New Beginnings

Posted on 05/06/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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JOYFUL JOYFUL

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee,
Op'ning to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.

Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow'ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!

Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us,
Brother love binds man to man.

Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.


SALVATION BELONGS TO OUR GOD

Salvation belongs to our God
Who sits upon the throne
And unto the lamb
Be praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength

Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever, amen

And we the redeemed shall be strong
In purpose, and unity
Declaring aloud
Praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength


HOLY HOLY HOLY

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.


I LOVE YOU LORD

I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Well, you probably already saw the notice we sent out yesterday, but just in case you're not in the Second Life Christians group or you didn't see the notice for some reason, let me repeat.

(As we mentioned earlier,) Today is our last service here on Truth island in Second Life. We're still working to pay off our past due fees for this sim so I can get my main account re-activated. After that happens, we're going to get a very small piece of land somewhere, a size that will be paid for by a paid Second Life account, which I think is around nine dollars per month.

God has given us a deep peace about this, and Mariposa and I believe this is God's timing and is part of His plan. And let me say again that we WILL still have a presence in Second Life, through the Second Life Christians group, and the small version of this church that we'll put on a small piece of land somewhere. And if you want to go there and listen to the service stream on Sundays, you'll be able to listen from there.

But we will be in our new location in OSGrid, and I hope to see all of you there. You can create a free account at osgrid.org. If you use the Hippo or Imprudence viewer for Second Life, you can get into OSGrid by simply selecting that grid before you log in. If you use Firestore or Phoenix viewers, there are instructions for how to add OSGrid on our website. Just go to almcyberchurch.org and click the "Enter our Virtual World" link near the top of the page.

And if you'd like to setup your own region connected to our OSGrid sim, we have access to an excellent sim-hosting service and we can get you a region for 30 dollars per month. Or $8.50 per month for 1/4th of a region. That's actually less than what Second Life charges for a paid account, and 1/4th of a region is quite a huge chunk of land, and would be a great place to setup a minitry or Christian business. So just Instant Message me or send me an email at ben@livingsounds.org if that sounds like something you'd like to do.

Now, we believe that, while something is coming to an end, namely our time here on Truth Island in Second Life, something else is being given a new beginning. Let's talk about that for just a few minutes. And the title of my message today is, "New Beginnings."


You've probably heard the saying, "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." Well, while that's not in the Bible, it certainly seems to be true. I think our biggest problem is often that we just keep on banging on the door, refusing to accept that the time for that just might be over, and God just might be leading us in another direction.

One example of this is Balaam. King Balak sent for Balaam and asked him to curse the Israelites for him, because he was afraid they would destroy Moab, and he had heard that Balaam had the power to place powerful blessings and curses.

Balaam said he would ask God, which he did, and God said no. So Balaam sent the men away. The king sent back more men, and Balaam told them no; however, he told them to stay the night, and he would see what else God would tell him.

That didn't make God very happy. Nevertheless, God changed His answer, and He told Balaam to go with the men.

And here's where donkeys learned how to talk. More accurately, here's where one donkey spoke. I would image that after this short dialog was over, the donkey went back to eating his hay and never spoke again.

But the donkey spoke because of a supernatural event that was taking place; specifically, God had sent an angel to stop Balaam, and to kill him if that's what it took.

So just remember that the next time God says "no" or "not yet," and you just won't accept those answers. Don't try to kick down a door that God has closed. It won't bode well for you.

Instead, remind yourself that when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. That window might be to let in light so you can sit in that light and wait on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) says this:

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

And as you let go of that door, and just let go of everything in the presence of the Lord, He may very well show you the new direction in which He wants you to go.

Losing a job is a really hard thing to go through. But if you focus on your loss and how bad you think it is, then not only are you going to make yourself sick and miserable, but you're also keeping yourself from being able to turn away from that door and see the thing God wants you to do instead.

Romans 8:28 (KMV) says this:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

So if you've lost your job, praise God! There's something God wants you to do that you may not have been able to do had you stayed in that job. It might be a better job. Or perhaps God wants you to start your own business. Or maybe you'll end up getting a job you think isn't as good, but there might be someone you'll meet through that job who God wants you to help, or who God wants to help YOU.

Perhaps it's a time of testing and growing your faith, or building character. Maybe it's a combination of all things things. Maybe it's something else that none of us would have been able to imagine.

Of course losing your job is just one example of a closed door. There are as many ways a door could close as there are stars in the sky or moments in time. What's important is that we always give thanks both in and for all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) says this:

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

And Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV) says this:

20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

So we should thank God not only IN all things, but also FOR all things. Why? Because, even if something in itself would be something very bad, by time God gets done with it, it's going to turn into something very good.

A closed door means a new direction, a new opportunity, a new beginning. Just thank God for that closed door, and let it go. Look with anticipation for the new direction, or what God wants you to do instead, and wait patiently on the Lord until He points you in that new direction.

Closed doors can be sad. We can sometimes mourn for the things that we feel as though we're losing. But as Job said during his greatest time of loss and pain, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

May we always have this unshakable devotion to God and this unwavering submission to His will; and if we do, then no matter what comes, we will have deep, unending peace, and we will be able to say from our hearts, "It is well, it is well with my soul."


We're going to end a little earlier today than normal, and we'd like to spend that extra time fellowshipping with you. Hopefully some of you who don't usually join us for fellowship after the service will make your way to the Fellowship Room to your left.

*** Listen to the audio to hear Mariposa's time of sharing and the closing prayer ***