Saturday, July 31, 2021

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God’s unseen blessings.” - 8-1-21

 

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God’s unseen blessings.” - 8-1-21

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Blessings

God carries our burdens daily.

God meets our needs.

God blesses us with spiritual blessings in Christ.

God forgives all our sins.

God heals all our diseases.

God redeems your life from the pit.

God crowns us with love and compassion.

God satisfies your desires with good things.

God works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

 

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

              Psalms 103:1-6 NIV

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

              Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

 

God will bless you.

 

 

“Everybody has problems, but everybody also has blessings in life.”                                                                      Robert W. Bly

 

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”                                        Eric Hoffer

 

I.   TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

 

There is an old story of a father who took his young son out and stood him on the railing of the back porch. He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged the little fellow to jump into his arms. "I'll catch you," the father said confidently. After a lot of coaxing, the little boy finally made the leap. When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground. He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears. 

 

"Let that be a lesson," he said sternly. "Don't ever trust anyone." 

              Bernie May, Learning to Trust, Multnomah Press, 1985, p. 4

 

 

“Being able to recognize and appreciate your blessings in life is a blessing.”                                        Angel Moreira

 

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess."                                                                                      

              Max Lucado 

 

              A.  Trust

 

A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.

 

              B.  In the Lord

              C.  With all your heart

 

The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith.

              J. G. Machen

 

 II.  LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING 

 

A man who lived on Long Island was able one day to satisfy a lifelong ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. When the instrument arrived at his home, he was extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked "HURRICANE."  After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, its new owner sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased the instrument. The following morning on the way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. 

That evening he returned to Long Island to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. The barometer's needle had been right--there was a hurricane! 

              E. Schuyler English

 

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”                                                                          

              Camille Pissarro

 

“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”                                                                Oscar Wilde

 

“Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises.”           

              Janette Oke

 

Uncle Oscar was apprehensive about his first airplane ride. His friends, eager to hear how it went, asked if he enjoyed the flight. "Well," commented Uncle Oscar, "it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, but I'll tell you this. I never did put all my weight down!"

 

              A.  Lean not

              B.  On your own understanding 

 

III.  IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM

 

 “You will be blessed the moment you realize you already are.”                                                                  Bryant McGill

 

              A.  In all your ways

            B.  Acknowledge Him

CONCLUSION

 

 “When I look back on my life as a whole, it is impossible for me not to feel blessed.”                           George Best

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him.

 

CHALLENGE

 

Our challenge will remain the same each week of this sermon series.  I just ask that you keep in mind the topic of each week’s message as you write down your weekly 3-2-1.  The topic this week is God’s unseen blessings.

 

Write down 3 ways God bears your burdens daily.  Write down 2 needs God has met this week.  Write down 1 spiritual blessing in Christ that you cherish most.  Acknowledge God’s blessings.

 

INVITATION

 

It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word.  You may want to follow Jesus.  You may want to proclaim your faith.  You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things).  Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Possibly, if you have already responded to God’s call in these ways, you would like to become a member of Kenwood Church.  If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, you can come forward now.  If you would like, I would be honored to speak with you following the service about what God is doing in your life.  

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: Gods’s unseen blessings.” 8-1-21

 “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God’s unseen blessings.” 8-1-21

As we worship together "from house to house," we are gathered to count our blessings.  We acknowledge the many ways we have been blessed.  We trust you for the many blessings we cannot see.

If you cannot join us this Sunday, we invite you to sing along with the worship videos.  We encourage you to take the Lord’s Supper.  In this way, we can take communion together even though we are apart.  Pray for one another.  Watch my message, “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God’s unseen blessings.”  Respond to the invitation.  Enjoy the bonus video.

WORSHIP




COMMUNION

Read Matthew‬ ‭26:26-28‬ ‭NIV, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Here is a communion prayer to say before you take the bread and the juice, “Father, we give thanks for the blessing of your body and blood which were offered for us.  We receive your forgiveness as a precious gift.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Take the Lord's Supper.

PRAYER

Pray for eyes to see God’s blessings in your life and the life of others.

MESSAGE


CHALLENGE

Our challenge will remain the same each week of this sermon series.  I just ask that you keep in mind the topic of each week’s message as you write down your weekly 3-2-1.  The topic this week is God’s unseen blessings.

Write down 3 ways God bears your burdens daily.  Write down 2 needs God has met this week.  Write down 1 spiritual blessing in Christ that you cherish most.  Acknowledge God’s blessings.

INVITATION

It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word at Kenwood Church.  You may want to follow Jesus.  You may want to proclaim your faith.  You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things).  Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Possibly, if you have already responded to God’s call in these way, you would like to become a member of Kenwood Church.  If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, I encourage you to speak with me via phone (248-476-8222) or an email (toddlackie@kenwoodchurch.org).  I would be honored to speak with you about what God is doing in your life and try to connect you with a community of faith in your area.

Bonus Video




Saturday, July 24, 2021

Video: KENWOOD CHURCH sermon, “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.” - 7-25-21

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.” 7-25-21

As we worship together "from house to house," we are reminded of the oppression that many endure everyday.  We feel oppression in our own lives.  We ask you to be our champion.  We look to you for deliverance.

If you cannot join us this Sunday, we invite you to sing along with the worship videos.  We encourage you to take the Lord’s Supper.  In this way, we can take communion together even though we are apart.  Pray for one another.  Watch my message, “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.”  Respond to the invitation.  Enjoy the bonus video.

WORSHIP




COMMUNION

Read Isaiah‬ ‭61:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  Here is a communion prayer to say before you take the bread and the juice, “Father, we are grateful that Jesus came to set us free.  We are thankful for you good news.  We are overwhelmed by our freedom.  Thank you for sending your Son.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Take the Lord's Supper.

PRAYER

Pray for the oppressed.

MESSAGE




CHALLENGE

Our challenge will remain the same each week of this sermon series.  I just ask that you keep in mind the topic of each week’s message as you write down your weekly 3-2-1.  The topic this week is the blessing of God’s righteousness and justice.

Write down 3 ways God bears your burdens daily.  Write down 2 needs God has met this week.  Write down 1 spiritual blessing in Christ that you cherish most.  Acknowledge God’s blessings.

INVITATION

It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word at Kenwood Church.  You may want to follow Jesus.  You may want to proclaim your faith.  You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things).  Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Possibly, if you have already responded to God’s call in these way, you would like to become a member of Kenwood Church.  If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, I encourage you to speak with me via phone (248-476-8222) or an email (toddlackie@kenwoodchurch.org).  I would be honored to speak with you about what God is doing in your life and try to connect you with a community of faith in your area.

Bonus Video



“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.” - 7-25-21

 “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: God works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” - 7-25-21


INTRODUCTION


Blessings

God carries our burdens daily.

God meets our needs.

God blesses us with spiritual blessings in Christ.

God forgives all our sins.

God heals all our diseases.

God redeems your life from the pit.

God crowns us with love and compassion.

God satisfies your desires with good things.


“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 


Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭103:1-6 NIV


I.   GOD WORKS


A.  Good works.


“So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.””

‭‭ John‬ ‭5:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬


B.  God blesses us.


“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”

‭‭ John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.”

‭‭ John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭Good News Translation‬‬


C. God works through us.


“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

‭‭ Proverbs‬ ‭31:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬


 II.  GOD WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE 


“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭146:6-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

‭‭ Amos‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬


A.  Righteousness - the “right-ness” of God

B.  Justice - “judgment”

  

“If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?”

‭‭ Job‬ ‭9:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

H.L. Mencken, Prejudices


III.  GOD WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL THE OPPRESSED 


A.  God loves the oppressed.


“This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭34:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭9:9‬ ‭NIV


“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭34:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.”

‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭140:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Jesus was sent to the oppressed


““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.””

‭‭ Luke‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬


B.  God uses us to bring righteousness and justice for the oppressed.


“Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.”

‭‭ Amos‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬


World Vision - Here are 10 amazing ways that God is at work in the world:


1. Child marriage rates are falling

The number of women in the world married as children went down by 15 percent in the last decade. More countries, religious leaders, and organizations are recognizing the physical and emotional harm done when children are forced to marry. 


2. Child and infant mortality rates are going down

In 1990, the global infant mortality rate was estimated at 65 deaths per 1000 live births, but in 2017 it had dropped to 29 deaths per 1000 live births. The under-five mortality rate decreased by 59% from 1990 to 2018. 


3. The number of people living in extreme poverty is decreasing

One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to end extreme poverty by 2030. World Vision was an active contributor to creating the goals in 2015, and we are working to help meet them! Even as we work to increase our impact, we pause to celebrate success. 


Nearly 1.1 billion fewer people were living in extreme poverty in 2015 than in 1990. As we continue to work alongside those in poverty to break the cycles that hold communities back, we praise God for every victory!


4. Fewer children are involved in child labor

All kids should be free to have a childhood. We work with other organizations, like the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, to help children leave forced labor and get back in the classroom. Since the year 2000, the number of children in hazardous labor has been cut in half, and global efforts have helped reduce the number of child laborers by 94 million since 2000. 


5. Global literacy rates are going up (and the U.S. is helping!)

The U.S. — with strong bipartisan support — is working to improve global health, global stability, and the global economy in ways that are life-changing for the world’s most vulnerable. U.S. foreign assistance, implemented through partners like World Vision, has contributed to global literacy rates rising by a whopping 33 percent in the last 25 years!


6. More clean water is flowing to those who need it

If you know World Vision, you know that we get pretty excited about clean water. Almost 1,000 kids under 5 die every day from diarrhea causes by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene — but it’s not an unsolvable problem! We’re working to provide clean water to people in every community we work in, and thanks to God’s provision, we’ve seen great successes! For example:

We reach one new person with clean water every 10 seconds.

In 2017 alone, we were able to empower 3.2 million people with access to clean water.

When combined with sanitation and hygiene interventions, access to clean water can cut preventable child deaths by up to 57 percent, reduced chronic malnutrition by 40 percent, and reduce school absenteeism among girls by 50 percent. When a community gains access to clean water, the returns are amazing!


7. Greater gender equality is helping communities rise out of poverty

Greater gender equality in society leads to faster economic growth, which means that addressing harmful gender norms and reducing gender-based violence is crucial to ending extreme poverty. And increasing the number of years a girl goes to school improves her future earnings, which in turn builds stronger families since women invest about 90 percentof their income back into their households.

With this in mind, we praise God that:

Female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) has declined 30 percent in the last decade.

Access to girls’ education is improving: In 1970, the global average for the number of years a girl went to school was about 6.7 years, but in 2019, it’s over 12 years!


8. We’re making progress against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis

There was a time when diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria felt unstoppable. But the world fought back! The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002, and since then, its efforts have helped:

Cut AIDS-related deaths and new infections in half since the 1990s/early 2000s

Cut the mortality rate for tuberculosis by 42 percent between 2000 and 2017 

Reduce malaria deaths by 60 percent since 2000

Save 32 million lives total (so far!)


9. God is using OUR voices

Of all the ways God amazes us, one of the most humbling is that he uses us to infuse his love into the world. We are flawed and limited, but we don’t have to wait around helplessly for the world to change. In fact, God says that we are the ones who are supposed to speak up to protect the rights of the hurting, the sick, and the hungry. 


We thank God for the World Vision advocates who speak out every day, contributing to (among many other things):

$1 billion in foreign assistance funding being dedicated to people impacted by famine or disaster. (Learn more about U.S. foreign assistance.)

The Water for the World Act getting passed in 2014 after almost 18 months of advocacy. 

The protection of up to $4 billion of foreign aid funds that were threatened by a last-minute budget rescission package. Those funds will now continue to make life-changing programs possible around the world!

.  

10. God’s love is being proclaimed throughout the world!

Clean water, nutritious food, education … all these things contribute to the most important work of all: bearing witness to Jesus Christ.


There is nothing as transformative as the Good News that God loves us and wants to be a part of our lives. That’s why we’re so passionate about sharing our faith. In some contexts, respecting local laws and traditions means we can’t share our faith openly, but we bear witness to Jesus’ love by loving everyone and building trusting relationships with people of other faiths. 


In other contexts, we’re able to proclaim more openly the reason for the hope that we have. For example, in 2018:

2,173,043 children and youth participated in discipleship and values education

99,884 faith leaders benefited from ministry and community care training from World Vision

We worked with 45,195 churches to serve their communities


CONCLUSION


God works.  God works righteousness and justice.  God works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.


“Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 


Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

‭‭ Isaiah‬ ‭1:10-17‬ ‭NIV‬


The sign in the store window read: NO HELP WANTED. As two men passed by, one said to the other, "You should apply--you'd be great."

Principles regarding work, Decision-making and the Will of God, p. 336


CHALLENGE


Our challenge will remain the same each week of this sermon series.  I just ask that you keep in mind the topic of each week’s message as you write down your weekly 3-2-1.  The topic this week is the blessing of God’s righteousness and justice.


Write down 3 ways God bears your burdens daily.  Write down 2 needs God has met this week.  Write down 1 spiritual blessing in Christ that you cherish most.  Acknowledge God’s blessings.


INVITATION


It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word.  You may want to follow Jesus.  You may want to proclaim your faith.  You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things).  Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Possibly, if you have already responded to God’s call in these ways, you would like to become a member of Kenwood Church.  If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, you can come forward now.  If you would like, I would be honored to speak with you following the service about what God is doing in your life.