And His Name Shall Be Called...WONDERFUL - Wellington First Assembly

Wellington First Assembly

326 W Botkin Lane, Wellington Kansas ........Family Faith Lessons - 9:30 AM........ Sunday Worship - 10:30 AM


Sunday, December 3, 2017

And His Name Shall Be Called...WONDERFUL

And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful
1 Chronicles 16:8-18   |   Psalm 105:1-11
And His Name Shall be Called.
It’s been a few years, but I remember the anticipation, the anxiety, the sheer exhilaration, intertwined with certain dread even.  The first time a young child is born, a million things have been planned, purchased, painted, and placed.  Discussions over parenting styles, what-ifs, how can we manage the teen years – all of these things combined took so much time.  We were in preparation time.  We were getting ready for baby number one to come --- and we knew it was going to change our carefully cultivated decade of how we did things without her.
Take our experience and wrap it around the hopes and dreams of billions of humans over centuries – and we begin to understand the sheer magnitude of the preparations required for the day when Jesus would be born.

And His Name Shall be Called.


The Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas, is a time when we remember, we reflect, we re-live what it means to be prepared. These weeks before Christmas is not about Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, or really any shopping at all.  In fact, it’s really the opposite of that.  It has nothing to do about getting, but instead, everything to do with preparing to receive the greatest gift ever given.
This advent season, we will take our four-week challenge from the ancient Hebrew prophet of Isaiah, from words recorded in 9;6 – And He Shall be Called.  On this first Sunday of Hope, we lit the candle of expectation, looking forward to what can be – we look at how Wonderful our Savior is. 
And His Name Shall be Called Wonderful
Please stand with me as you are able as we read together a selection from the book of history, the First Book of Chronicles.  We will read 16:8-18.
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
14 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
15 He remembers r his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
    as your portion for an inheritance.”
-------------------------- PRAYER -------------------------------------
As some of you may notice, this Psalm of David recorded here is also recorded in the book of Psalms.  Many people enjoy reading the psalms for comfort and inspiration.  What you might not realize is that the book of the Bible we call the Psalms is actually comprised of 5 collections – 5 groupings of Psalms.  Five different hymnbooks, if you will, all put together in one large edition.  This Psalm is the second to last in Book 4.  For young historians out there, who like to see how the Bible all fits together, this edition of the hymn book was probably compiled about the same time as the book of Chronicles was being put together.  They both share one thing in common – they were written by a people who had endured generations of hardship, slavery, even torture.  They had been uprooted, driven from their homes, abandoned.  This is the psalm book of the exiled, the song of the forgotten ones.  The choruses of the people who struggled with faith and were very aware of evil in the world, and the fragility of life.
But despite their horrific background, they had come together, returning to Jerusalem to shift through the rubble of their existence.  They were re-discovering who their Savior was. 
And His Name shall be Called Wonderful.
This is what they discovered.  To experience the wonderful Savior that the longed so much for – 1) they must practice praise in the presence of God. 
When we Read Psalm 105 by itself, we miss the context for what it was created.  When we read this Psalm inside the history of Israel, inside Chronicles 15 & 16, we discover this is a song of worship.  Not just everyday worship – but special worship.  Composed for a momentous occasion.  As the post-exilic people of Israel begin to rebuild their temple, they recall the time when David brought the Ark of the Covenant, the very Mosaic symbol of God’s presence from the place it had been languishing back into the very center of Jerusalem where it belonged. 
If you recall this story, David once tried to move the Ark of the Covenant but had not followed God’s instructions, so it ended quite badly.  People died.  The Ark was abandoned.  David returned to Jerusalem and the symbolic presence of God was left behind.
But this time was different.  This time David had read the instructions, he discovered the procedure that the Levites were required to do to move the ark, and they brought it back into the very center of the city.
Worshipping God cannot be pushed off into a corner of our life.  Worshiping God is not just singing a song here or a song there.  Worshipping God isn’t what we do out of obligation on a Sunday.  David knew that worshipping God had to the very center of life.  The priestly class who composed Book 4 of the Psalms and recorded the words contained in Chronicles knew this first hand.  They no longer had the Arc of the Covenant, but they knew as David did, that a practiced life of praise in the presence of God meant their lives had a purpose, hope, and meaning.  If you want to see your hope satiated, your longing fulfilled, the dream that emptiness can be made complete, then Put the Savior at the Center.  Praise in His Presence.
And His Name Shall be Called Wonderful.
When my kids were young, they used to ask me to tell them stories. I did.  I read books to them, and then when that wasn’t enough, I made up stories, starring characters like Boneless Chicken, Headless Turkey, and whatever other goofy combination I could think off.  The refrain every night was simple – “Tell me another, Tell me another”
As the ancient people of Israel sifted through rebuilding their lives, they thrived on the stories of yore.  Tell me another.  Tell me another.  You don’t ask for more stories just because you like the plot lines – you ask for another because it tells of a better world, points to another option, gives sunshine on a rainy day.

2) If you want to experience the Wonderful Savior, you must retell the story.
There is no coincidence that Book 4 of the Psalms, chapters 90 – 106, is thematically arranged around the story of Moses and the exodus.  This is Israel’s earliest identity – the time when they first heard and acted on the promise – the last time they had left slavery and had been provided hope.  The people desired a repeat!  They wanted to take God at his word and see if he would do the same thing again!
Stories shape us.  They tell us what we could be.  They give us guardrails and guidelines.  They allow us to dream in a certain way.  Stories give us hope.  I guarantee you that the Oklahoma football coach goes into his locker room and tells the players the stories of other great Sooner college football champions.  He retells it and retells it until his players believe that they can have it too.  The power of stories is that we can enter into its world and make it our own.
Are you retelling the story?
Are you placing yourself in line with the Biblical characters and realizing that the promises God made to them in their context can be applied to your life and the situations you live in now?
Are you retelling the story?
Are you sharing your testimony of what God has done in your life with your spouse, your kids, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, your classmates?
The Chronicler retold the story of how God moved the people from slavery in Egypt to the promised land.  He retold the story of how David moved the Ark back into the center of Jerusalem.  And because he did that, the people believed, and the story continued.  Because of that,
·        we can retell the story of Jesus, how the angels welcomed him in birth.
·        We can retell the story of Jesus, of the cross where they nailed him.
·        We can retell the story of Jesus, and how he’s coming in glory again.

Christian missiologist Leonard Sweet writes in his book Summoned to Lead –
“Tradition stories tell us where we came from.  Vision stories tell us where we’re going.  Map stories give us ideas about how to get from where we came from to where we’re going.  We need all those stories.”
The story continues.  We have hope!  His Name is Wonderful, and we are his wondrous acts.

3) To experience the wonderful Savior, you must pursue a personal encounter with God.  Our text uses the words, look and seek.
Do you remember when you sought out the one you love?  I’m not talking creepy Facebook stalker.  I’m talking about --"he’s cute", "she’s handsome", the "I’m going to get his number, or chat her up."  I’m going to guess that for most of us in a relationship, those did not just fall into our laps – they were a pursuit.  Sometimes a hot pursuit!  Relationships take work, they take time, and the moment one stops pursuing, even in marriage, the relationships can dry up.
The chronicler is pretty clear.  Worshipping God is great, retelling the story is awesome.  But those two things alone are meaningless unless it points to the third.  Seek out God.  Look for him.  Chase him down.
This is where you get to appropriate the story and make it your own.  This is what distinguishes the Bible from being just a book of interesting fairy tales to becoming the living Words of God that can alter your life forever.
It’s not enough for you to say that since my parents pursued the Wonderful Savior, I don’t have to.  No, that’s what God the ancient Israelites into all the messes they encountered.
Why should we pursue him?
When we pursue our Wonderful Savior, we gain strength, we gain endurance, we gain perseverance.  This is what the apostle Paul prayed for the almost every church in every letter – that they would have great endurance in the face of suffering.  The only way to obtain that is by spending time in his presence, in his word, around fellow mutually edifying believers.
For us to have the mind of Christ, to operate as one body of believers, with one purpose of offering the message of the gospel to anyone who wishes to hear, then we must actively, pursue God in our daily lives, especially during the stormy times, because His name is Wonderful.

4) To experience the Wonder Savior, recall your position in God’s promise.
Who are you?
There are people who sit in pews every Sunday that don’t know who they are.  No, they haven’t developed retrograde amnesia.  I’m pretty sure if you introduced yourself, they would know their name.  But they have forgotten who they are and what they have been given.
The state of Kansas Treasurer’s office holds onto unclaimed property.  Maybe you’ve gone to the state fair and entered your name and address and discovered that there was money in your name that you forgot to claim.  I did that several years ago, after our move to Kansas from California.  I never would have thought but there was money sitting there that had never found it’s way to me. It was a refund from my utility deposit on my old house.  I had forgotten all about it.  There are other people who have received an inheritance but never claimed it, because they don’t know it exists and have never taken the time to look.
Who are you?
The chronicler answers this question quite simply – you are his chosen one.
When we recall the wonderful things our Savior has done, the most important one that we must remember is that He has chosen me!  We are his offspring.  We are heirs to the promise.  As the Apostle Paul explained to the church of Rome in 11:19 – we are grafted into the promise.  The same root of Jesse that supported the Anointed One now provides us with sustenance.  We can lay claim to the same heritage, the same inheritance that the Psalmist speaks off.  This has been God’s plan since the beginning since the inheritance was first offered in Genesis 3:15. The promise that the offspring of Eve, the son of Mary, would forever crush the head of the satanic snake, representing suffering and sin. 
You and I are part of the covenant promise.  Too many of us think that we are on the outside looking in.  We think that what the Bible offers is too good to be true.  Thoughts of unworthiness float through our minds.  Some see the story and turn away, disappointed that they cannot join – never realizing that it is their story too!  This is your inheritance too! 
The Wonderful Savior has given each one of us authority and a position at the table.  We are welcome in his presence.  We can access the throne of glory.  Our prayers are heard and answered.  No more suffering, no more pain – this is our heritage and promise when we embrace our Lord.
Call upon the name of the LORD, and you shall be saved!  And His Name shall be called wonderful.
As we close today, I want you to remember this.

What God has done in your past, is just the
down payment for what Jesus will do in your future.

          This Psalm of David recounts every action that God has taken in the lives of his people through the Mosaic history and then points to that history as an expression of what God’s love has done in the past.  But it doesn’t end there.  It provides a foreshadowing of the depth of Christ’s love for us, revealed in the crucifixion and resurrection. 
That alone is amazing, outstanding, and overwhelming.  Let it sink in for a moment.  God has literally moved creation and all of history to get you to the point where there is no doubt he loves you. 
But he’s not down yet.  What God has done for you in the past is just a precursor for what he has in store for you.  All eternity awaits.  As long as we have breath, we can praise the Lord.
What do you need Jesus to do for you now?  What heartache or hopelessness overtakes you?  What deep concern rocks your world?  What cloud is darkening your day?
As you praise in his presence, as you retell the story of salvation, as you pursue a personal encounter with Him, and as you recall your position in his promise, the Wonderful Savior will do a wondrous act.  He will give you hope!
Shall we pray.