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Stillness in His Presence

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Stillness in His Presence

Text:  Psalm 37:7

Big Idea:  Stillness in God’s presence prepares us to see His wonders.

Purpose:  To encourage the practice of slowing down.


            (Early in the sermon, have cell phone ring)

            We lived in a world that seeks to offer distractions – we pine for them

                        -we pine for distractions

                        -we carry cell-phones and beepers

                        -we check our email and websites

                        -we have a sport called “channel surfing”

            We seem to like the constant bombardment of information and stimulation

                        -even simple television programming doesn’t offer enough stimulation

                        -televisions with multiple screens

                        -programs with tickers – relaying more information

            I like information, but the stimulation can have a negative consequence

                        -the need for it can make it impossible for us to pay attention

                        -the constant presence of stimulation can distract us

            Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone – watching television

                        -can be a terribly frustrating experience

            When my wife and I go to a restaurant – I try to make sure to find a seat

                        -where I can’t see the TV

            Why? – especially if sport are on, I am prone to start talking to her

                        -with nods, grunts and “yeah’s” while my eyes focus on the tv

                                    -and that’s not why we go out to eat

            If we have all of this stimulation available, why do we need to be still?

                        -why do we have to suffer with boredom?

            Argument could be made

                        -years ago, they had to be still

                        -no tv’s, computers, video games, cell phones

                        -silence was just a necessary boredom to endure

            But today, do we really need to be still any more?

Sermon Body:

Movement 1:  *Being still is a strange concept today.

Illustrate with a period of silence.

            -people will start to fidget

            -wonder whether I lost my place

            -do you remember what the sermon was about

            -some of you – silence so strange – it actually got your attention

I am not accusing, I am confessing

            -silent prayer – a minute seems so long

            -what kind of noise is in your life

            -at first – we are annoyed by the noise

                        -but we grow accustomed to it

                                    -and even rely on the noise in some way

            True story – my parents just moved

                        -had been next to Interstate 65

                        -mom misses it – noise

                        -I remember that noise keeping me awake at nights

The noise, activity of our lives

            -can be the only thing that fills our day

            -and we need silence to even search for God’s presence

*Our world applauds and active, busy lifestyle.

-and pushes that kind of lifestyle

            -idealized person – works full-time, fully engaged in family, hobbies, travel, friends

            -Businesses regularly desire to increase productivity of employees

                        -which means get more done in less time

            -Some people – seem to wear their busy schedules

                        -like a badge of honor

                        -sorry, I’m just so busy (meaning I have so much to do)

            I sometimes wonder

                        -if we feel as though that busyness means we are worthwhile

                        -while boredom is seen as a sign of shame

I must be careful – I am not saying that we should strive to be bored

            -but I do believe that in order to honor God – should be times of silence 

Movement 2:  *God calls us to silence.

-stillness as it is spoken of in the Bible

-mirrors the idea of peace

Even that – is not too appealing to many in our world today

            -because it feels boring

            -how many times haven’t you heard – objection to faith – boredom

                        -I wonder – truly boring, or doesn’t live up to pace of life

God’s people – called to something unique

            -I haven’t found an equivalent in other religious traditions

                        -that were prior to Old Testament

            That is Sabbath – time of rest

                        -Presbyterian tradition – not even talk about worldly things

                                    -work, sports, minivans

                                                -because it is a day of silence for God’s sake

Because in order to enjoy God’s presence – you have to be still

            -or you miss it

            -the activity of your life

                        -can drown out the recognition of God’s presence

Similar to fishing or deer hunting

            -you are not still and quiet for the sake of stillness

            -but for the sake of success

In God’s presence

            -stillness is not the goal

            -but to be still enough to see God’s hand

            -because if you are too active or busy

                        -like talking to someone over the roar of the television

                                    -you are going to miss some information.

*The Spiritual Disciplines guide us into a quiet contentment in God's presence.

Explain the disciplines and relationship to stillness.

            They all cause us to set aside normal activity

            To allow our minds to be drawn to God

            So many disciplines – need you to make time

                        -Bible reading, prayer, Bible study, accountability with a friend

                                    -seeking advice, serving – can’t usually be done on the run

                                    -not effectively done in a hurry

The best things are rarely hurried

            -you want a fast meal – you don’t have to get out of your car

            -fry ‘em up fast – throw it on a bun – already under a heat-lamp waiting for you

            BUT – if you want a good meal from in a fine restaurant

                        -not only wait, asked how to fix it (prepared)

                        -but you have to slow down and wait

Spiritual growth – does not usually happen on the run

            -but it brings us what we long for the most

            -a deeper, more intimate walk with God

I am not talking about a zombie-like trance of a life

            -characterized by an unwillingness to do anything

Nor am I talking about “chilling out” – just for the sake of resting

            Pursuing stillness – a life of regular intervals

            Setting aside normal priorities            

                        -and seeking God 

Movement 3: *God does His best work while His people are still.

-Psalm 37 - the wicked will be no more

Joshua and Jericho

Christ on the cross

quail and manna

Stillness makes us

-prepared to see God

-quiet to hear God

-focused on God

*Stillness prepares us to be amazed by God's grace. 


            Do you ever wonder what God is doing?

            Have you ever wondered why other people can be sure of God’s work

                        -assured of what He is doing

                        -excited because they see His works

                                    -and you wonder why you don’t see them?
            One possibility – you are moving too fast

                        -caught up in the pace of this world

                        -and not taking time to slow down

                                    -set aside time for God

            Don’t miss Him

                        -the best things in life need to be savored

                                    -God’s presence – not a fast-food kind of item

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