Uncharted | Week Two

Friends,

Here is the stuff that “didn’t make the cut” from this past Sunday.

If you haven’t yet listened to that message, I would encourage you to do so before reading this. Some of it won’t make sense without the context of the broader message. What I’m trying to say is: You will find yourself asking weird questions about sea cows … and I am trying to help you avoid those).

As I mentioned last week: “This is literally just a cut/paste from my message, so please forgive the grammatical errors and excessive use of (…).”

Oh!   After you’ve finished, here’s a question I’d love for you to consider:

“Is there anything that is filling the space in your life that God so longs to fill?”

I’ll see you Sunday for part 3.

GRACE&PEACE.

Tim


OBS. 2 – GOD WILL FILL THE SPACE

So, God invites everyone who is willing to participate … to join together in the building of this tabernacle … because God’s desire is to be as close to his people as possible.

And again, where does God have them put this tabernacle?

Right in the center of the camp.

Right in the very middle of the people.

That’s our first observation … here’s a second:

God not only wants to be at the center, God will fill whatever space we make for him.

Turn back to Exodus 25.

God gives the instructions on the Tabernacle to Moses beginning in Exodus 25. And I want you to listen to a detail in the story, and see if you can figure out what event is being paralleled here.

Here’s a hint: There are seven sections to the designing of the Tabernacle.

 

TABERNACLE AND CREATION

SECTION 1:

The first section begins in Exodus 25, verse 1, and it ends in Exodus 30, verse 10.

The first section begins with the words: “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 2:

Section two begins, Exodus 30, verse 11 and ends at verse 16.

That section begins “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 3:

Section three begins in verse 17, and then ends at verse 21.

That section begins, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 4:

Section 4 begins in verse 22 and ends in verse 33.

And that section begins, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 5:

Section 5 begins in verse 34 and ends in verse 38.

That section begins, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 6:

Section 6 begins in chapter 31, verse 1 and ends in verse 11.

That section begins, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

SECTION 7:

Section 7 begins in verse 12, and ends in verse 18.

That section begins, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”

AND … that section, the seventh section, is a command to do what?

Observe the Sabbath.

 

PUTTING IT TOGETHER:

So you have six sections that begin “Then the Lord said to Moses.” And then you have a seventh section which talks about Sabbath and Resting. And … just to drive the point home, that section ends with “When the Lord finished …” (Genesis 31:18).

What is God saying here?!?

What Biblical event is being paralleled here … in these seemingly mundane instructions for the building of a tabernacle?

Creation!

  • In Genesis 1, God creates the world.
  • He does it in 6 days.
  • Each of those days of creation begins with the worlds: “And God said…”
  • The last day, day 7, in Genesis 1 … is a day God refers to as “The Sabbath.”
  • And, that day is talked about by saying, “after God had completed … or finished his work, he rested.”

So the building of the tabernacle is designed to parallel creation!

In fact, there are at least 25 strong connections between the Tabernacle and Creation.

Someday we’ll look at more of them.

But there is one that I think we should probably pay attention to this morning:

 

I’LL CREATE THE SPACE, AND YOU FILL IT

In Genesis chapter 1, you have God creating the world.

He creates

land and

water,

rocks and

dirt,

mosquitoes and

butterflies,

galaxies and

stars …

God creates our world.

And then God creates humanity.

And do you know what the first command God gives to humanity is?

“Be fruitful and multiply … fill the earth”

So essentially what God says is, “I’ve created the space, now you go fill it.”

I’ve created the space, now you go fill it.

And so we do … in fact, we still do.

This is one command of God we people seem to take really seriously. Which feels like an appropriate place to mention, we could really use more help in our nursery and with our kids. Ha!

We fill the earth.

God creates the space … and we fill it.

We fill it with people.

But … we also fill it with a bunch of other stuff.

Jealousy and

envy and

violence and

hostile competition and

lust …

So God says, “I’ve created the space, now you go fill it.”

But while we were busy filling the space we completely forgot about God.

We missed the whole point.

Because following the command to fill the space is the command to “subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).

In other words, “Do you see this big beautiful world I’ve made … I’m inviting you into the creation process. Dream … Risk … Create. Take it somewhere. Work with it. Take what is wild, and bring beauty out of it. This whole universe is ripe and loaded with potential and possibility. I created it “good” not “perfect” … because it’s not done. Adam, Eve … join me. Let’s take this somewhere!”

And we … blow it.

On like day one on the job … “Ooo red fruit. Yum.” And it just spirals out from there.

 

YOU CREATE THE SPACE, AND I’LL FILL IT

But then we get to the Tabernacle…

and here … here God seems to flip things a bit.

In Genesis 1 and 2 God said, “I’ll create the space, you fill it.”

But in the Tabernacle, God says, “You create the space, and I’ll fill it. You create the tabernacle, and I’ll move in.”

God doesn’t barge in.

God doesn’t force his way in.

God says, “You create the space, and I’ll move in. You create the space, and I’ll fill it.”

Now, how significant is this?

Well, In the first 5 books of the Bible, God spends one week, and two chapters of the Bible creating the whole universe. Creating everything.

The Israelites spend one year, and 52 chapters creating the Tabernacle.

There are 52 chapters in the first five books of the Bible dedicated to the Tabernacle.

And you ask the question:

Why does God set aside 52 chapters of HIS HOLY BIBLE specifically to the designing of the tabernacle?

Perhaps because God wants us to understand how passionate he is to live amongst his people.

Because in Genesis God said, “I’ll create the space, and you fill it.”

But in the Tabernacle, God says, “You create the space and I’ll fill it?”

 

DO WE HAVE SPACE?

Which raises a second set of questions for you and I to wrestle with:

Do we have space in our lives for God?

Do we make space in everything we do for God to fill?

Because God says, “I’ll fill it. I’ll fill it. You give me the space, and I’ll fill it. But you’ve got to give me the space.”

And … what would it look like to give God more space for him to fill?

In your life?

In mine?

More space in the morning.

More space in the middle of the Day …

5 minutes before we go to bed.

God says: “I so badly want to move in. But I won’t barge in. I won’t force myself in. You create the space, and I’ll fill it.”

 

A WHOLE LINE OF PUPPY THEOLOGY

Which brings us to a story about my dog.

This is Lennon McCartney Wilson.

He is a beautiful 9-year-old black lab ….

Before I knew Liza, I knew Lennon.

Before I held my children, I held Lennon.

I absolutely love this dog … we have been through a lot together.

But, I’ll be honest … I was a bit unprepared to parent a dog.

I still remember those days when Lennon was a puppy.

Before Lennon puppy moved in, I created the space in my house for him to live in.

I removed objects that he could destroy or that could hurt him….

I unplugged cords he could chew on.

I made space for him.

But here’s where I failed:

I thought making space for a puppy was a one-time thing.

But … what I learned quickly was … no way.

Every day I needed to make room for this puppy.

Every day …

And what I’ve learned is that if I made the space for a puppy, puppy and I would live in that space in joy and love and peace.

He would lick my ears, and I would scratch his back.

It would be puppy bliss.

But, if I let my guard down, for even a minute, the results would be utter chaos.

Quick example:

Two weeks into owning Lennon, I was driving home.

It had been a long day.

So, on my way home, I swung through the McDonald’s drive-through for a soda. I had recently learned that soda at McDonald’s is a dollar all summer … and I’m Dutch, and something about that just makes sense.

Anyway, I went home, put the cup on the counter.

Laid my head down, and dozed off for all of ten minutes.

I woke up to the realization that puppy had found the cup.

And not only had he found the cup, but he must have thought that the cup was an enemy of some sort … a foreign intruder.

Because I woke up to pieces of … McShrapnel EVERYWHERE.

In those first weeks with a puppy …

he ate a sermon …

two different Bibles (because he was hungry for the word) …

and a blackberry phone.

What I learned is that It takes more time and more effort for me to clean up the mess of not making room for the puppy, than it would if I spent just a few minutes cleaning up and making room for him in the first place.

Now, obviously that really is a dumb example, but I think it illustrates a bigger point.

God’s desire is not to be just something you tack on to an already busy schedule.

And when you make room for God …it’s not just a one-time decision. It’s an every-day thing…your whole life is affected …

I spend more time cleaning up after the messes I make when I fail to allow God in, than I ever would have if I just spent more time preparing room for him in the first place.

 

US TOGETHER

Which brings me to a second point …

You see, I believe that Uncharted isn’t just a personal journey.

It starts there, absolutely.

But this is so much bigger than any one of us individually.

I believe the journey we are invited to step out on will actually require every single one of us. All of us. Together.

That is the story of the Tabernacle, isn’t it?

ALL of them pitched in.

ALL of them stepped up.

It takes ALL of them to create the space.

So, let me ask this question: “How are we as a community creating space for God to move amongst us?”

There is tremendous potential for God to fill this church in ways that are unexplainable.

Which, If I’m honest, is a lot of my problem with so many church movements.

You can explain them.

“Such and so church is really exciting ” …

“Yeah, it’s because they hired that amazing worship singer with the skinny jeans and the light show.”

Or … “so and such church is really growing” –

“yup, because they’ve got a great kids program.”

Now, of course, those are great things …

we should have a great kids program,

and worship should be exciting,

and Jared should wear skinny jeans … right? right?

But … what I’m interested in is what would happen if a movement of the Spirit swept across us that was UNEXPLAINABLE.

And the only way I know that those kinds of things happen is when the church of Jesus Christ gets radically serious about committing ourselves to prayer. Together. And takes steps to trust God with every single aspect of our lives.

You see, the story of the TABERNACLE is true.

… Not just because it happened.

… It’s true because it happens.

WE still have to choose: Will we create the space or won’t we?

I think for most of us, we believe that God can do this.

We believe that he is powerful.

But that’s not trust.

Trust is not just believing that God is able … trust is pitching a tent in the middle of the desert. Trust is taking all of your possessions … even your sea cows … and giving them over … believing that God will move in.

Trust is risky!

Trust is not just about believing that God is powerful … trust is the willingness to surrender everything to him BECAUSE of this belief.

Trust is saying, “God, I will do whatever it takes to make space in my life … and in my community … because I am desperate for you to move in.”

Trust … is risky.

And that … is where we’ll go next week.

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