[CF Devotionals] 2012-02-24 - Going Regardless

Note: This is a sermon I preached 12/16/2009. It was the final message I preached to the youth group of East Newnan Baptist before leaving there to follow God's call to another church, Luthersville Baptist. I had been a volunteer youth worker there for several years and was graciously given the opportunity to share a farewell message with them. I am able to say it is the message I preached to them because I knew I would be teary-eyed and choke up and get lost in notes so I wrote it out almost verbatim. It is longer than normal but I hope you will let it slide this time as I didn't see a good breaking point.

Genesis 12:1-4

1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Leaving his family at age 75 wasn't easy but Abram did it. God spoke and he obeyed.

Two years ago God called me and said, "Follow me - get serious. You know I called you to preach so go to it." And I have been doing that for the last couple years preaching at other churches and here when I could. But I was always able to come back home. This time God called and said get out of East Newnan, leave your family and friends you have made there and go to the land of Luthersville. It's not what I would have chosen for myself. After four years here, this is home. All of you are family and I am comfortable. God doesn't call us to be comfortable though.

Abram obeyed and God was able to use him to build a nation for God. I hope by my obedience to be able to build at least a small tribe for God.

Flash forward many years to another person -a woman named Ruth.

Ruth 1:1-19

1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion"Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

Naomi Returns with Ruth

6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread. 7 Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go, return each to her mother's house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.' So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, 'Surely we will return with you to your people.' 11 But Naomi said, 'Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go"for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me!' 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, 'Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.' 16 But Ruth said: ' Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.' 18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her. 19 Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem.

Naomi had nothing to offer Ruth and Orpah but they followed her anyway. Naomi begs them to go back to their own people. They wouldn't and continued to follow her. She begs again, "Please go away -stay with your own people". This time Orpah turned back because she could. Ruth still didn't. Again Naomi starts telling her to go back home and not to come with her. Ruth explains I won't leave you I will follow you always. She followed because she was compelled to and nothing could convince her otherwise.

It would be nice to turn back and stay with my people at East Newnan but I can't. God compels me to make these new people my people and to be with them. I have to go.

As with Abram, God calls us all to follow him. And as with Ruth, he tells us all to not follow him if we can.

You see God only wants the serious ones -those that really want to follow him. Those that don't just want a savior to give them a get out of hell free card but a Lord who tells them to go places they may not want to go.

Luke 14:25-33

25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it" 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, '˜This man began to build and was not able to finish'? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

The first century church according to Acts shared meals, prayed together, and sold what they had to provide for others. They shared their faith even though it meant persecution including imprisonment and death. Acts 2:46 says they did all this "with gladness". True joy cannot be found in being in the audience when we're all called to be in the game, sitting on the sidelines, true joy comes from obedient living.

As I wrestled with this in my own life, a group named FFH released a song entitled "What it Feels Like". God spoke to me through it and so I wish to close by sharing those haunting lyrics with you.

"What It Feels Like"

So this is what it feels like to walk the wilderness
And this is what it feels like to come undone
So this is what it feels like to lose my confidence
Unsure of anything or anyone

So this is what it feels like to walk the desert sand
And this is what it feels like to hear my name
And to be scared to death 'cause I'm all alone
But feel love and peace just the same

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
But it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
So this is what it feels like to be led
So this is what it feels like to have it fall apart
To be totally unglued
And find out if I accept my brokenness
I get more of me, I get all of you

If this is what if feels like to be on shaky ground
Careful of every step I take
Realizing as I stop to look around
I look around and see everything a different way

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
But it still feels right somehow
'Cause I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
So this is what it feels like to be led
And this is what it feels like to be led
So this is what it feels like to just walk away
From everything I thought kept me safe
To depend just on you for every meal
And find it's better this way
Oh it's better this way

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
But it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
And this may not be the road I would choose for me
But it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
And this is what it feels like to be led
And this is what it feels like to be led
And this is what it feels like...

Written by: DEIBLER, JEROMY;
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

IHFHBOH
Adam

[email adam] adam@cfdevotionals.org
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.