Damariscotta Baptist Church
Friday, July 20, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

07/01/12 Sermon

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Thy sight o Lord our Strength and our Redeemer, Amen

 
 

How many of you have watched the hit TV show Dancing with the Stars?

It’s one of the highest rated TV shows and has spawned other dance shows as well; like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dance with Me” and “Take the Lead” and “Step Up”.
 
And with this popularity many Americans have been led to get off the couches and hit the dance floors themselves.
 
I saw where Dance studios in the United States have seen about a 40 percent increase in the number of students in the past 10 years and it appears that this is going to continue to trend upward.
 
Now dancing plays a significant part in our scripture today.
King David and the Israelites are bringing the ark of God back to Jerusalem.
 
And as they make their way into the city, King David is leading the way, dancing up a storm before the Lord.
 
David would have been a great contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” because he was as big a celebrity as Donald Driver or Emmitt Smith or Donnie and Marie Osmond.
 

And as we see, David’s dance was quite enthusiastic. Our scripture says he was leaping and dancing with all of his might.

There were songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals” all celebrating before the Lord.
 
Now I wonder how this kind of dancing and celebrating before the Lord might go over in our churches today?
 

What would happen if we all got up out of our comfortable pews and started leaping and dancing around?

 Some of us might need to call a paramedic!
 
And what would people think???
 
Some people would get very uncomfortable wouldn’t they?
 
Others might get angry; questioning whether this was appropriate behavior for Christians.
 
And that’s what we see with David’s wife Michal. She saw David dancing and celebrating with all of these lowly people and she was offended. 
 
And that’s the way it can be with some church folk too.
 

They equate the faith to a sacred and holy building where you’re to be quiet and reverent. There’s to be no dancing, no praise bands, no kids playing instruments.

They say, “It might be ok for some but don’t bring it into “my sanctuary”!
 
Of course if most of us were really honest we would admit that we don’t want to dance in worship. It feels awkward, embarrassing, inappropriate.

And yet we don’t have any problem leaping and dancing over our sports teams or our music groups at concerts….or dancing in the ballrooms.

We don’t seem to have trouble with expressions of enthusiasm when it comes to receiving money either.
 
We get an unexpected check in the mail or scratch off some winning numbers on your lottery ticket and we have no problem doing a jig then!
But why aren’t we enthusiastic in our faith?
 
We Christians have become so concerned with feeling awkward and embarrassed and legalistic in our faith that we have choked out the enthusiasm.

And by doing so we’re not being faithful to God.
 
You see, if we aren’t enthusiastic, we aren’t in God.

In fact the word enthusiasm actually originated from the greek word “en theos” which means IN GOD.

Being IN GOD means you’re enthusiastic about God. God is your passion, your excitement and joy.
 
You want to share God with others. You are joyful in your daily life happily doing the dance.
 

I love the movie Evan Almighty starring Steve Carrell and Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman plays God and Steve Carrell is a newly elected congressman who ran on a motto of changing the world.
 
When he won the congressional race he had done this unique little dance.
 
Well God took him seriously and decides to have him build an ark.

Obviously people think he’s crazy and as much as he tries to get out of it he builds the ark.

At the end of the movie, he and God are together reflecting on how they had changed the world.
 
And God looks at him and says it’s time…….it’s time to do the dance.
 

Together they began to dance in joy.  

God wants us to have an enthusiasm in our relationship with him. And it’s not because God has an ego but rather because that enthusiasm has an affect on us and on others.

So the question we have before us today is how do we have this kind of enthusiasm in God?
 

How can we let go of our awkwardness and embarrassment and cold, legalistic faith and be one who dances with the stars before God?

Well enthusiasm for God is something that happens naturally.
 
It’s a by product or response that happens as we are intentionally aware of God’s presence in our lives.
 
And that happens in 3 ways.:

First when we reflect on where God has already BEEN in our lives.

Second, when we reflect on where God is PRESENTLY in our lives and
 

Third when we reflect on where God is going TO BE in our lives.

And I want to speak briefly about each three of these this morning.
Now first of all, enthusiasm in our faith comes as we reflect on where God has been in our lives.
 

God has been very, very good to us. And that’s something we need to remember.

This week I was putting together the hard copy of the Annual Report for last year. And as I was typing up all the many different things that happened last year I was struck by God’s footprints and fingerprints.

I reflected on different studies we’ve had and the growing and maturing in our faith.

I was reminded of the new ministries such as Divorce Care, Shawls of Hope, Help Your Neighbor Day and our partnership with Lincoln County Holiday Wishes.
 
Thru the giving of ourselves, God has been present giving hope and love to people in our community. And we have been blessed as God has touched us.
Reflecting on where God has been is so important in the life of a Christian.
When we reflect on where God has been, it leads us to be grateful people who can’t help but cheer God.
 
Christian author Philip Yancey wrote: “We have so much to cheer about. And we should cheer. To celebrate is to be a grateful people, joyful for what we have been given, joyful for what God has done.”
 

So today ask yourself---Am I taking the time to reflect on where God has been working in my life? Am I aware of where God has carried me and provided for me?

Many of us are familiar with the old poem Footprints in the Sand where a person is walking on a beach with God.
There are two sets of footprints that represent various stages of this person's life.
At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the most hopeless moments of the person’s life.
When the person questions God, believing that God had abandoned them, God gives the explanation:
"During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
 
For us to be enthusiastic in our faith, where we naturally do a dance before the Lord, we need to be mindful that God didn’t just set everything in motion and hit the road.
God has been with us, providing for us every step of the way. Everything good blessing that you have, came from God. And that alone is a reason to do the dance.
 
Still along with being mindful of where God has been in our life, we also need to praise God for His presence in the present.   

And that means like David we are to be people who are open and willing to cheer God right here, right now for all He is doing.

You know, when you’re at a baseball game cheering your favorite team, you’re ready to jump up and down when your team hits a home run.
You and I need to be sitting on the edge of our seats looking around to celebrate God’s presence in the present.
 

And not because God has some big ego. God doesn’t need our cheering, but we do.

You see, expressing praise for God in our daily lives gives us joy.
 
It’s like when something amazing happens it isn’t truly full and complete unless we’re able to express it and share it.
 
-There was a preacher who wanted to take a Sunday off to go play golf.

-And he thought about it and decided he would do it but in order to not get caught by his parishioners he decided to go out of town to play.

-So he drove out of town that Sunday morning with his golf clubs and off to the course he went.
-Well, as he was having a great round of golf having a wonderful time, St, Peter was talking to God and said, “God are you going to allow this to go on. He’s missing church, out on the golf course and he’s not the least bit guilty”.

-And God said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it”.

-So the next hole, the preacher made a hole in one!
And St. Peter said “God, I thought you were going to do something about this. I mean he just got a hole in one”.
-And God said, “I did take care of it………………… After all who’s he going to tell!”
 
You see we need to be able to express our praise for God.
When we do it affirms what God is doing in our life which gives us joy while also being a witness to others.
 
And we don’t need to worry about what people think about us. After all that’s their problem not yours.
 
Besides I like what Charles Spurgeon said about people who want to criticize you or look at you like your crazy.
He said, “If anyone thinks ill of you, don’t worry about it. After all you’re worse than they think you are”.
 
Now as we celebrate with praise for what God had done in the past and we celebrate all that God is doing in the present, we are now open to praise God for all He is about to do in our lives.

That means we live in a joyful hope. We live life knowing that we will never be abandoned, that God loves us and will always be looking out for us.

Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll tells of a time he made a visit to a dismal Veterans hospital in Texas.
One of his parishioners had a son who had been confined in the hospital with no visitors.
To cheer his son up and to show his love for his son he had carved a little wooden truck for him.
Since he couldn’t visit the boy he sent the truck with an orderly to take the gift down to the child.
The father was able to see his son’s room on the first floor by looking out of a huge fifth-floor window.
So he watched as his son unwrapped the gift.

As the little boy opened the package, his eyes got wide when he saw that wonderful little truck. He hugged it to his chest.

Meanwhile, the father was walking back and forth waving his arms behind the windowpane, trying to get his son's attention.
The little boy put the truck down and reached up and hugged the orderly and thanked him for the truck.
And all the while the frustrated father was going through these dramatic gestures, trying to say, “It's me, son. I made the truck for you. I gave that to you. Look up here!”.
Finally the orderly saw the dad---so he turned the boy's attention up to that fifth-floor window. And the boy leaped up in his bed and cried, “Daddy! Oh, thank you! I miss you, Daddy! Thank you for my truck.”………………..
Now that kind of sums it all up.

Our God is a loving God who’s up in that 5th floor window, who has been with us, is with us and will be with us forevermore.

He is the One who has given you and I all we have.
And when we realize that, when we see God for who God is, we can’t help but want to leap and dance like David with great joy to express how we feel.
And friends that has an affect on us and how we treat others and in our witness to them.
 
In closing this morning, let us be reminded that to be a Christian means we are mindful of God’s goodness and grace.
 
God wants us to enthusiastically do the DANCE--- because when we do, we are coming to understand the truth of our God’s love for us.
So today let go of your awkwardness or embarrassment or legalistic private notions of the Christian faith and put on your dancing shoes.
For God---- wants to go-- “Dancing with the Stars”----- with you….
 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen