Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; November 12, 2016; Christ the King Sunday

Scripture for this coming Sunday: Luke 23:33-43

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

image

Today is Christ the King Sunday; the last Sunday of the Church calendar year.

image

Next week is the first week of the season of Advent which marks the First Sunday of the new Church Year.

Next week we will start preparing ourselves to celebrate the First Advent of Jesus 2000 years ago, as we wait for his Second Coming (Second Advent) sometime in the future.

image

Walmart, JCPenney, Kohls, COSTCO and BJ’s are already in the Christmas mode and our minds are not that far behind. Today’s Scripture reading with all of its gravity and somberness seems to be out of place during this time leading to the festivities.

image

The Season of Advent, Christmas Day and the Season of Christmas that follows (the Twelve Days of Christmas) are about Jesus as a baby. Cute, helpless, and cuddly. That Jesus does not threaten our sensibilities and does not challenge us to anything beyond feeling happy as we bestow gifts on our family and friends.

image

Jesus of the Advent Season, Christmas Day and Christmas Season is very different from Jesus that we saw today. The same human person; a different stage of his life’s journey. The same part of our Triune God; a different task in the process of our redemption.

image

The truth is that Jesus did not come to make us happy. Jesus did not come so that we may share in the yuletide cheer and decorate our homes. Jesus came to challenge us to live abundant lives (John 10:10). I think that “abundant” is about meaning as opposed to happiness.

The “meaning of life” is one of those concepts that everyone insists is vital to our well-being. I am convinced that finding meaning in life is different from finding happiness.

{Illustration}

Jesus came so that we could live abundant [my interpretation meaningful] lives. Today I would like to share with you the lessons that I learned from Jesus about living a meaningful life.

1. Jesus taught belonging.

image

When Jesus called his disciples, he did not promise to make them happy. In Luke 9:57-58 we hear, “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus promised something different. In Matthew 4:18-19 we hear, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Jesus did not promise his disciples comfortable lives. Jesus built a community of his Disciples and followers, and in all his teachings he was building them up by encouraging them to step out on faith and try different things. It all started with teaching and preaching (Sermon on the Mount), building trust (calming the storm, healings and miracles that Disciples witnessed), and it continued with Jesus sending them out two-by-two in Matthew 10 and then eventually giving them the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

As a group belonging to Jesus, the Disciples were encouraged to grow emotionally and to think about their actions and how they affect others. They were challenged spiritually. They were also taught and challenged to share their newly found knowledge with others.

{Illustration of belonging.}

2. Jesus taught how to figure out our purpose in life

image

There is a story of President Kennedy visiting NASA in 1962. He needed to use the facilities and there was a janitor cleaning the room. The President asked what the janitor was doing. The reply was, “Helping to put a man on the moon.”

Purpose is not what we do, but why we do something. Purpose motivates us and challenges us to think about what needs to be done to reach our goals.

Purpose is also about making a difference in the lives of others. Purpose is about making a contribution to the world.

Jesus taught his disciples how to contribute to the world. Jesus taught his disciples how to bring hope to others; how to challenge others.

{Illustration}

3. Jesus taught how to reimagine our lives, how to write our story individually  and as a church.

image

What is the direction of your life? When I say, “Write your story,” it is not about publishing a memoir of your life. “Write your story” is about listening to God and recognizing the ways in which God is moving in your life, and what God is doing through your life. It is about reimagining your life.

When Jesus was talking with Nicodemus in John 3, he said, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“Write your story” is about recognizing the presence of God in the world around you, discerning what God is doing, and adjusting our sails and our rudder so that our sails are filled with God’s power and energy. Because when we are with God, all things are possible.

4. Jesus taught transcendence.

image

image

Mama said there’ll be days like this, There’ll be days like this, my mama said.”

Who among us has not had “a day like this.” We have a tendency to focus heavily on just a few things at a time: career, relationship, graduating from college, getting ready for retirement.

Unfortunately we are not in total control of our lives. “Days like this” happen and can be crushing emotionally and spiritually. On “those days,” we know in our heads that there are many possibilities, opportunities and a whole big world overflowing with potential, but in our hearts we feel crushed and hopeless.

Transcendence is about recognizing how big the world is. In the sitcom “Give me a Break!” American actress Nell Carter (1948-2003) has a saying, “Eat a Dove bar, go to Florida, get over it…”

Transcendence is about “getting over it…” without sweeping it under the rug. It is about diminishing the sense of our own importance, abandoning conceit, and recognizing that the world does not rotate around us. It is about stepping outside of ourselves to connect with and to focus on others.

{Illustration}

image

I think that we make Jesus the King of our lives when we practice these four disciplines: (1) belonging to something that is inherently bigger than ourselves, (2) discerning our purpose and role in what’s happening around us, (3) being consciously aware of the narrative of our life, and (4) recognizing that although we are important to God, God also loves our neighbors. There is a whole world outside of us.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: