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The Bible

2) For God
2002-07-26

Audience: Awana Scholarship Camp, grade 6-12 who know the Bible really well
Goal: That the youth will think deeper of God, that He is a God of love and sense excitement for Him. To catch the Divine romance.
Props: Fathers Love Letter Video, CD MYK - a time to Dance

Introduction and Review
Yesterday we said that the difference between a bored Christian and an excited Christian is hungering and thirsting after God. It is the heart that prays, "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" (Ps. 42:2) How many of you took some time before coming here tonight and cried out to God, "Oh God, I just have to know You, meet with me tonight. Change my life I pray." ??

Let us do that again now.

Prayer
Incredible God, our closest friend
Your power is greater than the raging sea, with a Word you spoke and all this came to be
With one hand you hold the stars in place and with the other You hold our hearts close to You
Who can stand against You O God?
You ride upon the wind and dance within our soul
Your presence is beyond compare
You pick us up and carry us in Your arms
You whisper Your love songs into our ears.
Our spirit rejoices in God Almighty
We run to You
We run to You and throw ourselves into Your arms
You lift us up into the Heavens
In the Heavens we dance and laugh and rejoice in You.
Come, great King, come and fill our hearts tonight.
Amen.

Who is your God?
Who is your God? Tell me if you can, what is He like?

The psalmist says, "Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?" (Ps 113:5,6 )

"He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants." (Ps 104:2-4 )

"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!" (Ps 29:1-9 )

One black preacher named Dr. Lockeridge preached this powerful sermon shortly before his death.

The Bible says my King is a seven-way King:
He¥s the King of the Jews - that¥s a racial King.
He¥s the King of Israel - that¥s a national King.
He¥s the King of Righteousness.
He¥s the King of the Ages.
He¥s the King of Heaven.
He¥s the King of Glory.
He¥s the King of Kings and He¥s Lord of Lords...

He¥s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizons of this world.
He¥s God¥s Son.
He¥s the sinner¥s Saviour.
He¥s the centrepiece of civilisation.
He stands in the solitude of Himself...
He¥s unparalleled, He¥s unprecedented...
.... I wonder if you know Him?

He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent and
He beautifies the meek.
...I wonder if you know Him?

Well, this is my King.
He is the King.
He is the key to knowledge.
He¥s wellspring of wisdom.
He¥s the doorway of deliverance.
He¥s the pathway of peace.
He¥s the roadway of righteousness.
He¥s the highway of holiness.
He¥s the gateway to glory.
...Do you know Him?

Well, His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His life is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His Word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
His yoke is easy and
His burden is light.

I wish I could describe Him to you.
But He¥s indescribable.
He¥s incomprehensible.
He¥s invincible.
He¥s irresistible.

Well, you can¥t get Him out of your mind.
You can¥t get Him off your hand.
You can¥t outlive Him and
You can¥t live without Him.

Well, the Pharisees couldn¥t stand Him, but they found out they couldn¥t stop Him.
Pilate couldn¥t find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn¥t get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn¥t kill Him.
Death couldn¥t handle Him.
The grave couldn¥t hold Him.

That¥s my King.
(http://www.jesus.org.uk/dawn/1997/dawn9701.html)

Yes, Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever and ever
and ever (how long is that?) and ever
and ever and ever and ever.
And when you get through with all of the forevers, then - "Amen!"
(http://pages.zdnet.com/rwfortune/theclarioncall/id27.html)

Another person said,

If God had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
If God had a refrigerator, your photo would be on it.
God sends you sunrises every morning.
God sends you flowers every spring.
God sends you a love letter everyday in the Bible...
God can mend your broken heart.
God can heal your every pain...
God can live anywhere in the universe, and yet He offers to live in your heart.
Face it, friend - - God is crazy about you!!!
(http://www.1freechurch.org/sermons/JesusIs.htm)

God loves You intensely
And that is the point that I am trying to make today. This God, who is bigger than the entire universe and everything in it is deeply and passionately is in love with You. Even if you do not feel lovable, even if you don¥t feel like you desire it that does not stop God. He loves You so passionately that He died and rose again to have you back.

How we view God changes how we see ourselves
I remember one time when I was waiting outside a Christian bookstore. All of a sudden it was like God was whispering in my ear, "I love you. I love you. I love you." Tears poured down my cheeks as I fought the feeling off. "How could God love me?" I thought. I saw myself as a failure full of doubts and struggles. I did not even love myself how could He love me? But God kept whispering, ëI love you, I love you, I love you" and though I tried to push it away over the following months and years God grabbed my heart and held me in His arms and today I know it is true.

And I don¥t think I am alone in struggling to believe God loves me. I have talked to many young people who have been abused as a child. I¥ll sit with them and I will tell them that God loves them. They will look at me as if my comment applies to everyone else but them. They ask me, "How can God love me?" Whereas God is our model for how a parent should be, the abuser has become a projection of how they think God would be. But there is healing, I¥ve seen it.

Did you know that your view of God will deeply impact how you see yourselves and the entire world around you? One of my Bible teachers recognized this and that we all have a picture of God. One day for class he gave us the assignment to draw a picture of how we saw God.

To some people their picture of God is a super-cop in the sky constantly looking over them trying to catch them doing something wrong. Imagine how that would effect those peoples life, it would be full of guilt and perhaps even rebellion.

Others view God as a pig candy-dispenser, just push the button in Jesus name and all your wishes
will come true.

Some drew God as an unapproachable light, others drew Him as a heart, but one picture stood out over all the others -- it was a question mark. As I gazed at it, it almost seemed as though it was saying to me, "Who is God?" This question has been left on my mind and on the minds of others like me, "Who is this God?" For thousands of years man has been trying to write down what God is like but their words are just that words - and they can never do justice to Him. Who is God when all the ink becomes a window and we finally see what these words mean? If the writers of these words put down their pen and picked up a pencil, what would they draw? Would God be a question mark of uncertainty, an object unknown and unknowable? Or a heart full of love but lacking in justice, allowing people to do abhorrent crimes but never calling them to account? Would He be an unapproachable light so full of holiness that He burns away all those who try to come near Him as the sun would an asteroid - unable to measure to His fullness? What image could grasp the smallest ounce of His Glory and make it understandable to us? What would you draw?

Athiesm, doesn¥t want to believe in God so can act as they will
I want to make mention of three different kinds of pictures since they represent three different ways people treat God. The first is to say that there is no God. For this picture we would draw a picture of the big bang. But the question remains, "What happened before the big bang, where did that stuff come from, what caused it?" And I look around at the complexity of everything around me. It used to be easier to believe in evolution but now we understand about things like genes and it is becoming more and more unprobable. For instance, if I was walking in the dessert and found a fully working laptop computer lying in the sand, which would make more sense, "Over millions of years the sands blew and blew until at last this computer went from a pile of glass to microchips to a what we see today." Or to say, "Hmm, what a neat laptop, look how complex it is, someone really smart must have made it and someone really dumb must have lost it." Logic leans towards that there is a God for it takes something more complex to make something less complex, like us humans. And anyone who has worked with something as complex as a computer knows how sensitive they are, they don¥t get better by themselves, rather they crash and become worse. It takes more faith to believe in evolution then it does to believe in God. Then why do so many people believe in it? Now here is the key to this entire talk. They don¥t want to believe in God. If they were to admit that there was a higher power who made them then they would have to submit to Him and follow Him. Rather they would want to be just a normal beast and act like a bunch of monkeys since they are not much better.

But God is still God.
But that does not change the fact that there is a God and that God is the King over all creation and over every man, woman, child and living thing. Take for instance Pharoah, the ruler of the entire realm of Egypt, who himself was considered to be a god by the people. Pharoah did not want to believe in God as He was but wanted to change that, wanted things to be on His own terms but he was not a match for the Almighty. God said, "Let my people go" and every time Pharoah said "no" God showed off His power. Locusts, darkness, plagues, boils, and frogs and flies, and hail and even death. Finally Pharoah submitted to God and God brought out millions of His people and led through right up through the sea. Even the sea could not hold Him back for He is King over nature, He just parted it down the middle and they walked through on dry land.

So God is King whether Pharoah or you or me want to recognize it or not, that does not change who God is. But rather our view of God does change us. In fact, everyone of us has one or more internal pictures of how we see God.

And so I have said that our view of God effects how we see ourselves and the world and that God is King whether we believe it or not. Let us go onto our second picture.

Israel tried to make their own god they could control
So the Israelities saw God and they walked with Him in the dessert. He brought His people out and was over them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They could hear His voice but they were afraid for His voice can come like a mighty roar.

And the people were afraid of the voice of God so they send Moses alone to be with God and to bring back the message God wanted to bring. So for 40 days Moses met with God but while he was gone the people grew restless and afraid. Perhaps God had destroyed Moses they thought and so they approached his brother and asked him to make for them a god. And I ask myself, "What? Why on Earth would you do that? I mean God is there, right there in front of them is the cloud and fire and thundering echo of God¥s voice, they would have had to turn their back on God to not see His presence." But they took their costly gold jewelry and made an idol in the shape of a calf. A calf? Why a calf? There is God and all His power and they reduce His great glory to a four footed stinky barn animal that chews grass. Perhaps they felt that God was too much. Maybe they so afraid of Him that they thought if they could make something they could control. Something they could carry around with them and put away when it was inconvient. Something that they could pay lip service too but ultimately they were still in control because they were defining God as they wanted Him and not as He is. So they turned their backs on the great glory of God and made something in His place. They even said it was this that brought them up out of Egypt. And if anyone ever tells you that is okay to think whatever you want about God as long as you are sincere and really believe it you can show them what happens next.

God turns to Moses and says {Exodus 32:7-10} And if it was not for the prayers of Moses they would have all been destroyed. And Moses went marching down that mountain and being so full of anger he threw the stone tablets of God¥s law on the ground, took the calf, burnt it in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it in the water and made them all drink it.

Failed to realize how big God is
I think at the heart of this problem is they failed to realize how big God is. I think this is a struggle we all face. It is hard to grasp a God bigger than anything we know because we have nothing we can compare Him too. The easiest thing to compare God to is ourself so we often think of Him like us, just a little taller. So we say silly things like, "I can¥t forgive myself so how can God forgive me?" or "I can¥t fix this problem, no one can, not even God!" But I would like to challenge us that is more than kinda like us but a bit taller. I think the mountains give us a bigger picture of God and so we turn to our third picture.

Last summer it was my dad¥s 50th birthday. Now 50th birthdays are something special and something to make a pretty big deal about. So my brother and I asked him what he wanted to do. And then he goes away and brings back this calender and on the front cover of this calender is a picture of a mountain. But not any mountain this thing goes straight down for 3000 feet or so. He says, "I¥d like to climb this" What are you crazy. Well, so we started doing some training and then when it was time we packed our bags and headed to the top of Rogers Pass. There she was, Tupper. We set out at six in the morning and started climbing this trail named "Hermit" now Hermit is not some ordinary trail this is the steapest meanest trail this side of Everest. 10 minutes in we were seating and an hour in we had already dropped one of the packs to lighten the load. After 3 hours we came to this point and all there was was rocks, not a tree anywhere. Down canyons, up canyons, along streams and over galciers. Finally we reached the top of the ridge before the final ascent and got our first few of the back of this beast. And when we saw it our hearts just dropped. 3,000 feet on one side, 1,000 feet on the other. Just a narrow ridge maybe a meter wide rising up to the top. Then my dad said, "Well I¥m 50, I can make wise decisions, we are not doing that one today." Now I tell you, that is big. And it our our God who is so big that He just spoke and that mountain and the one beside it and the thousands beside it were created and all rocks, and plants and life therein. God is so big that He created me and you in all our greatness and complexity. And if I were to draw all that God made on this peace of paper I would start with you and me right here in the middle of it, basking in God¥s love for God is present right here with us now. Over here is this huge mountain now just a spot on this paper and God is there too. Surrounded this is six billion people, and even still God is there with each and every one of them answering their prayers, convicting of sin and meeting with them. Here we all stand on this giant planet spinning around the sun. Like us this sun is but one of many resting within our galaxy, a mere speck of sand lying within the universe. It is at this point that we begin to see God and all His greatness. For sketched lightly on the page is the image of a hand holding the universe within it¥s palm. Behind that there is an eye, squinting, looking at the greatness and smallness of everything we think we know. Squinting to see that which our greatest telescopes cannot capture, stooping down to peer at all that our technology cannot control. A smile frames those lips which once opened, spoke, and all this came into being. This is how I see God, and this is how I see myself in His shadow.

"Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
- Psalm 113:5,6

And yet this picture is only one moment in time which is followed by another and another and another. And here we are going from one moment to the next, stuck within this plane so we can only be at one place at a time. But God is greater than time for He created it and before there was time there was God. So the question of when was God created is non-sensical because it assumes time is greater than God, how small a view of God for God is greater than time and here He is outside time but also He is at the first moment of time creating, here He is meeting with Abraham, here is coming as Jesus in the flesh, here is with us in this room, with us in our troubles, with us in our joys, with us in our pain, our death, our heavenly rest. He knows your future because He is already there. So Jesus says, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" (Jn 8:58 ) Not I was but I am, He exists even now in the past, present, & future. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

Yet, the picture is even greater than this for there is another part of it, that part which enables us to stand showering in His love, it is found in the next verse,

"He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of the people."
- Psalm 113:7,8

For even as God is holding the universe in His hand, He is also reaching into it. He came to Earth and lived as a man. And it is here that we at last get our picture of God, The Bible says, "The Son is the radiance of God¥s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Heb 1:3 ) and "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9 ). It is this Jesus, as God, who shows us what God is like. And if God is great, so also is His love. For it was Jesus who saw the poor and the oppressed, those hated by society and He loved them. He is the one who went and ate with people no one else wanted to. He is the one who touched the unclean lepers and healed them.

I was talking to this one teenage girl and she said that she could not believe in God because so many bad things have happened to her. Where was God in the midst of her pain? Then I began to explain to her that "God does not have any reason to believe in man" He has experienced so much pain from men. They took Him and they beat Him and they mocked Him and they nailed Him to the cross. If anyone has reason not to believe in someone because they let them go through so much pain it is God should not believe in us. But rather, He believes in us anyway. In fact, He joins hands with everyone who is suffering. He is the One who hanged on the cross and said, "My God, My God, why have you Forsaken me?" God is on the side of everyone who is hurting and going through pain. He believes in you and He is hurting right along with you. It is mankind that has caused the pain, it is God who suffers with us.

And He is the one who turned to them and said, "Follow me" even as He turns to you now and says, "I love you, Follow me" The God of glory, greater than our greatest imagination loves you so much that He calls you and says, "Follow me".

And now I ask you, "Is your God great enough to forgive you for those things you cannot forgive yourself over?" Is your God great enough to look after those things you are worried sick about? Is your God great enough to entrust your life to? Is your God great enough to love you, even when you feel unlovable? Is your God great enough to follow and never turn back?

How big is your God?

6 feet? 10 feet? 100 feet? Or bigger than the universe and all the problems within?

Fathers Love Letter
My ChildÖ
You may not know me, but I know everything about youÖPsalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise upÖPsalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your waysÖPsalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numberedÖMatthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my imageÖGenesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your beingÖActs 17:28
For you are my offspringÖActs 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceivedÖJeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creationÖEphesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my bookÖPsalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would liveÖActs 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully madeÖPsalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother¥s wombÖPsalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were bornÖPsalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don¥t know meÖJohn 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of loveÖ1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on youÖ1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your fatherÖ1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever couldÖMatthew 7:11
For I am the perfect fatherÖMatthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my handÖJames 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needsÖMatthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hopeÖJeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting loveÖJeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashoreÖPsalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singingÖZephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to youÖJeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possessionÖExodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soulÖJeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous thingsÖJeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find meÖDeuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heartÖPsalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desiresÖPhilippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagineÖEphesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encouragerÖ2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troublesÖ2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to youÖPsalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heartÖIsaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyesÖRevelation 21:3-4
And I¥ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earthÖRevelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, JesusÖJohn 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealedÖJohn 17:26
He is the exact representation of my beingÖHebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against youÖRomans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sinsÖ2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciledÖ2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for youÖ1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your loveÖRomans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive meÖ1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love againÖRomans 8:38-39
Come home and I¥ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seenÖLuke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be FatherÖEphesians 3:14-15
My question isÖWill you be my child?ÖJohn 1:12-13
I am waiting for youÖLuke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad. Almighty God

Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999 www.FathersLoveLetter.com


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