Psalm 34: 1-11
Ephesians 2: 1-14 & 19-22


So, what are you searching for tonight?  What are the challenges in your faith walk?  Do you recognize them?

I would argue that those who are not in a search mode related to God have reached a place where they aren’t alive and living but instead have accepted conformity to the world’s wishes and plans.  When someone thinks that they have have all that they need they clearly are pushing the Holy out of the way because we never truly reach the complete person of faith that God wants us to be until we join God in paradise.

Yes, it’s true that David declares in tonight’s Psalm, “I bless God every chance I get … I live and breathe God” but that’s the challenge; living and breathing God at every chance because even good church attenders find a need to compartmentalize the Holy.  When we travel through our days and weeks in our earthly existence it’s easy to have our hearts tarnished by what we observe.  It’s easy to become worn down and burdened even though God is there for God’s people of faith at all times.  It’s easy to limit those every chances to bless God and the concept of living and breathing God is much more of a challenge than an ongoing success story.

It’s so cool to consider that “God’s angel has set up a circle of protection around us” when we are having those deep in person conversations with God.  A Circle of Protection around us while we pray … here at THE RIVER it’s so easy to experience God’s goodness … open your mouth and taste … your eyes and see … dear friends where are you on the searching journey tonight?  I certainly hope that you are amongst “the blessed who are running to God. “

God’s people are different than the world … God’s people are the ones who understand that it’s right here in our hearts that reflects our journey.  Do you have a heart of gold?  A heart of God?   When you turn to God’s Holy Word you can mine for a heart of gold because it is right here in God’s Holy Book that you can find what it takes … how to change … leaving behind “the stagnant life of sin where the world told you how to live.”

We live in a time when it’s so easy to rush to condemn or be condemned … where long time friends are ending their friendships because of political stands in a land where the Freedom of our Speech has long been one of our greatest freedom but now we have become condemning people and I would argue that Paul’s statement to the church in Ephesus holds true today.  “Mired in a stagnant life … letting the world which doesn’t know the first thing about living tell you how to live.  Lungs filled with polluted unbelief and then exhaled disobedience.”  And, as Paul wrote including himself “We all did it … all of us doing what we felt like doing … it is a wonder that God didn’t lose God’s temper.”

Now, in these desperate times I am in agreement with David in today’s Psalm … “Worship God if you want the best; worship opens the doors to all His goodness.”  There is a struggle of course … man versus God … time versus “bowing down and rushing towards the Creator” … comfort in our worldly experience or challenged to stand up to the world.

I wish I had the answer but that conflict is there … I WANT TO LIVE … I WANT TO GIVE because the world has taught us that if we want to live there is a selfishness to that life.  The world … the world doesn’t want us standing up for anyone else … we can all recall the chants about taxes “It’s my money” but the truth is our tax dollars fund programs for the poor, which are usually the first targeted when tax cuts happen or even when tax cuts aren’t planned because there is the popular whisper that the poor somehow have caused their own poverty and therefore can lift themselves right out of their despair but as God’s people we want to give … we want to love.

So, I will repeat my namesake’s words … “COME CHILDREN, Listen closely … I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.”  I think sitting here tonight we have been singing songs of worship … This Little Light of Mine I am going to let it shine … Come just as you are before our God … come and confess that God is God … Jesus is Lord and Master that God’s Word really matters to you … worship in humble adoration of God … at times we need the stained glass windows but as we get old I find that in nature … in a place like this … we can realized God is so real but we have to make the choice … we need to take on God’s treasure … not human gold but a changed heart; a heart of Gold.

I wonder how many people who attended a church somewhere today will be eagerly digging into God’s Word tonight … tomorrow … maybe Tuesday … searching for a verse or chapter that speaks directly to them.  The wealth of faith … the power of God … the changing of our lives all because of the Almighty.  Will you be searching?  Tonight? Tomorrow?  Before you get too old …

God finds the moments … I often think of God as having many human characteristics and many times when I am heading to an event where there are many options about where to park my car I see the parking lot attendants waving their red flags and trying to get my to pull in.  The parking lots are there … spaces available and they are doing their best to bring me in.  But, it’s my choice whether I go in or not … it’s like God … God’s there always waving at humanity to come on in … worship, learn, get a heart of gold and be the people God wants us to be.  But all too often we just move on …

But, just as Paul writes … tonight “God has us where He wants us” … a starting point at least here on the RIVER.  And, friends “God is ready to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus … SAVING is all God’s idea! And, the cool thing is God has done all the work … we just have to trust in God enough to let God do it.  God’s gift start to finish” but in letting go here’s where that heart of gold comes in … it’s a two way highway … Paul writes, “God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the world He does; the GOOD WORK He has gotten ready for us to do … work … oh this might be the challenging part but Paul writes, the work we had better be doing.”

So, just as Neil Young writes about searching for that elusive Heart of Gold … until we believe we are wanderers lost minus salvation.   David a little further on in today’s Psalm adds … “Is anyone crying for help?  God is listening … ready to rescue you … and you … and those folks over there and me too.  If our hearts are broken we’ll find God right there.”

So, David says God’s our body guard … but once we find that we have a friend in Jesus who is more than a friend but a Savior then we are no longer wandering.  The kingdom of faith is now our home country. And frankly … we belong here.

So are you ready to start tomorrow all over again as a person who has the right to the name Christian because Christians are known first and foremost for our love of everyone; frankly for our hearts of gold … are you ready because it doesn’t matter how you got here nor how long you have believed but what matters is that you know what matters.

The foundation of Christianity was set a long time ago … Paul writes, “God used the apostles and the prophets for the foundation and now God is using YOU … fitting you in brick by brick and stone by stone with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together today in this world we are in” … people of faith … people whose hearts have been turned to gold by the Creator … look around; live your life with God and then you too can be part of the change this world needs … a change where our hearts help lead others to know God … accept Jesus and be guided by God’s Holy Spirit … building a home on earth as we recite in the Lord’s Prayer that is like heaven. THY KINGDOM DONE on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.  A place where God is truly at home.

God has freed us … We all can live … and let’s live in a way that others seeking a heart of gold can find God’s loving heart through our lives and actions towards others.  Let’s show we truly do care.




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