CLJ E Message 161113

you

let me share with you a word which i

believe is from the Holy Spirit for us

in times of need in times when were

perplexed in times were not sure what to

believe or how to interpret the events

of life it's so good to know that the

Word of God has counsel for us God has

seen it all and has foreseen it all as

well so we can trust in His Word to

guide us mmm i'm going to read much of

my sermon this morning just because i

wanted to make sure that i use the time

appropriately and my words had the

nuance and the balance that I hope and

pray that they will have I need to say

at the start that I consider this one of

the most delicate sensitive sermons that

i have preached in a long time this is

so not only because i myself am deeply

conflicted about this electoral process

and its final result but also because

i'm aware that no matter what i say or

how diplomatic i try to be with my words

it would be very easy to end up

offending one or more of the many

sectors that make up this very complex

congregation so let me clarify at the

outset that on election day i did not

vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary

Clinton I say that because I want you to

have a context for my words and to give

me the opportunity to really develop and

unfold but I out of place in my heart I

did not vote for either one of the two

presidential candidates on Tuesday

morning I resisted the strong autistic

urge to fill in one of the little ovals

next to either name and instead the

chose to leave them blank I voted

instead for a candidate named the divine

providence you may not have heard of her

but as a candidate but in my brain my

spiritual eyes I also have to say that I

felt a little guilty about doing this

and that i perfectly understand those

who ultimately opted to vote for one

candidate or another let me give you

some of the reasons why I chose that

path I could not vote for Donald Trump

because the cumulative effect of his

many serious flaws was just too much to

allow me to vote for him in good

pastoral conscience his cruel insulting

attitude toward undocumented immigrants

his mocking disrespectful behavior

toward his fellow candidates during the

primaries his unethical conduct as a

businessman over the years until the

very present his unchecked aggressive

male sexuality his insufferable pride

his seeming lack of spiritual depth and

incapacity for personal introspection

his constant defensiveness and inability

to express regret or repentance for any

of his past transgressions together

these and many other considerations made

it very difficult for me as a pastor to

help install Donald Trump as the next

president of our nation on the other

hand and there's relief for those of you

who may feel differently on the other

hand I could not vote for Hillary

Clinton for even more serious reasons I

could not bring myself to help elect an

individual who has shown such a

scandalous disregard for the life of the

unborn and who if elected would have

enthusiastically expanded the path

toward more killing of the weakest

members of our society I could not vote

for a candidate who so willfully

disregards the beliefs that so many

Christians hold dear regarding the

sanctity of marriage as the Bible

defines it or who was so hell-bent on

tearing down sacred judeo-christian

beliefs regarding human sexuality

transgenderism sexual fluidity I could

not bring myself to further the

candidacy of someone who has shown every

intention to continue the rampant

violation of the religious rights of

churches pastors Christian educational

institutions and businesses that we have

been witnessing in recent years in this

nation

I could not help install a president who

would continue to dismantle as I see it

every element of moral strength that

still remains in our armed forces our

supreme and federal courts our

educational institutions the very souls

of our children I could continue on this

path but my sermon is not about making

an exhaustive list of the profound flaws

of our two presidential candidates I

just want to make sure that my

parishioners understand where I'm coming

from as I try to provide a bit of

biblical perspective to the situation we

are facing at this moment in this niche

in this nation I don't see myself as

some angry culture warrior trying to

justify Donald Trump or as a lame on the

other hand politically correct posture

minimizing the serious moral decline of

our country in the past few years I

would hope rather through the sermon to

be both prophetic and pastoral to bring

a biblical perspective to the moment we

are living to calm fears to inspire hope

to promote confidence and trust in our

sovereign loving God who is very much in

control and who neither sleeps nor

slumbers no matter how mysterious his

actions might seem sometimes so I want

to read a text for you from First Samuel

chapter 15 11 and then 16 1 and on mmm

because I want to give you a context the

second first time you'll 1511 says then

the word of the Lord came to samuel the

prophet Samuel I regret says the Lord

that I have made a saw King because he

has turned away from me and has not

carried out my instructions now Samuel

was angry and he cried out to the Lord

all that night he didn't like the

decision that the Lord had made he had a

strong affection for soul despite the

fact that he was disobedient in Samuels

new now the lord said to Samuel chapter

16 verse 1 how long will you mourn for

soul since I have rejected him as king

over Israel fill your horn with oil and

be on your way I am sending you to Jesse

of Bethlehem I have chosen him I have

chosen one of his sons to be king but

Samuel said how can I go if Saul hears

about it he will kill me the Lord said

take a HYFR or heifer with you and say I

have come to sacrifice to the Lord

invite jesse to the sacrifice and i will

show you what to do you are to anoint

for me the 1i indicate Samuel did what

the Lord said when he arrived at

Bethlehem the elders of the town

trembled when they met him and they

asked you come in peace Simon replied

yes in peace i have come to sacrifice to

the Lord consecrate yourselves and come

to the sacrifice with me then he

consecrated Jesse and his sons and

invited them to the sacrifice when they

arrived that Samuel saw Ellie up and

thought surely the Lord's anointed

stands here before the Lord but the Lord

said to Samuel do not consider his

appearance or his height for I have

rejected him the Lord does not look at

the things people look at people look at

the outward appearance but the Lord

looks at the heart then Jesse called a

beaner da band had him pass in front of

Samuel but Samuel had said the Lord has

not chosen this one either Jesse then

had shamma passed by but Simon said nor

has the Lord chosen this one Jesse had

seven of his sons passed before Samuel

but Samuel said to him the Lord has not

chosen these so he has Jesse are these

all the sons you have there's still the

youngest Jesse answered he's tending the

sheep Samuel said send for him we will

not sit down until he arrives so he said

for him and had him brought in he was

glowing with health and had a fine

appearance and handsome features then

the Lord said rice and anoint him this

is the one so Samuel took the Horn of

oil and anointed him in the presence of

his brothers and from that day on the

spirit of the lord came powerfully upon

david samuels then went to Rama in the

text that we have just read

god has decided to end Saul's rain and

student in to install a new king in his

place Samuel as we have seen had come to

love soul and was grieving the fact that

God had decided to replace him with

another king now let us pay attention to

the fact by the way that it is God who

is sovereignly doing the choosing of

this new king not some other human

agency or element he orders Samuel to

stop grieving and to get on with this

program which is to elect a new king the

new king we know is David we will later

find out seems very unpromising and

inadequate so unqualified as a matter of

fact that he's initially almost

completely left out of the selection

process God orders Samuel to anoint him

anyway because according to him God

looks at the heart not at outward

appearances now let me hasten to clarify

that there would seem to be huge

differences between David's heart and

the heart of our new president elect at

this as far as we can judge from his

past actions and words but my intended

point is that God sometimes chooses

leaders we would never think of to do

his work to carry out his work in the

world and I will try to nuance that more

so give me the chance God has never been

afraid of using profoundly flawed

instruments including the devil himself

to do his work in human history in the

Bible we can mention unspeakably cruel

kings like Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar

among others whom God called his

servants my servant Cyrus my servant and

we'll get Nezzer and whom he used that

to carry out his work in the history of

Israel and his judgments as well as we

know as a matter of fact I am reminded

that when God chose us the church to do

his work in the world we like Trump were

also steeped in our own life of

rebelliousness sensuality

and unrepentant sin officials 2427 says

as for you you were dead in your

transgressions and sins officiants 24 27

you were dead in your transgressions and

sins in which you used to live when you

follow the ways of the world and of the

ruler of the kingdom of the air the

spirit who is now at work in those who

are disobedient all of us also lived

among them at one time gratifying the

cravings of our flesh does that sound

familiar and following its desires and

thoughts like the rest we were by nature

deserving of wrath but because of his

great love for us God who is rich in

mercy made us alive with Christ even

when we were dead in transgressions for

it is by grace you have been saved and

god raised us up with christ and seated

us with him in the heavenly realms in

christ jesus in order that in the coming

ages he might show the incomparable

riches of His grace expressed in his

kindness to us in Christ Jesus I believe

that us with the prophet Samuel God

might be calling some of us to put aside

the understandable grief we might feel

at the result of these present elections

and to join him in his mysterious

sovereign work in our nation and in the

world you might remember that I have

told you I really believe that God is

working in this world more actively more

micro at the micro level than ever

before in human history I believe that

many people in this nation and even in

the church are being asked right now to

accept the authority and governance of

someone whose values they despise whom

they cannot contemplate being in

authority over them I am reminder of the

Hebrews right before the exile who were

commanded by God to not resist the

invader

Babylonians into instead welcome them

and accept their rule at that time God

sent the Prophet Jeremiah with a

scandalous message to the anxious Jews

God told Jeremiah give them a message

for their masters and say this is what

the Lord Almighty the god of israel says

tell this to your masters with my great

power and outstretched arm I made the

earth and its people and the animals

that are on it and I give it to anyone I

please now I will give all your

countries into the hands of my servant

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon I will

make even the wild animals subject to

him all nations will serve him and his

son and his grandson until the time for

his land that comes then many nations

and great kings will subjugate him God

ordered the Jews to submit to his severe

discipline and to accept the rule of

Nebuchadnezzar until the chosen time

when he would free them and then punish

Nebuchadnezzar himself for his cruelty

and oppressive ways to his people and to

other nations as well it would seem that

God has sovereignty chosen a completely

unqualified King to rule over us but we

must remember that his ways are not our

ways and his thoughts are not our

thoughts personally I am committed to

giving God the time at space he requires

in order to unfold his strange

mysterious work in the world at this

time we live in strange exceptional

times and I suspect that this will not

be the last time that God does something

completely mysterious and unexplainable

to a reason let me read again the words

of William CalPERS him God moves in a

mysterious way which I quoted a couple

of weeks ago before the

election butch but which now more than

ever seemed especially appropriate

William copper as you know was a hymn

writer in the 18th century English and

he wrote this a beautiful hymn which is

not really well known but I think it's a

gem says God moves in a mysterious way

his wonders to perform he plants his

footsteps in the sea and rides upon the

storm deep in unfathomable minds of

never failing skill he treasures up his

bright designs and works his sovereign

will be fearful Saints fresh courage

take the clouds you so much dread are

big with mercy and shall break in

blessings on your head judge not the

Lord by feeble sense but trust him for

his grace behind a frowning Providence

he hides a smiling face his purposes

will ripen fast unfolding every hour the

bud may have a bitter taste but sweet

will be the flower blind on belief is

sure to her and scan his work in vain

God is his own interpreter and he will

make it plain CalPERS him is an

invitation to enter into the the

mysterious ways of God's interventions

in history in human life and individuals

and to trust that even when he does

scandalous offensive things and we know

that he has done many including the

cross he's up to something good

something wonderful something

extraordinarily life affirming and

giving and when he saw in the process of

unfolding his work we cannot judge him

rationally reason will always ask I'll

process it will always stumble upon the

complexity of God's mysterious dealings

the political bud to use CalPERS image

that we see right now in America may be

bitter indeed but I am totally confident

that the final flower that emerges will

be more beautiful and delightful than

anything we have seen until now

even though the process ahead of us may

include the pain as with the many

crucifixion so many of us have

experienced in the past wonderful life

will yet come out of it we must believe

that the moment we are living as

Christians in America demands a certain

soberness from us we must force

ourselves to adopt a spiritual biblical

perspective we should not let ourselves

be swallowed by mere political passion

but rather adopt the objective

dispassionate attitude that our Lord

Himself embodied when he said My Kingdom

is not of this world if it were My

servants would fight to prevent my

arrest by the Jewish leaders but now my

kingdom is from another place oh you are

king then said pilot jesus answered you

say that I'm a king in fact the reason I

was born and came into this world is to

testify to the truth everyone on the

side of the truth listens to me like

Jesus our sole allegiance should be to

the truth wherever it might lead us not

to some political party a particular

nation or our own ethnicity or personal

interests I suggest that those of

Angelico's who voted for Trump not revel

too much in their victory not celebrate

him too much or abandon their critical

capacity to see the flaws and errors in

his presidency in other words do not

embrace him embrace him without a

healthy dose of skepticism and critical

acumen if you have embraced him and

praise him with a certain degree of

sadness lucidly understanding that up to

this moment he is a tainted man with

many personal values that are in direct

contradiction with the value

of the kingdom of God accept him as

God's strange sovereign perhaps even

unpleasant choice pray for him and if

and when he does something and I'm

speaking to those who feel very

comfortable with his presidency when he

even when he does something that is

contrary to God's Word don't forget to

make note of it and don't try to mask or

rationalize it or sort of you know swipe

it away I'd like to suggest that this

should not be so much a time for

celebration in any sector of American

Christianity as a time for sober

reflection prayer and inquiry prayer and

inquiry about how God wants us to act as

the church in these strange times that

we are living as Christians which would

be more committed than ever to living

out values of mercy compassion love

holiness concern for the poor the weak

and the voiceless why because I feel

that again I'm trying to look at things

objectively until now there has been so

much glorification through this man of

power physical beauty sexuality head

against head an eye for an eye you know

just sheer force and strength which is

really the essence of the demonic in the

world and in history and disregard for

the week the handicapped the the

voiceless and then the glorification of

national ethnocentrism and these values

are in direct contrast through the

gospel the spirit of christ which is the

very opposite and the church should then

have a counter influenced by living out

more than ever the spirit of christ and

we should reinforce this in our church

accept each other love each other in our

diversity express the grace

of Christ loved the week love those who

are in trouble a firm those who are

trying to get back on their feet present

gospel of truth holiness and at the same

time of grace mercy and compassion the

two that that's what I hope this church

would be distinguished by biblical

fidelity and understanding of God's

holiness the intractability of his dick

dictates at the fact that we are simply

called to join him as he dictates things

that sometimes scandalized our sense of

justice but which are true and therefore

dependable and at the same time his

other side which is merciful forgiving

as a father has compassion on his

children so does God have compassion on

us because he knows our frame he knows

that we are but dust and that's the

beauty of God's wholesome personality he

can do both and we should also we should

be a church of holiness and at the same

time a church of great compassion

empathy mercy peace love we should

emphasize these things more than ever

because this nation is going to need

these values more than ever the world is

going to need these values more than

ever as it comes under the influence of

more and more testosterone filled

leaders who will not back off in a fight

we need to ask for the Spirit of Christ

more than ever but i love the spirit of

christ because it is powerful it is

strong it is firm it does not back off

against injustice in any form it is

clear and we must align ourselves with

the spirit the complex balanced nuanced

spirit of our Creator this church I hope

we will do that in these times we should

be mourning for undocumented immigrants

and their families or right now face a

very uncertain future we should identify

with minorities and ethnic communities

that are already experiencing attacks on

the part of people who feel emboldened

and justified in giving expression to

dark sentiments of racism nationalism

and animosity toward immigrants we

should also be tolerant of those who

have been emotionally traumatized by one

of the biggest most unpleasant surprises

of their life and who are still

recovering from the shock

of seeing someone who they see as an

enemy occupying the most powerful

political position in their country and

for those who did not vote for him those

who did not vote for him who despise

what he stands for receive him as your

president like Samuel had to receive

this new figure whom he didn't know and

didn't think didn't look very promising

wasn't a very pleasant prospect either

his alliances in his love were still for

Saul mischievous saw but lovable

apparently if you did not bother him

receive him as president pray for him

give him every opportunity to perhaps

surprised us all with good judgment and

a good presidency that may seem

absolutely inconceivable to many of you

but it stranger things have happened we

just came from a very strange thing

happening why do we put anything beyond

anything right now I'm willing to

believe anything that Sam is really an

alien sitting there sister you know all

the time comes out as many black a note

of caution I'm finishing or not of

caution for all of us do not ever put

your confidence or hopes on any man or

woman whether it be Obama Trump or

Hillary Clinton do not put your hope on

a mere mortal no government no

individual will bring justice to this or

any nation unless their values are in

alignment with the principles of the

kingdom of God no matter how good their

intentions might be no matter how much

they make thirst for social justice or

for the advancement of the week in the

downtrodden if they do not have the

power of God behind their sales they

will not advance very far you can look

at every revolution in the world whether

is the French Revolution the Russian

Revolution the Maoist are

revolution the Cuban Revolution

Venezuela Nicaragua where are they all

corrupted all doing what men do become

corrupted become co-opted become victims

of the same enticements that the devil

has always blandish before poor souls

were you know deluded in thinking that

they can somehow sites that God's

demands and still accomplish what they

want to accomplish no government no

individual bring justice to this or any

nation and as their values are in

alignment with the principles of the

kingdom of God if their worldview

advances on biblical lifestyles

secularism rebellion against God his

word lack of love toward his church as

with the previous administration or as

we see with the new president elect

until now if they glorify the glorified

brute force nationalism ethnocentrism

neglect of the poor putting profits

before people human pride on restraint

sexuality and ridicule of the week and

the broken neither neither camp will

succeed neither will be able to bring

justice or greatness to this land they

will all fail and we should not be found

that cheering enthusiastically for

either one with mere mortals still in

control in this nation I'd like to

submit to you that we are neither as

desperate as many of us feel or as

secure as others of us feel mere men and

women should have no power to take away

our peace or to generate a nose a wild

enthusiasm as Christians our hope should

be exclusively in the Lord

we do not fear men who can perhaps do

damage to our bodies but never to our

souls when the hope of this nation is

once again placed on the Lord and His

Word then we will be able to expect

peace and the true national greatness I

leave you with the words of Psalm 146 do

not put your trust your trust in Princes

in human beings who cannot save when

their spirit departs they return to the

ground on that very day their plans come

to nothing blessed are those whose help

is the God of Jacob whose hope is in the

Lord their God he is the maker of heaven

and earth the sea and everything in them

he remains faithful forever he upholds

the cause of the oppressed and gives

food to the hungry the Lord sets

prisoners free the Lord gives sight to

the blind the Lord lift up those who are

bow down the Lord loves the righteous

the Lord watches over the foreigner and

sustains the fatherless and the widow

but he frustrates the ways of the of the

wicked the Lord reigns forever your God

owes on

for all generations praise the Lord amen

amen thank you lord thank you

let us time for a moment let's have a

word of Prayer before let us stand one

thing we can do right now is a

congregation is to join the Holy Spirit

in prayer on behalf of our nation you

know i-i've told i told you before i

have slept like a baby the past few days

i am not i'm not afraid I'm I and even

if I weren't in worst circum worst

circumstances even in my future were

more uncertain because of this situation

I would still put my trust in the Lord I

would remember what the Apostle Paul

says do not be anxious about anything do

not be anxious about anything but rather

let your prayers and supplications come

before the Lord with all kinds of

Thanksgiving later on it says at the

peace of God which passes all

understanding will keep your mind your

heart your spirits in Jesus Christ who

truly is the Lord and who is in control

we're simply seeing a sentence in a long

book that God has been writing for a

long time as I said before that book is

coming perhaps closer to the end but

there's still a few paragraphs and maybe

a couple of chapters left so we cannot

we cannot burn too quickly we have to go

slowly we have to enjoy the ride we have

to be patient God is God has great plans

for us remember what he wrote to the

Jews in in exile in Babylon he said you

know do not grow weak do not cease to

have children open businesses give you

children's and Mary children in marriage

because at the end of a certain time I

will call you back into your land for I

know the plans that i have for you God

knows the plan that he has for you and

for me God knows the plants and if he

knows nobody can change those plans I

know the plans that i have for you the

thoughts that i have for you plans to do

good and not evil plans to give you hope

and the future to give you that with you

have rightfully desired in me that's

what God is going to give you no matter

how convoluted the journey to that

ultimate result might be so let us let

us exalt the Lord this morning let us

cast a shadow over this nation let us

declare his benevolent love over every

neighborhood in Boston and in New

England and in chicago new york and

north carolina 9 wherever it might be

right now cast it just show again just

throw God's love but the net of his love

and His grace over every sector of this

nation over Europe over Africa over

Latin America over the Pacific over Asia

a China Australia the love of God the

eyes of God are over the earth they are

no less so now than ever before and

father we declare your goodness oh we

revel in your kingship you lift kings

and you tear them down Lord you allow

empires and movements to grow and you

know their end and you allow them to be

replaced with other things and yet you

lead history to the end that you have

preconceived and rather than rebel and

squirm against your Providence we say

Amen to it and we welcome your will into

this nation no matter how puzzling it

might be and we declare our absolute

subservience to your efforts and to your

plans and movements and we say yes Lord

amen we welcome we thank you we glorify

you we affirm your will on this earth

right now let us be part of the voices

of consolation hope and perspective

we bless our new president we bless his

family we bless his thinking we bless

his mind that we bless his spirit we

bless his heart we pray that you will

illuminate him and endow him with wisdom

that he certainly might not have right

now but you have done mysterious things

father may he be for good may he'd

surprise us and the lightest in seeing

something that we did not expect father

we bless him and we bless that white

house and we blame we bless every chord

in this nation every seat of power and

influence we bless it father we pray

that you will do something extraordinary

that you will surprise and delight us

give us peace we bow before your majesty

and your sovereignty lord thank you

thank you for your good thank you lord

thank you lord hallelujah thank the lord

give him glory give him on earth