Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Mighty Fortress

"Good morning," Pastor Brad said to open the service. "I'm grateful for today. We're going to be looking at Psalm 46, this declaration of confidence in who God is.... Isn't it great to know we worship a great God."

` Council meeting Tuesday
~ Mary Stauffer and her husband will be here to share their story on Friday April 4. It's an amazing story about her and her daughter's kidnapping off the street in St. Paul 30 years ago.
~ VBS will be the week of June 16 at the Twig Community Center

We opened the worship with two great hymns of the faith, Holy, Holy, Holy and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

After the offering we lifted up a host of needs in prayer, and praised God for the positive things He has done.

A Mighty Fortress

Brad began by reading Psalm 46, the foundation of this message, and then a story about an event in which Brad was canoeing through white water rapids and his experienced partner just gave up and let go of his paddle to get a grip on his canoe as they went over.

Pace of change in all kinds of ways is accelerating. Pluto is no longer a planet. Crimea, when did that happen? And will be a country tomorrow? Fashions changed, values seems to change. Technology changes... and guess what? We don't get to vote on it. Change happens.

Isn't it encouraging that despite all this change, there is an unchanging God in the midst of it, our refuge and strength.

If we're not clear on what is our anchor, our rock, our hope in this fluid, fluctuating world, we're in trouble. The only way to thrive in this world in flux is to hold onto that which is in firm and changeless. .

The first verse of the psalm says, "God is our refuge and strength." People are moody, circumstances vary, but God never has a bad mood day. God never wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. His faithfulness never changes. His holiness never changes. His character never changes. Through Malachi, God said, "I, the Lord, do not change."

The internet is vast, but think about this. Everything that has been known, can be known in all the universes that exist, are held with ease in the mind of God.

God's love is perfect, and forever. He is always infinitely wise. He is always there for us no matter how everything else changes. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble."

Then we read verses four and five:
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
 the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall; 
 God will help her at break of day...

We are bombarded with information, but starving for wisdom. No matter how many books get written every day, this one book, The Bible, is sufficient for all our needs, a book without compare in terms of influence and power. It is a continuing outpouring of the sustaining Spirit of God, a river that nourishes us.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; 
he lifts his voice, the earth melts

What is amazing is how things all seem fine and in an instant all can change. We think we're in control but we are not. We live with an illusion that there will be a solution to the human problem. But all these technical and medical advances have unexpected consequences and do not fix it.

If you look at the history of utopian communities, they always begin with good intentions and end as train wrecks.

We need to pray, at all times and circumstances. When we work, we work. When we pray God works.

The wonderful climax of this psalm goes like this:
“Be still, and know that I am God; 
 I will be exalted among the nations, 
 I will be exalted in the earth.”

Isn't it good news that in Him is the hope of the world.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Politicians come and go. Administrations come and go. But none are the hope of the world. Jesus is the hope of the world.

As a church, we are not in the politics business. We are in the Jesus business.

Circumstances will always ebb and flow. That is why our anchor needs to be affixed to that which is unchanging. 

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