Worship Service – June 21, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020 Father’s Day 1

Our Scripture this week is from

Genesis 21:8-20


8 “The child grew and was weaned, and on the day, Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.

13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes.16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So, she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.

This is the word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.


Dear Church Family,

As this is Father’s Day, and being a father myself, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for Abraham to finally have a child by his wife, Sarah. Especially as were told in Genesis 17:17 that Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100. It was a miracle. Abraham named his son, Isaac. As was the custom of the day, when Isaac was about three years old, he was “weaned” and a celebration ensued. In the midst of this celebration something unsettling took place. Sarah saw her son Isaac playing with Ishmael. Who would have been in his teens. Our scripture in verse 9 calls it mocking. Which probably means he was imitating or mimicking him, as brothers do. Keep in mind, Ishmael was also Abraham’s son. His mother was the slave woman, Hagar. Abraham had taken God’s promise seriously that he would father a great nation. When God was slow to act, Abraham decided to take matters into his own hands and have a son with this slave, at 86 (Genesis 16:16).

Hagar and Sarah didn’t get along; there was deep resentment and bitterness on Sarah’s part. Sarah saw Ishmael playing with her son Isaac. She was filled with jealousy and anger. She wanted Abraham to get rid of this woman and her son. You would have thought that Sarah would have been grateful for having a son in her old age. Instead she was so eaten up by jealousy that she wanted Hagar and Ishmael out of her life forever. She needed a different way of seeing .

Sometimes Life Is Unfair, But Because of God’s Love, We Are Able to Overcome. When He provides,” a different way of seeing.”

Our message today I have titled.


There was a bitter rivalry between Sarah and Hagar. Abraham was either unable or unwilling to intervene to solve the problem. In the midst of a celebration these negative feelings erupted in Sarah as she watched her son playing with Ishmael. The boys were just playing together. Ishmael was not mean to Isaac or in any way abusive to him. They were simply playing together in the midst of a celebration.

Sarah called to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son, Isaac.” Sarah wanted action and wanted it now. How sad. For Sarah, for Hagar, and especially for Ishmael. He would be cut off from his father. He would no longer know his father’s love. Unfortunately, Ishmael’s problem is not rare.

There are many persons whose fathers have not been positive role models. There are people who have lived their whole lives without feeling the special love between a father and a child. But the liberating good news of the gospel is that with the love of God we are able to transcend the negative life experiences some of us have had. With the love of God, we can be whole persons again.

Remember your childhood suspicion that both your father and mother and maybe even your teacher had eyes in the back of their heads? As you got older, you realized it was not literally true, but it was a way of describing their awareness of what you were doing. Their familiarity of you ,helped them perceive what you were going to do or need. Just as God saw the needs of all in this story.

I think in the mind set of our scripture we need to ask these questions.

How did Abraham need to see differently?

How did Sarah need to see differently?

How did Hagar need to see differently?

How do you need to see differently?

There have been some interesting developments in the field of perception, spurred in part by research to help the blind, but also by a need to help people who have so much to see that their eyes cannot take it all in aircraft pilots, for example. As aviation technology has evolved, cockpits have filled up with many new instruments, to the point that in some flight applications, pilots have so much to keep track of that they are visually overwhelmed. The visual workload has gotten so high that there has been an increase in the number of human factor-related mishaps.

One way to solve that, however, is to feed some of that information to the brain through paths other than the eyes. As far as anatomy is concerned, the eyes are merely input devices that feed data to the brain, but there are other ways that the brain perceives information, as well. You know that cookie you ate the other day tasted good not because your eyes passed that news along, but because your tongue did.

What I want to talk about is a ,”A Different Way of Seeing.” There is a well-known verse in 2 Corinthians 5:7 Paul writes…” We walk by faith, not by sight.”(NKJV) or ”We live by faith, not by sight.”(NIV)

Faith is a different but valid way of seeing the world and life. Which we are in desperate need of today.

In Hebrews 11, a passage commonly referred to as the “faith chapter,” but as I read it today, it often strikes me that it is really about “seeing” something that not everyone sees. In the first verse of Hebrews 11, the author says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” He then points out Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and others as examples of people of faith. Of them, the Hebrews writer says, “All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them” (Hebrews 11:13).

In faith, we, too, believe that God is real even though we cannot see him. We believe that God “rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6) even when that reward is not apparent at present. In other words, faith is not some mustered up belief or desperately held position. It is a way of seeing. When we apply the Christian faith to the world we live in, we could say that faith does not change the facts about the world, but it does change the conclusions we draw about those facts.

For example: Two friends meet in passing one day, and the first notices that the other man looks quite despondent. So, he asks, “Hey, how come you look like the whole world has caved in on you?” The sad fellow says, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me ten thousand dollars.” “Well, I’m sorry to hear about your uncle’s passing, but that’s a bit of good news for you, too, isn’t it?” “Hold on, it gets better,” says the glum guy. “Two weeks ago, a great-aunt I never knew, passed away and left me twenty thousand, free and clear.” “Well, you can’t be disappointed about that!” “No, I’m not, but listen … last week my grandfather went to his rest and I inherited almost one hundred thousand dollars!” “That’s incredible! But why do you look so sad? “The depressed man shakes his head and says, “Well … this week? Nothing!”

We laugh at this but let us make it real. Two people can look at the same facts and arrive at opposite conclusions. If two people visit a hospital that treats those with serious crippling injuries, they will both see patients with missing limbs, patients in great pain, and patients suffering other ways. One might look at all of this and conclude that the world is a mess and life is a nasty joke. He might even decide not to allow himself to care too much for anyone because of the possibility of pain when a loved one suffers.

The other person might see in all of this the incredible courage and resilience of the sufferers and decide that the illnesses are an outrage precisely because God’s gift of life is so good.

In our reading from Genesis, Hagar is the wronged woman. She had borne Abraham a son. Hagar was the maid of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, but because Sarah was childless, she had encouraged Abraham to produce an heir with Hagar. Yet, once her own son was born, Sarah became jealous of Hagar and demanded that her husband send Hagar and her son, Ishmael, away. Abraham does this by faith after God provided “A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING ”and Hagar and Ishmael were sent away into the desert, where they were soon lost and out of water. Eventually, Ishmael was at the point of dying of thirst. Hagar put him down under a bush, turned away, and began to weep. God heard her, and “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled her bottle, and gave the boy to drink.”

God did not perform a miracle for Hagar in the usual sense of the word. He did not create new resources that were not already there on the scene. Rather, he opened her eyes so that she saw the well that she had not seen before.

When that happened, the same environment that had looked so hopeless and barren to her was now seen as a life-sustaining place. God did not charge the facts. The well had been there all along, and the place had never been as “godforsaken” as she had thought. But until God opened her eyes, Hagar missed all of that. He opened her mind to,” A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING.”

During this pandemic we have been conducting parking lot services. It has been attended by many of you who are here today. The weekly Messages have been either read or listen to by more people than we normally serve. And hopefully we have provided “a different way of seeing” for them.

I am impressed that many did not stop attending and continued to tithe, and many who didn’t come, continued to tithe also. A cynic might look at those facts and say, “Well, they don’t want to offend God and cause him to withhold his blessings.” But I looked at the same facts and concluded, “Look at their remarkable faith. They know that whether it’s safe to attend or not, God is with them. “I am able to say that because faith shapes how I see things.

Here’s a story I found that helps us understand, as believers, how we are to see things…A young salesman was disappointed about losing a big sale, and as he talked with his sales manager he complained, “I guess it just proves you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” The manager replied, “Your job is not to make him drink. Your job is to make him thirsty.” So, it is with evangelism. Our lives should be so filled with the passion of Christ that we create a thirst in others for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”


To repeat, faith in Christ is “a different way of seeing” the world and life. That above all, is why I remain a Christian, for Christianity helps me to interpret life with a sense that it is good and that despite the pain and hurt of our world, it will come out right in the end.

Christian faith is a way of seeing the world through more than just our eyes. Or to say it differently, it is having eyes in the back of our mind, in the front of our heart, in the depths of our spirits, in the palms of our hands, and in the soles of our feet. It is a way of seeing God in the world.

My grandfather who used to take me fishing/trolling on Beaver Lake, when I had an opportunity to spend the night with him at his cottage, I thought it was because he needed somebody to row at the time, helped me to see life in a different way. While we trolled our way around the lake, I would, now and then get a chance to ask him questions. I remember once asking him, “Grandpa, can anyone see God?” He answered, “Sometimes I think I never see anything else.” Note, we seldom caught many fish, but it was his opportunity to teach me,” A Different WAY OF SEEING.”

As the author of Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible”(Hebrews 11:3).

Do you see through the eyes of faith as Abraham did?

Do you now see differently as Hagar did?

Are you in need of” A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING “like Sarah?

Always remember….Sometimes Life Is Unfair, But Because of God’s Love, We Are Able to Overcome. For He provides,” A DIFFERENT WAY OF SEEING .”

In His Service,

Pastor Joe

Listen To Audio: Sermon 20200621



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