So one of the ways I feel like we can use technology in our church congregations is to better bring our people into our sermon preparation process. This way it can be something we work on together, if let’s say, people from my church commented on the sermon. I don’t believe, though this certainly could change since I don’t preach very often, that losing some mystery or unveiling what we’re speaking about will diminish the act of the spoken word in church. In fact, I think it may enhance it because people can connect sooner. That being said, here is a draft of the first third of my sermon for Sunday. It hasn’t been edited yet so please allow some grace and feel free to comment. I would like to add that where it says Psalm 23, some of my students wrote music to the poem and will be singing/playing the Psalm rather than having the text read. Awesome!
Spaces and Places Sermon Series
Kidron Valley: Shadows – Following God in the way of Jesus is new life!
August 15, 2010
Parkwood Baptist Church
Have you ever been walking down a dark hallway in your home or on the street and you get this eerie sense that “something” is near? There is very little light and as you continue to walk goose bumps break out on your arms and your heart begins to accelerate and next thing you know you’re struck with a sudden urge to break into a run? Something in the air strikes you as evil?
This one time, I was sitting in my bed about to go to sleep. I was early on in high school. I think I was reading. Anyway, no one was home and it was late at night. I slid my feet under the covers and began to focus on this book I just started reading. Suddenly this dark presence seemed to surround me. I began to start looking around. Evil stories from movies I had seen started to flash though my mind. Suddenly, I felt like something was going to attack me and in great alarm I reached over into a drawer in my night stand and pulled out my Bible. I had no idea what to do but I thought, “God will protect me.” I thought to myself, “Do I even believe in God?” So I whip open the Scripture to Genesis 1 because I had no idea what to read to ward off the devil, because that is what I thought it was, and just start reading. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light; and there was light!” This sense of evil was doused in feelings of peace and safety.
What would it be like to dwell in the shadow of death? We’ve been armchair traveling with Pastor Mike for four weeks now. We’ve visited the Garden of Eden and learned God created all and made us unique. We’ve stood at the summit of Mt. Moriah and learned to trust God. We glimpsed Jacob resting his head in the wild and encountering God as we learned all of creation is the House of God. Last week our chains fell off and we were set free from Pharoah’s rule in Egypt as we encountered a God that liberates us from sin and sets us free from our parts of our pasts we‘d sooner forget. This week, we step wearily as we explore the Valley of the Shadow of Death; the Kidron Valley. Join me as we explore the epicenter of God’s judgment and love.
Psalm 23 – GraceNotes
There is this story in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel when King David and his sons journeyed through the Valley of the Shadow of death. Amnon, son of David, came to obsess over the sister of his brother Absalom. With the help of his adviser, Amnon feigns illness to get Tamar alone in his bedroom. The plot begins to unfold and Amnon, playing sick, cries out, “Send everyone away and Tamar, bring the bread you have made for me to my room.” Amnon, being stronger overpowers his brother’s sister and rapes her. When Absalom discovers what has happened to his sister a great shadow passes over him and he never speaks to his brother Amnon again. Scripture tells us that over the next two years Absalom hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar and devises a plan to lure the son‘s of David to his land in order to kill Amnon. The feasting begins as Absalom’s home with the all of his brothers. Over the course of the party, Amnon becomes intoxicated and Absalom gives the order to his men. Amnon died that night a slave to the sins he committed. Word arrives back to David that his son Amnon has been slain and that Absalom has fled to Geshur where he stays for three years.
The beginning of this story is one of coveting or lusting and revenge.
Sin leads to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. It leads to the corruption of our lives and ultimately God‘s good creation. How often do each of us cultivate an environment of lust for power over each other, our own lives, and over God? We create idols of worship that lead us into the Kidron Valley. It could be addiction to pornography, drugs, alcohol, work, success, ambition, or a simple object we cannot bare to lose. It could be creating systems of slavery like Pharoah did or we did in the United States. It could be worship of nothingness and ourselves when we deny the existence of God.
Amnon lusted after Tamar to the point he lost control of his own will, a beautiful gift from God for each of us, and ultimately destroyed his life, his sister’s life, and his brother Absalom’s life. It also corrupted the life of Israel, the people of God. When we covet and violate, when we deviate from the Way of Christ, we bring a little bit of hell to everything around us. Ultimately, we don’t know the course of events in Tamar’s life but Absalom begins to lust for revenge and in the end takes his brother’s life. When we follow the Way of Death, the way of sin, the way of Kidron Valley, we lead ourselves and others we care about into the shadow of death.
The story in 2 Samuel goes on and scripture tells us that over the course of time “King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.”
King David does not do anything to rectify the situation at first. It takes those around him to help him see the light, to see the way to forgiveness and love. Joab, comes up with this idea to help David invite Absalom home. He finds this wise woman and tells her to go to King David with a petition asking for protection and forgiveness. So she shows up and cries out for King David’s help.