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Sunday, October 20: Day 181 – Don’t Throw Away the Toaster!

We are with a group tour and we certainly don’t want to be those mandatory church goers, but we have made a commitment to worship with our brothers and sisters throughout the world and communicate that to others.

We were traveling from Mai Chau but would arrive back in Hanoi in the afternoon. I found a church that had a start time of 2pm. Everyone else got off the bus for lunch, and the bus driver dropped us off near Hanoi International Church. The church is not registered in Vietnam so it is a safer place for the locals to attend. Also, they can better serve the Vietnamese people. The church has no paid staff and is run by all volunteers. The service was in English.

Offering:

When we give our offerings to God, we are like the boy with the fish and loaves. He gave all he had for God to use. And God multiplied it.

Visitors:

A Vietnamese student who has come from the northeast to attend school is searching for a church. She stated that she would return.

Besides us, international visitors included South Korea and Switzerland. The two young boys from Switzerland named Sebastian and Louis were going to Ha Long Bay, so we told them that we might see them there!!

Prayer:

Pray for the many people who are oppressed in the world. I am really seeing a trend that church prayers are selfless and outwardly focused.

Announcements:

These announcements were given by a perky Vietnamese young lady from Arkansas.

Today is Woman’s Day. They have two Women’s Day; one on March 8 which is International Woman’s Day and one on October 20 which is recognized by the Vietnamese. The women work so hard and Vietnamese want to honor them by giving them flowers and taking them out to dinner or cooking the family meal.

Because the women never stop working and the work is hard. As teenagers they start working in the kitchens. The men work outdoors.

In church all the women were honored with red roses.

I think that is better than Mothers Day. (After church, I regifted mine to a woman selling things on the street.) All are invited to coffee fellowship after the service.

Go on to the Facebook page. On Saturdays at 3pm they have a Bible study on the book of Joshua.


Music:

Good, Good, Father by Chris Tomlin

That song is so simple to learn yet has a powerful theology. We are happy to raise our voices to the Good Father.

Sermon: A Profound Mystery

In the Genesis story of creation, God proclaims that the creation made on each day is good, but when He created man, he did not make this statement. Instead of saying that, He jumped to it isn’t good for man to be alone!! In honor of Woman’s Day, perhaps man needs woman to make it good again.

Many people living today have determined that marriage is bad. They conclude that marriage is bad because divorce is bad.

An amusing example of a toaster was used. Everyone knows how to use a toaster. You put the bread in and with a few adjustments, you have a beautiful piece of toast. But when you decide to make spaghetti in the toaster! It doesn’t work right. Instead of following the manufacturer’s instructions which were either not read or ignored, you decide that it isn’t working and throw it away!!! Could this be how people approach marriage??

1. Marriage is ordained by God. In Genesis 2:24, God revealed that marriage was part of His plan even before the fall of man and sin entered the world.

2. Marriage provides stability for families. It is difficult for a child to grow up in this way.

3. It is an image of Christ and the Church.

Because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:30-32

A profound mystery does not mean that it is unable to be known. It was in front of us all along. It was once hidden but is now revealed. Marriage is to be an image of Jesus Christ in action.

When we see an image of a beautiful landscape, we want to go there. It is awe inspiring even though it is only a representation.

For example, if one sees a color photo of the Redwood Forest in California, you want to go there. If I drew a picture of a Redwood tree, you would not have the same feeling about visiting the Redwood Forest, nor would one start packing to travel to California. Its representation is inaccurate even if well meaning.

One could apply the same principals to marriage. Broken homes and even good marriages are inaccurate representation of the marriage between Christ and the church.

The real deal is being the bride of Christ. We are set aside for the marriage to Jesus Christ. Marriages that are strong focus on God to strengthen marriages. If one’s marriage is struggling, focus more on God and one’s relationship with their spouse will improve. Singles can take a lesson here as well. If you are struggling with parents, children, coworkers, friends, get closer to God.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

Jesus first loved us. His love for us is an active love, not passive. He gave Himself. Unlike human marriage, there was nothing in us that would make Jesus want to marry us…but He did!!!! Incredible.

Marriage is a free choice. No one marries someone that they don’t like. So in a marriage, the number one influence comes from the spouse. The pastor has a friend who could not stand his wife after five years of marriage. When they got married, he wanted to be together forever. What changed? He challenged his friend to take a good hard look at himself first as he was the main influence on her.

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19

Jesus’ love is active in changing our hearts. How is my marriage going with Jesus? Marriage changes you.

Sacrificing – Jesus died for His bride. Jesus’ sacrifice began at the beginning of eternity until he died and said, “It is finished.”

Enduring – In the whole story of the Bible, readers encounter countless problems of people not treating Him right. It is good that God doesn’t give up on us.

Empowering – We are grounded in the model of Jesus Christ and His immense love for us.

Devoted – We will be with Jesus forever in eternity. For life, like our vows. Some churches don’t have vows. The new couple just say how much they like each other. That isn’t much of a commitment. We pledge devotion for life. Thankfully, Jesus does not quit on us.

Are you the bride of Christ?

Start off your day acknowledging your relationship with Christ. Wake up and say, “Jesus, I love you.” Encourage your friends and family who are married. Pray for marriages. Fight for it. Don’t throw away the toaster!!

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