Friday, April 3, 2009

The Glory of God

Okay I am super excited about todays post which is from our very own Pastor, Keith Cardwell, at Swift Church in Foley. I know you are going to enjoy it and without fruther adieu here he is:

Amber asked me to write the final post for Same Kind of Different. I’m glad to do so. What follows is from the March 29 sermon at Swift Church. I used two examples from the book that I think are evidence of God’s glory revealed to us.

Sometimes God's glory is an external, visible, expression. Scripture tells us that God’s glory can be in the thunderstorm. God's glory is seen in the plagues, in the cloudy pillar, in the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and in the Ark of the Covenant.

In the NT and particularly John, the glory of God is evidenced by Jesus’ miracles that point to (honor, reveal) God and God in Jesus. We see it in the changing water into wine of John 2. “the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”

We also see the Glory of God visible in the resuscitation of Lazarus. Jesus asked Mary and Martha: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

If you believe, you will see the glory of God! All around the glory of God is being revealed. We see visible expressions of his presence and his splendor. We see evidence of his miraculous power and grace. Sometimes it’s a dramatic, miraculous cure. Other times it’s less noticeable, perhaps only noticeable through faith.

The book Same Kind of Different as Me is a true story filled with examples of the glory of God revealed.

The main characters: Denver, an aging black share-cropper now living in at homeless mission in Ft. Worth. Calloused, forgotten, hopeless. Ron, an international art dealer-a Christian whose first love is for money and its trappings. They are brought together by Debbie, Ron’s wife, who has a vision for glorifying God by volunteering at the Ft. Worth homeless mission. God uses each of them to challenge the other to see God beyond their comfortable existence. The glory of God is revealed when Denver and Ron, both set in their ways and their biases, are “converted” to fully embrace each other as people of God.

In once scene Debbie is severely sick. Ron comes down to the mission where by now he is a regular. He asks the cook if he has seen Denver. “Probably sleeping” is the reply. It is already afternoon and Ron can’t help but think Denver is lazy. The cook informs him otherwise. “You don’t know?”
“Know what?”
“Well, when Denver heard about Miss Debbie, he told me she had a lot of friends that would be praying for her all day. But he figured she needed someone to pray for her all night, and he would be the one to do it.”

Ron’s eyes widened. The cook continued, “So, he goes outside at midnight, sits down next to the dumpster, and prayers for Muss Debbie and your family. When I get up and come down here at three in the morning to get breakfast going, he comes in for a cup of coffee and we pray here in the kitchen for her until about four. Then he goes back outside and prays til sunup.”

Ashamed, Ron realized again how deep grew the roots of his own prejudice, of his own arrogant snap judgments of the poor. (138)
If you believe, you will see the glory of God!

The truth is sometimes it is our darkest moments that we see most clearly God’s glory revealed. God’s glory fills us when our faith remains in the downturns of our lives. God’s glory burns in us when we hold fast during the storms of temptation. God’s glory is evident when we cling to the assurance of God’s love even when we see no reason for God to love us. God’s glory bursts forth in great splendor when we live well—and die well--the example of children of God.

Again from Same Kind of Different. Debbie has died. At her memorial service, Denver gets up to speak.

“God has blessed me that someone would come to me that was concerned about me and not interested in whatever bad places I had come from. Ever since I’d known her, Miss Debbie offered for me to come to church here, but wadn’t no way I was comin here!” “So she came and got me and brought me. I tried to stall at the door, but she said, ‘Come on in,’ and she walked in here with me just as proud. She was a real lady.”

As Denver left the podium, two men stood and clapped. Then the entire congregation stood, and applause thundered through the church. For 19 months people had prayed for and expected a miracle. Suddenly Ron realized he was staring one right in the face. A face that didn’t try to hide from him anymore. A face with eyes that were no longer angry and yellow, but clear and a powerful brown. A face that beamed a joyful smile when it seemed once to have forgotten how. (195)

If you believe, you will see the glory of God!

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1 comment:

Christy and Greg said...

WOW. Thanks! :)
Sure do miss Swift.