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Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Proclaim to the World - January 7, 2018

Matthew 2:1-12

Last week we heard about Simeon and Anna—and their faithfulness to God....the respect the community must have had for them to trust what they saw, believed, and proclaimed. And as part of that, we heard a little of what they might have experienced from the Holy Spirit. Simeon had to have received a vision, a word, a something that was then confirmed when Mary and Joseph brought their 6 week old son to the temple. And Anna, she saw and believed and proclaimed it

to everyone who would listen.

And I think that movement of the Holy Spirit carries to this story too. We have these men, (maybe 3, maybe not...they brought 3 gifts but aren't actually counted within the scriptures) who come from the East, where they would not have been Jews and would not have known the Jewish scriptures and yet somehow they get word to follow a star, which will just happen to lead them to Bethlehem so they can meet the new King of the Jews. It is highly unlikely that there would have been Jews where they were to tell them anything...but still, they knew. So, let's imagine God spoke to them somehow...indicated something powerful....not just to follow a star...but that if they did it would lead them to the King of the Jews. They had that information. And, then they didn't dismiss it. Does that not seem odd to you? God says, Hey, random people from a random area, go find a random star and follow it. You'll know when you need to stop. And when you get there, you'll want to track down the new King of the Jews. I know you haven't ever heard of them, but trust me, it'll be worth it. And they went!!!! that's crazy! Or, that's the Spirit at work in powerful ways.
For ease of discussion, let's say there were 3 astrologers...maybe they worked together and studied together a lot...had a decent friendship. What if one said, "Hey, I had this dream that we should follow that star to meet a king." What do you think the others say?! Ha, ha, very funny! or....yeah, sure, let's go meet the new king....and....ask to be part of his court? Move in to the palace? Well no, we'll just take him some really expensive gifts and get on our way.
Who does that!?!? What was in it for them? They didn't stay. They didn't wait around to see who Jesus would become as a man. They went on this crazy long treasure hunt, following a star, ready to give away really expensive things, to a stranger...why?!!? What possesses someone to do that?! God. God provokes people to do crazy things that don't make sense to anyone else....but somehow makes enough sense for reasonable people to do unreasonable things.
That means that the power and presence of God has to be significant. It has to be convincing. It has to pack a punch such that people would wander into the unknown, give away precious gifts, and do all of that when they stand to gain nothing for themselves.
Over the years, people have done a lot of crazy and unreasonable things for God. They've sold their home and everything they own to be a missionary. They've risked their lives to help save others. They've traveled to the middle of a war zone to help make sure kids have food and coats and gloves. They've risked infections and diseases. Why? Because God prompted them to. Because God spoke into their hearts, into their lives, and said, "I need you to do something for me." And God was so convincing that they did it!
I'm not sure if it strikes you the way it strikes me, but it seems to highlight God's power. It's not just that people are good hearted, or kind, but they're faithful to a God who moves in mighty ways. Now, it may be a whisper, a nudge, a vision, a dream, or a simple scripture that convinced them to do it....but there was power there and that power comes from the Holy Spirit.
Mark Batterson is a pastor in Washington DC and he has a book called "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day" and it's all about the ways God calls people to do big audacious things....to risk everything for God's sake...and they do it!!!
• Story of Sarah afraid of their trip to Ethiopia. Crocodiles and lions in the park. Not much clean water. Not equipped. Not well traveled. Not well off. But she was called.

And so the big question for us becomes, are you listening for the voice of God?! Earnestly? Intentionally? Regularly? And are you even slightly prepared for God to ask you to do something big and audacious? Not a simple ask, but a huge one, one that seems crazy, one that requires sacrifice and conviction? One you don't necessarily have to do alone, but one that fully serves God's purposes? And if not, why not?! That's who we are as people of faith....God's agents, God's messengers of Good News and to be that, we have to be ready not just to do what we know, but to travel into the unknown to wherever God leads us.

To be very honest, I don't know where God is going to call us this year. I have some inklings of where we might be needed in our community and in our world. But I'm waiting for the confirmation of God's voice. But the ways I keep hearing these scriptures tells me that the Spirit is moving, ready to speak to us, ready to inspire us, to lead us as a congregation to do some big and audacious things for the sake of the Gospel. It's not just about me....God already led me to do something big and audacious by coming here. =) that may not seem like much to you, but to go from an area where you're known and loved and have a lot of ins, to a place you've never even visited, a state you only knew grew potatoes, leaving all your family, friends, and professional connections....God moved me and told me it would be for a purpose and something amazing would happen here. I don't know the details, only that there was some significant work to do. And I think the Spirit of God is ready to start moving us...are you ready?

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