But it's strange, because I think this huge part of my heart is currently in Outlet, as I was preparing for the message there was a bunch of stuff that I wanted to say, but wouldn't have been right for the audience I was speaking to, IE teenagers from a bunch of different youth group. So Instead, I'm gonna tell it to you tonight!
The Story of a Misfit named David and the giant he killed - Goliath.
Classic bible story. It's interesting how it seems like you learn these basic stories as a kid with really surface level ideas in them, and then it's not till you grow up a little and see how powerful and profound these stories really are.
It's one I've always stayed away from.
Possibly because I'm BIG.
I'm not tall, but I'm much wider and thicker than the average person.
Maybe not so much the giant, but the dwarf. (pic - maybe LOTR)
Ginormous head - hat.
I have a ginormous head - so it's always a bit of a party game to have people put on my hat and marvel at how much space they still have in there.
Seems like in the bible - that small, skinny and scrawny are traits of the good guy, and being in 'giant' in any direction - somehow makes you the bad guy.
Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. (1 Samuel 17:2)
The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. (1 Samuel 17:3)
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. (9 feet tall) (1 Samuel 17:4)
He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; (1 Samuel 17:5)
on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. (1 Samuel 17:6)
His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. (1 Samuel 17:7)
Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. (1 Samuel 17:8)
If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” (1 Samuel 17:9)
Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” (1 Samuel 17:10)
(He's Taunting them)
On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. (1 Samuel 17:11)
Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. (1 Samuel 17:12)
Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. (1 Samuel 17:13)
We met these bothers last week
David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, (1 Samuel 17:14)
but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. (1 Samuel 17:15)
For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. (1 Samuel 17:16)
Well the Israelites had a recurring and enduring enemy : Philistines.
Lived remarkably close. (Map) The bible identifies five Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gath. Begun to move into the Israelites space. Within 5 miles of Bethlehem. Not Good. They've begun to move up into the Israelites space. The Israelite army went out, and they're in this stand-off thing. (Pic) They're both on a hill with a valley between them.
Well they had a champion: Goliath. Who was a giant. There's some debate on exactly how tall Goliath was. Different biblical manuscripts give varying accounts on his height. Popular wisdom says he was 9 feet tall. Which is incredibly tall. But it's not unhuman.
Every morning and every evening for 40 days - Goliath would come and taunt them.
Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. (1 Samuel 17:17)
Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. (1 Samuel 17:18)
Meanwhile, back in Bethlahem - Jesse and his wife - prepared some food for the army.
Not in this volunteer army.
Shepard - Doesn't come from privilege.
A very different upbringing than the average american.
He was an artist - bring his lyre (kinda like a harp)
Dominos - ≠ important
How many people know, this is not an important job?! Anybody here ever worked at Dions? Well pretend there's some big ole war thing happening - and you're in charge of bringing pizza to the soldiers. Just not super important.
Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. (1 Samuel 17:20)
Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. (1 Samuel 17:21)
David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. (1 Samuel 17:22)
As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. (1 Samuel 17:23)
Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. (1 Samuel 17:24)
Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. (1 Samuel 17:25a)
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (1 Samuel 17:32)
Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33)
David arrived in times to hear Goliaths 'Mono-E-Mono' challenge.
And he's shocked that nobody took the challenge.
"I'll do it." - Skrawny musician
They laughed - "you can't. You're too little. You're too young."
The King thinks that just because David's a teenager, that God can't use him.
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, (1 Samuel 17:34)
I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. (1 Samuel 17:35)
Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. (1 Samuel 17:36)
The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
Basically: when the King doesn't want him to fight goliath, David says 'Well I've killed a lion and a bear, how much more work can a giant be?"
King: "Fine. ≠ better ideas."
When David is about to go a do the scariest thing he's ever done, he pictures in his mind the things he has seen God do before.
David isn't just doing this to convince Saul, the King, he's convincing himself how good God has been.
Me - Huge/Scary - Remind myself
There's time when God is telling you to do something huge and scary, that you have to remind yourself of all the times God has come through in amazing ways.
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. (1 Samuel 17:38)
David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. (There's definitely some humor happening here.) “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. (1 Samuel 17:39)
So now there's this awkward phase of trying to put on Saul's armor.
Us - figure out - "HOW".
I think we all get to the place of - ok now that I feel confident that God has told me to do something, now I'm trying to figure out HOW to do it.
And I'm trying on different kinds of armor, different ways of doing something.
What's gonna work, what's not gonna work.
Trying different ways
I don't know about you, but there's been a bunch of times when I've awkwardly waddled along in someone else's armor.
I'm honestly trying to do the right thing
Trying - exactly : Mentor / leader / king
And not even realizing that trying to do things exactly like my mentor, or my leader, or my king (in this story) is exactly the thing that's messing me up.
David at this point has finally got enough courage to actually go and do something amazing. And he's confronted with other people's expectations.
Parents, friends, teachers, family members - that are convinced they know exactly how you should do it.
They have the best intentions in the world. Saul is not trying to get David to fail.
Saul's armor - nothing wrong with it.
In this story - Saul's armor, there's nothing wrong with it, it's perfectly good armor, it might have been the best armor in the world.
It was probably the BEST armor in the world for Saul.
But it wasn't David's armor.
It didn't fit HIM right.
It wasn't sinful, it wasn't bad, it wasn't wrong.
It just wasn't FOR David.
Don't misunderstand me, God has put people in your life who have gone before you and made a bunch of mistakes, that if you'll listen to them, they can show you both some things to try and things to NOT do, because they did it and it turned out so bad.
So I'm not saying we don't get good council and good advice, I would never say that.
But what I AM saying is that you are not going to do things exactly like other people.
My preaching style.
Lunch awhile ago - my friend - David you could be one of those guys who goes around and speaks at all the youth camps. - Your content is the best, but you'd just need to deliver it with a little more STYLE.
You're going to feel the pressure to come tell me you like my style, thank you. I know I've got style, I've got my own style. It's just not traveling youth guy style. And you know what, I love that about me. I know that now.
But back in the day, man, I used to study how and when people would say 'Come on somebody' 'Can someone give Jesus some praise in this house tonight?!'
Again, perfectly good armor, just doesn't fit me.
Really funny - In bible college - I got nearly straight A's EXCEPT for the preaching course.
About the only bad grade I ever got was in preaching.
Some of you - well that explains everything.
This weird thing. - Reputation. - Strange.
Liturgy / Communion
Variety of people - uncommon.
Labeled - secular, progressive.
My point: You can really make yourself miserable if you spend too much time thinking about that stuff.
I'm just not going to waste any more brain power worrying about how to describe us, or what we're doing here.
Are we seeker sensitive? Are we emergent? Are we reformed? Are we pentacostal?
All of that ultimately points back to what people are expecting of us, and I just think that doesn't do anything good for us.
I'm very comfortable with who we are.
I just think that's true across the board for anyone trying to do anything for God.
So what is that for you?
What are the things God has told you to do?
Do you ever feel pressure to do it exactly like other people?
Well maybe God is telling you that you have your own style and ways of doing things.
You're going to have to shake off the expectations of other people, and HOW they want you to do things, if you're really going to be true to who God has called you to be.
Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:40)
David rejects Saul's sword, and instead opts to fight goliath with 5 smooth stones.
Unusual. This was his weapon.
He refused a sword, and instead chose rocks.
The rock is the only tool he knew how to use. He had used rocks before.
He trusted that God would take something super regular - like a rock - and do something amazing with it.
The soccer ball project we're currently doing. Amazing how God is able to use it.
This past year we gave out thanksgiving dinners to those families.
But surprisingly, God is able to move in incredible ways even with our completely normal stuff.
Whatever church you're from, I'm sure you have examples of the same thing. God using ordinary things in amazing ways.
This story isn't about what an amazing SHOT David was, it's about what God is able to do with normal things when we step our with courage.
They're ordinary rocks, but what God does with them is super-natural.
He's giving God the opportunity to show up.
The ordinary things that need to be done in a church to have a fully functioning ministry.
None of that comes across as particularly glamorous.
It's not about the things we do, it's God that is able to add that force behind what we do that changes peoples lives.
Even an act Jesus mentions "Offering a cup of cold water in my name"
Can be something that radically changes a persons life.
Boy - lunch 5 bread/2 fish - Feed 5000
Think about the snotty nosed, 12 year old kid that gave Jesus his bag lunch.
5 pieces of bread and 2 fish, 5000 men plus woman and children were able to be fed. Because of 1 kid.
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. (1 Samuel 17:41)
He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. (1 Samuel 17:42)
He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (1 Samuel 17:43)
“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” (1 Samuel 17:44)
Just because David stepped out doesn't mean that everyone started recognizing how amazing he was.
Just because David has actually stepped out in faith and is actually doing something, doesn't mean that people all of a sudden are going to start recognizing how amazing you are. No, even when you finally decide to DO something, people will still make fun of you.
It's easier to blend in to the crowd, no one will notice you.
The attacks become more personal.
Before it was just about the Israelites in general, now it's a personal insult to David.
That doesn't mean you've done something wrong.
Anyone ever done something good and you feel like people didn't recognize how awesome you were?
I can't believe people aren't recognizing how selfless I'm being here!
This story - Psyched out?
Think about this story, couldn't you see David really being psyched out by this?
OMG, he DOES have a point. How on earth am I going to shoot a rock hard enough to seriously hurt this guy. He's not like a little bird or something, this is a HUGE man, and you don't kill men with slingshots..
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1 Samuel 17:45)
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. (1 Samuel 17:46)
All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. (1 Samuel 17:48)
Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. (1 Samuel 17:49)
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Samuel 17:50)
David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. (No one asked him to do this. This is extra credit right here. Above and beyond the call of duty.) When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. (1 Samuel 17:51)
David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent. (1 Samuel 17:54)
I find that to be a weird detail. That David took the head back with him. It wasn't just as a trophy. Like the put chips in. It's interesting to note that he doesn't take it HOME, he takes it to Jerusalem, which is not where he lives, he actually passes right by Bethlehem, his home and goes another 5 miles to Jerusalem. It's a weird way of him staking his claim, that he will be the next King.
Here's what I want you to get from this story:
There was nothing special about the rocks.
In the same ways, you might feel like your gifts and talents are totally ordinary.
But Truth : It's not about being the most unbelievable singer, or the greatest preacher, or the worlds best anything. It's about offering those things to God and trust that he's able to do amazing things with them.
It looked like David won the battle when he killed Goliath, but REALLY, he won the battle when he had enough courage to get on the battlefield and throw the rock.
That's where most people get stuck.
Most people talk themselves out of doing cool things before they even give God a chance to show up.
Give God the chance to do something awesome.
But that won't happen if you sit at home, saying to yourself 'Nah, I'm not good enough for him to use.'
Join the club!
The difference is getting out there and going for it.
Give God the chance to take those normal little rocks and do something amazing with them.
Question: What is the rock God has placed in your hand?
I know you're not some unbelievable prophet person, but what has God given you that you can use to make a difference?
I want to broaden it a little. I believe that God has anointed you and gifted you to do something amazing where you work. I believe that God has anointed you and gifted you in your family.
Most tragic thing would be to be so unimpressed by your rock that you never use it.
That's the thing, when it's your rock, you're not impressed. You're impressed with other people's rocks, but not your rock. I'm not impressed with my rock. These basic skills that I have, they don't WOW me.
Me : Talk pretty
Almost all I know how to do is talk pretty. I don't know how to fix things, build things, My practical value as a human being is very low. In the case of a Zombie Outbreak, I don't think you'd want me on your survival team. I don't know if Zombies would be willing to sit down and listen to REASON. But it's amazing how God has been able to use me. Because I'm open to it.
What is the rock God has placed in your hand? I don't want to make this too spiritual, b/c if I do, you'll miss the point. I'm not just talking about church, or evangelizing. I'm talking about the regular things we do in our lives. What is it that God has placed in your hands?
(Prepare for communion)
A Bishop in the 5th century named Caesarius talks about the scene of David & Goliath is a foreshadow of Jesus. Throughout all eternity - the people of God are here lined up. And Satan and his angels are lined up on the other side. No one that could come from among us to challenge and defeat the enemy. Ultimately it's Jesus who comes and steps out on the battlefield. Jesus alone who takes on the evil one and defeats him on our behalf.
Encouragement to me: It's really God's fight and not mine.
And it's not about me being the most talented anything.
Or even having the most faith.
I want to be careful here b/c this story has a lot to do with faith, but understand it took faith to throw the rocks at all.
It's almost like some video game - need at least 50% faith in order for the spell to work. 40% - nope.
Don't spend a lot of time worrying about wether or not you have enough faith. Just do it.
God doesn't require perfect faith. Just enough faith to get you moving.
Me : Doubter
I've told you before that I'm a doubter. There's nothing that God has told me to do that I've done that I haven't also seriously doubted. But the difference is that I do it anyway.
As they pass - moment w/ God - being you.
Ask: What are the gifts & talents God has given you?
Confess - creed - 2000 years.
And confess the creed that the church has been confessing for nearly 2000 years.
This is His body - broken for you
Blood - poured out for you.