Sermon from January 22nd, 2017

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“Growing Faith #2 - What God Wants Every Woman to Know!”

Proverbs 31:30-31; John 4:1-26


By Pastor John Bent



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Sermon Text
Good morning and welcome to worship.  I’m glad you’re here!  This morning we continue our look at the second commitment of our mission statement - Growing Faith.  Last Sunday we looked at what God wants kids to know, today we look at what God wants every woman to know.  Next Sunday we’ll look at what the Lord wants every man to know.

So what is it that the Lord wants every woman to know?  Here’s the first one. Your Heavenly Father loves you. You are precious to him. You are the apple of his eye. His Segula – that Hebrew word means his most cherished possession. He takes delight in you. You are beautiful in his eyes. I know about that, because that’s how I love my beautiful daughters!

Now I know some of the women here today had terrible father stories. Not all fathers are good, and even good fathers make mistakes. I know I did. But regardless of how your own father or even other men may have failed you, abandoned you, even misused you, I want  you to know you have a Heavenly Father who is good, perfect, and he cherishes you.

In our Gospel today, we find Jesus going out of his way to meet a woman who probably had a bad father story. She was a Samaritan. Jesus had to go out of his way to meet her. Now the Samarians were shunned by the Jews. But his woman was shunned by her own people. She was an outcast among the outcasts. But she was a survivor. Maybe you can relate.

That brings us to the second thing God wants you to know. Society doesn’t determine your worth. Our story begins in John 4. It’s noon, hottest part of the day, Jesus and the disciples stop at Jacob’s well. He sends his men into town to buy lunch and waits.
 
Pretty soon, here she comes. His lost little girl. He’s known her from before the creation of the world. But she doesn’t yet know him. Life hasn’t been easy for her. More than likely she’s faced rejection from her earliest childhood. But she’s learned to survive.

Then the unimaginable happens, this young Jewish rabbi speaks to her and asks her for a drink. She responds, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How is it that you ask me for a drink?” John 4:9

In her mind, there is only one answer to that question. This man wants something more than a cup of water.  But Jesus’ response rattles her. He turns her question around. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

A lot of people keep God at a distance because they’re afraid God’s going to ask them for something they’re unable or unwilling to give. But God doesn’t come to us because of what he wants from us. He comes to give us something we can’t get anywhere else.

The woman asks Jesus, “How are you going to give me any water? This well is 130 ft deep. You don’t have a bucket or a rope.”  Jesus answers her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  The Water I give will become in him/her a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

I imagine this lonely woman setting her bucket down, turning and facing him. “OK, I’ll bite. Give me some of this living water so I won’t have to keep coming here day after day to draw water.” John 4:15

“Go call your husband and come back.” “I don’t have a husband.”  “You are right. The truth is you’ve had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband. You have told the truth.” John 4:16-18

The first step out of every addiction, every dysfunction is to tell the truth. Why did this woman trust Jesus enough to tell him the truth?  Maybe he was the first person in a very long time to talk to her as if she mattered. And she did.
 
We learn in the Scriptures that the Lord grieves over his lost and wounded children. He grieves over our sins and the sins of others have done to us. He searches for his lost lambs.  He knew the pain this woman had been through, that which she had brought on herself and that which others had done to her and he had wept for her.

Her heart begins to open to this stranger who is treating her with care and respect even though she has three strikes against her.  She’s a Samaritan, a woman, and an outcast. She says, “I know the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  John 4:25

What an incredible statement of faith from the lips of a person the world has castoff as worthless. Jesus’ responds, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:26

What does God want every woman to know? No matter how crushed you have been by life, no matter how you have failed or strayed, you have a Savior who delights in you and wants to bring his little girl home again.

By the way, did you know that men and women are different? They are of equal value in the eyes of their Creator, but they are different. I grew up with brothers. When I got married, I assumed that women and men processed the world in the same way.  I soon learned I was mistaken.  With Grace’s permission let me give you a few examples.

One of the questions men often get asked by women is “What are the players talking about in the football huddle?”  “Oh, you know, things like “Guys, what do you think of my new shoes?” Or “How Mike’s baby doing?” Or “Hey, Eddy, did that bad call by the ref hurt your feelings? That was so unfair!”

“Really? That’s what they’re saying?”  “No, I’m kidding.  What happens in the huddle is the quarterback says something like this “Red 30 - Pull trap right - on set!  Go!”   “That’s all he says?” “Yep, that’s it!”

Another lesson I learned about women was when my little sister, Mary, asked me to take her elk hunting. It was late in the season, below zero and the snow was thigh deep on the mountain above Gardiner. We had to cross a deep ravine to get to where I wanted to hunt.

On the way across the creek Mary got hung up and ended up hanging upside down in a deadfall with her rifle barrel full of snow. I spent the best hunting hours getting her untangled and back to the jeep where she was spitting mad.  I finally realized that she really didn’t want to go kill elk - she just wanted to be with me. Amazingly, that never occurred to me.

Men, we tend to see life as the accomplishment of tasks while women tend to see life as a process.  I used to think when Grace shared a problem with me, she wanted me to fix it but often that’s not what she wanted at all.  She wanted me to be still and simply listen and empathize with her.  That never entered my head until she told me.

When we go shopping, I head out to kill something, bag it, bring it home. She goes to relate, touch, smell, visit. But she’s very smart. She’s learned that when I go shopping with her, she needs to send me out on scouting expeditions to bag the ketchup and the yogurt and then come back and find her wherever she’s wandered in the store. I enjoy that! Smart lady!

When she goes shopping with my daughters, they walk up and down the aisles. They visit, process, interact, and along the way, buy some stuff. Impressive! I could learn from that!

Women face struggles in this world that men rarely have. One of them is shame. We live in a world that heaps shame on women. Every day they are bombarded with messages that they aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, they don’t work hard enough. Let me challenge those lies!

Your Heavenly Father is very proud of you. He loves you just as you are, you don’t have to do anything to be loved by him. He looks beyond your appearance to your heart.  In his eyes, you are a beautiful radiant bride crowned with honor, glory. Let me say again, he is very proud of you.

I want to close by sharing with you some of the resources that are available to women here at Christ Lutheran that can help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. (have women stand)

•    Bible Study Fellowship – Tammy Miller
•    Tres Dias retreats– Gwen Kashmier
•    Thursday morning mom’s support group – Kari McCrady
•    A variety of Bible Study groups that are listed in your bulletin – Amanda Pacheco
•    Prayer teams that meet throughout the week – Amanda

We have a number of opportunities to meet people by serving together with others –
 
•    Weekly quilters group
•    Meal prep for people with special needs, funerals, regular events like Wed LOGOS
•    Worship assistance, readers, serve and prepare communion
•    Team of ladies that fold/address newsletters once a month. They drink coffee, eat goodies, laugh
•    Nursery team for Sundays and special events
•    Project connect women – these are our party animals that put on our special events.
•    Sunday School teachers, youth mission trip helpers
•    People to attend our month worship services at nursing homes and love on the residences there.


Women face a lot of challenges in our world.  Your heavenly Father wants you to know you aren’t called to juggle everything. Jesus told Martha when she complained about her sister Mary taking time out to sit at Jesus feet.  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but one thing is needful. Mary has chosen what is best. It will not be taken away from her.” Lk 10:41

Women, you don’t have to earn your Heavenly Father’s love by doing everything or being perfect. There are some things that don’t need to be done right now. And there are some things that are the most important. Take time to be with Jesus. Let him love you, trust his love for you. Let his love, grace and forgiveness carry you along. Pray, seek him in the Word, enjoy him, now and forever, because He already enjoys you more than you know.

Amen.

Christ Lutheran Church • 5150 River Lakes Parkway, Whitefish, MT 59937 • 406-862-2615


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