Good evening and welcome.
My name is Justin, I Pastor ULC Online Church. I’m pleased to be coming
to you from the Christine Center Spiritual Retreat in beautiful Willard,
I just arrived today, but I’m looking forward to a few days of peace and
relaxation. I hope everyone here today is enjoying some peace with
God on this retreat. It’s a wonderful place isn’t it? I’ve been here in
the past and I’ve always noticed the attuned presence of God on these
grounds. We asked the staff here if it would be OK if we record our
sermon at the chaple this week, and they’ve generously agreed. So
I’d like to thank them for that.
For our online congregation, I know this is a little different than what
we usually do. Our staff at ULC has been looking at new ways to make
the online experience more engaging, and given that the Christine center’s
chaple is so beautiful, I thought we could engage here today.
Universal Life Church Online is a Christ-based ministry reaching out to
those of all walks of life, including those turned away and condemned
by other congregations. We’re a church for sinners seeking redemption.
We’re a church to help those in need.
If you’d like to find our group on Facebook do a search for
Universal Life Church 62648. That number is our identifier
within the ULC community. And that goes into where we
operate, which is on the internet. We run things from our
facebook group where we post sunday sermons, wednesday
bible studies, and sunday teaching lessons in audio format or text.
We also offer encouragement to church members through the group.
So if you’d like to be a part of that, please find us on facebook and join up.
And Thank you for being here for our Sunday sermon.
So before we start, let’s go to God in prayer this morning
and ask him to join us here:
Jehovah God, my Father, our Father, We ask you to join us today as
we get into your word. We feel your nudges Lord, that push us toward
you. We acknowledge your presence in our daily lives. Your sons
life is a testament to perfection. Help us to become holy, each day, as
we approach the next life. In Jesus name, Amen.
We feel your presence Father, in all things. We feel you here today.
We know you are true and your word is a true representation of your
love for us.
God is right in all things. And he’s working in all things.
He’s so full of love. He’s so full of truth. And he likes you.
He feels something special for you, because you’re his special possession.
You’re part of his chosen people, if you’ve chosen to serve
Christ in your life.
We’re his creation. We didn’t think the universe into being,
God made it with his voice and his hands.
We know this walk isn’t about material gain, don’t we?
Great wealth is certainly possible for some Christians.
We know God rewarded Solomon with great wealth and
prosperity because of his request for wisdom in prayer.
But that’s not going to be everyones walk with Christ.
And we don’t need wealth of the material anyway, do we?
Because we have wealth in here. Wealth more than all the
money on the planet. Right here, inside.
That wealth is peace with God through Jesus Christ.
That wealth is serenity in the storms of life. That wealth
is constant contact with Jehovah our God. That wealth is
the promise of eternal life. Today I’d like to talk about
passion for this walk with Christ. 2 Samuel 6:14 says
And David danced before the LORD with all his might,
wearing a priestly garment.
A lot of the time I’ve heard church leaders claiming that this was a
horrible mistake, and oh, David shouldn’t have been dancing like
that before the Lord. In fact David’s wife Michal came to him after
she saw him doing this and said to him:
How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around
half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me
rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed
me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the
Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will
be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of,
I will be held in honor.”
I really like how David responded here. And hasn’t that happened
with a lot of us? We go too far in others eyes, and just let free our
worship of God. Like the people at church who lift their hands to
God as they sing. I’m sure a lot of the congregation are thinking,
wow, look at how self righteous they are. And I’ve heard that a lot.
Like “who are they to do that” “who are they to break the unspoken
rules of how you should act” I can’t stand those taboos personally.
I really can’t. I get nervous sometimes when my family and I pray
at a public restaurant like oh what are the other people around here
going to think? Well.. you know, who really cares what they think?
I care about what God thinks. I care about how he feels about my
David’s response is great. It was before JEHOVAH that I danced,
not your dad or your family or anyone else. And then he says I
WILL celebrate before the Lord. And I’m not even done with just
dancing, I’ll do even more publicly embarassing things to show my
God I’m NOT ashamed by him. And he said in his own eyes he’ll
feel weird about it, but the people of Israel will know that I’m honorable.
Michal may have been jealous. And that’s fine, that’s fine.
But understand David, your husband’s heart. He’s a man with passion
for God. Don’t step in his way when he lets loose in a difficult way to
show his love.
How do we show our love for God? Many of us pray and give thanks.
And that’s great. Keep going with that! But there are other ways we can
show our passion for God. Singing is one we do a lot, at church. Dancing?
Hey, why not right?
This walk with Christ is exciting and relevant today.
That’s what a lot of modern christians have forgotten.
Depravity isn’t required to have a great time or a “cool” time.
There’s great honor in this walk with Christ. Theres great dignity.
There’s great joy. Solomon went before God in prayer as he took up the rule of Israel
after King David’s death. And he asked God for discernment in ruling Israel.
We know from scripture that God was happy with Solomon’s request.
God granted him this request for discernment, but he gave him even more than that.
1 Kings 3:13 says
New International Version (©2011)
Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for–
both wealth and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have
no equal among kings.”
God granted Solomon wealth and honor because of his request
for discernment, wisdom. When we ask god to search us and
make us right within, he in turn grants us honor. And that goes
again back to what we were talking about the last few weeks,
self examination in the Christian life.
That’s what I try to tell younger people, especially teenage male
Christians. Because I know at that age I thirsted for honor.
I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be a chivalrous warrior.
But maybe I’m out of date now. Maybe this isn’t the 90s anymore.
Maybe with the things kids see in the media these days,
all they thirst for is to be a gangster, for fame, wealth,
women, drugs, and parties.
Heavenly Father, please, say that isn’t so.
Say that these young people rising up, men and
women a like, still long deep down for an honorable
life with their creator. I hope and pray this is still true
in the young people of today.
And I’m sad to say that those are reasonable fears today.
People are good at minimizing the impact media has on
their children. They like to pretend it’s not going to impact
their children. How couldn’t it? I know, you don’t want to
believe that we live in a society that has fallen far from God.
But.. it has. It’s plainly obvious. It’s a hard truth to swallow,
but there it is. And that truth isn’t going anywhere. We can
arm ourselves against it, or fall victim to it by conveniently ignoring it.
But you know what? This may be the truth for some, even many.
But it’s not the truth for all. I see a revival in the church. It’s not
something just talked about either, and never fulfilled. It’s something
happening before my eyes.
Even in my small area, I see young leaders rising who are getting
back to the foundation of the truth, which is the Bible. They’re
passionate, you can hear it in their voices. They love God with a
passion that burns strong within. They’re not interested in the
old traditions that kept them disconnected from God. They’re
interesting in breaking through that, because they did personally,
with a push from God. And now they want to share that. And
seeing those leaders emerging, I want to be a part of that as well.
I thought of the ornate golden temple of the Pope always, when
I sat at some churches. At the new churches I see, I think of
Moses in the wilderness, and the tent. Very meager, very modest,
but full of not human power, but of God’s power.
God showed us again and again that he
doesnt need anything but a willing vessel.
When David killed Goliath he did so with nothing but a sling shot.
Samson slew 1,000 philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey.
Gideon drove back the Midianities with 300 men, a few torches,
and a lot of noise. It doesn’t take millions when we have God on
our side. It takes a dedicated few being empowered by God.
God himself said it better than I ever could:
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
As I see it, we have a cover up going on in the modern church.
I wonder, what god are they worshipping? They seem to
treat sinners with contempt, and expel them from their churches.
Christ never allowed this. He lived and ate with the sinners, they
approached him for forgiveness and he gave it. Not only that,
but he would then call them to minister to his purpose, his purpose
that is being fulfilled to this day: making disciples of all the world.
I do not see that kind of love in the modern church. I see condemnation,
and I ask, do we have a God, who sees a man or woman suffering, and
living in sin, and when they call out to him for mercy and for love, that
he would instead condemn them, and turn them away? I do not know
that god you speak of. I know the one true God, named Jehovah, who
loves the world with a mighty power and cares for the world, but not
only on such a scale, but he cares for his people individually. And
when his people call out from their place of sin, he delivers them from it.
We see this again and again in scripture, old testament and new. Why is
it so hard to understand?
If you’re a conspiracy kind of guy, then this is it! Because it’s the biggest
you can imagine:
You’ve been lied to about who God, Jehovah, the creator
of the universe really is. He’s been sold as a angry, cruel,
condemning, destroyer. But instead, within the pages of the
Bible, you will find he is a loving, gentle, peaceful, and caring God.
A God personal to you. A God who came to earth personally in human
form to sacrifice himself to rebuild a relationship with his people.
That’s the God I know, and that’s the one you ought to introduce yourself to!
So knowing that God loves you truly and does care for you.
And seeing that on our own power we have nothing, and
everything goes wrong.. Why not turn to him? And why not, once
we’ve turned to him.. why not help him? Join him in this revival.
Join us. Join God in this revival.
So how do we join in?
Well I think it’s important that we make sure God is included in our
daily walk, as we’ve been discussing, and also that we’re openly
discussing our faith with family and friends.
And thats something you can do today. That’s right, today.
Thankfully, there’s not four books required reading on ministering to
others. There isn’t a manual 300 pages long, and ten pamphlets to go
over, and a list of fourty eight rules to obey, and three qualifying interviews
with lead staff at the church to make you “ready” to do it. It doesn’t take a
year and a half to make you ready, studying this, paying dues,
making pledges, and so on.. That’s where so many churches
get it wrong. They put new leaders through so many books,
and interviews, and studies, and sheets to fill out that before
they’re even halfway through they get frustrated and just pass on it.
And such programs and churches ought to look to John 7:24 which states
“: Stop judging by external standards, and judge by true standards.”
Those are the words of Jesus to a crowd who were saying Jesus
had a demon in him! Jesus was trying to teach them that it’s OK
to do miracles on the sabbath. And for us, it’s also OK to minister
to others without going through a 16 week training program.
Sometimes I think these rigid, condemning churches are still trying
to fulfill the law after two thousand years of
ALREADY HAVING IT FULFILLED THROUGH JESUS.
Of all the people God called throughout the Bible, did any one of them,
even one, have to fill out four sheets, go through two one
hour interviews, and read six books on evangelism? That’s right,
none of them did. Not one. God qualified them,
God brought them up through EXPERIENCE training,
and God set them on the path of ministering to others.
And all the while, the religious leaders of the various times
pointed to these prophets we now revere, and said, “You can’t
be doing that! You need to read these four copies of this here,
and be ordained by us over here, and bow down before the high
priest, and go to school for X amount of years before you can do
that!” But God just said, don’t listen to them they’re hipocrates, farces.
If God doesn’t want you ministering, he probably won’t let you.
He’ll cut you off from chances to do so, unless someone can
learn from the poor example. And if he does want you ministering,
which I have to believe for most of us, he does, then he’ll send you out.
And face you time after time, with chances to spread his good news.
The good news of Jesus Christ. It’s not bad news. Its GOOD news.
The good news that Jesus the Christ died on the cross to restore the connection
between almighty God and his people.
So share that. Share it humbly, share it with scripture to back it up.
Share it with strangers. Share it with family.
Share it with cherished friends. Share it non-judgementally.
Share it freely. Share it kindly. Study the Bible if you’re nervous.
And if you’d like training, by all means step into that.
We share the message, plant the seed, and then God waters it.
God works through us in these situations. So we don’t have to worry.
And what we don’t know, God works on us. And adds it to us.
His holy spirit pushes the truth through us. Isn’t that cool?
We have a loving God. Out there working in billions of
lives at this very moment. Sometimes we hear about
those stories, sometimes we don’t. But I’d like to share one
of those stories with you before we close. It’s about a girl I know,
a friend of mine, whose been having a lot of trouble.
Shes a young, attractive girl in her mid twenties. And lately after being
sexually assaulted by a friend, shes been struggling.
To deal with the pain of that, she turned to drugs and alcohol.
I’ve been praying for her, many of my friends have been praying
for her, and something very powerful happened recently.
She was down in Madison, and she experienced yet more
She was trying to get back from Madison to here in
Wausau to stay with family, but her roommates had
been persecuting her. She found herself with no escape,
no one able to come get her out of the terrible situation she was in.
I would say chance happened upon an opportunity.
But it was something else entirely. She was taking a
cab from the hospital. The cab driver noticed she
was really upset. He asked her, “are you ok?” And
she burst into tears, and told him everything that had
happened and was happening to her. She couldnt
find a ride home, nowhere to stay, troubled and lost.
And he invited her to stay with him.
Having nowhere else to go, she went there. And the next day he gave
her a ride home, 3 hours back to Wausau, free.
And heres the catcher. On the ride back, he told her that
several years ago he was driving a girl home in his cab.
He could tell the girl was upset, but when she asked him
for help he couldn’t bring himself to help her. Later he
found out she had committed suicide. And ever since that
day he had been filled with guilt over not helping her.
On that day, God brought a cab driver into a young girls life.
A young girl who needed help. And a cab driver who needed redemption.
And both were filled.
That’s the kind of God we have.
A loving and compassionate God. A God who answers prayers.
I want to thank you for tuning in for our service today.
Have a great day, go in peace.