Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday Reflections - Forgiveness

THE THEME: This last Sunday at Hannaford, Pastor Scott Yebba spoke on forgiveness. He addressed both sides: being forgiven by Christ and, in turn, forgiving others.

We began the service with some general worship focusing on lifting up the name of Jesus (All Hail The Power) and placing the focus on Him and not us (Not To Us, Blessed Be Your Name).

We then planted the topic of forgiveness with this man-on-the-street video, then responding with the thankfulness of being forgiven so that we can forgive others (You Are My King).

He shared about Spiritual Forgiveness. How in the Old Testament the people offered animal sacrifices in the form of burnt, sin, and guilt offerings (Leviticus 1-4). These were to TEMPORARILY receive forgiveness from God - to cover sin, not remove it. They always involved the shedding of blood. In the new Testament, however, Jesus offered COMPLETE forgiveness and reconciliation with God once and for all! (Hebrews 10:11-12) Jesus also shed his blood as a sacrifice for our sins.

It follows that because we were forgiven, we too can forgive others. This is where Scott covered Human Forgiveness. The easy part is that you have to able to ask for forgiveness when you have wronged someone else. The hard part: You have to forgive people that have wronged us before an unforgiving heart make you bitter and angry.

We closed the message with this video of an interview with the brother of the woman murdered by Karla Faye Tucker.

PRAYER: (Adapted from Church Smith, Jr.) Lord Father, we ask you this morning to speak to us, to reveal to us, or to renew in us the purpose of our worship. If we’ve come today with our hearts crippled by resentment, You will teach us the dance of forgiveness. If we’ve come, blinded by sin, You will show us the colors of mercy. If we’ve come, deaf to the praise of creation, You will give us ears to hear, a heart to believe, and a voice to sing, Amen.
FEATURED MUSIC: Andrea and I sang Delirious' Majesty (using a drum loop on the church's new Korg Triton Extreme). The lyrics include, "Here I am humbled by the love that you give/Forgiven so that I can forgive."

PERSONAL NOTE: I spoke with a man in our foyer who explained to me that His daughter had been murdered and that forgiveness was a message he could not hear this last Sunday. It was, in fact, the two year anniversary of losing his daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to lose a child this way and all I could do is pray with him because really – it’s all in the Lord’s hands. But I have to tell you something he said. Amidst all the pain and turmoil of this tragic event, he told me that his daughter had left several blessings – her children. What a wonderful gift to find blessings in the midst of our pain and trials.