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Seeking Secular Souls

Conrad Vine
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Conrad Vine

President of Adventist Frontier Missions

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  • January 18, 2018
    11:00 AM
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Entitle a sermon for today seeking secular souls and as we open God's word. And spar heads and ask God to open our hearts and our minds Thank you Father for the freedom we enjoy here to worship you voices and praise to follow the dictates of our conscience our fathers we gather here together I pray that we will hear your voice for the voices of our world will slowly fade away into the background and we will hear your voice and your voice alone saying to every sinner gathered here today tenderly tenderly and softly Come home come home so father speak through me today this is my humble prayer in Jesus' name I ask I mean what I was studying at you bald and so over in England I fondly imagined that when I got out of you bolt out to be working in the city of London or somewhere like that and I would be ministering to secular folks and those secular folks would have everything in the world they have Ferrari's now Porsches have nice houses they have Beach boats but they would have a God shaped hole in their hearts and lives that has not yet been filled and that my role as a minister of the Gospel was to figure out how to place God or lead God In fact God shaped hole what I discovered was actually quite strange when I discovered is that many people in the secular world don't appear to have that God shaped hole in fact they're entirely busy with their own projects with their own material longings with their own projects with their own quest for meaning truth and significance within an entirely imminent and secular material framework they live in a material world with no consideration for the possibility of an afterlife and little sense of the transcendent in their lives they are to quote Madonna the material girl living in a material world and of quote. The secular pursuit of meaning significance and truth it seems to have satisfied many but almost the exclusive secular humanism on offer in the West today it appears while for the possibility of significance without the transcendent dimension in life and without moral responsibility how did this happen where are we today and how do we respond Well let's understand where we are on the map of time originally will call this s. one there was what was referred to a secular and sacred professions the secular was the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker but the priests however pursued a sacred vocation that is the traditional understanding of the divide between the secular and the holy the profane and the holy The butcher the baker the candlestick maker on one side being the seculars and the priests or the non profit sharing these sacred vocation a calling from God then we moved historically into the s 2 era which is the Enlightenment era and beyond almost up to about the year 2000 secular now refers to a nonsectarian mutual and a religious space or standpoint in the public sphere the public sphere is secular in so far as it is non-religious at least allegedly so and according to secular disenchantment theory as societies experience technological advance and innovation so the gods and superstitions of our past gradually fade away and we are left disenchanted Souder wiser and secular on a personal level the formula goes like this maturity Plus life experience plus wisdom plus unanswered prayers leads to a secular outlook at the individual level and when you multiply that by everybody in society you are left with a secular society in this stage. Religious belief is an option but it cannot impinge on anybody else's quest for significance in the s 2 era and moving into the s 3 era you may believe what you want as long as it doesn't interfere with somebody else's chosen path in life we now live in an area an era in the s 3 yr old the post modern era we'll call it postmodern for the rest of our time today where religious belief or any belief in God is merely one option among many other beliefs this is a postmodernist mindset in which your religion you can believe whatever you want in the confines of your 4 walls of the church but we're tied anybody whose faith is actually be practiced in the marketplace or see expressed in daily life society no longer upholds basic Judeo Christian principles Christendom has passed the burden of proof is now on the believer to justify their faith rather than on the secular atheist to deny that face radical atheists such as Dawkins and Hitchens offer maps to our no new postcard experience those maps are full of the graveyards of the gods and saints and Demons of the past allegedly so and they focus on natural science in our quest to understand the world in which we live and to help us find meaning truth and significance the modern era in which we live it is not merely the neutral rational a religious natural world we are left with when we throw off superstition gods and demons know the s 3 or post modern era in which we now live or survive is a new social imaginary worldview a way of constructing meaning and significance in the imminent in the material world without the need for the divine or the transcendent that is the world in which we are now living in the West while you may ask how did we get to this stage. Well the Reformation era had 3 key beliefs and this is kind of a broad sweep of history here the 1st of the 3 key beliefs of the Reformation era was this that the natural world was a created cosmos with purpose that points to greater spiritual realities of the time of the reformers than I was that there was a sumption in among philosophers and Christians and theologians that we inhabit a cosmos the cosmos has a creator the cosmos has multiple levels of Aldrin design in it and we find our home in that not in our natural home in that Cosmos and we are not alone in the cosmos there is a creator whose interest in each one of us the 2nd basic beliefs of the Reformation era society is grounded in a higher transcendent purpose Jesus Christ talked about the Kingdom of God Many of his parables were about living in the kingdom of God When Jesus cast out demons in Matthew Chapter 12 he said well if it is by if I cast out demons among you by the finger of God then you should know that the Kingdom of God is now come upon you when Jesus announced his preaching he said repent for why the kingdom of God is at hand Jesus announced that the presence of a kingdom of God Augustine later 400 years later wrote about the City of God a foundational book for Western civilization and within the City of God in the kingdom of God we have this idea that yes we live in a material world but everything in this material world points to a higher purpose that nothing happens by chance and nothing we do in life is purely for the purpose of this life alone but everything we do has a concern for the afterlife of the eternal hereafter the 3rd call belief of the Reformation era was that we have porous selves porous it means that things can move in and out like like osmosis we have porous selves that means we are open to mulch or multiple spiritual actors such as the Holy Spirit we are open to receiving grace to experiencing forgiveness and receiving love. In the Reformation era we have porous selves but now we live in a very different world in the s 3 era there are 5 key beliefs to a brief to go over the 1st is that we no longer have porous selves but we have buffered selves buffered selves what I mean by that means that we're immune to outside influence we are no longer able or willing to receive grace forgiveness or love that every man or woman truly is an island unto themselves I don't care what is happening out in wider society I have no responsibility to what is happening and why to society all I am concerned is my personal quest for personal fulfillment I now have a buffered self that the poorest self is open and thus it is vulnerable open to blessings or curse possession or grace the buffered self as a closed mind eventually to an isolated for the poorest self of the raffle a of the Reformation going without God is unthinkable for the buffered self of today the s 3 era a life without God is the only viable option in the pre s 3 era points to more to there we had what was known as the Commonwealth that comes from the the common weal it used to be in England that she would have a town and around that town people would have their kitchen gardens but around the town there was common grazing land and everybody's cattle and sheep went out to graze in the common weal and everybody was concerned about what happens to the common weal because what happened in the common weal affected all Commonwealth. And so people were concerned about how you live people were concerned that you follow the religious rituals of the society because if somebody rejects the religious rituals of the society maybe you'll bring God's displeasure on the Commonwealth and everybody will suffer that was in the late Middle Ages but now we no longer live in that kind of society we live in a society where people are disengaged from what is happening around them in the world we are no longer a communal society in the s 3 era seeking a common wealth we are merely a random collection of random individuals each seeking their own meaning within their buffered selves in the estrie era today we live without eternal concerns we focus on a good life today of pleasure and experience colloquially we call it your bucket list you have a bucket list people say to me what's in your bucket list I actually don't have a bucket list of them spend time at home I don't have a bucket list because I believe there is an eternal life waiting for me in heaven above where God is said I have not seen nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him so why do I need a bucket list today why do I want to go to Rome or why do I want to go to Naples or why do I want going to Bangkok when one day it's going to burn anyway it does me no good today I've seen enough old cities in the world they're all full of genuine local artifacts made in China Ok after a while you become somewhat cynical about the world in which you live when you've traveled around the world as I have after a while you know I go I sit in a plane and I read the in-flight magazine and says this this this city has a this part of the world has a particular ancient history it will technically everybody's history goes back to the exactly the same spot and they say you can eat the local delicacies you know in some parts of all the delicacies are you know you don't want to eat them in a roasted houseflies and stuff like that what I want and I arrive in a country where do I get beans rice and Coca-Cola is the only safe food I can eat. So I don't have a bucket list but in the modern era there is a lowering of the bar in what it means to live a life well lived in the Reformation era there was the demands of the mundane that is getting the harvest in in autumn and there was a demands of the eternal the ultimate question am I saved or am I lost it was issue means that humanity found its ultimate meaning not in the mundane but in the transcendent which required sacrifices in the mundane known as a holy life but not everyone could enter a cloister or nunnery so religious festivals were organized to provide regular touch points for the eternal into the lives of those who are dominated by the mundane it's in this context that Carnival came into being Carnival was a sanctioned way for those living under the pressure of the Met of the mundane to blow off the steam and to blow off the pressure that arises from living in the mundane but always having to worry about the eternal However in the modern s 3 era people have stopped being burdened by the requirements of eternity the demands of the transcendent and now we simply discuss what does it mean to have human flourishing within a purely material immanent godless world without questions of eternal consequence to burden modern man the focus which is to living the best life you can now which for most westerners is a life of pleasure seeking an entertainment that is your bucket list to other key beliefs of the modern era time has no intrinsic significance. In the Reformation era time was multi-layered Yes we ate at sun up we slept at sundown there was also a sense though that history was moving forward to a definite end the history was moving forward to a conclusion that history had a purpose the time is not just the endless cycles and the rhythms of nature know that God is in control and he's leading history inexorably to a conclusion that conclusion is the return of Jesus Christ to establish a king in that will never pass away that was the Reformation assumption but now we live in a world in which time has no meaning the clock simply tick tocks away and measures are projects but time is flat and has no intrinsic significance even though when you ask many people today in the secular world what they think is happening to the world many people say well something's happening in the world the world is spinning out of control the world is coming to a boil something's about to happen seculars sense the significance of time but philosophically they deny it and they have to live with this kind of internal schizophrenia philosophically speaking finally in their effort in the modern era we now live in a philosophical universe. It used to be in the Reformation as I've already mentioned that we lived in a cosmos created by a loving Creator with a physical and spiritual hierarchy in which we find our natural home in the modern era thanks to modern philosophy and evolution biology we now live in a cold unfeeling universe metaphorically and metaphysically we are a random collection of particles arising from a random explosion of random nothingness we are drifting literally in philosophically in a cold uncaring and purposeless universe when I climbed the mountain in Canada to see the Burgess Shale last July there was a guide from the Canadian Park Service and said Are you guys all kitted out they take 12 people a day to see the Burgess Shale That's right broke my leg and he said are you guys all kitted out to me said Yes he says Do you have rainy weather gear and I said well no i just in a short and t. shirt it was July he said you will suffer on that mountain I said Ok said Carney said the mountains don't care the mountains don't care whether you live or die when you go up the more you come down safely the mountains don't care don't think for a minute that there is any sympathy or compassion on the mountain the mountains don't care and this process happens because 1st as went through the Enlightenment and the evolution of a lot of us and scientists said we must distinguish between God and creation and actually you end up just with nature and then disenchantment burns away the superstitions of the cosmos era and we're left with the natural laws of the universe we don't learn to be content with the natural world alone and now we've reached the point where we affirm the sufficiency of nature and the material world without the need for God That is our philosophical progression over the last 500 years we now live in a universe that is meaningless the universe that house no value a universe that really doesn't care whether you live a good life or a poor life or a universal doesn't care whether you have a happy marriage or your husband is an alcoholic and beach to the universe don't care. If your husband beats you so be it because your random collection of particles and choose to you for you to ascribe meaning to yourself or sense of right or wrong is to deny the underlying philosophy of the modern day west that's where we are brothers and sisters that's the world in which we live that's the world in which we must minister the consequences of secular humanism in terms of religious liberty are these Firstly religion must decline because it is demonstrably false Secondly religion is irrelevant we can now cure disease and ring worm through medicine rather than through prayer and thirdly religion is based on hierarchical ferrety was modern societies are moving towards individual autonomy nobody wants to be told what to do anymore the laws of the land are immaterial everybody has the right to follow their own path and to find their own meaning and significance in this modern world in which we now live we are free to sample and try different philosophies but we rarely commit to anything we can sample and we can try but we're not willing to commit very few are willing to die on the Hill anymore and to keep an open mind which is praised by society means you're not willing to say anything about anything to keep an open mind means you don't know anything we have incredible knowledge but we can't actually make any value judgments about that knowledge and woe betide the man or woman who says in the public square something is intrinsically wrong or right because the concept of intrinsically wrong intrinsically right has evaporated over the last 500 years we live in an era of philosophical ambiguity we're willing to experiment but never to commit never quite sure what to believe or how to live and we wary of falling for the next big thing we live in a world of incredible knowledge that we live in a world of incredible uncertainty nobody knows what to believe anymore you find this sometimes in pastoral ministry I tend to prefer for leading out at funerals rather than weddings. Because at a funeral nothing worse can go wrong was at a wedding many things can go wrong and. You know when people say it was a life well lived 3040 years ago maybe we would've understood what is a life well lived but these days nobody knows what is a life well lived or you may speak with a spouse and she says well I don't want to say this from the front pastor but every Saturday night he was drunk and he beat me and so when you stand up there what you say he was a good man no he left his mark on us yes. We will remember the point is this we don't know anymore what is a good life philosophically in the West Ours is a haunted age we are haunted by the gods and beliefs of our past and by the memory of the transcendent and so we've come to live lives that seek a full flourishing in the imminent and the material and yet we are haunted at moments of tragedy the death of a child the death of a spouse as we bury our parents we are one set those moments of tragedy by echoes of our past when there was a god when there was a Cosmos when there was a purpose when there was such thing as grace forgiveness on hope we are echo We are haunted by the past and when when we have comes those life events people who never darken the door of a church they come to a church or a funeral they are drawn to it by the echoes the hauntings of their past in their secular world and we think for a few minutes that wouldn't it be nice if my mom's life actually had some purpose it's nice to think that there is a purpose to it all our mourning tells us that there were there really is purpose because why mourn if there is no purpose your mourning has no meaning and so we struggle in our western society our western societies today. Are manifesting an existential sense of loss from the past and profound levels of personal emptiness this brave new secular world the s 3 era is characterized by profound personal emptiness in our urban and our secular environment many feel a terrible flatness in the everyday cycles of life I know that if I have an i Phone 6 I can get an iphone 7 and for about a day I'll be happy with it and then the advertisers is going to say we don't really need one phone 79 Phone 8 and so there is endless consumer cycles of dissatisfaction temporary satisfaction and then almost 2 years of dissatisfaction waiting for the next phone to come along but that whether it's an i Phone 6789 or 10 doesn't change whether when I call my wife she responds with love or with harsh words it doesn't change in our material abundance our this existential sense of loss and flatness is exacerbated because the growing material manifestations are imminent world cannot help us escape from the pressure of the loss of the transcendent and from the pain of our disenchantment and so in the West we escape from the mundane who various ways we have high levels of escapist behavior in America today to medicate the loss of the transcendent in our lives alcohol drugs the opioid addiction porn sports the n.f.l. n.b.a. n.h.l. endless entertainment binge t.v. watching signing up for Netflix and watching series after series of your favorite show and ultimately suicide These are all characteristics of a western society that is abandon the possibility of the transcendent and yet people have this sense that there must be something better than just going to work and getting the latest phone we have a search for significance you know if you listen to the sports radio the debaters is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time if you have that debate I have a friend here who says no. He's not Ok I say he is but the debate is ultimately else mostly meaningless because if Tom Brady is a random collection of particles throwing a random collection of particles to a random collection of particles Why is that significant it's not significant because randomness has no purpose by definition in our western society we debate we debate what are the top 100 movies in America the top 5 quarterbacks of all time and people are striving for significance in a world that philosophically denies the possibility of significance and this search for a skate means in America and for the last 2 years life expectancy has dropped for the 1st time in our lifetime Why is that we are seeing what the epidemiologists according deaths of despair deaths of despair and they are not just deaths among folks who are unemployed and have no way out the deaths of despair are being seen among middle aged people at the top of their career people who may be 45 to 55 who've accomplished all this well has to offer and you know that all they now have is a gentle glide path to urine so question in a nursing home and they don't want to face it they've done everything they want to do they've done their bucket list and deaths of despair in America are on the rise suicide among teenagers suicide among successful professionals is all on the rise and so the result in America and in the West and around the world there is a search for a scapegoat we're experiencing you might call the Nover effect in the bursting star there's an explosion in searches for turn to spiritualities nonces where everybody must find their own path Hindus of call of dharma everybody searches for their own path that's the world in which we live when I get out of new bolt and realize that there is a minister in London that secular folks were out there saying I've got this God shaped hole I need to fill it they weren't asking that question they were living almost fulfilled lives going to the regatta and watching rugby and what I'm listening to manage the night and play Liverpool and worrying about their stock options in the London Stock Exchange. Very very little space for god in those lives except in moments of crisis except with an unexpected death a cancer diagnosis or when you're made unemployed and your whole material world comes crashing down around your ears so how does God respond well I love Isaiah $55.00 as I $55.00 is a beautiful passage whoa everyone that 1st come ye to the waters and he that hath no money Comey buy and eat come buy wine a milk without money and without pride price I desire looks forward to the Babylonian exile he's writing to Jews have gone into exile who settled in Babylon in the heart of the greatest nation on Earth they've built homes they've set put down their roots they raise families they've got flourishing businesses they are materially well off in the heart of the greatest nation on earth and I die doesn't accuse them of doing something wrong he simply throws a pebble into that pool of complacency and he says does this really satisfy you does this really satisfy you and we today living in the heart of the greatest nation ever seen on or with all material wealth we have as I assess to secular minds today does this really satisfy you do you know in your heart of hearts that you were designed that the purpose of your life is to get one phone 10 Robin and i Phone 9 is that the purpose of your life as I use the imagery of a water seller in the Middle East to emphasize that just as everybody needs water so everybody today needs to hear this invitation from God the vendor isn't interested only in sales know the word hope expresses in Hebrew the idea that of deep pity God has a profound concern for souls who are struggling in the material world who are living in a material world who don't see any sense of the transcendent and God is saying your Firstly there is something you don't have and I want to offer it to you we serve a God who loves and a God who saves a God who reaches out and he says everyone that 1st of. Everyone in the modern day world who has material wealth but really has secular poverty everyone that's that's 1st of God has a concern for our souls today for people who cannot shake off the idea that they should have a sense of purpose those who can't shake off their sense of loss from the gods of the past whose thirsting is not for physical water but actually want to find meaning and purpose and significance in life a sense of recognition of the transcendent in their lives notes Matley peace with God The text says they have no money God asks us to recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt we cannot find meaning in our buffered selves the material paradise the world offers provides no cancer to the existential questions of life where did we come from who are we today and where are we going the philosophies of our western world are empty they are flat and they are without hope and God is inviting any such person into a restored relationship with him for the price has already been paid on Calvary and God offers meaning purpose and above all else he offers grace and the offer is made to everybody everyone that serves 1st not just the Jews of Babylon but no one is excluded no one is predestined to be lost nobody is predestined to be saved God does not interfere with our freedom of choice but he still offers a living waters to any who will receive them the text goes on to verses $2.00 and $3.00 why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy Hakan diligently and to me in e.g. that which is good and natural soul delight in fact nice now this text doesn't mean that your soul's life in fact most you know since I broke my leg I put on 20 some pounds and I don't like fat and so myself and I'm working hard to get rid of it Ok it's a struggle this isn't what God is talking about though God is saying why would you eat drink and be merry expecting that tomorrow you will truly die and that will be the end of it. When God is offering you the off the gift of eternal life do you really look forward to your and so question in a nursing home or do you look forward to the resurrection when you see your loved ones again at the gravesite of your loved ones do you grieve without hope or do you grieve with hope Why do you labor under the tyranny of the urgent in the latest email but nor 3 at the the important things of life God wishes us to delight ourselves in His grace he asked us to seek 1st the Kingdom of God and his right just miss and all these material things will be given to us sufficient for our needs he offers life in the imminent with the promise of the transcendent he says here in these verses listen 3 times God wishes us to live he wishes us to pay attention to this matter not merely to live like brute beasts guns going to work coming home going to work coming home he wants us to lift our eyes beyond this reality and ask ourselves questions Ok I drive to work every day but where is my life going I know where I came from when I come to work but what is my past really telling me even the sure mercies of David there in verse 3 David was a great sinner he was a lying murderous and adulterous politician nothing much changes doesn't but when his sins were pointed out by Nathan he sincerely repented and came the recipient of Divine Mercy God's covenant with David included not only grace for David in his time but also an everlasting promise that extended down to Jesus Christ the Son of David to the Kingdom of Grace that is on offer today and ultimately to the kingdom of glory that will be established when Jesus returns in the clouds of glory and God offers any secular mind today any who will listen the opportunity to participate in that glorious covenant of grace and covenant of hope it is if in the descent into a modern secular world we become so focused on the ball game in the park. That we've no we haven't we haven't noticed that the stadium roof is closing over our heads and we no longer can see the stars and this verse here God is saying Young man young woman lift your eyes and I will pull back the stadium roof and you will once again gaze with wonder at the stars above you have a sense of the vastness of my universe and you have a sense of the fact there is a creator a God of order and a God of love and verse 4 and 5 Behold I have given him a witness to the people to him that David a leader in a command of the people I shall call a nation now no it's not a nations that knew not the shall run on to the because of the law by God and for the whole you want to his rail for he has glorified it just as David was forgiven in his time of material success as the king of Jerusalem and he was restored to an eternal covenant God is offering us today when we are so fixed on our secular journey and we're so fixed on our journey to our secular goals that we know we don't realize we are profoundly lost and this invitation is for all people of all nations. The passage goes on seeking the lot while he may be found secular man secular woman call upon God today while he is near that the wicked forsake his way and on the right just man his thoughts let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon now the call of verses one through 3 is repeated in verses 6 and 7 but now there is a moral emphasis in verses one and 2 God is appealing to people who are living purely material imminent lives who have no concern for the transcendent and now God is emphasizing the moral nature of man we are moral beings we know when something is right we know when something is wrong if you come and punch my daughter it doesn't take a philosopher I do green flossed me to say what you did is wrong I know instinctively it's wrong I don't need to be told you punching my daughter is wrong and we are all moral beings we all have an innate sense of right and wrong of justice as well there is a urgency in this call both in our material lifestyle and in our where sex secular worldview secular man is profoundly lost and our repentance and turn to God must touch the in a man as well as the outer life style the language is now moved from the group to the individual the own right just man let him forsake his thoughts God's appearing to us as individuals in this passage keep your things in some 45 What is 10 to one verse in Psalm 145 this is up on the screen some 145 or 17 through 19. And it says. So my favorite verse in the Bible some 105-4517 my version says the Lord is just in all his ways and kind in all his doings and that beautiful he is just in all his ways but there is a kindness in all his doings. The Lord is near to all who call on him to all who call on Him in truth he fulfills the desire of all who fear him he hears their cry and saves them beautiful promises from God The Lord fulfills the desire of all those who fear Him He also hears their cry and he saves them we serve an amazing God who delights to hear from returning secular men and women secular minds have been lost in the secular world but turn now to God and God says why would you turn to me says because my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my you always my way say Lord for the heavens are higher than the Earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts you see a secular man thinks about time but God thinks about eternity secular man thinks of self God thinks of blessing His creation secular man thinks of gain God thinks of providing a blessing man hopes for today but God knows tomorrow God's thoughts also differ morally from ours Alfonse are governed by the desires of fall in sin God's thoughts are driven by righteousness and sacrificing love the sinner focuses on his sin and his temporal pleasures but God focus on the sin is restoration and eternal purpose God's ways truly are not our ways and his thoughts are higher than ours and as that the passage comes to an end to it says the rain coming down and the snow from heaven obviously they had snow in Middle East back then and return is not there for but water to see to make that bring forth and Bud so that it may give seed so and bread to the eater Social my word that goeth forth out of my mouth that shall not return to be void but it shall accomplish that which I please and shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it what is God saying he is saying that we do not live in a cold impersonal meaningless universe. We live in a cosmos created by a loving creator that is infused with purpose and the fact that every animal in the world today will eat its fill us remark we have thought about or. I was once in in Israel and I was on a kibbutz having a gap year between high schools and in college and they asked us volunteers to various jobs I was in cahoots with 600 people 400 soldiers $200.00 settlers on the Lebanese border and one day they made a very unwise request they said current would you prepare the meal for the kibbutz tonight now I knew how to spread Marmite and peanut butter on bread but I didn't know how to feed 600 people. I went to the kitchens and I found these cold trays of chickpeas I didn't know where they were cooked or not but they were sitting in the fridge so I laid them out I found whatever loaves of bread I could find and I laid them out I found this big buckets of light brown fatty stuff I wasn't quite sure what it was so I laid that out as well I thought maybe I'll just spread on the bed I don't know what this is but it looks good to me. I was never asked to feed that kibbutz again. The point is this if you ever wondered how God can feed trillions of living creatures every day effortlessly you see trucks holding food the animals in town. Yet God feeds trillions of living creatures every single day we live in a worlds that is infused with the grace of loving creator create creator the natural world exists for man's blessing to ensure our daily bread and to ensure our human flourishing the cycles of nature are not random but they reveal in their grand jury an intricate design God's character of love. At a deeper level the Word of God represents his will and the word of a god is in doubt with God's power to create Genesis one to heal and restore Matthew 9 to raise from the dead John 11 to judge and condemn Hebrews 4 to impart spiritual life spiritual meaning purpose and blessings Deuteronomy Chapter 8 to the Jews in their anticipated Babylonian captivity Isaiah promises that if they repent they will be restored to their homeland to Jerusalem in these last 2 verses of this beautiful passage reflect that nature itself will sing for joy as God brings his people back to Jerusalem and but for us today the passage promises secular minded if we lift our eyes acknowledge God in his claims upon us our sense of loss will be replaced by spiritual bounty eternity can be added to our 70 plus years meaning will infuse our meaningless lives we will find our rightful place in a purposeful cosmos rather than remain lost in a cold random universe the transcendent will infuse the immanent with meaning hope will conquer despair and life will be life will be worth living Somebody once asked me what is it like to fall in love let me give you the example the answer life can be like a black and white movie when you fall in love the movie suddenly becomes glorious technicolor is the same movie but everything is different and when we experience God's love in our lives that black and white movie that is on this endless loop never stops playing suddenly has a glorious technicolor we see meaning and purpose all around us where previously always shorts or with shades of gray and shades of gray and shades of gray so what he's saying conclusion today well come back to my leg which is playing a major part in my life right now. I was going to speak at the Hope Camp meeting. And I booked 5 months in advance to climb up to see the Burgess Shale you have to put months in advance because so many people want to say see it it's a national park in Canada it's ground 0 for the intelligent design movement it's a fascinating spot where all the body plans known to exist today they all came into existence at the same time in the in the in the levels of the earth in the geological time scale and I walked up there turquoise lakes the lakes there are stunningly beautiful the air is clean the skies are blue there is virgin forest but there are 2 worlds who's worked up that mountain the 1st view was my secular guide he was completing a post-grad program in evolutionary geology he was committed to random evolution to 1000000000 Year geological time scales to a random cold universe without God and a secular humanism and he walked up that mountain beside me and at the bottom a mountain he said don't fall he said the mountain doesn't care I however know I'm a child of the living God the creator of this universe who has an eternal purpose for me and yes if I do fall down on that mountain I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help my help come from the Lord who made the heavens and the Earth looking back I'm at x. and I'm not happy that it happened it's been expensive and painful but I'm truly grateful to God that it did happen so how do we respond today where he wrote it given your life to Jesus Christ recognize that this is precisely moments of personal crisis that your secular neighbor friend or loved one is most open to forgiveness fellowship hope and grace don't try and share the gospel with somebody while they're watching their favorite n.f.l. team present mourning the loss of a child just received a cancer diagnosis when their buffered shelf has been shattered and suddenly for a brief moment in time they have a poor a self they're open to receive grace to hear about love and to experience hope. So we weep with those who we as Christians we mourn with those who mourn demonstrate God's love manifest forgiveness and bring hope and out of crisis or the season of pain these a living presence of God in the brokenness of your secular friend and Tracy City for the spirit to break through their buffet selves with the love of God and if you have not given your life to Jesus Christ and to quote Madonna you are a material girl living in a material world and to quote Mick Jagger you can't get no satisfaction there is truth to what the singer saying why wait for your personal crisis for your secular worldview to crumble before your eyes into nothingness before turning to God Here again God's gracious invitation to live abundantly today and receive the gift of eternal life tomorrow whoa everyone who thirsts come to the waters and you that have no money come by and eat come buy wine and milk without money and without price why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy those that kill a man listen carefully and eat what is good and to light yourself in rich food in clear and incline your ear and come to me listen that you may live is my prayer that everyone here today will indeed hear God will turn from our secular worldview in our secular existence and we all realize that there is more to this life than merely 70 plus years in a pension and a grave listen to God speaking to today he's calling you back to him to the promise of forgiveness for the past meaning for today and hope for tomorrow respond to God's day with faith maybe with a penitent heart a recognition of the sins of the past. God whose thoughts on our awful His ways are higher than our ways he will forgive and he will bless us with the gift of His Son Jesus Christ may God bless us today as we live in the secular world may we live not just seculars but as born again children of God with an eternal promise ahead of us I was a wandering teenage heart and I heard a sermon about God's love for wandering teenage hearts it was at a camp meeting I gave my life to God that day my testimony to you is that every one of God's promises have come true he is a God who can be trusted is an ever present help in times of trouble is my shield and he is my rock and I cannot live life without him I divide you today if you heard the Spirit of God whispering into your heart center come home to buy heads with me now and commit your life afresh to God who alone can bring meaning and hope and purpose into the secular world its power heads and close our eyes Father I thank you that your ways are not our ways that you off thoughts are infinitely higher than our thoughts but your love for each one of us no far no matter how far we have wondered can either be increased not decreased your love for us is from everlasting to everlasting and your purpose for everyone in this room for all of our families our loved ones your purposes for us are only to bless us and to give us a future with hope while some of us today may have wandered away from you I pray in this day of religious liberty when we heard your voice speaking to our hearts father may we not harden our hearts today but I ask that we will have porous selves to be open to your grace and open true Cif may be for the 1st time grace love and hope so father I feel our hearts afresh today bind up the broken hearted. Fill our cup that may have been spilt from broken fill it so that it overflows with the joy of salvation and I pray Father as we leave this place today we will do so not a secular men and women but as men and women on fire for Jesus Christ the hope of the world the light of the world. So far the work has narrowed in our lives today we humbly ask Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio person a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to w.w.w. dot audio Verse dot org.

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