Sunday 20th January 9am Worship
Title: The Gospel According to Krispy Kreme
Bible Reading: Micah 6:1-8
Preacher: Phil Swain
I am excited about the topic that we are exploring today. We are going to our relationship with God and how to recapture that hunger for making the pursuit of God the passion of our lives. We are going to explore the amazing invitation from the God who created the whole world to be in a relationship with him.
Speaking of invitations … I got to share an absolutely amazing thing that I received in the mail during the week. I knew it something special as soon as I open the mailbox because it was a thick letter with fancy writing on the front! I thought it might be a wedding invitation … but no, it was something different.
I opened it up and there was this fancy cover with a little saying in here about dreaming big. I open it up to the middle and read the first paragraph …
His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
and The Honourable Scott Morrison, MP Prime Minister of Australia
and Kareem El-Ansary, Australia’s 2019 Youth Representative to the United Nations
Requests the honour of your presence at
By this stage I am going back to the envelope to see if this is for real … yes … that is my name on the front … Rev Phillip and Mrs Marion Swain. I keep reading … requests your presence at the inaugural gala launch of National Millennium Generation Commission.
Now I just got to pause for a second and give some explanation. A number of months ago I had a phone call from Alan Cadman who used to be the Federal Member for Mitchell (where I used to live). Alan in his semi-retirement from politics has got himself on a committee which was looking at national issues of children and young people. When Alan was in parliament, I got to know him quite well and we used to invite him to our Community Carols by Candlelight each year. He knew that I had a passion for children and young people so Alan rings me up and says that the Federal government is looking at a new initiative to help network different people who are working with Children and Youth together to explore some ways forward for the big issues that children young people are facing AND would I be open to be involved. I say, “sure” think that I might be asked to do a survey or maybe go to a meeting or two. I did not expect this in the mail.
Governor General, Prime Minister, UN Representative inviting me to a launch of the National Millennium Generation Commission. Luckily, they included little bit of paper explaining the idea. On Tuesday 19th March at 7pm in the Great Hall at Parliament House, the government is going to launch a 7 person commission to travel around the country talking to people of the millennium generation and community groups about issues facing young people and report back to the government. It turns out that there are 4 or 5 hundred important people coming to this gala launch. I don’t know how or even quite why Alan decided to link me up but hey … my name is on the front of the envelope!!!
I just have to show off a bit. Get this. You don’t RSVP to this event, someone RSVP’s you. It says, “Ms Jennifer Lee will calling you soon to confirm the receipt of this invitation and your ability to attend.” Pretty cool, eh. This should be a most amazing night. One of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The bummer of the whole deal is that we are not going. Yeah.
I as it turns out have a dentist appointment on Tuesday 19th March at 4:30pm. My dentist is really hard to get into, and this appointment has been on the books for a long time, and I just don’t think I can get through the dentist and across town to the airport to catch a plane to Canberra to be there by 7pm. And besides, it is Church Council that night and I really shouldn’t miss it. So when Jennifer calls, we’ve decided we just have to say no.
Ok … who worked out that all of this was made up? There is no such thing as the National Millennium Generation Commission. I lied. I’m sorry. I’m not going anywhere. I am a nobody. I highly doubt I wouldn’t ever get an invite to Canberra. But what if we did get in an invitation to an event like this and we said no because of a dentist appointment or Church Council. You would call me the biggest idiot ever. I should cancel the appointment, clear the week. Go a few days earlier. If we got an invitation like this we wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Well, this morning I want to look at an invitation which is just as amazing. And it is this, that the God of the Universe is inviting you and is inviting me to spend our lives in relationship with him. You can forget about the governor general. You can forget about ScoMo. This is the God of the Universe which is giving us an invitation. And his invitation is to come and share our lives with him.
And yet many of us, myself included, give excuses as silly as “I have a dentist appointment. I’d love to hang out with you more, I’d love to know you more, I’d love to dive deeper into your heart and character, I’d love to invest more time and energy in building that intimacy with you, but I have a very busy life going on here” We have an invitation here which is beyond belief. Why would we not take it.
Let’s go back to our bible reading for tonight. This reading from Hosea comes in the context of the Israelites coming out of 70 years of Exile and starting to settle back into the Promised Land. At that time there was a lot of talk about what they needed to do to please God so that he wouldn’t send them back to exile again. Some people were saying that they needed to follow the Law of Moses to the letter – to make sure that everything they did was pure and holy.
Others were saying that it had to do with the sacrifices. They rebuild the temple so they could make more sacrifices and more lavish sacrifices to God. People argued with what they should do to please God.
By the prophet Micah comes along and says … you a missing the point. That is not what God requires. Listen to his words:
With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
Micah is clearly saying NO – all of that means nothing to God! Instead our reading goes on to say…
The LORD has showed you what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
It’s not what we naturally think when we are asked the question … What does God desires most from you? Some people think that God wants our money because that is what the church is always asking for. Some people think that God wants us to be good. God wants us to be change my behaviour, that God wants me to stop … fill in the blank.
Or God wants you to serve somewhere. To run youth groups or to clean the church or to go over to Africa and tell people about Jesus.
Those thinks are important, but they are not what God wants most from us? God wants us to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
It is not dissimilar to the time when the young lawyer came up to Jesus and asked the question … “what is the most important thing” and Jesus said “love God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength. And love others because this sums up the whole of the law.”
What does God want the most? God wants our passion, our love, our lives and affection. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. As a church, we do ok at encouraging each other to act justly – to treat people in the right way, to stand up for social justice issues around the world, to be the change in making the world a better place. We do OK, but we can do much more when it comes to “acting justly” … and so we will continue to preach that message!
I think as a church we also do the “mercy” part of this verse quite well. When people are in need – whether it is someone battling health issues in our congregation or the struggling farmers, or people we encounter in our community – we are people of mercy and compassion. And I encourage us to keep doing that. But today, I particularly want to encourage you to walk humbly with your God. What an invitation. To walk with God. God is saying, “Walk with me!”
God doesn’t just want us to work for God but to walk with God. To have a friendship, connection, fellowship, intimacy. God is inviting us to walk with him. Day by day, down the street, at our work, across campus, through life and death … God wants us to desire that closeness, to want God to be by our side. God is calling out to you… inviting you to walk with him. What an amazing invitation! The maker of the universe wants us to walk with him!
But it is not only what God wants … it is what we need. Psalm 107 talks about how our souls’ hunger for God and how some people’s souls are fainting because they are wandering in a wasteland. When we walk with God, our relationship with God feeds our soul.
We have an invitation from God to walk with him and we have a soul which is hungry for God and when we come together God is happy and we are satisfied because we are made for him. King David from the Old Testament was a guy who had some good points and bad points but one of his greatest strengths was his relationship with God. He wrote in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I asked of the LORD, one thing I long for: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to seek him in his temple.” All David wanted was to be with God, to walk with God.
You might be wondering where the Krispy Kremes fits in? Well, Krispy Kremes have only been in Australia since June 2003. Before then we might have known about Krispy Kremes through movies & TV shows from America but they were not available in Australia.
How much do you know about Krispy Kremes? The legend was it that In 1937 Vernon Carver Rudolph won in a poker game the secret recipe for yeast-raising donuts. In that summer he opened a shop opposite Salem College in America and started making donuts. Over the years he set up a number of franchise around the US, being very successful until he died in 1973 where the company was sold to Beatrice Food Company.
They continued to expand the company and in 2003 Australia became the first franchise outside the US – in Penrith! Now there is over 50 Krispy Kreme shops in Australia and plenty of places that sell them.
Now about the donuts in particular … The “hole” process (no pun intended) to make a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut takes over five hours, based on a secret 70 year old yeast-raised doughnut recipe! The yeast ferments for four hours first; then it’s mixed with flour, water and yeast to make the dough. The doughnuts then ride up and down in a temperature controlled environment called the Proofer which has heat and humidity to make the doughnuts rise– just like bread! After the doughnuts are nice and brown on one side, they are flipped and cooked to a delicious golden brown on the other side. The golden brown doughnuts then glide under a “waterfall” of warm glaze.
But is this what Krispy Kremes are all about? I can keep giving you more and more information about these donuts, but is this why the people at Krispy Kremes make these donuts … so we can learn more and more about them?
No … they don’t make them for information, they make them so you can experience them. There is a great gulf between information and experience.
It is one thing to say intellectually, I believe in a God. Intellectually, I believe in a man called Jesus who died on the cross for us. That is ok, but there should be some point where we step beyond that to experience God. To participate in a dynamic, intimate relationship with the creator.
The same David who wrote that he wanted to be in the presence of the Lord forever also said in Psalm 34, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”
This is the challenge I want to give us this morning. To not just know about God but to experience God. This is the challenge. It is not an easy challenge. It sort of makes sense to me that if God wants our affection, then the opposite of God – whatever is against God, would want to steal our affections from God and make us love everything else in the world besides God.
Don’t miss the point of Micah 6:8. Yes it is really important to be about doing justice and acts of mercy but God is also looking at us with eyes of love and saying, “But I also want you. I also want to simply walk with you.”
But for now, I just want you to go with the idea that we have an invitation, sitting in your lap right now, delivered from the son of God himself. Don’t miss the invitation because you have a dentist appointment. Ask God to help you prioritise an appropriate response to that invitation.
Don’t just know about God … taste and see that the Lord is Good. Rekindle that relationship with God. Deepen that relationship. Don’t ignore the invitation.