Usually on Wednesdays I like to share reflections on current events or review uplifting movies or good books, but I want to start including especially good sermon series sometimes too. For instance, my daughter’s husband, Carl, is a videographer for Northridge, a mega church near Detroit. Their pastor, Brad Powell, is such a thoughtful teacher that they just opened their fourth campus (in Grosse Ile) this fall, and on the first day the new building opened, twice as many people showed up as could fit in the auditorium! So, on the second Sunday, they already had to go to 2 services to accommodate all the people who are coming. Brad just started a new series in September called “Origins: Old Testament Edition.” My son-in-law traveled with a group from Northridge last spring to learn about Israel and get footage and inspiration for this series, and so—of course—I was very eager to check out Carl’s video handiwork as well as hear the messages. I’ve been so inspired by Brad’s teaching that I want to recommend this series. If you can’t take the time to just sit quietly and listen, you can always double task like I do, listening while you work out, do calisthenics, drive to work, fold laundry, wash dishes, or whatever!
I can’t really condense the messages, but let me give you just one insight from Brad’s message on En Gedi. This was especially meaningful to me, because Alan and I have taken a trip to Israel, so I could picture everything in my mind:
David and his men were wandering in the desert trying to avoid King Saul, who was jealous of David’s popularity. They finally managed to reach the life-giving springs of En Gedi, which bubble up out of the rocks in the middle of the barren wilderness. Brad mentioned that when they visited early in the morning, they didn’t find anything but animals.All the tourists had gone to the Dead Sea instead, which is very close by and much more impressive. This is absolutely true! Our tour bus didn’t stop at the Springs of En Gedi at all. Instead, our destination was a glamorous resort along the banks of the Dead Sea. The only trouble is, the Dead Sea is dead. Nothing ever grows in it! It’s fun to float in it, but although it will sustain a person’s weight, it can’t sustain the life of any living thing! Brad pointed out that spiritually—like David—we live in an arid world, but instead of seeking refuge in the life-giving waters at the Springs of En Gedi, we are drawn to look for pleasure in places that are beautiful but have no life. When we feel that deep, restless longing in our souls, drinking in the world’s glamorous “Dead Sea” won’t quench our thirst. We need to come to God. He is the true spiritual En Gedi: The spring of living water:
“O Lord, the hope of Israel,
all that forsake thee shall be ashamed,
and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth,
because they have forsaken the Lord,
the fountain of living waters.”
(Jeremiah 17:13, emphasis mine)How about you and me? Where do we go to find spiritual life and peace? God truly is my En Gedi, my fountain of living waters, and I pray He’s yours too!
(I took the photos of Brad Powell and the Spring of En Gedi while listening to the message on their website. All the rest were from my trip to Israel with Alan, except the picture of the deer and the last picture, which were taken at our previous home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.)