Our Breakfast Roundtable discussions have been meaningful and rewarding. We invite you to join us for a free breakfast each week and some great discussion. Brad began by reading the poem, If God Should Go On Strike. Then Pam read from the book of Revelation 3:1-6. Today we explored the question, "What's the level of spiritual hunger in our church?"
The question brought out a lot of good discussion about where the church is at. We are certainly not a church in stagnation, but what we want or need to be is not entirely clear. What does a church look like that has spiritual hunger? What risks are we willing to take?
One person noted that he has seen spiritual hunger from the pulpit and in small group situations he has been in. Another noted that the people in our church seem to come on Sundays because they want to, not because the feel they "should."
Some of the discussion centered on evangelism. It was noted that there are countless needs and causes we could rally around, but evangelism is one role that can sometimes get neglected. Brad threw a seed though out to us suggesting that maybe it would be useful to have a goal, eleven new Christians in 2011. "Evangelism is not a sales pitch," he said. "It is a proclamation." Is the church willing to step up to the challenge?
Today's service began with a reiteration of the breakfast discussion theme. What's my level of hunger and thirst for God? In addition to inviting people to attend our Breakfast Roundtables, Brad mentioned the upcoming Harvest Festival, and also put out a request for volunteers to man the booth at the Twig 5K run in two weeks (August 14).
Other announcements included the need for volunteers for the 9/11 rummage sale at Twig Town Hall and a request for school supplies for the beginning of the new school year (for needy kids). Monday evening from 4:00-8:00 p.m. the new Five Guys hamburger joint will be donating a portion of all proceeds to the Modest Home Makeover project. Bring an appetite!
Darlene ushered us into worship with a special piece of music. Then Brad and Darlene led us in singing. After the offering, a Scripture reading (Col. 3:1-11) and a time of prayer, Brad took the pulpit and delivered his message.
Brad opened with a fairy tale. "The frog said to the princess, 'I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch put a spell on me. One kiss from you and I'll turn back into a handsome prince, and then we can marry, move into the castle, and you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children and forever feel happy doing so.' That night the princess had frog legs for dinner."
The sermon today related to this humorous tale in that it involved royalty and relationships, though in this case it was a princess who had a king for lunch. The story appears in I Chronicles 15 with a concluding observation from the parallel account in II Samuel 6.
The story, which took place 1000 B.C., took place on the occasion of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to its rightful place in Jerusalem. This was the second attempt to bring the Ark back to Mount Zion, the first being marred by violations pertaining to the holy manner in which it was to be transported. The Ark -- a portable chest which carried a number of objects sacred to the people of Israel including the two tablets of stone and Aaron's rod which budded --was made of wood and overlaid with pure gold. Designed to reside in the Holy of Holies, it was a most sacred object, central to Hebrew worship.
David had issued a decree. The Ark was to be brought into Jerusalem, into the City of God, and thousands had gathered. The text states that David worshiped with exuberance. This was an occasion that caused his heart to swell with joy, and as he participated in the procession he danced with all his might.
Meanwhile, his wife Michal watched from a window. She not only didn't participate, she was found David's behavior an embarrassment. As the procession made its way through the street, with priests and ark carriers and musicians in their plain linen uniforms, one person there couldn't help but be noticed. He was all consumed in the moment, dancing, leaping and whirling, expressing everything within him to the glory of God. This was David, and Michal's thoughts ran along this line: "Doesn't he realize he looks ridiculous? He's making a fool out of himself."
Brad reminded us that Michal was Saul's daughter. Saul was the kind of guy who went so far as to build a monument to himself after one battle. Michal had pre-conceived ideas of what kingly behavior should look like and this was not it. As David danced wildly in the streets, the Scripture says, "She despised him in her heart."
For Michal, image is what was important. Because of this, she failed to see the beauty of David's heart. David's behavior was not an attempt to draw attention to himself. He was totally self-forgetting, lost in his rapturous passion for God. God is glorious, and David led by example as if to say, "This is how we show our love to God."
God is deserving of glory. And immediately after the Ark is returned, David offers up his Psalm of thanks, which you can read in I Chronicles 16.
The rest of the story can be found in II Samuel 6. "And Michal was barren the rest of her life." She played it safe, watched from a distance, and never understood what was happening. Brad said it is dangerous to be a religious spectator.
Somewhere within us there has to be a passion for God. This passion will motivate us to go outside our comfort zones. Christianity is not designed to only comfort us, but to lead us to serve others. We live to bring glory to God. It's not about bringing glory to me.
Our goal is that God would be glorified in every square inch of this planet, and in every square inch of our lives.
This closing thought was a very good way to enter into Communion.