Preparing for Worship // May 14, 2017

Preparing for Worship // May 14, 2017

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So much of life is about expectations. We filter everything that happens to us through our expectations of what should happen to us. Disappointment comes because of unfulfilled expectations; joy comes from met or exceeded expectations. Take, for example, something as ordinary as going to see a movie. If you go in expecting a bad movie and it really is a bad movie, you’ll be much less disappointed than you would be if you go in expecting a good movie only to be disappointed. On the flipside, good movies are often even more enjoyable if we don’t expect them to be good. Managing expectations is one of the keys to our enjoyment of life. Prior to getting married, my wife and I did premarital counseling. Every book we read left me expecting that we would hate each other within a few months. So when month three rolled around and we still liked each other (despite having our share of newly-wed spats), I was more encouraged about the state of our marriage than I might have been otherwise. One of the reasons those early months of marriage were so enjoyable (besides having such a wonderful wife) was that older, wiser men had spoken into my life to help me manage expectation. This principle shows itself throughout life. The same event can be experienced either positively or negatively, depending on one’s expectations.

God delights in defying our expectations. Time and time again in Scripture, God does the opposite of what would be expected. He offers redemption to the least likely characters and bypasses those that the world would choose. He avoids the route that seems best to us in favor of the route that He knows to be best, and though it may not be immediately obvious to us, the route that He chooses always turns out to be the right one.

This is true for the way that the Kingdom expands, as well. We expect the Kingdom to come quickly and with power. Who wouldn’t, if they had the option, instantly convert all their friends and family by some amazing act of power? And this is what we expect God to do; this is what we think God should do. But that is not how God has chosen to have His Kingdom expand. In His wisdom, God advances His Kingdom slowly, sporadically, and unexpectedly. Friends and family who we would expect to accept Christ don’t, while those we would never expect to believe in Him do just that.

At every step, God delights in defying our expectations so that we will know that He is in charge. Let this be an encouragement; let this be another reason to trust in Him. His plan is always best; He always knows what He’s doing. And perhaps most importantly, His Kingdom is always expanding, even when we don’t see it. Where in your life is God not acting according to your expectations or according to what you think is best? God gives us good reasons to trust Him in all situations because He always knows what He is doing and His Kingdom is always expanding.

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 13:1-58
Sermon: Advancing the Kingdom

SONGS

Hail To the Lord’s Anointed (Sandra McCracken)
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Lion of Judah (Robin Mark)
listen | chords | lyrics/infopurchase

Let Your Kingdom Come (Bob Kauflin)
listen | chords lyrics/info | purchase

Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling (tune: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus)
listenchords | info | purchase

Song of Preparation: Come Lord Jesus (Even So Come) (Passion)
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Song of Response: Hear the Call of the Kingdom (Keith and Kristyn Getty)
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase

 

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