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Sermon - November 4, 2012

Sermon - November 4, 2012

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Published by SmithfieldBaptist
Bert's message.
Bert's message.

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Published by: SmithfieldBaptist on Jan 03, 2013
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01/03/2013

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November 4, 2012 Message Surprised By Love1.Why does Jesus combine love of God and love of neighbor and self in his description of the mostimportant commandment? Why does he see the two as one?My answer is that I think it is easy to separate the two…It is easy to love God…and we often find “easy” ways to do it…The sacrificial system of Judaism allowed humans to live with the illusion that they could substituteliving animals as sacrifice for their sins…pleasing God by offering someone else’s life for their own.This week a woman struggling to understand all the different ways people express their faith…asked…why did they wave that awful smelling smoke over my mothers coffin at her funeral? We hada good lively discussion of the ancient practice of burning incense to please God with the sweetsmelling aroma…we even connected it with the Native American practice of smudging…wavingsmoking sage to cleanse those who would enter the sacred circle. Well it smelled awful she said and Idon’t think God was happy with it.In a way she was right…the tradition had lost meaning…connecting believers with God…conveyinglove…Love to have meaning often has to expressed in action that shows real loving actions that makesense…make an impact…What does the Lord require of you, the prophet asks?…confronting the same question…what is itthat really pleases God…to do justice…love mercy and walk humbly with our God…As the Elder offers consolation to the young woman seeking to communicate how hard this active love ishe comforts her and then offers:"I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thingcompared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and inthe sigh to fall. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with alllooking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labour and fortitude, and for somepeople too, perhaps a complete science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting further from your goal instead of nearer to it -- at that very moment Ipredict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all thetime loving and mysteriously guiding you." (Ibid, 55)I saw love in action three times this week…My first illustration of love, just simply the power of love and its importance in our lives… took placein the ER of the hospital. Carol and I were waiting for Sandi to get the care we needed. Into thewaiting room came a family of mom and dad and two small children. The little boy was obviouslyhaving trouble and was the patient…mom and dad worked as a great team…taking care of the kids…one in a baby chair…the other just a toddler…their was love and respect…nurture…Dad and mommaking sure the children were safe and cared for. Equal partners sharing responsibility…listening toeach other choosing the direction they would take…it was beautiful to see the love they had for eachother and the children.Love is the force that keeps us alive…Love is more important in making our decisions…choosingdirection for our lives…love gives life and love is the power that surprises us with gifts of grace,forgivenessThe second illustration would be a great reflection in a human relationship of what God wants forus…It showed why Jesus emphasized how important the love of God is for each of us…Stop andlisten…Hear O Israel…A father and son came to help Carol and I move a safe out of the cellar of her mother’s house. It wasa tough job taking lots of cooperation and hard work…Reggie…impressed me…he took the time to

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