Worship Sunday January 17 2021
      • Bible Trivia
      • Bible Trivia
  • This Is The Day
  • Jesus Name Above All Names
  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • More Precious Than Silver
  • Rise UP!

    When was the last time you remember allowing yourself to be challenged?
    Perhaps you were challenged to:
    Try something new
    Conquer a fear
    Push past embarrassment
    Whatever it was, when we are challenged we are being asked to do several things:
    Be open to new ideas
    Desire and be willing to grow
    Be willing to change
    Be willing to work
    As we read our scriptures this morning, I want you to listen to them carefully. We’ll be reading from first Samuel and the call that Samuel received on his life, and then we’re going to read about Jesus calling the first disciples.
    Our Old Testament reading is where we read about the calling of Samuel. Our text comes from First Samuel, chapter 3, verses 1-10. Listen carefully.
    1 Samuel 3:1–10 ESV
    Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
    Our Gospel reading this morning comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 43-51.
    John 1:43–51 ESV
    The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    Rise Up!

    Wow, there is so much in there.
    The calling of Samuel is so profound, because of how receptive and one might say, eager, Samuel was to serve. You see it throughout the passage. He’s ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli, and we learn that the word of the LORD was rare in those days, and there was no frequent vision.
    We learn that Eli (the priest at the time) had grown blind, but the lamp of God had not yet gone out - in other words, God could still shine His light through him.
    We read of the Lord calling to Samuel, but he thinks it is Eli calling and “ran to Eli”. But Eli wasn’t calling and sends him to bed again. The Lord calls again, and Samuel goes to Eli again, “Here I am, for you called me.” Eli says, “I did not call you” and sends Samuel to bed again. A third time the Lord calls to Samuel, and he rose and went to Eli again. Ah, Eli thinks. He likely remembered when he too would hear from the Lord. So he tells Samuel, “If he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak LORD, for your servant hears.’”
    And then we read vs. 10.
    1 Samuel 3:10 ESV
    And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
    “Speak, for your servant hears.” Powerful words.
    Remember the Greatest Commandment? Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6 when he said what it was:
    Deuteronomy 6:4–5 ESV
    “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:
    “Hear, O Israel”—that is the first. Israel does not know God’s will on its own; it must hear. God wants to speak to Israel. Hearing stands above all action.
    Bonhoeffer, D. (2013). Theological Education at Finkenwalde: 1935–1937. (V. J. Barnett & B. Wojhoski, Eds., D. W. Stott, Trans.) (Vol. 14, p. 787). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
    Hearing stands above all action. If you and I believe God is speaking we must listen and hear what God is saying.
    In the calling of Nathanael, another sense seems to be emphasized. After Jesus called Phillip to “Follow” him, he finds Nathanael and says:
    John 1:45 ESV
    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
    Nathanael does not sound much impressed, note his reaction in vs. 46.
    John 1:46 ESV
    Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
    Come and SEE. Vision is emphasized here and throughout the rest of our reading. But notice it is not Nathanael that is seeing he is listening to Jesus:
    Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him… (v. 47)
    Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him under the fig tree… (v. 48)
    Nathanael professes faith in him because Jesus’ said he “saw” him. (v. 49 & 50)
    Jesus tells Nathanael what he will see in the future. (v.51).
    Now obviously Jesus words had an impact on Nathanael. In vs. 49 he professes, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
    As I opened this morning, I asked the question:
    Have you ever allowed yourself to be challenged?
    It’s a serious question. I have met with people from all walks of life that speak of wanting to make changes in their life, developing new habits, getting a better job, or growing in their relationship with God. And yet, when you speak with them you realize they’re not willing to change, their willingness to grow does not exceed their desire for things to remain the same. When it comes down to it, change is hard, it means we have to work.
    There is a sense of safety in sameness - but in reality it is atrophy.
    Just as when we don’t challenge our muscles in new ways they atrophy, the same is true of our minds, and our spiritual muscles as well.
    I use the illustration a lot of Lot’s wife. You may remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his wife are told to flee to the next city and not to look back. His wife looks back and become a pillar of salt (Genesis 19). She literally becomes a preservative.
    Paul on the other hand gives us a very different perspective. He tells us his perspective:
    Philippians 3:12–16 ESV
    Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
    This past week I had several amazing examples of watching individuals press on and take on challenges and be willing to change.
    One of my swim students is a 10 year old boy, who came to the Y extremely afraid of the water. He would literally shiver throughout our swim lessons, even though he wasn’t cold - it was out of nerves and being in the water. This past week he went under water for the first time, and later in the week he swam 15 feet unassisted and did his first canon ball into the pool!
    Another student a woman who hasn’t swam in about 30 years, and had developed a fear of getting her face wet, swam 15 feet last week, and this week her goal was to go further. She did - she swam without touching the bottom - 150 yds! That’s 30 times further!
    Then there’s my friend Michael, who has made it to Russia to be reunited with his wife. He wrote me this week to share that it was -15° Fahrenheit, outside and you’d think it was a normal day like in downtown Seattle. There’s people walking on the sidewalks and driving around on the streets. He said there’s a saying here, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” He’s learning to cross country ski so that he and his wife can have another activity to interact with the people.
    Did any of these accomplishments come without change? No.
    Change in perspective.
    Change in attitude.
    Change in action.

    Jesus Calls to us, “Follow Me”.

    It is time for us to listen.
    To hear the call.
    To change our ways and to follow.
    It’s time for us to rise up and follow Jesus in all areas of our life.
    Nathanael and Samuel responded. We’re in this new year of 2021, and we can renew our course and our commitment to follow the Lord.
    We want to help you with that.
    We have Bible Study on Thursday Nights via ZOOM.
    The church has purchased a suite of software all of you can use. IF you’re still not subscribed to our Faithlife page at Faithlife.com/MissionWoodsChurch, reach out to us so we can help you. I can help walk you through the process of getting on there.
    And, I am committed to serving you and helping you grow in your faith. If you are struggling in any way, if you have questions, if you have ideas and sense God calling you to a ministry, or if you simply need to talk - please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you don’t have my number, let me know as you drive through today, and I’ll make sure you have it.
    You also have an abundance of resources in this congregation. We as brothers and sisters are here to encourage you.

    Rise UP!

    Let’s pray:
      • 1 Samuel 3:1–10ESV

      • John 1:43–51ESV

      • 1 Samuel 3:10ESV

      • Deuteronomy 6:4–5ESV

      • John 1:45ESV

      • John 1:46ESV

      • Philippians 3:12–16ESV

  • Sweet Sweet Spirit

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