Jesus is the underling reality to which all stories point, breaking into our world. – Tim Keller
The reason Frozen was such a good story is that it had the elements good stories do. If a story is missing one of the following features, it usually loses the audience, and they don’t even know why.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train1 of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” (ESV)
King Uzziah’s death marked the end of an era. His reign had been long and prosperous. Uzziah became king when he was 16, and he reigned over Judah for 52 years.
Uzziah had listened to the prophet Zechariah; he feared God, and God made him prosper. But Uzziah’s pride got the best of him. (See 2 Chron. 26:16.) God struck Uzziah with leprosy. Then Uzziah died.
Under Uzziah’s leadership, God’s people had turned away from the promises of God and trusted in the promises of the world around them. God had promised to bless the entire world through Abraham’s family, but God’s people were rebellious. Instead of a blessing, they set themselves up to receive God’s judgment.
But God’s plans and promises were not thwarted. God sent the prophet Isaiah to preach a message of hope. Even though God was going to correct His people through judgment, His purpose was one of grace through which God would receive glory. God planned to send a Messiah who would bring salvation to the world.
(The Gospel Project)
Ideas to convey –
Isaiah 6 opens with Isaiah worshiping in the temple. What is amazing is that Isaiah is running to God when there is a time of national sadness. Isaiah was worshiping God who was still on the throne even though Uzziah had died. Isaiah trusted God.
Isaiah loved God and was a prophet of God most people would think he was super Holy that he was a goody-goody. And it’s true Isaiah was a prophet who loved God and tried to follow his commands. What we see though is when Isaiah is confronted with the God of the universe all he can say is Woe! not wow! But Woe! Woe is different from Wow. Wow is more like look how cool that is. Woe is more like I’m in deep, deep, trouble. Isaiah was made aware of his sinfulness, and he was undone. He couldn’t stand in God’s presence with his sin.
The world we live in has changed. It has not been an overnight change and it has not been dramatic shift it has been a slow drift from a country that had a baseline understanding of morality, and the Bible as true and Christianity as the framework for society. We now live in a world that is based on a pragmatic, pluralistic view of life. A world that is generally skeptical or indifferent to Christianity. The problem is that we are still trying to reach that world based assumptions that are no longer true.
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If I were to give advice to a young person who wants to be in the ministry I would tell them to think like a missionary. I would tell them to avoid Bible College not because Bible College is bad but because our world has changed. I would tell young people to approach ministry from a minority position
rather than a majority position. In a majority position, you go to Bible schools because you intend to be a full-time paid religious worker. When in a minority position you think in terms of having a skill that you can use in the marketplace. Get your bachelor’s degree in a skill you can use that can create income for you as a church planter or if churches lose their tax exempt status and are forced to lay pastors off. Then go to seminary to get your religious training.
One of the things I have learned from blogging for quite a while now is that most people that read my blog are from smaller churches, and many are volunteers. The information I found through the helped to change my perspective on how I blog, what I blog and reinforced why I blog. I’m starting new on my blog where I make available the leader commentary that I am starting to give my team to provide them with the historical/theological framework for the Bible story they are telling as well as key ideas and application points. I hope that you find them useful. The first one is Elijah and Jezebel.
Elijah and Jezebel.
Elijah has just experienced one the greatest moments of his ministry. One of the most dramatic signs of God’s blessing on a leader. In this chapter, we see the humanness of Elijah he is not painted as a superhuman conquer of Baal. He is scared, he was hungry, he felt all alone, and he felt sorry for himself.
After such a dramatic victory at Mount Carmel Jezebel sends Elijah a letter warning him and threatening him. Why not send soldiers to kill him? Why use psychological tactics? Warren Wiersbe says this:
“Elijah was now a very popular man. Like Moses, he had brought fire from heaven, and like Moses, he had slain the idolaters (Lev. 9:24; Num. 25). If Jezebel transformed the prophet into a martyr, he might influence people more by his death than by his life. No, the people were waiting for Elijah to tell them what to do, so why not remove him from the scene of his victory? If Elijah disappeared, the people would wonder what had happened, and they would be prone to drift back into worshiping Baal and letting Ahab and Jezebel have their way. Furthermore, whether from Baal or Jehovah, the rains had returned, and there was work to do!”
Wiersbe, W. W. (2002). Be responsible (p. 143). Colorado Springs, CO: Victor.
The letter had its intended effect. Elijah started running for his life. He didn’t ask God what’s next. He failed to see the protection and provision of an all-powerful God who had just demonstrated to Elijah and all of Israel how powerful he was and how weak Baal was. Elijah retreated to the desert tired, hungry and alone. He finally cried out to God that God would take his life. God sent an angel to him there under the broom tree. Elijah slept and ate food the angle of the Lord prepared for him.
God drew him to Mt Horeb (Mt.Sinai) it was on Mount Sinai that God asked Elijah a question. Elijah responded in a very self-focused way. He said they (Israel) had done very bad things I have done many good things. Jezebel wants to kill me, and I am the only person left who loves God. In response to Elijah’s answer, God sent an earthquake, a windstorm and a fire followed by a still small voice. God gave Elijah directions, encouragement, and grace. He gave him his
next assignment then told him he wasn’t alone there were more 7,000 people in Israel who still called on the name of the True God.
Ideas to convey –
God takes care of us. – God is gracious. He takes care of us. He watches over us. God didn’t just protect Elijah from the evil queen who wanted to kill him. God provided food for Elijah, so he could rest and be strengthened. We serve a God who wants us to love and serve him but who also cares deeply about the things most gods wouldn’t he cares about the small things that matter to us. In caring about the small things and taking care of the small things in our lives, it gives us the confidence to trust him with the big things in our lives.
Our God is powerful and personal. – In this story we see a God who both powerful and personal. We saw last week how he sent fire to consume Elijah’s offering and prove to all of Israel He is the one true God. He then sent an angel to provide food for Elijah. We see God as powerful and personal. We see through the wind, fire, and earthquake that God has power over nature. We then see how in the still small voice how our God is at the same time intensely personal.
When we deserve judgment, he gives us grace. – We see throughout this story how even when Elijah was upset and felt like giving up God never gave up on Elijah. Despite everything, God couldn’t stop loving Elijah.
Elijah saw a big God. He saw God do powerful things, but he still had enemies. He still got afraid, and he ran. What is amazing is that when he ran God was always with him. God showed him how he was powerful and personal. How he does big amazing things like burning up all of Elijah’s offering with fire and then very personal by sending an Angel to provide food to bring strength to Elijah. We serve a God who can do anything he used prophets in the Old Testament to show people what he was like they were not perfect, Elijah got upset and felt scared. But God perfectly reveled to us what God is like by sending us Jesus. Jesus showed us God’s power and lived as a person. We are comforted knowing that even when we feel scared or lonely Jesus not only understands but gave his life so we can have confidence that same confidence that Elijah needed. We aren’t alone there are many others that trust in the name of Jesus, and we have God who came and lived and died for us so we have hope. Jesus shows us even in the small things that we think don’t matter to him that he is our protector, provider and savior. He loves you because He loves you.
We live in an age where there is more information available to us than ever before. When I was a kid I did my research papers using encyclopedias, studied using a concordance. If you are under the age of 30 and are reading this you have no idea what I am talking about. Here is where our world has change for the better and for the worse, we no longer need those study methods because we have the internet. The problem with the internet is that even though you can get lots of good information you can also allow your thoughts and ideas to be diluted and even confused by the diversity of thoughts and ideas available online. One of the ways I try to overcome this is by passing thoughts and information through a series of questions. If you are a bible story-teller for kids church, a youth pastor or on an adult preaching team these questions will apply.
5 Questions every communicator must ask before they preach
1. Could I preach this message in a synagogue or in a Mormon Tabernacle? If so it’s not the gospel. –
2. Am I being faithful to the text? Am I allowing the text to speak or am I trying to get the text to say what I want it to say?
3. Do I have any practical application?
4. Does my application leave people with a sense that “if I do this then….” or does my application leave people with a sense “That if I do this and trust Jesus then….”
5. What’s my motivation? Will at the end of the message will I have been thought of as a brilliant communicator or will I point those in attendance (myself included) to their daily need for a brilliant savior.
6. Will the end result of this message be the worship and glorification of Christ?