Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Can't See the Forest..."

The late summer morning is overcast, but hearts are warm and bright here as we gather at New Life Covenant. There's a liveliness in the sanctuary that is welcoming. Upon entering we put on name tags to make it easier for us to get to know one another, especially with all the new faces. Chuck Vanderscheuren greeted us and invited us to say hello to interim pastor Terry White and his wife Leah after the service here this morning. There will be a 9:30 coffee and conversation opportunity to informally meet with Pastor Terry and Leah on Wednesday this week.

Other announcements included Rally Sunday on September 11. Saturday the 17th will be a Fish Fry with the new Sunday School season beginning the 18th.

The worship team included Pastor White's accompaniment on drums.

During the offering Chuck & Darlene's grand-daughter Scarlet played The B-I-B-L-E.... That's the Book for Me. From here we went into a time of prayer for needs in the church family.

Our worship time followed and then Pastor White was introduced.

"Can't See the Forest..."

Terry White began by sharing that he felt compelled to introduce himself and share his life story briefly so as to give a context to who he is as he is beginning a relationship with the New Life church family.

Part of being an interim here is to help carry on the work that is already going on. He also mentioned that part of being an interim is that he is filling in after the loss of our previous pastor, which includes honesty about our mourning. Some mourn quickly and for others it takes a little longer. Terry's candor in all this was refreshing.

The good thing in our situation is that there is no big drama that led to this current set of circumstances.

* * *
The sermon topic is an expansion on Paul's prayer that the Ephesians would know God better. Hence, this message would be a broad overview of all that God is as revealed in Scripture.

Exodus 3:10-15 is about the call of God to Moses to lead God's people out of Egypt. It's the story of the burning bush, and God explains to Moses that when the Egyptians question his authority, Moses is to say, "I AM sent me."

God is. This is the first thing to know about God. He is. He exists. And He's bigger than we can comprehend.

There are images of God that we are comfortable with and hold on to. He is kind, faithful. He is love.

But there are other features of God that are uncomfortable. He sometimes hides Himself.

God has many names...
Elohim... the all-powerful creator.
Emmanuel... He is with us.
And many others...
The Lord who provides.
The Lord who is my peace.

How can God be both merciful and just?
How can God be sovereign yet give us free will?

He's our Savior.... and He's our Lord.

Many of these faces of God are two sides of the same coin... Justice and mercy present an especially good example.

Terry said he wants us to be moved by knowing God's love, not to be moved out of fear. Could it be that God is bigger than any box that your imagination can construct? Absolutely.

He is servant and savior. He's the Ancient of Days... and more attributes and names still, an author, potter, redeemer, the uncaused cause.... our strength and shield, Messiah, fire from heaven, freedom from the curse of sin, suffering servant, coming king, great high priest, faithful pastor, everlasting covenant, Good Shepherd, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.... He is. The Alpha and Omega, the Great I Am.

Why does all this matter?
There's a name that is above every name....

Isaiah 6:1-5
1 In the year that King Uzzi′ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; 
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

On the day when you and I have the most clarity about God, it is still a minimum. There is so much more to know.

The service ended with this video about the names of God.

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