Psalm 40: 1-11
JOHN 1: 29-42

January 12, 2020

Sometime after midnight my brother sent me a text message … my second choice in the world of football lost their game last night so he asked me … who are you going to root for?

Now, I was fast asleep when he tried to reach me but this morning I started to review all of the teams that are left competing … teams that are still in contention.   A new team … because after all we all need a football team to root for, right?

In the spirit of the new year … I don’t think we all need a new football team.  Most of us in worship today if we follow any football team then we know that our teams are already starting to plan for the next season.  A season with potential … a season in which they hope to win.  Football fans will debate what is needed to make their teams a winner.

It’s easy to slip into the debates about what the world needs … it’s easy to get caught up in the world of sports and entertainment … the world of politics … the pursuit of prosperity.   We tell our friends, family members, and some of us even tell strangers why that football team needs a new wide receiver … that all our team needs is a starting pitcher … that some Senator or Congressman is no good … or perhaps that too much of MY tax dollars is helping the poor so cut Food Stamps.

But we are in church today … so, did you hear Lynn’s reading from David’s Psalm?  Did you hear the GOSPEL?  Did you hang on those words from our Holy Scriptures?

David writes about REVIVAL and the impact that a personal revival of faith can have on others.    David in this psalm of God could be writing to all of us who are alive and connected to a church today whether it is all of us who are here at St. Paul’s … those of you watching online … or people similarly connected to other churches around the world.   Because David in the simplicity of his words in today’s 11 verses reveals things we probably know if …. Darn, I always hate to throw that word IF into a conversation.

If we believe; truly believe and value that belief … If we have faith … If our understanding of the God who created the universe; the God who brought Jesus … the Holy Son of God who lives and reigns with God today … if you believe; if you value God and Christ and are open to the Holy Spirit then that puts you in a place of being able to work with the teaching of David that both provides for and is all about REVIVAL of your faith … REVIVAL of my faith.

Frankly, it’s all about understanding, accepting and implementing God’s teaching …

Actually, if you and I want to be serious about this for a moment.   Imagine God … ok, so we can’t really box God in.  Jesus says, “No one has seen the Father but the Son.”  So, that burning bush was sort of like God Face-timing with Moses but Moses didn’t see the complete God because God is bigger than that bush on fire.  Michelangelo did not see God before he painted that beautiful image of an older white man with his hand outstretched onto the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.  To be the One who constructed the entire universe with its black holes, stars, multiple universes, …  to design and create the multitude of living creatures that fill our land, seas and skies or once did … God is pretty awesome don’t you think?  God is incredibly powerful … that can not be denied.   And, since we are all here today or watching … I think we are willing to hear Jesus out and Jesus said that God loves and cares for the birds and the grass of the field.  God teaches and provided the most incredible example of love through Jesus going to the cross.

If we accept all that … don’t you think … don’t you believe … don’t you feel called to do what this amazing, powerful, all encompassing God tells us to do? Don’t you almost feel obligated to bow down in awe and worship God? Or, are the voices of our neighbors more important to our daily lives than God is?  More powerful?  More controlling?

So, I have felt that there is a great need for a revival of the Christian faith … not about a religion nor a denomination and perhaps not about any individual church building with a name on its front sign although churches are good starting points for revival.  I believe that the message of the Creator God … the message of Jesus … the openness to the Holy Spirit has been pushed aside in this era of connectivity with the world and others and that people of faith need to rediscover the One that matters and to sing a new song that revives who they are; who we are and results in a better world out there.  That revives us and gives us joy … hope and makes us each a better person because REVIVAL of our faith is not a negative … it’s not onerous … it opens us up to sense and obey God in ways we have never experienced before!  God who loves us and cares for us and wants the best for us!

CHURCH … SING A NEW SONG … EXPERIENCE REVIVAL … sing Joy to the world … David wrote that when he “put all of his hope in the Lord” that God “leaned down and listened.”  Then “the Lord lifted David out of the pit of death; out of the mud and filth, and set his feet on solid rock.”

Friends … there is a lot of mud and filth out in the world … our daily journeys take each us through that mess and some of us choose to lie down and roll around in the filth of the world but there is something so much better … but we need to make the choice … we need to put our hope in the Lord … we need REVIVAL …. “Those who put their trust in the Lord … those who pay no attention to the proud … those who pay no attention to those who follow lies … trusting the Lord God are truly happy!” Those who trust and connect in love with the God who created the universe … putting our hope in God not the world … David reminds us that then we are “truly happy!”

And, then what did God do for David once David put his trust in God… ‘He put a new song in his mouth … a song of praise for our God.”

Church are you open to the idea that as the year 2020 unfolds that we each need a new song … that we cannot live our yesterday’s but we need to live our tomorrow’s hearing God’s call … putting all of our hope and trust in God … and then having that special song of praise for God not just a Sunday song … not just an in the car song you listen to until it ends when the engine shuts off but a life changing song with meaning that transforms your world!

Your song of faith … your life experience that illuminates Jesus … the new star for the places you go … your happiness and hope in God no longer hidden but there for your corner your own small corner of the world to see.  Your daily actions as James teaches being examples of you living out your faith even when those actions and your faith contradict what the world expects you to do and to be.

One of the incredible results from revival … from people of faith taking on a newly energized connection with God is how others react.  It was true in David’s time and it’s true in our time.  Jesus told us to go out into the world bringing a message of faith … well I am here to tell you that when you act differently from the world … when you love all the strangers you encounter and when you care for the hurting and you do this with a smile and a positive attitude people are going to ask WHAT’s WRONG with YOU?  WHY ARE YOU HELPING THOSE people?

And, then you will have the opportunity to share your revival … to share your story … to pass along your song of faith.

David teaches “many people will learn of this and be amazed AND THEY WILL PUT THEIR TRUST in the LORD” because of your song of faith and mine.

So, I have to ask … How many times in your life have you said HERE I COME LORD?

Today we hear that David said it.  He wrote, “I want to do your will, my God!  I’ve told the GOOD NEWS of Your righteousness … I didn’t hold anything back, as you will know LORD!”  Yes, David knew he couldn’t fool God … God knows.

So, I am not suggesting that all of us break out in song because the gift of singing does not belong to all of us but its time to find your energy … to show off your joy that comes from knowing God is alive and well … of understanding that Jesus is in your life and the Holy Spirit is your guide.  What we have is not to be held as a deep secret but as David taught, “I did not keep Your righteousness only to be myself.  I declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation.  I didn’t hide your loyal love and Your trustworthiness!”

So, a new season has arrived … a new year.  Who are you rooting for?  How are you preparing for the ultimate championship game that will decide who the winners and losers are?   IS your faith in God being the One who has the love, the teaching, and the hope that you need and are you willing to get on God’s team rather than the world.

REVIVAL … find a new song … experience God and Christ in new and exciting ways.  Your happiness, your joy, your hope and your salvation are in your hands but the team that provides them all is coached by the One who created the universe!

Jesus turned to them and asked, “What are you looking for?”  When they told Him that they need to hear from Him then Jesus said “come and see.”  That same Jesus is asking who you are looking for and signaling come and see to you and me!

Experience God!  Live for Christ!  Listen to the Spirit and REVIVAL will be yours!


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