Celebrate the Wait During Advent

– [Man] It’s good to be with you today. We are getting ready to
celebrate our advent devotional for our graduate studies today, and so in just a few minutes there will be twenty or thirty people here in the room, and I will share a brief devotional, and I get to share it with you as well. I hope that this message
will be helpful for you as you are celebrating the advent season, and celebrating the waiting
that comes with advent. God Bless. Good to be with you. (crowd talking) – All right if you’ve got, (clears throat) if you’ve got that figured
out you can be seated; thank you very much. Thank you very much. We are we are all trying
to figure out how to wait for Christmas, right? Now most of us, as I’ve
seen on Facebook already, our social calender our (mumbles) calender we just want to jump
right to Christmas, okay. As soon as we’re done with Halloween we’re ready for Christmas. In the Christian calender there
is a season before Christmas it’s called advent. Its a time of waiting for Christmas. So our Jewish brothers and sisters waited for four hundred years. Waiting for their Messiah to be born, and so the advent season
is a time of celebrating (speaker sighs) what none of us like to do
and that is waiting, right? And so we’re waiting for God. We’re waiting for God to come. We’re waiting to help us. We’re waiting for God to rescue us. We’re waiting for God to
intervene in some situation where we need him to intervene. We’re waiting for him to
answer our prayers, right? Anybody got Prayers that you got an, that your waiting for an answer? And he never shows up
quickly enough, right? We’re all come on, come
on, come on lets go, and advent is trying to invite us into embracing that waiting time. So I’ve learned a new word
over the last couple of years its the word liminal. Everybody say that with me. Liminal, say it again liminal. Tulsa did you get that? Everybody in Tulsa. Let’s say it with Tulsa, liminal. Liminal means you talk about
liminal time and liminal space. So liminal actually refers to the threshold of a door in Latin. You’ve got the threshold of
a door is the liminal spot, and when your in liminal space your really not in this room, and your not really in that room. Your sort of betwixt and between. Your neither here nor there. Your not in this old comfort
zone that you used to be in, but your not yet in the new place where hopefully God is leading us, right? And so your on the edge of adventure. Your not really sure if
it’s a good adventure or a bad adventure. I don’t like this picture
so I don’t look at it. I just leave it up there for you guys. This liminal space can
be a scary, messy time. Again I wish we had about fifteen minutes to just talk about
examples of liminal space. I’m just gonna have to give
you a couple real quickly. A caterpillar in a cocoon. So the caterpillar is no longer a worm, but she is not yet a butterfly, right? So when you in the cocoon
you in liminal space, and your neither here nor there. Liminal space is when you
have bought a new house, and you haven’t sold the old house, and your stuck with two housing payments. When you have been laid off from one job, and your not sure where the
next paycheck is coming from. And I think I know you well enough you sort of the hope, and the confidence, and the belief that God is
gonna help me find a new job. Its just I don’t know where that, that’s not helping me
pay the bills this month, and I don’t have a
paycheck in liminal space. Liminal space is just getting married, or just getting divorced
and I’m no longer single, or I’m single again. Somebody just told me this
morning that attended last night that they just got engaged, and he said I’m in liminal space. Our dear Katrina here is with child, and so when you are pregnant you have this liminal baby inside of you, and for nine months your eating for two. And then you have a baby, and you don’t get to eat for two anymore. – [Katrina] Aw man – [Man] Right? And so we have, hi there, so um I’m hoping quickly
that wondering if, and we’re not gonna have time to discuss, I wish we did. Can you begin to search through your life, and your heart and things going on. Rotator cuff surgery next
Thursday, liminal space. Those places in our life that aren’t. The new word is fluid. Our liminal space is fluid. That means we don’t have
solid ground for our feet. So when we are in liminal space
we feel messy, and nomadic, going out of control,
paralyzed, lost scary. Its just, I just don’t. When I’m back here in my old
comfort zone I know what to do. When I’m in this new thing. When it finally comes, I got it handled. You, I plan my work and I work my plan. In liminal space that’s not going on. Liminal you are just, you are
sort of along for the ride. And so how we act in liminal space its just a time of being out of control. Here’s your time for
confession with the Chaplin. Any control freaks in the room? Well we have some bold control, last night it was like. (car brakes sound)(Chaplin laughs) you know we want to be in
control of the situation in liminal space you already
don’t like this thing. I can tell. This is hard a hard place
to be when we don’t usually, when we don’t have the
control that we usually have. So we want to go back or we want to hurry up and
go to the next place. All I know is I don’t want to be here. Its just not a place that I want to be, and there’s even a psalm, you know there’s a
psalm for every emotion. And so psalm 13:1 is how long oh Lord, how long are you going to
let me go through this? Have you forgotten me? I mean you got you got me into this place, and now you’ve forgotten me. And so even the psalmist
understood this kind of a feeling. When you start to use
this liminal thought, this liminal lens and
start to read the Bible with this thing going on in your head. You can see this liminal thing
going on all over the place. Genesis 12 God comes to Abraham and says I want you to leave the land
that your very familiar with, and go to a brand new land that you don’t know anything about. The promise land, liminal land. And so you’ve got to
trust me and go with me. Five hundred years later, you’ve got Moses leading the children
of Israel out of Egypt, and on this forty year
wilderness liminal journey. Oh if we could just, I love this verse, If we could only go back to Egypt, and get some more leeks and garlic. I mean its like going back
home to have liver and onions. That’s my feeling exactly. And then we just celebrated Black Friday, but do you understand Black Saturday? The crucifixion on Good Friday. The resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. Black Friday Jesus is
dead, and in the tomb. And that’s not a good place for anybody. Here’s what I discovered as
I’ve learned this liminal word. We as human beings hate liminal space, because its just so
awkward and uncomfortable. God seems to love it when
we get into liminal space, because then we don’t,
we’re not in control, we’re not in control, we’re
things are out of control. And so we, we don’t have to but we are invited to trust
the person that is in control. Does that make sense? And to say I don’t know
what’s going on here, so help me to trust you that
you know what’s going on, right? Yes, yes you know what’s going on. So what if we could use
this liminal situations to be a time of spiritual transformation. That we end this liminal
time we learn to trust God, and lean on him in brand new ways. And so instead of being paralyzed and anxious and out of control. We can be trusting and waiting
and praying and then praying. That is not a typo, praying
some more and being obedient and anticipating what God is gonna do. Because hopefully if its
out of control for me hopefully you are in control
and I can trust in you. So what is this have to do with us? I’m gonna take a rough
guess that some of us, if not all of us, can
identify some liminal spaces in our life. For some of you it’s
parenting a two year old or a twelve year old or a twenty year old. And some of you, a lady here last night caught in that sandwich generation of taking care of her own children and also her aging parents, and I’ve heard her store over
the last five or six months. Of what a struggle that is to be caught in that liminal sandwich situation. Trying to decide what’s
happening with your program, and will your VA loans hold out and do the scholarship how’s
that all gonna work out, and books what do I do with all my books, and then okay fine we’re
having graduation on Saturday. Anybody graduating on Saturday? Woo woo woo woo woo let’s go! (crowd clapping) Tulsa anybody coming down
to graduate on Saturday? Come join us. So okay fine I survived
the program, well now what? Do I stay in this current job? Do I go find another job? You just got all of these
liminal space answers. Your finances, your health issues. Some of you have received a diagnosis, and its like okay now what, what do we do, how do we move forward on that? And in all of these
liminal spaces of out life God is wanting to use those a awkward difficult messy
situations to draw close and help us out of that. So this is time when
we are not in control, but God is in control. So here is a little bit more
here are the first two versus from psalm 13 and then the
last two versus of psalm 13. How long, O Lord are you
gonna forget me forever? How long are you gonna
hide your face from me? How long am I gonna
wrestle with my thoughts? Do you hear the liminal
thing going on there? And then you jump to the last two versus and you find the trusting and the waiting. But I will trust in your unfailing love. My heart will rejoice on your salvation. I will sometimes have to
choose to sing to the Lord because I do remember that you
have been good to me, Amen? And so even in this how long
O Lord is this gonna go on we can still have trust in
the one that is in control even when we’re not quite in control.

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