by Ed Rowell

Pay it Forward
Ed Rowell
1 Chronicles 29:5b-6; 10-20

This morning we are veering away from our usual pattern of worship, then teaching, to try and integrate the two. I'll teach some, we'll worship some, I'll teach again, and then we'll celebrate together with the offering and more worship. I need to ask you not to leave until you are dismissed—I would hate for anyone to miss out on what God is doing by leaving prematurely.

We began with spirituals--songs written by slaves in bondage, crying out for freedom and justice. That's not how we usually open a service here at The People's Church, but this isn't a usual service.

The Old Testament is the account of God seeking to draw His people back into relationship with Him. He chose a family—which later became a nation—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, later called Israel. God established a covenant with these people, which said, "If you will follow me and tell other nations about me, I will bless you beyond your ability to imagine."

When you read the Old Testament as a whole, you see the ebb and flow in this nation's relationship with God. Every time they strayed from God, there were consequences. Every time they drew near to Him, there were great blessings.

The low point in their history was probably during the 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Their tears for freedom and cries to God for justice have been echoed by every group of people who have ever known bondage and oppression.

Some would say that in our context, here in affluent Williamson County, we are far removed from bondage and oppression. It has been over 150 years since slavery was abolished in this country. But we are kidding ourselves if we believe we are all free. We are in bondage to all kinds of things—alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, sex, shopping negative patterns of thinking, bitterness, fear, worry, ambition, the list goes on and on. We are in bondage to anything that binds us or controls us so that we are not ...

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