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God is

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Title: “God is””

 

1 Kings 19.1-8

I.              Intro: Naming of Cameron and Calvin

A.   Cam’s question: “Why did God make ants, slugs, and dog poo?”

                                        1.    How do you answer?

B.   Depends in large part on how you picture God?

                                        1.    King?

                                        2.    Dictator?

                                        3.    Political Ruler who takes sides?

                                        4.    Male? Female?

                                        5.    Judge?

                                        6.    Like scene from Wizard of Oz?

                                        7.    Your Buddy? Friend?

                                        8.    Father? Parent?

                                        9.    Impotent?

C.   How accurate is our image of God anyway?

II.            Elijah

A.   Background:

                                        1.     encounter with prophets of Baal

B.   Read Scripture: 1 Kings 19.1-8

                                        1.    I’ve preached on this scripture before but what I want to focus on today is the way that God approaches Elijah

                                        2.    Especially since people often tend to make a break between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament

C.   Hurricane, Earthquake, and Fire

                                        1.    God is not “in” any of these where Elijah would expect God to be

a.    God is not “revealed” in these to Elijah

b.    God comes to Elijah in the gentlest way, as a tender and compassionate whisper

D.   “hesed”

                                        1.    If one word defines God in the Old Testament Hebrew it is this

a.    Often translated as “steadfast love” but the concept is so much larger than that!

III.           “What are you doing here?”

A.   Why are you really at church this morning?

IV.          Do our images of God (our ideas about God) change who God really is?

A.   Of course it doesn’t

                                        1.    However, it does change our relationship with God

B.   What does it mean to have “faith,” to “believe”?

                                        1.    Does this mean that we sign off on a bunch of doctrinal statements?

a.    Which ones? Which denomination?

                                        2.    Does that mean that we can only enter into relationship with God and receive forgiveness once we get it all figured out?

a.    If so, then we are all in a bunch of trouble!

                                        3.     “I believe in the Bible”

a.    Good! But what does that mean about you and God?

                                                                      i.        “I believe in the Author of the Bible”

C.   It is much harder to enter into a relationship with God

                                        1.    Relationships are messy

a.    Relationships require trust!

b.    Relationships require time!

V.           My relationship with God: “We are Marshall”

A.   “Matthew Fox” character

B.   I have never experienced a great tragedy in my life, but I have experienced my share of pain

                                        1.    I have a tendency to dwell on the suffering in the world and to beat myself up with my own guilt

a.    God is working on me with this

VI.          Responding to “The Shack” by William Young

A.   Was not a “page burner” for me

                                        1.    I struggled between wanting to continue and wanting to stop reading

B.   I want to recommend it, but I’m not sure that I can make a blanket recommendation

                                        1.    Theological Problems?

a.    No doubt!

C.   What it did for me

                                        1.    It challenged me to question whether I really do “trust” in God the way I think I do

a.    Am I trying to do it all myself or do I really rest on the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit?

D.   Consider this:

                                        1.    When was the last time you talked with God “prayer”

a.    Last Sunday? Before bed? When you needed something? Before your meal?

                                                                      i.        Let me say something about prayer before meals:

1)                I continue to get myself in trouble with this

                                        2.    What I’m getting at is this: Do we really “talk” with God or is it a ritual?

a.    Is it something we reserve for when we need it?

VII.         How I answered Cam’s question:

VIII.       “God is”

A.   “good?” “patient” “kind” “powerful” “just” etc…

B.   No, “God is”

                                        1.    None of our words can define God completely

                                        2.    God is… regardless of what we make God to be

C.   “I Am” is still the best definition for God we have

                                        1.    God is the Living God

D.   God is here now, whispering to us, “what are you doing here?”

                                        1.    God longs to have a relationship with us that is not defined by religious structure and systems, that is not defined by guilt or duty, but that is also not simply a mushy “friendship” that pretends that everything is ok as it is

E.   It is time to reclaim that relationship? It is for me!

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