Three Years in Fairmount
(preached July 17, 2005 at Grant UM Church south of
- Bush's visit to Indianapolis
- The precautions when someone important is coming to town
- The helicopter that blissfully strayed into forbidden airspace
- Important people can come from nowhere--James Dean, Dick Van Dyke
- But you don't choose where you were born
- Jesus chose Bethlehem in part, Nazareth in full, Galilee
- These places have big churches now (aside on state of these
- But back then they were no where
- God choosing Nazareth, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin... It's like God choosing to spend three
years in Fairmount.
Point 1: God took time out for an old
- The movie Elf, the son interrupting the board meeting--even when
you're working on big plans, some people are important enough to interrupt
and spend some time with them
- God was working on big plans, the salvation of the world, the final end to evil.
- He took the time to come to Israel, the people with whom
he had such a long relationship
- The puzzling story of the Syro-Phoenician
woman--God was focusing on Israel
- Matthew 10--Don't go [yet] to the cities of the Samaritans and
- The woman who touched the hem of his garment, he stopped what he
- God is faithful to you all here today. He's not too busy with
important things to take time for you. Sure there are terrorists blowing
themselves up. God has the time to stop by Grant United
on a Sunday morning just to let you know He hasn't forgot
you. He has time to listen to your prayers and meet you in the singing.
When you're in a relationship with Him, He's in it for the long haul--even
when we aren't keeping up our end of the relationship.
- Who do you need to stop and spend some time with... despite your
Point 2: God was most interested in those
who had lost their way: the sinners
- I don't know much about sheep, but I have been around some dogs
that don't have much activity going on it their heads--the story of Happy
and Princess running away in winter
- The lost don't always realize they're lost.
- Jesus didn't come to focus on the "righteous." I don't
mean to negate my first point, but Jesus was as much on a rescue mission
as on a visit to those who had kept in touch.
- Story of two sons in Matthew 21. Ironically, the son who had been
trying to be faithful, didn't accept Jesus in the
- But the sinners did, toll collectors and prostitutes.
- John Wesley talked a lot about God's grace that comes to us when
we aren't looking for it. Chances are, if you're
here this morning, you have done better at keeping up in your relationship
with God than the prostitutes and toll collectors of Jesus' day. If so, I
invite you to reflect and celebrate the times God was watching out for you
and you didn't even know you were in need.
- If you have family, friends, or know of people who need God's
help desperately, but don't seem to want it. I invite you to revel in the
faith that God is there with them, pursuing them, wooing them.
- God won't let you face more than you can bear. If you are
maturing, you should be able to bear more and bear the longer you walk
Point 3: ... In Nazareth,
- Where are these places? Answer: no where
- My son has no real understanding of space yet, he's five.
Sometimes when I'm taking a short cut across the back roads of Indiana and all
there is is corn field, he gets a little
- That's where these places were in Jesus' world. We all know of
them today. They have big churches today. But back then, the idea of the
messiah coming from Nazareth?
- It was so preposterous that John the Baptist apparently had some
second thoughts. He sends to Jesus to see if he's the one.
- Jesus' response was to recap to John's followers the things we
read in our Scripture today
- the blind gained their sight, captives received liberty, the poor
heard good news.
- It must have been a real pain to live under the rule of Herod...
taxation to build things when they were subsistence farmers... more on
- Jesus wasn't just interested in the spiritual. He was interested
in their earthly existence too.
- We all plan to be in heaven. But what "little thing"
are you struggling with today?
- The student who dropped the engagement ring in the snow... and
couldn't find it for weeks. God cares about these kinds of things no
matter who you are
- Why Galilee? Many reasons. One
was surely to show us how it's done.
- Start where you are.
- My supervised ministry in Harrodsburg,
Kentucky. I haven't been
back for over fifteen years, but it was where I was at the appointed
moment and I ministered to those in a retirement home for three months.
- How great is God's love for you?
- Picture him being willing to spend three years in Fairmount.
- Picture him being willing to spend three years at your house
helping you with the details of your life.
- Whatever you do, don't be like the places he went. Matthew 11
gives a stern rebuke to these very cities. Not only Nazareth,
but Capernaum where he had lived for some
and Chorazin where he had done most of his
miracles. These cities rejected him.
- Give God the place he deserves in your life--nothing less than
the very center. You won't be disappointed!