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Synopsis of A Devastating Storm And An Incredible Promise
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to share a piece of the bread of life, the Word of God. And today’s two slices comes from, first:
Matthew 18:15-20 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
What did Matthew just remind us: For where two or three (or 130,000) are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (or their storm)
Announcing itself with shrieking, 130-mph winds, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast, dumping more than 40 inches of rain over a four-day period, submerging entire neighborhoods up to their roofs. In the days before expected landfall, the Governor or Texas warned that the monster system would be “a very major disaster,” and the forecasts drew fearful comparisons to Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest ever to strike the United States. In the aftermath, Harvey is being called a disaster of biblical proportions and it could eventually drop as much as an astounding 25 trillion gallons of water in Texas. Then just prior to my typing this message I was watching news report of another hurricane named Irene and two more beginning to leave the African coast
When we come together in pain: There He is with us. When we come together to pray. He is with us. When we come together with compassion to help. He is with us. Where do you find Jesus? That’s our question for the day. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus makes an incredible promise to us: “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Think about that. When a married couple kneels together beside their bed in prayer, Jesus is there. When a family bows their heads to give thanks at the dinner table, He is there. When a pastor has a prayer beside a bed in a hospital with someone who is suffering, He is there. When storms destroy our communities and we Christians bind together, He is there. Want to know where to find Jesus? Here’s the secret: Get together with someone else who is a follower of His for the express purpose of studying His word, or worshiping His name or lifting up petitions in prayer, or binding the broken hearted, and He will be there, guaranteed!
I. We are not alone.
Yes we are all, an overnight disaster away, from having all the hope knocked out of us and being left alone in this world. You can tell me all day how Job had his fortune restored and was given a new wife, new land, and new children. That doesn’t return those whom he lost.
So let me say to all of you here this morning, “Eat. Drink. And be merry for tomorrow you die.” I say that not in a defeatist way. I say it the way the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes meant it. Enjoy this life. And realize this. What Job did not have; you do. A Savior. What The Preacher in Ecclesiastes did not know; you know. We are not alone. You have the Lord Jesus and he will not abandon those for whom he died.
Look at the stars, then look at yourself. Sure, you’re only a microscopic part of this vast universe, but consider the wonder of the mind with which you survey creation. Consider the amazing ability of your brain to ponder the significance of creation. Think about your lungs that provide you with life-giving air and your digestive system that allows you to translate matter into energy so that you can enjoy the wonder of it all. It’s almost too magnificent to imagine. An accident? You’ve got to be kidding.
Of course, there is a design to creation and there is a Designer. An astronomer and a mathematician [Fred and Chandra Hoyle] working together have concluded that the chances of life happening on this planet by accident are less than 1 in 10 to the 40,000 power. (2) It makes no difference how you think creation was accomplished; blind chance is not a satisfactory explanation. We are not alone.
III. Here is where we find strength for our journey in this world. We draw it from the knowledge that God is with us. Of course, we have air to breath and food to eat and water to drink. All these are necessary for life. But they’re not enough for abundant life. We need meaning. More than that we need companionship. We need love. We need that which raw matter cannot provide.
In the early 70s the firemen of Fairfax County, Virginia received new helmets. They were really sharp: colorful, high impact plastic, size-adjustable, and scuff resistant. There was only one problem with the helmets. When they were near heat, they melted. That’s what a fire fighter needs, isn’t it? A helmet that melts when near heat.
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