“God Is Green”

A three-part series of green sermons

– contributed by Pastor Aaron Holley, Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

God Is Green
Part 1: “It Was Very Good”

Genesis 1:27-31
Job 38-40

  • Male emperor penguins can survive temperatures of minus 50 degrees celcius and winds up to 160 kmph
  • The Bactrian camels endure 50 degree Celsius summers and minus 40 degree Celsius winters
  • 5 million snowgeese fly more than 5,000 km each year to reach the arctic tundra
  • the pygmy seahorse is only 2cm long
  • Peregrines are the fastest animals in the world. They are believed to achieve speeds approaching 200km/h (124mph) when plunging from the sky after prey.
  • Ostriches do not need to drink – they can make their own water internally and get the rest from vegetation.
  • Hippos are fat, heavy-bodied animals, with short, stumpy legs. They have an enormous head with huge jaws filled with tusk-like canine and incisor teeth. They have a gape of 150 degrees, compared to 45 in humans. And, God gave them webbed toes.
  • Our galaxy has over 250 billion stars and our galaxy is only one of millions
  • There are more stars in the sky then there are grains of sand on earth
  • Every hour one billion cells in the body must be replaced
  • An average woman has 17 square feet of skin. When a women is in her ninth month of pregnancy she has 18.5 square feet of skin.
  • Your thigh bone is stronger than concrete.
  • The average human has approximately 100,000 hairs on their head.

1. God takes pride in His creation!

  • Ever had someone that was proud of you? What do they do? They talk about you.
  • Guess what God talks about the most? His Creation!
  • Trees are listed in scripture 600 times (which by the way, it’s interesting that God talks so much about trees, Jesus worked with trees, and then died on a tree)
  • In Luke 12, His Word says, consider the lilies
  • I Timothy 4:4—everything God created is good…

2. God’s creation brings Him joy!

  • Everything God created was done so for His pleasure.
  • God is a pleasure seeker
  • Rob Bell says, “God’s primary posture for creation is not production, but pleasure; not consumption, but celebration.”

3. The beauty of God’s creation can be seen in the way that it is designed to work together.

  • For the mutual benefit of the whole.
  • In proper relationship and balance.
  • Psalm 104:10-15 (water, ravines, donkeys, birds, grass, harvest, cattle, mankind, etc…)
  • Lifecycle
  • That’s why God said “it was very good”
  • There’s beauty in the harmony of His creation.

How often do we take time to see the beauty of what God says is “very good”?

Speaking of God’s wrath to mankind, Romans 1:25 warns us of the danger of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator.


God Is Green
Part 2: “It’s not easy being green”

  • Kermit the Frog video

Why is it difficult for Christians to embrace being green?

1. We have difficulty seeing past the political stereotypes of environmentalism.

    • Bill Moyers of Moyers on America (PBS) says about christians, “To them, environmentalists are tree-huggers and Earth Day is “a high and holy day for hippies”
    • Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals says, “to be biblically consistent sometimes you have to be politically inconsistent.”
    • Caring about the environment is not a political issue, it’s a spiritual one.
    • I care about the creator, therefore I care about the creation

2. We don’t think it’s our responsibility to worry about the earth.

      • Many Christians have taken the stance that God made the earth and He’ll take care of it. Our job is simply to enjoy it as its master.
      • Many believe that man was given dominion over everything so we have no responsibility to the earth. “We’re the bosses” mentality. We misquote Psalm 8:6—you made him ruler over the works of your hands, you put everything under his feet… (it’s been entrusted to us as servants)
      • Often, I think we forget that we don’t own the earth. Leviticus 25:23 tells us that we’re just “tenants”
      • Genesis 2:15—“You are to work and take care of it. As a steward of the earth…”
      • Work=abad (to dress, to serve, or to cultivate)
      • Take care=shamar (protect, preserve, attend to, or watch over)
      • Same as Genesis 3:23 “to work”

3. We do a poor job at taking a personal Sabbath, let alone being diligent to give the earth one.

        • Deuteronomy 5:13-14—remember the Sabbath
        • Leviticus 25-land sabbath (allow the land to rest) sustainability
        • The word land is from the hebrew word “erets”, which is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 for earth
        • The Hebrew people took this so seriously that on the 50th year, after 7 sabbath years, they partied to celebrate God’s blessings.

4. Our natural reaction as human is to become consumers of everything.

        • We are called to be good stewards of the environment not because of Mother Earth, but because it belongs to Father God.
        • We are called to replenish the earth… (Gen. 1:22-be fruitful and multiply)
        • We do it in churches, we do it in society and we do it to the environment.
        • Stewardship is the key.
        • Being good stewards doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what the world has to offer, or can’t consume any of it. However, it does require us to be mindful of moderation and preservation.
        • God doesn’t demand that we be vegetarians, or that we can’t hunt. In fact, His word is full of the contrary, however, our primary role is not consumption, but rather preservation.
        • Noah’s Ark: God allowed creatures to perish and destroyed the earth he had created, but asked Noah to help him preserve life.

Simple Truth:

        • God created the world (and it was very good), but he commissioned mankind to take care of it.
          • As the stewards of God’s creation:
            • We are called serve and cultivate what God has made.
            • We are called to attend to, care for and preserve what God has made.

God Is Green
Part 3: “Hybrids”

Myths:

  • We are going to completely destroy the earth if we don’t go totally green
    • God made the earth and it was very good!
    • Psalm 20:7—some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God
  • The ice caps are going to melt and completely flood the earth
    • Genesis 9—God’s covenant with Noah
  • The ozone layer is going to dissipate and we’re going to be burned up by the sun
    • 2 Peter 3:10-13—The Second Coming of Christ, the destruction of the current earth and the creation of a new one.
    • Revelation 21:1-5—a new heaven and new earth
  • If we don’t quit cutting down the trees, we’re going to run out of oxygen and life on earth will die.
    • I Corinthians 10:26—The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
  • I have no responsibility in the matter, because God is going to take care of it all for me.
    • Remember last week’s simple truth—God created the world (and it was very good), but he commissioned mankind to take care of it. (Gen. 2:15)

So, what is our responsibility?

  • Joshua 3:9-17—Israel crosses the Red Sea
  • This is 40 years after God had led the children of Israel out of Egypt. It’s been 40 years since this group of Israelites’ parents had watched God part the Red Sea for them. This time, God asked them to do a little more to show their faith.
  • An important part of faith is our willingness to do what we can do.
    • James 2:14-25—faith without works is dead
    • We don’t have to do everything. God is big enough, strong enough and loves His creation enough to keep things running.
    • However, we do have a responsibility to do something that shows we appreciate the earth He has given to us and that shows we are willing to be good stewards of it.
  • God wants us to be people of faith and responsibility.
    • There’s something powerful to be said when we learn to work with God.
    • Faith—knowing that God is going to do His part
    • Responsibility—being willing to do what we can do
  • What would happen if we began to meet God half way?
    • Some may be saying, “I don’t know what I can do”
    • The great thing about meeting God half way is knowing that He’ll be there, when we get there.
    • Joshua 3:10—“This is how you will know that the living God is among you…”
    • Take a listen to some of these statistics…

Rob Bell, a cutting edge pastor at a large emerging church in Michigan recently did a series on the environment. Listen to some of these statistics…

Statistics:

  • If every American’s tires were properly inflated it would save more than 4 million gallons of gas a day
  • If our recycling rate increased from 30%-60% we would save 315 million barrels of oil in a year
  • 1 ton of recycled paper saves:
    • 17 trees
    • 3 cubic yards of landfill space
    • 7k gallons of water
    • 4200 kw hours of energy (enough to heat a home for 6 months)
    • 390 gallons of oil
    • prevents 60 lbs of air pollutants
  • if we all used energystar appliances, it would be the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road
  • 25% of an energy bill is phantom power
  • if every household in America switched out one compact fluorescent bulb it would reduce energy consumption as much as taking a million cars off the road

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