Sunday, June 13, 2021

Stuck in the Middle pt 2 - Destiny Decisions - @BishopDudleyPHD

 

Pericope:  1 Kings 18:20-29 - 20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him. “But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Sermon Text: 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

Sermon Title: Stuck in the Middle Pt 2 Destiny Decisions

Point 1: Delayed destiny decisions delay your destiny

Verse 21 - Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions [ESV limp, NLT hobble, MSG sit on the fence, CEV try to have things both ways, LB waiver]? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

…How long will you go limping between two opinions…

Point 2: Make a Decision Vs 25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”

(a)        The future without pain…Jesus was looking at the cross…

(b)        The fear of getting it wrong…faith is risk taking and without movement faith is dead

(c)        The fear of reaction of family and friends…they neither live with you in the middle nor your future even though they are controlling it…

Transition: You cannot get stuck in the middle, you have to make a decision in order to get to your destiny, and you have to be DETERMINED!

Point 3: Determined Decision verse 34 and 35 - 34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. When we look at the story we see

Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

Point 4: Decisions that Deliver Destiny

(a)        Timing (look at the confluence of events e.g., the Mississippi River is a confluence of rivers)

(b)       Trusting (Romans 8:28 God will work things together for the good according to his purpose))

(c)        Temperature (everybody is not going to like what you do…the thermostat never pleases everyone)

(d)       Treasure (there should be some reward, personal growth, personal gain, etc.)

(e)        eTernity (what impact will it have on the kingdom and eternity)

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Stuck in the Middle

 

Sermon Text:  Lamentations 3:22-23 - 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

Sermon Title:  Stuck in the Middle

Point 1: How did I get in the middle of this? 1: 1 How…

How she sits alone, the city once crowded with people! (Lam. 1:1).

How the Lord has overshadowed Daughter Zion with his anger! (Lam. 2:1).

Jerusalem is portrayed as a lonely widow and as a princess who is now a slave (1:1).

The city weeps with “tears on her cheeks,” being abandoned by her former lovers and opposed by friends (1:2).

The once-glorious nation is now scattered “among the nations” with no resting place (1:3).

The people of God are facing the judgment of God because of their sin – “Jerusalem sinned grievously” (Lam. 1:8).

Point 2: How do I get out of the middle of this? Vs 22- 23

The first part of Lamentations 3 (verses 1-20) is dark and hopeless, but the second part (verses 21-66) reflects an emerging level of trust.

Look at the contrast:

Lamentations 3:18: Then I thought, “My future is lost, as well as my hope from the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:58: You championed my cause, Lord; you redeemed my life.

The key to the change and contrast is found in verses 21-24: 21 Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! 24 I say, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will put my hope in him” (Lam. 3:21-24).

And yet, as Jeremiah laments this destruction, he still says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.”

Point 3: How do I stay out of the middle going forward? As we turn to chapter 4 of Lamentations, we notice that Jeremiah contrasts the before and after experience of God’s people.

Conclusion:

The book of Lamentations ends with a hopeful prayer: 21 Lord, bring us back to yourself, so we may return; renew our days as in former times, 22 unless you have completely rejected us and are intensely angry with us (Lam. 5:21-22).

The ESV translates verse 21: Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.

Life Application: So, let’s review what we have learned today.

First, sin can get us stuck in the middle… and God’s new mercies gets us out

Second, we learn that we have often created idols in our lives that we are valuing and depending on more than God…

 

 

Family Exercise

    worship (online only) please complete the Life Application from the sermon.  See attached or below.   Family Exercise – Virtual Family S...