Give us THIS Day

Sermon Text – 04.16.2017
[Luke 12:22-26 and Luke 24:1-12]

          Last week we started a new sermon series called Foundations: The Lord’s Prayer. For the next few weeks we are taking apart the pieces of the Lord’s Prayer to remember why we say what we say – to make sure we know what we are actually saying. It’s more than just memorization and chanting – this is a foundational piece of our faith. So last week we talked about the phrase Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done – realizing the nurturing, guiding hospitality of God’s kingdom and the radical trust in God’s redemption that makes that possible. And today we move on to the next phrase in that prayer – give us this day our daily bread.


          So let’s get started in our first scripture lesson, which comes from Luke chapter 12. [read 22-24]. Consider the raven. Now, it’s not part of our scripture lesson, but there’s another example right after this in the text. [read v.27-28]. Now at first glance, I’m not sure what the message is here. I mean, does it mean that we can stop working? That we can stop trying? God will provide. Give us our daily bread. Trust in God to provide. Consider the raven. They don’t work, they don’t sow or reap, they don’t plan, they don’t save – and God feeds them. So, this is great news everybody. Put down your tools, stop going to work, close all your bank accounts – God feeds birds, and you’re better than birds – they don’t do any of that silly “responsibility” stuff, so God will feed you.  Then it talks about flowers. Consider the lilies. They are just so pretty and they don’t buy clothes. It says Solomon in all his glory couldn’t compare. So clearly every morning we should get out of the shower, dry off, then walk outside buck naked and say, “Ok God, clothe me.” That’s what he does to the flowers right? Do you see the importance of biblical study? Do you see why we come together and examine the scriptures to help one another understand the meaning? When our first glance points us in the wrong direction, we are invited to a deeper level. To find the true meaning we must look a little closer. Yes, this passage is about trusting God to provide, but it does not advocate idle behavior or lazy justifications. This passage is not a recipe for God as your personal butler-slash-genie. .  

          If we go back to the beginning, we find in verse 22 [read it]. Here we see the heart of the passage. It’s the framework for everything that follows. Trust is a coin with two sides and the other side is worry. Instead of a prescription for how God will provide; what we find is a warning against worry. Worry is a lack of trust in God. The example of the birds and the flowers is not about store houses or working or clothing – it’s about worry. It’s about stress and anxiety. I once heard someone say that worry is fear’s extravagance. Give us this daily bread, God provides us the energy we need to face our daily problems and fulfill our responsibilities – but  fear becomes a burden that drains the energy that God gives us to get things done.  Worry is like a fog in the mind. Did you know that one glass of water divided into sixty thousand million drops turns into a dense fog that covers a seven-city-block area one hundred feet deep? Worry takes a small thing, like a glass of water, and clouds everything around us. Verse 25 says [read it]. Now here’s where it gets very practical. Worry doesn’t DO anything. Worry is useful only insofar as it pushes us to action. Action is useful. Action will get the job done. Worry will not. Walt Disney used to say, “If you done the best you possibly can, how will worrying make it any better?” Trust is a function of belief.


          Trusting God is difficult, because He seems too good to be true. We cannot believe the good news even when it’s right there in front of us. As Christians we tell an incredible story. Here’s the short version. God created humanity. Humanity turned away from him. Again and again we betrayed him, we broke our promises – history is just a long list of very creative ways humanity has found to wound the heart of God. and God’s response to this pain, to this betrayal by every human that ever lived except for one? He response to our hatred was to offer love. To offer forgiveness. To take our punishment as his own, to die, and then rise again destroying the power of sin and death forever. So that if we follow him, if we have Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – we inherit eternal life. We didn’t earn it, we didn’t deserve it, but because of the actions of Jesus – we have been given a second chance, a new life in Christ. But we doubt God because it’s so incredible that he would love us after everything we have done against him, that he would forgive us. That there really could be an all-powerful, all knowing deity out there. And if there is something out there, the idea that that all powerful whatever you want to call it, would care about little old humans? And not just care about them, but invest in them? Suffer for them? Guide them?  It doesn’t make sense, and so we change the details. That’s unbelievable that God would offer forgiveness to me for free – that can’t be right, I must have to earn God’s love now by following rules. Even if you tried, you could never earn God’s love. God already loves you. You can respond to that love by living your life by the guidelines that your Father has laid down (hold up a bible) with Jesus as your lord and savior, but you cannot earn God’s love. Well, then it’s unbelievable that God would love someone who sinned against him, to respond to hatred with love – that’s ridiculous – I must not have actually been that bad to begin with. This one is really popular. We can’t wrap our mind around the forgiveness of God, and so we convince ourselves to lower the standards – I’m not really that bad. God’s forgiveness isn’t that big a deal, because I’m basically a good person. [laugh] – I can’t believe we actually convinced ourselves of this. This is an easy one to respond to, because I don’t even have to say anything. You know who you are. Just go turn on the internet for ten seconds – case closed. Humanity is gross. God is perfect, we are not. The story of the Jesus, of a God who would step into the world as a human being, live a perfect life, an example for us all, who would suffer and die for our sake, for our forgiveness – is unbelievable.


          Honestly, it always has been. From the very beginning, from the moment Jesus rose from the grave – this story has been too good to be true. Let’s look at that moment, in chapter 24 [read v.1-4]. While they were perplexed about this. There is supposed to be a dead body in here. And I love the angels response [read 5b-8]. It’s hard for me to read that without putting a little snark into it. Seems like the Angels are rolling their eyes at these women. Verse 6 – remember how he told you exactly what was going to happen? Remember? Verse 8 – then they remembered his words. [read verse 9-11]. So first the angel had to convince the women, then the women have to convince the men. Verse 11, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. And Peter, Mr Overzealous, thought to himself, I need proof, and so [read verse12]. Suddenly everything changes. Jesus was telling the truth. He really was the son of God, he really did come to conquer sin and death forever, to give us a way to connect to God – reconciliation. He really did love us. He really did suffer our punishment, so that we could be redeemed. Peter found the linens, the body was gone. Do you know how this story is supposed to end? Do you know how they expected it to end? Jesus was a nice guy, brilliant teacher, taught us some cool things, got a little full of himself, made some claims to divinity, and was murdered by the competition. His little group of followers are heart-broken, and scared, they make a martyr out of him and then they dissolve back into the general population and nothing really changes.  But then Sunday morning shows up and we find out that it wasn’t a hoax, it wasn’t scam or even a misunderstanding. Jesus was right. Jesus rose from the dead. The tomb was empty, the body was gone. And if that wasn’t proof enough – Jesus himself appears to his disciples, a lot. After he rises from the dead, Jesus spends about 40 days appearing to over 500 people. 500 eye witnesses of a man who is supposed to be dead, walking around talking to people. It’s all true. Every piece of unbelievable indescribable awesomeness is true. God lived up to his promises. God is worthy of our trust. We don’t have to edit the story. We don’t have to try and make it more believable. It’s an incredible story – but it’s true.


          God is trustworthy. He fulfills his promises. So let’s go back to our original statement. God provides for us. Each and every day we can trust God to provide what we need. Our prayer every single day is give us this day. God will provide, and we can trust that, we don’t have to worry. Remember that worry is the other side of the coin. When we take the realization that our God is an awesome God and we match that we the daily call to trust in God to provide – we realize that there is no limit to what God can do through us. This is the God who brought back a man from the dead. This is the God who called Peter to walk on the water. This is the God who fed 5,000, who calmed the storm and healed the broken. Do you trust GOD to provide? And if you do trust him – do you remember that it’s GOD doing the providing? The limits of what we can do in the world, the limits of our effectiveness is our trust – not God’s resources, there’s no limits to God’s resources. There’s a pastor, author by the name of Francis Chan, he’s one of my personal heroes. And he has a pretty incredible story. He built a megachurch out of his living room. And he always gave his 10% to the church, like he was supposed to, sometimes he gave a little more when he felt convicted. And then one year he visited Africa, and he fell in love with those people. And he said to himself, I would rather help them than buy a new truck. And so he came home and talked to his wife and they started selling stuff and giving more and more. And he talks about how much fun it was to love other people, by sacrificing. And then Francis felt this call on his heart – I think I need to give away $50,000 next year. And he looked at his finances, and he realized that’s about what he made in a year. And he wondered, How am I going to give away as much as I make? But his family set the goal, then they did it. And still he felt another pull on his heart. Now, I need to give 100,000 away next year. Which is ridiculous – how am I going to do this? But they did it. And a third time, a third year, Francis Chan felt this pull on his heart. I need to give away a million dollars next year. In an interview that I was watching, he turns to the camera and says, “I mean, this is getting stupid.” Right? This is absolutely true. He thinking to himself, I make between 36 and 50 thousand dollars a year – how could I possibly give away a million dollars next year? That next year, Francis Chan signed over the rights to his book Crazy Love. He wrote a book called Crazy Love, and he signed it over to a charity, and the book became a best-seller, and they received over a million dollars in 2008. The limits of what we can do in the world is not God’s resources, it’s our trust, our willingness to get out of the boat and walk on the water.


              What I want us to realize is that faith requires trust. Even though we can prove Jesus was a historical person. Using the bible and other historical texts we can talk about the evidence that he was really there. But faith goes beyond that. Faith requires a daily request for God to provide. Give us this day our daily bread. To provide breath in our lungs, strength in our muscles, sight to our eyes and thoughts in our head. Give us this day our daily bread is more than just a call for food on the table – it is an urging to step beyond the comfort zone. I want to live my life so that the only explanation is the Holy Spirit. Have you edited the story, to make it less incredible? Have you convinced yourself of a limited God, so you don’t have to step out onto the water? Are you afraid to look in the tomb, because of what an empty tomb means for your life? The possibility that all of this could actually be true pushes us to a deeper level of trust in our God.


          There’s two parts of application for this. First I want you to pray every single day. Give us THIS DAY. Let’s look at it this way. If you died right now, in this very moment – what would be left undone? What would you wish you had gotten to? What did you put off for another day? Who could you have talked to? Who could you have comforted, loved, reached out to, donated to? What have you been holding off from? God gives us THIS DAY, and there’s no promise of tomorrow. God gives us daily bread, just enough for one day. Every day is a brand new gift – an opportunity for you to build God’s kingdom out there in the world. Have you been procrastinating? What’s holding you back?


          And with that ONE day, the second part of the application; I want to challenge you to walk by faith. Remember faith requires trust. For so many of us, our faith doesn’t really require any trust. Our faith is comfortable, but to walk by faith means to push the bounds of comfort. There’s a line from a book I read recently – most churches can do what they do without God’s help. What would look like for a church to completely rely on God? Consider the ravens and the lilies – don’t worry. Take that trust and pair it with the realization that it’s God doing the providing and let that encourage you to walk by faith out of your comfort zone. Get out of the boat and walk on the water. Some of us have gotten comfortable in the pews of church, or in our beds when we sleep in on Sundays. But if we take these words seriously, we find a powerful call to action. Give us this day our daily bread.


          The point of this sermon series called Foundations – spending a few weeks breaking down the pieces of the Lord’s Prayer – it’s not so much to teach us new things. Really all it is, is a reminder of things we knew all along, but maybe we’d forgotten. Actually, that’s what the Lord’s Prayer is. A daily reminder of the things we keep forgetting. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow to ask for more. Amen.           


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