Deuteronomy 30: 9b-18b
LUKE 10: 25-37

July 12, 2020

My goodness have you ever had one of those days when things just turned topsy turvy? When life gets all messed up … it can start in the morning hours or be blended into your day as the time passes but eventually you reach the point of declaring to yourself and perhaps even to the world ‘I WON’T!!’ ENOUGH … I am done and finished in the moments.

It’s funny when Debbie told me about the one song that she wanted to sing together today I realized that I didn’t know it. But, then she said it was a country song and I went ahh … because I am not a country music type of guy but as I listened to the song and heard the words it was like God speaking …

Friends, do you ever hear the Almighty even when you don’t want to? Do you ever hear Jesus even when you are so so busy? Do you ever experience the Holy even in the mundane and unexpected?

And, most importantly …. Have you ever sensed God reaching out to touch you as you were having one of those I WON’T DAYS and you decided not to listen? Even knowing that in the moment your I WON’T applied to hearing the Creator’s call for you? Yes, you … the individual … the person you are … when the CREATOR calls for you on some of your I WON’T days does God provide a bright spotlight reminding you of God’s love and God’s call to each of us to make disciples for God … for Jesus .. for the Kingdom? Do you pause in thanks and follow?

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold. I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.”  Even in the midst of these challenging times … even when the solution to our fears and anxieties can be found in the love of God … we far too often make another choice.

John teaches that there is no fear in Jesus’ perfect love. Jeremiah shares the hope God has for all of us … all humanity were made in God’s image. All humanity are offered salvation through Jesus Christ. But some … ok many choose to say “I Won’t” when given the chance to have Jesus love embrace them. To have the Holy Spirit direct them and instead they jump right into fear’s cesspool that has the power to overcome anyone without hope. To swallow up those pushing God aside.

Was your heart moved this morning … did your mind contemplate … did tears come to your eyes as you sang “I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand?”  Friends, think about it … consider whether you want to walk the walk that God has provided a bright shining light of salvation for … one of hope and everlasting life filled with joy … it means taking the hands of Jesus. It means being one with His teaching and picking up our cross to follow.

This morning are you willing to be led by a hand the nails pierced on the cross?  The hand of the one who died a horrendous death for the sins of the world only to be resurrected from the dead on Easter morning … humankind’s huge boulder pushed away the powers of hate defeated and the power of God’s true love victorious … the angels … the light … turning to the women; it was JESUS … they ran and shouted to the men HE IS RISEN … << HE IS RISEN INDEED>>

Yes, Jesus Christ … the Messiah that the prophets wrote of … the Son of God who has been with God from the beginning and now had come to clarify God’s expectations while also providing a simple road of salvation. BELIEVE … FOLLOW … LIVE

Are you willing … are you interested … in taking Jesus hand not just for these church and worship moments wherever you are around the world because frankly in these moments I will admit it’s easy to nod our heads … just like the many who raise a hand in church or who have stepped up to an altar after a preacher begs them to … but are you saying I WILL after church? Are you saying I WILL on Monday or Tuesday when God gives you an opportunity for your faith to be alive or are your days filled with the quick and easy thought …. It’s ok … today’s just one of those I WON’T for Jesus days … tomorrow will be different or if not tomorrow the next day yea yea … that next day I can have an I WILL DAY for God day again but for now I am having an I WON’T DAY.

Oh that song … we sang “leaning safe and secure from all alarms” and then together we sang that we’d “rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”

So, here we are on a Sunday. Many times when folks sing in church or at home like you have today its just a song but I consider hymns and songs of praise to be prayers and commitments and faith statements and challenges. So, today on this Sunday morning I am wondering where we are as a collective. I again need to consider who I am and what I am but where you are sitting or standing this morning are you ready to consider what you want most? Need most? And, then perhaps are you ready to say I will live for the One whose nail pierced hands are reaching out to hold me? That is perhaps the greatest challenge of all.

Faith and belief are words … simple words that imply meaning when others hear us say them. I can say to all of you I have faith. Now, since I am a pastor you would think … yep, he wouldn’t have that job without faith but I could tell you I have been shocked by the confessions of some with my title who clearly have no faith.

I have sung that “I believe for every new drop rain that falls a flower grows. I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows. I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way. I believe. I believe.”

But, does that show what I believe? Friends, what do you believe this morning? I can take that lyric from the song that I just quoted I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way. But, what if that person is you … and you are having an I Won’t Day. That one opportunity for that person who has gone astray can be lost because a person of faith chose to live the way of the world … a person who attends church and that desperate hurting person thinks they have might an answer through that one person … but instead hears repetitive taunts and divisiveness that drown out peace and love in all of our corners.

We do not have any insight into the thought process of the religious leader and the Levite as they saw the victim of injustice on one side of the road. The man was beaten and near death. Stripped of everything he had. Yet, the priest who was walking on the same side of the road as the victim made the decision to cross away from the pain of another … he had the faith title and the power but he chose no. The Levite was also on the same side of the road as the beaten man … friends, have you ever been on the same path as someone who has been caused pain and injury? Suffered injustice? And you crossed away hoping the image would fade away and knowing you did not do the man harm yourself? Well, the Samaritan went to him.

The lesson of Jesus through the Good Samaritan is the lesson of God’s expectations for those coming home to God one day. Because that’s where the question was focused … that’s why the story was told … it was not about an accidental I WON’T DAY by the priest and the Levite … the question was who gets eternal life and it was the one who showed loved of neighbor by saying I WILL care for the one who is hurt! I WILL stand up against the injustice of the moment.

Life gives us real and clear challenges. Life also gives us all so many choices and we can keep ourselves busy in our days by going through thousands of Netflix binge options, rallying on social media or just finding our opportunities to be me, myself and I.

But today I really want each of us to focus in on how we can start to effective reject the I WON’T for GOD days. The I don’t have it in me to do that for God or Jesus days and I WON’T. The God didn’t give me the ability to take that on so I WON’T days.  Today, I want each of us to again consider the value of holding the loving hands of Jesus in our daily walk.

I want each of you to just take a deep breath with me … find that restful spirit moment and shake off the stuff that might be having you lean towards an I Won’t Listen Day because that’s easy. DEEP BREATH.

Listen again to the words from the TORAH, the book of Deuteronomy. “Look here! Today, I’ve set before you LIFE and what’s good versus death and what’s wrong. IF YOU obey the Lord your God’s commandments by loving the Lord your God, by walking in God’s ways, and by keeping God’s commandments then you will live and thrive.”

LIFE VERSUS DEATH … what’s GOOD VERSUS WHAT IS WRONG.  Jesus confirmed that to have everlasting life you must “LOVE THE LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

LIFE versus death … Good versus what is wrong. But, friends it’s a lifestyle; it’s a life change; it’s not a few scattered moments its becoming the person who rushed to care for the broken not the one who says I didn’t cause the problem so it’s not my problem. The Good Samaritan didn’t cause the problem either but he used his money to give the hurt man a good room and all that was needed for him to be restored.

And, so today we sang, “Jesus is fairer than Lillie’s or rarest bloom. He’s sweeter than honey from our of the comb. He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.”

There’s your challenge … I know Jesus is all that any of our hungering spirits need. God’s love will erase our fears and give us hope. But we need to let Jesus lead. If you want some help in discovering the joy in having I WILL DAYS while rejecting the I WON’T DAYS or if you just need some help discovering out to let Jesus lead please reach out to our church … we will pray with you and help you because we all need to be leaning … leaning safe and secure from all alarms. THIS I BELIEVE. AMEN

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