I wasn’t expecting to hear a sermon that would be bumped to my unofficial ‘Top 5 Sermons of My Life’ list this Sunday. I attended church with a family I’ve been staying with this week. Their children attend a Christian school across the street which also has a church on Sundays. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know God showed up in huge ways.
The sermon was given by a guest speaker named Tony Fitzgerald who, funny enough, lives in Richmond, Virginia. Tony founded Church of the Nations on 1979. Church of the Nations is a global network of churches whose purpose is to extend the Kingdom of God on earth. I couldn’t believe I was sitting in Johannesburg, South Africa listening to an Australian discuss the rise and fall of nations, American politics, and the influence religion (especially the Kingdom of God) has on government! That, my friends, is my sweet spot.
Tony talked about the ‘book ends’ of Scripture: the first two chapters in Genesis where God is walking and talking with Adam in open community AND the last two chapters of Revelations where God, in the New Jerusalem, will be among His children in open community. The intent of God doesn’t change but, because of the fall, it was altered. Tony discussed the Father heart of God: how He desires relationship with His children. When our relationship with our F/father is damaged, that will affect every other relationship we have. Eve did not become ‘that woman’ to Adam until he had eaten of the forbidden fruit. Before, she was ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh’. Tony then went on to discuss, an acrostic fashion, characteristics and objectives of F/fatherhood. This father figure is from God, your earthly father, a spiritual father, and leadership in your life.
I sat there with tears running down my face. Our human brokenness has twisted and distorted fatherhood in sickening ways. The fatherless generation is seeking fathers for security and acceptance. Our world is frantically searching for answers to the mess it has made. Revolutions, riots, and unrest plague the streets of once-peaceful cities. God’s father heart wants so much more for us and, if you really look, you can see the Kingdom of Heaven advancing here on earth. The sorrow that overcame me thinking how detrimental our sinful nature is to each other and our relationship with God…and yet, God STILL wants to be in open relationship with us in the New Heaven and New Earth despite how we break our relationship with Him each and every day.
Just think about that for one second.
God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever because His intent for us, even after we broke communion with Him in the Garden of Eden stays exactly the same! How can that realization not bring you tears? How can you look at your relationship with your father on earth, your leader, your friend, your spouse, your whoever and not realize how much more God wants for it? This world needs fathers, spiritual and earthly. It’s time to step up because if they don’t come, people will fill that need in even more detrimental ways.
How can you make steps to restore your relationship with God?
How can you learn more about the father heart of God?
More on this tomorrow…