Today I want to do something a little different, today, we are going to have the message first, then we will have worship. For those looking at this at various times of the year, I will remind you this message was presented the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
One of the great film producers of all time is Stephen Spielberg. Spielberg has presented films laced with spiritual truth. The following is a clip from one of my favorite Spielberg films.
The Film is Schindler’s List
When I watch the above clip I can’t help but think of the following passage of scripture.
(7) As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' (8) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Oscar Schindler literally bought these people so they could be saved from their oppressors. He did so at a great cost, and yet as the movie portrays, he didn’t think he had done enough. At the end of the movie, we see Schindler going to get into his car and he realizes he could have sold his car, and liberated and freed several more Jewish families. That seems to be the way it is with those who love to give, they feel as if they have never given enough.
We who have this amazing gift of life should worship the one who gave it to us and then share it. It is a gift we should want to give to others because it is the most valuable of all gifts. Do you live life in such a way people can see that you follow and serve a God bigger than you?
Let’s look at one of the ways we are to use our lives with others.
Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
All of us who follow Jesus need to realize that our life is a light, but only a reflection of the ultimate light, Jesus. As an example here we can look at our solar system. The sun is the one which gives light. No other aspect of our solar system allows us to see light except through the reflection of the sun. Of course there are other stars at night which have some measure of light but let’s look at the closest entity to our planet, the moon.
How much light does the moon produce on its own? The answer should be obvious, the moon produces no light, but during the night, it appears at time bright because it reflects the light of the sun. We need to realize our lives should also be a reflection, but not of the sun, but the son.
Others observe our actions, our words. Have you ever stopped to think about what they hear or see? This does not mean they will agree with everything they will hear or see, but there will be consistency with the truth of Jesus as we can see from the Bible.
Let’s look at another passage that can help illustrate this point.
Psalm 43:2-4 –
(2) I run to you for protection. Why have you turned me away? Why must enemies mistreat me and make me sad? (3) Send your light and your truth to guide me. Let them lead me to your house on your sacred mountain. (4) Then I will worship at your altar because you make me joyful.
You are my God, and I will praise you. Yes, I will praise you as I play my harp.
From this I can see that for each of us, the light of God in our life, leads us to worship, which then produces joy.
This concept of running to someone or something is illustrated in other places in the Bible. Can anyone think of another illustration of running to? The one I think of right off the bat is the story of the prodigal son. In this story we see an indication of a willingness to change, recognition of mistakes made, we see in essence, repentance.
In the story of the prodigal son we see a good Jew who takes the inheritance from his father, goes out on his own and squanders everything away. It is only when doing the most disposable job possible for a Jew, feeding and taking care of pigs that he realizes his father provided more for his servants than he was getting. It was then he decides to return home, ask for forgiveness, and ask his father if he can become one of his servants. A wonderful contemporary telling of this is in the movie The Gospel. The need to realize our mistakes is something we all have to experience at one time or another in our life.
As I look at the above passage, I am challenged, is there is honesty in our relationship with God. Notice the author shares the bad he is not afraid to question his reality and life experiences at the moment, yet in the honesty, is recognition that God is the one who guides us. Out of honesty we see a willingness to run towards God, and then come worship, and as a result joy. I would also note here that musical instruments were a part of the experience, as is praise.
Now another passage.
2 Corinthians 4:5-7
(5) We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants. (6) The Scriptures say, "God commanded light to shine in the dark." Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.
(7) We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.
Again, for all of us following Jesus, we need to realize that our life is not ours; our life is for Jesus and is to be a reflection of him. Our lives are an act of worship in the way we serve others. I am reminded by Jesus own words, “when we serve the least of these, it is as if we have served Jesus.” I am also reminded that Jesus said that of all of the commandments the greatest was to love God with all of our hearts, soul, mind and spirit, and our neighbor as ourselves. The concept of loving others is directly correlated to loving God.
When we live to share Jesus with others, we represent Jesus, when we represent Jesus, we shed light in dark places, and this is an act of worship. The concept of our life, our message was taught by Jesus, we serve others. We are not better than Jesus in any way, and yet, he took up the towel, became as a servant and served those he came into contact with.
There are two points here I would like to point out. First, our light is to shine in dark places. Those are places where it is godless if you will, or with people who don’t know Jesus. While this is a challenge for many, it is also reality. Jesus and the New Testament use a lot of allegory in this area. The bottom line, is that light is of little or no value unless it is penetrating dark places, including the dark places of life. Our lives are light because God is in our life, and our life should represent Jesus.
The second area I get from the above passage is we have to be willing to let our lives be broken and molded like clay jars. Today, likely only potters get this concept. In the days the above words were written, the concept of pottery being broken and reformed was something that was a common practice. Our lives, may at times get cracks, we may be in need of being remolded, at those times, life is broken like the clay of a pot. It is then reformed into something beautiful, something useful. I love the concept that our lives are like a vessel where God can store treasure. God has the power to fill our lives with valuable treasure, treasure that can have an impact on reaching others.
Now please understand on this concept of living our lives as a servant, as if we were a reflection of the light of the son to the rest of the world. No one said this was easy, but it is again, an act of worship that the more we practice it, becomes easier. Giving of our lives to serve, to be light in dark places is an act of worship because it is something God appreciates and values. Being light in a dark world is a reflection of taking God to the very people he came and died for. He longs for, desires eternal relationships with people. He can only do that if we as his people, are willing to take that message to the people who need to hear it.
Now at this time we are going to take a short break. Get a cup of coffee, call someone, tell them you love them, maybe send an email. Then I also want you thinking of how you can be a light to someone who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. When you come back, we will enter into worship, but I also want you thinking about how you can give of your time and money. It is a joy to worship God with what are called tithes and offerings. Essentially, if you are a part of another church, give to that church, if not, find a ministry that has touched you, and is sharing Jesus with others, then find a way to support that ministry with both time and money as it is time and money that allow these ministries to operate.
Let’s pray, Father, thank you for the fact that some people are reading this, thank you that it has challenged some to use their life as a act of worship. Lord I ask that as people give of their time and money that you will bless them, and bless the ministry they are supporting. I also ask your blessings on them. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
Now after your short break, let’s enter into some worship with some great videos. Now another short prayer, Holy Spirit Come, Holy Spirit Move, Amen!
It is the time of year that we need to think about the willingness of God to come to earth to give us the ultimate gift, it was a sacrifice for our sin, our wrongs, it is a reminder of the sacrifices we can make. As opposed to focusing on the sacrifice though, we can also focus on the joy.
Joy To The World
We serve a powerful God. He is one that formed the mountains, but there is a tremendous analogy there.
Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble
I realize that for many, it is hard to think of this concept of becoming a servant, or being a light in dark places. We maybe don’t have an attitude of worship in the way we live our lives. I always appreciated this next song for that reason.
Change My Heart Oh God
Jesus did so much for us, we see that at best when he left the awesomeness of Heaven and came to earth, to be born in a feeding troth, as a poor man to a poor family. Jesus in many ways, even in the way he was born showed his love for the common person. Let’s think about that as we participate in the next couple of songs.
O Holy Night
One of my favorite reformers was St. Francis of Assisi. One of the things he said was to preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. Sometimes we get so preoccupied with words that we really don’t think of the importance of our lives. Today, as we close let’s think of the words of this next tune as we sing along.
Let My Words Be Few
Now my prayer for each of you, Dear Father God, thank you for what you have done for me in my life. Lord, I ask that your Holy Spirit will constantly remind me of my own need to be a reflection of your light to the world around me. Lord, may my life be an act of worship for you that shows the gentleness and love from the Son. Lord God, I ask that you will be blessed, and I ask your blessings on each person reading and participating in this posting today. I ask your blessings on them because I know how much you love them. Thank you for that love you gave me, I am grateful. In Jesus most holy and perfect name I ask these things, Amen!
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