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The First Date

Real Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Awkward Beginnings

Most first dates tend to have a little element of awkward uncertainty.
What are they going to think of me? What if I say something dumb? What if they don’t say yes when I ask them out?!
Most things that you do for the first time have some element of uncertainty. Once you go through the first round, things become easier and easier until it becomes second nature.
DRIVING: it’s almost terrifying the first time you get behind a wheel and are at risk of some other bad driver slamming into you. After you start driving for a while, you don’t get so anxious about things.

Jesus Beginnings

When we begin our relationship with Jesus, it can be awkward.
Most of the time, we find ourselves being challenged with our current way of thinking.
Just like as you begin to date someone, you have a difference of views, family styles, food cravings, entertainment choices - there’s a give and take in relationship.
Sometimes it is hard for us to find that time to spend with Jesus, because the first time is so awkward - we end up having multiple “first dates with Jesus”
I want to look at a couple of encounters people had with God, and see if they can apply to where we are today.

Show Me Your Glory

In , Moses finds himself frustrated with the nation of Israel because of their wickedness, and he goes to the top of Mt. Sinai starts complaining to God, because he wants help to deal with the people.
Anyone ever complain to God? Anyone ever feel like, God, Where are you, I need help!
Exodus 33:13
Exodus 33:13 ESV
Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
Then look how the conversation unfolds...
Exodus 33:14
Exodus 33:14–18 ESV
And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”

Don’t be afraid to talk to God

There is a level of reverence needed when talking to God, but there’s also a level of relation that’s needed.
You guys honor me by calling me Pastor Nathan, but we have normal conversation. You can honor and relate.
Moses spoke to God in a way that showed he had spent time with God on a regular basis. And because of this relationship, God grant’s Moses’ request to see God’s glory.
Exodus 34:
Exodus 34:5–7 ESV
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

The First Date with Jesus

We are going to spend some time in prayer and worship tonight. For some this may be the first time you’ve done something like this. For others this might be a regular occurrence.
Wherever you are on that journey - tonight we are all going on a date with Jesus.
I’ve struggled lately with how to address some of the events happening in our world: school threats, shootings, social media craziness, threats from countries with nuclear bombs...
I felt like God simply told me…seek my face.
We’ve been on a journey this year, starting with the Family Matters Series and now Real Love - we are finding out life can toss you a lot - but ultimately we need to find ourselves at the feet of Jesus - that is where we will find rest.

When the Heaven Close

2 Chronicles 7:13–16 ESV
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

Where to start

Matthew 6:9–13 ESV
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Prayer Point: Reverence, Repentance, Renewal

Prayer Point: Our Schools

Prayer Point: Our Cities

Assurance & Discernment

In , Elijah finds himself in isolation (remember, solitude is good, isolation is bad).
He has just performed one of the most incredible miracles and victories, and because of a message sent from the queen, he runs away.
He ends up in a cave - it says that he lodged in it, that means he's there for a minute.
1 Kings 19:
1 Kings 19:9–10 ESV
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
What would your response be to God, as He asks you, “What are you doing here?”
After Elijah’s response, God does this for him...
1 Kings 19:11-
1 Kings 19:11–13 ESV
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Commentary Exegesis:
a. God knew what the depressed and discouraged Elijah needed. He needed a personal encounter with God. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with Elijah’s theology, but at the time there was something lacking in his experience.
b. God brought His presence before Elijah, but first to show where He was not. The Lord was not in the wind, He was not in the earthquake, He was not in the fire. Like many others, Elijah probably only looked for God in dramatic manifestations. Certainly, God sometimes appears in such ways but He often appears in less dramatic surroundings.
Elijah’s Response…is exactly the same thing he said to God before. There was some sort of healing that was taking place in Elijah to get his feelings out to God.
In the end, God responds with some action items for Elijah to carry out.
He then ends by saying, there are 7,000 in Israel that have not fallen to wicked ways! Elijah thought he was all by himself, and it turns out there were plenty of others around that were in the same place he was.

Prayer Point: Discernment & Assurance

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