching, waiting, sharing. Jesus, thank you for this time together this morning. Be with us. I pray this in your name. Amen.

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