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What If We…Were Outward Focused? (Part 5)

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What If We…Were Outward Focused? (Part 5)2021-09-01T15:59:49-06:00

What If We…Were Deeply Formed? | Galatians 4:18-19 (Part 4)

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What If We…Were Deeply Formed? | Galatians 4:18-19 (Part 4)2021-09-01T16:00:33-06:00

What If We…Became the Community God’s Called us to be? | Romans 12:9-16 (Part 3)

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What If We…Became the Community God’s Called us to be? | Romans 12:9-16 (Part 3)2022-02-14T13:10:50-07:00

What If We…Loved Others Well? | Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 10:25-37 (Part 2)

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good morning friends how you doing today my name’s alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting it’s great to have you with us if you’re visiting us on volunteer sunday well I guess I kind of apologize I don’t even know what to say this is just this wonderful day of not just giving volunteers a day off it’s not that we think you need a day off it’s it’s just that we want to highlight just how much south functions around a group of people coming to serve together it takes about 80 people to make this church function every week and today we did it on about six or seven and you just came here and it felt less we got here this morning I was like I just miss a people our community and so as we move towards rally day it’s a great impetus maybe to say I’d love to get involved in a new way my own wonderful daughter elena who sat on the front row here today I told her today there is no kids ministry and she said what and then she said

but I can still get my hot apple cider drink and I said no there’s no one to do it and she said why volunteers why not knowing it wasn’t your fault but she’s now signed up next week she’s she’s on one of the teams and and you can be on a team too so if you’re sat here if your kids are in the service with us do not worry about them making a noise I would just keep going anyway this is supposed to be just a little bit chaotic so we can just feel what it is like when we don’t have all of us pulling together so thank you for participating with us we’re in a series called what if we it’s a vision series where we’re shaping the idea of what kind of community is south fellowship church made to be who are we we have this big thing on the wall when you walk in living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus some of you even wear it on your wrists as well one day someone will come and say I got it tattooed on me somewhere I’m like that’s great

that’s a great step to take if you’re thinking about it absolutely but how how do you take the teachings of someone like Jesus over three years and break them down to just this is living in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus there is just so much this is the most compelling teacher in history and so we landed for this particular series in this particular time on this passage in a book called matthew one of the biographers of Jesus life one of the writers of the gospel if you have a paper bible in front of you if you want to grab your phone your ipad whatever you have if you don’t have anything that’s fine I’m going to read matthew 22 34 to 40 and we’re going to keep unpacking this hearing that Jesus had silenced the sadducees the pharisees got together one of them an expert in the law tested him with this question teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law he’s asking Jesus Jesus would you break down these 613 laws these

39 books and give us the the most significant thing and Jesus says love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your mind this is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it love your neighbor as yourself all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments let’s pray together Jesus as we look at this book that you’ve given us this book that we believe as followers of yours that you breathed in it’s alive in a different way would you use it to speak to us would you use it to mess with us to transform us whether we’re young whether we’re old wherever we are in that journey of faith would you be transformative in our lives would you ask us to do hard things and give us the strength to do those hard things amen okay so we just read this passage let’s go over it again hearing that Jesus had silenced the sadducees and the pharisees got together two religious groups that would argue back and forth with each other one of them’s asked a question Jesus has answered the next group now ask a question one of them an expert in the law tested him with this question teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law and that’s what we unpacked last week this first idea love God with all your heart and what we wrestled with for this first week was this the commandment isn’t just try hard to love God that isn’t the purpose of it really where we spent most of the service unpacking was this idea it asks us to know that we are loved by God and then to reflect that love back to him it starts with the incredible amount that God is passionate deeply about you wherever you are in your journey whatever your history looks like the God of the universe loves you and we’re invited to to to know that and to reflect it back and then the second one love your neighbor as yourself Jesus picks two of the most basic commandments in jewish life maybe the first two that somebody would know and then definitely the first two that

have this idea that love is an imperative it’s something that you’re supposed to do love God with all your heart love your neighbor as yourself but the question we might ask is this what does it mean to love your neighbor when Jesus says this what does he mean by that yes definitely it’s back from an older book it’s from a book called leviticus chapter 19 verse 18 and it’s in the middle of all these different laws about the types of clothing that you should wear about sexual ethics all those different things it’s in the midst of this passage that has all these complicated things in and in the middle of it there’s like this nuclear bomb love your neighbor as you love yourself now to a person three and a half years ago reading that the first implication would probably be this love the person around you love the person who is like you love the person that you live in community with though there were some other passages that would maybe say

people might join your community they might be foreigners there was a provision for those people but for the most part for a jewish person three and a half thousand years ago when they heard love your neighbor it meant love your fellow jew love the person close by love the one who is like you so does that what Jesus means when Jesus unpacks that 1500 years later does he just mean love the person like you now if we were just left with this passage we might say absolutely that’s maybe the reasonable context but fortunately for us this isn’t the only time that this conversation comes up so we’re going to jump from matthew to another biographer of Jesus life a guy called luke as a community we just spent 10 weeks with luke so we’re pretty familiar with who he is and his language but if you’re not that’s fine again luke is a biographer of Jesus life very smart probably a doctor has done all of his research and he records this

conversation just a little bit differently perhaps it’s a different conversation but the theme at least is the same luke chapter 10 verse 25 on one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus teacher he asked what must I do to inherit eternal life that wouldn’t be a particularly unique question in the first century what it doesn’t mean is what do I need to do to go to heaven when I die that’s probably not the context at all for a jewish person it was probably something like this we have a problem our land is not our own people have overtaken it we have these overlords these romans we see them on the streets what is God going to do about that he’s got to fix that at some point and how do I get to be a part of it that that’s probably the sense of his question and so Jesus responds what is written in the law he replied how do you read it in this version it’s not the teacher asking what’s central to the law in this version it’s

Jesus asking that question how do you understand the law and incredibly this young man he gives Jesus the same answer Jesus has given to other people love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind love your neighbor as yourself you have answered correctly unsurprising that Jesus says you’ve answered correctly it’s the same answer that Jesus has given to this question in the past do this and you will live but here the conversation it just keeps going the teacher has a follow-up question but he wanted to justify himself so we asked Jesus and who is my neighbor I suspect that under this question is this idea Jesus how narrow can I make this I don’t want this to be broad I don’t want this to include lots of people how narrow can I make it and I would suggest you and I we’ve done the same thing at different points because it’s easy to love the neighbor that cuts your grass for you

when it needs cutting it’s harder to love the neighbor who dumps his grass clippings and your corner of the yard there’s always that tension between different neighbors it’s easy to love this guy because we all want neighbors like him it’s harder to love this guy I’m a huge simpsons fan I know that’s not normal in the evangelical community I love the simpsons it’s been on for 35 years and I think homer is just the most intriguing character but would I want him as a neighbor no he’s terrible as a neighbor he torments his neighbors it’s easy to love the neighbors that are like us the neighbors that are good it’s not so easy to love the neighbors that are not like us that are different from us that complicate the relationship I would suggest that the heart of this question is Jesus how narrow can I make this don’t make me love people I don’t want to love tell me just to love the people that are like me the people that I have things in common with

and Jesus as he so often does in difficult questions decides to tell a story and to start with what I’d like to give you is I’d like to give you that story from the focal point of a person who we don’t usually focus on a man wakes up one morning it’s still dark outside he has to get up early and so he edges past his wife and his kids trying desperately not to wake them he stumbles around for the few items of clothing that he has and he begins to load his pack animal because he has an 18-hour journey ahead of him he has to travel from jerusalem to jericho and it’s not the miles that bother him it’s the journey itself because this road is not a good road he’ll be descending from about 2500 feet above sea level from jerusalem with its plentiful war to its fertile land and he’ll be making his way down to jericho which is 800 feet below sea level and as he makes this journey the road will slowly become harder and harder and harder and this road again just has

a bad reputation so as he makes this journey all of his senses are tingling all of his awareness is aroused and and during this journey he has this moment where as the ground starts to get harder he hears like a shuffling like rocks moving around and that’s the last thing he remembers before he wakes up in a bed he has this moment of relief a moment of checking for injuries and find himself finds himself bandaged all over himself he has this moment of panic where he’s a poor man and realizes he doesn’t have any money to pay for an innkeeper to look after him and so he begins to try and get out of bed to gather his few possessions that he can see around the room and the innkeeper walks in and says you don’t need to worry somebody brought you to us they’ve paid your bill they told us they would pay whatever costs there were just relax just rest go back to sleep and the man rests back on the pillows with his word of breathe thanks to

the God of the universe and the person the unknown person that left him there to be cared for this is the context that might be around the man in the story who we know nothing about we don’t know whether he’s a good man we don’t know whether he’s a jewish man we’re left in this mystery but this man is attacked on the road in Jesus story a man was going down from jerusalem to jericho when he was attacked by robbers this road that he would have taken is about 18 miles long it’s a 10 hour journey and it was known as the way of blood or the way of the red this is a little part of it and so many people were attacked in this road it had this fearsome reputation so for Jesus first listeners when he says the man was on a road from jerusalem to jericho for them there was this moment of wait what’s gonna happen then because there’s always a story about this road we’re left with this tension like what’s gonna

happen in this story about this terrible road and sure enough he was attacked by robbers when they stripped him of his clothes beat him and went away leaving him half dead in reality it doesn’t matter at this moment whether he is still breathing not even if he comes to he’s in the middle of nowhere there is no water it’s a desert he has no chance of surviving if he comes around and yet he lies there and we’re introduced to several characters that come his way a priest happened to be going down the same road and when he saw the man he passed by on the other side now we have probably a tendency 21st century westerners a tendency is probably this to assume that priest and pastor are somewhat sort of synonymous and I don’t want my reputation tarnished by this guy there is maybe a truth that most people go into pastoral ministry of some kind because they care about people they want to help that wasn’t

necessarily true of a priest in the first century it was a family lineage it was a privilege it was something you inherited there is nothing necessarily to say this priest is more ethical than anybody else and the same is true of the levite that would follow first a priest comes along passes by and then we’re told so too a levite when he came to the place and saw him passed by on the other side of the road two religious figures two people that we assume are jewish probably like the man on the road they walk past him and leave him where he is now for them there was probably an ethical sort of tension there there’s this passage back in the old testament again if you’re not familiar don’t worry but it’s a book called numbers and it says this whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days so what do these men do supposing they’re on their way to jerusalem they’re supposed to participate in temple activity if

they touch him they can’t do that they can’t do their jobs it’s maybe some of the tensions some of you guys have felt recently with all of the contact rules around coronavirus am I supposed to quarantine now am I supposed to not go anywhere now all those different things that come up this is a similar tension to what these guys are processing now what do we do what if he’s dead what does that mean what if he’s not does that mean we have to stop what we’re doing and and help him there is a load of tension for them around this and Jesus masterfully creates this story and for every jewish person the story can only have one conclusion because this is not a new story perhaps you’ve heard the idea that that sort of fairy tales comic patterns all those different things jokes they tend to revolve around the number three so think three little pigs there’s the three pigs and think about ever other fairy tales you can probably track with these

different ideas of different sort of stories jokes often work around three so to help us understand this I’d like to introduce you to this english concept of joke called the englishman the scottish man and the irishman some of you may be familiar with it but this is a repeated pattern and every nation tells it differently depending on their nation so the englishman is usually figured as being somewhat uptight sort of repressed all of these different things that’s broken about our sort of tendencies the scottish man is usually presented as as cheap he doesn’t like to part with his money and the irishman is usually presented as daft and there’s no truth in the stereotypes yet they exist historically so this joke is a good example would look something like this during the second world war an englishman a scottish man and an irishman they walk into a barn and hiding from the nazi soldiers they decide to climb into some sacks

lying on the ground so the englishmen scottishment irishmen each find a sack and the nazi soldiers walk in looking for some opposing soldiers and they walk up to the first sack and they kick it and the englishman says woof woof woof and the nazis say oh there’s dogs in the sack and they leave it be the next one walks up to another sack kicks it and the scottish man inside goes and the soldiers say well there’s kittens in that sack and they let it go now as much as we know nazis are awful I don’t know if they would leave puppies and kittens sitting in sacks this seems like a flaw in the joke but finally the man walks up to the last sack and he kicks it and the irishman inside says potato potato potato potato potato this joke is part of like a pattern of jokes that everybody knows where it’s going they always know what the kind of result will be this story follows one of those patterns for every jewish person they would have heard a story

like this at some point and it always goes like this there’s always a priest then there’s always a levite and then finally there’s a hero and that hero almost without exception is an ordinary jewish person the hero is joe the plumber the hero is the everyday guy the hero is the crowd so as Jesus listeners are listening in on this conversation there’s this moment where they’ve been for a priest and they’ve been through a levite and the thing is coming the story is coming to his conclusion and the hero is around the corner and it’s got to be an everyday jewish person surely except for Jesus it isn’t Jesus is being intentionally provocative for this crowd he’s trying to teach them something but a samaritan as he traveled came where the man was and when he saw him he took kitty on him to understand some of the the what’s going on under the surface here it’s important to know who these samaritans were and you may not be familiar with that a

samaritan was essentially a brother of a jewish person the the israeli nation had been split into two there was israel there was judah israel had gone into captivity about 700 bc judah about 587 but with very different journeys the nation of israel had been taken off into captivity and other nations had been moved into their land and the people that were left had intermarried with all of the people were there and so to the jewish people in jerusalem who went away and miraculously came back pretty much as they were this group of samaritans they were the failures they were the ones that didn’t stay pure they’re the ones that didn’t follow the laws that God had said about marrying other nations when Jesus says samaritan it’s like those guys are never the heroes they’re the bad guys of all our stories Jesus has been provocative when he says samaritan when a samaritan is the hero every jewish person listening says wait that can’t

be right and yet in Jesus story he is the hero and the whole passage seems to turn on this one freeze he took pity on him the greek word there is splag on it’s very hard to say but it’s this idea of inner most part some compassion was moved within him there was some kind of inspiration that said you need to care for this person it’s like he allowed his humanness to come to the surface the priest the levite they had too many things to do there was all these compelling reasons they shouldn’t act for this person he tapped into what made him human and chooses to act and then Jesus as he often does takes a story and then gives it meaning then starts to unpack it for the crowd that are listening so what what is his meaning which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers taking aside whether neighbors the person who’s like you or whatever who acts like a neighbor who does the

neighborly thing is his question and look at the man’s answer he can’t even bring himself to say the word samaritan it’s that man over there that the other guy the outcast the the nobody the guy we don’t want to be the hero won’t even use the term and Jesus tells him you go and do likewise for a jewish person to hear the samaritan is the hero go and act like him would have been mind blowing Jesus told him go and do likewise so a question for us as we unpack this today as we seek to live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus as we seek to take this and apply in our lives might be what did the samaritan do I just think there’s loads of things that he does that are just compelling look at this list he allowed himself to be moved by pity he chose to act in mercy he loved without the aid of government or organization he loved when it was somebody else’s responsibility but there’s more than just that he loved at the risk of his own

life imagine for a samaritan to see a jewish person lying on the side of the road you go over to help them and then a traveling party of jewish people comes around the corner who’s the likely suspect who do you blame who does the mob come after this samaritan he risks his own life to make this decision he loved at a cost to himself he loved when he was busy with a task he had so many other things perhaps to be doing just like the other two characters and yet he loves anyway you might say that the parable of the good samaritan challenges the length through lens through which we see those around us it forces us to acknowledge that we instinctively love those who look act talk and think like us Jesus suggests that following him involves being a neighbor to the one who is unlike us who might even appear as our enemy if the jewish concept of neighbor was the one who is like us Jesus concept of neighbor is the one who is

unlike us as well and maybe you’ve got to experience this type of thinking a few years ago I ran out of gas now the debate in our house as to whose fault this was still rages and you guys can speak in as you feel free is it the responsibility of the person who ran the gas so low that you couldn’t get to a gas station or is it the responsibility of the person who happened to be driving when the car stopped and I’m sure we all have a whole bunch of thoughts as to who that was but I was the person driving and so I got to be the person that went wandering off to try and find a gas tank and then some gas to put in it and then make my way back to the car and as I did walking down the side of the street I discovered something this is no longer the universal sign for hitchhiking because I just got ignored by every single person on the road finally made my way to the gas station got myself some gas and began the long hike backwards again the thumb

did not work until this guy turned up after I’ve been passed by many people I had someone stop and help me and offer me a lift what was beautiful in this moment was this was a person who did not look like me did not seem like me and yet this was the person that chose to stop and help me and what I loved is this as we drove along we started to unpack like just I said thank you for stopping like I just I really appreciate it I’d been waiting for a while and nobody else had stopped and we started to unpack why he stopped and he just said this in very simple words well you needed help and if you see someone who needs help the right thing to do is to help them right I was like this guy he gets it yes that’s exactly what we would say and as we unpack further this samaritan he loves the one who was different to him he did what he was able to do and then startlingly as we unpack it from the small the micro to the big picture and the macro

he moves towards reconciliation rather than towards revenge a samaritan person might just say this is a great chance to take out some anger on a jewish person that’s that’s in a place of struggle and yet he choose to move towards this big picture of reconciliation think about how poor this jewish writer unpacks this as he starts to figure out what exactly Jesus death and resurrection have done he says this for christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died and he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again so from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view that we once regarded christ in this way we do so no longer therefore if anyone is in christ the new creation has come the old is gone the new is here all this is from God who reconciled us to himself through christ and gave us the ministry of

reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in christ not counting people’s sins against them and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation it seems like as paul unpacks this Jesus story he says God is putting back together all the brokenness in this world that starts with the small thing people like you and I but it gets bigger and bigger and bigger this story is a microcosm but it’s this beginning of a healing of a fractured relationship that that is about nations and not about individuals this is what martin luther king jr said about this passage on the one hand we’re called to play the good samaritan on life’s roadside but that will only be an initial act one day we must come to see that the whole jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar it is not

haphazard and superficial it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring in Jesus mind and paul’s mind it seems like this whole story is about healing about something new happening in the world but it begins with acts like this samaritan’s act Jesus is interested in both a reconciled world and in individual acts of mercy that cross boundary lines and challenge our perception of neighbor the one is not possible without the other acts of mercy and kindness that cross boundaries are a small start on that long road towards reconciliation in the jewish mind it might be that the neighbor that was the one that was like you in Jesus mind it includes the one who is not like you and I and so there’s a question that I have a question that I’ve wrestled with myself why so often do I not act like this if Jesus simply says this is the samaritan this is what he did go

and copy him what are all the tensions about why why do I struggle so much to find space for that why don’t we do what he did in those moments that we don’t and to help us unpack that I’d like to tell you another story this is a picture of rob hall it’s a bad picture because it was taken on the top of everest rob hall took more people to the summit of everest than any western person in history he went five times himself and during one of his expeditions in 1996 as he was making his way to the service he had set a parameter for how long this expedition could go on at one o’clock everyone was supposed to turn back it was just a way of keeping everyone safe and yet at four o’clock rob is still trying to get his group of climbers to the summit something’s happened in his mind the oxygen deprivation of being at 28 000 feet has got to him and he’s making decisions that on the ground he would never ever make and climbing everest is

notoriously dangerous because at 28 000 feet in what’s called the death zone you can’t survive for longer that oxygen level the oxygen is maybe a third of what it is at sea level these are some pictures this is the everest balcony as people are making their way up and look at that line it’s like looking in a supermarket it’s like costco on saturday afternoon this is what climbing everest looks like now this is the hillary step the last bit right before the summit and there’s people juggling to get past each other there’s all these different things going on and in 1996 as this storm came in multiple groups get caught near the summit and multiple people die and there’s a story of one group a reporter asks them they had climbed the north side which is the more dangerous room and as they climbed they’d walked past a group that had come short of oxygen that were disoriented and didn’t know what to do next and they walked past them on the way

to the summit and then on reaching the summit they walked back down found them unconscious and walked past them again as the reporter tried to unpack just what had gone wrong on this day when so many groups had become stuck and so many groups had died he asked the question of this group why why didn’t you stop and help them on the way up and certainly why didn’t you stop and help them on the way down and the group leader’s answer was this there is no morality at 28 000 feet there’s no morality at 28 000 feet if you stop and help you risk your own life you risk your team’s life if you stop you can no longer breathe it’s all measured in one breath and one foot and all of those different things and there’s no morality at 28 000 feet this was the group leader’s answer to why he didn’t stop and help this group and I just wonder for you and I in these moments where we feel like we’re too busy or there’s too

many things going on or we can’t stop and help is it perhaps that we feel like we are living at 28 000 feet and maybe if we’re honest our summit whatever we’re trying to achieve in that moment or with our lives in general is it just too important to us do we have these opportunities to stop and we’re like I’m just gasping for breath I’m just trying to survive I’m just trying to get through and the idea of carrying anyone else’s burden of stopping for anyone else it just seems too much are we just so focused on achieving that goal that we say I can’t stop I’ve got other things to do I just wonder if that is some of our attention if we’re honest and if that’s true I guess the final question I have for us this week is this what do we do now what would Jesus have us do if he’s his message is act like this samaritan this is what he did go and copy him what do you and I do as we go away this sunday now on one hand an easy answer would just

be to say we should try harder now there is truth to the idea this is a bob goff quote we don’t always get to pick the parable we’re living but we get to pick who we are in the parable there is this idea that we make a choice we decide do we want to be the samaritan do we want to be the other two characters and yet I don’t think for many of us we would say the problem is we don’t try it’s those other things it’s that I’m just trying to breathe I’m just trying to get through life just trying to survive and I wonder if there’s something more profound that we could stand by this and as I wrestled with this myself this week as I ask myself questions about my own life about this text about what God has for us as a community about how we unpack what it is to live in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus I was reminded of last week where we said loving God is not about trying harder to love him it’s about realizing deeply that he loves us and that

being a transformative thing and I wonder if something similar is true as we unpack this idea this is psalm 23 verse 3 it will be familiar to many of you he restores my soul he guides me along right paths for his name’s sake there is this beautiful gentleness to this psalm but that phrase he restores my soul is fascinating the hebrew word for soul there is this word nephesh it’s the same word that’s used in the garden story where it says God breathed into man and he became a living being nephesh could simply mean the one who breathes it could simply mean humanness it’s used distinctly of human beings over anyone else and so there’s this idea that restores my soul simply means he re he returns me to my human state he brings out of me that thing that I’m made to be the word nephesh can also be translated breath he returns me to my breathing think about that in the context of 28 000 feet living and have that experience of I’m

just trying to breathe this God offers us a return to our breathing a return to our humanness take a breath it’s going to be okay maybe some of our struggle is this that we’re just trying so hard that it’s always easier to walk past the person on the side of the road and this gut offers us something empowering something that we can rely on some kind of transformation that begins again with him and who he is that humanness seems key to this story this samaritan sees this man as a fellow human being this is a um a quote from the dave matthews band from a song called samurai cup it’s about childbirth oh joy begin weak little thing more precious there’ll be nothing no oh joy begin let’s not forget these early days remember we begin the same we lose our fear away in fear and pain oh joy begin Jesus character of the samaritan sees a man on the side of the road who on the surface is not like him but he sees him and says he is like me he is a

human just like me the the priest the levite they see someone lying on the side of the road and it doesn’t matter that they are the same both jewish all similar everything in common they see someone as less valuable they see the summit or their achievements as more important they maybe say I just don’t have enough breath they’re just enough capacity I would suggest that being a neighbor starts with this Jesus invites us into a renewed humanness as part of a renewed humanity this may require surrendering ass summit in order to care for travelers on the road we do this well when we have space to breathe so I’m going to invite aaron to come back on stage he’s going to lead us through a practice and lead us through a worship song before I come and close the surface surf service I did say I did ask the whole band to come back up on stage in the first service but aaron is doing an ed sheeran type thing for us today he’s just

making it all happen by himself Jesus thank you that you give us these incredible stories and you unpack them in these most incredible ways and they’re always challenging maybe you’ve messed with some of our understanding today maybe you’ve pushed us to new action God would you take our lives and would you be transformative we love you because you first loved us perhaps we love those on the road because you first loved us as we sing continue to work in us

What If We…Loved Others Well? | Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 10:25-37 (Part 2)2022-02-14T12:58:49-07:00

What If We…Learned to Love God Well? | Matthew 22:36-40 (Part 1)

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good morning friends how you doing my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting it’s great to have you apparently we’re now giving rounds of applause to the announcements but maybe that’s just because aaron is back and we’re all delighted and yes you did run a little over the allotted time but that’s okay on your first week back I guess in the first service aaron rambled on stage for a while and I fixed the tv I was like well through the looking glass here we’re just switching roles all over the place usually it’s me rambling and it’s aaron fixing stuff and so maybe one week I’ll lead worship and and he’ll preach those of you that sit over in this section know that would not be a good thing many of you would leave if I led worship on any week but here we go we’re jumping into the new series I’m going to start by reading you a passage from a book called matthew if you’re unfamiliar with the bible that’s fine

 

matthew is one of the four biographies gospels of Jesus life and so this is chapter 22 verse 34 hearing that Jesus had silenced the sadducees the pharisees got together one of them an expert in the law tested him with this question teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law Jesus replied love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind this is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it love your neighbor as yourself all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments let’s pray together God as we open this book that you have given us we believe as your followers that you breathed on this it is alive in a particular way it is life-changing in a particular way as we study together would you comfort those that are afflicted would you afflict those that are comfortable would you bring new stories out of old stories would you do what you so faithfully

 

do would you turn up in our lives and bring transformation and we ask this because of Jesus your son amen so today we get to begin a new series we’ve walked through this journey called build a bigger table for the last few weeks and now we move on to a series throughout the month of august that we’re calling what if we it’s this opportunity to come together and say what kind of community do we want to see here at south what what purpose do we have for existing what kind of community does littleton and the surrounding area need us to be if we believe that the local church is the hope of the world then a great question for us to be asking is what kind of local church is needed in this particular season this particular age now here’s where it gets a little bit interesting I get to play this role in helping lead south but really south has been around for a long long time it’s an old community so how I see my role is this is not

 

just creating new things but it’s this role of listening and saying well God who did you make us how can we be the best south that we can possibly be in this particular time in this particular place maybe a visual image if you get on board with visual images is it’s kind of like seeing a block of marble and and the thing is already somewhat shaped but there’s some little odds and ends that we’re still knocking around with and still moving about and we as a group of people get to say God well who are we what are you using us for in this particular time and to do that we’re going to begin with the thing that’s on the wall as soon as you walk through the door you walk through the doors here at 6560 and you see emblazoned all over that wooden wall we are a group of people we are living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus but think about that phrase for a second even if you’re new to church new to faith and your sort of stance at the

 

moment will be well Jesus was a great moral teacher but I’m not sure he was much more than that well he was a great moral teacher whose teachings have lasted a few thousand years and and to encapsulate that teacher’s thoughts down to one or two things that’s a difficult thing to do and if he was really who he said he was nothing less than God living as a human on earth and well wow that’s even more difficult how do we take the teachings of this master teacher and how do we boil them down to a couple of things and so we’re going to begin this process this journey with that passage that we just read Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment how do you sort of sum up everything in the old testament and he landed on the past passage that we just read but before we get too far into that before we jump into this idea of of loving the lord our God with all our hearts let me just say this so often I feel sermons

 

are like love letters what do I mean by them being love letters for those of you that have ever written a love letter there’s a good chance that you’ve written a love letter and never sent it the reason for that is this you were the person that needed to read it you were the person that needed to write it it’s you getting out your emotions your feelings your processing onto paper it may not need to go to the person to whom it’s directed but you you needed to say it and sometimes sermons are like that sometimes you find yourself creating sermons specifically for a community and then sometimes in the process of doing it you’re like wow this I I am the person that needs to hear this because when you think about pastoring a church what I would say I have discovered in my life limited years of doing it admittedly is this the whole of the world now tells you that to do that you have to lead and there’s truth in that there is an importance of

 

leadership and yet what does Jesus say to me personally he says you alex your primary role is as a follower you follow me on a journey and you invite people along and if my leading of south along with the elders and the staff if that effort gets in the way of my following us then the whole thing falls apart I first and foremost you first and foremost no matter what your position you are a follower of Jesus and nothing nothing gets to come before or get in the way of that so I’m going to throw you out a thesis to start this whole thing I’m going to let you just hover with it hold intention this is my thesis as we approach this topic what has your attention will ultimately will gain your affection what has your attention will gain your affection I’ll just leave it hovering there write it down if you want to ponder it and we’re going to jump into this passage let’s give it some more context a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while

 

others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road the crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted hosanna to the son of david blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord hosanna in the highest heaven when Jesus entered jerusalem the whole city was stirred and asked who is this the crowds answered this is Jesus the prophet from nazareth in galilee up until this point Jesus in his ministry has spent most of his time on the edges the periphery of jerusalem maybe we’d talk about it as the commuter belt maybe we’d talk about it as the suburbs he has been distant now depending on which of the four biographies or gospels of Jesus life you read you get a different impression just how long he’s been teaching for when you read matthew mark and luke you might get the impression this has been maybe a few months when you read john you definitely get the impression we’re talking

 

about a few years Jesus has come and gone from jerusalem for different festivals but still regardless most of his time has been spent outside of the city on the peripheries he’s gained this incredible reputation and now he makes his entry into jerusalem for this final season before the crucifixion and imagine yourself a few thousand years ago when there is no entertainment there is no television cinemas imagine what it feels like when a celebrity comes to town because Jesus at this point is nothing less than a celebrity he has done things that nobody else has done he has said things that nobody else can say and so when he arrives in town the crowds that gather must be immense some of them have just heard rumors they may not know particularly who he is but others know specifically oh this is the guy that everybody has been talking about Jesus names has been on everybody’s lips and so when he arrives in

 

town there’s a whole bunch of different emotions for some people there’s joy celebration excitement for some people there’s danger this threat for the religious leaders Jesus is dangerous what does him coming to town mean and so they for the next chapter or so we’ll throw him as many questions as possible you know how especially in today’s world the some questions they’re really unwinnable right someone asks you a question you could ask me a bunch of questions now on stage and there’s some things that no matter what I said I would irritate some of you you’d be like that’s just not what I wanted to hear maybe now more than ever it was still true then to a certain extent there were questions that just would put you at odds with somebody and so for these religious leaders like if we can trap him if we can trick him he’s going to lose support with a bunch of people and maybe even better he’ll really annoy the

 

romans who are ruling and then maybe they’ll deal with him for us so these questions have this ulterior motive to them and as we jump into our passage today what we hear is this hearing that Jesus had silenced the sadducees a religious group the pharisees got together another religious group one of them an expert in the lord tested him with this question teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law now this wouldn’t have been a particularly unusual question to wrestle with in the first century in actual fact we can go back in history and we can find multiple rabbinic debates about what what what tells us what the law is how does it how do we understand it what’s fascinating is this for so many of the people that gave answer to this question they went to the most complex some of them said well if you read psalm 15 then it breaks the law down into 11 different sections if you read isaiah 33 it breaks it down into six

 

different sections now if you don’t know what any of those books or names mean that’s absolutely fine you may be familiar with this one because it’s been popular again more recently some of the rabbis would say if you read micah chapter 6 verse 8 well that gives you a good breakdown of what the law is he has shown you oh more to what is good and what the lord what does the lord require of you to act justly to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God for some people they would say well that is basically a good summary of all of the old testament rules 613 of them if you can love justice if you can be merciful to others and if you can keep walking with the God of israel that’s that’s a good summary Jesus is asked this question and while everybody else seems to go for the complex and Jesus goes for the simple he takes these two passages that every single jewish person listening would be familiar with

 

may not be familiar with micah 6 verse 8 may not be familiar with isaiah 33 but every single person listening to him would know that deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4 said that you shall love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind this was a prayer that a good jewish person would pray twice a day it was written on their doorposts this is how central this was to jewish way of life and love your neighbor this is finds itself in leviticus chapter 19 and in leviticus this first book a jewish boy would be taught to memorize in the middle of this chapter that’s all about what types of clothing you can wear in the middle of this chapter that’s about sexual ethics suddenly there’s this bomb this nuclear bomb of love your neighbor as you love yourself Jesus picks the two most familiar commandments and he picks the first two commandments where love becomes an imperative what do I mean by that for for

 

the rest of the old testament love has been used as a verb this the talk of a relationship it might say jacob loved rachel or something like that but this for the first time in leviticus and then deuteronomy is this moment where it says no you shall love this is your responsibility you shall love Jesus picks the most simple and the most familiar and he picks the two that talk about love hear o israel the lord our God the lord is one love the lord your God with all of your heart with all of your soul and with all your strength you shall love but the question I have for us there is what does it mean by love because you and I know that the word love is is maybe the broadest word that we use think about the number of contexts that we use that in I love my wife I love my kids I love my God I love my boots I love my boots I have had these boots for years and I will not throw them away even though the bottoms looked like that they have so many holes in

 

them I wore them on ash wednesday this is the extent of my love for this community let me just say this I wore them accidentally on ash wednesday and we did ashes outside in the snow dan and I stood for an hour and a half in the snow for anyone that drove past and these do not as you might guess from looking at them hold water I mean they just leak like crazy and I stood there in the soaking wet in the freezing cold with these boots that leak and yet did the boots go no they didn’t I will fix the boots I will continue to wear the boots and I may wear them because it’s denver and it hardly ever rains even when they’re not fixed you may see me up on stage in them and say I wonder if you fix those or not I love the boots and the boots will stay I love I love I love we use that language we use that word in so many different contexts love can be used as as a way of getting people to do things that they do not want to do it can be used in a

 

manipulative sense it’s so broad so varied what does it mean what does love mean and what does it mean for a group of people that were writing this 50 3500 years ago what did they mean when they said love the lord your God with all of your heart hear o israel the lord our God the lord is one love the lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength most commentators on deuteronomy would say this this is not an emotional statement it is not asking you to feel anything it’s not saying you have to feel some fluffy feeling inside this for the most part you might say is a transactional statement there is a transactional element to this relationship to give you some ways of understanding this that might be familiar some of you may have grown up saying the pledge of allegiance in school I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america you may have seen like an old drama like a medieval

 

period film where a knight will declare his fealty to his liege lord and what would happen historically is this they would kneel in front of them they would place their hands in between the knees of this lord they were declaring allegiance to and they would promise to love them they would promise to protect them they would promise to do everything they were told to do by them this language here when we read love has far more in common with that than it does with the language of emotion for this group of people it was essentially saying this God has done all of these things for you now you owe him your allegiance now you owe him your obedience the language in deuteronomy is so much about what you do rather than what you feel it is transactional and and as the language of judah and deuteronomy unpacks what we start to get a sense of is this God has done all of these things for this group of people and and if

 

they don’t hold up their end of the bargain well something bad may follow maybe judgment in terms of they may get conquered by another nation there may be famines there may be sicknesses again all of the language is transactional it’s not about emotion yet but what’s incredible is this as we start to unpack this old testament as we read some of the different authors that God calls to write we start to see that while the relationship here may be transactional there is deep deep emotion and God’s part towards his people and to track with that to learn from that we’re going to jump into a book that you may not have read some of you may this book called josiah it’s a book that you can maybe read in 15 20 minutes if you want to go away and read it it’s a fascinating journey a fascinating narrative that starts with this passage when the lord began to speak through hosea the lord said to him go marry a

 

promiscuous woman and have children with her for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the lord go and marry a promiscuous woman now when we hear the word prophet there’s a good chance that what we hear in the 21st century is we hear someone who predicts the future now now is that a part that profits played yes but but a better way I would suggest to understand this word profit is to understand activists so think of someone in the world that you see as an activist who protests against a certain element of society it works better for the illustration always if you hate that person because it ruffles your feathers a little bit but think about someone who you see standing up saying this is wrong in the world that is the best way to understand how a prophet worked in this time period they were people that saw society as broken and they spoke up against it but there’s these incredible moments where

 

God asks these prophets to do some of the most outrageous things a prophet called isaiah he tells to walk around naked for three years it’s only after the period of three years that he says something like oh by the way you’ll have noticed my prophet isaiah has been naked for a certain period of time and you think about all of the the struggle must have been there in isaiah as he’s obedient even in the midst of this sort of crazy request another prophet ezekiel is told to lie on his side for 90 days and then to roll over and lie on his other side they were often asked to do these things to demonstrate something about God’s message but but none of them quite compares to hosea whose whole life is taken apart with this one sentence go and marry a promiscuous woman and have children something about this relationship that hosea has is reflective of God’s relationship with his chosen people God says are like a promiscuous person

 

they have broken the relationship we were supposed to be in fealty together we were supposed to be in relationship and they’ve broken it they’ve they’ve messed it up and then he goes on in verse chapter 11 to to start to talk about the relationship now not as a marriage but he starts to talk about it in the context of having children it was I who taught ephraim that is israel to walk taking them by the arms but they they did not realize it was I who healed them I led them with cords of human kindness with ties of love to them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek and I bent down to feed them this relationship that we’re told to start with were given in transactional terms now in hosea has this deep deep emotion in it God loves this people he sees himself like a father of these children now for those of you that are parents I’m guessing if you think back you maybe have some favorite photos of you with particular kids and

 

I have a couple to share that helps us understand this a little bit more so I picked elena this week because I get to pick whichever one of them I want they’re not here to complain so this is one of my favorite photos with elena this is one we took underwater with my phone because my phone said it was waterproof this is what apple told me turns out if you have an iphone that is not true they are not waterproof after they leave the store so we took this photo because she said it would be really fun to take an underwater photo I love this photo because the story behind it is this it cost me a thousand dollars this is how much this photo is worth now what made it more irritating was this right after I took it and the phone essentially disintegrated uh I remembered someone had bought me a waterproof camera the year before so I could have had the photo for free but the question is would it have meant as much if it had been free I love

 

this photo but I also love this photo I love this photo because I know where I was in this photo now you may say very intuitively I’m I’m not in the photo no I’m not but I was stood somewhere about where this table is as this photo was taken it was my sister-in-law that took it she’s a professional photographer and she said what I want you to do is I want you to be the one that gets her attention and we were trying to get the leaves falling around us she said at the right moment I want you to throw the leaves and get her to throw the leaves as well and I want you to get her focus looking that way I remember being stood right here and the fact that that joy that face that smile is created by our relationship by the joy that we have that the way that hosea unpacks this relationship he has with his people israel is really similar to the way we may say the relationship of a father or a parent and a child it seems like so many in so many other

 

narratives God is stood off to the side just trying to get his children’s attention he picks these two big images these two big relationships one of a marriage one of a parent and he says this is what it’s like and then look as the passage unfolds and he starts to talk about the ways that his people have they’ve not lived up to their side of the transaction a sword will flash in their cities it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans my people are determined to turn from me even though they call me mo God most high I will by no means exalt them we sense that the judgment that he said would come if they didn’t live up to the transaction is coming and we’re waiting to see what it looks like and then the next verse how can I give you up a frame how can I hand you over israel how can I treat you like admira how can I make you like zoboyim my heart is changed within me all my compassion is aroused it’s like in this

 

moment of judgment God’s heart catches and he’s like no I can’t do it you are you are loved judgment is suspended it seems like God in his humility is willing to be characterized like this he’s like the father of a teenager out way beyond curfew that father stands there angry upset hurt rejected and yet stands in front of the screen door waiting for the headlights to come into the driveway longing to forgive longing to start over again longing to be gracious that is how this book characterizes that relationship and this book is really building to that Jesus story where ultimately God will go the the complete distance to win our hearts to win the hearts of his people as we get to Jesus taking deuteronomy chapter six verse four yes it began as transactional but now as Jesus speaks it it can be read with all of the emotion and all of the heart that God has for people just like you and I Jesus replied love the lord your God with all

 

your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind as his followers are left to unpack exactly what this means and how it happens every time they seem to land on this idea we love him because of the love he first sent our way because of what we receive this is his follower john this is love not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins we love him because he first loved us this is what the those new testament writers land on our love is inspired by his love for us and as they wrestled with that word love they had options that we didn’t many of you may know the greek language has multiple words for love whereas we have only one so they landed so often on this word agapasis in this particular particular verse but you may know it as agape or agapeo to love as God loves to love sacrificially to love with all of your being with everything this is the word that they picked so

 

unique was this word see did this word seem to be that there was a time when they believed these new testament writers created it out of nothing but as we’ve learned more about this period there are other examples of this word being used but this is the word they landed on we love and reflect God’s love we might say this we are called to love with all our hearts soul and mind the one who consistently loves with all of his heart soul and mind when we we see this language of heart soul and mind it’s not asking us to spend a ton of time thinking about how the different parts of a human being is split up it’s it’s really just trying to capture everything this God loves with every part of him and we are called to love him in return with every part of us and so here’s this question for you and I what stops this happening it brings us back to the thesis I gave you to start with what has your attention will gain your affection what has your

 

attention will gain your affection what has our attention and how is it so easily brought to other things or how much how does it so easily focus on other things there is this famous meme that’s been around for a while it’s called the uh the distracted boyfriend and then there was the distracted girlfriend that followed it’s the hosea image it’s unfaithfulness captured in a picture it’s a guy that looks behind him to notice another girl when he has a beautiful girlfriend with him and she has this look of shock and horror in his face as he stares at another woman walking in the other direction and because we see it in both genders there is this other picture that same thing and and it’s now used as a meme to capture how we get focused on the wrong things so often but it’s the hosea picture it’s this picture of unfaithfulness what has your attention what is it that captures and captivates you and I if what has our attention will gain our

 

affection and we know that this passage pushes us to be people whose attention and focus is on the God of the universe who loves us what what are the other things now I think so many of those other things can be good it can be your job it can be promotion it can be the career of the business it can be the family which is a wonderful gift that can be the attention it can be the cryptocurrency market it can be the stock exchange it can be so many things it can be the hobby the interest it can be things that are good but if they take our attention ultimately from this God that calls us to know and love him then they become negative things right but as I sort of wrestled with this myself as I asked myself all of these questions about myself it wasn’t all of those things particularly when I have to sort of narrow it down to the thing that gains the most of my attention this is what I landed on this is a greek myth it’s not a biblical story can you hear

 

me um or another microphone would work as well or I could just speak really loud we had to do this in seminary just as a topic of interest we had to stand at the bottom of the ground and preach from the bottom of the ground just so we could feel like uh what it would be like to be john wesley or something like that it’s batteries yeah you know how to change them I don’t you’re the technology guy my first day back come on this is like a challenge sure there you go can someone climb this for us how many worship leaders does it take to change imagine if you’d still been on sabbatical two rounds of applause in one uh one one week that’s a new record for south congratulations we’re going to put you on a plaque somewhere on this day august 1st 2021 aaron bjorkland received two rounds of applause from the south community so back to this this isn’t a biblical story it’s a human story narcissus is a hunter that is incredibly

 

beautiful no woman can gain his affection or his attention and yet one day while out hunting we’re told he stares into a pool of water and catches sight of his own reflection and as he does as he looks at this over a period of time he becomes deeply infatuated with himself now in the greek version of the story he uh commits suicide in the roman story he turns into a flower which is a very different ending one is much more grim than the other but this story doesn’t end well and yet we see this story reflected so often in the prayer life of people attempting like you and I to walk in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus this is a prayer from flannery o’connor the catholic writer dear God I cannot love you the way I want to you are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and myself is the earth shadow that keeps me from seeing all of the moon she writes about it like this I’m just seeing the very edges I’m just seeing the fringes

 

and I could see more if it wasn’t for me I am the thing that gets in the way it is me it’s not the good stuff it is me and myself my self-importance my involvement with every aspect of who I am that’s the thing for most of us I would suggest it’s not the good stuff it’s the me so as a question to try and clear the pathway to help us to become those people living in the way of Jesus to move into what Jesus asks us to do which is to be people that love this God with all of our heart what might you and I do to make that happen I would suggest that the rhythm of life that you have might be something that helps you what rhythm of life might help you if we believe that prayer is fundamental to knowing this God what what rhythm of prayer might help you and I wanted to give you some ideas now depending on where you are in your spiritual journey something as simple as this might be something that you want to begin praying

 

regularly God if you are real please make yourself known to me it’s a dangerous pr brave prayer from for someone who finds themselves lost in that uncertainty maybe you look at a world and he’s like I’m just not sure what I see about God in this world this is a prayer that maybe helps you articulate that need or longing that the God of the universe may make himself real maybe a prayer for people like you and I if we find ourselves with our attention constantly wandering to other things a short prayer that gives us this reminder and pulls our gaze back might be this Jesus son of God have mercy on me a sinner it’s a prayer that comes from luke 18 verse 13 or is inspired by it it’s the story about a a very unreligious person who watches the long prayers of those that call themselves religious and says I don’t have that in me all I have is the ability to keep my eyes downwards and say Jesus God have mercy on me a sinner the great baptist

 

preacher charles spurgeon suggested this one he said I think that in the same way jewish people would pray the shema every day I would suggest every follower of Jesus could benefit from praying this it’s from psalm 63 verse 1. you got gather my God earnestly I seek you I thirst for you my whole being longs for you in a dry and parched land where there is no water it’s this expression of our attention and the affection that follows God I have this deep longing that only you can fill and then maybe there’s this thought or this idea from brennan manning the contemplative priest he was asked about prayer in the contemplative tradition and he said this in our tradition the hour you spend in the prayer room is when you refocus re-center on Jesus becoming fully aware of his presence once again when this happens you can carry God’s presence with you into the other 23 hours of the day knowing all the time that he is with you he

 

is for you he likes you and he hears your thoughts you’ll see people and situations the way he sees them when problems arise you’ll pray in real time right then and there instead of compiling prayer lists for a later holier moment in fact your life will become that moment a continual conversation with God a continual conversation with God you and I are invited into these types of relationship and yet our attention we would probably only so often distracted prayer then becomes this decision to direct our attention towards the one who loves us completely are there other aspects to prayer definitely is prayer a list of requests is prayer an intercession for the world around us it is all of those things and yet at its heartbeat it seems that prayer is centered around relationship it is this decision to say God you in this moment have my attention you have my attention what has your attention will gain your affection when

 

Jesus says to this group of people love the lord your God with all of your heart all of your mind and all of your soul really what he’s saying is this this God loves you completely longs for your attention you don’t manufacture this feeling this emotion this response it is a response of us seeing the incredible love of this God as individuals living in the way of Jesus and the heart of Jesus to me begins by that fundamental relationship that that decision to love this God with all of our heart this decision to give him her attention to see the wonderful ways that we are loved and to respond in kind but it’s not just individual either is it because this series is designed to ask us what sort of community we want and I would suggest that a community full of people that do that thing is what we want I would suggest that whatever we can shape out for south in ways of vision of mission of purpose of however we want to operate in the world what I would

 

suggest is if it doesn’t begin by that process of prayer and that process of engagement with God then ultimately the system is flawed and broken it begins by saying God who have you made us to be it’s why we have groups like the watchmen it’s why we have prayer in staff it’s why we do those things regularly and with rhythm and seek to do them more because we long to hear from him what has our attention as a community will also have our affection as a community this is who we are made to be we are made to live in relationship with this God and it brings me back to something I said to the first service ultimately we see a world right now where so many young people are leaving the church why are they leaving the church not because of Jesus Jesus and his message are just as compelling today as they have ever been believing is because the church is seen as flawed broken and out of date and yet a community of people that love the

 

God who loved them and then loved the world around them because of that is just as compelling today as it has ever been our core first of all is to be that type of community what has your attention will get your affection we’re going to move to a time of the communion table I’m going to invite the worship team to come back depending on your religious upbringing your tradition you may know this thing as the eucharist you may know it as mass you may know it as the lord’s supper or multiple other names but we do it because it’s the one thing that Jesus a couple of things that Jesus gave us to do repeatedly when he left he said continue to baptize and continue to remember me through this table so what we’ll do over the next few minutes is this these guys will come and they will lead us in this time of worship this first song is maybe a song of repentance it’s a song of crying out saying God would you would you revive us would

 

you revive this world around us would you work in our hearts would you bring out of us all of the things that you need to bring out of us so we’re going to sing that as a community together and then I’m going to invite you in the space to come and take from this table to take the elements back to your chair and we’re going to sing a very familiar hymn to many of you it’s called my Jesus I love thee it has some old-fashioned language but the sentiment the the affection that we’re expressing is unchanging so as we prepare ourselves I’m going to invite you to close your eyes and I’m going to remind us of a passage of scripture written by a guy called paul some thousand years ago I pass on to you what I also received as a first importance that on the night he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his followers and during the meal he took bread and handed it to each of them he said this is my body broken for you in the same way he took

 

the wine handed it to each of them said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you gather together do this in remembrance of me this sacrament is about attention with all of the distractions in this moment we place our attention firmly on Jesus who came and gave his life for us and for the world we come and we place our attention on this story that works through deuteronomy through hosea but is ultimately moving in the direction of the God who would come to fix this well it would bring it new life who would create a better story from the old story it’s a story that you and I need and it’s a story that the world around us needs Jesus in this moment we give you our attention as individuals as a community as we sing together would you prepare our hearts amen if you would like prayer during this time ivana formations pastor dana care pastor are at the front it’s not a judgment thing it doesn’t need to be anything

 

wrong but maybe you need wisdom maybe you need guidance healing if you would like prayer you’re welcome to come and receive it as this song finishes feel free to come and take the elements when you’re ready take them back to your seats and we’ll take communion together if you’re watching online feel free to grab those elements

What If We…Learned to Love God Well? | Matthew 22:36-40 (Part 1)2022-02-14T12:52:52-07:00
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