Sunday 7th June 2020Service Transcript & Video
Great…. Love those songs and actions
Before I talk to you to-day I wanted us to take a moment and pray…
My heart / Your hearts have been saddened, broken, maybe even angered at the death of George Floyd and the systemic injustice, racism and supremacy of one culture over another that has been part of American culture of generations..
We want to affirm that GOD makes each and every life in His image and imprint and therefore life is sacred/ precious/ invaluable..
Black lives matter
White lives matter
Unborn lives matter
Pregnant girls and mothers matter
Children who are abused matter
Older vulnerable people matter
How we live and HOW we treat one another
As individuals /as a community /a culture/
Matters to GOD and matters to us..
We who are followers of JESUS especially have a HUGE responsibility to be agents of peace and reconciliation
We want to stand graciously but strongly and be a voice to support those who feel
Worthless, exploited, suppressed, oppressed, degraded, disregarded…
from conception right through to old age.
Dr. Martin Luther King who said:
Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can. Look for opportunities to be light, to be love, to be a minister of reconciliation to those who don’t look like you, think like you, and vote like you.
Why? That’s the Great Commandment. Love your neighbor as yourself.
And we keep praying for those around us…
For those in the front lines battling against this virus..
In Hospitals… in the community… in Care Homes… going into individual homes
For those essential workers who, in whatever way… and there are 100’s of different ways.. are keeping things going for us….
Many of them exhausted, wearied, feeling the stress and the strain…
For those of you at home… trying to work from home.. look after children…do home schooling… keep things going…
care for family and relatives… feeling busy, stretched and stressed..
and for those of you at home alone and really struggling with isolation…days long.
For every boy and every girl who is feeling anxious… worried… upset… sad… NOT really understanding..
Boys and girls.. JESUS loves you and You can talk to Him.. He listens.. he knows.. He understands what you are feeling..
for those giving political leadership In Westminster and here in Stormont…
We pray for Boris Johnston…
We lift up Arlene Foster, Michele O Neill, Robin Swann, Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer
Every Government minister and the teams behind them as they try to lead us through this crisis..
Give them wisdom.. patience… perseverance..
In the past week we were very thankful that the NI Assembly made it clear that we do NOT support abortion on the basis of Down’s syndrome up to birth…which is what the proposed legislation is saying. The Abortion legislation will be debated on Monday in Westminister.
We value life.. all lives matter..
We have such a heart and such a love for those women/girls both here and across the UK facing crisis or unintended pregnancy.
Some in very difficult circumstances and we want to come alongside them with such tenderness and grace.
Let’s pick up our Bibles if you have them there with you.
Read the Bible… Hab 2v 5-20
How you live and what you do to others… matters to GOD… so listen to Him
Habakkuk 2 v 5-20
Some people don’t care that much about God… don’t give a hoot what He says about how we should live our lives…
But one day….the Bible says…
There is a day of justice coming, when Jesus returns to wrap up this world as we know it… and every one of us will be accountable to GOD for
how we have lived our lives here on earth
what we have done with JESUS…
If there is such a day of Justice coming …. then..
How You and I live our lives… matters
What YOU do with GOD … matters
Habakkuk has been doing a lot of complaining in chapter 1.
Perhaps you have too…. in lockdown
But here is chapter 2 he goes to a place where he can listen to GOD,
hear God’s voice and
gain God’s perspective on what is happening in his world events. (2v1)
That sounds like a great idea.
People say to me..
Q. What is GOD saying to us through this Coronovirus pandemic?
Hard to tell.. but perhaps He’s saying to us..
Look world… Wake up! smell the coffee!!
You cannot go on living and behaving the way that you’ve been doing …
Blatantly disregarding Me and disobeying My teachings,
Fighting and hurting one another and
destroying your planet… My world…
for your own selfish pleasures..
There is going to come a day… when it’s all going to catch up on you.
This virus is perhaps a warning to our world from the God of Heaven…
Stop it!! Change your ways.. Listen to Me…. Because I will hold you accountable for how you live your lives….
Individually, nationally and internationally..
There is a day of Justice coming and I will judge each of you and put to right.. all the wrongs you have done..
What has that to do with Habakkuk chapter 2?
These are 5 Woe’s in chp2 … v6, v9. v12, v15, v19
5 loving warnings from GOD to this brutal, ruthless, godless nation of Babylon…
who care nothing for GOD and
who care Nothing for the people and the nations that they plunder, ransack, exploit, murder and destroy …
all for their own selfish greed and gain.
Babylon became fabulously wealthy as a nation… but it was at the expense of exploiting the peoples (including Israel) whom they abused and murdered and conquered …
so that they could become filthy rich.
God is giving these 5 loving warnings to this nation in Habakkuk’s day…
but … on a broader and longer time frame..
God is giving these 5 loving warnings to
individually, collectively and nationally …
in every generation and therefore also
to US… in our generation.
Think about it..
Our whole western culture and economy is based on pursuing MORE.. acquiring MORE…
No matter how much we have..
we never seem to have enough…
We always want that little bit more…
If TV is 32 inch… love a 50 inch..(see football little bit better.. curved screens)
and we feel we’re missing out if we don’t have it!!..
Look at what God says about Babylon v5…
They are so arrogant and selfish… greedy.. always wanting MORE..
NEVER satisfied… conquering
one nation… after another…. after another…
That’s our Western culture.. always wanting MORE..
NEVER satisfied with what we’ve got…
even though we have so much already.
Sadly so much of our Western economy and culture… like the Babylonians..
is built on exalting and promoting the rich and the wealthy and the powerful…
and they use their riches, wealth and power to exploit and abuse and misuse…
the poor, the powerless and the vulnerable…
You see it before you right now News feeds
Our world is just full of all kinds of evils, injustices, inhumanity, wickedness and brutality…anger and violence.
Whether it is racial prejudices in America, human trafficking in Europe,
Sexual exploitation of women and children,
sweat shop cheap labour in Asia making expensive designer goods for us in Europe,
or human slavery right across the world.
Look at these 5 loving warnings..
these 5 woes… God is giving to Babylon
in Habakkuk’s day… and
to us in our day…
They are so real.. so relevant and so bang up to date…
- V6 Making money by exploiting people
- V9 Building your own safety net/ feathering your own nest and building your own beautiful houses and comfortable lifestyle…
at the expense of others
- V12-13 Using your power to build a city and an economy at the expense of people working cheap labour.
- V15.Exploiting people sexually for your own pleasure and gain
exploiting the environment… cutting down the beautiful cedars of Lebanon (v17) to build luxurious palaces and houses whether it is in Babylon …or Beverley Hills… Belfast..d’Dee.
5.The 5th Woe/warning (v18-19) is to those who live their lives rejecting and ignoring the One true Living God and
live their lives to worship ‘idols’
Everybody worships something…
If you reject the One true Living God… you will still worship something else!!
Whatever it is you look to.. to bring you happiness, success, meaning, purpose, Joy in your life… that’s what you worship.
For some … your idol.. the thing that you worship…
is your career, your family, success, power, admiration of others, nice homes or nice whatever, financial security, job promotion.
Our idol is anything that is a rival to GOD’s rightful place.. ist priority in your life.
It’s something we make for ourselves (v18) to replace GOD at the core of our lives…
But idols will NEVER satisfy us…
No matter what we do…
No matter what we make..
No matter what we achieve in our lives….
We were made for a relationship with the Living GOD… and our hearts are empty until we find Him and put Him where He was always meant to be…
in that ‘God shaped hole’ right here in the centre of our hearts and 1st place in our lives…
At the core of this chapter and at the heart of these 5 loving warnings to Babylon in Habakkuks day and to us in our day…
there are 2 beautiful and powerful declarations about the…LORD…
the One true Living GOD….
Let me show you them
“BUT the LORD is in His holy Temple.. let all the earth be silent before Him.”
The LORD is alive!! The living GOD is here.
God has already told us in 2v4 that there are only 2 possible ways to live your life.
- Arrogantly and selfishly live for yourself and whatever you build your life upon..
- “The righteous will live by faith…”
Those who know and love God as Saviour and LORD will live their lives.. trusting Him… following God… even in the darkest days and in the toughest times…
In N.T terms it means we follow Jesus and work out what that means to put Him first and centre in our everyday lives and relationships at home, work and play.
GOD is calling the whole world to
STOP their noise,
heed His wake up call,
listen to what he is saying
turn to Him in loving submission and surrender.
This pandemic is God.. giving us a glorious chance to STOP, to listen and to change our ways and turn to Him in repentance and trust…
and take hold of Jesus as Saviour and LORD and KING of our lives… in every area of our living.
GOD is speaking.
Let the world be silent in awe and reverence and let the whole world listen to His loving warnings…. before the Day of justice falls upon us..
“BE still (silent) and KNOW that I am GOD.”
GOD is GOD..
He is in absolute control of our crazy, out of control world.
He is firmly in charge..
even when the Babylonians come…
even when things are very dark, very bleak, very difficult… for God’s people.
We need to know that… You need to know that is true in our world to-day!
- 2nd Declaration V14
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
Babylon at the heights of it’s power… was a glorious, fabulous, opulent, prosperous, wealthy nation… that was stunning .
BUT one night GOD spoke to the King of Babylon through a dream which Daniel explained (Daniel chp5).. and basically said..
Tonight, because you have disobeyed ME and challenged Me… your nation will collapse and all you’ve built and worked for will be destroyed.
That very night the Medes and Persians ransacked Babylon and their human greatness and glory was suddenly reduced to dust and ashes.
Every glorious human empire … that ignores and disregards the One true Living GOD comes and goes….
including our own opulent Western Culture and economy …
But there is a promise from Scripture here in Habakkuk 2v 14 and right throughout the Bible…
that GOD is building another Kingdom…
a glorious wonderful kingdom under King Jesus…
that will grow and grow and grow throughout the whole world…
until the whole world hears and sees the beauty and the power of the Gospel
the transformed lives of those who come to know and love and follow Jesus as their only Saviour and LORD.
The church of Jesus, that was born on Pentecost from a very tiny seed of 120 believers…
is growing right across the world to this very day.
The fastest growing church to-day is in IRAN… the country that defeated the Babylonians.
In our secularized, wealthy Western Culture we have proudly rejected GOD and God’s teachings in the Bible as old fashioned, restrictive, outdated, oppressive to our great private freedoms and personal choices.
We reject God’s right to tell us how to live and what to do in any area of our lives…
BUT a day is coming..
a day of Justice and a day of judgement…. When we will be accountable to the Living and true GOD for
HOW we have lived our lives and
what we have done with JESUS.
Before that day..
the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel will spread to every nation on earth so that everyone gets an opportunity to hear and respond to the Good News that there is only ONE Saviour, whose Name is Jesus.
In love for the world, He gave and sacrificed His life upon that CROSS…
for the forgiveness of your sins so that you could come back home to God and begin to KNOW and experience His Father love for You.
That’s what Habakkuk 2v14 is pointing you to…
“the earth will be filled with the knowledge of GOD”… like the waters cover the se bed..(totally)
Jesus put it this way when HE said,
“The Gospel will be preached to all nations (so that the whole world may KNOW that GOD has given us a Saviour and a way of salvation )
and then.. the end (of the world) will come..
Let’s get prepared for that day.
Let’s be part of spreading the Good News here in Donaghadee with the people we love..
And also …. right throughout the whole earth…so that everybody gets a chance to hear the Gospel…. before JESUS comes back.
Could I lead us in a prayer as we respond to whatever God is speaking into our hearts..
Father in heaven.. we want to keep our spirits soft and open and responsive to everything that you’ve been saying us in these moments..
Have you felt the Holy Spirit pressing into your life as I spoke??
Did You sense that Father GOD was speaking into some area
Did you hear His gentle invitation to bring ALL your Questions.. doubts.. disappointments to Him in prayer….
Knowing that HE is listening to YOU…. Not condemning you… but encouraging YOU to be real with Him…
Were you aware of the Living JESUS reaching lovingly into your soul to encourage and strengthen you for what You’re going through right NOW..
Come Holy Spirit… We give you permission to do whatever YOU want to do in us… with us… through us… We are ALL in… We are totally YOURS…
Is there someone particularly on your heart and mind…??
We want to finish with a worship song.
Feel free to simply listen or if you’re brave enough and know it … to join in…
Thank you so much for tuning in to us….
We hope to do other videos so please keep checking this page…
Tell others about this if you’ve found it encouraging..
The transcript of this talk will be on our shore Street web page.
We love you… We are praying…
We’re happy for you to send us prayer requests..We are ringing around the senior members of our church family
We are producing material for children…
and for young people…
Our staff team are working hard on that.
Now may the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, the love of GOD and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all Amen.
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