2-22-15 “Lord of Old and Young”
?Lord of Old and Young/ Why God Wants Us to Care for All? Malachi 4:2,3,6? 2-22-15 Ps 126 (Dayschool Sunday);
?I will again make new your buildings, and you will take up instruments of music and be glad.?? (Jer 31:4)
To see a video of this sermon, click this link: http://youtu.be/XeBEVyaLHLY
This is a special day in the life of this church.? It is a day of celebration.? It is a day in which we remember God has led us through dark valleys as a church- into green pastures and still waters.? Now in many ways I feel like we are an oasis of faith hope and love in our world. ?In the Bible when something good- like the Exodus, or coming back from the exile happened- there was a recounting and remembering of where they have been- and a recognition that God had led them through.? I want to do that today.? In our 40 years of existence, if you could draw a graph of the life of the church, there were some sharp ups and downs.? But this day is a sharp spike up.? In 2006 the Long Range Planning Committee had a vision of sorts.? We felt led to this verse from Jeremiah 31- ?I will again make new your buildings and you will take up instrument of music and be glad.?? We bought a new organ, fixed up the youth rooms, started a mission endowment, and bought part of the property that was our old office house that we had been renting.? It was on this property that part of our new Children?s Ministry Building sits.? We really wanted to do two projects: renovate our gym and have a new children?s building.? We saw that one of the great strengths of our church was our Preschool program- and we wanted to enhance that and build on that.?? So we brought in Quackenbush Architects who gave us a master plan- and then a design for the Children?s Ministry Building. We started to move forward but the Great Recession hit in 2008.? We decided to wait until right before interest rates would start to climb.? Someone came to us and said, ?What do we need to do to get this off the ground again??? Their willingness to give prompted us to move forward.? Many people gave large gifts and many more gave smaller gifts.? We got tremendous rates from the bank, and we really believe God has led us each step of the way.? Coogler Cosntruction did a great job on the grading, Martin Engineering was the major contractor on the building and Burriss Construction did our walkway.?? We had several subcontractors from the church step up and give generously of their time and talent too.? That doesn?t mean we didn?t have some glitches to work through- or some changes to face.? But overall, today is not a day of weeping- it is a day of joy.? I hope you will take time to come to the open house today- and you may sneak a peak after this service.? ?One of my favorite songs this Lenten season is ?You Make Beautiful Things out of Dust.?? That is what God does with us as individuals.? He took the elements and breathed in a soul made in His image.? He takes our valleys and leads us to the mountaintop.? He restores our soul.? He gives us a dream and fulfills our dream. ???? The Old Testament ends with words of hope- it is words of what the kingdom of heaven is like when it comes on earth.? The blessing is that God will heal the brokenness of humanity- the evil- the meanness- for the sun (S-U-N) of righteousness will rise.? The wicked will be defeated and cowering away.? But the big news is that He will turn the hearts.?? It is not just that God will turn the hearts of the people toward God- though certainly that is implied.? But the evidence of God?s blessing is that the families will be united.?? I believe the world tries to pry families apart- there is a war on families today. I. AGELESS CARING- There is a natural tendency a gravitational pull toward groups.? In some ways it is healthy for people who are facing the same thing can listen to each other better.? The person who is busy changing diapers is different from the person who is taking their child to soccer games or dance competitions- and they are different from the person who has children in college- or just out of college- or newly retired or the person transitioning into a retirement home. ??? But when God comes there is listening to each other- an understanding and sympathy toward each other and a willingness to help people who are different from ourselves.?? So the young people respect the elders, and the elders give out of generosity toward those who are young.? Fear and selfishness- for groups or individuals is gone.?? ?One of the great problems of life is when children do not get along or listen to their parents/grandparents and when parents/grandparents are too harsh or too uncaring toward their children.? ?When God comes- the balance of love between generations comes too. ?Ironically, this building of the children?s building has freed up more adult space- so that the Quest SS class will get their own room in a few weeks, and those sharing space with kids d?cor and furniture will get to have their own space.? When we give toward others- it always enhances us in some way. ?When the Spirit has moved in this church- the youth group is strong and the children?s ministry is strong too. I think of the youth going to the Presbyterian Home to sing carols and the kids playing bingo with the older adults, and the older adults coming to a pancake fundraiser for the youth.?? This has been a tradition of inter-generational caring here.? God has blessed us.? We are not just a church of the old.? We are not just a church of the young.? But we are a church of life- of multi-generations- a community.? That, my friends, is more of a blessing that people will begin to realize.? Life is not meant to be lived in generational segments- but it is meant to be lived enriched by the wisdom of children, older adults, the enthusiasm of youth that together we may please God.? II. SELFLESS CONQUERING- When love begins to rule- and people rise up to see it matters what you believe- and that love- which comes from God is important- then the wicked cower away.? In our day, many Muslims are turning to Christianity because they see the evils of ISIS- the beheading of Christians, and the enslavement of women and children. ?It matters what you believe but Love will conquer- through us or despite us. ??I have confidence as did Malachi- that in the end the sun of righteousness will rise through the darkness with healing in its wings. ?Jesus? cross is a lesson in selfless giving- but also redemption- for without the cross we would not know the hope of the resurrection. ???? I want to celebrate those who gave selflessly in this.? Many have sacrificed for this day to happen.?? Many gave huge chunks of time and effort.? We have had over 150 people involved in various committees- planning, thinking, surveying, programming, for the last seven years.? III. FEARLESS CURING- The last book of the Old Testament prophecies that the Sun of righteousness comes with healing.? Jesus shone upon this earth and wherever he went brought healing.? People who touched the hem of his garment, people who heard his voice, people that he prayed for in the next town over.? ??When the Lord restored the fortunes of His people- the church- we were like those who dreamed.? Today we celebrate that God has restored us- renewed us- not just with a building- but with a desire to grow spiritually.? Our Sunday School has grown from 65 to an average this year of 155.? Our attendance has grown from 200 to 455 last year.? These are signs of spiritual growth and hunger for more.? We could not have begun to do this without God?s blessing us in this way.? ??Today we celebrate an answer to many prayers.?? Do you remember at the beginning we sold these magnets- ?Pray Y?all? as a way to get our new building going?? Let us never forget this started with prayer.? ?Now we have a new magnet I encourage you to get- it is a symbol of our Chidlren?s Ministry Building.