Today we continue
our message series: "Once Upon All Time: Creation."
We are talking about an event that began eons ago and continues
to this very day as God is in the process of continually
creating. The purpose of the series is not to present a
one-sided debate on creation versus evolution. Nor is it
to give a speech on the intelligent design theory. Nor is
it to explain DNA replication and the relation to the improbability
of evolution. We are Christian ministers, so let me take
you right to the source of where we get our belief and what
we believe and why we believe, not based upon scientific
evidence, even though I believe that scientific evidence
always proves the truth. I believe we have the truth, and
eventually proper scientific evidence will lead to what
the Bible tells us. Our message is to proclaim the good
news of Jesus Christ, to witness to the miraculous power
that we see within the creation and so we are going to start
at the beginning!
Genesis 1:1 begins:
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the
earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was
over the surface of the deep. And the spirit of God was
hovering over the waters." In the beginning God; that
is where it begins. Everything has its beginnings in God.
Before anything else, there was God. It's interesting to
note that the word in the Hebrew for God in that particular
place is Eloheim. Eloheim is plural. Any Hebrew word with
eim on the end is a plural word; it is like adding "S"
to an English word. So if you wanted to translate it literally
it would be in the beginning, Gods. The emphasis is not
on the plurality of God. We are not talking about there
being many Gods. Our Christian history is not based on a
pantheon of Gods. Our Christian history is based on one
God; a God of a triune nature. We believe in a God who created
the heavens and the earth and in that beginning, we see
Jesus Christ. If you look at the gospel of John it begins
very similar to what we read in Genesis. John 1 reads as
follows: "In the beginning was the Word. And the Word
was with God. And the Word was God. He was with God in the
beginning. Through Him all things were made. Without Him
nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory,
the glory of the One and only who came from the Father full
of grace and truth." Jesus Christ was in the beginning.
In the beginning was God.
Eloheim: In the beginning, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over
the surface of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering
over the waters. In the beginning the Holy Spirit of God
was there to create something out of nothing. When we read
these words from Genesis, it sometimes feel like our lives:
formless, empty, darkness.
The good news
is that God always shines in the darkness. God is the light
of the world, and as we allow the light of God to shine
in the darkness, it always eliminates the darkness. Never
once have I seen darkness overcome the light. Light always
prevails. Not once in awhile, always. When the lights come
on, suddenly we are able to see that maybe there is a glimpse
of hope, that it is possible for our lives to be transformed
from nothingness to something. There are people today who
feel like their lives are nothingness.
There is a whole
segment of this world which has been told that their lives
are nothingness. One in three of South Africa's 37 million
blacks live in townships. The townships are economic and
social sink holes and poverty traps in a nation where the
rich and poor gap is among the widest on earth. Within that
sink hole of poverty, hope is born. Do you want to know
about a face of hope? James Mokoena is the face of hope.
He is seventeen years old. He lives in a little cinder block
hut with a dirt floor. His father works from six in the
morning to ten at night, collecting garbage. His father
earns a salary of $300 a month. James has an older brother,
a younger brother and a sister. James has a dream. His dream
is to move out of the underclass that Apartheid created
and into the world of opportunity that Apartheid's demise
has opened up for other luckier youths. James says, "My
father works very hard. He keeps on telling me that life
is very strong, like a rock. You have to push it forward."
So, at the age of 17, James Mokoena has a dream. "Africa
is full of hungry people and people sick with Malaria,"
James said. James wants to be able to bring them food and
medicine. James wants to be a jet pilot. James Mokoena has
hope! That is the face of hope and so James goes to school.
He walks ten miles to school and his father agreed to pay
the tuition which is forty dollars a month. With a salary
of three hundred dollars to take care of their entire family;
they put aside forty dollars a month for James’ school
tuition. He is having a hard time in school, his teacher
told him "you have to study more." He said, "I
studied until dark, but when it gets dark I can't study
anymore." She said, "well, you can study with
candlelight." He said, "but we don’t have
any candles." So he studies as hard as he can.
That's the face
of hope. There is a light. He sees just a spark, a glimmer,
and his eyes are open to the potential of breaking out of
the incredible inhumane place he has found himself, and
becoming an airline pilot.
In the beginning,
God. In the beginning God created. In the beginning God
created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless
and empty, and dark was over the surface of the deep, and
the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. No matter
where you are, no matter how deep you have sunk, no matter
how impoverished you may feel, no matter how hopeless, no
matter how dark and barren, the Spirit of God is hovering
there. It is around you, it is encompassing you, it is within
your grasp to be able to feel and touch the power of this
Spirit of God.
St. Paul said it this way, "Long before He laid down
the earth's foundations, He had us in mind, and He settled
on us, as the focus of His love, to make us whole and Holy
by His love."
From the very beginning, God made us because He loves us,
and He cares about us, and His Spirit is there just hovering
around you, like a bird hovers around her chicks, as a mother
hovers around her children, the Holy Spirit is there hovering
around you. The Holy Spirit is aware of what you are doing,
aware of your presence, aware of your needs.
Call upon the
name of Jesus Christ, call upon God and He will hear your
prayers and He will answer you. The power and the might
of God is there to guide and strengthen you.
Sow an idea,
and you will reap and act, sow an act, and you will reap
a habit. Sow a habit and you'll reap character, sow a character
and you'll reap your destiny.
God has destined
all of us for something that fits into His incredible plan,
known as earth. Live your dreams, allow the illumination
of God's light to shine in your life. Allow His presence
to open your eyes and move forward with faith, knowing that
with God, all things are possible.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are at work
in our lives at this very moment, bringing hope and encouragement,
bringing peace and goodness, bringing joy and prosperity.
And so we thank You, for Your every word, for Your actions
that share with us and reveal to us the wonder of Your splendor.
Now we love You Lord, and we praise Your name. Amen.