Prayer is so much more than we think. Direct connection with the creator of the universe and an ongoing relationship of trust, wisdom, direction, and power available to those who call out…amazing…

slow down

Let me give one example of what it means to live a Jesus kind of life.

Take kindness.

You see the word “kindness” being thrown around a lot today. It’s big in advertising. Branding statements. All the good branding statements are biblical. Like Northridge hospital, part of the Dignity Health organizations. Branding statement.

“Hello humankindness”

Well, I’ve noticed not one of the businesses talking about being kind or kindness has the #1 solution as to how you can actually make progress in your kindness.

You know why we have a tough time actually being kind? We have a tough time being kind because we are too rushed to get things done.

Haste has worry, fear, and anger as close associates.

Hast is a deadly enemy of kindness and hence haste is the enemy of love.

This is why when you are running all over the place, trying to get from here to there, you’re not someone anyone else wants to be around. Deadlines, being late, rushing because you have so many things to do…well you need help.

You are the person who is speeding in and out of traffic from one red light to the next so you can get some place 38 seconds faster.

You are the pushy guy elbowing me aside so you can get checked out at the store as quickly as possible. You are the mom who doesn’t have time to notice your kid is usually quiet today, because you’ve got to get her to the next practice or the next lesson or something else you came up with that you thought would be good for her so she could get ahead or get in the right school or at least do better than you did. There is one thing the overbooked and rushed kid will learn. She will learn to be unkind too.

Is this you?

Are you rushing for your life?

Or are your rushing from the life Jesus wants for you?

Yes, think of Jesus. Find me one example of Jesus rushing to get something done?. Show me in the Bible one place where Jesus overbooked? Where Jesus got irritated.

No, you can’t, because Jesus didn’t live a life where is too rushed to get things done. No matter what is happening around him, Jesus is the picture of kindness.

Why is Jesus so calm? So unrushed, and so, yes, kind?

Because he is a human being who realizes life goes on.

Well, I have a solution. If being too rushed is making you unkind, and if you don’t believe this is happening ask those rushing with you. If this is your problem, you may greatly be helped by doing what Jesus did frequently. Spend a day of silence and solitude so you can see the world survives without your activity. The world isn’t going to end if you aren’t rushing to get there.

Oh but that is impossible! That would be so hard!

OK, another way you can learn the world goes on without your activity is to have a serious accident or illness. Another way to discover the world will actually survive without your input.

What will it be? The worry, fear and anger of rushing all over the place? The unkindness the rest of us have to put up with?

Maybe a good sickness or accident will save you…

Or, how about silence and solitude? That sounds about right to me, eh?

You seem when we prayerfully consider the damage done by our unkindness, and honestly compare it to what, if anything is really gained by our hurry, we will come to understand that for the most part our hurry is really based upon pride, self-importance, fear, and lack of faith, and rarely upon the production of anything of true value for anyone.

And to think this is only one example of living the new creation. To do this one thing, stop rushing everything and everybody, this one thing can change your world.

ME

When do you find yourself rushing?

Jesus is the Pioneer

Yes, Jesus is the answer. Jesus dies but he is raised from the dead. So, get connected to Jesus and stay connected to Jesus and watch what happens.

Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with the heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.

Start thinking like Jesus would think if he were in your situation.

Do you think Jesus loses hope? Look at the way he lived. If there was anyone who was a victim, misunderstood, lied to, lied about, hated. But, he didn’t try to blame everyone else for trying to make his life miserable. Of all people who have the right to call himself a victim, it’s Jesus. If anyone could say life is unfair and he is being attacked and he doesn’t deserve it, it’s Jesus. If anyone had the right to strike back, take revenge, attack those who were attacking him, it’s Jesus.

But, he just keeps living. He knows where his power and honor and authority rest. With God.

The world doesn’t have any answers to the dying and rising.

Jesus knew the answer. Knows the answer. Connected to God, you may be dying to some real life right now, but,

Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away in God in Christ.

Jesus knows this. You can too. Nothing can keep you dead.

Here’s the facts of life.

You don’t belong in the old world or the old world’s thinking.

You are raised with Christ, so you possess a true life in God’s new world, the heavenly world.

The real you is now found in the heavenly world.

You are God’s son. You are God’s daughter. If you don’t see it, you will. 

And as Christ himself is seen for who he really is, who you really are will also be revealed, for you are now one with him in his glory!

Here is the truth. The heavenly world is not a super-spiritual world that is going to leave the created world behind.

The biblical picture is of God one day flooding the present creation with the new life which is currently in the heavenly realm.

In other words, one day Jesus the Messiah, who can’t be directly seen with our old world eyes will appear again. All of existence will be transformed and what is at present unseen will become visible, and earth and heaven will be joined forever in the fulfilled new creation.

When this happens, all those who are in Christ, whose death and present true life is hidden with Christ in God, will appear as well, as the glorious renewed human beings they already really are.

That’s you. That’s me.

Who we really are will be revealed.

So, now that we know this, we discover a new way towards a genuine good life where we learn to think of things from a heavenly perspective, seeing things though God’s eyes, as it were. Not seeing things that belong to the present world of decay. The world of unfairness. The world of suffering.

You think things through rather than just going with the flow of the world.

When you grow in Christ, your mind itself grasps the truth that you have died to the old ways of seeing things and your life has been hidden with Jesus in God.  When your mind grasps this, then your choices, your will, starts to follow through. You begin to live that new creation and you are glad to be doing just that! 

You can live that life right now.

ME

What are some old ways of seeing things you might die to?

 

life is suffering

Only when you see yourself as a victim do you lose hope. When you give in to the suffering or resentment.

Because there is something else true of life for every single one of us.

Life is suffering and life isn’t fair.

We live in an irrational age. We live in an age where the big lie is life is divided into victims and oppressors.

It’s so easy to blame society, blame our culture, blame somebody else out there for your problems.

That is so naiive.

Suffering is what we all experience one way or another. There is no clean dividing line between victimhood and oppressor.   There is no answer in pointing outside of yourself to find the answer to all of your problems.

Your problems are 100% your problems. No, you can’t always help what happens to you. But, you are responsible for how you respond. If you are a teenager or older, you are 100% responsible for your attitudes and actions. There is only one answer. Jesus.

Yes, he dies but he was raised from the dead.

So, get connected to Jesus and stay connected to Jesus and watch what happens.

ME

How have you been suffering lately?

Losing Hope?

Colossians 3:1-4

Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection, too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor and authority!

We are closely bound to Jesus as his followers. What is true of Jesus is true of us.
It may not feel like it.

Learning to believe what doesn’t at the moment feel true is an essential part of being a Christian.
And the fact is, we only act on what we believe.

Believe means trust. We might say we believe in something, but we don’t really believe it if we don’t act as if it is true.

That’s why we can’t let how we feel get in the way of the truth.

When it comes to Jesus there are two key things that are true of him that are also true of us.

One he died.
Two he was raised from the dead.

When we think of it this way, we realize all of existence is about this same thing. Mini-episodes of dying and rising.
Life is suffering. There is so much brokenness that goes on in our lives that it is never a matter of if we will suffer, only when.

If your parents are aging, every time the phone rings and it is your immediate family, you instantly have a thought, “Now what’s wrong?”
Dad fell.
Mom has to go back on chemo.
Think of those who are dealing with sick kids right now.
Or kids who are suffering in different ways.
I have several friends right now whose adult children are battling in some really dark places.
Life is hard. Life is suffering and it all has to do with dying to something. Or literally dying.

Now, what do you do about it?
Do you sit back and wait for the inevitable?
Do you give up hope?
No, hope is what is absolutely don’t give up.
What is true of Jesus is true of you.
Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection, too.
You are alive in Christ. He will not let you lose hope and enter despair. He will shine in the dark places in your life.
What you need is in the heavens. From heaven, Jesus is offering you what you need to face the little deaths of your lives at anytime. Not just the big death, where you die physically and leave this earthly life.

O, we are all going die in that way. No, it’s about living. Currently, we are all living and there is so much to live for!
Jesus is about living the heavenly life here on earth.
You see, he has the power, the honor, and the authority.
There is no one who can tell you to lose hope.

ME

What are your greatest concerns right now?

I am already a new creation.
I am putting my life in the hands of Jesus who gives me my identity. Jesus lives in me and I do not recognize my identity as coming from anywhere else.
Jesus means everything to me and I reject any other attempt to try to collectively label me with an identity. I know who I am. His…

What does it mean that the things of heaven are available on earth?
Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection, too. So, what is true of Jesus is true of you.
This changes everything…

Example?
Problem: Unkindness grows as we are too rushed to get things done
Solution: Accessing the heavenly dimension and discovering Jesus’ better way

Sermon on Colossians 3:1-4

 

Sermon for Week Eight of The Gospel Primer:

Discipleship and mission does not need to be a big, long, new list of activities that we need to jam into our already busy schedules, it’s really a matter of noticing the rhythms of life that we already live in and shifting from thinking “additional” to being more “intentional” with all of life.