Thursday, January 24, 2008

New CORE Church of Troy sermon series: how to have a summit experience with the living God

Summit: the highest attained or attainable point

Summit then is a journey, a destination and a direction; a path that leads upward.

On a mountain, the summit is the highest attainable place; the tippy-top. For many years certain men have been captivated by the challenge of mountain climbing and the idea of reaching the summit of the globe. We have all read countless news stories of mountain climbing excursions into Everest, Ararat, the Rockies, etc. A few men have had the privilege of reaching some of the earths highest peaks. There is a desire in all of us to reach up; to soar above the horizon, like the birds in the air, rising above this ordinary existence on planet earth.

In a spiritual sense, it is the place we are all trying to reach, as we reach out to God. There is a great distance between man and God, one of mountainous proportions. Man has forever been trying to climb this mountain through religion and good works, only to find unforeseen challenges at each level of advancement. God has made it possible for us to reach the very top of His mountain, into heaven itself. Trying to reach the summit on our own is and endless, frustrating experience. However, as we come to know God and trust Him, He will show us the way to the top of His mountain.

The Bible reveals to us that heaven is a real, attainable place, a destination for all who will, by faith, enter in.

The Apostles had a summit experience with the living God as they walked with Jesus for three and a half years. During the time Jesus spent with His disciples, before He returned to His place in heaven, he showed them the way to a place that lies beyond themselves; a place they cannot see with their eyes or climb to in their own strength or best efforts. In order to find this place they would have to let go of their own understanding and trust in Him to lead the way. The gospels record the account of Jesus meeting these ordinary men in their every day lives and then showing them how reach this place called Zion. It begins within themselves, deep inside of their own hearts; the place that only God can see.

There is and old song by Petra that comes to mind. It is called “Road to Zion.”

Road to Zion ------
Words and music by Mike Hudson
Based on Psalm 84:5-7

There is a way that leads to life
The few that find it never die
Past mountain peaks graced white with snow
The way grows brighter as it goes

There is a road inside of you
Inside of me there is one too
No stumbling pilgrim in the dark
The road to Zion's in your heart
The road to Zion's in your heart

The river runs beside the road
Its waters living as they flow
In liquid voice the water calls
On thirsty knees the pilgrim falls

Sometimes a shadow dark and cold
Lays like a mist across the road
But be encouraged by the sight
Where there's a shadow, there's a light

Sometimes it's good to look back down
We've come so far - we've gained such ground
But joy is not in where we've been
Joy is Who's waiting at the end

Psalm 84:5-7 NLT

5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. 7 They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 2:2-3 and Micah 4:1-2,

2 In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. 3 People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.

Proverbs 15:24,
The path of life leads upward for the wise That he may keep away from Sheol below.

God’s holy mountain, Zion, is the place where His glory dwells. Jesus came to lead the way to this eternal place. Through Him we may enter the path that leads to life, which leads upward into the presence of Almighty God. From the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, to our present day in 2008 A.D., man has been trying to reach this destination. That is why mountain climbing and space exploration are two popular areas of interest. We all want to see what lies beyond the highest peaks, and even further, beyond the stars and galaxies that stretch out forever above our small planet.

From Matt Redman's album "Facedown"

Lead Us Up The Mountain - Spontaneous Song
2004 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Lead us up the mountain
Lead us to the place Your glory dwells God
Lead us up the mountain
Lead us to the place Your glory dwells God