Following are my notes for the September 24-47, 2011 Cedar Park Assembly Sacred Assembly. May God take us farther in Him.
Let’s do a quick check up on Cedar Park. Are you all in? Are you aligned under the covering of Pastor Joe and Linda? Are you all in?
Joe and Linda have called us to a Sacred Assembly. This is not a passing and trivial matter. I call you to be all in on this Sacred Assembly.
Joel 1:14 gives us the following guidelines to Pastor Fuiten and the Cedar Park leadership team.
• Declare a holy fast
• Call a sacred assembly
• Summon the elders
• Summon all who live in the land (all of Cedar Park) to the house of the LORD your God.
• Cry out to the LORD.
What does the Bible show that leads us to this point? I found Richard Owen Roberts’ “The Solemn Assembly” very helpful. http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF09E09.pdf
There are at least twelve powerful spiritual renewals in the Old Testament. All twelve have four similar characteristics.
1. A Tragic Declension
2. A Righteous Judgment From God
3. The Raising Up of An Immensely Burdened Leader or Leaders
4. Some Extraordinary Action
Let’s use Exodus 32 and 33 as our model passage.
• The tragic declension into the worship of the golden calf. 32:1-6
• The righteous judgment from God. 32:7-10
• The raising up of an immensely burdened leader. 32:11-13
• The extraordinary action. 33:7-10
What about the raising up of an immensely burdened leader?
1. The Renewal under Moses – Exodus 32ff
2. The Renewal under Samuel – 1 Samuel 7 (with chapters 1-6 providing the background).
3. The Renewal under David – 2 Samuel 6, 7.
4. The Renewal under Asa – 2 Chronicles 14-16.
5. The Renewal under Jehoshaphat – 2 Chronicles 17-20.
6. The Renewal under Jehoida – 2 Chronicles 23-24.
7. The Renewal under Hezekiah – 2 Chronicles 29-32.
8. The Renewal under Josiah – 2 Chronicles 34-35.
9. The Renewal under Zerubbabel – Ezra 1-6.
10. The Renewal under Ezra – Ezra 7-10.
11. The Renewal under Nehemiah – Nehemiah 1-13.
12. The Renewal under Joel – Joel 1-2:27
Notice the actions taken by these burdened leaders.
a) Exodus 33:7-11 – Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp. He called it the place of meeting and required everyone who sought the Lord to go outside the camp, away from the place of sin, to the tabernacle to meet the Lord.
b) 1 Samuel 7:5, 6 – Samuel required all of Israel to gather at Mizpah in a Solemn Assembly where he prayed for them and they fasted and confessed their sins.
c) 2 Samuel 6:14 and 1 Chronicles 13-18 – After a bad start in sinning against the Lord by moving the Ark of the Covenant on a new cart (the Philistine method), David and the people moved it according to the Word of the Lord and in joyful humiliation, he danced before the Lord with all his might in a linen ephod – having laid aside his crown and royal robes, he acted as common man among common men. While no mention is made of a Solemn Assembly in the Second Samuel account, it is detailed in the parallel passage in First Chronicles.
d) 2 Chronicles 15:9-15 – Asa called a Solemn Assembly in Jerusalem where the people entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their hearts and with all their souls.
e) 2 Chronicles 20:3-13ff – Jehoshaphat called a Solemn Assembly throughout all Judah and Jerusalem and the people fasted and sought the Lord.
f) 2 Chronicles 23:16 – Jehoiada, in a Solemn Assembly, made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people. They then proceeded to cleanse the land of the evil.
g) 2 Chronicles 29:5ff – Hezekiah and the leaders established a decree which was very extensively circulated requiring all the people to gather for a Solemn Assembly and the celebration of the Passover. An entire fourteen days were devoted to seeking the Lord and worshipping Him.
h) 2 Chronicles 3:31-33 – Josiah gathered the people together in a Solemn Assembly, and they entered into a covenant with the Lord to walk in all his ways and to perform all the words of the covenant written in the Book.
i) Ezra 6:16-22 – Zerubbabel led the people in a Solemn Assembly and seven day celebration of the Passover in which they separated themselves from the impurity of the nations and pledged themselves to seek the Lord God of Israel.
j) Ezra 8:21-23; 9:5-15 – Ezra proclaimed a fast at the River Ahava that they might all humble themselves and seek the Lord. They later engaged in public humiliation and putting away of sin in the form of a Solemn Assembly.
k) Nehemiah 8:1ff – A Solemn Assembly was held in front of the Water Gate where the Book of the Law of Moses was read by the hour and an agreement was made in writing to put away sin and to seek the Lord with all their hearts.
l) Joel 1:13; 2:12-17, etc. – Joel called a Solemn Assembly in which all the people were required to be in attendance and where all were required to return to the Lord with all their hearts, with fasting, weeping and mourning, and where they were required to rend their hearts and not their garments. Consider the situation at the time of the Solemn Assembly called by the Prophet Joel.
Let’s call these next four nights “the Cedar Park Renewal under Pastor and Mrs. Fuiten.”
Now for my brief message.
My Senior Pastor and mentor, Pastor Neale Sheneman said to me, “Kent, you can’t count the first mile. Everyone goes the first mile.”
In Matthew 26: 36-46 our Lord has a Personal Solemn Assembly. His experience is most interesting to me.
1 of his disciples didn’t even attend and participate.
8 of his disciples were there, but didn’t go very far.
3 of his disciples were there, went a ways, but fell asleep.
Jesus alone went a little farther!
Cedar Park, let’s be all in by going a little farther in God than we have ever been before.
Early in my learning about God, I began to understand that God is everywhere present. But He is not present in the same way everywhere.
He, tonight, through our Pastor, invites us to go a little further in God than we have ever been before.
In my college years I heard Pastor Ormel Chapin say, “Students, I compel you to be one step closer to the cross than the crowd.”
Jesus clearly laid it out for us. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
Tonight we call ourselves to “Go a little farther through the narrow gate.”
What about the woman with the issue of blood? She pressed through the crowd (Matt. 9:20-22) and touched the tassel of Jesus’ prayer garment.
What about the blind man named Bartimaeus, he couldn’t press through the crowd, so he “Shouted all the more.” Mark 10:46-52
Job, without a doubt, went a little further in God than the crowd.
Sure it may have its challenges. It is worth it.
Amy Carmichael went a little further and penned,
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?
Tonight we end by asking God, “In what are you asking me to go a little farther?”
• Giving your life away?
When I was a boy, in Barrow, Alaska, I was blessed with a most unusual opportunity. A Polar Bear died and left her two very small cubs. These cubs were placed in a safe place and were raised by “zookeepers.”
I enjoyed playing with these cubs. I wrestled with them, played ball, and had an all out fun time.
When the bears were no longer cubs, but mature adults, it was time for them to be taken back to their natural habitat and released into the world God has created for them.
Within days, the bears had found their way back to the station, and tried to get back into their cages.
Though they were the kings of the arctic, they had never learned how to live in their kingdom and wanted live in their man made cages.
Cedar Park, we have been invited by God to leave the zoo of man made boundaries and restrictions and live free out in His kingdom.
Let’s go a little farther today. All the way out of our perceived and man made places and into a powerful new space in God.
Let’s be one step closer to the cross than the crowd.