Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 26, 2017 Sermon

“Everyone Needs Help”
Romans 8:26 – 28, Psalm 25:4 – 6
Ted Jansen  March 26, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        We all need help.  I need help.  You need help.  How did you get help recently?  Someone might have helped you a little or in a big way.  You might have asked for help or someone gave you help without you asking.  You might have had to pay for help or were helped without any cost. 
            This past week I had help from an Auto Repair service, and a roofing company.   
            I am thankful for the help I have received. I needed help with a car and a roof.    
 
2.)        A pastor was walking down a country lane and sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off.
"You look hot, my son," said the pastor. "Why don't you rest a moment, and I'll give you a hand."
"No thanks," said the young man.  “My father wouldn't like it."
"Don't be silly," the minister said.  "Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water."
Again the young man protested that his father would be upset.
Losing his patience, the clergyman said, "Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him and I'll give him a piece of my mind!"
"Well," replied the young farmer, "he's under the load of hay."
 
When we feel burdened, or under the weight of life or struggle we are thankful for those who help us.  It might be a farmers on, or a man fixing a roof.  We are thankful for those who have helped us.    
 
3.)        Do you know that we have been given a helper for our faith?  Yes, in John 14:25, 26 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things...”  (NKJV)
            The word for the Spirit is “Helper” in the New King James Version.  Other translations use the word, “Counselor or Comforter.”  As we think of the “Helper” we see that role in Romans 8:26, 27.     
             
4.)        Let us look at Romans 8:26 and 27 in the New Living Translation to see several things that the Holy Spirit does to help us.  
            “The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.  For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows that the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”  
 
5.)        The Holy Spirit, the Helper, prays for us in three ways. 
a.)        The Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us when we are weak, in distress, in times when we are not strong.  God’s love comes to us at our point of weakness, when we can’t help ourselves and we know grace. 
b.)     The Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us to have our needs met, as God’s love knowing exactly what will benefit us. 
c.)        The Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us according to God’s will, and not our own will.  God’s will is what matters most.  When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before He was crucified He prayed, “not my will, but yours be done.”  The Spirit prays for God’s will for us. 
We need help in prayer.  We are weak, we pray for our wants, we want our own will.  The Holy Spirit, our Helper, helps us pray that we might grow closer to our Lord.    
 
6.)        Rueben Job, in his book, “Listen, Praying in a noisy World,” focuses on the practice of meditation in Week Four.  Meditation is the belief that scripture is “God breathed and inspired.”  When we meditate on scripture we allow the Holy Spirit to help us, to breath into us.  We allow our spirit to have the breath of the Holy Spirit enter us.    
           
7.)        Here is an object that I have placed on this pedestal.   I invite you to look at it for a few moments and describe what you see. 
            I would guess that most of you can see that it is an elephant.  When you get closer you can see that it has been carved.  Then when you hold this in your hand you understand it is made out of stone.  When you look at it you see that it has been carved with openings in it.  Then as you see inside of it you see another, smaller elephant carved out of stone.  Wow, you didn’t see that at first.  You had to look closer to it. 
            Then as you look at the second elephant, which is inside the first elephant, you are amazed because you see a third carved elephant. 
            The more that you look, and the closer that you look you discover more and wonder, “How did this person do this?”  
            The closer you look the more you can learn and the more your spirit can know God.   
 
8.)        The Holy Spirit invites you to look at scripture, then look closer, then get as close to it as possible.  When you look at scripture and observe all that you can the Holy Spirit will lead us grow in faith and prayer.  This is the practice of meditation.  You continue to look and look.    
            I am going to invite you to meditate and observe Romans 8:28.  I broke this scripture down into five sections.  The first thing we do in meditation is make a verse smaller and observe it.  
            I want you to take a few moments to write down what each phrase of scripture says to you.  This process is called lectio divina, which is Latin for divine reading.  Let the Holy Spirit help us as we meditate and write down what we observe.    
 
9.)        Romans 8:28  (Write down your thoughts.)
 
We know that in all things…
 
God works for the good…
 
Of those who love him…
 
Who have been called…
 
According to His purpose…
 
10.)      Ron Greer shares this story as a part of the reading for week four in “Listen.”  I invite you to picture this scene in your mind. 
 
            “I was sitting in the Atlanta airport, waiting at Gate 32 to board a plane.  Zones 1 and 2 were called; I stood up, picked up my briefcase, and walked toward the line that was forming.  As I passed a row of seats I heard a girl ask her mother, “Do I stand up now?”
            Something about the girl’s voice got my attention.  She was developmentally disabled.  I kept walking, got in line, and boarded the plane. 
            I took my place in seat 7C.  After I settled in, I looked up.  There was the girl, coming down the aisle by herself.  I was surprised to see that she was a teenager-she was so petite that she appeared almost frail.  The seat in front of mine was hers.
            Then “Animal House” boarded.  A group of college students came down the aisle and took several rows of seats across from us.  They were laughing, joking with one another, and having a great time.  But above all else, they were being cool.  Cool, you understand, was imperative. 
            Finally, the plane was pushed back and began taxiing.  Then minutes later the pilot announced that we are cleared for takeoff.  He made the final turn onto the runway.  
            I looked up and saw the little head with the brunette hair lean partway across the aisle.  I heard the girl say to the college student across from her, “I get real nervous, when we take off.  Would you hold my hand?”
            My eyes were riveted on the young man to see what he would do.  Holding a strangers hand is not cool.  After an initial nervous blush, he began to smile, and half way across the aisle came the kid’s big ol’ hand.  The girl’s tiny hand grabbed it and squeezed. 
            There they held hands, across the aisle, as our Delta jet was airborne. 
            There they held hands as I stared, also in disbelief, and memorized that sacred moment.  I knew I was witnessing a sacrament. 
            The plane’s wheels clunked into place beneath us.  She let go of his hand and said something to him.  The engines were now so loud, I couldn’t hear. 
            For the next hour and a half he read his Harry Potter book.  She listed to her iPod. 
            Then the plane descended as we approached Shreveport.  In those few moments, as we anticipated the jolt of this runway, this young man turned to the girl and - as I read his lips- asked, “Do you need to hold my hand?”
            Apparently she said, “No.”  He smiled and nodded.    
 
11.)      You are this girl who needs help.  You need to hold on to the hand of someone while you are not sure of life.  The Holy Spirit will reach out to each of us through the words of scripture and allow us to hold on.  
            Romans 8:28 has been a comfort to me.  There were things years ago that broke my heart.  I needed help.  I needed assurance that God was working things out for good.   I needed a hand to hold on to when I was unsure of life.  I needed to be reminded that God was working things out for good.  I didn’t “feel” good in tough times, but I believed that good was being worked out. 
 
12.)      We need help.  I need help.  You need help.  The Holy Spirit helps us by our reading and meditating on scripture.  Scripture is that hand of God that we hold on to. 
            Today might be a day when you need to have someone hold your hand.  Today might be a day when you need to reach out your hand on behalf of the Holy Spirit to help someone. 
 
13.)      I want you, as you are comfortable to hold the hand of the person next to you and pray these words out loud.  “Lord, I pray for ______.  Be with them and help them.  Amen.”