We had a good Sunday...way down in attendance with the holiday weekend, but good spiritually. God is continuing to do something in His church. We had Sarah with us as a guest player on the worship team today. Wow. She's totally amazing. Lar and I brought a tag team message today...had a great lunch with the Powell's...I managed to get a 1 hour and 15 minute nap before getting up and pulling things together for leadership meeting at our house. Afterwards we had another meeting with Sean who now heads up our greeters/first impressions. Good stuff. Can't wait to see some things that are going to unfold.
Larry and I preached this morning on, "Perceive the Blessing". We also had gave special appreciation for all those who serve in Northside's Ministries.
Below are a few of the notes from my portion of the message. Enjoy...
"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
Jesus says, “Something is wrong here. Weren't ten people healed? Where are the other nine?"
It's interesting that everybody so quickly forgot to say thanks except for this "foreigner?" You see the one who came back to say thanks, was supposedly the one that did not even know God!!
STOP FOR A MINUTE RIGHT THERE…HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED MORE APPRECIATION OR KINDNESS FROM PEOPLE WHO AREN’T EVEN BELIEVERS? I know I have.
You see, this one leper's heart was filled with appreciation. There are times we are so stoked about a gift, we forget about the giver. Now, let's put this into relationship with those who serve us for a moment...
Of course we are most grateful for the precious gift of Jesus. But,have you stopped to think about the person who led you to Jesus? Have you ever gone back and thanked them? Where would you be had they not told you?
I'm sure you are thankful for all the knowledge you have of the Bible, but have you ever written a letter to the Sunday School teacher who has taught you the most?
Let me tell you who the heroes are among us...those who SERVE. We have many great servants here at Northside and we honor you today.
When it came to the leper, it was because he returned with appreciation that Jesus told him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.” (or whole) In the KJV it says that the nine were cleansed, but in verse 19 it says that the one leper was made WHOLE. He was given something the others were not given.
The Bible says, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed”. The Bible says that he saw he was healed. The others realized they were healed of course, but with this man there was something different. The Greek word used is "eido," and it means to “know, see, or perceive.” There is a perception and then there is a PERCEPTION. You see, but do you SEE? Do you not only perceive but ACKNOWLEDGE? He took the time to note that he had been blessed. He realized that something wonderful had happened to him. He was sensitive to the power of Christ working in his life. His perception had entirely changed.
The point is, SOME PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE BEEN BLESSED. Many do not take time to appreciate. Let's not be guilty of that. For some it takes losing something to realize they are blessed. As one of my mentors, Sis. Coker says, “you won’t miss the water til’ the well runs dry…”
If our freedoms in America were taken away, we would surely realize and appreciate the sacrifices more than our soldiers have made for us and are still making for us.
If no one showed up to teach your Sunday School class, you surely would realize something was missing.
Let me tell you, if Susan Lilly didn't show up an hour early for church each time, a lot of things would fall through the cracks. I don't know what we did before Susan came on the scene. Everything down to mine and Pastor's water glasses are set right in place on the platform and lined up for us for the services. Susan keeps a lot of things in order around here that no one sees or would notice...unless she didn't show up to do it. But she's so faithful. Go, Susan!
From large things to small things, may we, as the leper who was made whole STOP AND NOTICE the sacrifices that are made for our wholeness. Learning to be appreciative of what God has done for us, and what others do for us is a major step forward in being made well.
PERCEIVE, MY FRIENDS! DO NOT BE BLIND TO THE BLESSING!
Do you really perceive the ways, large and small -- that God has blessed you?
Did any of you come in here literally starving this morning? No, you really didn't, I guarantee it. We don't have anybody here who is actually starving. We have a food ministry and would have alread fed you this morning thanks to Rob Hart who runs our outreach ministry. Go, Rob!
Did you come in here clothed this morning? Yes you all did or somebody would have thrown something over you real quick until Rob could have opened the clothing bank for you to get some clothes to wear. We do that here too. Go, Hopetown workers!
Especially in America, we are blessed. Many people are blind to the blessing and talk about only how their life needs to have a change instead of how God has blessed them. Noticing the blessing is the first step to wholeness.
I want you to see something here in this passage that, when he saw that he was healed, he turned around. You've got to take the time to turn around and notice the blessing. Stop what you're doing and take the time. The Lord had given the command for the leper to go to the priest but he waited just a moment and turned around…why? TO GIVE THANKS WHERE THANKS WAS DUE. BECAUSE HE PERCEIVED THE BLESSING. AND HE WASN'T ABOUT TO MISS OUT ON PERCEIVING/ACKNOWLEDGING IT.
Why didn’t the Lord get upset with him for waiting a moment to follow the command to go to the priest? Because the Lord realized the fact that the man "got it". He saw something the other nine people didn't. So Jesus was totally cool with it because the man had realized the priority of gratitude and appreciation. This man fully intended to obey the Lord’s command to go to the priest but his call to thank Him came first. So what's this mean for you? Well...
You see, if you don’t stop to perceive the blessing on a daily basis and give thanks for what you’ve been given it won’t be long until your obedience just becomes a job to do. If you are failing to perceive the blessing, you lose the meaning of what God has given you to do. You become unthankful and even sometimes develop an attitude of entitlement!
There is wholeness is perceiving your blessing. Notice the Lord told the man, “arise, go thy way, thy faith has made thee whole…” This was something that the others did not receive.
A new power was given to him that day. He had faith, not just to be healed, but many commentaries state that he had the faith to follow Christ. Realize the blessing of God comes in different degrees. Although we can’t earn our salvation and it is based solely on the work accomplished on the cross, realize the blessings and favor of God are different.
p.s. remember the dream I had the other night about me singing, "Higher Ground"? I decided after that dream to do it for an offertory today. Sarah joined me on it. Hey, I'm all about making dreams come true. :-)