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WHO AM I? Sermon Series: “The Heart of the King” January 31, 2010 – 2 Samuel 7: 4-18 The Church of the Covenant This is the second sermon in the series, “The Heart of the King”, where we explore together the secrets of leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ, by looking at King David and seeing what it takes to be a “man after God’s own heart”. If last Sunday’s sermon pointed to the absolute confidence of David as he went into battle with Goliath then this Sunday’s sermon points to the utter humility of David in knowing that all that has been provided has been provided by God. It is this strange combination of absolute confidence in God coupled with an absolute humility in oneself that point to the heart of a King and rests at the core of Christ-centered leadership. This sermon came to me more than 8 years ago now when I traveled as part of a mission team to Kenya, to be part of working on the building of a clinic at the Njoro Presbyterian Church in the central Rift Valley of Kenya. In the worship services of the church they often sang a hauntingly beautiful song whose verse repeated over and over again, “Who am I?” and I finally mustered enough courage to ask what this was about. They responded it was King David’s statement from second Samuel that serves as our scripture for today –“Who am I, O Lord God…that Thou hast brought me thus far?” (2 Samuel 7: 18) Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? When you’re on a mission trip overseas and especially when you’re a pastor you have to be prepared to preach at the drop of a hat. There’s no waffling on this; you can’t say –“O I’m so sorry, I left my sermon notes in my other jacket”. Nope. They just wouldn’t understand and you would come off as the most unspiritual of all pastors. So there was supposed to be a special service to raise money for the clinic there in Njoro on Sunday; it is called a Harambee, basically, sort of the combination of stewardship Sunday and a revival meeting. All the presbytery would be present and all the presbytery’s ministers. So naturally I became worried that somehow I was the preacher of the day and they were going to spring it on me at the last minute. So I asked Pastor Kaugi of the Njoro Church –“Kaugi, am I preaching on Sunday?” And he said, “Absolutely not, the Reverend Solomon Kamau was preaching.” But somehow I just knew I was preaching. So I asked, “And Kaugi there are not going to be two sermons on Sunday?” And he said, “Absolutely not, Pastor Stu, only one sermon and that by the Reverend Solomon Kamau.” But in my heart I knew I was preaching the next day. So I asked him again on Saturday, “Kaugi, you’re sure I’m not preaching tomorrow?” And Kaugi, now thinking I was suffering from Alzeimer’s replied just two words –“Solomon Kamau”. But I went to bed that night sure I was preaching the next day and as I prayed this was the text that came into my mind –“Who am I…that Thou hast brought me thus far?” When I awakened early the next morning again I was certain I was preaching and this text danced throughout my head. So we arrived in the vestry at the church; packed like sardines with all the pastors of the presbytery and the elders of the church and the 16 members of our mission team, and it was very, very quiet. The service that was to begin at 10:00 a.m. had already started and it was now at least 10:15. Finally, Pastor Kaugi stood up and deeply intoned –“I regret to inform you that the Reverend Solomon Kamau has had car trouble and will not be able to be here”. I smiled. But Kaugi, ever the wise pastor, didn’t try to offer a solution, he just sat down (Note to self: Add this to pastor rules of “How to be a pastor and keep your head attached to your body at the same time”). Finally, after a long prayer by an elder, another elder stood up and intoned, “God was calling us to ask one of our visiting pastors to preach today.” There was another pastor with us on our team, Pastor Emily, and I looked over to see a look of horror on her face and all the blood draining from her head. That elder sat down. After a long time another stood up and intoned, “Pastor Stu, we believe you are called by God to preach.” I smiled. I knew it. And I nodded my head in agreement. Now mind you, it is now 40 minutes after the service has started and we are about to begin to process outside into the “tent city” they have constructed; there are so many Kenyans present, well more than 1,000, that we couldn’t fit in the sanctuary. So we file in singing and as I am processing I am hurriedly and worriedly flipping through my Bible trying to find this passage –I’d look really dumb if I tried to preach on a text I couldn’t find! And by the way, in Kenya, you don’t preach these little 20 minute American sermons, O no, you preach AT LEAST a 45 minute sermon; if you preached a 20 minute sermon they’d think something was wrong; in Kenya you haven’t even gotten to the Bible text in 20 minutes!!! Never complain, please, about the length of my sermons, please! But basically I had about 20 minutes sitting in the service to prepare. You’ve heard of Saturday Night special sermons (preachers waiting until Saturday to prepare) well this one was a Sunday Morning Special! And I preached and I preached and I preached about the humility of David but how out of the humility of David, God was able to build Himself a house, a temple. How God took a simple shepherd boy and gave him the heart of a King. How God made an everlasting covenant with David that someone in his house and lineage would always sit on the throne of Israel. How this promise found its fullest fulfillment in Jesus Christ, He of the house and lineage of David, He who is now King of Kings and Lord of Lords, reigning in power from heaven. How out of the humility of knowing that only Jesus could build that new clinic, out of our humility, that God was able to build Himself a new clinic, a place of healing for a community of more than 300,000 people who didn’t have a hospital and who only had one government run clinic and as the locals said, the government clinic “had no medicine”. Humility wrapped in God’s power –that’s who King David was… “Who am I”, said David, “that Thou (O God) hast brought me thus far?” And as I’m preaching at that Harambee, I am looking out on the crowd, swaying with the power of the Holy Spirit, and I am preaching “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” as the scripture says, and God is speaking into my heart, and I stop, and I realize, I am preaching to all these people on the other side of the globe, in Kenya of all places, and I think, “Lord, you have brought me so far”; “Lord, I would have never imagined when I was young speaking in front of this many people, let alone speaking in public, let alone speaking to this many people on the other side of the globe.” This is huge. This is large. “Who am I?” that You, O Lord, have done this for me? “Who am I?” that You should consider using me in such a way? “Who am I?” “Who am I, Lord, that Thou hast brought me thus far?” I’m just the quiet little kid in the front row in school. I’m just the person who read books and studied. I’m not the popular kid. I’m not the cool kid. I’m not the athlete. I’m not the student leader. I’m always awkward when I speak. I’m shy. I have thick glasses. Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? And I realized what God had done for me. And I realized in that moment what God was doing through me. And I wept un ashamedly in that rude wooden pulpit. I wept for what God can do in someone’s life. I wept in deep humility for the person I had become and the things God was willing to do through me. And they wept, too. Those Kenyans wept. Tears and tears and tears and tears, for all that they thought could never be, for all their feelings of inadequacy and inability, their whole life they had been told what they couldn’t do, for all the times they convinced themselves they were unable to do what God had called them to do. They began chanting over and over and over again, “Who am I?” “Who am I?” “Who am I?” O, you are a CHILD of the King. You are special and beloved in the sight of God. You have unlimited possibility because of who you are in Christ. You have the mighty power of the Almighty at your disposal. Who are you? Who am I? We are the ones God has chosen to make a difference in our world. We are the ones to build clinics in Kenya. We are the ones to turn dying cities like Washington around and give them new life in Jesus’ name. We are the ones who are salt and light in our world. We are children of the King in whom beats the heart of the King. We are the ones with the hearts of Jesus beating within. We are the ones in whom Jesus dwells. We have the heart of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords beating within our heart. And that day, that day, these people, these Kenyans, who earn on average only $.50 per day, these Kenyans, most of whom were unemployed, these people who understood that they were children of the King, they gave every nickel to fund that clinic, every cent needed to build that clinic was given on that day. The elders rejoiced; they thought it was impossible; they danced in front of the pulpit when the total was announced. And there is a clinic in Njoro Kenya today because people discovered who they really were in Jesus Christ that day. If that’s what Kenyans making $.50 a day can do; what can we do??? “With God all things are possible.” It is true we need to believe in God. It is also true we need to believe in our spiritual leaders. Ah, but it is all the more true that we need to believe in ourselves; we need to believe that we are the ones chosen and empowered to do great things for God; we need to believe that it is God’s power and Jesus’ heart at work in, around and through us that makes a real difference for our world. It is God’s power wrapped in our humility… Who am I? That’s who I am. Who are you? That’s who you are. Who are we? That’s who we are. Who am I? I stand up here every Sunday, here at The Church of the Covenant, amazed and astonished that God has called me to preach. Who am I that Thou, O Lord, hast brought me thus far? Take on the heart of the King and watch what God can do through you! Amen. By: The Reverend Dr. Stuart D. Broberg, The Church of the Covenant, Washington, PA IF THIS HAS BLESSED YOU, PLEASE PASS IT ALONG TO A FRIEND!
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