Life With An EDGE: An Every Day God #3
I remember reading a book of letters from children to their pastor. One of them read: “Dear Preacher, I’d like to bring my dog to church on Sunday. She is only a mutt, but she is a good Christian. Love, Sissy. PS I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the offering plate on Sunday, but my Daddy won’t give me a raise in my allowance. Maybe you could give a sermon about a raise in my allowance. It would help the church get more money.”
I like that little girl. Not only was she concerned about her dog but she also concerned about the stewardship of her church. She wanted to enable her church to get more money.
We’ve been talking about our Every Day God and how God helps us keep our Christian Edge, by Enriching our lives and Equipping us with the tools of A Holy Heart, A Holy Boldness, and Holy Words so can carry out the mission of the church which is making Disciples.
Today we’re going to talk about some of the ways God Enables us to live as Disciples. God’s tool box has an abundance of tools and we can’t examine all of them. But these will help us see how God Enables us to live Every Day as Disciples.
Let’s look at the passage from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, I think it speaks to God’s enabling Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (NRSV)
 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.
 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,
 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God.
 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
This passage reminds us that while our message might seem foolish to some, it IS the wisdom of God and Every Day God is the source of [our] life in Christ Jesus. As the source of our life, Every Day God Enables us live as Disciples.
I. ENABLES US TO PRACTICE:
A. First, Every Day God Enables Us To Practice our faith. Now I’m not talking about the kick the tires, check the shocks, start the engine and let’s go for a test drive kind of practice. I’m talking about the kind of practice that athletes do to get ready for the big game; the kind of practice that accomplished musicians do to hone and strengthen their skills. The kind of practice that conditions us, heart, soul, mind and strength, as we seek to serve God Every Day. The kind of practice that Enables us to live in this world but not of this world. And that’s hard to do without the help of God..
B. How many of you have watched the TV series “Chuck?” Basic idea was a young man who works for Buy More (a Best Buy type store) has an old college friend and enemy send him an email with an attachment which he opens. It just happens to be all the information from a sophisticated government experimental computer where all the information is stored in the pixels of digital images. It’s called the Intersect. The speed of the pictures being displayed pulled Chuck into a trance like state where all the information of the Intersect became stored in his brain. The only problem was, he couldn’t access it like the info on a computer. Instead, stuff came to him in flashes.
He became one of the most valuable people on the planet and two US agencies worked with him. He became a spy whose cover was his real life. Every week, his real life and being a spy collided. In one scene Chuck talks to his partner about it. He says: “I’m getting way to comfortable lying and sneaking around all this spy stuff, okay. I’m starting to feel that that is my real life.”
His partner says: “It’s all to be expected. It’s an existential spy crisis of sorts.”
Chuck says: “It used be all compartmentalized, you know, Chuck World and Spy World. But when I watched those ambulance doors close and my sister was behind them with that sweaty nuclear spy freak, my worlds collided.”
It’s hard to live in this world and not be a part of it. We’re surrounded by it. We’re immersed in it 24/7. We struggle with it all the time. I struggle with it. But what God helps us remember is that this is all temporary. This isn’t our true home. I home is with God. We belong to God and live in God’s Kingdom, which currently intersects the daily life of the whole world, which puts us in “an existential crisis of sorts.”
That sounds foolish to some, but we’re only here for a short time compared to spending eternity with Christ. Scripture says Jesus is preparing that place for us right now, so that where He is we can be also.
That’s God’s desire for us, to be with Him. So, Every Day, God Enables us to Practice our faith so that we CAN live in this world but not of it. So, we can live what Jesus taught in a world that sets its own rules.
II. ENABLES US TO PERSEVERE:
A. Second, Every Day God Enables Us To Persevere. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I’ve overcome the world.” Jesus knew that we would face adversity in life. It’s a part of life. There are times when adversity strikes all of us.
Bobby Bowden, retired Florida State University Head Coach, is the all time NCAA Winningest Football Coach in a Major University. His team took Two National Championships in 1993 and 1999. His final game was the 2010 Gator Bowl which FSU won 32-21 against his former program at West Virginia.
Bobby Bowden says: “When everything else is equal on a football team and the team your playing, it’s usually which team has got the best leadership. You know? You simply are not gonna win all the time. You’re gonna lose some, you know it? And to me, a coach’s success, somebody says: “What do you have to do to be a successful coach?” I say, “You gotta get over the bad times.”
“If you never had adversity you ain’t gonna be nothing. You have got to have adversity to build your character and find out how tough you are and find out how good your judgment is.”
“You’re gonna have adversity, you know? There’s gonna be times where you’ll think you do not more deserve to be a football coach than the man in the moon. But you’ve got to overcome it. You’ve got to fight your way through it. You can’t listen to outside opinion.”
B. At the end of his career Bowden faced some bad times and had to vacate 12 of his wins because of ineligible players on the team, which put him in second place behind Joe Paterno.
But in a very real sense what Bowden said is right. Jesus said: “In this life you will have trouble.” But in the midst of those troubles we can’t listen to the outside opinion of the world. We have to call on the One who overcame the world; the One who said “I will not leave you orphaned;” the One who promised “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We have to listen to the guiding of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit reminding us what Jesus said.
And when we do, our Every Day God Enables us to Persevere and walk with the One who has overcome every kind of adversity, Jesus
III. ENABLES US TO PRAISE:
A. Third, Every Day God Enables Us To Praise. When we are strengthened and enabled to Practice our Faith, when we’re strengthened and enabled to Persevere and overcome adversity our hearts want to sing, they want to give thanks, they want to rejoice. And we do that by Praising God. Every Day God Enables us to Praise.
B. There’s a great African-American spiritual titled “Ain’t Got Time To Die.” It was written by Hall Johnson and the words are filled with so much joy:
“Been so busy praising my Jesus,
Been so busy working for the Kingdom,
Been so busy serving my Master
Ain’t got time to die.
If I don’t praise him,
If I don’t serve him,
The rocks gonna cry out
Glory and honor, glory and honor
Ain’t got time to die.”
I just love those words, “I’m so busy praising and serving Jesus that I ain’t got time to die.” That’s exactly how we feel when we’ve overcome adversity. It how we should feel about what we are called to do Every Day, Because Every Day God Enables us to Praise Him.
IV. ENABLES US TO PROCLAIM:
Once we Practice our faith, Persevere through the adversities of life and begin to sing Praise to God. Our Every Day God Enables Us To Proclaim. That’s our first Call remember, to Go and Tell and make Disciples. And when God has walked with us and strengthened us Every Day, we not only want to Praise God, we want to share the good stuff that’s been happening in our lives because of God.
Rev. Wayne Brouwer says when he was pastor in his first congregation he sat in the home of one of his members and the husband said to him, “You’re more evangelical than we are.”
Rev. Brouwer was stunned for a moment, wondering what the man could mean. So he asked.
“Well,” said the man, “we like to keep our faith to ourselves.” (1)
I remember as a child I was told to keep my hands to myself when my brother and I got into trouble. I can remember being told by a teacher to keep my smart aleck comments to myself but I don’t remember Jesus saying to keep my faith to myself.
The way I understand Scripture that’s not an option. Jesus didn’t call any of us into the Secret Service. We’re not called to be incognito Christians. We are a Called and Sent People. It’s not something we can keep to ourselves. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could keep it a secret. The message that changed our lives, never would have survived into the 21st century if someone back then hadn’t been willing to Proclaim it.
Besides, when you’ve got good news, you want to share it. When you get a new car, you want to drive it. If you buy a new 60 inch High Definition LCD or Plasma TV, you invite people over so they can see it. You want to share it.
It should be no different in our daily Discipleship. When you’ve got good news and God has gotten you through a tough time, you naturally want to share that good news with somebody. And Our Every Day God Enables Us To Proclaim that Good News.
William Sloan Coffin, former CIA agent and former pastor of Riverside Church in New York City said: “We have learned to soar through the air like birds, to swim through the seas like fish, to soar through space like comets. Now it is high time we learned to walk the earth as the children of our God.”
Our Every Day God Enables Us To Practice our faith; Persevere in hard time; Praise God for God’s care and strength. And Our Every Day God Enables us to Proclaim the Good News.
Our message might seem foolish to some, but it IS the wisdom of God and Every Day God is the source of [our] life in Christ Jesus. As the source of our life, Every Day God Enables us to live as Disciples. All we have to do, once again, is let ourselves be used by God.
Will you do that? Will pledge to open your heart, soul, mind and strength so God can use you and enable you to be a tool in God’s toolbox? All it takes is faith and trust in God. That’s the challenge. Are you up to it?
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.
1. “Promiscuous Preaching” by Wayne Brouwer, Preaching, May/June 2000, p. 40.