We start in the beginning this morning-well almost, Genesis chapter 2. Pastor Casey points out in verse 18, that after six times God saying it was good; God utters the first, “It is not good…” Remember, this is a perfect world, perfect creation, fresh from God- no sin, sickness, disease or death. God’s creation was good, however the alone-ness of man was not.
Alone means all one–all about me. Like the Dead Sea, everything is flowing in, nothing out. God remedies the situation by bringing forth from Adam, Eve(ezer). The name Eve (ezer), means helper, vital, powerful kind of help. God is referred to as the ezer/helper 16 times in the Bible. Keeping this in mind helps us recognize that Adam and Eve were designed to co-reign in life: which gives us a beautiful picture of God in His fullness. The perfect image of God (God made people in His image) is me connected to others.
Man was made of Spirit and dust; everything he needed was placed within him by God: woman, Eve, was taken out of Adam. When God created each of us, He placed everything we need within us. Whether we are single or married, we have what we need to become who God has called us to be. Singleness is not aloneness, unless we refuse to find connection and community with others. We must submit to God in order for Him to bring His fruitfulness out of us. Just as the image of God was not complete in the al-oneness of man, neither are we complete alone/disconnected from others.
Moving into the New Testament, in John 12, Pastor Casey shares on a very interesting passage where Jesus speaks of being alone or being fruitful. Please listen and consider what God has placed in your life and is desiring to bring out of your submission to Him in fellowship with the Body of Christ.
Scripturereference: Genesis 2:15-18, 21-25; John 12:23-28; Psalm 92:13;
Pastor Casey revisits a scripture from a few weeks back, Psalm 84:6a “As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring;” He goes back to verse 1 and begins to walk through this psalm for us today. In the first verse he points out that we are the house of God. What is on the inside of us makes us lovely, being filled with the glory of God. As he moves on to verse 2, he takes some time to develop the thought process of how our soul (mind, will and emotions) yearns to be near God. More amazing, is the idea of how can our flesh cry out for God, when Galatians tells us that flesh is at enmity with God?
We see in Galatians 5:16-18, that if we are led by the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh and we are not under the law. Pastor Casey points out that we are under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus not the law of sin and death as noted in Romans 8. Our flesh desiring God begins with an act of will-then a choice to walk toward God-our flesh follows. So yes, (v.2) my soul and my flesh, can cry out for God. We do have a choice based on our will to serve God, or not.
Pastor continues moving through verses three through six, elaborating on the young, the altars, dwelling, praising, strength, pilgrimage and finally wells. He encourages us to live as near the altar as we can get; bring forth the young/next generation to follow God; dwell in God; know that God is our strength; set our hearts to be near; and build the wells that bring refreshing. When we find ourselves in the Valley of Baca, we can sit and weep, or dig a well.
Pastor Casey begins by briefly reviewing last week’s message on wells and trees. He really focuses in on the wells. He points out that you have to work to connect with water/have a well. When we connect with God our family tree can change. If we can’t seem to break free, perhaps we need to stop drinking from our familiar well. Maybe it’s time to go dig and drink from a new well that produces life.
So too, the woman that went to the well in our scripture passage this morning, could not seem to break free. She needed a new well from which to drink. Symbolically, Jacob’s well could only take one as far as the Law. It could never meet the deep need of the heart; a thirst for a new life, forgiveness, grace. Pastor Casey suggests we consider seven dispensations.
The Dispensation of:
1) Innocence- in the Garden of Eden, no knowledge of evil, only goodness
2) Conscience- after the fall, man was aware of evil, right and wrong
3) Government- managing man’s propensity to evil
4 )Promise- starts with the Abrahamic Covenant, promises of blessing
5) Law- the following of God’s rules- not personal, just follow the rules
6) Grace-Jesus fulfilled the Law; judgement served at the cross; we receive grace
7) Millennial Kingdom- the return of Christ to the Earth
A deeper look at our story shows that Jesus died under the dispensation of the Law, #5. He meets the woman at the well who has had five(5) husbands. She is looking for that which will transform her heart and mind, wash away her shame. The Law will never meet this need. Jesus offers a new source of water- Living Water, Himself. She is desperate, “give me this water”. We all are this woman-greatly in need of healing, newness, cleanness. We will never have this thirst quenched by Law. There are no works we can do to quench the deep need of our hearts. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, it matters what you do from now forward. Consider there is only one well that can satisfy the longing and thirst of the human heart- Listen as Pastor Casey encourages us to trust in the Lord Jesus.
Scripturereference: John 4:1-14
These are a couple of short encouraging words that followed the worship service. Dog lovers will especially appreciate one of the stories. (0:06)
Today we look at Genesis 28, where Jacob has stolen the birthright; manipulated and lied to people to get what he wanted; and is running for his life. Pastor Casey points out that like Jacob, we can be in a place with only a rock and God can make it “the house of God”. Like the stone Jacob anointed at Bethel, we need to remember the places we have met with God. These places/stones of remembrance in our life function to remind us when we pass this way again–Hey Wait a Minute!! I don’t go that direction any more–God has changed me.
Later in the Old Testament, we see God giving a pattern to Moses for a tent so He could have a visible presence, dwelling place, that could be among the people, move with them. Later yet, we see David wanted to build a temple. Then the house of God/temple was in a particular location or place. People had to travel to meet with God, which led to all kinds of problems. Yet, God’s desire has always been to be among His people.
In the New Testament book of I Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit, the house of God. Now God again dwells with His people and moves among them. Pastor Casey really encourages us to be aware of the presence of God in our lives and the impact it can make in our homes, jobs and communities.
Scripture reference: Genesis 28:10-22, I Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:15-20
Pastor Casey takes a couple of minutes to talk about the importance of worship. (0:04)