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EVERYONE NEEDS HELP

Date: 
March 26, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Romans 8: 26-28

A Conversation with God

NOTE: This is not a sermon… it is a conversation with God to which the people in the pews are invited to listen in on…

NOTE TO READERS: These are notes from my conversation…

  • As you can see in the bulletin, this is not-a-sermon…
    • I’m not going to preach a sermon this morning…
    • I’m going to have a conversation with God
    • You may listen in… I don’t mind… I’m sure God won’t mind
  • I read a story the other day, God, that really made me think…
    • Flight from Atlanta… developmentally disabled girl… she was a teenager, so petite that she appeared almost frail… the aisle seat in front of me was hers…
    • Across the aisle was a group of rowdy college students… think of “Animal House”… they took up several rows of seats across from us… laughing, joking, having a great time… they were trying to be very cool!
    • Plane pushed back and started taxing… 10 minutes later the pilot announced that we were cleared for takeoff… he made the final turn onto the runway…
    • Looked up and saw that little head with the brunette hair lean part way across the aisle… I heard the girl say to the college student across from her, “I get real nervous when we take off… would you hold my hand?
    • My eyes riveted on the young man to see what he would do… holding a stranger’s hand is not cool… after an initial nervous blush, he began to smile, and halfway across the aisle came that kid’s big ol’ hand… the girl’s tiny hand grabbed it and squeezed… they held hands across the aisle as our Delta jet became airborne.
    • They held hands as I stared, almost in disbelief… I realized I was witnessing a sacrament - a truly sacred action.
    • The plane’s wheels clunked into place beneath us… she let go of his hand and said something to him… the engines were now so loud, I couldn’t hear…
    • For the next hour and a half he read his Harry Potter book… She listened to her iPod.
    • Then the plane descended as we approached Shreveport… In those few moments, as we anticipated the jolt of the runway, this young man turned to the girl and – as I read his lips – asked, “Do you need to hold my hand?”
    • Apparently she said, “No.”   He smiled and nodded. (from: If You Know Who You Are You’ll Know What To Do by Ronald J. Green)
  • That story reminded me that, like everyone else, I need a little help now and then…
  • It is true that each one of us, no matter how capable, competent, and self-assured we are, needs a little help now and then… and sometimes that help comes in unexpected ways and from unexpected sources.
  • I can think of plenty of times when I’ve needed your help, God… I know that things always work out best when we work together, rather than my charging ahead to do things on my own…
  • When I need help, Lord, I instinctively turn to you…
    • I love turning to you…
    • I know that you are always listening…
    • Talking with you is like having a conversation with a good friend…
    • I call our conversations prayer…
  • Sometimes I don’t know what to pray for…
    • How can I know what to pray for when I can’t foresee the future?
    • How can I know what to pray for when I don’t honestly know what’s best for me?
    • Sometimes in my weakness, Lord, I don’t know whether to pray for deliverance, a miracle, a windfall, remission, a change in the behavior or attitudes of others, or whether to just pray for strength and courage to endure whatever life has in store for me. (Schroder)
    • Sometimes I take the easy way out and just pray for the obstacles in my life to be removed so that I can sail straight forward in my own way… not good, I know!
  • The Bible says that when we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid…
    • The Holy Spirit voices our requests… it is the Holy Spirit that sustains us in our time of trial. (Romans 8:26)
    • In other words, when I can’t think of what to pray, the Holy Spirit takes over and prays on my behalf… the prayers I ought to offer are offered by the Holy Spirit…
    • It reminds me of the little child saying her bedtime prayers… she kept repeating the alphabet over and over… when her dad asked why she kept saying the alphabet, she replied, “I started my prayers, but I wasn’t sure of the right words to use. So I decided just to say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however God thinks best.” (Prayer: So Simple, So Powerful)
  • When Jesus prayed on the cross, he prayed: “Into thy hands, I commend my spirit. Not my will, but thy will be done.” (Luke 22:42)   Jesus trusted you to do what was best.
    • When I pray, God, I trust you to do what is right… you know what is right for me…
    • The Bible says that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28)
    • Because I love you, I trust that all things will work together for good eventually…
    • I’ll admit it, I need to be more patient… much more patient…
    • I need to allow time for things to work out…
    • But I do trust you to do what is right and good, God…
    • I sense that you are working for me and in me at all times…
  • On Facebook last week I read a “A dog’s last letter to ‘his person.’”
    • It was both sad and beautiful at the same time…
    • I know that dogs can’t write, but with a little bit of imagination it can happen…
    • The dog, Benny was his name, wrote about his final few days with his master…
    • The dog kept getting sicker and sicker…
    • When he could no longer walk to the corner and all the way back, his master picked him up and carried him home, saying: “Don’t worry, I gotcha, buddy.”
    • When he could no longer make it down the stairs, his master gently carried him loving in his arms, saying: “Don’t worry, I gotcha, buddy.”
    • When Benny could no longer go outside to do “his business,” his master grabbed the mop and reassured him: “Don’t worry, I gotcha, buddy.”
    • The day came when Benny was so weak he could no longer get out of his bed, his master stroked his head lovingly, saying: “Don’t worry, I gotcha, buddy.”
    • And in the vet’s office on that final day, he heard his master, with his head resting close to his own head and tears streaming from his eyes, say one final time, “Don’t worry, buddy. I gotcha. I always gotcha.”
  • When I need help, Lord, as I often do, if I listen with the ears of faith, I can hear you saying to me, “I gotcha, buddy. I always gotcha!”
  • I know you will never leave me… and for that I give thanks. Amen.

SERMON SEEDS

  • A DOG’S LAST LETTER TO “HIS PERSON” - indianexpress.com
  •  Listen – Praying in a Noisy World – Rueben Job
  • If You Know Who You Are You’ll Know What To Do – Ronald J. Greer
  • Prayer: So Simple, So Powerful – Minister’s Message – 6-20-13 www.dailyheraldtribune.com

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