Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hope Floats 2 Kings 6:1-7

9-16-07 Message
An Axhead Floats
2 Kings 6:1-7
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.”
And he said, “Go.”
3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
“I will,” Elisha replied. 4 And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!”
6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. 7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.


Look around. Think about our campus. It’s beautiful but has challenges. A church like ours can get discouraged with so few people and so much to do.
Take the same number of people, and call them a “church plant”, they look around and see something very different…
“You mean this whole campus is ours…”
“This sound system…”
…this children’s center; youth group; staff; budget; computers; these 100 people, ALL OURS… ‘Praise the Lord!’”

Same facility in the same circumstance…what’s the difference between the established church and church plant (attitude/perspective)

This passage is a nugget of gold just hiding in the mine of 2 Kings. I haven’t heard many sermons on the “Axe Head that Floated”, but I believe there are some lessons we can learn from this short, 7-verse, obscure passage.

Elisha lived in strange times. We live in challenging times too.
Praise God for the “School of the Prophets”. They weren’t a monastery. They had families like you and me. Apparently they were growing beyond their current facility and needed to build and grow. The need and will was there. The community was ready
They sought the Lord’s will and got a “yes”. The Lord’s presence went with them.

We need to make changes too.

There is a lot we can learn from this passage of scripture.

If we want to take part in glorious, God-honoring, kingdom-minded decisions, we should first accept a few facts:


I. Fact 1: Risks happen!
(they happened then and still happen today)

1 The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us.
2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.”
And he said, “Go.”
3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
“I will,” Elisha replied.
4 And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees.


It wasn't a good time to build! (then)
Economically (the drought)
Religiously (people turning from the Lord to false religions)
It's never a good time to build!
Our economy is sketchy
Religious environment (post-denomination/post-Christian era)
They took a risk then, and people are taking risks today!


Unless the Lord builds the house (Psm 127)

Multiple of counselors (balance -- there are always naysayers)

Biblical App: Seek God's vision, put our heads together.

Take a risk; step out in faith -- what's the alternative?
Sit around doing the same old things, the same old ways, getting the same old results.

Personal Application: Great facility. Needs tweaking.
Look at opportunities not problems!
Folk’s it’s never a good time to move forward, but with God’s help, anything is possible.

TR: Something else I want to say. Just because we decide to make decisions, that doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory.

II. Fact 2: Stuff happens!

5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!”

5. Tools. Minor glitch/major set backs. Morale. Value. Embarrassment “borrowed”. (Pierre’s motor). The “losers” morales may reflect the sentient of the group.
Sometimes, one person is not on board. They may be negative -- it will happen!

The powers that be from inside the organization, and from outside, will never be passive toward deep, radical change. People will feel bad, glad, and sad about changes. (the enemy isn't happy when we shake up his status quo!)

But boy, if God speaks to our hearts, and we know that we know what God has told us what to do, we need to step out in faith and move forward.
Discern the negativity and where it's coming from -- faith or fight.
During times of the change, we have to calculate risks But we can sit around calculating risk all day until Jesus returns and never take that risk!
Before we begin to calculate risk, let's accept the fact stuff happens when we decide to change.
When we do decide to change, and we are steadfast when stuff happens, God's grace, mercy, love, and benevolence, kicks-in and we can overcome any obstacle in his name!

Application: God is not bound my natural laws. Oh yes, he and his word and his laws are, but HE is not bound to the laws of nature. If he wills…he may raise children of Abraham up from these stones (JTB); (Jesus “yonder mountain”)
What about our heavy hearts (last week’s message). God is able!
Folks, stuff will happen when we put our hand to the plow. But the measurement of our greatness (really God’s greatness) is not "when" stuff happens but "how we react" when stuff happens.

TR: Which leads me to a final fact we should realize before we step out in faith for great changes.

III. Fact 3: Miracles Happen!

6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. 
7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.


6. Prophet’s questions and directions. (equipping the called). Ordinary stick (just like Moses').
7. ez orders/ez solution. Miracles happen—can we expect miracles. God is above time, energy, matter, and space.
Miracles happen, but we just don't see them.

Ever see a kid watch a chick hatching from an egg. Pecking out with its little beak. They always want to help peal the shell--"No honey, you can't help; it must do it itself or it will die".

Folks, sometimes our hardships make us stronger helping us realize God is in control and He gets the glory! Miracles Still Happen!

Remember the Master sends Peter for a fish with coins in it. We see Jesus tell Peter to cast the nets twice. He can help us when we face troubles; let's believe in him.

Lord; if we don't believe the fact that miracles happen, we might as well pack everything up, abort this mission, put on fez caps, join a social club -- because that's all we are.

Can I make some confessions?
In some churches I would be ousted and fired for making such professions from behind the podium.
* I believe God spoke the world into existence; that he existed eternally before all this we see began.
* I believe he wants to demonstrate his miracles every day but we are too closed minded to see them.
* I believe in the Exodus story and all the miracles within them: the parting of the Red Sea; water coming from a rock; manna falling from heaven; and all the plagues fallen upon Egypt including the death of every firstborn, both man and beast.
* I believe Joshua prayed the Lord would make the sun standstill -- and it God found a way to make it happen.
* I believe Jonah was actually swallowed up in a fish God created for three whole days.
* I believe in the virgin birth. I believe in miraculous feedings of multitudes. I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe he will come again. I believe he truly has prepared a place for us; and he's coming back soon – hallelujah! Did I mention He’s coming back?

Application: Seek the Lord for what you need. How can we do that: 1) seek his word and will. 2) prayer, fasting, consecration…

Conclusion: Let’s be patient and led by God--Risks still Happen!; as we are led, snags and snares will occur--Stuff Happens!; but when it does, look to him, not circumstances and we will see his glory shine--Miracles still Happen!

Folks, “Hope floats”. amen.

2 comments:

Gayle said...

Lovely post, Chip, and miracles do indeed still happen. I've witnessed several myself.

Thanks for the visit to Dragon Lady's Den, and no, your comment wasn't to graphic, but it was funny! :)

Chip said...

Thanx Dragon Lady,
I am finding out how many women blog and fight the good fight. After reading your blog and others, "I'm glad you're on our side!"
Seriously, thanks for the encouragement Gayle. If you believe in miracles, start thinking about 08, it's going to be a doozie!
Blessings, chip.