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The Main Thing Is That The Main Thing Clover

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									THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING REMAINS THE MAIN THING
2ND STREET COMMUNITY CHURCH
SUNDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2009
GREGG LAMM | LEAD PASTOR-TEACHER
www.2ndstreet.org


      .PPT 1 …

Welcome to the last Sunday of 2009. Can you believe it? It doesn’t seem that long
ago that we were all anxiously looking toward Y2K! And of course, that turned out
about how most of the other things we choose to worry about do … it didn’t come to
pass! You know the acronym that’s commonly associated with the word FEAR?
FUTURE, EVENTS, APPEARING REAL. Here are some other synonyms for FEAR …

      .PPT 2 …

      Anxiety, worry, fretting, apprehension, agitation, angst, tension,
      nervousness, jitters, twitchiness, concern, dis-ease, uneasiness,
      disquietude, and the heebie-jeebies!

And the One Who can and will move us past all this … not in a fairy tale, “I’m just
going to imagine that it’s not real and not there” kind of way … but in a way that
replaces our FEARS with His peace, is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone. I’ve
shared these verses with you a couple of other times during the past year, but they’re
just so right to go to again this morning when we’re on the cusp of this new year …
they’re the words from the Apostle Paul, found in PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 …

      .PPT 3 … PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 (THE MESSAGE)
      6-7
          Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and
      praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your
      concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
      everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
      It’s wonderful what happens when Jesus Christ displaces worry at the
      center of your life.

And so this morning as we get ready to transition into 2010, I want us to do what we
do every Sunday at 2nd Street. I want us to continue focusing on Jesus Christ so that
we can be aware of His presence, and hear His voice … so that we can surrender to
His will and allow Him to continue teaching us a whole new way to be human.

What a privilege to share the WORD of God with you this morning. Of all the things I
love in life, the thing I love the most is opening up God’s WORD and applying it’s truth
to life. Beginning next Sunday I’ll begin a four-month teaching series through The Old
Testament book of PROVERBS. And then in May, I’ll begin an eight-month teaching
series through the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letter to the church at Ephesus that
will take us through the end of 2010. You can find the complete 2010 Sunday
Teaching Schedule on the Bible Teaching part of the 2nd Street website at
www.2ndstreet.org.
And the reason I love teaching God’s WORD is because I’ve seen in my own life and in
the lives of other people that when you and I make knowing God THE REIGNING
PRIORITY IN OUR LIVES, we’ll begin reaping the benefits of sowing our time and
thoughts into the WORD of God, we’ll begin growing up in our faith, we’ll begin
maturing in our commitment to take on the family-likeness of Jesus Christ, and our
desire to become men and women of God will begin moving off the drawing board and
start manifesting itself in ways that will change us AND those who’s lives we touch.

I’ve been a Christian for 30 years now, and as I’ve spent time in God’s WORD, one of
the things that’s really jumped off the page at me is that as followers of Jesus Christ,
we never know for sure what God is going to ask us to do or say. Sure, God’s will can
be sought and found … but listen to how Paul talks about this in ROMANS 11:33 …

      .PPT 4 … ROMANS 11:33 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)
      33
        Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How
      impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!

What Paul’s saying here is that WE CAN’T PUT GOD IN A BOX — we can’t assume that
God will act this way or that way — we can’t presuppose that God desires to do this
with our lives or that with our lives. We never know what God’s going to do or say —
or what He’ll ask us to do, where God will ask us to go, or what God will ask us to say.
And so as we go through our lives — making our plans, laying out our futures, coming
up with the goals we’re going to go after … we’ve got to keep in mind that we can’t
put God and His will for us in a box … we can’t take for granted that we know what
God is up to — because when we do, we’ll always be surprised.

      .PPT 5 …

So often we think God’s will for our lives will happen when we arrive at a certain
place, or doing a certain thing, or becoming a certain kind of person …

          “Getting a specific job would definitely be God’s will for my life.”

          “Marrying a person who meets all the requirements on my list
           would definitely be God’s will for my life.”

          “Living in a certain neighborhood or driving a certain car would
           definitely be God’s will for my life.”

But gang, God’s will isn’t usually found in arriving at a certain place, or at doing a
certain thing, or even at becoming a certain kind of person. God’s will isn’t usually
just arrived at like a destination. Rather, God wants us to experience and know His
will ALL ALONG THE WAY — as we move towards the plans and the goals that He lays
on our hearts, reveals to us, and unfolds for us. And I see our FIRST FAITH LESSON
for us here this morning …

      .PPT 6 … FAITH LESSON



                                           2
      So many people have missed God’s will for their lives because they
      thought it would be something they ARRIVED AT rather than
      something that was to be EXPERIENCED EVERY DAY.

      God’s will is listening to Him and obeying Him. God’s will is found in
      the journey, not just in the journey’s end. And God’s will is found in
      remaining humbly available to God every moment of every day.

Gang, when we assume what God is all about … or that God is taking us here or there
… and that God wants us to do this or that … our assumptions put God in a box, and
we stop experiencing God’s immediate presence, and God’s intimate voice.

Don’t make the fatal mistake of so planning and arranging your future that you miss
God’s will for you in the NOW. Because when you and I make ourselves unavailable to
God in small ways, we begin building a wall between us and God that as we grow
older will become harder and harder to get rid of because the distance between us
and God will become greater and greater as the wall grows higher and higher.

You see, once we’re come into a relationship with God, this goal of staying in the
center of God’s will, and as close to His presence and His voice as we can, has got to
be the hub around which everything else in our life revolves. Being available to God
along the way … listening to God along the way … being obedient to God along the
way … knowing God’s immediate presence in our daily lives. This way of thinking,
living, believing, acting, speaking, and prioritizing, has to be our highest goal.

      .PPT 7 …

      I like to think of it this way: THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN
      THING REMAINS THE MAIN THING. Would you say that with me? THE
      MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING REMAINS THE MAIN THING.
      And THE MAIN THING is that we remain humbly available to God.

We’re going to took at two examples from God’s WORD that will help us unpack the
truth of what it means to make sure that THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING
REMAINS THE MAIN THING. The first example comes from an Old Testament man
who didn’t get it right, and it’s found in EXODUS 3-4. And the second example comes
from a man in The New Testament who got it right, and is found in LUKE 10.

Remember when Moses saw the burning bush out in the wilderness? You can read the
whole story in EXODUS 3-4. Please turn there with me.

      .PPT 8 … EXODUS 3:4 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      4
        When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him
      from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said,
      “Here I am.”

But then God told Moses that He wanted him to go back to Egypt, and tell Pharaoh
that God wanted him to let His people, the Jews leave Egypt. And when Moses heard
the specifics, he started coming up with all kinds of excuses. I’m sure that most of
his mumbling and grumbling was based on the fact that he was scared out of his wits.
                                           3
But you’d think that if God were talking to you in person you’d pretty much do
whatever He asked you to do. When we put ourselves into Bible stories we always
make the right choices — right!

      .PPT 9 … EXODUS 3:11-12 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      11
         But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and
      that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”
      12
         And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign
      to you that it is I Who have sent you: when you have brought the
      people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

“God, who am I? I’m just an old dirty sheepherder. Oh, I used to be somebody. I
tried to do what You told me to do 40 years ago and that’s why I’m out here on
the backside of the wilderness. But I’m a nobody now.” Moses was having an
IDENTITY CRISIS … do you see it? … and God said, “Moses, don’t worry. I’ll be with
you.” But notice in v. 12, that God didn’t list all of Moses’ assets, talents, and
abilities. He just reassured him of His presence. And the gist of what God says is,
“Don’t worry Moses, I’ll be with you.”

      .PPT 10 … EXODUS 3:13 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      13
        When Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel,
      and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’
      Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to
      them?”

So FIRST, Moses had an IDENTITY CRISIS, and SECOND, Moses had a TRUST CRISIS.
Have you ever had one of those? You’re listening to God and He’s telling you what His
will is for you, and you say, “God, I’m confident that I can hold up my end of the deal
… but Who are You? How do I know You’ll do what You’ve said You’ll do?” Do you see
the doubt, confusion, fear, and lack of trust that comes into play when we get our
eyes off of God first, and onto our circumstances, onto our problems, or even onto
the things God asks us to do, instead of keeping them firmly focused on God? And
God answers Moses in v. 14 …

      .PPT 11 … EXODUS 3:14 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      14
        God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall
      say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

And I believe that what God is saying here to Moses is what He also says to you and
me as we make ourselves humbly available to Him, and when we remember that THE
MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING MUST REMAIN THE MAIN THING. And in
what God says to Moses, I see the SECOND FAITH LESSON for us …

      .PPT 12 … FAITH LESSON

      When we take our eyes off our circumstances, off our fears, off our
      challenges, and focus the eyes of our hearts onto Jesus Christ … then
      God says to us, “I AM WHO I AM”, which means …
                                         4
             “I am willing and able to become Whoever and Whatever
             you need Me to become to see you through this difficult
             chapter of your life. You can trust Me completely.”

Here’s how Jesus and the Apostle Paul put laid out this same truth God gave to Moses
in EXODUS 3, about what the kind of mindset we need to shift over to when
whenever we have an IDENTITY CRISIS or a TRUST CRISIS …

      .PPT 13 … JOHN 15:5; PHILIPPIANS 4:13
               (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      15:5
         [Jesus said] Apart from me you can do nothing.
      4:13
         [Paul wrote] I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
      me.

And then God gave Moses more instructions about what to do and what to say when he
got to Egypt. But Moses didn’t hear a thing God said. He was still claiming ignorance,
and was paralyzed by his fear. He was still looking at God through his circumstances
instead of looking at his circumstances through God. And in EXODUS 4:1 Moses says …

      .PPT 14 … EXODUS 4:1 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      1
        Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what
      I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”

And now, Moses is having an EQUIPPING CRISIS, as he tells God that he wasn’t
equipped to do what God was asking him to do. He was saying, “God, apparently You
haven’t noticed, but I’m just a man … I can’t do this on my own.” To which God must
have thought, “No joke Sherlock! Of course you’re only a man. I made you. I know
you. That’s not the point. I DON’T CALL THE EQUIPPED. I EQUIP THE CALLED.
And because I’ve called you to do this, I will equip you to do it. Trust Me.”

And then God gave Moses three signs to remind him who He was as His God. God
showed Moses that it didn’t matter what his training was or wasn’t … that it didn’t
matter what his background was or wasn’t … that it didn’t matter what his resume
looked like … that it didn’t matter how much intelligence he had or didn’t have … and
that it didn’t matter what he looked like or didn’t look like.

But all that mattered was that THE MAIN THING WAS THAT THE MAIN THING
REMAINED THE MAIN THING. AND THE MAIN THING WAS THAT MOSES REMAINED
HUMBLY AVAILABLE TO GOD, BECAUSE HE REMEMBERED THAT GOD WAS GOD AND
HE WASN’T. But Moses was still afraid. And in v. 10 he said …

      .PPT 15 … EXODUS 4:10 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      10
        Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been
      eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have
      spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”


                                          5
This was a flat out lie. Like Jonah, Moses was still trying to get out of doing what God
was asking him to do. When Stephen was preaching to the Sanhedrin in ACTS 7:22,
right before he was stoned to death, he said, “Moses was educated in the wisdom of
the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” And I trust the word of
Stephen Moses, just before he was stoned, more than I’d trust the word of Moses who
was trying to get of obeying God.

Moses had an IDENTITY CRISIS, and God said, “I’ll be with you.” Moses had a TRUST
CRISIS, and God said, “I AM WHO I AM … I can do whatever you need Me to do.”
Moses an EQUIPPING CRISIS and told God that he was inadequate, and God said,
“Moses, just let Me speak through you.” And then finally, in v. 13 Moses says what
he’d been thinking all along …

      .PPT 16 … EXODUS 4:13 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      13
        But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever
      You will.”

In other words, Moses said, “God, send someone else.” Moses thought all his excuses
would cover up the reality that the bottom line was that he wasn’t willing to be
humbly available for God’s exclusive use. But God saw right through Moses.

      .PPT 17 …

              When you’re having an IDENTITY CRISIS, remember that your
               identity is to be rooted in God, not in yourself.

              When you’re having a TRUST CRISIS, remember that God is
               wiling and able to become Whoever and Whatever you need
               Him to become to get you through whatever rough chapter of
               life you’re going through. And …

              When you’re having an EQUIPPING CRISIS, don’t try to speak for
               God, instead, humbly invite God to speak through you.

THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING REMAINS THE MAIN THING. We’ve seen
in Moses an example of a guy who didn’t get it right. Now let’s turn to The New
Testament, to LUKE 10, and look at an example of someone who got it right because
he’d learned how to REMAIN HUMBLY AVAILABLE TO GOD.

In LUKE 10:30-37 we find the story that’s commonly called “The Parable Of The
Good Samaritan.” Maybe you know it. In LUKE 9 Jesus encountered opposition from
some people in a Samaritan village. And then in LUKE 10 He uses a man from this
same group of people — the Samaritans — as an example of what happens when
someone make themselves humbly available to be used for God’s purposes and goals.

It’s kind of ironic. In LUKE 9 a whole group of people are rejecting God and casting
Jesus out of their town. Then in LUKE 10 Jesus tells us about one of those people
who broke the mold, and didn’t go along with the crowd. Listen to me … God doesn’t
give up on anybody. And I see a THIRD FAITH LESSON for us here …

                                           6
      .PPT 18 … FAITH LESSON

      Just because your family is one way doesn’t mean you have to be the
      same way. You can stop being defined by their actions and become
      available to God. You can set the example in your family, in your
      church, in your work place, and in your corner of the world.

      God doesn’t give up on anybody. God doesn’t judge us, stereotype
      us, or put us on the back burner because of who we’re related to …
      or because of our pasts. God doesn’t give up on anybody. Ever.

In LUKE 10:25 an expert in the Law asked Jesus a question. Here’s what happened …

      .PPT 19-20 … LUKE 10:25-29 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      25
         And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher,
      what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
      26
         And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read
      to you?”
      27
         And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your
      heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all
      your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
      28
         And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND
      YOU WILL LIVE.”
      29
         But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my
      neighbor?”

And Jesus did what He did so often … He answered the man’s question with another
question, and then He led the man to answer his own question. But then the man
wanted Jesus to clarify exactly what He meant. He wanted to know exactly WHO HIS
NEIGHBOR WAS … or maybe even more importantly, WHO HIS NEIGHBOR WASN’T.
You see, I don’t think this man wanted to know who his neighbor was so he wouldn’t
miss anybody, so he could make his love stretch as far as possible. I think he wanted
to find out exactly who his neighbor was so that his love could remain little, cramped,
and narrow in it’s focus — so he wouldn’t love people he didn’t have to. And the
response Jesus gave the man is found in LUKE 10:30-37 …

      .PPT 21-22-23 … LUKE 10:30-37 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      30
         Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to
      Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him,
      and went away leaving him half dead.
      31
         “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he
      saw him, he passed by on the other side.
      32
         “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him,
      passed by on the other side.
      33
         “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when
      he saw him, he felt compassion,

                                          7
      34
        and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine
      on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn
      and took care of him.
      35
         “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the
      innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you
      spend, when I return I will repay you.’
      36
         “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the
      man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
      37
         And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then
      Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

The priest and the Levite — who were both similar to pastors today — didn’t stop.
They saw the man lying in the ditch, but they didn’t stop. They were too busy. But
the Samaritan was apparently a man who’d made up his mind that THE MAIN THING
WAS THAT THE MAIN THING WAS GOING TO REMAIN THE MAIN THING in his life.
HE’D MADE HIMSELF HUMBLY AVAILABLE TO GOD.

We don’t know if this Samaritan was going from Jericho to Jerusalem, or from
Jerusalem to Jericho. But what we do know is that HE WAS ON A JOURNEY. He was
heading somewhere. He had places to go and people to see. He had a plan. And yet,
when he saw this half-naked man lying in his own blood, the compassion of God that
he’d stored away in his heart shaped his priorities, and he gave of himself and his
resources so that the needs of the man were met. And in the Samaritan I see the
FOURTH FAITH LESSON I want us to look into this morning …

      .PPT 24 … FAITH LESSON

      The Samaritan saw, understood, and lived out the truth, that God’s
      will isn’t found at leaving POINT A and arriving at POINT B, untouched
      by the world and all of it’s hurt. He saw that when we make
      ourselves humbly available to God, that God’s will is found along the
      way, and well as part of the journey.

And I don’t know for sure — but I have a feeling that if we could interview a few of
this guys friends what they’d say might sound something like this …

      “No, this wasn’t unusual for him. The fact that he stopped and
      helped this man and took care of his needs … that’s the way he is. He
      isn’t co-dependent. He just loves God and loves people … and he
      starts everyday by reminding himself that he wants to remain humbly
      available to God and that THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING
      REMAINS THE MAIN THING.

      In fact, that’s his favorite saying … and if he was here right now,
      there’s nothing he’d like better than to have everybody say in
      unison, THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING REMAINS THE
      MAIN THING. So let’s say it.” THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN
      THING REMAINS THE MAIN THING.


                                           8
People who remind themselves of this every day are the kind of people God can best
use. But our FEARS are what always gets in our way and keeps us from being
available. Our FEARS are what stop us dead in our tracks and make us ineffective for
Jesus Christ. And when we become ineffective we get discouraged, and when we get
discouraged we forget what our priorities should be and then we become unavailable.
And we have a whole bunch of FEARS, don’t we?

When we’re little kids we have FEARS of the dark. Or we’re AFRAID that we’ll go
down the drain in the bathtub. Or we’re AFRAID when we’ll be the last one picked
when choosing up teams to play Red Rover during recess.

When we’re in Middle School and then on into High School we FEAR that we’ll wake
up with a zit on the day of the dance. We FEAR that the clothes our parents buy for
us at the “Year End Clearance” sale at Wal-Mart will be out of style before we even
have a chance to wear them. We FEAR that people will make fun of us because of
the way we look — or the way we talk — or the way we always get dropped off at
school by our mom with curlers in her hair, or by our dad in his bathrobe.

And then when we become young adults — our FEARS don’t usually diminish. I mean
seriously, if anything, it seems like they grow.

      1. “What am I going to do when my parents see my first college
         report-card?”
      2. “What should my major be — what I want it to be, or what other
         people in my life think it should be? “
      3. “What will she think of me if I ask her out on a date and then tell
         her that I don’t have enough money to buy her steak and lobster
         but only enough to buy her a Snicker’s bar?”
      4. “Will I really be happy with what I’ve chosen to do with my life?”

And when we get into 30’s, 40’s, and beyond, the FEARS just keep on coming. I still
have all kinds of them! Am I being a good father? Am I being a good husband — who’s
practically perfect in every way? Is the work I’m putting my life into really making
any difference? Do my relatives like me, or are they just tolerating me?

We all have FEARS — we all have questions about how things have turned out in the
PAST. We all have questions about how things are turning out in the PRESENT. And
we all have questions about how things are going to turn out in the FUTURE.

And what happens so often is that guilt and shame keep us living in the PAST … and
worries and anxieties keep us living in the FUTURE so we miss out on living in the
PRESENT … and we miss God’s will for us in the NOW. And when we get crippled,
misguided, distracted, and paralyzed by FEAR (like Moses did) we come up with
excuses, and become unavailable for Jesus Christ to work in us and through us in the
ways He wants to.

Let me share something with you that will help us get through our FEARS. This isn’t a
quick fix … but it’s a place to begin. When you look at the circumstances of your life
do you see them through the reality of Jesus Christ … or … do you see Jesus Christ
through your circumstances of your life? There’s a huge difference. Let me clarify
what I mean.
                                           9
When you and I make the choice to see Jesus Christ through our circumstances —
when our fears and our problems are up close and in focus, and Jesus is out there on
the other side — it’s hard to imagine that Jesus is big enough or powerful enough or
wise enough to get us through to the other side in victory and peace.

But when we’re choosing to look at our circumstances through Jesus Christ— when
Jesus is what’s up close and in focus, and our circumstances, our problems, and our
fears are out there on the other side — then it becomes possible to believe that Jesus
IS big enough and powerful enough and wise enough, to bring us through to the other
side in victory and in peace. And we’re able to see the truth of Jesus and the Apostle
Paul’s words I shared with you earlier …

      .PPT 25 … JOHN 15:5; PHILIPPIANS 4:13
                (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
      15:5
         [Jesus said] Apart from me you can do nothing.
      4:13
         [Paul wrote] I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
      me.

Let me tell you something … God can use us even though we have limitations. And
God can use us even though we have impediments. God can even use us when we
have questions about how things will turn out. BUT WHO GOD CAN’T USE, IS THE
PERSON WHO IS UNAVAILABLE. How often do you and I complicate God’s plan for us
… when most of the time the directions aren’t all that complicated.

      ILLUSTRATION … Years ago, my cousin’s husband Scott was playing
      baseball with his 4 year-old son, Nate. Nate had one of those fat,
      red, plastic bats and no matter how slow Scott pitched the ball, Nate
      kept swinging and missing. Finally, Scott said, “Hey little buddy,
      choke up on it!” Nate swung a couple more times — still with no luck.

      Finally, Nate’s mom, Chris, chimed in … “Nate, choke up on it.” It
      was a simple enough instruction but Nate didn’t have a clue about
      what it meant. And so looking perplexed, he laid down the bat, and
      with all he could muster he cleared his throat and went “Ahhhhhh!”
      (make a gagging sound)

Again, how often do you and I complicate God’s plan for us … when most of the time
the directions aren’t all that complicated? And we wonder why we keep striking out.
Friends, God is speaking … and God’s voice is usually quite clear. To put it in the
vernacular of the old Dick And Jane books, it would sound something like this …

            See Jesus walk. See us follow Jesus.
            Hear Jesus talk with us. Hear us talk with Jesus.
            See Jesus Christ’s vision. See Jesus Christ give us His vision.
            See God never give up on us. See us never give up on God.

      .PPT 26 … ISAIAH 35:8 (THE MESSAGE)



                                            10
      8
        There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or
      rebellious is permitted on this road. It's for GOD's people exclusively
      – impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it.

I don’t know about you, but this verse makes me feel a whole lot better! But to
travel with Jesus Christ, to catch Jesus Christ’s directions for us, to begin seeing our
lives and our circumstances through Him, to become doers of the WORD and not just
hearers, we’ve got to be willing to put ourselves into the narratives of God’s WORD
and dare to let its Truths apply to the scenarios of our own lives.

At the end of 2009, right here, right now, this morning, I want to challenge you to
examine yourself. Are you more like MOSES, or more like the nameless SAMARITAN?

Like MOSES, you giving God excuses about why you can’t be or don’t want to be
humbly available for His exclusive use? Are you giving God’s excuses about how come
you can’t LET THE MAIN THING REMAIN THE MAIN THING? Be careful. Because the
patterns you’re establishing now — right now — the patterns of how you see yourself
in relation to God — patterns of how carefully you’re listening for God’s voice —
patterns of how obedient you are to God’s will for you in the NOW — these patterns
are setting the stage for who and what you’ll be for the rest of your life.

This morning, following the example of the SAMARITAN, I invite you to begin knowing
and experiencing God’s will in the midst of your journey. Not waiting for pie-in-the-
sky-in-the-sweet-by-and-by … but to begin living the adventure of a lifetime …
seeking, finding, and following God’s will in the midst of your journey. Right now
you’re in the most exciting chapter of your life — you’re surrounded by incredible
opportunities and you’ve got to stand up and say with confidence, courage, and faith
… THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING REMAIN THE MAIN THING.

Let’s pray.

%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%+%

      I’d like to close our final worship time of 2009 by sharing in the
      LORD’S Supper, Communion. Because one of the things that we can
      do to help us remember THE MAIN THING IS THAT THE MAIN THING
      REMAIN THE MAIN THING, is to stay focused, aware, alert, and alive
      to the fact that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, gave up His life, so that
      you and I might receive life … real life in the here-and-now, and
      eternal life for evermore.

      It’s easy to think that the wine and the bread just represent Jesus’
      body and blood in His death. And while they do symbolically portray
      Jesus Christ’s death and sacrifice on the cross … they also represent
      His life coming into our life … His power becoming our power … and
      His ways, becoming our ways. Oh how desperately we need Him!

      One of the things the Church has done together since at least the 5th-
      Century is to repeat THE APOSTLE’S CREED … often as they’ve taken
      the LORD’S Supper. And so I invite all of us to read together the
      words of this ancient creed … and as we do so may our hearts and
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      minds move past our fears, past our excuses, past our CRISIS’S. And
      may we be united in new and powerful ways with the death and the
      life of our precious Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah, Immanuel, God-
      With-Us, the only One we can yoke our lives to on this journey of life
      and have it make a real, and eternal difference. Let’s stand and read
      together.

      .PPT 27-28-29 …

                         THE APOSTLE’S CREED
      I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
      Creator of heaven and earth.
      I believe in Jesus Christ,
      God's only Son, our Lord,
      Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
      born of the Virgin Mary,

      suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      He descended to the dead.
      On the third day He rose again;
      He ascended into heaven,
      He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
      and He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

      I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy, united church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting.
      AMEN.

      .PPT 30 … MARK 14:22-24 (NEW CENTURY VERSION)
      22-24
            While they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God
      for it and broke it. Then He gave it to His followers and said, “Take
      it; this is My body.” Then Jesus took a cup and thanked God for it
      and gave it to the followers, and they all drank from the cup. Then
      Jesus said, “This is My blood which is the new agreement that God
      makes with His people. This blood is poured out for many.

Friends, as we receive this bread and this fruit of the vine, may we be made aware in
new ways of Jesus Christ's presence by faith, being spiritually real in and through us
as His followers. Come and receive. His body. His blood. His life … the only place
where forgiveness and everlasting life is found.

Closing prayer and The Blessing.

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