Today is Easter
I tried to figure out what I missed the most about gathering with God’s family on Easter Sunday ~ and I think it is the old hymns ~ “Up from the grave he arose” and others that celebrate Jesus coming out of the grave alive ~ in full victory
Not being with my church family on Easter Sunday ~ has been ~ awkward ~ like trying to ride a bicycle with a flat tire
But God’s Spirit reminds me ~ moment by moment ~ that God is good ~ all the time ~ in every situation
God is always at work ~ in every aspect of our lives
So missing the Lord’s Supper last Sunday ~ was rough
Missing Easter Sunday at church today ~ is rough
And just when I thought social distancing was reaching an extreme ~ this week my cell phone died ~ and I lost all my contact information
This list go on but I believe the point is that God wants His people to slow down ~ focus on HIM ~ and experience a season of reflection and healing
Easter ~ today’s message from God’s Word is__________
I confess that I am way out of my comfort zone
Of course God does His best work when HE pushes us out of our comfort zones
Look through the whole bible and you will see that every time God called someone to do something great ~ HE first called them to leave their comfort zone and step out in faith
Not gathering with God’s people on easter Sunday was previously unthinkable
And Jana was prepared to have our annual Easter morning breakfast here at the church
The list is long of things we have had to put on hold ~ until God gives us the “green light”
Perhaps the greatest lesson we are learning right now in this season of social distancing is ~ to wait on Gods timing
I am as guilty as anyone at leaping into action ~ without waiting on God
God called Joseph to be a great leader ~ then put him in Egypt as a slave for decades ~ then put him in prison for a crime he didn’t commit ~ before finally installing him in the promised position of leadership
The point? God’s will is never late ~ never early ~ always right on time
It is critical for you and I to learn to wait on the lord
Isaiah 40:31 King James Version
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Waiting on the Lord may be one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life.
When Jesus promised that he would return, he instructed his followers to wait. That is easier said than done.
So what do we do in the meantime? What do we do while we wait? This sermon helps the hearer understand what to do while they wait on Jesus’ return.
Outline ~ will post on pastorshane.net website
#1. Waiting on the Lord requires patient FAITH
- Waiting means that we give God the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is doing
- Waiting is God’s way of seeing if we will trust him before we move forward
#2. Waiting on God reminds us that God is in
- Waiting reminds me that I am not in charge
- Waiting reminds me that I am not God
#3. Waiting on the Lord allows God to do his WORK
- God’s timing is best
- God is working
#4. Waiting on God increases my STRENGTH
No one likes to wait.
But we wait in traffic, in line to get into grocery stores, I had to wait in line to get into North 40 yesterday, wait for waitresses, for the doctor, for a spouse, for a baby, for retirement, for sermons to get over, for Jesus to return.
Waiting is not just something we have to do while we get what we want.
Waiting is the process of becoming what God wants us to be.
What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.
Waiting on God is not passively waiting around for something to happen that will allow us to escape our troubles.
Waiting does not mean doing nothing.
Waiting on God is not a way to evade unpleasant reality.
Those who wait ~ are those who work ~ because they know God has a plan ~ and in HIS time ~ will bring about the best result.
The farmer can wait all summer for his harvest~ because he has done his work of sowing the seed and watering the plants.
Those who wait on God can faithfully go about their God given responsibilities ~ confident that God will provide the meaning and conclusions to their lives and the harvest to their toil.
Waiting is the confident, disciplined, expectant, active, and sometimes painful clinging to God.
Knowing that God will reap the best reward.
When Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem ~ he was telling them that that this was HOW they were going to experience his peace, and his power.
In waiting they would see God move.
#1: Waiting on the Lord requires patient FAITH
PEOPLE SAY: Don’t just stand there, do something.
GOD SAYS: Don’t just do something, patiently wait.
KEY: Waiting means that we give God the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he is doing
KEY: Waiting is God’s way of seeing if we will trust him before we move forward
That FAITH is a patient trust.
Whether it has to do with our relationships, our finances, our careers, our dreams, or our churches.
We have to trust that God knows what he is doing ~ and what HE is doing is right and good ~ the very BEST
#2: Waiting on God reminds us that God is in control
Sometimes people ask, “But what do I do while I’m waiting?” Good question.
During those waiting times take on the active role of a watchman. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,” declared the Psalmist, “I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning – more than watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:5-6).
In biblical times, watchmen vigilantly guarded the city.
They watched for enemies who might attack at night, and they waited for the sun to come up.
They were alert and obedient, ready to respond when needed. When called upon, they sprang into action.
But on the other hand, watchmen didn’t make things happen. They didn’t control the rising of the sun.
They couldn’t speed up the process of the dawning of a new day. A watchman knew the difference between his job and God’s job.
KEY: Waiting reminds me that I am not in charge
I’m the patient.
I’m in the waiting room.
In the real issues of life, I am not just waiting around –
I am waiting on God, I trust his wisdom and his timing.
KEY: the person who waits on God loses no time.
I can wait with confidence & peace.
Because I am waiting for someone ~ and that someone is God.
KEY: Waiting reminds me that I am not God
As a man, I want to fix things. I want to fix my problems, my relationships, my conflicts, my career, and my church.
Fixing and controlling situations and people is like trying to expedite the rising of the sun.
From time to time I have to be reminded that I am not God
My job is to be a watchman.
I need to have a watchman’s attitude: a confident and alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do.
#3: Waiting on the Lord allows God to do his work
Not only do I want to do God’s work, but also I want to speed up his process.
KEY: I love God’s Will ~ but I struggle with God’s timing
As a pastor, I want to speed up the growth process of my church.
I see much that we could do and should be doing. I see many unmet needs. I see the hurts of people.
I have a vision from God to reach people.
And I want it to be a reality now.
I question God, “Why not now? Why not bring it to pass today?”
KEY: God’s timing is best
In the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, the prophet was asking similar questions.
Using the watchtower illustration ~ listen to the dialogue between the prophet and God:
“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint. The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late” (Hab. 2:1-3).
KEY: God is working
During those times of uncertainty and fear ~ we wait patiently on the Lord.
We know that he is working behind the scenes.
God works in events ~ circumstances ~ and people
KEY: in HIS time
Those who wait will never be disappointed.
#5: Waiting on God increases my strength
Sometimes I struggle to remember ~ that it’s good to wait on the Lord. It isn’t easy.
It goes against the grain of our quick-fix society.
We are conditioned for instant gratification ~ a microwave ~ drive through society
But, there’s a hidden benefit in waiting.
In times of waiting my soul is revived and spirit is renewed.
Isaiah wrote, “those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint” (Is. 40:31)
The time will come when those who wait on the Lord will soar.
If we wait, in patient FAITH ~ remembering that God is in control ~ doing his work~ transforming our character ~ increasing our ability to love HIM ~ increasing our desire for HIM ~ teaching us to be CONTENT in His presence ~ we will THEN experience the hand of God on our lives and in the lives of our family members.
A woman’s car stalled in traffic.
She looked in vain under the hood to identify the cause ~the driver behind her laid on his horn
Finally she had enough.
She walked back to his car and offered sweetly, “I don’t know what the matter is with my car. But if you want to go look under the hood, I’ll be glad to stay here and honk for you.”
God’s idea of waiting: Peter 3:8, “one day with the Lord is like a thousand years.”
The Chinese bamboo tree is one of the most remarkable plants on earth.
Once the gardener plants the seed, he will see nothing but a single shoot coming out of the bulb – for five full years!
That tiny shoot, however, must have daily food and water.
During all the time the gardener is caring for the plant, the exterior shoot will grow less than an inch.
At the end of five years, however, the Chinese bamboo will perform an incredible feat.
It will grow an amazing ninety feet tall in only ninety days!
Now ask yourself this: When did the tree actually grow?
During the first five years, or during those last ninety days?
The answer lies in the unseen part of the tree, the underground root system.
During the first five years, the fibrous root structure spreads deep and wide in the earth, preparing to support the incredible heights the tree will eventually reach.
An oak or a mushroom?
It’s been said that when God wants to grow mushrooms, he can do it overnight, but when he wants to grow a mighty oak, it takes a few years. What do we want to be, a mushroom or an oak?
If we want to be an oak, it is well worth the wait.
God’s wise in God’s ways: In a dream, God told a man to go outside and push against a huge boulder in his front yard.
So every morning for the next few weeks, the man went outside and strained against the rock.
He pushed and groaned and prodded and shoved, but the rock never budged.
Finally, in a fit of exasperation the man fell to his knees and lifted his eyes to heaven. “What were you thinking, Lord? he cried, wiping sweat from his brow. “You told me to push this rock, and I’ve been pushing it for weeks, yet it has not moved an inch!”
A voice from heaven rumbled among the clouds, then whispered in the man’s ear.
“I told you to push the stone,” God said, “I didn’t tell you to move it. I’m the only one who can move it, and when you’re ready, I will. By the way, look at your hands.”
The man looked at his hands. They had grown callused and tough with the work, and his arms bulged with muscles.
Though his efforts seemed fruitless, he had grown strong; and now he was beginning to grow wise.
Isaiah 40:31 King James Version
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.