The Core Sunday Gathering

September 11, 2011

Series: Avinu (The Prayer of Jesus)
Week 5: Amen

-Question: Where were you on 9/11? How did you learn of the attacks? What was your reaction?

-Today is the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001

        -So much has changed. What was strange before 9/11 is normal now

                -And what was normal before is strange to us now.

        -We consider ourselves the “good guys” in this struggle against terrorism.

                -And there certainly are many good people who died, and heroic people who laid down their lives

                        -And many courageous people who later volunteered to serve in the military

                        -Some of whom have also sacrificed their wellbeing, and others, their lives

                        -They have earned our respect and should never be forgotten

                -Nevertheless, so many of the subsequent changes in the world are not the result of doing the right thing

                -But a result of nationalism and paranoia

                        -Have we really honored the victims and the heroes with our reactions, or betrayed them?

        -Take a look at some of the slogans that resulted from 9/11

                -SLIDES: Bumper Stickers

                -Did we pass the test? Did America produce the response God was hoping for?

        -Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that says “We forgive you, Bin Laden”?

                -Or, “God have mercy on us for imperialistic and materialistic ways”?

        -Very little… because by and large we are driven by the desire for Kingdom.

                -We want to be the biggest, the best. We want to be recognized, to be leaders, to be in control

                -This is our desire for Kingdom

-There are a lot of songs about the power of love, and how it makes the world go round

        -But this is wishful thinking. POWER is what makes the world go round.

        -And this power stems from the desire for Kingdom; for dominance

-[VIDEO] Imperialism in the Middle East Video

        -Read Scripture: Daniel 2:31-35

[SLIDE] 31 "Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue--an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

        -The Babylonians say, “The Kingdom is ours.” The Persians say “The Kingdom is ours.”

                -The Greeks say “The Kingdom is ours.” The Romans say “The Kingdom is ours.”

        -All the way down to the modern day.

        -But the Kingdom doesn’t belong to the gold, or the silver, or the bronze, or the iron.

        -Who does the kingdom belong to? The Rock, the stone rejected by men has grown into a mountain

                -And all the “eternal kingdoms” that went before are reduced to dust.

                -Assign Scripture: Acts 4:11-12

-David prayed to God in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 saying “yours is the kingdom”

        -Because he was about to hand the throne over to his son Solomon

        -People were saying “David’s Kingdom is about to become Solomon’s Kingdom”

        -So David wanted to be clear the Kingdom doesn’t belong to me, my son, or anyone else.

                -The Kingdom belongs to Adonai… to Almighty God. YOURS is the Kingdom.

                -Every ruler on earth is just a steward, just a caretaker of the throne

                -Because it won’t be long before the King of Kings returns, and takes up the throne himself.

        -And these are the words we hear Jesus say at the end of the Lord’s Prayer

        -Let’s read it together, using the traditional language:

        -[SLIDE] Matthew 6:12b For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

-Why does Jesus choose these three words?

-One who has the Kingdom is Respected. (positional authority, like a well-established monarch.)

        -One who has the Power is Feared.  (practical authority, because of the ability to enforce.)

        -One who has the Glory is Loved. (paternal authority, because we are drawn in.)

-Every Emperor and Dictator in history has had one of these elements. And often two.

        -They all have the Kingdom. Usually they have the Power, too. But hardly ever do they have the Glory.

                -Their beauty is always contrived, and conjured up by their riches.

                -There is nothing ever truly lovely about a worldly leader

        -This is what sets the true King apart. The King of Kings, to him be the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory

                -Forever. How self-existent does the United States seem? Like it will always be here, right?

                -But even now we’ve only existed a fraction of the time of the Babylonians, or Persians, or Romans

                -And you see how fast they came and went? Like so much dust in the wind.

                -Because “All the nations are like a drop in the bucket.” (Isaiah 40:15)

-[SLIDE] Rescuers on 9/11 had a shocking, horrifying, otherworldly task ahead of them when they arrived at the towers.

        -One of them asked us afterwards to “Imagine the thousands of tons of furniture found in these buildings”

                -“desks and tables and chairs and couches and cabinets a thousand times over”

                -“but I didn’t see a single piece of furniture in the rubble. Everything had just been pulverized into dust.”

        -Every worldly thing we invest in will turn to dust. It will disintegrate. Even good worldly things.

                -All the kingdom and power and glory of the nations will thoroughly wash away.

                -So what do we have left to stand on but that Rock, that Mountain. He is the Rock of all Ages.

                -To him be the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.

-Let’s recite the Lord’s Prayer together, the same way it’s been recited for centuries:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come . Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

-Wouldn’t this be a great moment, on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy

        -To take that prayer to heart? To replace a spirit of vengeance with a  spirit of forgiveness…

        -And to remember to seek first the kingdom that will never fall, and never fade.