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Sermon 02102013

Sermon 02102013

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Published by SmithfieldBaptist
Bert's Message
Bert's Message

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Published by: SmithfieldBaptist on Feb 09, 2013
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02/09/2013

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February 10, 2013MessageHe Lights Up Our Lives
So many nights I'd sit by my window, Waiting for someone To sing me his song.So many dreams I've kept deep inside me. Alone in the dark But now you've come along.(Chorus):And you Light up my life. You give me hope To carry on.You light up my days And fill my nights With song.Rolling at sea, Adrift on the waters. Could it be finally I'm turning for home?Finally, a chance To say, "Hey, I love you," Never again To be all alone.(Chorus x2)It can't be wrong, When it feels so right. 'Cause you... You light up my... Life DEBBY BOONE - YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE LYRICS Joe Brooks…author 1.Have you ever climbed a mountain?How many of us have ever climbed a mountain…a steep hill…a long set of stairs…like getting to the top of the empire state building…the Bunker Hill monument…?What did you like most about the climb?What did you like the least about the climb?First, I am going to say that what we probably like best…and you all may have said it already…isgetting to the top…the thrill of the view from the top of many mountains is wonderful…even our smallmount Tom offers the chance to sit and look out over North Pond…Little North Pond…it is no wonder  people love to picnic there…no wonder people settled Mt. Tom and enjoyed the view everyday of their lives.You realize something…the world is a beautiful place…your heart is touched…you stand in awe…for many of us the mountain top is a place where we feel closer to God to the creator of all this beauty thatsurrounds.Second, getting to the top of the mountain you have that wonderful experience of commaraderie…Meeting other hikers who have made the climb…sharing with your own partners in the climb…tellingstories about how hard it was or where you got off the trail or some funny thing one of the other climbersdid on the hike.A few years ago Tim took us all on a week of youth activities…one of our experiences was climbing Mt.Blue. It was a really great chance for a group of us to have fun together…Mike Jones was with us so wereothers from our church family. The climb was great but the fellowship was awesome…it united us…it brought us together…it made us a fellowship.Again a moutain top experience is often a deep sense of connection not just with the natural world butwith the brothers and sisters we share this world with. You figure it out…I am not alone in all this crazyworld…others are with me…beside me..there for me when I need them…just as I am there for them…another one of God’s great gifts…we aren’t in this all by ourselves…is something the mountain topexperience contains.Finally, getting to the top…you have this wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Getting to the top of Katahdin with the scouts a few years ago we have the chance to finally gather at the summit. The view wasamazing in all directions…but more important than anything was that feeling of accomplishment. Some of the boys had run all the way up. Others were the last to come and they were exhaused…but if you look atthe pictures we took you see the real deep joy they felt…We made it!
 
When you reach the mountain top…You have the great experience of knowing you did it. Youstruggled…you wanted to turn back when you reached the boulder field…but you didn’t quit. You wantedto quit when you fell or when you just got exhaused…But you didn’t you kept going.Probably those are the experiences we like least about climbing…the long hard climb…physicalexhaustion…uncertainty about about ability to make it…unpredictabel weather…equipment failure…forgetting to bring something that we really needed…getting lost…off the trail and having to struggle tofind your way again…you thought about quitting…But, again, despite the things you didn’t like… you didn’t quite. On that mountain top you foundsomething out about yourself and it made you proud and glad…and maybe you gave thanks that a power greater than yourself kept you going and helped you grow courage so you could do it again.Mountain top experiences are experiences in which we experience something very deep happening within us…that builds faith in this world…in Our God and in our ability to hang tough and stick with the tough things inlife. Mountain top experiences stay with us when we get back down and off the mountain and color our livesfor a long time after.2.Reading about Jesus and his discples and their mountain top/transfiguration experience reminded me of the important of mountain top experiences in our lives and especially in the life of Faith. So did hearingthe story of Moses and his meeting with God on the mountain. So did the psalmists proclamation of thegreatness of God. Finally, so did Paul’s statement of faith that when we put on Christ we see life as it ismeant to be.First thing to think about a mountain top experience…Mountain top experiences do tell us about howhow the struggles we have in life to reach our mountian tops can help us grow in faith…in God…in othersand in our selves.That is the opposite of how we usually think about mountain top expereinces…or powerful religiousexperiences…that they come unexpectedly…in a beautiful place…a peaceful spot…a kind of touched by anangel experience and of course those things do happen…in a beautiful church or a wonderful worshipexperience…in a song…in a deep healing loving relationship…an unexpected gift… Those are mountaintop experiences.But I think that even these experiences that seem to come to us so unexpectedly…out of the blue are verymuch a part of long hard climb we are making in faith… they come in the long hard road of struggle thatyou and I expereince facing some deep challenge to our lives and our sense of security…at a time when wehave stepped out of our comfort zone and followed a deeper leading.The apostle Paul writes his letter of encouragement to the Corinthian church after just such a long hardstruggle…spelled out in the first chapter of this letter. As one writer has put it…Paul had a near deathexperience in which those who opposed him took it in their hands to kill him. He excaped from them but barely and the pain, injury, deprivation of his enounters stayed with him. But so did God’s saving grace…So deeply was Paul affected by his experiences that he has to write and tell his friends in Corinth thatKnowing Christ saved his life and can save theirs as well. The vale is off…Paul says…now I see clearlyhow God in Christ directs, guides, protexts and leads my lifeWhy me? A young mother asks…This was her reaction when she learned her baby soon to be born hadDowns syndrome. What would I do with him? Should we have him or keep him? Could we keep him andcare for him? What will become of him? All those questions were struggled with as her baby grew andtogether they faced all the challenges his condition raised for them. But now she says…I wouldn’t have him be anyone else. He is kind to a fault…often to a very great fault becaue he knows no boundary to hiskindness. He just shines with love she says and for all our struggles the love we have for each other makesthe struggles a gift we give each other.Second thing about a mountain top experience comes from the gift of God’s presence made real in our lives…it comes in many forms…and many times it comes from the long hard climb to the summit of whatever mountain we are having to climb.
 
The experience of God can be very different for each of us…for some it can be looking out over thelakes and hills and having a deep sense of joy in he world around us.Please read that 23
rd
psalm at my funeral I am so often asked. I love the picture it paints of God as asheperd leading his flock through green pastures and beside still waters.On the mountain top we meet God and God becomes very real to each of us in the ways that we needHim and He needs us.For some the gift of God’s grace comes through a powerful religious experience in which who God isand what God does and what God wants of us becomes clear. It can be that experience of a calling to faithand to following.The mountain top experience of Peter and James and John comes at a crucial time in their lives asdisciples. They have been following Jesus through his active ministry and they have reached that high pointwhere they have been challanged to say who he is…You are the Christ, Peter responds…on the mountaintop their insight is confirmed and as they come down from the mountain what they have been called to do ismade clear as they meet a poor demon posessed boy and they see how Jesus and faith in him can heal this broken son and the broken world he lives in.A young man who is becoming a licensed pastor for a local church tells his story. For twenty years hehas been an active layman and a very successful business man. He has a great deal of skill working with systems and managing a business…but he tellsus that he began to get the feeling…a deep sense of calling…to something more than manipulating facts andfigures…he wanted to make a difference in peoples lives in a more spiritual way…He wanted to do this andto serve God…He has had a hard mountain to climb…he has had to work and study…travel to texas to aseminary their…meet the requirements of his denomination…but he says this…every day now that I go towork I go to work with a smile…I work hard…I enjoy every minute of what I do.Third and finally , mountian top experiences go with us…back down our mountains into the flat lands andvalleys where we have the chance to try out the wonderful gifts we discover and help others find their giftsas well.That is the whole point of all the bible stories we have read today. On the mountain you are blessedwith a new way of looking at the world…in all its beauty…all its wonderful opporunities to experience itwith others… people and communities…all its opportunities for growth and for sharing goodnews withothers. But you can’t stay on the mountain…Transfiguration Mountain or any of the mountains you and Ichoose to climb..Peter would like to stay on the mountain…he wants to build some booths and camp out there it has beensuch a powerful experience…Jesus says no…this is a blessing…keep it to yourself…lets get going we havethe rest of our jouney ahead of us …our Journey into Jerusalem and death and resurrection and church planting through out the world.Bill Wilson…who helped found AA had a very powerful mountain top experience…in his desperationto find sobriety he came to a cross roads in which he, after so many failures, finally just threw himself onGod…and like those who have the experience of light and life…his whole body filled with the warmth andlight of God…But Bill didn’t stay there on the mountain…he came down from his hotel…contacted Dr.Bob out in the midwest and they got together and started a movement…a faith movement that said…withthe help and blessing of God we can, as a community of broken people, help ourselves and others findhealing from our addictions. A powerful opportunity…born of the mountain top gifts of new life…transferred to living everyday and sharing the experience with others.I invite us today…to open ourselves to this same healing process…We know how mountain tops affect us…now lets let the experience of God…in Christ Jesus…draw us closeto Him so we can know Him as He wants to be for us…Come and join us in this fellowship of faith…We have much work to do to share Jesus with a very needy world…Come …accept Christ and let him lead you and bless you everyday.

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