Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
It takes a lot to get my angry, but one easy way to get there is:
Getting disconnected on a piece of technology.
I was out of town last fall at a retreat in SouthEastern MN, and whenever I go away, I always call my wife everyday.
Well, I literally had zero bars at the place when I arrived there at 8pm. After our night session, I tried multiple times to get a hold of my wife, but I couldn’t get a call through.
I was trying to decide, do I call her, do I just not call her? I mean, she doesn’t even know I got there safely. Do I try and drive 20 or 30 minutes until I get a signal and call her?
I ended up saying to myself, she’s gonna tell me I’m stupid if I drove 20 minutes just to make a phone call, so I went to bed.
The next day, no joke, I climbed the biggest hill there to see if I could get cell reception, and low and behold, ONE bar.
I got a hold of my wife, and she confirmed that she would have indeed called me stupid if I would have tried to drive back to Rochester just to call her.
But right as she said that, the call dropped. disCONNECTED
So I call her back, and I was like, “Hey sorry….What?!? No, I was saying sorry…What?? Can you hear me now? I SAID…. Call dropped. Disconnected.
So I call her back…again. “Hey anyway, what I was trying to say… What?!? I said…”I can hear you!!!” “What was the last thing you heard me say?!”
Call dropped. Disconnected.
At this point, I was considering throwing my phone off of this hill I just climbed to show my devotion to my wife.
I called her back and said, “ImadeitherefineIloveyoubye!” Call dropped. Disconnected.
Frustrating feeling…being disCONNECTED. We hate it.
The only thing worse. Is to long for it, and never be connected at all.
We are living in an increasingly non-spiritual culture.
A culture where it’s more and more common for children to grow up and not have much of a knowledge of who God is or who Jesus is
Christianity is starting to disappear from the American landscape.
Today, you can go to towns (where 60 years ago had 15 bustling churches), and now in those same towns, half the churches are closed (or bout to close), and everyone’s home watching the NFL pregame sh.
Which, man I’m excited for the NFL to return, but for a lot of people that’s all they have.
People have their differences on why it happened or how it happened, but the reality is the decline of Christianity in America is happening
And the fallout is…people feel more disconnected from God in this country than they ever have before.
And yet, the vast, vast, vast majority of people still yearn to connect with Him somehow.
Over 90% of people in this country still believe in God.
How is that possible? How do you rectify those two things?
Well, see, the Bible tells us that people are wired to be connected with God. Wired to believe He exists.
We’ve now gotten Bibles to go under every chair here at Renovation.
First of all, let me say, if you don’t have a Bible, or you don’t have one in a translation you can understand, I want you to steal that Bible under your seat today. Seriously. That’s one of the main reasons we got them. To Give them away.
But now, you can follow along each week not only on your smart phone or your own Bible or the screen, but a Bible under your chair as well.
Sometimes we really study a passage in depth here, and sometimes we study a concept. Today it’s the latter, so we’ll be jumping around a bit, but we’re gonna start on PAGE 540 in Ecclesiastes.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11) – NIV
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
God created humans with this desire of, “There’s got to be something more”
We long for Him…we believe He’s out there somewhere. But it’s like, we just don’t know how to connect with Him.
But it’s like He built us…every single one of us to know that there’s something greater than us.
Perfect example of that:
Did you know that you can go back through every culture throughout ancient history, and there’s not one, NOT ONE, that was NOT spiritual.
There’s no culture that the colonizers discovered where they said, “God? What’s a God?”
Isn’t that crazy?!?
Think about how many different cultures there have been!
Every single one of them was trying to find God.
He’s not only hard-wired it on our hearts…it’s evident in the creation
(Romans 1:20) - NIV
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Meaning…we can see and feel He’s real…even in the creation
How many of you have seen the movie Avatar?
Maybe you liked it, maybe you just hate enormous blue people. (you’re more of a smurfs guy), but it is the most watched movie…ever…at the box office.
There’s a part in Avatar where the main character is trying to connect his hair thingy to a dragon like creature
(wait stop for a second…What if someone would have told you 10 years ago… “ten years from now, the most popular movie ever is going to be about these enormous blue people…and they have these tail thingys and they connect with dragons and nature…and it’s going to be huge”)
You’d be like, “Yeah right, that’s like saying NYSNC is gonna break up!”
But there’s a part in the movie where the main character is told that his connector was built to only connect with one of the dragons.
It won’t work with the other ones…but He has to find the one it connects with.
Now, in REAL life, we don’t connect with flowers and weird dragons…
But we are still built to CONNECT with one being. One God.
And everything else you try and connect your heart to, won’t really satisfy.
It’s why if you read the Psalms, you hear over and over that You, God, alone are the only one who truly satisfies our heart, you calm our fears, YOUR word is more precious than silver, you are the rock, you are the shelter, you are the fortress…
We were built for Him.
HOLE IN THE SOUL
Now, we don’t have a stupid connector in our hair, but as humans, it’s as if we have a hole.
A hole in our hearts. A hole in our soul. That ONLY God can fill.
And we know it. We all know it.
No one walks around saying, “Life’s just perfect!”
Well, maybe they do, but they don’t mean it. Or they’re lying to cover something up
A lot of people lie in bed at night thinking:
“There’s gotta be more.”
“I’m so tired of this. I can’t do this anymore.”
Cuz life hurts. Even with God…sometimes life hurts. But especially with out Him.
Because it feels like there’s this hole.
Because you were created for something. There’s this hole in you, and if it’s not connected to God, that means it’s empty.
And when it’s empty, we know that it’s empty.
We can’t always articulate, “Hey everyone, there’s an empty hole in my heart right now, and I’m going to fill it with something.”
But we know it’s there, so we try and fill it.
This is a classic infant toy (show hole shaped toy)
Now, for you, at your age…I hope you can figure it out.
The square goes in which hole???? The square hole. J
But when it comes to understanding God, and our spiritual nature, and how we fill the holes in our heart…we’re like spiritual infants…
So we can tell that’s something’s not right in the world…we can tell that life hurts, and that we should be filling it with something, there should be something to make us happy, we’re not complete…
So we start trying to jam stuff in the hole
(Jam object in the wrong hole)
And when we try and fill our lives with other things, it doesn’t really work.
We try and fill it with money, or sex, or alcohol, or success, or kids, or a relationship, or you name it.
This will make me happy.
This will make it go away.
This will work!
And it often appears like it kind of works at first.
It looks like the square kind of fits in the circle.
But ultimately…each of those things…keep not working out…(the new house, the new car, the new job, …)
Only one thing is meant to fit in the hole
BROKEN AT BIRTH
I became a Christian 11 years ago now, when I was 18 years old.
Before I was a Christian, let’s just say I was not a fan of Christians.
IN fact, I persecuted them. They drove me nuts.
But I think deep down, I WANTED to connect w/ God.
I didn’t have anything against Him. I just didn’t KNOW him.
I believe He existed.
Like most people today.
I just didn’t really know how to talk to Him
I didn’t have a relationship with Him.
I didn’t know how to CONNECT with Him.
I was disconnected.
So I tried other routes to fill the hole in my life. But they never worked.
I just still always felt…disCONNECTED
A couple of years ago, I decided I was going to be stupid, and start running for fun.
I’ve been able to do so pretty consistently until about 5 months ago
I was on a long run when all of a sudden my knee started killing me.
And I haven’t really run since.
Eventually I started physical therapy to figure out what’s wrong, and they told me I walk funny.
Like, really awkwardly.
And I had been doing so for 29 years, and that’s what caused the stress on my knee.
So, my physical therapist asked me, “Did you have any problems when you were little with your walking?”
And I said, I feel like I did, but I’m not sure. Let me talk to my mom and get back to you.
So I called my mom, and she said, “As a matter fact you did, when you started walking, your foot turned inward so much, you had to wear braces on my feet at night
Like wooden shoes with a crossbar in between
Probably why I liked this movie so much growing up
(Show picture of Forrest Gump)
So my physical therapist said, well that explains a lot.
See, you were born this way, but you didn’t really experience the pain of it until you were 29..
Until you came up with the brilliant idea that you should run long distances for fun
And then finally, you experienced the pain of the condition you were born with.
Don’t worry, there’s a remedy, but that’s what happened.
And see, we’re not all that different.
We were born broken. Born imperfect. Born disconnected.
(Romans 3:23) – NIV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Our nature is imperfection. And sin. All of us.
And for some of us, it takes a long time to realize it.
Maybe we knew it at one time, but we forgot it.
And what happens is, we sometimes suppress the fact that we’re broken, that we’re disconnected from God, that we need Him.
And we just keep trying to push other things in this hole that’s meant to be connected to Him.
Until ONE day, we push too hard…and all of a sudden, it hurts.
It hurts. It’s not working anymore.
And that moment, is a gift from God.
It’s a gift, just like an infant can go, “Oh, this isn’t it” Must be something else.
It hurts. But it’s a gift.
It’s a gift to know that there’s got to be another way
And maybe that’s where God has you today
Because this is indeed a broken world.
10 years ago today, that was made quite clear to us. Sin is real. Evil is real.
It’s hard to know what to do with a day like today. It’s not like we say, “Happy September 11th or something”
But one of the things that was most fascinating to me about the days after September 11th was how people longed to be connected.
It’s like what Ecclesiastes said at the beginning, “God has written eternity in our hearts,” and what happened that day awakened that reality in so many hearts.
“Whew”….there’s more to life
And people longed to be connected.
For one…to God… Churches were packed that next Sunday.
And secondly…just to each other.
I remember being blown away how united people were in the weeks after 9/11. How connected to each other.
This a church where we’re pretty serious about not just being faces in the crowd but connecting you not only to God but w/ each other.
IN fact, that’s what we’re going to talk about next week. How do we get back to being connected w/ each other again in a culture that’s build on isolation?
But for today, I would tell you, one way to start…to take a step in getting connected to God and people again…would be to sign up for our House Groups that start today.
20-30 people in, doing “small church” together. Learning together…caring for each other together…
They’re amazing…because that’s where you can really get connected.
It’s probably the most unique thing about this church.
In fact, over 80% of our people were in one last year.
We long to be connected. And when you’re not connected. You can feel it.
And we long most of all…just to be connected w/ God
And if you don’t have a relationship with God, I mean you don’t REALLY know Him, you can probably feel it. You probably know.
You can probably feel it as I speak.
But let me tell you something amazing about God.
See, we’re broken for a reason…
Broken by our choice…yet, broken to be rescued.
See, 2,000 years ago, Jesus literally came to earth.
He came, and he taught us, and then He died on a cross.
Why?!? People always say, Jesus did on a cross for us. Well, what does that REALLY mean??????
It means this: See, you and I are imperfect. We’ve established that. And we sin against God. We ignore Him. We do our own thing (even though He created you and gave you everything you ever had), we sin, we want to become our own God of our life, you name it)
And God, is a just God.
He has to be. God can’t be a cheat! That’s not God.
And our sin deserves punishment. He has to punish it.
That’s the divine order.
But God is also the most merciful, loving, forgiving being…ever.
And in his mercy, he said, “Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll send my Son, my own Son, to come and die on the cross, and take their place.”
So Jesus came, and died on the cross, and took the just penalty for YOU. IN your place.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, here’s where it gets even more amazing…
The Bible tells us that if we would believe in that, that He died on the cross for us, and if we believe in that and give our lives to follow Him,
That He would completely forgive us, start a relationship with us, AND give us eternal life in heaven.
As I said earlier, I didn’t grow up a Christian.
But when I was 18, I finally understood, “Oh my. I’ve fallen way short of God’s standards. I’m not gonna make it to heaven because I’m ‘Good enough’
I’m not even close. No one is! Not even close!
All I deserve is justice. Hell. What have I done to deserve ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN?!?
What has anyone done to deserve that?
But, it’s not only that. This Jesus, he loves me. Despite what I’ve done. Despite.
(Romans 5:8) – NIV
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Despite knowing all of the evil I would ever do, He came and died on the cross to take MY place.
And if that’s the case, I want to believe in that, I want to stand up, grab his hand, and follow this amazing God that would be willing to die for someone as messed up as me.
And I made that decision, and it changed my life.
And God’s giving that same offer to everyone!
Believe my Son died on the cross for you and follow me.
I will forgive EVERYTHING you’ve ever done. EVERYTHING. And I will change you and free you.
And I will begin to finally fill that hole, that vacuum inside of me.
Because I created it for only Me to fill.
And finally, we can connect. We can connect.
This is how you get to know Him. Believe in Him, Follow Him, and start a relationship with Him.
It’s what He died for. He died for You. For your heart. Give it to Him.
And if you haven’t accepted that before, if you’ve never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ before by believing he died for you and saying you will follow Him as the leader of your life…I want to give you an opportunity to do that TODAY
The Bible says if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouths, we will be saved.
Open the gift. It’s a GIFT. You don’t have to EARN a gift…and you never will.
So just open it.
And if you feel like He’s moving in your heart to do that, then let’s do that. This is the best decision you can ever make. Seriously. Trust me. The best decision you can ever make.
And if you want to give your life to Him this morning by asking for forgiveness and believing in what he did on the cross, let’s do that.
Here’s what we’re gonna do:
I’m going to give you a minute to think about it. God is big. So big that I know that if it’s something you need to do…He’ll put it on your heart.
And then after that, if you want to give your life to Him, I’m going to ask you to stand up (as a way to say, you reached out for me by coming DOWN and they even stood you up on a cross), and I will stand up for you…
And then pray with me if you want to give your life to him. To believe on Him.
So let’s just spend a minute in silent prayer, and then I’ll ask you to stand if you want to make a decision to follow Him today…the best decision you can ever make.
All right, let’s take a minute to each talk to Him.
(Wait a minute)
Ok. Everyone can keep their eyes closed.
If you want to give your life to Him today and believe on Jesus, I want you to stand up where you are.
Stand up if u want to let Him in…to be forgiven…to follow Him.
Ok, amazing. Praise God.
Now, I want you to pray with me.
This isn’t a magic prayer. But just a prayer for you to tell God what’s on your heart.
If you’re standing, would you pray this out loud after me:
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
And that I have fallen short
But God, I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God, I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
Thank you God. Amen.
Amen, you can have a seat.
I just want to pray and praise God…… Let’s pray.
If you gave your life to Christ today, I need you to do 2 things for me right away.
1) I need you to steal that Bible under your seat. Seriously. Take it. We put it there, so you could.
2) Then, at the end of the service, I need you to come up here to your front right, and we’re going to give you just a few materials to help you get started in your relationship with Christ.
Won’t take you long at all, but it’s important that you have direction in where to go next.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.