Duration 7 Weeks
Hineni. It is a Hebrew word often spoken by prophets and leaders of God’s people of old in response to God’s call. Literally, it means, “Here I am.” Symbolically, it means, “I am ready to step up, fill the gap and raise the bar of what it means to be a believer.” As we look at this new year, with Covid behind us, we are no longer satisfied with excuses and lackluster performances. As believers, it is time for us to say to this God who has made us, claimed us, forgiven us and called us, “Hineni. Here I am.”
Let’s be clear. It was inconvenient for the magi to worship Jesus. We don’t know how far they traveled or how long it took them, but we do know that it was an intentional journey to come before Jesus and worship. The first mark of hineni, “here I am,” is to come before God and worship his holy name. Hineni.
Part One: Hollywood has a repeated story line for action-packed thrillers. Revenge. This one is personal. However, we know that this is contrary to God’s principle of forgiveness. For the next two weeks, we will look at the complexity of forgiveness, justice and reconciliation using Tim Keller’s most recent book, Forgive, as our inspiration. Hineni.
We see through a glass dimly, Paul says, but one day face to face. We once walked with God in the Garden but now only encounter him in that still small voice. We long to see the face of God, but in our current state we cannot bear it. What is heaven like? All will one day be revealed.
As we gather as a congregation for our Annual Meeting today, we are reminded that the Church is God’s hands, feet, voice and heart into the world. We are called not to belong to a church but to be the Church in radical service to the world. This example comes from Jesus who reminded His followers that He came not to be served, but to serve. Hineni.
How many never gave to the church, but enjoy the programs and benefits? How many never gave to the Worship Center, but enjoy the weekly services? How many never gave to the Ministry Center, but enjoy the Children’s Programming? How many never gave to Christ Chapel, but enjoy the worship? How many never gave to the original building, but call Christ Lutheran home? Our giving is not an investment in ourselves, it is a joyful response that lays a foundation for future generations to enjoy the Kingdom of God. Hineni.
When you see a good movie, no one has to encourage you to tell your friends. When you’ve eaten at a great restaurant, the owner is not giving you advice on how to invite your friends. When you find that special person to share Valentine’s Day with, you don’t need cue cards to speak about your love. So why is it that there are so many programs and books on how to share your faith? Perhaps they all have it wrong. Sharing your faith doesn’t start with completing a course. Any idea where it begins? Hineni.
A living organism continually grows whether that is in height or size, or merely shedding off old cells to replace with the growth of new cells. If something is not growing, it is dying. The same could be said about our faith. Sadly, the last class on the Bible that most adults have ever taken was when they attended Sunday School as a child. It is time to start growing again in the Word. Hineni.