Order, Voices, & Words 11.07.21

Order

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Opening Audio(10:15am)

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Live/OnLine

Prayer Rick

#1 ONE Video #1 (2:58)

Call to Worship

Holy Sanctus (Jessamyn Rains)

Live/OnLine

Today’s Story Online – Sherri

In Person-Dave

Music 1                                                        Billy

   Lord I Lift Your Name On High (Founds)

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Steven Reeves Zoom -Steven Reeves

Rick

Music 2 Billy

   Your Lovingkindness (Furk)

Message    ‘Unforgivable – Blasphemy” Rick

Music 3 Billy

   I Will Never Be The Same (Bulock)

Community Rick

Benediction Online – Sherri

In Person-Dave

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices and Words 

Prayer

God, you call us to pay attention.

You call us to hear and see.

You call us to open our eyes, and to clean out our ears.

You call us to serve, to see, to hear, and to lavish in Your goodness.

We are a people battered, we hide in the attics and closets.

We lick our wounds feeling abandoned and ignored.

We give power to the thugs and thieves, we absorb their lies and deceit.

We ask if you are present.

Lord, you are the one who created the cosmos, & stretched out the skies.

You laid out the earth and all that comes from it.

You breath life into those You create You give us life through your breath..

You have called us to live right and well, opening eyes and releasing prisoners

You have chosen Jesus, Your servant, with whom You are well pleased.

You bathed him in your spirit, you immersed with him your life.

You prepared him to not be arrogant, showy, but to stand firm with compassion.

You call him to stand on truth, to stand firmly, and to stand persistently.

Father, you call us to sing a brand new song, to sing your praises everywhere.

You call the seas, the deserts, and the mountains to sing this new song of praise.

You call us to sing Your presence, Your praises through our lives.

You call us to lives that shout and scream Your glory.

Amen

Isaiah 42 

Today’s Story 

Dave: Once again, our story beings with food. 

Sherri: Food seems to be a consistent theme throughout the Bible..

Dave: I love stories that begin with food.

Sherri: This story begins with food on the Sabbath.

Dave: I love stories that begin with any day, or night. Especially like last week’s story which began with too much food.

Sherri: Today’s story begins with too little food.

Dave: Been there. I completely understand that kind of hunger day. That is why I have food delivered.

Sherri: This story opens with the hunger of Jesus’ disciples. Not a spiritual type of hunger but real physical, stomach growling, hunger. They were walking through a field and they just start eating stuff growing there. The  problem was that they were really hungry and they ate so much that it looked more like they were harvesting the field.

Dave: And, it was the Sabbath…let me guess, the religious leaders complained that Jesus’ disciples should not be working on the Sabbath.

Sherri: And, just like we saw last week, Jesus confronted their heartless religious rules. Sure God had said to keep the Sabbath holy but he had not intended for it to be defined and controlled in the ways that leaders had established.

Dave: The leaders were so focused on their rules that they were unable to see Jesus, the Deliverer standing right in front of them.

Sherri: Soon, their complaints turned to accusations, and then the accusations revealed something very ugly about the leaders.

Dave: A man with a withered hand stood before Jesus to be healed. He had lived his entire life with disability and Jesus was going to heal him. Healing was also against the rules. Jesus asked the leaders if they would rescue a sheep that fell into a well if it was the only sheep they had. The leaders felt this was a low blow.

Sherri: Of course they were going to rescue their only sheep. They loved that sheep, plus it was part of their work. Work, of course, was forbidden on the Sabbath. Suddenly the leaders recognized they had landed themself in a corner.

Dave: The best thing to do when you are in a corner is to turn your failure into an attack. They came out of the corner swinging. “Well, they shouted, if you heal that man on the Sabbath you are doing the work of Satan!”

Sherri:I imagine even some of the leaders began backing away at this moment, attempting to disassociate themself from this attack.

Dave: Especially when Jesus’ response became about Blasphemy and Unforgivable actions. Jesus words had to sting. ““Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Sherri: Then the leaders used their failed ‘attack from the corner’ strategy, they, like the crowds from last week, asked for a sign.

Dave: They told Jesus he couldn’t heal the suffering man and now they said show us a sign. They just weren’t getting it, they were not listening, they were unable to hear.

Sherri: Sadly, they had made the full move from rejecting Jesus to rejecting the Holy Spirit.  A move that is impossible to come back from. They had stuck their feet in cement and let it dry. They now were unable to open their eyes, they were unable to open their ears.

Dave: Their tree could no longer produce good fruit. 

Music 1

Lord I Lift Your Name On High

CCLI Song # 117947/ Rick Founds

Verse

Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us

Chorus

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay


From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high 

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Steven Reeves

Introduction: Stephen Reeves serves as the executive director of Fellowship Southwest (the organization I went to the border with 2 years ago), he is also and director of advocacy for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He is a national leader in the effort to reform predatory lending practices and has led CBF churches to be more active in advocacy for immigrants and refugees. He is the co-author of The Mission of Advocacy: A toolkit for congregations. He currently serves as co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s  Faith & Credit Roundtable, he is  a member of the CBF/Baptist Women in Ministry and serves on the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force.  Steven worked in several public policy positions  including serving at Staff attorney for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, DC.  And, for this I apologize…Steven is a graduate of University of Texas and from The Texas Tech University School of Law…Let’s give him a chance anyway.

Question 1: Welcome Steven, we appreciate you being with us as we seek to have a clearer view beyond our marketplace.  Could you begin by explaining the work of Fellowship Southwest?

Question 2: Recently we have seemed to hear less about the border until the Haitian Refugee influx at the border. Could you help us understand what went on at the height of that situation and how it is now?

Question 3: I know that all of the pastors and workers on both sides of the border, and yourself, have been devastated by the remain in Mexico policy. Could you help us to understand why that is so dangerous and harmful?

Pop Question: We didn’t discuss this question – do you think our border problems, especially our southern border, will ever be effectively addressed?

‘Goodness is rooted in God and reflects God’ 

Baptist Standard “On the Way,” podcast

Music 2

Your Loving Kindness

CCLI Song # 818174/Billy Funk

Verse

Father of love
Lord of all creation
I will bless Your name
Forever and ever


I will declare
Your grace and Your mercy
And tell of Your unfailing love

Chorus

Your lovingkindness
Is good to all
Your wings of mercy
Lift me when I fall


Your lovingkindness


Meets my ev’ry need
You cleanse me from unrighteousness
And You give new life to me

Message‘Unforgiveable-Blasphemy’

The Israelites, while still in Sinai following the giving of the Law and the recent completion of building the Tabernacle – they would soon be leaving Sinai in their journey to the Promised Land. During this time of obedience and waiting a young man gets into a fight with anther man. During the fight, the young man says something that shocks those within hearing distance. The words are uncomfortable instilling fear within all of the people.

The people were very fragile at this point. They had seen God’s power and heard God’s call to Holiness. This was a time when God was continually present and yet insecurity was a constant. The people ran to Moses asking “what should we do?” An unsure Moses asked God… 

God said, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who actually heard the young man say what he said, lay their hands on his head, and let them stone him. Speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin. One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the offended people shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.”

Leviticus 24:14-16

We do not know the actual words spoken by the young man, God does that a lot in the Bible – leaving us to speculate what was said or what was meant. Giving us an incentive to dig deeper in our search for truth.

In this moment, however, there is one thing that we do see. We see humans, not God, given the responsibility to carry out the sentence of death. “They shall lay their hands on him.” This was not a mob scene where ‘lay their hands on him’ meant to grab him and drag him to the city square. This was a holy moment in which the people accepted the need for this sentence. The words of this young man did not harm or threaten God, they were, however, a threat to this people. The people, were still spiritually weak, easily persuaded. They had seen their own weakness in action when Moses took too long on Mount Sinai.

As the people put their hands on the head of this young man they grieved. This moment was an indictment on the people. This was their wake up call. With each painful stone that they picked up and threw, as they watched the pain of their actions they realized that this should not happen again. This was their epiphany that they needed to be stronger and healthier, wiser, more discerning, and ready to remain unharmed by those they would eventually encounter, those that did not believe in or respect their God.

While uncomfortable to us, the stoning of this young man, was a call to be better, be stronger.

Blasphemy. One of those words that is not so easy to define yet it makes us squirm.

In  2014 our Oklahoma politicians did define it in Statute 21-901, ‘Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.’

R.L.1910, § 2398. Justia US Law. 

John Adams wrote,

“We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better.”

John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson

The Adams-Jefferson Letters, January 23, 1825.

We are accustomed to hearing accusations of Blasphemy, followed by brutal punishments, coming from countries where Sharia law is instituted, which we then blame it on their Islamic faith. However, Christianity and Judaism are the primary Holy Books that define a punishment for Blasphemy.

“Nowhere does the Koran prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death, or any other physical punishment. In Islam, blasphemy is a subject of intellectual discussion rather than a subject of physical punishment.” 

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Scholar

In Leviticus a young convicted man is stoned to death and then later, we  read Paul claiming to be a forgiven blasphemer.

Jesus said, “People will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Matthew 12:31-32

What is blasphemy to one group or person can just as easily be sacred to  another. Blasphemy is an act of, and an attack on, the heart. Whatever it is, Blasphemy is an act of burning a bridge, turning our back, of rejection usually acted out in a hateful manner. Our words and actions are a sign of our Blasphemy not the actual blasphemy. True blasphemy against the  Spirit is a nurtured condition of our heart.

Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter.’

Mark 3:28

And, immediately after that, Jesus says, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

Mark 3:29

Is Blasphemy an unforgivable sin? No. Is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit an unforgivable sin? Yes.

So, what the heck does that mean?!

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy he begins to bring Pastor  Timothy up to speed on some of his congregants, especially 2 men in his church. “By rejecting conscience, certain persons [in your church] have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

I Timothy 1:19b-20 (NRSV)

I have turned them over to Satan, so that they may Learn not to blaspheme.”

Paul makes 2 profound statements in this letter to Timothy. First, he states that had delivered Hymenaeus and Alexander “over to Satan”. These two men’s actions are not named (once again God leaves us with questions to motivate us to think), however, the prior thread of Paul’s warning is against their denial of the resurrection of Christ.

The second statement made by Paul is the reason for Paul’s shocking statement – in this he hopes that they will “be taught not to blaspheme.” Paul’s great compassionate and merciful hope is that these 2 men, and their followers, may be saved on “day of the Lord.” (I Timothy 1:19)

Paul’s deep desire is that they come to know the grace and mercy of the Lord while they are still able, before they actually blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. They can Still learn, they can still NOT Blaspheme – the choice is Their choice. There is still hope.

Some live with a fear of being found guilty of Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Truth is, if you are concerned – the Spirit is still present. What we need  is to be alert to, however, is the process which leads to Blasphemy. Blasphemy is never an isolated moment, it is a journey, a process. Hymenaeus and Alexander were on the journey TO Blasphemy, there was still hope.

Unforgivable Blasphemy is permanent shut down of the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives. In Sodom, we saw a community of people, inside the city gates, who had gradually turned their backs on God and turning to all forms of disrespect, hatred and hatefulness, void of all boundaries, anything was game, and the game always aimed to be more and more evil to everyone and anyone everytime. Pure hedonism became the norm where no respect for self or others existed. Lot in a moment of pure selfishness, taking the best land from his uncle Abraham, set his family one the Blasphemy path with his initial selfishness and greed. Ultimately, Lot offers his own daughters to suffer to safe his own reputation. Not even 10 righteous men could be found within the walls of the city. Lot and his family were entrenched in Sodom, they had become a part of the community and the community had become a part of them. They didn’t want to leave, even when they were warned of destruction. Lot’s wife, on their escape still couldn’t let go. This was the story of Noah’s day, of Babel – all were places where backs had been turned and feet had been irreversibly planted in concrete.

Blasphemy against the Spirit is an unforgivable sin because we are no longer capable of listening or hearing the Spirit and therefore responding is impossible. No matter how loudly the Spirit calls, or how obvious the message is, it is too late. It is a gradual process, a process beginning with small back turns and minor rejections, until we cannot comprehend anything but having our back turned.  Even if forgiveness is offered we are unable to listen and respond.

Our most common blasphemy of the Spirit becomes inevitable as we turn our ears to something else, religious institutions or religious leaders, political parties and political agendas – something that we allow to consume us – to which we surrender our heart and mind. Blasphemy is not an action, or a word, it is a process, one which we gradually become comfortable with. Jesus’ warnings of the unforgivable blapheme are His act of love, prompted by the unstoppable compassion and mercy of our gracious God. It is a call to open our eyes and ears. 

“So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your trust toward God. Let’s get on with it! Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible.“

The Apostle Paul

Hebrews 6:1-7 (MSG)

Let’s pray.

Music 3

I Will Never Be

CCLI Song # 1874911/Geoff Bullock

Verse 1

I will never be the same again
I can never return
I’ve closed the door
I will walk the path
I will run the race
And I will never be the same again

Chorus

Fall like fire soak like rain
Flow like mighty waters
Again and again
Sweep away the darkness
Burn away the chaff
And let a flame burn
To glorify Your name

Verse 2

There are higher heights
There are deeper seas
Whatever You need to do
Lord do it in me
And the glory of God fills my life
And I will never be the same again 

Community

Community

hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Study – This Thursday II Timothy 1-2

Next Sunday – ‘…Backwards Forward (gratitude).’

Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday, November 21 @ 6pm

November canned drive

Covid – Masks update

Benediction

Dave: We leave here challenged to be attentive and present.

Sherri: We leave here determined to keep our eyes and ears open.

Dave: We leave here called to serve, to see, to hear and to lavish in goodness.

Sherri: We leave here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here seeking wisdom to separate truth from lies.

Sherri: We leave here remembering God is God, the giver of our Life

Dave: We leave here called to live right and well, mercifully, and compassionately.

Sherri: We leave here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here to follow God’s chosen, the Son, Jesus.

Sherri: We leave here to respect and listen to God’s Spirit.

Dave: We leave here to sing a brand new song of praise.

Sherri: We leave here here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here to let our lives scream the glory of God.

Sherri: We leave here to go where God’s heart goes.

Dave: We leave here to let our hearts see what God sees.

Sherri: We leave here here because God also loves everyone out there.

Isaiah 42

Closing Peace 

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you.

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, and hope.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: