Connecting with the Creator

October 22, 2017

As you might be able to tell from the platform, the signs and the bulletin, Lego has been on our mind lately.  Didn’t Stefan do a great job.  Do me a favour, don’t touch my pulpit.

The “Lego group” began in the workshop of a Danish carpenter by the name of Ole Kirk Christiansen who began making wooden toys in 1932 and two years later named his new company Lego.  Which comes from a Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well”.

In 1947 the company expanded into a new technology and began producing plastic toys and in 1949 they produced an early version of their interlocking bricks.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Here is an ad from 1958, the kid in the boy tie is Ole’s son and he’s now the richest man in Denmark.

Lego wasn’t a new invention, instead it was a modified design of the Kiddicraft brick from the UK which was a little bit like the Minibrix, also from the UK.

And perhaps you are wondering: So what?  What does Lego have to do with church?  Well, it’s all about the connections.

What made Lego different than the original blocks that Christiansen started with, was their ability to connect and because of the round pegs that connected them what they could create seemed almost limitless.

Last Sunday I spoke about how we were created to connect.  To connect with our creator. To connect with creation and to connect with other people.

This week we are going to dive a little deeper into connecting with our creator.

Last week our scripture ended with the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and finished with these words at the end of Genesis chapter 2 Genesis 2:25  The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Chapter 3 begins with Adam and Eve being tempted by the Satan to do the only thing that they were told not to do, and that was to not eat the fruit from one specific tree.

That part of the story is found in Genesis 2:15-17  The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

And if they had of just been tempted by Satan that would have been one thing.  We are all tempted.  Jesus was tempted, by Satan.  Temptation isn’t disobedience.  Disobedience is disobedience.  There was just one thing they couldn’t do, they couldn’t eat the fruit from one tree.  That was it.  They could climb the tree, they could cut the tree down, they could do anything except eat the fruit from the tree.   And you know what happened?  Yep, fruit salad for lunch.

 

And the first line after they deliberately disobeyed their creator is found in Genesis 3:7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Before they deliberately disobeyed they had no shame, immediately after their disobedience they are filled with shame.  Hmmmmmm.

And with that shame came a break in the connection.  Every once in a while, if you’re playing with Lego you discover they won’t connect.  And upon further investigation you’ll discover that someone has used the Lego for a playdough cookie cutter.  Yeah, go figure.  And because of that the connections just don’t connect.  They are gummed up with stuff that isn’t supposed to be there.

Adam and Eve’s connection with God had gotten gummed up with something that wasn’t supposed to be there, sin.

Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience the intimate connection they had had with their creator was damaged.  They chose to walk away from him, it was their decision not his.

Reminds me of the story of the old farmer and his wife who were driving along one day in their pickup and she observed “how come we don’t drive all cuddled up like we did when we were younger?” to which he replied, “I haven’t moved.”

And sometimes it seems that we look at God and wonder why we aren’t as close as we used to be, but he hasn’t moved, he’s still where he has always been.

Even though it was humanity who moved away from God, there is still a need to connect with God.  Most of us have felt that stirring to connect with our creator.  But how?  How do we, finite men and women connect with an infinite God who created the universe?

 

Good question.   David was the King of Israel 3000 years ago, he was called a man after God’s own heart, and even though he had his struggles and wasn’t perfect it would appear that he had connected with God.

He wrote the majority of the Psalms in the Bible and Jesus was sometimes referred to as “The Son of David”. Which would be reflective of the fact that Jesus’ mother was a descendant of King David’s.

One of the Psalms that David wrote was Psalm 63 that was read for us earlier, and in this Psalm, David writes about some of the ways that he connected with his God.

So, a little bit of the back story here, this was written after the entire David and Goliath thing.  Now some scholars would date it to the period before David has become King.

David had become a soldier in King Saul’s court and has become a favourite of the peoples and Saul begins to feel threatened and puts a bounty on David’s head and David ends up on the run, living in the desert and hills of Judah until Saul is accidental killed and David assumes the throne.

Other scholars tell us that this was written after David was already king and his 3rd son, Absalom, led an attempted coup during which time David was in the wilderness again.  It would have been so much easier if David had of used Microsoft Word, then we could just check the properties tab to find out when it had been written.

But the timing isn’t nearly as important as the circumstances.

David is far from his home and far from his family, on he is on the run and fearing for his life.  And yet during some of his darkest hours, he is finding time to connect with his Creator.  So let’s start at the beginning:

Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll Have to Want to Connect with God  David begins by acknowledging the relationship “Oh God you are my God.”  This wasn’t somebody else’s God that David was seeking to connect with, this was David’s God.

David had already connected with God in the sense that he knew God, we’d say that he had a relationship with God.  This was just going deeper in the relationship.

You can have a relationship with someone and not be connected to them.

There are marriages like that, where the husband and wife have settled into the equivalency of being roommates.  Technically they are husband and wife, they were married and they’ve never gotten divorced, or even separated, they live in the same house but they are no longer connected.

Or you perhaps you know of parents who are estranged from their children or the other way around.  There is still a relationship but no connection.

But David wanted more than just a de facto relationship.

There are folks who have a relationship with God, they have accepted the promise of forgiveness, they have partaken of his Grace.  But it hasn’t gone deeper than that.  But like the marriage without connection, there will be no joy in a relationship with God without a connection to God.

But David is craving to have a deeper relationship with God, he wrote “My whole-body longs for you.”

Preacher Alexander McLaren wrote in the Expositions of Holy Scripture “There is a great deal more in Christianity than longing, but there is no Christianity worth the name without it.”

Over and over again the bible reminds us that when we seek God that we will find Him.  Our grandkids love playing Hide and Seek but that isn’t God’s game.  God promises us in Proverbs 8:17  “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.”

So, beyond longing to connect what were David’s next steps?

We can want to connect with someone, and long to connect with someone but never move beyond that longing to connecting.  Charlie Brown’s relationship with the little red-headed girl proves that.

So let’s keep reading,  Psalm 63:3-4  Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!  I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll have to Talk to God. 

 When you hear the word prayer what is your first thought?  For some, it involves prayer requests, when you ask someone to pray for you or tell someone that you’ll pray for them.  But is that it?

Is prayer just a shopping list and is God simply a vendor where we put in a request and pull out an answer?

Meister Eckhart, wrote “But many people want to look upon God with the eyes with which they look upon a cow; they want to love God the way they love a cow that you love because it gives you milk and cheese. This is how people behave who want to love God because of external wealth or inner comfort, but they do not love God properly: rather, they love their self-interest.”

If that is a reality than your prayer life probably isn’t going to increase your connection with God.

Have you ever had someone in your life who is always asking you for something?  A little confession here, through the years I have had names come up on my phone and my first thought is “What do they want now?”  I’m sure that you aren’t that shallow.  But I don’t feel like I’m connected to those people, used by them perhaps but not connected.

Mother Teresa defines prayer when she said “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

Prayer is talking to God, telling him what your day was like, thanking him for what he’s done, and yes asking him to help you.  And sometimes it’s asking for things and healings and help, but sometimes the asking has to be for wisdom in dealing with situations.  That’s why we are told in James 1:5  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

I don’t know about you but I’m a lot quicker to ask God to fix something or provide something then I am to ask for the wisdom to fix it or provide it myself.

Find the time to pray.  Maybe you are a morning prayer person, you start your day with God or maybe you’re a nighttime last thing before going to bed prayer person.  Or maybe you find time through the day, at your desk, while you are driving or while you are going for a walk when you talk to God.

There isn’t a specific time or formula to communicating with someone you love.   Just find time to connect with God through your prayers.

But David wasn’t just praying to God.  Let’s read that verse again, Psalm 63:3-4  Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!  I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

The word Praise is used more than any other word in this Psalm.  In the next verse we read

Psalm 63:5  You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.   And then just a little further along we read, Psalm 63:7  Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll have to Praise God.  David was a musician, and so it was natural for him to express his love for God in song.

And because most of us connect emotionally via music we still connect with him that way.  It’s not the only way to praise him, but for most of us it just works.

There are songs that touch our souls and allow us to express to God what mere words alone can’t.  Even for those of us who aren’t musical.

Sometimes it’s singing out loud, sometimes it’s singing in our souls.

And here is the thing, what works for you and helps you connect with God, won’t necessarily work for me.  And it doesn’t have to.

I don’t have to like, enjoy or even appreciate the same sacred music that you do.  Because you’re not singing it for me and I’m not singing it for you.

Sometimes we think that the only music that God likes is what we like, got news for you. . . you’re not God.

And even if it doesn’t entail music if you are going to connect with God it will require you to acknowledge who he is and thank him for that.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray the first line was Matthew 6:9 “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”  That’s praise, when we recognize his name as holy, when we acknowledge his character, that’s praise.

But there is more to connecting with God than just talking to him and praising him.

And so David writes,  Psalm 63:6  I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll have to Listen to God   Sometimes meditation gets a bad rap.   When we hear about meditating we think of Eastern religions and the New Age Movement from the 1970s and 80s.  Sitting cross-legged, which would rule it out right there for me, and humming or repeating a mantra while opening ourselves up spiritually for whoever to fill.

So I thought maybe that was a mistranslation and David used a word in the Hebrew that meant something other than “meditate”.  So I looked it up, like Dr. Lennox told us to, and sure enough, the word in the original language meant. . . Meditate.

So I went to the Collins English dictionary and Meditate means

  1. to think about something deeply
  2. to reflect deeply on spiritual matters, esp as a religious act
  3. to plan, consider, or think of doing (something) 

When the people of Israel were going into the Promised land and God was giving Joshua direction for governing his people this was a part of those directions,   Joshua 1:8  Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

If prayer is us talking to God, the Bible is God talking to us.  And the only way you get it, is to read it.

Find a bible that you can read.  I personally enjoy the New Living Translation, but the New International Version is easy to read as well.

You can find an app for your phone or tablet, or you can get a real paper bible if that’s what you prefer.  And paper bibles are no holier than electronic bibles.  If you need a bible talk to one of the staff we have bibles.

Start with the Gospels.  Read the story of Jesus.  Then read the book of Acts, that’s the story of the church.  When you’re done with those five books check back with me and I’ll make another suggestion.

I can’t comprehend people who say they are Christians or Christ follower but have never read the story of Christ.   Seems like you’re taking a pretty big chance, gambling your eternity on someone you don’t know anything about.

Psalm 63:2  I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory.

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll have to Spend Time with God’s People  The sanctuary was where corporate worship took place for the Jews.  It’s where the scriptures were read, where public prayers were voiced and where the offerings were brought.  Kind of sounds like church.

And David said one of the places that he connected with God was in corporate worship.

22 times in the Psalms David writes about connecting with God at the sanctuary, for comfort, for instruction and for the opportunity to be in God’s presence.

And you will hear people say that they don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, but Christianity isn’t and has never been a solitary religion.  It was born in a group and it grew as a group.  And there are things that we can accomplish as a group working together that we could never accomplish alone.

And we are warned in Hebrews 10:25  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

And we will be looking at that a little more when we look at connecting with the Creators Kids.

And then finally David writes,  Psalm 63:8  I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. 

If you are going to connect with God, You’ll have to Trust God  Do you trust God?  I mean really trust God?  Do you trust him with your today and your tomorrows?

Jesus told those who were following him in  John 14:1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

Jesus spoke those words 2000 years ago but the reality is that they are for us today.  In a world filled with trouble and turmoil, Jesus is saying “trust me”

When we trust God, we draw closer to him.  When we begin to trust him with our family, our finances and our future we begin to lean on him.  And you have to be close in order to lean.

Have you ever gone to lean up against a wall and discovered that it was further away then you thought it was?  No?  Me neither, but I read about it in a book.  I understand that it can be a little disconcerting.

As you trust in God you lean more into his presence.  And you can’t trust from a distance.

It was Martin Luther who wrote, “Pray, and let God worry.”

If you are a Christian then you have already trusted God with your eternity, shouldn’t you be able to trust him with your today?

And so I leave you with the words from one of Jesus’ best friend Peter, who wrote to the early church   1 Peter 1:8-9  You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.  The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

 

 


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