Learning To SEEK God! (Sermon Audio)

Learning To SEEK God! (Sermon Audio)

 

This is the audio from the May 5, 2019 sermon, “Learning To SEEK God!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.

Text: Isaiah 55:6

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.”

Here are the main points from the sermon:

We SEEK God when we learn to  . . .

  • Serve God:
    • Joshua 24:14 — In a world filled with many voices claiming to be truth, we must choose to serve God in order to seek Him with a whole heart.
  • Expect God: 
    • Psalm 5:3 — Seeking God wholeheartedly requires that we learn to wait in expectation, trusting God to work in the time that is just right.
  • Engage God:
    • Deuteronomy 30:14 — As we grow in our desire and practice of seeking God, we must learn to engage every part of our being with Him.
  • Know God:
    • Psalm 46:10 — Perhaps the most difficult part of seeking God is the simplest part to say . . . be still and know.

Seeking God is not a “once and done” activity but rather a lifetime of learning.  When scripture teaches that we should “seek the Lord while He may be found”, it suggests that there could be a time when He can’t be found.  Our walk on this earth is the time given to us to seek God.  Once we are gone from the earth, whether through death or the Lord’s return, the time of seeking and finding will be over.

Seeking God: How Are You Seeking? (Session Three)

Seeking God: How Are You Seeking? (Session Three)

 

This is the audio of session three from the May 4, 2019 Seeking God Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This third session focused on the how of seeking God with an emphasis on the whole-hearted pursuit that God desires from us.   When you seek God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you can be assured that you will find Him.  If you don’t really care if God is with you, you will likely not be aware of His presence.

Seeking God: Where Are You Seeking? (Session Two)

Seeking God: Where Are You Seeking? (Session Two)

 

This is the audio of session two from the May 4, 2019 Seeking God Prayer Event held at Michiana Christian Camp.

This second session focused on the where of seeking God . . . both where we seek from and where we seek at.  When you realize there is nowhere that you can hide from God, the possibilities of where to seek Him begin to expand exponentially.  If you’re not looking for God to be present where you are, you will likely not notice He is there.

Rise Above

Rise Above

Sometimes I sit and start to think
the hardest part of life.
Is finding ways each lonesome day
to live above the strife.
Troubles come and troubles go
but do they disappear?
It seems that when I turn around
I always find them near.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised
for Jesus said it’s true.
That in this present world and age
trouble will be with you.

But even in the darkest hours
Jesus left us with some news.
Just how we face the troubles
is up to us to choose.
To follow in their winding path
into the darkest night.
Or turn and find a lasting peace
from One who is the Light.
In clinging tight to Jesus
He lifts us above the fray.
And helps us see more clearly
as we follow in His way.

And if it sounds too easy
I surely must confess.
It requires more of God
as I become much less.
My thoughts, and plans, and dreams, and such
I carry to His feet.
And give them all to Him each day
as He makes me complete.
So on I go through good and bad
with eyes fixed far above.
And rise above the noise and strife
as I’m wrapped up in God’s love.

© 2019 by Tom Lemler

One of the great things about the gift of writing that God has given me is that it helps me to see patterns in my life.  While it reveals some patterns of discouragement in the midst of turmoil I can’t control, it also serves as a reminder of how God has carried me in the midst of those times and continually sets my feet on solid ground as I rest in His presence.  Today is one of those days when the mind is swirling and as I went about my morning work this poem showed up to remind me that God doesn’t necessarily remove the storm, but He will always be present with me as we go through it together.  I pray that you are encouraged to find peace in God’s presence even in the midst of the world’s trouble.

In prayer,
Tom

Raindrops

Out of the darkness
the cold raindrops fall.
They seem to be driven
by some unknown call.
They land on my head
and they stream down my face.
As I try to get out
of this cold, sullen place.

I hurry inside
to a comfortable place.
And realize these “raindrops”
still stream down my face.
Yet there is no comfort,
just a sense of great loss.
As sit down in front of
a lone, empty cross.

I ought to be cleaning,
but can’t seem to move.
As I think of the love
the cross surely did prove.
For people unworthy
and sinful as I.
The God of creation
hung there to die.

And while I considered
this terrible cost.
I knew that without it
I still would be lost.
For that cross is quite empty,
and so is the grave.
The One who has risen
has the power to save!

So, on this dark morning
with much on my mind.
I sit with my Savior
where peace I do find.
Though the storms of this life
still hammer my abode.
I have Someone much stronger
to carry the load!

© 2019 by Tom Lemler

I was awakened in the middle of the night by the familiar sounds of my daughter in a seizure.  After sitting with her and providing some element of comfort through that, I couldn’t sleep and she wanted my place in bed so I headed to work quite early to get started on the cleaning for the weekend.  As I walked through the cold rain to my truck and then from my truck to the church building, I knew I was carrying with me a great deal of hurt, pain, and confusion.  I soon found myself just sitting in the darkness with God and found this poem residing in my mind.  I’ll eventually get to the cleaning, but will do so knowing that the weight of my burdens is being handled by Someone much more capable than I.

In prayer,
Tom

The Best Monday I’ve Had All Week!

The Best Monday I’ve Had All Week!

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A friend of mine, while serving as the preaching minister in a local church, became known for consistently saying, “Today’s the best Sunday I’ve had all week!”.  At first glance, it may be easy to chalk that up to it being the only Sunday in the week, but it was really a statement about attitude rather than frequency.  I’ve worked in ministry long enough to be certain he wasn’t saying that everything had gone just as he had wanted during the previous week, or that the events of the day were even going fully according to his plan.  No, I believe it was one tool of many which he used to remind himself and others that it was a day given by God and a day meant to be used to honor God — no matter what!

I thought about that example today as I worked through my morning routines on a Monday that is anything but routine.  While we often think of Monday as the start of a new work week, it almost always has baggage from the previous week hanging around.  For me, last week was filled with struggles and issues that remain unresolved but aren’t really within my ability or responsibility to resolve.  Nonetheless, they weigh on me and can have a tendency to fill my mind to the point of distraction and even discouragement if I let them.  With last week’s burdens still hanging over me, I woke up to fresh snow that I wasn’t expecting — meaning extra work to start the day.

But then my routine kicks in.  The sidewalks are cleared, the building is cleaned and prepped for the day, and I settle in to write the prayer guide for next week.  After some time with God, we settle in on a topic based on Colossians 3:2 which says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Monday mornings I typically set aside to write the prayer guide that I will publish and send out the following week.  Some weeks the topic comes easily and other weeks it is a struggle to hear God clearly in regard to where the focus should be.  Some weeks I’m not sure who the primary audience is that God will use it to reach and other weeks I’m pretty sure it is meant to speak directly to me before it goes out to anyone else.

The reminders I worked on this morning were priceless.  Reminders to not worry, to be open to the instruction of Scripture, to allow the Spirit to fill my all of me including my mind, to be transformed by having a renewed mind, to engage my mind in prayer, and to surround myself with like-minded people who seek to honor God.  Yes, it’s the best Monday I’ve had all week — not because it is the only Monday I’ll have all week, but because it came with an attitude adjustment that calls me to reset my mind on the things of Christ.  Now that doesn’t mean the struggles are gone or resolved, they remain and some of them continue to grow.  What changes, and what must change, is how I set my mind in the midst of things beyond my responsibility and control.

The morning made me think of the photo I put at the top of this post.  It is one I took last Saturday and I would guess most people looking at it are drawn to the blue sky and bright white clouds.  Yet within the same photo is a base of drab browns and grays of a sparse winter landscape.  Your view of that photo is really dependent on where you set you mind, whether consciously or subconsciously.  On this best Monday you’ll have all week, it is time to set your mind on things above!

In prayer,
Tom Lemler  

Just Looking

Just Looking

What are you looking at? I mean, when you’re not reading this wonderful blog, what catches your eye on a regular basis? Is there any harm, or benefit, in “just looking”? Do you even give much thought to the things you not only see but to that which you allow your thoughts to rest upon for more than a moment?

Most of the major purchases I’ve made in life began as “just looking”. Sometimes the “just looking” phase is a research time in order to find the best possible solution to something that I actually need. Many times, though, the “just looking” is more of a dreaming or longing for something that I know I don’t need but somehow it has caught my attention.

I’m not sure there is a problem with just looking . . . other than it is not possible to do over some length of time. No, the problem typically lies in what we are just looking at rather than in the fact we are looking. It seems our thoughts, and then our actions, typically follow our line of sight. So, “just looking” becomes “just thinking” which, in time, becomes “just doing”.

From Eve “just looking” and seeing the fruit forbidden by God was “good for food” to the heroes of the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11 who were “just looking” for a kingdom whose architect was God, the Bible is filled with stories of people whose actions were determined by the direction of their gaze. Some show the pitfalls of “just looking” in the wrong direction. Eve “just looking” at what God said was off limits. Lot “just looking” at the cities of the plains which were filled with wickedness. The people of Israel “just looking” at the nations surrounding them. Each followed their “just looking” with actions which led them into sin they probably thought they would never be involved in.

Others chose to fix their gaze on things of a more noble nature. Abraham was “just looking” for a land promised by God of which he did not know. Moses found himself “just looking” at God rather than the treasures of Egypt. The Bereans were “just looking” at scripture to see if what they were being taught was from God. Each of these, and many more, turned their “just looking” into a faithful pursuit of God even when the visible wasn’t always complete.

And then there’s David. David portrays the range that most of us deal with throughout our life. There are times, such as when facing Goliath, that he is “just looking” at God and not being distracted by the enemy. And then there are other times, such as His relationship with Bathsheba, when he is “just looking” at the things of this world in a way that he shouldn’t and it leads him deeper and deeper into sin. That is why God tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” When we live a life “just looking” at Jesus and the truth found in His Word, we will find our thoughts and actions will follow our gaze and be pleasing to Him.

So, what are you “just looking” at today? Where is it leading your thoughts? How will your actions be influenced by the things you allow your eyes to settle on today? Are there things you are doing now as a result of “just looking” in the past that you wish you had never gotten involved in? How about good things that your past “just looking” has led you to? What do those experiences tell you about what you ought to fix your eyes on today?

I pray that you and I would pay close attention to the things we rest our gaze upon so that the influences of what we say and do would lead us to a life pleasing to God.

In prayer,
Tom Lemler