Los Alamos Church of Christ
God’s Desire For Us
Last week I offered a challenge. I offered a challenge to discover how we connect to God. The challenge I am offering, for the year, is to explore who we are, so we can learn our connectivity. We all are different. We all are unique. Everyone is wired a bit differently. We all connect to God in distinctive ways. Only you can worship God in the way you can worship God because God loves infinite variety.
God loves infinite variety like this… pictures of animals
The challenge I am offering, this year, is to discover our sweet spot of worship; connected to the God of infinities.
Last week I introduced the Nine Historical temperaments from Gary Thomas’s book – “Sacred Pathways”. These temperaments will be the starting point of our challenge. Let’s recap the Nine.
The Nine Temperaments
--The Intellectual: Mind and Truth
-- The Sensate: Beauty and Creation
--The Traditionalist: Ritual and Symbol
--The Enthusiast: Mystery and Celebration
--The Ascetic: Solitude and Strictness
--The Caregiver: Service and Compassion
--The Naturalist: Outdoors and Observation
--The Contemplative: Adoration and Intimacy
--The Activist: Confrontation and Injustice
We all have different levels of each of these temperaments… like slides on a sound board… You may be an 8 on Sensate and a 3 on Ascetic, a 1 Caregiver... or whatever. Hopefully, over the course of the challenge, we may find ways we can connect to God that are different than our current connections. It would be amazing to discover a way you have missed for your whole life.
We cannot escape the truth: We were made by God, for God, and we bear His image on our hearts. His trademark has been permanently woven into the fabric of every human soul. The very fact that we have been created in the image of our Creator assumes our need for connection with Him. We are incomplete without our God-connection, for our natures and destinies as those created in His image call us to glorify Him forever. This yearning for communion with our unseen, present Lord, who comes to us as Father, Son, and Spirit, is in every son of Adam and daughter of Eve.
--Myra Perrine-- What's Your God Language?
We have a challenge before us to discover our sweet spot of worship.
I am excited.
But this morning I want to talk about the other side of this challenge.
I want to talk some theology. Our view of God directly impacts the success, or failure, of our challenge. You have to ask the question… personally, “Does God desire to connect to me?” If I accept the challenge to find my sweet spot of connection, is God going to meet me there? Our theology is going to enhance or sabotage the challenge.
If our view of God is…
--Deism… God created me and has left me to work in out on my own… if God is doing others things someplace else in the galaxy… then I am going to find it hard to connect to a disinterested God.
--The Force… Have you seen the new Star Wars? Great movie/bad theology. The theology of the force is this impersonal power that is available to those who are strong in the force. But not a being; not a personality… That is a different challenge… You would be connecting to a power, not a person.
--Pagan view… God can be manipulated by offering the exact worship…formulas, spells, mantras, sacrifices… Then my connection to God would be scheming.
--Huge Scales of Justice… For every good thing I do God grants boons. For every bad I do God sends punishment. Connecting to this just God is going to be scary… like being in court before a judge.
--Angry God… If God is angry just waiting to fry us… do I want to connect to an irritated God?
Our theology is going to directly interact with the challenge to enhance or sabotage the challenge.
So, what is the biblical view of who God is? Does God want to connect to me? Connection is a two way street, if I accept the challenge of finding my sweet spot of worship…
--will it be impossible because God doesn’t care?
--will it be difficult because God is aloft?
--will it be all about me being perfect?
--will it be mostly a waste of time because I am typically a failure?
--will God respond to my honest attempts?
--will I find my sweet spot because God desires to be my God?
--does God want… me with all my warts?
--does God love me?
It seems like an important question before we even begin the challenge…we must to some theology.
When I have theological questions, I turn to Scripture. It is an Intellectual thing. It is who we are. Turning to Scripture is our heritage. Let me intellectually advocate, from Scripture, that God does want to connect to you.
Here is what I thought would be fun this morning. I found a Scripture which advocates that God desires to connect to us… for each of the Nine Temperaments; 9 Scriptures from the perspectives of the Nine Temperaments. So, whatever your main temperament I have a verse for you!
ESV Hosea 6:1-3 "Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth."
Hosea advocates a God who takes broken people and binds them up. Hosea advocates that we can know the LORD. By pressing on to know the LORD, as sure as the sun comes up every morning, the LORD will come to us like a spring rain!
If I could believe that… knowing God is possible… I would accept the challenge!
-- The Sensate:
ESV Psalm 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
David, as shepherd, connects to the LORD’s presence. Listen to the metaphors David stacks up:
--Imagine a painting of the still waters, green pastures…
--Feel the construction of the staff,
--Smell the food prepared for the table.
--Construct the dwelling place of LORD… forever.
Knowing I can dwell in the presence of the LORD makes me want to connect.
ESV 2 Chronicles 7:8-12 At that time Solomon held the feast for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly... And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication of the altar seven days and the feast seven days… Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king's house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished. Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.”
Solomon built the spectacular Temple with all the ritual and sacrifices and trappings and gold and ceremony… the LORD appeared to Solomon.
It is still possible for the LORD to fill his temple! We learned 1 Corinthians 6:13 – Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…You being the temple of the Spirit can be filled; connected to God.
ESV Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
This enthusiast psalmist believed God was given glory in praise… a connection was made in this sanctuary; together.
ESV Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
What an amazing prayer. Asking God to connect to my heart. Ridding myself of sin. God knows my heart. God hears my thoughts… God will lead me in the way of everlasting!
ESV Matthew 25:34-40 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Through loving the marginalized… we touch the Lord. We connect to the Lord when we connect to the hungry.
The LORD desires to be touched by us.
ESV Genesis 3:8-9 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"
The LORD God still calls to us among the trees. God’s ultimate desire is to walk with us in the Garden.
ESV Psalm 27:1-4 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Amongst the ugliness of the world… we can dwell in the house of the LORD in order to gaze upon his beauty!
--The Activist: Confrontation and Injustice
ESV James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Confronting evil, resisting all the devil’s works… draws us closer to God. Draw near to God and, and, and, he will connect to you.
These nine passages, along with the entire thrust of Scripture speak with the same voice… Our God desires connection. I could argue that the whole point of the Bible is a challenge for us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us!
The intimate life is, therefore, one of ongoing response to God's heart of passion for us-a response to His invitation to commune and partner with Him... now. He calls us to an eternal love relationship with Himself, the God of truth and grace, who-no matter what we've done-invites us to come and begin again with Him in the sacred dance. It is not so much about what we do with God-having a quiet time, spending time in prayer, serving-because it is not a perfunctory thing. It is more about who we are with God… being open, letting Jesus in, allowing ourselves to engage with Him heart to heart, trusting Him in the moment because it is a relational thing. And even more important, in the final analysis, it is not about what or who we are with God but what and who God is with us. He is the One who both initiates and sustains the invitation in this relationship.
--Myra Perrine-- What's Your God Language?
There has never been or ever will be someone who is just like you. This isn’t a testimony about you, but rather a statement of God’s infiniteness. The significance of your uniqueness is… only you can worship God like you. No one can take your place. You are invaluable and irreplaceable. AND God desires you.
Join me in reciting…
My temperament is God’s gift to me.
My temperament is my gift to God.
My temperament is my gift to the body.
My temperament is my gift to the world.
January 10, 2016
Los Alamos Church of Christ