Recorded on July 15th, 2018
Light-bearers can have an amazing impact on our lives. They lead us out of the darkness, and show us the way to safety.
Transcript of sermon:
[Music] I’m gonna read to you now from our scripture verse for today you can see it inside of your bulletin it’s Matthew 5:14 through 16 you are the light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden no one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket instead a lamp is placed on a stand where it gives light to everyone in the house in the same way let your good deeds shine for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God indeed we are going to talk today about the light of the God of God how we can be light bearers now last week I had said we would talk more about Jacob and Esau and the stew but when I found out that I was going to be allowed the opportunity to preach during revival God showed me that I’m supposed to turn that sermon into a series for those three nights talking about the stew and talking about the stew in our lives and so that’s so coming but we’re just gonna do that in August the first week of August for revival so today we are going to talk about being light bearers you know when I was in college I was not a believer when I first went to college I grew up like I’ve told you in in a home where we didn’t go to church God was not talked about we weren’t necessarily atheist but we just didn’t talk about God we didn’t go to church I know that my grandmother’s side of the family was at one point Jewish but I don’t know that she ever actually I should have asked her that before she passed away but I don’t know if she ever was a practicing Jew but we just didn’t have God as part of our lives and I went to college and when I was applying for college I applied to all schools I would lived in San Diego and I was applying to all schools on the East Coast because I wanted to get as far away from San Diego as I possibly could so I applied to Boston College and Boston University and Cornell University and NYU and then for some really odd reason I applied to Pepperdine University which was in California about two hours from San Diego and Malibu and I don’t know why I applied there it was just kind of a lark I really didn’t want to go there because it was in C it was close it was close to home and I didn’t want to be close to home well the first response I got back was from Pepperdine and it was a yes and it had a hefty academic scholarship attached to it and I thought well that’s pretty nice and then as I started to get the other responses they were all yes – except for NYU which I will never forgive them for because I think that’s where I wanted to go the most you know New York seemed so great you can get into Cornell but not NYU how’s that possible anyway that was my internal battle at the time but I chose under my own volition to go to Pepperdine mainly because I knew I was gonna be paying for school on my own and they had the biggest scholarship offering for me little did I know that Pepperdine was a Christian University I had no idea and I don’t know why I applied to go there I hadn’t even heard of it I think a week before I applied I heard somebody talking about it and that it was a good school and I just thought well so I go and I get to this University I get to this place where there’s all of these people who were a subculture I realized very quickly that I’m not familiar with it all you don’t have to be Christian go to Pepperdine which is obvious by the fact that I was going to Pepperdine but most of the people who went to Pepperdine were Christian believers not only just believers in name but believers in action and I knew this from the moment I walked into my dorm room because the ways that my dorm was set up was you had a suite which was a common area and then four rooms and each of those rooms had two peoples who were that there were eight of us in that suite I was the only non-believer among them and every one of those seven other girls were believers in the way that they thought well in the way that they acted and the believers in the way that they shined the light of Jesus I heard the word devotional for the very first time in that group of girls in fact I saw it on a card in some girls room and I was like what’s a devotional and I heard about small groups for the very first time and that group of girls and the Pepperdine is a Church of Christ school but across the street was a Presbyterian Church that had a very robust college ministry and I think lots of people chose to go there because Church of Christ can be a little bit more strict from what I understood at the time and so all of the invitations that I got to go to church which were many came from people going to that college ministry and over that first year I eventually went to church with them for the first time it wasn’t my first time at church I’d gone to church with friends after stay overs when I was little but it was my first time going to church as a human kind of seeking what this is what is this thing that these people have this difference in them because there was something different about those girls there was something different about who they were and how they interacted with the world and I wanted to know what that was and I wanted a piece of that for myself so I went to church with them and then was it was not only Sundays that I was going all of a sudden I was going on Tuesday nights to when they had their college ministry and then at one point I was going on Sundays I was going on Tuesday nights and then I was going to a Bible study that happened on a whole different night and I remember at one point realizing I am at church like four days a week and it was through that ministry that I accepted Christ into my life it was through the light bearing of those seven girls that brought me here before you today those seven girls in the light that they shined into the darkness of my heart is the reason why my marriage is founded on a godly basis it the reason why I parents out of my power of God it is the reason why I am Who I am today amen but it took those light bearers if not for those light bearers I would still be in the darkness know no doubt that God would probably have tried to send other light bearers into my life because that’s what God does but if those light bearers hadn’t taken their Duty seriously their walk seriously they would not have shined they would have been those Christians that just say they’re Christians and you kind of get that bookie feeling from right so what’s the difference how do we become light bearers it’s our duty it’s our call to be light bearers but how do we become true light bearers in our lives and that’s what we’re gonna look at today I’m gonna stop here I’m gonna say a prayer and then we’re gonna get going god I thank you for today I thank you for this opportunity to bring your word to this place God please empty me of myself fill me from every crook and crevice with the Holy Spirit so that the words that come out of my mouth are not mine but yours open hearts and minds to hear exactly what you have to be heard for each person here today and may we not only hear may we go and do that which you share with us today it’s in the name of Jesus Christ that I pray these things to you Lord amen I feel like that’s necessary in my life I feel like I have to stop and pause and and just ask God to fill me because this is not my word this is not my message this is his and I want to step into that so I will probably do that most weeks if that’s okay with you so how do we become light bearers well John the book of John and 8:12 tells us that when Jesus spoke again to the people he said I am the light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of Life so the first question is what is the light if we’re supposed to be light bearers well then what is the light the light is Jesus the light is everything that he has to bring to you and to us in our lives as we choose to walk with Him so Jesus is the light how do we get the light the next logical question well it’s the easiest thing on the face of the planet to do you simply ask Jesus into your heart if you don’t have a Jesus relationship yet if you haven’t asked Jesus to come into your heart and to be a part of who you are you simply need to ask him to come to say that you need him to ask him to forgive your sins and then to start walking with this new relationship like I did in my college years I asked Jesus into my life and honestly I can’t remember a moment when that happened I just know that it happened I asked him into my life and I started walking differently because of that Jesus is the light the way that we get the light is by asking him in to our lives okay so we know the what we know the how we get it but now we got to figure out how we shine because we all know people in our lives who shine more than others right there are people that you know you can just be in a room with them you may not even know their name but just by looking at them you can see that there are something different about this person and it’s a different that is wonderful it is a different that makes you hungry for that same type of difference some of these people may have been the ones that brought you to a loving relationship with Christ some of these people may just be your mail carrier that you run into on a regular basis but there’s something about a Christian who is a true light bearer that is different from a Christian who is just and I think if we’re honest with ourselves most of us go through seasons of being radiant god-filled light-bearer’s that we are those people when you walk into a room that somebody says there’s something about that man that I want to be like and then there’s other seasons of our lives where our light is dim sometimes we don’t know why sometimes we do sometimes we don’t even realize that the light has dimmed until way far into it and we go oh my goodness there’s something wrong with my soul there’s something not right here so how do we stay bright and illuminated in life I want to take us back to the story of Moses because I think from learning there’s lots of different ways to answer questions like these and there’s honestly a lot of different answers so what I’ll give you today is is what God gave me this week but it’s not a complete answer to how we stay shiny and bright but it’s part of the answer now Moses was one of the very first few that God called to do his work on earth to shine his light and in Exodus chapter 34 we see an example of this light and verse 29 it says when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Covenant of the law in his hands so he’s just been in the presence of God he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord when Aaron and all of the Israelites saw Moses his face was radiant and they were afraid to come near him because there was something so different about him but Moses called to them and so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him and he spoke to them afterward all the Israelites came near him and he gave them all the commands of the Lord that he had given them on syan i when moses finished speaking to them he put a veil over his face but whenever he entered the lord’s presence to speak with him he removed the veil until he came out and when he came out and told the israelites what he had been commanded they saw that his face was radiant then moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the lord now there are lots of explanations for why moses might have covered his face with a veil and it wasn’t until I was studying that I really started to understand a nuance here that is important for us to get today because one of the reasons why moses in fact the most important reason why moses was covering his face is because the longer he was outside of the presence of god the more his face would dim the radiance would go away so the radiance that was there from the time that he was with god so moses goes up into the mountain and he’s standing before God and in his God’s presence Moses his face becomes radiant it’s kind of like a solar panel so you’re in the rent of the presence of God and he’s soaking up the radiance of God and that solar panel sucks in all of that energy and he leaves God and he meets the people and he’s shining that radiant light that he got from being in the presence of God but as time goes on between the time is on the mountaintop and the time that he’s not the radiance kind of like a solar panel runs out of energy it becomes less noticeable and so he covers his face with a veil so it’s not as noticeable that the radiance isn’t as bright and what I want to suggest to you today is that’s the same thing that happens to you and I is that the most important way that we can maintain our radiant light is by being in the presence of God on a regular basis now some of you will say well I see him every day I pray every day or a read scripture every day but what I think we need to learn from this is that sometimes once a day once a week is not really what’s being asked front of us have you ever considered what it would be like to be in the presence of God in every moment of your every day if we’re never disconnected from the source of our light we won’t stop radiating his truth in his beauty in his light but what I know from my own life is that it’s nearly impossible to keep that connection all day and it’s so hard to keep that connection all day it takes work it takes practice it takes being intentional with who we are and what we do we talked in Sunday school today about this and we talked about how as we go about our day we have choices to make our day is filled moment by moment choice after choice and with every choice we’re me we’re making a choice that either brings us closer to God or further away from him and it seems like that I’m oh that might sound like hyperbole like that’s not necessarily true but think about it it is you choose to let somebody cut you off without getting too upset your radiant light is maintained you choose to stay on the diet that your doctor ordered because that’s what B you need to keep you healthy and spry you radiate more because you don’t have that self-loathing that happens when you don’t stay on the diet that your doctor ordered right you manage your words when you’re fixing some plumbing we had some discussion about plumbing today in our Sunday School class but you managed your words when you fix some plumbing and your light stays radiant you don’t manage your words and you feel really all because it was a it’s a moment that takes away from who you are as a light bearer so in every decision that we make if we can learn to speak out of love if we can learn to act out of love if we can learn to drive out of love if we can learn to do plumbing out of love our radiation doesn’t dim as much as it does because we’re staying connected with God when I’m parenting when I’m doing parenting great I’m pausing a lot because I’m choosing to be mindful of what God wants for me in that moment when I’m doing a bad job being a mama I am reacting in the moment that’s the same for any relationship kind of like what we talked about last week in order to maintain healthy relationships we need to pause a lot because what we want to say right then isn’t necessarily the thing that needs to come out of our mouth or we need to capture those thoughts that are saying that that person is the craziest thing ever and you’re mad at them we need to capture that but we need to allow a pause so the Holy Spirit can speak into us and say hey now wait a minute that person is just as loved by me as you are so what are you thinking because that’s my child in everything we do if we recognize Christ if we recognize our relationship with God we’re staying connected we’re staying on the mountaintop we’re choosing intentionally to be in the presence of God and the rhythms of our everyday life and so our solar power stays fueled and we can shine the way we were created to shine and people can see that even in the midst of some of the hardest most difficult times of life that this person still shining what is that all about and how do I get there this is not only for the unbeliever but also believers who are so far from that season of life you know solar power can also those panels can get crusted over they can get dirty they can get murky and that keeps them from drawing in the sun’s power and we have to do the work if we allow ourselves to get so far that our solar powers pack panels are dirty and murky before we can really radiate again we have to do the work of cleaning the panel off because some of us need to do the cleaning right now before we can really engage in the everyday worshipping so that we can radiate because sometimes we have to do a lot of scrubbing first sometimes we’ve let it go so far that the insides of us are a little bit too broken to truly radiate without some healing some of us have to scrub off some ill feelings towards other people and we need to choose forgiveness here today and then tomorrow we need to choose it again and then the next day we need to choose it again because I know from experience that just choosing to forgive somebody once sometimes doesn’t change the internal feelings that you have right so it’s a day-to-day choice and every day that you choose to forgive you’re scrubbing that panel clean so that it’s ready to radiate again as you connect with God some of us need to do the work of learning a new way of being with God because we’re just in a rut of routine for 30 years you’ve been sitting in the same chair praying the same prayer reading the same Scripture and though you are connecting with God it’s not this life-giving energy that it used to be because it’s become route it’s become just a thing that you do even though that’s not your heart towards it it just naturally has become that because as you sit down in the chair you’re sitting down as a person with the heavy burdens of this world and not as a person who’s eagerly expecting to meet Jesus and so we need to learn to intentionally meet him in a different way we need to try some new spiritual disciplines maybe memorizing Scripture maybe fasting maybe being in a different type of small group maybe leading something in the church or in the community and as we make that choice and that live that choice out day today we scrub the scales off of the solar panel and we can radiate God again but what I know more than anything is that this does not happen on accident we don’t radiate the light of God just by accidentally things happening we have to choose on purpose to go up the mountain and you’ll notice that Moses didn’t just walk into a room he had to climb a mountain to be in the presence of God and sometimes my friends it’s going to feel like you are climbing up a mountain in order to truly be in the presence of God to truly feel him with you you’re gonna have to do something different you’re gonna have to shake it up but you’re gonna have to climb that mountain and then choose to stay there day after day moment after moment in that refinement in that cleaning in that connection with God is how we radiate light to others and it’s not something we do the only thing we do is make the choice to climb the mountain make the choice to do it day after day moment after moment the rest is God’s because we can’t change we are not capable of changing ourselves no matter how much self-help Theory wants you to believe no matter how much every just do it commercial wants you to think there is not enough willpower in the world for us to do all the changing that we need to do ourselves only through the grace and the love and the power of God is it possible for us to become the people that we were created to be only by the grace and love of God is it possible for us to radiate him the way that we were created to radiate we can’t do that work ourselves the only thing we can do is to choose to put ourselves in the presence of God and to let him do the work that’s the choice we make it’s to climb the mountain it’s to be in the presence of God and to allow Him to clean us up so that we can radiate my prayer for us as a church is that we learn how to radiate more now I struggled with springing the sermon to you today because from where I stand I see a lot of radiating light we have been received here by a lot of love and grace and God shining through each of you so I know you’re shining what I don’t know is what we’re capable of doing more I don’t know how much brighter we can be but God does and I believe that if we as a church body decide to collectively do the best that we can to be in the presence of God so that we can create ii8 his love the community around us will see that change and they will want whatever it is that we have together as a community you see where we live this town this area within a five mile radius of this church our church is the most unchurched group of people in the athens Albertson district your neighbors the people at the grocery store and most of the people that you run into don’t have a church home either because they gave up on God because something happened in their lives or they gave up on Christians because we stopped radiating or light or because they never knew like I didn’t know but the opportunity is there and the only thing we have to do is respond to God God’s gonna do all the work he’s gonna choose who to bring he’s gonna choose who to put in your path the only thing we have to do which is such great news is to be available to him and to say God today how would you like to use me where do you want me to shine and give me the courage to do it I admitted to our Sunday school group today that I can be an introvert which I know it’s hard for you all to understand as somebody that stands up here but it’s a lot easier to talk for him just to a whole group of people than then to have a one-on-one conversation it’s a difficult thing for me it’s not my gift so we have to pray you show me where it engaged God and I and give me the courage to do it that’s the second piece that a lot of us need and then he’ll do the rest can you imagine what can happen to this community if we all shined as bright as God can allow us to shine that’s my dream that’s my hope that others would know this grace this love this peace that I have gotten to know because of the seven light bearers in my dorm room in college may we be those seven 2040 in the community of Bogart and Watkinsville in Athens so that those around us who don’t know the light can come to know the light god we ask you today that you would help us to be intentional about asking you how we can shine our light better may we be intentional about changing up how we engage you how we climb up the mountain may we be intentional about cleaning off our solar panels getting rid of those things that we are carrying that baggage that is keeping us from shining your light God may we be intentional in every moment of every day of our lives of staying on the mountaintop with you never leezak leaving the source of radiance so that so that we can shine your light so that we can be light bearers and that those who don’t know you God can come to know the love the peace and the grace that was shared with us on the cross thank you Lord for this opportunity give us the courage to step into it it’s in the name of Jesus that we pray amen [Music]
Listen as Pastor Alissa Rothschild speaks about times when people acted as light-bearers in her life, and learn how to see God’s direction with your life, as well as be a light-bearer for others.