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Later You Will Understand


haven't said my name is Rick wrestling I'm a pastor here in a sexual organ I oversee two communities one in Madras and one in Redmond and typically I'm with them on a Sunday morning but I'm grateful to be here with you and want to share a couple of stories with you three stories specifically two of them are from the scriptures and then one is a more personal story and then I want to close our time together by taking communion and I hope that you'll join us in that at the close of the service today I also want to greet those who are joining us online and just say welcome glad you're here as well and pray that the presence of peace a presence of crisis with each one of you whether you're here physically or or or here virtually first story I want to tell you is a story of from the Gospels the story of Jesus and a story of Peter sure fairly succinctly but it's a dinner that Jesus is having with his disciples and it's a fairly intimate gathering and this is an after-dinner conversation there there are several things that Jesus wants to convey to his disciples the cross is just not far down the road for him and before he gets to that point Jesus wants to really begin to pass the leadership baton to his disciples and so he he gathers together with them and this is the passage I want to read this is John 13 beginning at verse 4 the words will be on the screen you're welcome to turn there if with your own device or your own Bible but just a few verses from John 13 this is again Jesus with his disciples in a room pretty close gathering and after-dinner conversation and here's what Jesus says first four so Jesus got up from the meal took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist and after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him he came to Simon Peter who said to him Lord are you going to wash my feet jesus replied you do not realize now what I'm doing but later you will understand that's a powerful line let me say it one more time jesus replied you do not realize now what I am doing but later you will understand will you indulge me for a moment the very very last four lines of that scripture later you will understand will you repeat those out loud with me right now are you ready here we go later you will understand well done well done Jesus wants to wash Peters feet and Peter is resistant to this idea he's opposed to this idea washing feet for them was a basic hygiene practice it would be for us washing your hands before dinner or you know taking off your muddy shoes before you walk across somebody's white carpet but it was more than a hygiene practice there was also a social status attached to it and this is how it worked less powerful people would wash the feet of more powerful people but it didn't work in Reverse more powerful people did not wash the feet of less powerful people so if you were a household that in that time had a servant a servant would wash the feet of guests or of the the hosts of the home if you were a child there's a chance that you might end up washing the feet of adults but teachers did not wash the feet of their students rabbis did not t wash the feet of their of their disciples and when it gets to Peter Peter says whoa no way why do you want to wash my feet this was not Peters expectation for how a messiah should behave this is not the plan that Peter has in mind and and if you read the Gospels you'll see that it's not just this one instance there are multiple occurrences where Peter or the other disciples find that Jesus is not meeting their expectations of what a savior should be doing and Peter doesn't quite get it that that Jesus is soon going to go to the cross that Jesus will soon soon ascend back to heaven that pretty soon the leadership of this it will be passed to him and to the other disciples and that what Jesus wants is for them to be servants of the people not not power brokers or not leaders that absorb power but servants the kind of service who would wash the feet of others and Jesus Jesus tells him straight up you don't understand what I'm doing Peter but later you will understand Jesus has no problem bending the expectations of his followers that wasn't true just for his disciples that's true for every single one of us in this room for every 21st century follower of Jesus he has no problem saying I'm gonna do things differently than what you expect and sometimes things are not going to go according to your plan sometimes he doesn't meet our expectations and here's here's the real kicker I find this interesting he has no problem with that whatsoever he has no problem that that he will do things differently than what we expect him to do and he will kind of leave us hanging out there just a little bit there are so many times recorded in the Gospels where Jesus knows that his own disciples are confused about what's going on and he brings no clarity to them and he's just fine with that and so we might have to expect that in our lifetime as we become followers of Jesus as well that there may be points where Jesus disappoints us or defies our expectations or leaves us to be confused and he's ok with that probably more ok with it than we are now that's the first story I want to tell you those words from Jesus to Peter later later you will understand here's the second story I want to tell you it comes from the Old Testament comes from the book of Exodus and and specifically I'm gonna read from Exodus 2 and if you want to turn there if you want to read you're welcome to do that but I'm gonna I'm gonna read the words for you and they'll be on the screen this is this is 1500 years before the time of Jesus and it's the birth story of a man who we later note as Moses the Bible has several stories about the births of people who become later important leaders Jesus of course being the the most important of course we celebrate that with Christmas but this is a narrative this is a story about the birth of Moses and here's my invitation to you I'm going to read it it's a lengthy passage and so if you would like to to close your eyes and just hear this story then I invite you as you've read whether you read it on the screen or hear me say these words to just imagine and feel what it would have felt like to be there in this story because the story I'm going to read you is is devoid of emotion it's just going to tell you the facts and it's going to leave it to you to fill in the blanks a little bit but this is the story this is Exodus - I'm actually gonna begin with the verse the the the last verse of chapter one here's the story then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile but let every girl live and now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son when she saw that he was a fine child she hid him for three months but when she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch and then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile his sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe and her attendants were walking along the riverbank she saw the Nile among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it she opened it and saw the baby he was crying and she felt sorry for him this is one of the Hebrew babies she said then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse this baby for you yeah ska she said so the girl went and got the baby's mother Pharaoh's daughter said to her take this baby and nurse him for me and I will pay you and so the woman took the baby and nursed him and when the child grew older she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son and she named him Moses saying I drew him out of the water the story as the Bible records is it's recorded so matter-of-factly just the facts of what happened there's very little emotion in it the only emotion that's that's communicated is when the Pharaoh's daughter opens the basket and sees that the baby's crying and it says she felt sorry for him but if we read that story we know there's a whole lot more emotion going on it than just what we read there and and the Bible entrusts us it knows us well enough to know that as we read this story we can read it and appropriately know what the people in the story were feeling and there's a lot going on the cruelty of an oppressive Pharaoh and oppressive leader of a nation the innocence of a family with a three-month baby a three-month baby boy and they've got no good options for what to do there's the desperation of a mother who has no good options and has to decide what she's gonna do with her son fearing for his life and then at the end there's the surprise Redemption by a sympathetic Pharaoh's daughter it's a remarkable story she names this baby Moses it's it's a little bit kind of a confusing name not a common name it it it probably is a an Egyptian name but it sounds like a Hebrew word that means to draw out because she drew this child out of the water for those of us who know this story we know the story of Exodus we know that that name has a double meaning because not only does this this this woman this royalty the Pharaoh's daughter draw Moses out of the water but if you go on and know the story it becomes Moses who leads the people of easily this this child grows up and leads the people out of captivity in Egypt he'll lead them across the reed sea on dry ground and and saves the people from the from the torrent of water hee hee not only is he drawn out he in fact leads a nation and draws them out of the waters as well the thing that's missing from the story aside from the emotion of everybody in the inn in this scene I especially wonder what what the mother of this baby felt what Moses mother felt and if anything I wish I could know her internal monologue I wish I could know what she was thinking I wish I could hear what her prayers were like because they must have been prayers of desperation they must have been prayers of a mother who doesn't know what to do and cries out to God and says God why is this going on what is going to happen to my son how do I save his life what does a mother feel when when she's making a basket for her son to place him in a river I mean I imagine the Deschutes River but but the Nile of course was much larger what does a mother feel and she coats a basket with tar and pitch preparing it for her own son what's going through her heart what what's going through her mind what does she feel as she holds her son for the last time before placing her son in this basket could she possibly have known what would come as a result of this this act of desperation in this story there's a miracle that occurs there's a happy ending to this story the miracle of course is that the Pharaoh's daughter happens to be there and and feel sorry for him and saves this child and then not only does the mother get her child back but but the Pharaoh's daughter comes to her and says here will you take care of this baby and I'll pay you in order to do it and so this mother gets to receive her baby back and and gets to nurse him and raise him for a time before he goes in to live as the the grandson of the Pharaoh and the son of the Pharaoh's daughter is there any way that she possibly could have known the outcome of her story is there any way that she could have known what God would do in this instant this crying baby that she places in a river in a basket if you stop reading the story at this point you you of the the point of the baby being saved you might say I think I know what the story's about this is a story about the the how God is miraculous this is a story about how God saves and certainly Moses mother would have thought this is an incredible miracle but the greater miracle of the story of Exodus is not just how that this baby was saved the greater miracle of course is that this baby grows up and God uses this this man in a powerful way to lead the people out of captivity in Egypt and here's the kicker his mother probably never got to see the full fruition of that story she probably never got to see the full result of what God was doing because that would unfold over a couple of generations and she was given a glimpse of something but in large part lived without the understanding of what God was doing through her simple active of making a basket coating it with tar and pitch and placing her son it was too soon for her to accurately know what was going to happen and how God would use this it would take decades and really it would take generations to know so story one is a story of Peter and Jesus and and and Peter Peters expectations being defied and and Jesus being okay with that and saying to him Peter later later you'll understand and story too is a story of a mother and a baby a baby named Moses story of a mother who must have thought she knew what this was about but would never quite see in her lifetime the fulfillment of what God was actually up to and how his kingdom was unfolding he'd never really grasped the the depth and breadth of of God's Redemption it would happen beyond her lifetime here's the third story I want to tell you much personal story back in August I went to the doctor just across town and I didn't really want to go to the doctor I didn't feel sick and I kind of thought this was no big deal but my wife said you really really ought to go to the doctor and so I do what my wife says it only took a few minutes there was a couple of tests there was an exam it really only was a few minutes before I heard my doctors say these words to me mr. Russell I believe that you have testicular cancer and you need to prepare yourself that we're going to have to operate very soon those those are stunning words to hear and my brain could not process my brain was fighting what let's just kind of take this down and I'll slow things down and she kind of kept breaking through my brain could not comprehend what she was saying but my emotions seem to know instantly what she was saying we were just about to go on a family vacation we were just about to go on a trip to Mexico where we were working with a partner church and an orphanage there and we were leaving in two days and my doctor said are you sure you want to go on this trip and I said absolutely and so we we took this news and we packed our bags and we left the country and began to process what this meant that as soon as I returned from that trip I I would be having surgery a couple notes about this diagnosis this is sonic it's not a common diagnosis but when it occurs it commonly occurs in men under the age of 40 men between the ages of 20 and 40 I'm 38 I was two years away from getting out from underneath this I'm not sure if that's how it works but the doctors assured me it this is a treatable form of cancer yeah we have to treat it but it is treatable and it responds well to treatment and the cure rate for men is 96% 96% of men who get this diagnosis after five years are still alive that's a very good number it's a very good it's it's an even better number for women a hundred percent of women with this diagnosed not a single recorded death it's a it's a dumb joke and I'm appreciate your sympathy laughter I don't I had a man come up to me and say when he heard the news he said I'm so sorry but you're gonna fight this you're gonna be great my sister had the same thing and she's doing great I don't know how to respond to that I'm not dying but I have to treat this and the treatment is seriously unfun we believed initially that this would be surgery that would be if that's what the doctor believed that's what that's what we were told that's what we communicated with our our family and our friends would be surgery and that would probably be it and so we communicated with with everyone you know really what this what this will amount to is surgery with a few uncomfortable weeks of recovery and among my friends what this will amount to is a lifetime of unfortunate jokes at my expense I can handle that I probably deserve that we did surgery and then after surgery we did a scan and the scan said the cancer had spread and that was as hard to hear that news as it was to hear the first the first diagnosis it means treatment and for me specifically it means chemotherapy and so if you were wondering this this haircut is chemically induced although to be fair male pattern baldness was taking its effect well before I took any treatments so so chemo doesn't get all the credit for this good look that I'm sporting here one of the more difficult conversations to have in in this was the conversation that my wife on I felt we needed to have with our kids we have an eight year old daughter and a six year old son and we really talked about in questioned how much do we tell them and what do we tell them what do they need to know what would be too much we quickly realized that we had so many people who love us and care for us coming up to us and saying how are you doing how is treatment house was has the tumors front we realized that they were going to hear words like cancer and then tumor and treatment and chemo and we if for no other reason they needed to know they needed to hear that from us and not hear it from strangers they're not trying to catch when it's amazing what kids pick up even though parents don't tell them can I get an amen on that yeah it scares me sometimes I'll give you a good example the first conversation we had to have with our kids we we told my eight-year-old daughter our six-year-old son we had to say daddy has cancer which is a breathtaking thing to have to say and my daughter's response was Oh John McCain died of cancer this was back in September I'm quite proud of my daughter for knowing that who these geopolitical figures are our family has my wife and I have both had the occasion to do some advocacy work in Washington DC and we got to take our kids the last time we went and we had a meeting with one of our senators from Oregon and so we got to do a family photo and so my our kids are just like acutely aware of the three branches of government and oh you know all this stuff about a month later we had to explain that it wasn't over that that we did surgery but there was more and we were going to have to do treatment called chemotherapy and it was gonna make me feel sick and the kids wanted to know well why would medicine make you feel sick daddy you shouldn't take that kind of medicine I agree with him they needed to know that there were days that I was not gonna be feeling very good that there were days where I was gonna need to be in bed a lot there were days when they were gonna have to help out do extra things and that there would be days where I would have really bad stomachaches and and that my hair was gonna fall out and all these things that come with treatment and and this all seemed to this seemed to kind of breeze by them this seemed to be like we were just telling them you know about our days and how it went talking about the weather at least until the point when I said and and my hair's gonna fall out and then all of a sudden are both of our kids were like what your hair's gonna fall out and all of a sudden they were full of questions about this whole thing what do you mean your hair's gonna fall out like it's all gonna fall out at once is gonna be like our pets that walk around the house and their hair is falling out all the time is it are you gonna take a pill and pop your hair comes out and they had all these they had all these questions you know cancer chemo not interesting hair falling out they are super engaged and want to know what's going on and I remember the morning of my first treatment and I was about to leave the house about the same time they were about to leave for school and we were having breakfast and my daughter came up to me and she said daddy when you come home are you still going to have your hair it's hard not to cry in front of my kids sometimes and I held it in really well until I got in the car on that one hearing a diagnosis like that it's disorienting it's confusing and it's not just the diagnosis it's it's the experience of surgery and the treatment and the side effects and the way I feel often and it it it leaves me with a whole bunch of questions and a whole bunch of questions that I don't have good answers for God why is this happening is I'm 38 this is not normal this is not what was supposed to be happening what is going on with this Lord am I supposed to be learning something is there some silver lining here that I'm supposed to figure out what what is this for is there something good that will come from this I I don't believe that God gives people cancer in order to teach them a lesson I don't believe that God wanted the Pharaoh to throw Hebrew baby boys into the river in order to that's that's not our God but I do believe that we worship a God who can take any miserable circumstance and do something redemptive with it somehow weave it into his story of his unfolding Kingdom but how did how is this a part of that I don't get it and I feel like I'm in the middle of something that I don't have good answers for and I'll be straight up with you I'm feeling pretty good today but there are a number of days especially the treatment days where I don't feel good and I don't have the the mental capacity to try to even come up with answers to these questions because most of my own mental energy is spent just trying to not feel bad what is this about this was not my expectation for how this should go my fear in telling you this is that that you'll walk away from here and your response will be sympathy and I don't want a sympathy response that's not why I came here I'm not I'm not here to get more people to feel sorry for me I'm not here to get more people to pray for me I have a congregation to congregation 'he's a family a support network of friends people who are praying for me I mean I have it good people bringing food to my house all the time thinking that I'm starving somehow I mean I have had more lasagnas in the last two months than you can imagine if I tell people if I die it's not gonna be the cancer it's gonna be the carbohydrates that that do me in I'm not looking for sympathy and I don't need anymore lasagnas if anything I'm here to recruit you I'm looking for friendship I'm looking for companions I'm looking for people who will say I trust in Jesus I believe God is good but I don't understand why I'm going through some of this stuff I trust in Jesus and I believe God is good but there are some things I just don't get there are some things that don't meet my expectations I don't know why dark God takes so long to fix some problems I get frustrated when Jesus doesn't meet my expectations I don't get it why God feels so close as we worship as we sing I feel the presence of Jesus do you feel the presence of Jesus but there are some days I don't and if I'm honest with you and if some of you are honest with me there are some days where I wonder and I got fool for believing this at all and then I believe that too I'm gonna start a club and Peter I think is like the charter member of this club the guy who never really understood I think that Moses mother who got understanding got relief got to see a miracle happened got to see her son be saved but never really fully grasp the whole big story that God was telling with her son with her baby she lived without a full and complete understanding of what God would do because what God would do in her in her case and sometimes in our case took generations to see come true I welcome anyone into this club who claims I I will follow Jesus I will trust God but there are some things I don't understand and some days we emphasize one of those statements more than the other some of those statements we consent we can say I trust Jesus and then there will be some days where we where where where we can say I trust Jesus but I don't understand it's a club for people with cancer it's a club for people who have marriages who did not meet their expectations it's a club for people who who for men for families that have had pregnancies that ended with deep disappointment it's a club for people who walk with depression and they walk with it more days than they want it's a club for entrepreneurs who didn't make it for parents who have kids young kids or adult kids and they make decisions that they make and you go why do they make those decisions it's a club for people who experience grief like a shadow that just won't quite ever leave it's a club for those who wonder why God gave you the body that you have it's a club for people who say I am working hard I'm working hard why can't I get that break that I need that others seem to get it's a club for anybody who gets a bad diagnosis that leaves you disoriented and confused and with questions that you can't find good answers for it's a club for people who say Jesus I will follow you God I will trust you but I don't understand I'm not looking for sympathy I'm not looking for casseroles I'm looking for companions I'm looking for friends I'm looking for people to stand arm-in-arm with people who will say I I'm still coming to terms with what Jesus said to Peter later you will understand I want to invite our Usher's for at this time I want to invite our worship team forward at this time we're going to close in communion together and I want to close in communion as a simple act of faith in Jesus just a simple proclamation that by taking his body and his blood that we're claiming despite whatever our circumstances may be what despite our level of understanding about what is our faith is in him he may not meet all of your expectations but you'll trust him and like Moses mother you may not get to see the big full picture the big full outcome of whatever it is that you have to walk with but anyone who's here today that is placing their faith in Jesus you're welcome to join in as and take communion with us let me give you some instructions on how this is going to work I know this is a little bit different than what's typical in just a moment the ushers are going to begin to pass trays to you and there are two cups and we want you to take both in the top cup you'll see the juice but underneath that the second Cup is holding a wafer and so when the Pat when when the plate is passed please take both of those cups together and I sure as you may begin to pass those plates even now I'd like you to hold on to those elements before you take them before you receive them we're gonna receive them together in unison as a body what binds us together in this room is it's not our genealogy it is not our geography it is it is our common foundation that Jesus is our Savior and that our trust is in him and so I'd like you to hold on to those cups the bread the juice until everyone's been served and and we're going to worship here together and we'll receive these elements together as a simple act of the unity that we have together in Christ will you will you pray with me now Lord we stand with Peter there are some things we do not understand Lord we bring before you the frustrations the unmet expectations the circumstances that are beyond our control and and Lord just in a moment of silent prayer I don't know what that is for you but what is it that you need to lay before the Lord in this moment of silence [Music] Lord we claim again that we love you we trust you we will follow you and Lord we know most importantly we know we're loved by you and Lord we believe that today on the day we feel like it and we believe that on the days we don't feel like it we are loved by you and Lord in this bread and in this juice that we hold in our hands Lord we're reminded of your sacrifice for us we're reminded that you entered suffering you could have gotten over it or gone around it or avoided it but you entered it and you know suffering and Jesus we claim your death and your resurrection for ourselves Lord meet us powerfully with your presence we need your presence in this moment Lord as we sing as we receive these elements in a moment we pray that your presence is that we would feel it that we would know it and I pray that especially for those who haven't felt it in a long time that we would know you're here by our side search I want to continue in an attitude of Prayer and you can stay seated right where you are but we're gonna we're gonna sing I welcome you to sing with us we're gonna sing we're gonna claim what we believe in song and then here in just a moment as the worship concludes I'll come back and I'll prompt you and I'll give you instruction on receiving this body and blood of Christ together but will you sing and join in worship with us just in a spirit of prayer cuddle up - I won't be overwhelmed give me fish soon to see things like you do god I look to you you're where my help comes from give me wisdom you know just what to do [Music] Oh [Music] we love to you will tear god i love to you i will be overwhelmed give me vision see things like you to god i love to you here where my help comes from give me wisdom before you know just what to do yeah and I will for my strength and I will of my Lord my rock forever all my days I will love you go Oh [Music] God Halleck t I won't be over when give me vision yes see things like you too but I look to you you're where my help comes from give me we're son you know just what to do Oh inside and I forever all my teas the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and he said this is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me will you take the body of our Lord and Savior and in the same way after supper he took the cup saying this cup is the new covenant in my blood do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes again [Music] lord [Music] in a spirit of gratitude we say thank you thank you that even though some of us are in the middle of some things we know you're with us and we know that you control the outcome whether we see the outcome we want in this lifetime or not you control the outcome and so Lord we trust you and Lord we leave with gratitude that even though there are some things we don't understand we are loved and lord I pray that again you would deeply let each one of us know the deep love you have for women for each one of us Lord Lord I pray that your Holy Spirit would minister to each one and I pray for specially for those of us in this room who are walking through something that we cannot control and we do not get and we don't want it and we don't understand it but Lord walk with us I pray that you might give some of us understanding but more importantly Lord I pray that you would give us your love your felt love and that we would lean into that even when we don't have understanding Jesus we need you and we claim that and we claim that together and all of God's people said amen amen I want to remind you as we close the service that the prayer wall is here and there there are guides there there are companions there there are friends there and so if you're walking through something or or maybe you're walking with someone and they need prayer or you need prayer that's that's why the prayer wall is there so I hope you'll take advantage of it this is nothing that we need to face alone and and so please use that time I'm going to ask you to stand with me right now and as we dismiss that boy Moses that baby that was placed in a basket grew up to be a great leader whom God used in a powerful way and in the Book of Numbers the Lord comes to Moses and gives him a word a blessing to give to the Hebrew people and the Lord said this is what the Lord said the Lord said to Moses this is how you bless the people say to them the Lord bless you and keep you the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you the Lord give turned his face towards you and give you peace and may you go in God's peace you're dismissed [Applause]

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