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CALMING THE SOUL

A SERVICE AND SERMON ORIGINALLY CELEBRATED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

14 JUNE 1992

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Deuteronomy 11:1
Psalm 5:8
Isaiah 48:16
Ezekiel 36:24-27
Matthew 19:13-15
John 3:1-7
        10:1-3
1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Preparation Verse: (Isaiah 48:16)

16. "Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit."

Homily:

In this passage of scripture, Isaiah is speaking for the Lord Jesus, 700 years before He was born into this world.

But Isaiah knew the truth of the persons of God, and sought Their unified presence within and around him.

He also knew that nothing of the Lord has been hidden from any person, or probably from any other creature, who is willing to have Him revealed to them.

Isaiah also knew that only with God's presence could his or our souls be calmed.

Invocation:

Grant us Your Grace to know You as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Hymn: Come, Thou Almighty King

Scripture Reading: 

Ezekiel 36:24-27

24 "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.

25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27 "And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
NASB

John 3:1-7

3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;

2 this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"

5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
NASB

Gloria Patri: 

Homily:

In both this Hebrew Testament and New Testament passages we have the true meaning of what is involved, or what takes place with a person when he or she is born again.

And unless we are born again, as these passages of Scripture tell us, we cannot see into the kingdom of heaven; for the Holy Spirit is not within us to guide us and open our eyes.

And unless our eyes are opened to see spiritual things, we are doomed never to see beyond the corruption of this world.

Unfortunate, when people cannot see beyond the corruption of this earth, they usually wallow in it and don't seek to free creation from the corruption.

But with our eyes opened, we can see beyond the wrongs of the earth, and of each other, to a life and world once again made perfect; a time and place in which there will no longer be any hurting, or pain, or death of any kind for anyone, whether they are human or non-human.

So, let the Lord calm your soul and lead you there.

Hymn:  Lead Me Lord

Homily:

This little hymn of prayer, which is based on Psalm 5:8, is to calm our soul when we are in the midst of problems, or with those who desire to hurt us or lead us astray.

Listen to what David wrote:

8. O Lord, lead me in Thy righteousness because of my foes;
Make Thy way straight before me.

It isn't that we have to make our way straight before God, but that we pray that the Lord Himself will make His way straight before us, so that we may see His pathway and walk with Him and not wander off into trouble.

But again, to do so, we must be willing to receive the vision.

If there are things that are troubling you, then lift them up to the Lord in a prayer of confession, ask His forgiveness, and receive His forgiveness and guidance.

Confession and Assurance:

Sharing Our Joys and Concerns:

Pastoral Prayer:

Hymn: Day By Day

Homily:

We have to learn to relax with God.

We have to learn to put our full trust in Him.

It does us no good to worry about yesterday, or what some person may or may not have said or done.

We should be thankful for the things that each of us have, and for the things that we do that are righteous, and encourage each other to do more, and not just find fault.

Likewise, it does us no good to worry about tomorrow; for when we get there, it will be today; and we can either have peace or stress in it, in accordance with the way we set our heart.

And remember, that the way we set our hearts and souls, can affect other, too.

In Deuteronomy 11:1, we are told,

1. "You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments."

And remember that all of these are based on love.

Love will make anyone feel better, and to actually be better.

If we really want our soul to be calm, we only have to trust in the Lord to lead us day by day, and to be obedient in sharing that love and peace with every other being around us, for it is much harder be calm if there is stress all around us.

Anthem: Rock of Ages

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

1. For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.

2. and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

3. and all ate the same spiritual food;

4. and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Homily:

The spiritual food that the people ate was the manna that came down from heaven.

By eating the manna, the people caused no pain or suffering or death to any animal, nor did they have the stress of having hardened their heart to be able take the life of any animal.

When we think of rock, we usually think of something that is strong and able to support great loads without crumbling or shifting; and so it is with Jesus Christ.

We don't have to support the rock of the earth, unless we undermine it.

And we don't have to support the work of Jesus Christ, either; that is, unless we also undermine His work.

Both the rock of the earth and Jesus Christ can support themselves, and we can rest upon that support.

We are not called upon to provide the basic support, but to build upon the rock.

We are to rest in that assurance of support and not worry about the outcome, but to trust in the Lord's direction.

As Paul brought out in the verses we just read, God had the Exodus out of Egypt planned from the beginning, and all that the people had to do was trust in Him.

Many didn't, but Moses did; and the Lord's strength through him led the people.

The strong ones led the weak ones through the sea and the wilderness.

And all ate of the same spiritual food, and all drank of the same spiritual drink; because Godís grace is for everyone, whether weak or strong, who will receive.

Paul says that the spiritual rock from which the water flowed was Christ.

So, the message for us, in the music and in the word, is to be still, don't grumble about the things that we think are wrong; but trust the life-giving Rock, Jesus Christ, to supply all our needs.

Each one of us is called upon to do our part; but it is always to build upon the rock of the Lord, and never to the side of the rock or in another direction, as one doesnít build a building off its foundation.

As we let our souls become calm, we will see not only the rock of our salvation, but also the living water that flows from it.

When we are angry and upset inside, we are also blinded to these spiritual things.

So, instead of fighting with your feelings, simply calm down and look to the Rock; and things will get a whole lot better.

Just trust Him!

Hymns: Jesus Loves Me (1st verse) and  Jesus Loves the Little Children

Homily:

There is something about the nature of children that is basically trusting.

In Matthew 19:13-15, Jesus uses this characteristic of their nature to describe how we also should be:

13. Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.

14. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

15. And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there.

Because the world is not trustworthy, we have to train our children not to be so trusting, particularly of strangers, in order that we might better protect them.

But our children also learn from observing us; and by our lifestyle and our fears and prejudices, we also turn our children away from the Lord, too.

Most adults don't go to church regularly; thus the children don't either, and both lose the blessing.

Their souls are not calm, and neither are their children's.

And unfortunately, many churches do not provide the love and peace for the whole of creation; they limit their love and thus cause stress to others, both inside and outside of the church.

We must learn to encourage each other about the things that are good, and spend far less time finding fault with each other.

We need to end our destructiveness and bickering and learn to bring peace the the world (to human, to other animals, and to the world in which we all live).

We must learn to let the Lord lead us.

We must learn to love unconditionally.

Hymn: Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Homily:

Only Jesus can lead us into the kingdom of God.

We must be led out of this world and into the next.

Some people think that they can do it on their own, but they're wrong.

Others think they have a different formula for getting into heaven, and they try to lead others in their direction; but it is not heaven where they direct others.

Jesus tells us this in John 10:1-3.

1. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.

2. "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.

3. "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out."

What voice do we hear calling us?

If we are of the world, or troubled by the world so that our soul is also stressed out, we may not hear the right voice and will become lost.

That's why it's so important to be in the fellowship of other believers in loving and peacemaking church, for the word of God and the music is such that it will calm our souls and spirits, so that our eyes and ears will be opened to be able to see the kingdom of God and to enter it. 

In closing our service for this morning, Engrid will again lead us in a song on the guitar, Kum Ba Yah, an Afro-American spiritual that came out of their time of trouble.

It means Come By Here, and that should be our constant prayer: that the Lord would always come by here, to comfort us and lead us.

It doesn't matter what our feelings are at the time, He will hear and come.

And we should also pray this for others.

Hymn: Kum Ba Yah

Benediction:

Your Comments are welcome

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