George – I have been looking forward to preaching at the picnic and I am so glad that we are outside. I love outdoors and so this is always such an enjoyable service. The thing that it allows us to do is to look not only at the written text of God’s word, but also the natural text of God’s creation. So this morning, that will be our focus.
I know that Amos also loves the outdoors and we thought it would be fun and hopefully interesting and a good way of teaching to preach this message together.
Amos – I agree. Being outside is a great place to see what God is like and to think about God. The Bible talks about that in Psalm 19:1.
George – I’m glad it is a beautiful day, not like the weather they have had in the southern states this week. Do you like storms? Do you like lightening?
Amos - response
!! A. Lightning
- People have always been impressed and frightened by the power of storms,
o Greeks - marveled and feared lightning as it was hurled by Zeus.
o Vikings, lightning was produced by Thor as his hammer struck an anvil while riding his chariot across the clouds.
o East, early statues of Buddha show him carrying a thunderbolt with arrows at each end.
o Indian tribes in North America - lightning was due to the flashing feathers of a mystical bird whose flapping wings produced the sound of thunder
o Today - a natural phenomenon – really a big spark.
- Demonstrates the power of God
o Has created it not just to show his power, but necessary
o During fair weather, a potential difference of 200,000 to 500,000 Volts exists between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere.
o To maintain the fair weather global electric current flowing to the surface, one to two thousand thunderstorms must be active at any given time
o 100 flashes per second.
o Lightning can reach thirty miles long
o less than an inch thick.
o hotter than the surface of the Sun.
o moves at a third the speed of light.
o I enjoy watching thunderstorms from the safety of my house because they remind me of the tremendous power of God.
Amos - Hurricanes
George - Psalm 68:34 says, “Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies.”
Amos – Yes and Psalm 89:6-13 or?? says – “The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
George – impressed with his creativity and wisdom in everything he has created.
Amos – “even as we look around the park here we can see some of that…varieties of plants etc.
- tallest tree ever was an Australian eucalyptus?
o 1872 it was measured at 435 feet tall.
- other amazing things that speak of his creativity and wisdom.
o when a flea jumps, the rate of acceleration is 20 times that of the space shuttle during launch.
o An electric eel can produce a shock of up to 650 volts.
o The call of the humpback whale is louder than Concorde and can be heard from 500 miles away.
o The world's smallest winged insect, the Tanzanian parasitic wasp, is smaller than the eye of a housefly.
Amos – other snippets of creativity and wisdom.
- uniquely shaped - they should not be able to fly,
- yet a single bee can visit between 50 and 1000 flowers a day
- bees from the same hive can visit about 225,000 flowers a day.
- How many flowers in a canola field, they all need to be pollinated.
- Pollinate those flowers as they visit them – necessary to the flowers
- takes about 2 million visits to flowers to produce 1 pound of honey.
- produce honey and then they use the honey to produce the wax
- eat about 8 pounds of honey to produce about 1 pound of beeswax.
- do not use all of the honey that they produce for their own consumption,
- only insect that produces food for human consumption.
- whole process – interestingly shaped insects, pollinating flowers which the flowers need, producing food for themselves and enough extra that we get to have it is a most amazing evidence of the creativity of God.
Amos – The Bible speaks about this amazing wisdom of God in creation. Verse?
George – Proverbs 3:19,20, - “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”
Amos – Of course all of creation also demonstrates how much God loves us.
- immune system
George – the love of God
- Matthew 6:25-32. - “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
- the fragility of flowers and their short life span and yet God cares for them.
- He cares for us even more.
- flowers are evidences of God’s love for another reason.
- it really wasn’t necessary for God to create flowers in so many colours and varieties.
- on vacation, Carla and I noticed how many different flowers
o in one place we saw white and red and yellow and purple flowers
- of course flowers do have purpose.
o why there are so few black flowers.
o black tulips and roses and a black pussy willow, but they are rare.
o explanation -attract insects,
o why so many colours and shapes.
o God created them just for our enjoyment and that reminds me of His love.
Amos – invite people to share praising God for who he is as we see Him in creation.
George – As we go through this day, let us continue in praise. As you see the sun, the grass, the trees, the insects and all other aspects of creation, continue praising the one who made all these things. As you go through the week, let us allow what we see to draw us to praise our loving creator.