Matthew 17_ 1- 8      A Mountaintop Experience

Rev. David Holwick  G                                   50-Day Adventure

First Baptist Church                                         Week 1

Ledgewood, New Jersey    [rather short - can be easily expanded]

February 25, 2001

Matthew 17:1-8


A MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE



  I. Strange encounters.

      A. Of the Third Kind.


         Around 15 years ago, Robert White was napping while his friend

            Jan drove the car near Grand Junction, Colorado.

         They were heading to Las Vegas.

            It was very late at night.


         I am reading from his sworn testimony:


         She woke me, asking me what is that bright orange light

            ahead of us?

         Since there was a railroad track on the north side of the

            highway, I told her it was just a railroad light, and

               resumed my nap.

         A while later, Jan woke me again and said, "That is no railroad

            light."

         She was right.

            It was about the size of a full harvest moon.

         I decided to stay awake and watch this thing.

            As we got closer, it grew larger.  [...]


         When we were a few hundred feet from it, I turned off the

            ignition and we coasted up close to it.

         It was huge, the size of a very big barn.


         I made Jan stop the car, which she did not want to do.

         She was terrified and shaking badly.

            "Let's keep going," she pleaded.

         I tried to assure her there was nothing to fear.

            After all this is just a bright light.


         I got out of the car on the passenger side and stepped in

            front of the car for a better look at this thing.

         For some unknown reason, Jan turned on the headlights, and this

            light went up in the sky as fast as my eyes could follow it.

         When it reached a great height, it either changed shape or

            connected to another light, [with colors falling from it.]

         It came back down almost to where it started from.


         I did not see it hit the ground, because where I was standing

            there was a small incline.

         I climbed the incline and went over to where I thought it

            might have hit.

         I found a groove in the ground about 18 inches deep and 9 inches

            wide.

         I followed the groove and there it lay.


         [A piece of extraterrestrial spaceship? - looks like burned

            chunk of metal in grainy photo]


         I watched it for a while and it was still glowing.

            I went to get some gloves.

         I went back to the object and it was no longer

            glowing.

         I ran my hand over it and since I didn't feel any heat, I

            picked it up with the glove, carried it back to the car, and

               put it in the trunk.

         I have been told by Dr. Reiswick from Los Alamos National

            Laboratory, Materials, Science and Technology Division,

               who did the analisation [sic] on it, this object is

                  definitely extraterrestrial.


         I swear under oath this is a true story.


                                          (signed and notarized)

                                          Robert L. White


         In an article Mr. White says, "Everyone who sees it -- at

            least until the government gets ahold of 'em -- says it's

               the (darndest) thing they've ever seen."

         "Unsolved Mysteries" investigated it but mysteriously did not

            put it on TV.

         So Bob White has launched a website called "Hard Evidence.com."

            His encounter has turned his life upside-down.

                                                                   #19147

      B. Of the Biblical kind.

          1) About 2,000 years ago, three students and a guy named Jesus

                had a strange encounter.

              a) Alone on a mountaintop.

              b) Surrounded by clouds and light and supernatural beings.

                  1> A foretaste of heaven and world to come.

              c) It was a turning point in his ministry.

          2) Bizarre to compare to an alien encounter?

              a) Not if you were there.

              b) The disciples didn't know what to say.        Mark 9:6

              c) They were terrified.

              d) They saw Jesus in a completely new way.

          3) When you've encountered the real Jesus, it should blow

                your mind.


II. Worship should give us a taste of that mountaintop.

      A. It is not enough to just believe - we must celebrate.

          1) 50 Day Adventure puts worship at the top of the list.

          2) It has exercises to focus our worship better.

              a) For example, get rid of distractions which put you

                    in a bad mood before you ever get to church.

                  1> (Leave the husband/kids at home?)

              b) Come to church with anticipation.


      B. What can we do as a church to make worship more exciting?

          1) What doesn't work.

              a) Pure theatricalism.

              b) Program.  (ABC women's program at former biennial)

              c) Exhortation only.

          2) Worship is not something we do.  It is who we know.


      C. What builds excitement.

          1) Worship is exciting when people are seeking Jesus.

              a) A few years ago one church surveyed its community

                    asking why people DIDN'T go to church.

                 The answers are interesting:

                  1. There is no value in attending.             74%

                  4. I'm simply not interested.                  42%

                  6. Church services are usually boring.         36%

                  7. Services are irrelevant to the way I live.  34%


                 Only 12% said they didn't go because they weren't

                    sure there was a God.

                 Everybody wants spirituality.

                    They just don't expect to find it in church!

                                                                    #3333

              b) You shouldn't come to church for the service.

                    You come to encounter Jesus.

                 If you don't sense that Jesus is here, why don't YOU

                    bring him in?

          2) Worship is exciting when people are saved by Jesus.

              a) A stagnant church is a boring church.

              b) When people are getting saved you cannot hide

                    the excitement.

              c) Don't think of this as something that happens

                    during the last hymn.

                  1> All through the week, God is working in lives.

                  2> A new Christian will have an intensity about them.

                  3> If few are being saved we will become too inward.

          3) Worship is exciting when people are serving Jesus.

              a) The second Action Step is caring for one another.

                  1> Do someone a kindness - secretly.

                  2> Do one this week.

                  3> (Maybe you could share it with the rest of

                        us - anonymously, of course.)

              b) Service is not just for the pastor or S.S. teachers.

                  1> We believe everyone has a part.

                  2> When you help out someone who is down-and-out,

                        you are helping Jesus himself.


III. The ultimate expression of excitement is REVIVAL.

      A. The presence of Christ is the outstanding characteristic of

            all authentic revivals.


      B. When Christ is present, worship happens.

          1) The revival in Shantung, China, in the early 1930's had

                a great impact on the worship in church.


             C. L. Culpepper describes it this way:


             One result of the revival [Shantung, China, 1932-33] was a

                continual singing of the people.

             They put songs and other scriptures to music.

             Old people who could not read or write memorized the songs

                and sang with their eyes closed, their bodies swaying

                   to the rhythm of the melody and tears of joy running

                      down their cheeks.

             God had taken away their sorrow and given them a new song.

             I saw that many old women who could not carry a tune were

                filled with the Spirit, singing a melody that seemed to

                   come from an angel of heaven.


             One of the greatest personal blessings which I received

                from the revival was the wonderful spirit in the worship

                   services.

             Entire congregations bowed in silent meditation for several

                minutes.

             The atmosphere became charged with spiritual power.

                Suddenly someone would begin to pray and praise God.

             As long as an hour would pass before the speaker would

                speak.

             Conviction became so evident that the preacher would simply

                give an opportunity for anyone who wished to accept

                   Christ to come forward.

             There was always some response, often in large groups.

             I knew it was the natural result of a spirit of worship

                and adoration which followed revival.

                                                                   #19148


          2) We serve the Conqueror of Heaven.  Worship him with joy!



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SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:


# 3333   "Executive Minister's Note," by Rev. Roy Medley in ABCNJ

            Pre-Vues (newsletter), September 1995.


#19147   "The Bob White Extraterrestrial Experience," by Robert White

            (edited by David Holwick), http://www.hardevidence.com,

            February 2001.


#19148   "The Shantung Revival," by C. L. Culpepper, pages 48-49; quoted

          by Dr. David R. Mains in sample sermon of "Seeing the Unseen

          Christ" 50 Day Adventure, page B.28, February 2001.


These and 17,000 others are part of a database that can be downloaded,

absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html

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