Sunday school, sermon, and camp

Finding God in the little things...

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Sunday school, sermon, and camp

Postby lobo on Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:16 pm

A month or so ago, I wrote on the chalkboard for Sunday School, “Obedience should be our first priority.” Since you are reading this electronically, you are spared from the “wonderful” sounds of the really bad chalk scratching across the board… 

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(I was hoping to find the file containing the following, so I wouldn’t have to retype it. But, I couldn’t. Those of you who where there may realize that there is more text here than what I spoke. Some of it, I couldn’t say without going through a box of tissues.)
The following is a sermon that I spoke on July 16, 2008, a week before we left for Youth Camp.

I have one verse and several pages of notes.
Psalm 23 verse four states: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Now, I will go through the verse word by word.

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“Yea, though I”

The valley of death isn’t something that we like walking through, or that we really want to walk through. We must accept the fact that it is something we must walk through from time to time. It is a natural part of life. No one can walk through that physical valley for us. Jesus has already conquered the spiritual valley of death.

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“Walk”

As we go through the valley, we walk in the shadow, so things may be hard to see at times. We may wonder why things happen the way they do, among a multitude of other questions. So, as we go through the valley, we must walk. If we run, we might trip and fall. Though the valley seems long and the road hard to travel, we must continue on. Don’t stop and set up camp – it’s not a good place.

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“Through”

The word “through” implies that something has another side, or an end. If I said I was going to walk through the church, you would assume that I would arrive at the other end.

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“Valley”

Death is not usually a mountaintop experience. You don’t often say, “ Experiencing death made me feel so good, I wish I could experience it all the time.” However, valleys are usually located between two mountains.

There is hope. We do not weep like those who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4
13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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“Shadow”

A shadow is a darker than normal spot. It happens when a light shines on an object. If there is no light, then you have total darkness. A shadow is just somewhere the light hasn’t reached yet.

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“Death”

There are many verses that deal with the topic of death. Here are a couple of the ones I like.

1 Corinthians 15
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

And

Colossians 2
13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Being 30, you may wonder just how much I would know about death. My Dad’s Dad passed away in 1981 when I was 4. My Dad’s Mom passed away in September 1994 – I graduated from High School the following May. My Mom’s Dad passed away in January 1997. Fifteen or so pets are gone from cancer, heart attack, MIA, trauma, and other reasons. One of the kittens died from accidental dog-inflicted trauma February 1997.

September 2004, I sat in the backyard holding Tyson the dog in my arms as he bled.
February 2008, I drove my aunt to the vet to have Molly euthanized. My uncle couldn’t go. I went in his place – it doesn’t make me better than him or worse than him, it just puts me a half-step outside the emotions. I went out that day hoping to ride along. I hold no hard feelings whatsoever – I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if necessary.

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“Fear”

Despite what we feel, those who are in Christ have no reason to fear.

2 Timothy 1
7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1 John 4
18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Psalm 56
11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

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“No Evil”

Matthew 10
28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 4
10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Romans 12
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

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“Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me”

Psalm 125
1They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
2As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
3For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
4Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
5As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.

Psalm 56
2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Psalm 44
1We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.
2How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
3For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.
4Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.
5Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
6For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
7But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.
8In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

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There are other valleys that people travel, also. Drug addiction, alcoholism, and others run rampant in our society.

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To get through the valleys of life

2 Corinthians 12
6For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Hebrews 4
7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

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Lessons learned
1. Sometimes you have to do things regardless of personal consequences (like how sad you feel). Sometimes the consequences of NOT doing them outweigh the consequences of doing them.
2. Saying goodbye to an animal that you care about, knowing that you may never see them again here on earth, is very hard. It’s even harder with people, but we never know when our time will be up. The human body is very fragile. You could slide off a roof, and into eternity. Car wrecks happen everyday. Rev. Mark McCalla went to the range after a meeting, and was found dead later after he had been robbed.
3. And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
… I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance
“The Dance” – Garth Brooks
How foolish would that be?
4. It’s hard, knowing that all you can do and have done isn’t enough. Even the best work of human doctors or vets isn’t enough sometimes.
A blog article hit me when I read it. “Collateral damage is inevitable. Sometimes in the midst of it I wonder why I fight at all. Arriving someplace only to find blood and loss, and seeing a form, thinking perhaps a survivor, and finding only blood and emptiness. Fire and rescue having performed futile efforts to revive that which is gone, and I realize that sometimes another’s life is not ours to save. Sometimes we have to let it slip quietly over the vale. And walk away.
http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/s ... results=10
5. Time is getting shorter everyday. The end gets closer everyday.

One day, everyone will stand before God and give an account of their lives. Some will enter into Heaven. Some won’t. Everything they have done in life will not be enough. What a sad day it will be for those people. To realize that all they had to do was accept Jesus and repent, but that the time has passed.

If I could, I would take your place and get you saved. If there was something I could do, I would do it. Hopefully, my life has illustrated that. But, I can’t do it for you. I can’t walk through the valley of death for you, but if you’ll let me, I’ll walk with you.

Each person will be held responsible for their own actions. I can’t get you into Heaven. If I could say, “I know ___________, they’re alright”, I would. My righteousness is as filthy rags. You’ll have to depend on Jesus to say, “I know ________, he/she is in My Book.”

There is someone who can. Jesus died for our sins, so that we can enter into Heaven.

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Then, came the scary part for me. (My emotions were starting to come out when I got to this part.)

After our last revival at church, at had to go to Fairmont to work one night. I sang along with the song in my truck, as I was driving. When the song was over, I thought, “Lord, I need to stop at Walmart. If the CD with that song is there, I’ll buy it and sing it sometime at church.” As I was looking at the CD at Walmart, I noticed it wasn’t the radio version and set it back down. A few feet down the aisle, I turned around and picked it up to buy it. I said I would sing it, so I have to sing it.

AJ pushed the play button, and I sang it.

Yes, you read that right. I sang a song.

Third Day - Cry Out To Jesus
From the album Wherever You Are
To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

Chorus:
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They’ve lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

Chorus:

When you’re lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

Chorus

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After the song ended, amid the silence, I asked Mitch to close in prayer.

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The next Sunday we left for camp at Glenville.

I will be the first to say that the Spirit of God isn’t limited to showing up just at camp. The Spirit can show up anywhere, but if you weren’t at camp you missed a move of the Spirit. In spite of (because of?) the injuries (attacks) that occurred, the Spirit of God moved. ( Note: Attacks can have two effects. They’ll either drive people apart, or they’ll draw people so close together that nothing can come between them.)

To those from camp:

Don’t let the flame that was started die out. Fan the flame with God’s Word.

Remain obedient. Don’t let fear rob you of a blessing.

There is a saying that “fear never arrives”. It will either not come, or if it does, you’ll be too busy dealing with it to worry.

To whom it may concern:

At campfire (this year and last), I sat on the outer ring. In life, I tend to stay on the outer ring. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to people or be with them. Bad things usually start on the outside and try to work their way to the inside. I would try to stop them, or at least slow them down (be a speedbump?). It is nice to come in from the cold.

In Christ Alone
First Line: In Christ alone my hope is found

"In Christ Alone"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
Look! An old man pulling a box of junk...
lobo
 
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