Blessings Cooksville Family!
Below is the link to this week’s service:
As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.
And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.
And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.
Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Prelude: Close to Thee – Silas Vail, arr. for duet by Larry Shackley. Played with Esther Ke
Opening Video: Change The World
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn: “Revive Us”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 New International Version (NIV)
15:34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” 5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
Solo: Hark to the Still, Small Voice – George Handel
A Heart For God, A Heart Like God
Our emotions have had a tough few weeks. It’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs. On the plus side – it looks like things are starting to open up again. Patio dining – some stores re-opening for in store shopping – more services restarting. And second doses of the vaccine are becoming available sooner.
But the downside – 215 children found buried near a residential school. It wasn’t a recent crime – and it wasn’t an unexpected find – but it has re-opened old wounds – no that’s wrong – it’s re-exposed wounds that that have still needed more healing.
And a family was cut down – murdered – while out for a walk. They were chosen at random – for no reason – other than that someone disagreed with their religion.
How do these things happen – whether it’s events that seem diluted by history – or something that happened just last week – the motivation is often the same – people are judged by appearance – by where they come from – the way they look – talk – dress.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to be!
No one – no one – should ever feel threatened because they are different. And of course – I guess you could even raise the question of – different from who – what’s the standard.
In our scripture story today – Samuel – one of the bible greats – could be accused of this same pigeonholing. But then God sets Samuel straight. God says – Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
The heart – that’s where the Lord looks – not the colour of your skin – or where you are from – or how you worship. God looks at your heart – and so should we.
But what kind of a heart is God looking for – what is it that would make God look at someone and say – I choose him – or her.
Most people know the familiar story of David and Goliath. We know David as the young shepherd boy who slew a giant with one stone and a simple slingshot. We know that this brave shepherd boy grew up to be a great king of Israel. But there’s much more to David’s life than just slaying giants.
More has been written about David than any other person in the Bible – other than Jesus himself. In the Old Testament there are sixty-six chapters written about David – and in the New Testament – there are fifty-nine references to this great man.
And we can also gain insight into what he thought and felt by reading the Psalms he wrote – seventy-three Psalms are attributed to David.
Shepherd boy – king – mighty warrior – musician – poet – sinner – saint. These words all describe David – but perhaps the most important words about David were spoken by God himself.
In the book of Acts is found these words of God – I have found David – son of Jesse – a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.
David’s life was a portrait of success and failure – he was far from perfect – yet God calls him a man after my own heart. So – what was there about David’s heart that distinguished him from those around him – setting him apart as God’s man – someone God chose to confide in?
What did God see when He looked at David’s heart? How do we become a man or woman after God’s own heart? Let’s take some time looking at those questions – getting to know the heart of David – and maybe – in the process we’ll get to know the heart of God as well.
David’s story begins – not on the battlefield with Goliath – but on the ancient hillsides of Israel. Before we get to the story – let me provide a little background.
King Saul – Israel’s first King – isn’t the king he used to be. He’s grown ever more prideful and arrogant. He’s openly defied and disobeyed God. Saul’s downward spiral from saint to sinner has left Samuel – prophet and priest – heartbroken.
So – God decides it’s time for a change. The Lord says to Samuel – You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.
So Samuel walks the trail to Bethlehem. His arrival turns the heads of the townsfolk. There were problems in the palace – genuine fear stretched across the land at that time. You can see it reflected in the immediate reaction of Bethlehem’s inhabitants – What’s Samuel doing here? – What’s wrong? They don’t know why Samuel is there – so they ask – Do you come in peace?
Samuel replies – Yes, in peace – I have come to sacrifice to the Lord – then he invites these locals – including a man named Jesse and his sons – to join him.
Jesse brings seven sons with him to participate in the sacrifice and the following feast. Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought – Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!
He didn’t say it out loud – but that’s what he was thinking – Why? Because Eliab looked like the type you’d normally choose for a king. No doubt he was tall and impressive – a real warrior. Samuel is impressed – but God isn’t.
Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But now Samuel had caught on and said – nope – not this one – or this one either – or the next – till all seven of Jesse’s present sons were rejected.
Seven sons strut their stuff – but all seven fall short. Keep in mind – none of these guys even know what the prize is that they’re competing for.
In the midst of this parade of possibilities – God whispers a reminder to Samuel – Do not consider his appearance or his height…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Aren’t you glad God says this?
Aren’t you weary of society’s surface-level system – of being graded according to the inches of our waist – the square footage of our house – the color of our skin – the make of our car – the cut of our clothes – the presence of diplomas – where your grandparents were born – Aren’t you tired of being judged by our outward appearance?
Hard work ignored. Devotion unrewarded. The boss chooses background over character. The teacher picks pet students instead of prepared ones. Parents show off their favorite sons and leave the runts out in the field. At least – that’s what happened to David.
Samuel takes a quick headcount and asks Jesse – Are these all the sons you have? The question likely caused Jesse to squirm a bit – but then he responds – I still have the youngest son. He is out taking care of the sheep
That’s where we find David – in the pasture with the flock. Eventually – David will go on to slay giants and conquer kingdoms. The Son of God will be called the Son of David. The greatest psalms – many of which we sing and love today – will flow from his pen.
But on this day – he wasn’t even invited to dinner with the family – he’s just a forgotten – inconsequential kid – performing a menial task in a small town.
Maybe you can relate. Lucky for us – God doesn’t see what we see – God doesn’t judge by outward appearances – God looks at the heart.
When Jesse sent for David – Samuel saw a gangly teenager enter the house – smelling like sheep – and looking like he needed a bath. But God saw something more. And so – the Lord whispered to Samuel – This is the one – anoint him!
David didn’t understand it at the time – but his life was forever changed in that moment. And it’s because God saw what no one else saw. So – what did God see? Scripture doesn’t say for sure – but it hints.
As I look at this story I see three qualities of David’s heart that God certainly saw as well. First – David had a hardworking heart.
Although Jesse had seven other sons – David was the only one out in the fields that day. Being low man on the totem pole meant that David was expected to do the jobs the rest of the family didn’t want to do. That’s just what David did – and without complaint.
The Bible is full of commands to work. God views work worthy of its own engraved commandment – Six days you shall labor – but on the seventh day you shall rest.
We’re more inclined to pay attention to the second half of that commandment. Most people would love to work less and rest more. But emphasis on the one day of rest may cause us to miss the command to work – Six days you shall labor – God said. Whether you work at home or in the marketplace – your work matters to God.
And it matters to society. One reason I think God commands us to work is that we need each other. Sheep need a shepherd. Cities need plumbers. Nations need soldiers. Stoplights break. Bones break. We need people to repair the first and set the second.
Another reason I think God wants us to work is because He is a worker! Jesus once said – My Father is always at his work to this very day – and I too am working. (John 5:17).
God is always working. So – however you work – you imitate God when you do. God saw that David had a heart for hard work.
And God saw that David had a humble heart. After Samuel anointed David’s head with oil – the spirit descended on him – and his life changed. I’m fairly sure this meant that he knew he was the chosen – that he would be the next king
What do you do in a situation like that? What did David do? Well – I’m happy to report – he did not go down to the nearest department store and try on royal crowns. He didn’t order a new set of business cards – telling the printer to Change it from shepherd to king-elect. He didn’t shine up a chariot and race through the streets of Bethlehem yelling – I’m God’s choice . . . you’re looking at Saul’s replacement!
This is what David did after he was anointed to be king – and it tells us a lot about why God chose him. As the story continues, King Saul seeks out an assistant and someone recommends David. So – Saul sent a message to Jesse that said – Send me your son David – who is with the sheep
Don’t miss those last three words. David went right back to the sheep – even after being anointed king. Then in the next chapter – even after being going to work for the King – we find that – David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem – He’s still tending his father’s flock!?
Well, when you have a heart like David’s, that’s what you do. That was his job – and he was faithful to do it. It made no difference that Samuel had anointed him – or that Saul appointed him as his personal attendant. He didn’t expect special treatment from others. He didn’t demand respect or brag about his position.
No – he just went back humbly to his sheep.
I think that’s one of the reasons he was a man after God’s heart. He was always approachable – always faithful in the little things. David had a humble heart – and we should too. Finally – David had a hallelujah-filled heart.
Do you know what David was doing out in the fields all day – when he wasn’t tending to the sheep – he was making music. David spent his days gazing up into the clouds writing worship songs. That’s actually why Saul sent for David in the first place.
Saul wrestled with depression and anger. In fact – the Bible says he was being tormented by an evil spirit. But – as was written in Victorian times – Music has charms to soothe the savage breast. Saul wanted a musician to play soothing music for him whenever he felt troubled – so one of Saul’s attendants told him that – One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player – and the Lord is with him”
David’s passion for praise and worship earned him a place in the palace. Of course – we’re not all harpist or psalm writers like David. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a heart for worship.
The longer I continue my walk with God – the more I appreciate the importance of music in ministry. I think Martin Luther was exactly right when he wrote – Next to the Word of God – music deserves the highest praise.
God seems to have cast His vote in favor of music too. In His Book – the Bible – the longest of all the sixty-six books is the one dedicated to the hymns of the Hebrews—the book of Psalms.
When was the last time you sang your heart out for God – was it the last time you sat in a church pew – or alone in your car – or maybe even the shower? Never mind how beautiful or how pitiful you may sound. Sing out – you’re making melody with your heart to the Lord! God loves a heart brimming with hallelujahs!
David, for all his foibles was a man after God’s own heart. Others may measure your waist size or wallet. Not God. He examines hearts. When God looked at David’s heart that day – He saw what no one else saw – a hardworking – humble – hallelujah-filled heart – a God-seeking heart. What does he see when he looks at yours – and what do you see – when you look at others.
Hymn: “I See A New Heaven”
Video: If Jesus Returned Today
Hymn: “10,000 Reasons”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Salvation Has Come to Us – anonymous