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Worship and Sermons
July 22, 2018

“Whose Plan is it Anyway?” by Bryan Corbin

2 Samuel 7:1-17 and Ephesians 2:11-22

I’m going to tell you a story for a couple of reasons. First of all, my brother dared me to share it, thanks Samuel. The other reason is because, well, it fits. This past April, I went to Princeton Theological Seminary for a Youth Forum. Part of the week, I stayed at the Erdman center which is their on-campus housing. They had private bathrooms and shared bathrooms available. Since I’m a frugal person aka a broke 23-year-old, I chose the shared bathrooms. The first night, I thought it best to introduce my self to my neighbor and ensure our morning routines did not overlap. I walked out into the hallway and knocked on my neighbor’s door. To my surprise, a 65-year-old Jewish man opened the door. How did I know these things? It is how he introduced himself. I’m so and so and I’m a 65-year-old Jewish man. I guess that is necessary when you are at a largely Presbyterian Seminary. Small talk ensued including why each of us were at the Seminary. It turns out he was researching for a book he is writing. He was looking for scientific data to prove or disprove the resurrection of Christ. So, my intended 5, maybe, 10-minute conversation about the following morning turned into a 3-hour discussion about what we believe in. My plan was to get in and get out so I can get some sleep. God’s plan was for two very different people to have a respectful conversation and connection that would otherwise be void and meaningless.

This sense of whose plan is it anyway happens to David in our 2 Samuel text this morning. David has been blessed beyond measure. He has settled into his reign and built the City of David. At this point, David decides to try and repay God for the blessings he has received. He wants to build a temple for the Ark of God. David does his homework and even asks for approval from the prophet Nathan. Nathan initially approves David’s plan, but God comes to Nathan to share His disapproval. Who are you to decide its time for my temple to be built? God sends not only direction, but a lesson of humility. God reminds David that He took him from the pastures to the throne and that He has been with him every step the way. God also promises David that His steadfast love will endure forever and that He will always be with him and his descendants. David’s strength does not come from himself, but from God. Understandably, one needs reminded of this when they’re king. It is a good reminder for me and for you too.

It does beg the question, however, does God still care about the details of our lives enough to provide specific direction? The late, great Billy Graham contemplated a similar question. He says: “But does God really care about us? Or are we just an insignificant speck in an obscure corner of the universe, alone and forgotten? To put it another way, are we only here by chance? Or did God deliberately put us here, and is He deeply and personally concerned about each one of us? From one end of the Bible to the other, the answer is a resounding yes!” He goes on to say: “How do I know this? I know it first of all because God put within each of us a desire to know Him. We may mock it or deny it—but our hunger for God is still there, and it can only be satisfied by coming to know Him in a personal way. But I know it most of all because of Jesus Christ. He was God in human form, who came into the world to demonstrate God’s love for us.”

Scripture tells us that God does care immensely about us, but how, then, does God interact with us today? In this age of materialism and social media, it is so difficult to identify and isolate God’s voice in our lives. At the lock in just a couple days ago, the youth and I watched and reflected on a devotional video by Rob Bell. He talks about noise and how in this day and age it is so rare for us to be in silence. There is always something going on and noise to go along with it. Why is it so uncomfortable to be and remain in silence? I admit, I can’t even sleep in silence, I need some sort of white noise. Scripture reminds us that God’s voice is not in the mighty winds or earthquakes or fires, it is in subtle whispers. So, while we are busy listening for God in the winds, earthquakes and fires, He is waiting to speak to us in the silence. Because the voice of Truth is there. It can be subtle at times, but it is consistent. You are a beloved child of God. God is always with you, even in the monotonous day to day interactions of your life. God speaks to you through scripture, nature, friends and family because He cares and longs to have an intimate and meaningful relationship with you. In fact, God lives in each and every one of us if we let Him.

So, we have identified that God cares for us and has a plan for us. But what exactly does God want for us? While none of us can truly know, we can lean on scripture to find direction. That’s where our text from Ephesians comes in. Christ broke down the barrier between Jews and gentiles, and if we let Him, He will break down the barriers that divide us today. God not only wants a deep and meaningful relationship with each of us, He wants all of us to live in communion with each other, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, culture, age or anything else that divides us. We were made to be one. This was evident in my life this past week. I have been struggling with severe depression for a while now. Until recently, I have been suffering silently and in seclusion. I had a break down this past Thursday and that certainly was not part of my plan. However, God needed to remind me that I am not alone and neither are you. None of us are alone because of the power of the almighty God who is always with us. This experience reminds me of the footprints in the sand. As we walk the journey of life, there are times when it is evident God is walking beside us and we can see the footprints in the sand next to ours. Sometimes we only see one set of footprints and we wonder, where did God go? It is in those times that God picks us up and carries us. We are also not on our own because of the wonderful people God puts in our lives. It is ok to lean on them because God does not want us to be unaided. My barrier was depression and God broke it down. What’s yours? Whatever it is, lift it up to the Lord, God can handle it.

The last question to consider this morning is can we repay God for everything He has done for us. The simple answer is not really. God has given us every breath that we breathe, every bite of food that we consume and every cent that we earn. Although, that doesn’t mean we can’t try. A huge way we can attempt to give back is by being one in Christ. As stated before, God yearns to be close to us and for us to be in relationship with each other. Every good sermon has a challenge. My challenge to you is to continue to bridge the gap between generations in our church. It was extremely heart warming to see folks from the ROAR team take the youth and my self under their wing during our backyard mission trip. We learned not only how to use our God given talents to replace a roof, but how to build relationships with the homeowners. It is just as important to listen to their story and to care about them as it is to do the work. Just this past week, some of the youth and young adults were invited to help with a project at the Waugh Wilson House. These events are fantastic and I encourage and challenge each one of us to be inclusive in our mission. Our church does so much in the community and for each other and we must continue to share the knowledge and expertise to one another. Don, Jane and I are working on a monthly cross generational event to begin in September. The hope for this event is create common ground for all ages to connect, build relationships, grow in faith together and invite one another to activities otherwise unknown to them. I’m so excited for this event. We just have to make sure it follows not our plan, but God’s plan.

Whose plan is it anyway? Life can seem like a never-ending improvisation act, bouncing from plan to plan as life gets ever complicated. Each of us have goals and plans, the world and society have plans for us too. At the end of the day, there is one plan that we should follow and that’s God’s plan. Let us listen to the voice of truth that tells us: God does care about each and every one of us and longs to be in a deep and meaningful relationship with us. God also wants us to be in communion with each other regardless of the barriers placed on us by society and ourselves. We must love one another as He loves us. Jesus implores us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner. Let us do it together as one. Amen.

Last Published: July 23, 2018 12:13 PM
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