Sunday, September 11, 2011

World's Apart

Worlds Apart

Intro.: Two significant events contributed to much of my thinking this week.

  1. The first, in some ways, was uniquely mine. It may have been shared by some others, but I doubt if it was anyone here.

  2. One of the books I have been reading this week was a short one entitled “Kisses From Katie”. Now, you probably have not heard of “Kisses From Katie” - in fact it will not be published until October 4 – I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-publication galley proof so I could write a review of the book.

  3. The book is the story of an 18 year old high student. Katie Davis is the Senior Class President, the Homecoming Queen, and the Class Valedictorian. She makes a week long mission trip to Uganda during her Christmas vacation of her senior year – in the process she begins to fall in love with the country and its people.

  4. Her parents are planning for her to go to college, but she convinces them to allow her delay her education for a year while she works in a Kindergarten in Uganda.

  5. Over the course of the next year, she find more and more of her life being integrated into the African culture in which she lives.

  6. Now, four years later, as she writes, she has adopted 14 Ugandan girls. She is known as “Auntie Kate” to a couple of hundred other girls.

  7. She feels herself torn between her old home in Tennessee and her new home in Uganda. “Kisses From Katie” follows her life as she makes that transition.

  8. She finds herself living out the words of Matthew 28:

Read: Matthew 28:18-20


Intro: But there is another event that captured my thoughts this week – an event that has probably captured much of your time this past week.

  1. It was ten years ago today that four planes were hijacked with the purpose of destroying our country.

  2. Two of the planes hit their targets, the twin towers that defined the New York skyline and accomplished their task. I cannot but think that the plane that hit the Pentagon did far less damage than was desired. And the passengers of Flight 93 were able to overcome the hijackers – and minimize the damage that occurred.

  3. The assumption on all the news networks is that we each remember where we were when we heard of those events. I know I do – I was sitting in my office at Roberts Wesleyan and could follow the events of September 11, 2001, throughout the day. I helped set up TVs in our classroom building so students could also keep current with the news as they moved from class to class.

  4. I expect the same would be true for each of you.

  5. The church's response at the time ran the gammit – there were those preachers who condemned the US of its sin – we deserved whatever evil we got.

  6. There were those who pointed out the evil of the Muslim faith.

T.S. In the next few minutes, I would like to spend some time thinking about how God might have us respond to the events of 9/11; and, more importantly, how he would have us respond to a world that does not know God.

  1. Whatever our response, it must begin by trusting Jesus

    1. There is a stark contrast between these two events.

    2. The one is rooted in hate and had generated a great deal of hate.

    3. The other has come from the love that a young woman has for and has felt from God.

    4. We each have choices to make – bad things will happen to us, as a country, as a community as a family, and as individuals.

    5. David understood the response – he suffered under Saul, because of his sin, and because he was human – but in the end he got it right:

      Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

      (Psalm 37:3-4 ESV)

(Ill.) D. L. Moody put it this way: "Trust in yourself, and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and leave you; trust in reputation, and some slanderous tongue may blast it; but trust in God, and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.”i

(Ill.) We need only remember the words of the hymn:

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

and to take him at his word;

just to rest upon his promise,

and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

  1. Whatever anger we may feel for the wrong that is done to us, our response will need to be rooted in God's love.

    1. Do you ever wonder why the church is often teaching its children over and over the words of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    2. Let me suggest two reasons -

      1. First, because every bit of theology has this as its foundation. God love us. God loves this world. God loves you. On my shelves, back before the advent of computers, I have an 800 page theology textbook. But it gets worse – it starts each section with normal size font giving some principle. Then using a smaller font, it explains that principle. Finally, it brings in illustrations and quotations in tiny, tiny fonts. That even 37 years ago I had to use a magnifying glass to read. It was written by a Baptist, but that does not matter. What does matter is that those 800 pages of theology are not just theology, but they are an explanation of how God demonstrated and showed His love for you and me.

      2. But there is another reason that we begin teaching our kids with John 3:16 – it is because that is what God expects from us:

  • You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

  • And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    1. We tend to think of love as something tender and sweet – but God asks us to love, even when we don't feel so sweet, even when we are angry.

    2. You know this world that God loved when He sent His Son – it is the same world that tortured His Son with whips, that put a crown of thorns on His Son's head, that spat on him, that made fun of Him as He was dying on the cross. This was the world that God loved – the world that he wants us to love. “For God so loved this world, the one that killed His Son, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in should not perish but have eternal life.”

    3. If God loved this world, can we do any less?

  1. We need to tell this world of God's love, we need to show this world God's love.

    1. God did it on a cross, we need to do it with our lives and with our words.

Read: Matthew 5:13-16



iAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

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