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January 14, 2021

Second Sunday After Epiphany

"Found To Find"

INTRODUCTION:

A young lady got lost while driving in a snow


storm. She remembered what her dad had once told her:
"If you ever get stuck in a snow storm, wait for a snow
plow and follow it"

Pretty soon a snow plow came along,


and she started to follow it. She followed the plow for
about forty five minutes. Finally the driver of the
truck got out and asked her what she was doing. She
explained what her dad had told her to do if she ever
got stuck in the snow. The driver nodded and said,
"Well, I'm done with Wal-Mart, so now you can follow me
over to Hobby Lobby." (2)
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Have you ever been lost? Have you ever lost something?

I'll bet the answer to both of those is


"Yes!" We've all lost our keys or our checkbook or our
favorite pen or something else. Maybe you're like
Daniel Boone who once said: "I can't say I was ever
lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." (3)
Even if we don't want to admit it publicly, we've all
probably been lost at one time or another.

It's not fun being lost or even losing something.


Sometimes we don't even know that something is lost
until we find it again. Some things are never found.
Some things that are lost never show up in a Lost and
found Box. But a Lost and Found Box is for all of those

things that have been Found.

Our passage of Scripture today talks about finding,


Jesus found Philip. Philip found Nathaniel. And Philip
tells Nathaniel that they have found the Messiah. And
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Nathaniel found out that something or someone good CAN


come out of Nazareth. As we consider how they each
found what and who they were looking for, let's think
about the LOST, the FOUND and how we, the members of
the body of Christ are FOUND TO FIND.

One of the things the church as a whole is


discovering is that we can't keep on doing things the
way we have always done them. That's evident by the way
we are Worshipping now. We live in a multicultural,
virtual and visual society. That's how we communicate
and how we live. I don't remember where I read it or
heard it but do you know what one of the top things
that Americans said they could no longer live without

is? High speed internet. It


influences and affects everything we do. We're on the
cutting edge.

Another thing we can't do is practice evangelism.


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Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep


And can't tell where to find them
Leave them alone,
And they'll come home
Wagging their tails behind them

You know the kind that says: "Leave them alone and
they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them."
That doesn't work anymore. That's why we must be
involved in Lifestyle Relational Evangelism.

Even our language, the language that you


and I use to talk about our faith can seem like Greek

or Hebrew to folks who've never been in


church. Words like Sin and being Lost and being saved
don't have a lot of meaning to folks outside the church
anymore. So what do we do? How do we talk about being
separated from God? How do we talk about being LOST.
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We need to redefine what we mean.


For me: The word LOST, in relationship to non-
Christians is an acronym for Living Outside Salvation's
Touch.

Author Christie Kehn, in Christian Reader tells how her


four-year-old daughter Melissa was spellbound watching,
The Ten Commandments, especially enjoying the scene

with Moses and the Burning Bush. From


it, she learned that one of God's names is "I Am That I
Am." Several days afterwards, Melissa marched through
the house declaring, "I am not that I am not!"

The main difference between those within the Church and


those outside the Church is that the people who have
given their lives to God through Christ are living like
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Melissa. Their motto is "I am not that I am not!" In


other words, they know they are not the center of the
universe. They acknowledge that God is the center of
the Universe.

Those who are LOST, those who are still Living Outside
Salvation's Touch still think they are the center of

the Universe. The word SIN is proof of that.


It's a little three letter word with a capital "I" in
the middle. And when we live with "I" as the center of
life, we've got it all wrong. And we're LOST. We're

Living Outside Salvation's Touch.

And Living Outside Salvation's Teaching. You see


Scripture tells us that God is the center of the
Universe. The Bible acknowledges this first thing.

Genesis 1:1 says: "In the beginning God


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created the heavens and the earth." And the Bible


reminds us that there is only room for one God.

Now having said that, I also want you to know


that you can be a part of a church and still be LOST.
You can acknowledge God but still be Living Outside
Salvation's Touch. You can even be an active part of
the Church and have a deep faith and be LOST.

What I mean by that in this instance is: Losing Our


Spiritual Toehold. We're supposed to have a good
foundation. We're supposed to have built our faith on a
strong footing. But sometimes, all we have is a toe
hold. Our feet should have been firmly planted in the
pathway of faithfulness but sometimes life overwhelms
us and distracts us. Those feet that were once firmly
planted in the straight and narrow begin to wander. And
then we find ourselves holding on with nothing but a
toehold. And after awhile, if we're not careful, then
that goes. And we find ourselves LOST.

A man and his family visited a new church one Sunday


and he was glad to hear them sing several familiar
songs. But he couldn't help but be frustrated when he
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heard a man who was singing so obviously out of tune.

"If I have to sit by this


guy again next week, I'll never come back," he thought.
On the way home, his wife asked, "Do you have a cold or
something?"

"No, why do you ask?" he inquired.

"Don't take this personally," she said. "You usually


sing really well, but today you were off key on all of
the hymns!"
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When we Lose Our Spiritual Toehold we're more apt to be


judgmental. And when we're judgmental we're definitely
LOST. And we've definitely LOST those who might have
been on the edge of a decision for Christ.

II. FOUND:

Now the Good News is that God isn't in the Losing


business. God is in the Finding business. God is in the
reclamation business and the recycling business. God
tries not to leave anyone LOST for very long.

A Lost and Found Box can have all kinds of things in


it. And a Lost and Found Box can have a profound
influence on your faith. I'll never forgot a story I

read about a little girl and her doll. It


seems one Sunday in church she lost her doll. Right
outside the main door into the Sanctuary was a table
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and on the table was a Lost and Found Box. There were
all kinds of the usual things in the box. But there was
one very noticeable thing. Some little girl in the
church had lost her doll. Someone had set the doll in
the corner of the box with its arms resting on the
sides of the box. It sat there with its head cocked to
the side and just looked like it was resting and
waiting to be found.

Sunday morning, just as church was letting out, a


little girl walked out of the fellowship hall and saw
the doll. She ran up to the doll in the box and said:
"There you are. I've been looking all over for you.
I've been so worried."

Then she picked up the doll, hugged it in her arms and


said: "I've missed you so much. I'm so glad I found
you." You could have sworn the doll let out huge sigh
of relief, and I bet there was even a smile on that
doll's face.

It doesn't really make any difference. But that story


has become a defining image for me. Jesus seeks us out
and finds us, because God is in the business of

restoration.
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You and I have been FOUND by our Savior. We've been


found. We've heard Him say: "There you are. I've been
looking all over for you. I've been so worried." We've
been found and we've felt the arms of Christ wrap
around us in love and we've heard Him say: "I've missed
you so much. I'm so glad I found you."

How do we relish that feeling? Having been found, how


do we stay found?

CONCLUSION:

There's an old folk tale about a father and a son. They


were traveling together to a distant city. There were
no maps. The journey was to be long and rough, and
filled with all kinds of dangers. The roads were
unmarked and mostly nonexistent. Only the wisdom and
experience of the father would get him and his son to
their destination.

Along the way, the boy grew curious. He wanted to know


what was on the other side of the forest, beyond that
distant ridge. Could he run over and look? His father
said that he could. But once the boy received
permission he said: "But Father, how will I know
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whether I have wandered too far from you? What will

keep me from getting lost?"

"Every few minutes," the father said, "I will call your
name and wait for you to answer. Listen for my voice,
my son. When you can no longer hear me, you will know
that you have gone too far." (5)

There are a lot of people in the world today who have


let their curiosity and their selfishness carry them
away. And now they have "gone too far." They're out
there alone. Frightened. Cut off. Some of them are too
afraid to even acknowledge that they might be lost. But
they've "gone too far."

You and I are called to be part of those "greater


things" which Jesus told Nathaniel about. You and I
have experienced what it means to be LOST and FOUND.
There have been times when we have either been Living
Outside Salvation's Touch or we've Lost Our Spiritual
Toehold.

But like Philip and Nathaniel, we've been FOUND by


Jesus. And we've been FOUND TO FIND those who are still
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Living Outside Salvation's Touch or who have Lost Our


Spiritual Toehold.

We just have to FIND everyone so He can say:

"There you are. I've been looking all over


for you. I've been so worried." We're called to help
them feel the arms of Christ wrap around them in love
and hear Him say: "I've missed you so much. I'm so glad
I found you."

This is the Word of the Lord for this day.

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