Trust: The Roller Coaster Ride

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit of God to guide our thoughts …

Holy God, you knew us before we knew ourselves. You consecrate us even now to be your servants. Create in us hearts worthy to be your prophets that we might go where you send us, and speak the Word that you give us. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, place your words upon our lips and your grace upon our hearts so that we might pluck up and pull down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant, as you, alone, have commanded. Amen.

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING–            Genesis 9:8-17                    The Covenant with Noah

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

May the Lord blessing this reading to our understanding.

 

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING–      Luke 4:20-30             Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

SERMON                    “Trust: The Roller Coaster Ride”

I want you to think about riding on a roller coaster. Maybe not day, but the last time you road a roller coaster. I mostly avoid roller coasters, especially ones that take you upside down. I know that thousands ride them and don’t fall out. I’m just don’t like the feeling of falling on my head from 100 feet up. When I was in High School, I remember riding on an old wooden one that creaked under me and had few safety features not even seat belts as I recall. I survived and over the years, I’ve experienced several rides. I can avoid them for years, but not feel like any life time void of thrill. I’m just not a risk taker.

Yet, at times, I think when we trust God, it seems like riding a rollercoaster. At times, I want to avoid the ups and downs that come from trusting the Lord. We know that we will be safe, but just in case we’ll avoid any risk and stay planted safely right where we are. We fear that we will fall instead of feeling the adrenalin rush of exciting opportunities.

Noah’s life took a roller coaster ride. He trusted the Lord and built an ark even before it started to rain. He took the initiative to trust the Lord to save him and his family. Then it rained for forty days and nights. The ark tossed over the waves that crested and fell. Then the sense of adventure lasted too long. It seemed as if they would never get off the boat. But in the end, God promised Noah a reward for his faithful would be a covenant for the future. God would always be with him and his family.

Jesus experienced the thrill of miracles and devastating rejection of his hometown. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus experienced the roller coaster ride of thrilling accomplishments and abandonment. He attracted a faithful following that came to hear Him teach and the rejection of the Religious leadership. Jesus healed individuals and felt frustration as people did not understand His preaching. I imagine a sparkle in His eye as crowds came to learn and the sorrow when other crowds screamed crucify him.

In the past year, collectively we’ve experienced the ups and downs of roller coaster finances. Over the years of faith, we trust that God will provide, but we sometimes fear the worst.We feared the cutting of the pastoral services in half. We experienced the joy of financial health for another year and a gift that will eliminate our Synod loan debt.

As we live by faith, we trust that God will bless our work and ministry. The Lord will guide us to keep the boat afloat and moving forward to proclaim spiritual power to keep us safe. God will always be with us. God continues to call us to serve faithfully, trusting that the Lord will guide us individually and as a congregation. We may be asked to take a leap of faith and do something that makes us uncomfortable. We may even feel like our world is turned upside down.Trusting God is not easy. The Lord invites us to trust our life, our faith, and everything we hold dear to His precious care. That’s scary. Even when, we’ve experienced God’s grace and walked a faithful path, new experiences can be frightening. When we trust the Lord in new adventures, we grow in faith and maturity. We learn to live by faith and enjoy the journey. TGBTG. Amen.

  July 2017  
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