If I told you that Governor Mark Dayton was a personal friend of mine, what would that mean? A few things that would come to mind would probably be:
1. The Governor knows Nick’s name.
2. Nick and Mark spend time together.
3. Nick can call the Governor and visit on the phone about life.
4. Nick has a friend with a great deal of influence and power.
We could go on and on with this list. In the end, a summary statement might be - people that are my personal friends can be counted on to care for me, and they will communicate or connect with me while they enjoy our relationship. The Governor of Minnesota is not actually a close personal friend of mine, but if he were I would enjoy sitting with him to get insight into the inner workings of our government that would come through his particular point of view. A friend like the governor would also bring a substantial amount of influence into my corner as I go through life. That could really be nice!
One of the great joys in life is to go through it all connected deeply to people that matter to us. We care for them and they care for us. We fall and they pick us up. We laugh and they smile. We cry and they give us a hug. This is what a personal connection looks like. We are big on relationships at Oak Hill and that is why Relationship is one of our core values. It is also why we are continually reminded that we are about Connecting Lives in Grace and Truth.
The thought of a friend with the power of Governor Mark Dayton pales into insignificance when compared to being in a personal relationship with your Creator and God. You are cared for and loved not only by the one with great power but by the God who really enjoys your unique idiosyncrasies.
God has always loved me. He loved me when I was in speech therapy and He accepted me when acne went wild. God Almighty even put up with me in my “know it all” phase. My gentle savior was with me in the hospital bed when surgeries were forcing me to consider that my life may not play out like I thought. I could describe all the ups and downs of my days, but through it all a consistent reality was that God was... Which is simply the backward view of God’s primary name for Himself; Yahweh or Jehovah or simply - I AM…
All that you need is who God is. All your fears and inadequacies are known by God and He still wants you. To draw out our theme of Personal God in the next message I will be focusing on possibly the most well-known passage in all of Scripture; the 23rd Psalm. We will see God’s desire for an intimacy with us that brings us to a place of confidence and rest with Jesus as our Good Shepherd. I hope to walk through this with you on Sunday.
United with you in our Personal God,
The past few weeks we have been reminded how small we are if we are attempting to stand up against the forces of nature. All our best laid plans and defenses have little hope of being unaffected by high winds and high waves. The thought of feeling sturdy while standing up against 150 mph wind gusts or storm surges of 10 feet is absolutely ludicrous.
The Bible would say the same thing to any of us that want to go through life claiming to be the “king-pin” of our world and the life to come. God’s Word repeatedly calls us “fools” if we say there is no God. [Psalm 14.1]
I can securely say that I must not be a fool since I believe there is a God. But then I need to honestly come to grips with the fact that I choose at times to live as though I am going through this world with no God other than myself. It is a painful confession, but one I need to make none the less. I often do things or don’t do things that clearly oppose what the God I believe in would have me do. At times, I find little comfort in prayer or peace when God would say I can possess it. I have a problem!
But it is right at this point that I most clearly see the heart of God. God isn’t some powerful force out to crush me because of my failure. My God is my loving creator who comes to me in my need because I have a problem. He comes to me with the solution. God Almighty comes to me as nothing less than the Creator of the world and the sustainer of all life. This is good, but what is even better is that He comes into all my weaknesses, fears and failures to bring me back instead of to banish me.
Your heart, mind and soul are asking deep questions about God. You can ignore them and just focus on the Vikings’ Super Bowl victory to come, or you can look for the answers that are forever and always true. The fact that there is a God and you are not it will either bring you freedom or disillusionment. You Choose!
Hope to live in freedom with you!
Can you believe it’s September already? We start our “Believe” series on September 10th so we have one week in between our summer and fall series. I will be sharing some thoughts on the necessity and importance of Hope this upcoming Sunday. Here are a couple thoughts to lead us in that direction from God’s Word.
Also, I want to encourage you to be aware of the times of activities the next two weeks especially. On September 3rd, our worship service will begin at 10:30 AM. September 10th is Kick off Sunday with all kinds of fun stuff including a celebration worship service beginning at 9:45 AM followed by a wonderful lunch. [Make note of the announcement in the View with all the details] Mark your calendars and make sure others know as well!
Have a great Labor Day weekend,
Pastor Nick Mundis