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South Fellowship Church

Forgiving Others | What To Say When You Pray (Part 8)

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hello good morning how you doing friends my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting it’s really great to see you delighted that you’re here I’m just this is just a complaint so just take it for what it is uh my wife and kids just deserted me for the week they’re off in michigan you know and someone actually said to me in the first service what are you complaining about like that’s my dream being left alone in my house by myself like just just take that for the goodness it is but I’m I’m very extrovert so I have to spend a lot of time by myself now which is just as terrible as you you might think but on the plus side I did get to go uh to hang out in vail for a day just and get some skiing in and I went with a guy um who comes to south who shall remain nameless but his name is jd and he’s got this reputation that every time I say I’m going with him my wife will text me she’s like please don’t die um because you know he just yeah there’s some stuff so this is us on the edge of this corner that’s like a 20-foot just drop into just like this this mess of snow I I stood on the side and whacked my pole against it a few times just to show it who was boss but other than that I then skied around it and the safe route but but the fun part was as we’re on the next chair we’re looking back and he turns around he goes oh look there’s our cornice over there and the guy we were skiing with he looks at me says don’t call it our cornice it was your cornice you were the idiot that took us up there like we we we were no part of that and we we decided there was no forgiveness for leading us up there and yet when we get to today’s sermon maybe we have to forgive him because today we get to talk about forgiveness and I’m always aware whenever we open up this kind of thing it stirs up all kinds of emotions there are lots of like maybe triggers maybe instantly when I talk about forgiveness and and let me specify forgiveness towards other people not forgiveness from God there’s maybe a person that already floats into like view for you there’s there’s maybe a time in your life that instantly comes back maybe there’s a house that you still don’t drive past a business that you still don’t do business with because it can stir up all sorts of different things when we start talking about forgiveness and yeah it’s something that Jesus comes back to time and time again so if you have a text if you want to open it we’re in matthew chapter 18 verse 21 then peter came to Jesus and asked lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me up to seven times Jesus answered I tell you not seven times but 77 times and with some implication that he’s like yeah don’t count therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants as he began the settlement a man who owed him 10 000 bags of gold was brought to him since he was not able to pay the master order that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt at this the servants fell on his knees before him be patient with me he begged I will pay back everything the servants master took pity on him cancelled the debt and let him go but when that servant went out he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins he grabbed him and began to choke him pay back what you owe me he demanded his fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him be patient with me and I will pay it back but he refused instead he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt or when the other servant saw what had happened they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened then the master called the servant in you wicked servant he said I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you in anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay back all that he owed this is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart in a mix mix in the mix of a story about choking and torture and debt and all of these different things what might Jesus be saying to us let us pray Jesus as we open up this emotional issue there’s a whole bunch of people that might be wounded by this God would you speak to us for those of us that need um affliction would you afflict us would you move us on in our journey for those of us that need comfort would you comfort us would you speak to your people in this community uh men so we’re in a series on the lord’s prayer open up sort of closing it off this week and really where we started was this this whole language about prayer this whole conversation about prayer in these things called the gospels these biographies of Jesus life start with some disciples some followers of Jesus that come to him and say lord teach us how to pray these are people that grew up in a religious culture they are used to prayer but something that they have seen in the way Jesus prays seems different to the way they have prayed and so essentially you might phrase their question as show us something that works how is it Jesus that when you pray it seems like a conversation it seems like a relationship when we pray it seems like it has this different vibe to it and and so the request is really we want to do this like you’re doing it we want this kind of interaction this is this moment where he teaches on prayer and it’s very traditionally what a jewish rabbi would do in the first century they would teach their students how to do the things that they did this is how many steps I take on a certain holy day this is how I teach people the kind of stories I use and yes of course this is the language I use when I talk to God and Jesus structure is pretty simple there is one opening you and I are invited to pray father we’re invited to bring that sense of relationship into a conversation into prayer and then these three like giant clauses this idea that God is holy separate distant big vast and yet he’s interested in this world and he’s bringing some kind of kingdom there’s maybe this suspicion there that that in the universe the only place where God’s will isn’t done is on earth that everywhere else it is and that’s the the one day that will change that you and I in fact when we follow the prayer get to play a part in that your kingdom come and your will be done and then we move to these petitions and it’s almost like somewhere the languages you’re going to be a part of this kingdom if you’re going to be a part of that you’re going to need some stuff just in everyday life you’re going to need some supplies you’re going to need daily bread which we get to ask for you’re going to need forgiveness and you’re going to need protection from evil there’s the the moment of like where we begin asking for stuff now if most of us are honest that’s probably the place we start when I have a conversation with God quite often I have a list of stuff that I need maybe it’s the health of someone I love maybe I’m short of finances for something maybe I I feel like my relationship with God is a little broken I quite often start in that language of please give me what I need and yet that’s not where Jesus starts is it important yes is it the whole thing no Jesus walks us through this kind of way of praying ethan who taught us last week said there’s a temporal nature to these petitions it talks about the the past and need for forgiveness it talks about the present and need for supplies for daily bread and talks about the future I need for God to deliver us in whatever happens and that’s definitely there and yet somehow Jesus in this incredible way also brings all of that into this like continual now he’s like I’ll journey with you I’ll be with you we’ll be connected together and I’ll constantly be doing these things are constantly be providing constantly be forgiving constantly be delivering it’s yes past it’s yes present it’s yes future but it’s also like in this wonderful ever present now Jesus language and prayer is essentially language of relationship you are invited in to a relationship that is conversational and that is good news but then we get to some of the tougher parts because a couple of weeks ago we just took one half of this verse forgive us our debts it’s language that we again may be used to we maybe have this sense that this there’s parts of us that aren’t up for show that we’re careful about who we reveal them to this is a quote from shakespeare’s macbeth stars hide your fires let not light see my black and deep desires it’s this reflection that’s somewhere in the core of most of us there’s parts that were like yeah I don’t know if I want people to know that or see that someone said the the most important conversation is the conversation that we have with God maybe in the morning maybe in the evening but someone else said maybe that’s not the most important conversation maybe the most important conversation is the one we have with ourselves right before that where we decide am I going to be honest in that conversation with God do I really think these black and deep desires that I can keep them undercover or am I going to come to that senior I’m going to open that up God you know but you also need me to know that you know that there’s a conversation there that reveals some of the inner workings which is important and yet it doesn’t stop there very inconveniently I would say Jesus takes this idea of forgiveness from debt and he very much uses that language of debt even though it’s clear he’s talking about something beyond just money he takes that and then he says as we also have forgiven at debtors Jesus takes the language of how we might be forgiven by God and then says it’s related to maybe even correlated to are you willing to forgive those around you and occasionally we see pictures of forgiveness in the world that are compelling we we love these stories this is a picture of the brother of a bosom I’m blanking on his last name but he he was shot by a police officer in his apartment and during the court case when the police officer was found guilty he asked the judge could I come out from behind the witness stand and could I give the convict a hug I want to tell her that I don’t wish evil on her I want to tell her that I don’t even think she should go to jail I want her to be forgiven there’s something about that picture that when we see it we are compelled by it we’re like that is an act beyond what I’m used to by human beings but while we might be compelled by it when we see it each of us would probably own in the moments where we feel hurt where we feel abused it is very difficult for us to get to that point it’s not as easy when we’re in that situation and yet Jesus will say as he unpacks his prayer for if you forgive other people when they sin against you your heavenly father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others their sins your father will not forgive your sins somewhere there was a correlation out of all the things that Jesus chose to go back and emphasize he didn’t go back and emphasize the need for daily bread he didn’t even go back and emphasize God’s kingdom and how big and large it is he went back and emphasized oh by the way when I related how God might forgive you with how you might forgive others I wasn’t misspeaking it wasn’t an accident I’m gonna go back and emphasize no that that was real pay attention somewhere the two go together and again I find that deeply inconvenient my my question and I have many about this whole text is is why why should they be connected that doesn’t seem fair I’ve got a couple of phrases that I’ll just throw up for you that are that are maybe famous well-known cliches or quotes the one is this time heals all wounds is that true maybe physical ones I’m only talking maybe but certainly when we’re talking about like the wounds that people can do to you internally I don’t think time heals or wounds I actually think time makes them worse I think with with the right contemplation with with the right focus it can actually get harder I I think the years pass and and I can get more resentful I don’t think time heals or wounds and then how about this one to air is human to forgive divine alexander pope if forgiveness is divine why do I have to get involved in it why should I have to forgive why should I have to let stuff go I I I’m not forgiving I’m notably resentful I I carry things very deeply and somewhere we learn right very early on what it is to resent certain things we we know early on that there’s this like there’s this sense of people hurt us and we’ll talk about that a little bit more in a second why link forgiveness from God with forgiveness for others we know what it is to be hurt and we know when people have done us wrong I have this memory from back about five years old we were out for a nice walk all our family together and we find our way down to a stream and my brother’s about 14 months younger than me and we’re paddling away in this stream and and I remember he took his pants off to paddle the better um and I and I think I did the same thing because it just it just made sense and then he started dangling his pants in the water and I thought that’s an odd decision but again you gotta you got to be your own person and then he took his underpants off as well to again continue to paddle and then there was this glorious moment where the stream caught hold of them and I watched as they disappeared down the street like just flowing away and I remember thinking as an older brother this is gonna be awesome um this is like this sucker going to look so silly and I’m the big brother and it’s going to be great and then I remember this moment a little bit later on where I turned around and watched my parents putting him into a perfectly dry pair of pants and having this terrible realization those are mine those are my pants and again like the conversation that flowed between me and my parents was essentially he doesn’t have any clothes what do you want us to do he’s wearing your clothes and I was made to walk back to the car for a mile and a half in just my underwear and just by some kind of mischance there were all these like cool young couples hanging out by cars as we walked past and I feel I remember feeling deeply humiliated and deeply angry and I remember articulating something like I will never forgive them for this and then eventually I got to like 30 and I finally let it go but it took like it took a while there is this struggle with forgiveness and again like I think sometimes we as followers of Jesus can just take it for granted that you know that’s a good thing to do and maybe we have to step back a little bit and say why because I think we wouldn’t be the only ones that asked that question I think peter at the start of this text is really asking something like that Jesus has said forgive he’s talked about divine forgiveness and then said on some level that’s related to forgiveness of human beings as well and I think somewhere peter has a question about that then peter came to Jesus and asked lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me up to seven times peter wants to know how do I know when it’s enough how do I know when the game is over how do I know when I’ve won or at least when they’ve lost for those of you that grew up playing pong which is some of you I know some of you are that age bracket I I played it on the re-release this is this game that is very simple it just this little dot goes off the screen and it just boop boop and eventually like it gets past one of the little guys and paddles or whatever they’re called those little things on the side those lines and eventually that means you’ve scored appointment and it’s a very clear system there is a scoring that we are very aware of and somewhere peter’s question is how do I know when it’s over how do I know when they’ve hurt me enough how do I know when I can just stop playing this game how do I know when to just call it and say I’m done is it seven times Jesus and here’s the interesting thing peter treats forgiveness or understands forgiveness as a transactional transactional equation what’s the limit when do I know that it’s enough and he probably thinks he’s being really generous general jewish understanding at the time was that you could forgive or be expected to forgive up to three times three times was the maximum and it comes from this really weird place in the old testament in amos chapter one there’s this kind of cryptic passage that says this is what the lord says for three sins of gaza this city even for four I will not relent because she took captive whole communities and sold them to edom I will send fire on the walls of gaza that will consume her fortress the understanding was if if God doesn’t forgive four times why should we threes the maximum three is when we’re done and Jesus response is I tell you not seven times peter but 77 times peter comes to Jesus expecting like an avid boy expecting like peter you’ve always been the good disciple I’m so proud of you most people would say three and you said seven aren’t you a star you’re top of the class all of those different things you’re my favorite always have been and yet he doesn’t get that peter comes with an equation an equation that he thinks is just and fair and Jesus takes mathematics out of forgiveness Jesus takes mathematics out of forgiveness he says that’s not how this works now whenever we talk about something like forgiveness I just think it’s really important to talk about what we’re not saying because sometimes the language that we can hear is well Jesus said you have to forgive and therefore you have to pretend that there’s not something wrong so so this kind of passage can be used for people in an abusive situation to say you have to stay in that situation and that’s not what Jesus is saying you could never go back to being in business with that person you could never invite them back into the house again you could there’s plenty of consequences to broken relationships that this may not just give a simple answer to Jesus isn’t saying pretend everything is fine he’s not saying stand up in court and say they didn’t do some of the things that they did that isn’t what the conversation is here the conversation here is about our approach and our attitude to that person somewhere I would suspect in Jesus conversation in this passage he’s about to lead us through this story he’s about to invite us into he’s saying this is primarily for you if you have that posture of of hatred of unforgiveness eventually that’s damaging to you and I want more for you than that someone once said that the unforgiveness was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die it was this moment of like I’m gonna show you because you’ve hurt me and it just doesn’t work like that and Jesus in trying to understand the mathematics of forgiveness he leads him into as he so often does a story in the hebrew tradition a martial the story that that’s supposed to grasp you and make you work for it and then it gives you some kind of takeaway from it the fascinating thing about parables is so often they mirror parts of everyday life and someone once said you can’t pick which parable you happen to be living at the moment some of them may make sense to you but you can pick who you want to be in that parable because usually there’s an illustration that pushes you in one direction or another and in this parable that Jesus will give us there’s all of these different characters that come in there is a basilius a king who is sometimes called lord or curious and then there’s this process that he leads everyone through called cenari logan it’s a a settling of accounts we’re gonna make everything add up we’re gonna do what some of you do at the end of the month we’re going to take a checkbook and balance it with what the account looks like we’re going to figure out who owes what to whom and we understand that right because we at hard I think learn early on we’re all accountants we know how our relationships stack up with other people we have this system even if it’s just in the back of our minds where we say I know when you did something wrong to me and I know when I did something wrong to you and somewhere in the back of our minds we have a sense of where we stand maybe it’s the relationship with a spouse oh you didn’t do the dishes that time and I had to do them oh yeah but there was that time when you went on vacation and and I wasn’t allowed to come or had to stay home with the kids the

but the there’s these ways that like the things they add up and we have somewhere in the back of our minds like no this is this is where the relationship with it could be with a spouse it could be with an employer no I worked overtime and I didn’t get properly compensated there’s all of these different ways we have some kind of registry of where we stand I have a friend who’s a great businessman and he told me to manipulate this situation he I’d done him a favor and and I said to him you know it was it was a pleasure to do that he said I just want to say thank you I’m like no really it was nothing and he said why would you ever say that why would you say it was nothing it was something it took your time and it took your energy it cost you something so next time someone says to you uh thank you for doing that just say oh I know you do the same for me I know you’d do the same for me suddenly then they are the ones that owe you a favor and I’m like I don’t really want to live like that that sounds miserable but for for most of us even if we’re not that sort of overt about it there is a sense of where we stack up where we are and then also where we are with God maybe as well and of course this one if we’re honest has far less of the good marbles oh I did that oh seven times I can forgive seven times all of those different things it’s far less of those and then far more of these were like oh man that thing that really can stack up we have this sense of huh maybe you grew up in a form of religion that said you got to do some good stuff to outweigh the bad stuff fill that thing with as many of the clear marbles that are positive because then that outweighs the blue marbles that are negative maybe maybe we have that sense of how we relate to other people we also have that sense of how we relate to God and this king is about to settle his accounts and it’s clear in Jesus mind that the king reflects God God is settling his accounts in this story with his servants perhaps and this other character that comes in is is called a doulas a bond servant he has no ownership rights he simply serves the king and he has other servants around him that he will interact with so this servant you might say is really the centerpiece of the narrative that we’re about to explore how he reacts is or how he acts is how Jesus wants us to or what Jesus wants us to learn and then there’s this weird little technical term there is this conversation about a talent on or a talent a weight of about 75 pounds this is used as a unit of money or to describe a debt the 75 pounds imagine that a considerable weight and 175 pound talent probably of silver was worth about 1.4 million dollars in today’s terms so think about owing someone a talent you would owe them about 16 17 years of work to pay back that debt this is some of the language that will become important as we investigate this therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants this king is a wise king he wants things to be right he wants things to be fair he wants to keep close accounts and so he calls the servants in to say let’s make sure that we’re clear on who owes what to whom as he began the settlement a man who owed him 10 000 talents or bags of gold was brought to him this language is intentionally nonsensical it’s ridiculous 10 000 was the highest number that the greek system allowed you to count up to so it’s like today in today’s culture you might say something like yeah it’s infinity plus one no no it’s infinity plus two it’s like the the highest number you can get to it’s unimaginable debt it’s not that they they wanted to limit it it’s like there’s nowhere else to go this is as high as you can get and now we’re told this man has to repay 10 000 talents of gold is this debt repayable it’s not repayable it’s it’s an absurd amount of money there is no way a servant should be able to owe this amount of money and yet he does since he was not able to pay the master order that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt in this story it seems that this this king is interested in justice this king knows what is right this king knows who owes him what and he knows what to do when they fail to repay the debt and this is the closest we can get to justice will that ever repay the debt no but it will keep working towards it there’s this fascinating story about this banker during the the financial crisis in 2007 who through bad investments got himself into a whole bunch of trouble and was eventually thrown into jail he was put in jail for three years and then told when he came out he had to take a job and start paying off the debt which was six billion dollars can this man get a job other than maybe banking uh that that can pay six billion dollars no it doesn’t exist and he has to pay back apparently if you own the bank you just get the government to give you money and that covers it but but if you work at the bank you can get a six billion dollar debt and this man got landed with that and now he’s in that situation like when I’m out of jail I will work for the rest of my life and get nowhere in terms of repaying it this is where this servant is there are no options left for him other than the one that he takes at this the servant fell on his knees before him be patient with me he begged and I will pay back everything we asked can this servant repay the debt now we can ask does he believe he can pay back the debt does the king believe that he can pay back the debt he’s begging for more time and his time really what he needs essentially the language behind this macro fumio is is be patient be big hearted be generous and long serving don’t give up on me let me keep pursuing paying this and somehow I’ll find a way I’ll find a way to make this balance out somewhere I can add enough of the clear marbles that the blue ones won’t matter anymore somehow we can get back to neutral let me keep working and eventually we’ll be good that’s the language or the request of the servant be generous enough to let me keep pursuing this be generous enough to let me keep paying the six billion dollar debt off bit by bit the servant’s master took pity on him cancelled the debt and let him go cancel the debt and let him go what has the king done in this story has the king said no eventually this will will make sense this will add up on the accounting charts

is the transaction closed yes but is it closed in the typical way of we got back to zero no essentially what the king has done is is this he said we had a system for keeping track of what you owe I’m going to stop using that system and find a different system I’m not going to count anymore I’m not going to register the debt I’m not going to make you tick it off bit by bit I’m not going to be big-hearted in the sense of giving you years to figure this out I’m just going to stop I’m just going to let it go I’m just going to write it off has this servant or will this servant be transformed by these events what is the reaction of a servant who comes in expecting to be told no you will work the rest of your life your wife and kids will spend time they’ll be sold after somebody else what is the reaction to a man who comes expecting at best more time to pay a debt he can never repay and he’s now told no no we’re just closing this don’t think about adding clear marbles to the blue marbles just let it go what will this man’s reaction be but when that servant went out he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins it is a debt it’s three months salary something like that it’s it’s not unsubstantial but but it’s not what he owed it it’s it’s still there though it’s still justice it’s still right that that language there of he found one of his fellow servants is this word word hurisco it’s it’s not just he came across him it’s not he walked out from meeting with the king and he’s like oh yeah by the way you I I didn’t expect to see you but you owe me some kind of money it’s he went searching for him he went knocking door to door where is the guy that owes me this money this servant has this incredible thing done for him but in actual fact is not changed at all by that process he grabbed him and began to choke him saying pay back what you owe me he demanded and in Jesus beautiful symmetry the language that is used is exactly the same as is used between the king and this servant his fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him be patient with me and I will pay it back can this servant pay back what he owes absolutely can this servant bring it back to neutral can he look at the accounting and say man there’s there’s two of the blue things in there but but now I can add some and we can get it back to fair this servant can bring the narrative back to health this servant has the potential to to bring the story to its normal conclusion that that we’re back to zero and yet this servant is not where the first servant is not willing to give him the time to do that he is completely unchanged by what he has experienced by the generosity that he has experienced but he refused instead he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt when the other servants saw what had happened they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened what are those other servants it’s almost like this picture of like there’s like the servants discussing there and then there’s like a chorus of servants like five or six of them standing off to a side what what has captured their outrage is it that the second servant doesn’t owe something to the first servant and they’re like no you’ve got your accounts wrong they are fully aware of the debt there is a debt that is owed that is not unimportant what they are outraged by is this the first servant is treated in a way that has nothing to do with what he owes the first servant is treated by the king with nothing but grace and goodness the first servant has this experience where the king says to him we’re not counting anymore I’m gonna I’m gonna I’m gonna eat that debt I’m gonna handle it I’m gonna take care of it I will suffer the lust for it and the second servant he wants to keep this system in play with everybody who isn’t him he’s quite happy for the king to write off the debt he’s quite happy for that to be a thing but he’s like no with everybody else I’m still figuring out where we stand I’m still judging like where the situation is I’m still checking the balance sheets what captures the outrage of the servants is that on one hand he’s willing to accept this from the king and he’s not willing to offer it to anybody else in case like we’re unclear on this for those of you that are familiar with the word gospel Jesus is essentially talking about that thing there he’s talking about a king who who has people owe him stuff and says no we’re going to play by a different system now we’re not playing by the system of have you done enough good things to match the bad things we’re not playing by a system of lots of years to pay back the debt we’re moving into a new system that simply says we just stopped with this we just got rid of it we don’t do that anymore there’s a better way to do this now what the servants find outrageous is the fact that the man is has experienced that and he still wants to do this with everybody else then the master called the servants in your servant in you wicked servant he said I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you and then we’re told in his anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed is this about physical torture we’ve read these different pieces of language about like choking and we’ve read this thing about like he’s been now been tortured by the jailers possibly yes but let’s also say this there’s something else going on there when it talks about torture the the some level to which Jesus seems to be saying to continue to operate here is not good or healthy for you this servant this first center servant that is interacting with everybody he’s continuing to operate a system that is destroying him and he doesn’t know it yet he’s invited into a better way and he says no I I can’t live that with everybody else he doesn’t see the beauty of this new system that he’s being offered and then Jesus we go back to the end of the lord’s prayer for if you forgive other people when they sin against you your heavenly father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others their sins your father will not forgive your sins is Jesus saying that to be forgiven you have to do forgiveness first that doesn’t seem to be what he’s saying at all he seems to be saying the two are correlated to the degree of you can pick which system you want to work under but you have to pick you can pick the system of debt you can pick the system of what you owe and to whom you owe it you can count constantly who owes me and who do I owe stuff to or you cannot but you can’t have this new system with God and continue to operate the old system with everybody else you’re either all in on counting or you’re completely out on counting and it seems like in Jesus language he’s like you have to decide which do you want which do you want it seems like somewhere there’s this idea that forgiveness leads to life and unforgiveness somewhere it leads to death somewhere that way of living just isn’t good for us I once got to work with this wonderful lady who I loved very deeply really cared for her but she was just she was so bound by all the things that had been done to her and I sat with her regularly as she sat with her arms on a wheelchair and she’s been stuck in this wheelchair for about five years now and she recounted over and over again all of the things that had been done to her and some of them were terrible and yet what I watched is as she sat there she would sit and she would grasp on the end of the chair and there was this slow transformation as I watched as these hands that grasped and just wrestled with everything that happened slowly began to take that shape permanently there was some physical change that was beginning to take shape as she relived everything that had happened to her as she counted all of the ways that in her mind the things were in her favor and everybody else had been in the wrong I watched as this system of counting destroyed who she was there is a way of living that we are invited into and it’s this thing of grace and goodness and forgiveness and there is this old way of living that we sometimes try and maintain and it is poisonous and damaging and deadly Jesus says this is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart Jesus we want to make this transactional but Jesus insists in the end it is relational it’s relational this good news of the gospel is about bringing healing to relationships again does that mean that everything goes back to normal does that mean that again they move back into the house does that mean that you start the business up again after they destroyed it it doesn’t necessarily mean any of those things seems like what Jesus demands is some kind of heart transformation it seems like what he demands is that we see just how good his new system is and just how generous it has been to us and somewhere that is transformative somewhere that captures our heart and says I can’t live any other way but this now somewhere that says I can’t operate the old system anymore I have to bring this goodness into every relationship the writer henry now and said this community is learning to forgive and to be forgiven now we might look at those and say one is easier than the other but the truth is they are both difficult they’re both difficult to accept your need for forgiveness from another is difficult to learn to forgive another is difficult and what I’m not saying and what I don’t think Jesus is saying is that you should hear this I should hear this and say right it’s done I turned off the tap I have no resentment anymore I’m just everything is good this stuff may go back years and it may take years to bring to some kind of sort of end or reconciliation or something like that and yet what Jesus seems to say to us is we have to start the journey somewhere we can’t keep doing it this way somewhere I would suggest that each of us has this need not just for a transaction to be closed not to just be told oh no it doesn’t matter but somewhere what we long for is restored relationships somewhere what we long for is that sense of someone saying to us no you are forgiven you are forgivable you are loved a few years ago my family had a friend that we made that we invited back to the house every sunday he would come to the morning service didn’t really have anywhere to go and so we would come stay get lunch with us and then after words we would take him to the evening service and then he’d make his way home and alex had had a ton of hard stuff in his life had been a drug addict for a while but really found like a home with our family and wanted to learn the guitar so my brother lent him a guitar to play and he took the guitar had it for a few weeks and then he just disappeared just didn’t see him again and unfortunately he found his way back into the some of the old lifestyle stuff and then years later we got a call or I got a call and it was alex on the phone just saying like after all of this story he’d come back to a place of health we’d written off the debt the transaction was closed were we going knocking door to door trying to find this guitar that my brother had lent him was he a little salty about his last guitar yes but he had a couple of others he could get over it we had written off what was owed and I would suspect alex knew we’d written off what was owed but somewhere what constantly played at his heart was the broken relationship somewhere what constantly played on him was I need something to be restored here if that is possible and after we talked for maybe 10-15 minutes he just kind of paused and he said it’s your brother around I said he’s not here at the moment he’s like I just I just need to tell him how sorry I am I need to tell him how much I value your family and how much I care how much you cared for me and and what I did was wrong and it just still it just feels bad somewhere what he was looking for was more than just a transaction that was closed he was looking for some kind of forgiveness that was deeply personal that was deeply relational Jesus takes forgiveness and he makes it personal this is Jesus on the cross when they came to the place called the skull they crucified him there along with the criminals one on his right the other on his left then Jesus said father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing and my objection to what he says is but they do know they do know they’re in the middle of it right now and they that they’re throwing dice for clothing like how can you say forgive and they don’t know and it seems like they do and yet Jesus in the midst of the most egregious of all sins can stand there and with no sense of sorrow for these in these soldiers no sense of what we might call repentances no forgiveness is still the journey that I’m taking I still refuse in this lowest moment to play the old system of counting of accounting I’m going to play this better I’m going to use this better system even in that moment we are invited into this possibility of forgiveness it’s deeply personal when God offers it to us and it’s deeply personal when we offer it to others Jesus looks at this whole way that the world is operating says there’s definitely there’s definitely a better way to do this and part of the beauty is how compelling that is when we when we get to the core of it the writer malcolm gladwell said this after wandering for many years he wrote a book called david and goliath where he interviewed people who’d been in the worst situations and in interviewing a couple that had lost a child in deeply distressing situations said they saw them off of forgiveness he saw them offer forgiveness and he he looked at their response and said there is no way that is possible without God that is not possible just by human nature there is something else in play here perhaps the first step for each of us when we think about what it might require for us to offer forgiveness maybe the first step is to recognize we have been deeply forgiven we have been deeply forgiven even when we aren’t aware of it and then maybe the second step is this it’s not to say everything’s okay not to say that everything’s fixed but it’s maybe to say that maybe our sense of justice isn’t perfectly in tune with reality maybe it’s to say I don’t get to have the vengeance I don’t get to operate justice somewhere what we say is this I choose to let God decide that I choose to not count anymore I choose to let that old system die and I choose to operate in this new system that Jesus has for us that says the dead is done and there’s a possibility that the relationship is restored let’s pray Jesus as we wrestle with forgiveness some of us might stir up some stuff from decades ago we might have that picture of the person the place the time in life that just man it still hurts and what we don’t have to do is say that it doesn’t matter it does matter

but we get to look at what you offer us the possibility that our old system of counting how we stand with you is now changed and we get to be transformed by that and we get to say that the goodness I have received I choose to pass on to others

thank you for being present with us in this amen

Forgiving Others | What To Say When You Pray (Part 8)2022-07-14T14:06:53-06:00

Temptation & Evil | What To Say When You Pray (Part 7)

From the Evil

Deliver Us

Lead Us Not

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temptation we’re talking about the last part of the lord’s prayer today which is of course lead me not into temptation um yeah so I’ve been on staff here for about four months four and a half months and I’ve had this mission since I got hired to figure something out I’ve been investigating something and I want to know do british people do the accent when no one else is around and I haven’t yet figured it out yet but I’m gonna figure it out if they do or not alex told me that I’d be preaching on the lord’s prayer my first thought was okay that’s um not that exciting uh only because everybody already knows the lord’s prayer like what else could you pull out of it everybody’s super familiar with it we already know all about it and so I assumed like yeah he’s gonna give me the your kingdom come part because I have a tattoo of that right over my heart right here sure enough he didn’t he gave me the um at least not to temptation but deliver us from evil part and my my theory is that he gave that to me because he’s like this guy has so many tattoos he knows all about giving in to temptation and like skirting evil and like you know so so I have that part so we’ll see how it goes um yeah so I’m really excited to explore it because of course as I got into the lord’s prayer I started seeing so many things I had not seen before and found out that despite the fact that it’s short and really simple there’s so much that we can pull out of it that I even as a seminary student hadn’t seen before uh for instance there’s temporal movement throughout it and what I mean by that is it talks about like give us this day our daily bread so in other words that’s in the present we’re in the present moment when we talk about daily bread and forgive us which refers to things that we’ve done in the past so forgive me for everything that happened in the past and the end which we’re going to look at today is about what lead us in other words where we’re going in the future so we have the present the past and the future all covered in this prayer another thing I discovered as I thought through it more is what are the first two words of this prayer it’s our father and where is he he’s up in heaven so it starts with God up in heaven and then there’s movement from his kingdom his plan our lives our provision and then it moves to the last two words which is evil one so there’s movement from God up in heaven everything in between and then temptation and evil and ending with the evil one at the end and and as I thought through it more I was thinking like about these last two lines lead us not to temptation but deliver us from evil and I was thinking these are incredibly bleak like if I was if I was writing the bible which which whatever if I was writing the bible I’d probably have a more optimistic ending like hey let’s look toward the future and let’s have like hope and God give us strength and give me joy and happiness but he doesn’t he ends it with a warning and this is something Jesus does in many of his teachings this kind of starts off optimistically and ends with a serious warning and that’s exactly what this is it’s a serious warning and he doesn’t say hey here’s your hope here’s your it’s a serious warning lead us not into temptation and so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about temptation and evil and these are themes that we see all throughout the bible especially the idea of not even going near temptation so in in proverbs 5 through 7 we have the analogy of the adulterous woman of course it doesn’t just have to be a woman it could be any temptation adulterous man a daughter’s woman and in proverbs it says don’t even go down the street that she lives on because if you go down the street where she lives you’re gonna go by her house and then she’s going to come out of her house and she’s going to say hey my husband isn’t home why don’t you come in so you avoid this by not even putting yourself in the street where she lives or we look at the very first temptation in the entire bible which is adam and eve these people that lived in a garden a beautiful garden they had everything and God gave them one very simple instruction dhoni from the fruit and when I was growing up and I’m sure a lot of us had this similar mentality when you read that story it’s like gee those idiots they ate from the fruit they ate from the one tree they weren’t supposed to I wouldn’t have done that they screwed us all over but

the problem is the story of adam and eve isn’t just a story about two people in a garden in the middle east somewhere the story of adam and eve is a story about you and about me and about us it’s a story about all of us every time that we know that there’s something that we’re not supposed to do and we do it anyway or a story of something we know we are supposed to do and we don’t do it because how many of us have ever done that so in other words we’re all the idiots who disobey God who give into temptation and for them all it took was two simple questions did God really say that will you really die and we get this all the time every single time we’re tempted it comes as this very subtle very alluring thing that draws us in and we’re like oh this God probably didn’t really mean that what is death anyway geez you know we don’t know but a couple years ago I was working out in the gym and I was talking to this high schooler and and I was a youth pastor at a different church back then and this high schooler he’s talked to me about his girlfriend and he goes yeah she’s she’s like kind of a christian she’s like a new christian but I’m a really strong christian but I think it’ll be okay I think she’s like growing and and I’m really strong and in my head I’m just thinking the whole time like that must be nice to be a strong christian I don’t know what that’s like because the the problem with that mentality is that there’s no such thing as a strong christian or a weak christian there’s no such thing there’s no like hierarchy of like oh he’s really strong oh look at him or you’re like oh look at all those weak christians down there I’m glad I’m not like them like there were people like that in the bible and Jesus did not treat them very kindly the ground at the foot of the cross is level if you’re a christian then you’re a christian and that means that you’re weak and that means that you’re vulnerable and as I was studying the lord’s prayer I realized that weakness and vulnerability is the heart of this prayer from the very first words is we address God as our father so that means we’re putting ourselves in the position of children and if you’re a young child do you provide your own bread your own food no you’re entirely dependent on your parents to give it to you your parents correct you they forgive you when you mess up you’re not living according to your own plans when you’re like three four five years old you’re living according to the will of your parents and lastly we depend on our parents to lead us not into a dangerous place not into temptation and things that will mess up their lives but we trust the parents to lead the child into safe places in ways that won’t give them temptation and give them bad habits and destroy their own lives because that’s essentially what we’re talking about when we talk about evil and temptation is destruction of human life a lot of people have taken issue with the phrasing of this though lead us not to temptation well does God lead us into temptation in other places in the new testament it specifically says God does not tempt us with evil so what does it mean when it says God like don’t lead me into evil in fact they took it so seriously that pope francis just three years ago changed the official catholic translation from lead us not into temptation pause

there it is not to temptation he changed the official catholic translation to do not let us fall into temptation and his the reason that he gave for this was it is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation I am the one who falls it’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen a father doesn’t do that a father helps you to get up immediately it’s satan who leads us into temptation that’s his department other translators uh actually alter the wording a little bit so it says lead me over temptation because I’m sure that all of us can relate that if we go through temptation we inevitably end up under temptation we end up being crushed by the weight of it because how many of us have been in that position where it’s like oh there’s a couple bucks right there nobody would miss that and you feel this crushing weight like oh I’m home alone right now I could open up the computer nobody would ever know and it’s not an easy thing it’s not a simple thing to be tempted in church we often talk about it like it’s kind of this oh oh you get tempted oh just pray to the lord but now it’s like a crushing weight so that’s why these translators sometimes instead translate it lead us over temptation so we get to the other side without ending up crushed by our own sin some of you if you’re more philosophically minded might also be thinking then okay then where did evil come from in the first place this is known as a theodicy it’s it’s one of the oldest questions of evil and that’s if God is all good and everything exists in God and he created everything and there’s no darkness in him then he made satan and satan is the one who tempts us therefore did God then ultimately tempt us did God make evil is God the one who does put evil in our lives where did evil come from and I think that asking this question kind of misses the point other people might phrase it like uh well evil is everything that God is not like wherever there’s evil God isn’t there and it’s like okay but we also say that God’s omnipresent that God is everywhere so how can you possibly have a place where there is no God there bishop berkeley in the 1700s said everything exists in the constant thinking mind of God in other words if he were to stop thinking about it would stop existing so how can you have something exist outside the presence of God

again this misses the point I think the better question is not does evil exist why does evil exist where did it come from I think the better question is actually what do we do now what do we do in response to this evil what do we do since we live in a world where we have the holocaust and we have the rwandan genocides and we have uh famine in many parts of africa right now and even our own hometown we live in littleton colorado where we had columbine where we have teenagers shooting teenagers we don’t need to be convinced that evil exists a better question is not where did it come from a better question is how do we respond what do we do in light of this world where there is such darkness

when I was growing up on cape cod we had this tradition I don’t know if a lot of other people have this tradition uh but maybe okay we’ll find out when you’re in a car and you’re driving along and you come to some train tracks what do you do when you go over the train tracks

okay okay you grew up on cape cod too or is this like a universal thing last in the last service somebody said hold your breath and I was like that’s that’s tunnels not um so so to this day I’m 30 and a half years old and to this day whenever I go over train tracks in my car I always go like you know or if there’s other people in the car I’m like lift up your feet or if it’s if I’m like on a date and I’m driving with a girl in the car I’ll just suddenly be like so she’s not like what’s wrong with this guy but if you ask us and like whenever I tell people like lift up your feet they always do it and then afterward they say why do we do that and I always say it’s because if you don’t lift up your feet when you go over the train tracks inevitably your toes will go through the floorboards of the car get stuck in the train tracks and the train will come and run you over

that’s cape cod logic for you so here’s the thing I don’t know anybody who has gotten their toes stuck in the train tracks because they didn’t lift their feet up and when I lift my feet up I don’t actually believe that that I’ll get stuck in the train will run me over right I don’t actually believe that but I do it simply because it’s a habit simply because it’s kind of like a rote memorization thing and I wonder if when we pray the lord’s prayer we kind of like actually believe the first several parts of it we actually believe that there’s God up in heaven who we’re addressing we believe we want to see his kingdom come to earth we want to make that happen and we want his will to happen and not our own and we believe that we want food to eat we want God to provide for us and we believe that we have messed up and we have wronged people and people have wronged us and we need to forgive them but we get to the last part and we don’t actually really believe it’s going to happen we say it because we’re supposed to it’s more of a rote memorization thing than a I actually believe evil will come upon me if I don’t say this last part of the prayer it’s like we’re lifting up our feet going over train tracks and I think a better mentality we should have when we come to this last part of the prayer God deliver me from evil looks more like this this is how badly we should want to get out of the clutches of evil um if you if you google easter bunny kids crying like I do all the time then um there’s like hundreds of these pictures I was amazed by how many there are I was also amazed that somebody at some point thought hey this easter bunny is a good idea let’s let’s put kids on his lap kids will love this like what if we had that face as we’re as we’re praying God deliver me from evil get me off the lap of this evil bunny

that one’s just reaching for it

that’s the worst one we’re gonna talk about serial killers in a minute and I think this was uh

but seriously what if we had that mentality when we thought about evil if we said God deliver me and the fact that we don’t pray that part of the prayer intensely means that we are in the minority of human history because all throughout human history you’ve had totalitarian regimes you’ve had witch doctors putting voodoo spells on you you’ve had neighboring tribes which could invade you at any moment and decimate you and all your family and we live in a relatively comfortable society where we get to say deliver me from evil and don’t really give it a second thought don’t really give it the the weight that it really deserves but here I think when we think about nazis and and external evils I think here’s where the two clauses of this prayer converge because every single one of us has the capacity for incredible evil inside of us and the scary thing is um if you if you listen to jordan peterson he’s a he’s a philosopher psychologist thinker he would always start off his lectures when he taught at harvard every single semester he would start off by saying um if every if every one of you in this classroom was in germany in the 1930s you would be a nazi and everybody says no no I wouldn’t and it’s because inside of our own minds we have this image of ourselves because we watched so many world war two movies and nazi movies and quentin tarantino movies and and we have this mentality that no I’d be schindler that would be me I’d be the one delivering everybody out of you know the clutches of the holocaust I wouldn’t be the one going along with it I wouldn’t be complicit in this incredible evil but the problem with that mentality is that 90 of the people in germany were either nazis nazi sympathizers or did nothing to stop them

so when we pray this prayer deliver me from evil it’s more along the lines of like like the frog boiling in the pot slowly and slowly and slowly and then you can only look backwards afterward and realize what was actually happening and all along you were just going along with it so when we pray this it’s God deliver me from evil even if it doesn’t seem that evil to me right now so we’re gonna do a little experiment right now there’s three candidates and they’re all running for office and we in this room get to decide which one we elect to uh kind of run our church sorry alex um candidate number one is partially paralyzed from polio he has hypertension he’s anemic and suffers from an array of serious illnesses he lies if it suits his purpose and consults astrologists on his politics he cheats on his wife chain smokes and drinks too many martinis that’s our first candidate uh people said of candid number one he’s a functioning alcoholic can number two is overweight he’s already lost three elections he suffers from depression has had two heart attacks he’s impossible to work with and smokes cigars non-stop and every night when he goes to bed he drinks incredible amounts of champagne cod I still don’t know how to say that word

you guys paying attention to who knew how to say that port whiskey and adds two sleeping pills before dozing off candidate number three is a highly decorated war hero he treats women with respect he loves animals and art he never smokes and only has a beer on rare occasions so question who’s voting for candidate number one in here

oh wow he got it dang okay if you were not going to vote for candid number one you discarded franklin d roosevelt candidate number two who’s voting for canada okay you guys stop you already no stop you’re cheating you guys figured out my trick if you like candy number two you just elected winston churchill who likes candidate number three geez okay you guys were in the first service that doesn’t count if you like canada number three you just elected adolf hitler so you can see how evil doesn’t always appear as evil on the surface sometimes when we pray God deliver me from evil it’s evil that I don’t even know about because it doesn’t look that evil to me in 1945 in a separate part of the world there was a man named alexander solzhenitsyn and he lived in the soviet union and in 1945 he sent a letter to one of his friends in which he critiqued joseph stalin somehow this letter got intercepted by the soviet union and he was sentenced to eight years in the gulag and if you don’t know what the gulag is it’s a labor camp where you’re subject to like some of the worst conditions on planet earth that human beings could do to one another so he’s working in this terrible terrible labor camp for eight years he survives and he comes out and spends the next decade writing his like world-changing book called the gulag archipelago and a clip from that book is right here it’s one of the most famous lines probably in the whole 1900s he says if only we’re all so simple and remember this is coming from a man who suffered some of the worst like violence worse conditions put on him by other human beings possible and this is what he concluded if only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and that were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being and who was willing to destroy a piece of his own heart the line dividing good and evil cuts down the heart of every human being in other words it’s not like there’s bad people out there and then there’s good people in here because the problem with all these lists is we always say like oh yeah there’s evil in the world there’s genocides in africa there’s boko haram there’s isis there’s the holocaust there’s the gulags and even more close to home maybe we think oh those democrats they do a b and c or maybe you think oh those conservatives they do x y and z I can’t believe that they’re so evil how could they possibly hold on to those beliefs because they’re bad but the problem with these lists is it’s always them it’s always the other people who are evil it’s always them out there doing the bad things and I would never do that and the problem is we have just as much evil in our hearts we have the capacity for evil that they do 90 percent of germany was not just evil murderers they went along with it they were complicit they were apathetic um in 1971 there were these things called the stanford prison experiments held at stanford university if you’re not familiar with these what they did is they took two random groups of students who volunteered to be part of the study and they divide the group of students in half these are not prisoners they’re not criminals they’re just regular students at stanford and they said this half of the students you’re going to be prison guards and this half of the students you’re going to be prisoners and we’re just going to put you in this facility and see what happens average students not crazy bad people within six days they had to shut down the experiment because within six days about half of the prison guards had become sadistic psychopaths and they were just being violent and aggressive and doing humiliating torturous things to the other random half of the students who were playing the part of prisoners but you know what each one of us is thinking right now that wouldn’t be me I wouldn’t be that but the line dividing good and evil cuts down the center of each and every one of our hearts even charles manson when he was in prison later in his life he realized people were fascinated by him this horrific murderer the serial killer he realized like people are making movies about me and writing books about me they’re fascinated by me and he had this quote to say he said look straight at me and you see yourself

maybe he lived out some of the things that deep inside our hearts we wish we were capable of doing because the same evil is inside of us as is in him so when we pray this prayer lead me not into temptation don’t even let me go down the street where temptation lives because I might be capable of becoming evil so maybe we could add the word deliver me from becoming the evil one keep me from becoming the one that people are scared of the one who does evil acts because remember it doesn’t happen all at once it happens when we go down the street and then we go down the driveway and we go up to the house where temptation lives and before we know it we are doing evil things we’ve all been tempted we’ve all given into temptation and are we going to keep letting it off the hook having a little place in our lives where we’re walking in step with the spirit over here but over here we’re just having a little bit of sin and it’s okay and we’re letting evil have a little place in our lives are we going to keep doing that

the verb for deliver deliver me from evil is like an aggressive or a violent word you could also say snatch me from evil it’s like we’re on an icy hill and we’re sliding down and the only way we can stop is if God snatches us up and pulls us to safety because we can’t do it on our own so will we be like those kids on the easter bunny’s laps saying God please deliver me from evil snatch me get me off of here because I can’t stand to be in here I’m going to destroy myself I’m going to destroy everybody around me I’m going to destroy God’s creation I’m going to be destructive because I can’t escape evil myself evil isn’t just what’s out there evil is also what’s in here I had this uh this teacher when I was in high school at a christian high school and one day in class he stopped teaching and he started preaching and if you’ve gone to christian school you may have had teachers like that where he’s teaching us about the book of acts and at some point he kind of went off script and he just started to say you guys don’t take sin seriously enough sin is going to destroy your life he grabbed one of the desks like this he starts banging it and he’s like you do not realize the power of sin if you let it just get a foothold in your life and then it takes a little more and a little more and you guys are not taking it seriously enough and then he literally threw the desk across the room and we were all like okay all takes in seriously and

I don’t know how many of us actually did but I’ll always remember that image of him taking sin so seriously but the thing about being a christian is this it’s not just that we try really hard not to sin it’s not just that we follow all the rules we have this checklist and and then we’re good and then we won’t slip into evil because that’s how the pharisees thought that you delivered yourself from evil the pharisees thought that if you do x y and z then you’ll be good if you follow these rules God will deliver you but the whole lord’s prayer is from this position of weakness of begging God deliver me from myself deliver me from evil provide for me forgive me but God I know that I’m not strong enough to deliver myself so don’t let me do those bad things because I want to and that’s why Jesus has come Jesus has defeated that evil once and for all we trust in him we trust that when we cry out to him he can deliver us that he does hear us and we pray that prayer now before we get into some temptation we say don’t let me go down that street but we also cry out to him when we are tempted in first corinthians it says he has not let us be tempted beyond what is common to man but when we are tempted he will provide us a way through it so that we do have that escape so that we don’t destroy ourselves so that we don’t destroy other people it’s not in our own strength that we escape evil and temptation it’s only by calling on God calling on Jesus Jesus who suffered in our place Jesus who suffered in order to destroy sin and death and evil once and for all so we call out to him he delivers us from evil he delivers us from ourselves so let me pray for us south Jesus I thank you that you have come that you are victorious Jesus we’re not the ones who are victorious we’re not the ones who are strong we’re weak and we really need your strength so Jesus come and deliver us save us from ourselves save us from external evils Jesus don’t let us go near temptation lord keep us far from it Jesus we rely on you we depend on you and we love you it’s in your name we pray all these things amen would you stand with me as we respond

Temptation & Evil | What To Say When You Pray (Part 7)2022-07-14T14:04:39-06:00

The Beauty of Forgiveness | What To Say When You Pray (Part 6)

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good morning friends my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here that was a beautiful moment not just to watch you guys greet each other like you’d been doing it for you know the last two years but also it was impressive the way you just ignored everything aaron was saying I was like you’ve lost the room here my friend like these people are they’re just doing their own thing it’s like when we try and sing how great they are in a slightly different tempo and he goes like we’re not having it we’re doing it in our tempo people we’re just we’re just we’re going with what we know uh my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting we’re really glad you’re here if you’re watching online we would really love to connect with you uh we’re in a series where we’re talking about prayer what to say when you pray we have a couple of weeks left and at the end of the service we’re gonna come to this thing that in different times has been called the table has been called communion has been called mass has been called the word I would pick for today which is is eucharist it’s this idea of it is thanksgiving we come here particularly today as a celebration this series is founded on this idea uh Jesus earliest disciples came to him and while he was praying said lord teach us to pray lord teach us to pray they had seen something in Jesus that was compelling in terms of how he communicated with his father if you’ve had that feeling perhaps in any realm of life where you’ve seen someone who is like truly proficient at something and you say I would love you to teach me your ways I went skiing with a guy from south like early 50s and we were in one of the back bowls and and coming off one of the lifts he just dropped in off this corner so I’m like where’s the place for the guy with young kids the guy that wants his health and like he values his knees and stuff but but really part of me was like no teach me how you did that that was that was amazing like you just you just went for it this is what’s going on with Jesus and his earliest followers I phrased it for you like this last week show us something that works show us something that works these are people that are grown up praying and yet something that they see in Jesus is far more compelling than what they’re experiencing like we want some of that teach us your ways help us to pray and in response he gives them one opening one opening that was truly transformative one opening that was this idea that you can pray and begin that prayer with the word father that you can talk to God as someone you are in relationship with it’s not distant it’s far off it’s close and it’s intimate and then these three clauses or or statements about God the idea that God is holy separate that his name is special the idea that he has a kingdom he has a way that the universe should work and just maybe maybe this earth is the only place in the universe where that doesn’t happen the only place where his will is not lived out and it’s this prayer God could this earth look like it should if we followed your will could that come now could that be a reality for us could your kingdom come and your will be done these are like the three statements or clauses and then the three petitions which if we’re honest is probably where most of us start God this is the list of stuff that I need could you go about making that happen for me could you make sure I get the stuff that I want it it can push God somewhere into the the realm of santa claus at time but if we’re honestly that maybe is our starting point give us today our daily bread is what we looked at last week the idea that God actually sustains us and he gives us what we need to keep going and then today we get to move to the language of debt and debtor so I get to go straight for the jugular by asking you this question how is your conscience man it’s very spiritual if you came and you kind of like knew or you’re listening you’re kind of new to church I’m like that’s exactly the sort of question I knew these church people would ask me how is your consciousness or maybe I would phrase it like this uh do you have a guilty conscience do you have a guilty conscience I’m just going to let you sit and stew in that for a while maybe maybe you’ve got some emails that you haven’t replied to or something like that maybe the serm like mine a little detail that you didn’t take care of the other day I was working on our cars and by working on our cars I mean moving a car seat from one car to another which is like as far as I get with working with cars that’s my level of technical proficiency and after finally 10 minutes in getting this car seat moved I lifted my head up and saw two policemen just strolling towards me down the road and I had this moment where my first question if I’m honest was what has laura done that would warrant like did you do something I know it was you I even took a picture of these guys just sat outside my window with a big sharer’s vehicle and I I had genuinely this moment of like oh no like I don’t think I’ve done anything but they’re here they’re here for me and there’s some some sort of problem so I I did the thing where I was like is everything okay they were like yeah and then they went to my neighbor’s house and were gone for like 45 minutes and I still don’t know what happened I don’t know if it’s polite to ask or rude to ask I’m just stuck in this never-ending tension you know that feeling like it’s information that you can’t get on google and it to a group of people that are used to getting information whenever they want it’s deeply frustrating like I want to know there is this part to us right that that lurks under the surface that has I think for most of us some level of guilt it’s the reason that when we’re driving a police car pulls into the lane behind us we believe the lights are about to flash on and we believe that some this guy’s about to pull us over and everything’s about to go bad from there that was my experience to look at it through the eyes of pop culture it’s the idea that every one of us has these sort of voices that speak to us I picked the emperor’s new groove which my wife’s family can quote the whole of which is actually just really impressive uh and this is like the good crunk and the bad crunk and they dialogue with each other and there’s this at least acknowledgement that he’s not always what he should be sometimes is what he could be but there is at least some tension going on there there are things under the surface that we don’t necessarily talk about in polite conversations I gave you the sophisticated sort of image in in cronk uh let’s go to a base level we’ll go to shakespeare for like that like lowbrow idea stars hide your fires is what macbeth says let not light see my black and deep desires that I wink at the hand yet let that be what the eye fears when it is done to see stars hide your fires may these big burning balls of gas may they hide the light that shines on us because there’s parts of me that I don’t want everybody to see let not light see my black and deep desires there are different levels there that we’re talking about something beneath the service the surface that doesn’t feel quite right maybe you’ve never thought about guilt before maybe you just inherently don’t feel guilty maybe no one’s ever posed that question to you before but maybe under the surface there is this thing of yeah there are there are some things in my past in my life right now that that don’t feel quite right it doesn’t feel like everything is is really maybe the word is sympathical according to some modern thinkers this is just something you and I need to get over if you’re to ask like some of these great thinkers of our our time or the last couple of hundred years some of them would say just get rid of your guilt uh nietzsche would say that guilt is weakness it makes you weak get rid of it freud would say you’re simply neurotic you’re not able to maintain like a good level of thought you’re just all over the place get rid of your guilt and sartre would say it makes you inauthentic you’re pretending to be something that you’re not and and so these guys between them would say no you don’t need to feel guilty just just get on with life just allow yourself to to be free and yet it seems like in our culture so many people still hold this sense of guilt this is a reporter in the guardian newspaper I feel guilty about everything I haven’t called my mother yet today guilty and I really should have organized something special for my husband’s birthday guilty I gave the wrong kind of food to my child guilty I’ve been cutting corners at work lately guilty I skipped breakfast guilty I smacked instead double guilty guilty guilty guilty there is this sort of thing under the service that we may feel guilt for so many different things and then there’s the problem that sometimes we get caught in the middle of what you might call guilt and shame there’s the idea that we feel guilty for a specific action a specific thing that we’ve done and then shame might be more described as that general sense of unworthiness that I don’t quite fit or belong God doesn’t matter perhaps if we use religious language really own me he simply tolerates me I don’t generally feel like things sit well between us the writer louis smeads said this we feel guilty for what we do we feel shame for what we are a person feels guilt because he did something wrong a person feels shame because he is something wrong wherever you sit on those different things there is a sense that we often feel out of sync with either the universe or with the guard of the universe himself Jesus seemed to recognize this in people Jesus often took care of people’s physical needs we spent last week looking at the idea that he promised daily bread he often fed people in a crowd and it was sometimes the first thing he did he healed people and yet there were times where he did something spiritual as a first port of call while being aware of physical needs Jesus is deeply aware of the need for spiritual healing that is at the core of so much of so many of us some men came we’re told in mark chapter 2 bringing to him a paralyzed man carried by four of them since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the map the man was lying on when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralyzed man served your sins are forgiven to a man who couldn’t walk he said your sins are forgiven to a man who was probably a beggar because he couldn’t walk and needed perhaps food or daily bread he said your sins are forgiven Jesus is able to look at a person and say there is a deep spiritual need there somewhere and I’m going to meet that our father in heaven he taught his disciples to pray hallowed be your name your kingdom come you will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors so I’m going to do something I wouldn’t call it controversial I mean it’s just a tiny little point but I’m going to split this verse that that inherently and explicitly is one this passage this prayer talks about the need we have for forgiveness and how that’s tied to whether we are willing or able to forgive those around us but we’re going to cover that forgiving of others in a couple of weeks this week I just want us to focus just on that one line forgive us our debts and ask just what exactly did that mean what did it mean to Jesus first listeners when he said no you can pray forgiveness for forgiveness from sins debts and when it uses the language of debts we’re really in the territory of like accountancy or bookkeeping picture a sheet of paper where you get to mark where you are not doing well and where you are doing well and that’s the language that we’re talking about somewhere this prayer is let the sheep become blank again take off the bad marks accentuate the good marks keep me in right standing is maybe how you might voice this prayer and to a jewish person that probably raised a whole bunch of questions this is deuteronomy chapter five verse nine either lord your God I’m a jealous God we’re going old testament here for those of you that are catching up punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments how does the tone of that sound does it sound the same as a prayer for forgiveness of sins you might say that it sounds angry it might you might say that it takes sin very very seriously and he might say what does that mean for forgiveness is the forgiveness on those terms when you think about how seriously God takes sin it might be a question that came up to Jesus first listeners what do you mean pray forgive us our sins the movie hail caesar has this moment in it the coen brothers produced this movie and they have this dialogue between these different faith leaders they’re making a movie on the life of Jesus and they want to know does it cut mustard does it stand like up to outside scrutiny is the question that they ask so they bring in a protestant pastor a catholic priest and a jewish rabbi and an orthodox priest and in the midst of the dialogue the rabbi says will you understand you can’t show God on tv from a jewish point of view but as far as we’re concerned Jesus is not God so you can show him as much as you want and it leads to a debate does God have a family to which the rabbi replied no he’s a bachelor and he’s very very angry as well the pastor the protestant pastor replies no no no no you have to understand he used to be angry he’s not now and you see some of the tension between how you might read the old testament and the new testament is it simply that God was angry in the old testament and he’s not angry anymore in the new testament this prayer it marks almost this moment of transition where Jesus is starting to push to his followers there is a different way of communicating with God and the possibility of forgiveness real forgiveness is maybe it’s maybe more serious now than it was at this point in the story this deuteronomy story on one hand there’s this problem that sin is serious and does God just forgive sin but for a jewish person listening to Jesus there’s a second problem the problem is where does he forgive sin where does he where does the magi where does the thing itself happen this is the prayer that the solomon the king who built this jewish temple that you may have heard about this is the prayer he prays over that first temple keep your eyes open to this temple night and day this place of which you said my name will be honored there and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place listen from your home in heaven and when you hear forgive tied to this idea of temple was this idea of no that’s where you go to get your sins forgiven that’s where the reality of the relationship with God such as it is exists that’s the process you have to go through for these jewish people there were specific things that you did so that you might be forgiven and a specific place that you did those things in so when Jesus comes along and starts saying no pray simply forgive us our sins when he does that in relation to praying father in heaven and give us our daily bread and moves through the forgiveness of sins again it probably raised a chunk of questions you can see why a woman from samaria would ask him this question I can see that you’re a prophet our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you jews claim that the place where we must worship is in jerusalem woman Jesus replied believe me a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in jerusalem she has been told by jewish people the thing happens in jerusalem it happens at the temple when you want to worship and when we hear worship we probably hear singing but to them they heard the whole system of how your sins might be forgiven and how you might engage with God she’s like it’s jerusalem right that’s what you say and he’s like no no no there’s this new thing coming where that can happen anywhere there are new possibilities emerging we call this good news we from our perspective call this grace to a person listening in the first century it’s one potentially heresy and it too probably raises more questions than we could possibly answer where does this happen they may have asked when does this happen how does this happen how can you Jesus say sins are forgiven what does that mean they may have asked what does mercy look like in your kingdom Jesus what does debt forgiveness look like in your economy what does forgiveness of sin looked like in your religion they lived in a graceless world and I would suggest we live in a graceless world too we know when we failed we know how others perceive us we know where we stack up in the system we have these accounts that we keep even if they’re just mental when we know that we’ve been wronged and we know when we’ve wronged others they lived in a graceless world and Jesus in the midst of that said forgiveness is possible and he would say the same to us I would suggest part of the thing I want to delve into a little bit for us today is this language of debts I think it’s good but I don’t know if it’s good enough when he says just about a blank slate does that really get to the depths of how Jesus describes grace and there’s a problem there because Jesus never uses the word grace never uses it but he describes it in story and so that’s what we’re going to do for a chunk of our time today we’re going to look at grace in story if you have a text in front of you you want to turn to it with me you can it’s luke 15 it’s verse 11. there was a man who had two sons the younger one said to his father father give me my share of the estate so he divided his property between them not long after that the younger got together and got together all he had set up for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living after he had spent everything there was a severe famine in that country and he began to be in need so he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him to his fields to feed pigs he longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pig’s reading but no one gave him anything when he came to his senses he said how many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death I will set out and go back to my father and say to him father I have sinned against heaven and against you I am no longer worthy to be called your son make me like one of your hired servants so he got up and went to his father but while he was still a long way off his father saw him was filled with compassion for him he ran to his son threw his arms around him and kissed him the son said to him father I have sinned against heaven and against you I am no longer worthy to be called your son but the father said to his servants quick bring the best robe and put it on him put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet bring the fatted calf and kill it let’s have a feast and celebrate for this son of mine was dead and is alive again he was lost and is found so they began to celebrate let’s pray over that text and uh let’s see what it says to us God as we wrestle with this would you help me to articulate the story of your grace really well would you help us to capture it in our hearts even better you are good and gracious and we need to know that and we need to celebrate it amen so back to the top of the story Jesus continued there was a man who had two sons when trying to explain how good God is and what his love means what grace means Jesus it seems relies on a story this is one of the ones he tells the younger one said to his father father give me my share of the estate so he divided his property between them the youngest son says to his father something in a first century culture that he’s close to it’s really inconvenient that you’re still alive I I really wish you would go ahead and die because then I would be able to get hold of my property and short of you dying just give it to me now anyway that’s the harshness of this statement that’s the outlandishness of it this is a son who goes to his father and says your your life is inconvenient to me I want my property we in our culture probably understand a request for money from a son a daughter maybe even a grandchild maybe you’ve been through that journey that someone’s come to you and said could you help me out you have lots of resources I have none could you share with me what you have for this or that purpose that didn’t happen in this way in this culture the sun is granted his request his father unbelievably says okay yep I will split the inheritance and as a younger son he wouldn’t get as much as the older son but he’d probably get about a third of what would primarily be land then let’s see what he does with it so the father has apportioned his land not long after that the younger son got together all he had in this language essentially what we’re hearing is he sold the land again to a culture that land ownership was a big deal into to a culture where this land had probably been in the family for generation after generation possibly for 1500 years he sold the land my family back in england are just working out what to do with the house my grandmother left and she left it to multiple people and you have this moment right where you’re like a house doesn’t split multiple ways very easily how do you work those details out one of the ways you didn’t work it out in a first century culture was to sell it because the land was sacred and it belonged to the family so again two strikes for this son that were tracking with here and there he went off and he squandered his wealth in wild living another very unjewish thing he went to a different country lived with a different group of people and basically wasted all the resources he had everything about Jesus story tells you that this son is not to be sympathized with he is not the good guy in the story he is negative in the story and we get to see as he gets his just desserts he gets his comeuppance after he had spent everything there was a severe famine in the whole country and he began to be in need so he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him to his fields to feed pigs again something that a jewish person would never do by choice pigs were unclean animals to associate with them was not acceptable so he’s in a distant country he spent all of his money on wild living he was bad that he sold the land in the first place and now here he is feeding himself we would love to feed himself on the stuff that the pigs have but no one has given him anything and to a jewish person listening they would say wait no one gave him anything because in jewish culture there was a definite idea I definite idea that when you saw someone in need you helped them with food you helped them with resources not so for these greeks this is a couple of quotes from around this time period first one is plato a poor man who was no longer able to work because of sickness should be left to die how about ploutus you do a beg a bad service by giving him food and drink you lose what you give and prolong his life for misery you prolong his life for misery this was an idea within the greek speaking world you didn’t help someone who was in need you didn’t help someone who’s starving just allow nature to take its course so to a jewish person listening to like wow he really is in a bad spot right he’s in a culture that doesn’t care about him that’s going to let him die and he’s done all of these terrible things and then everything hinges in this story on the next verse this is the moment where something significant is about to happen when he came to his senses there’s this moment where everything this is the low point things are going to start to get better at this point he said how many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare and here I am starving to death I will set out and go back to my father and say to him father I have sinned against heaven and against you I am no longer worthy to be called your son make me like one of your hired servants what is his best case scenario for what might happen his plan is to go back and say I’ve got the ledger I’ve got the list of debts I would like to to have some of that wiped out but I have no expectation of restored relationship it’s gone too far for that he wished his father was dead he took the family property and he sold it he went off and he did a whole bunch of wild living and now he’s living in a foreign country and he’s messing around with pigs taking care of them there is no redemption for this guy there is simply the hope that he will be able to eke out some kind of existence working like his father’s servants when he came to his senses and then there’s this moment where he says I will set out and go back to my father so he got up and went to his father so this is this moment of action he’s got this idea the action now takes place and I would suggest all of the things that we can learn from this hinge on one word that’s actually in the text and another word that doesn’t appear in the text though the word that’s in there is this it’s anastasia’s to rise up it’s the same word that the writers of Jesus biographies will use about his resurrection it’s like this guy is dead and he gets up off the ground he’s sat in amongst the dirt he is at his lowest point and this is this moment of action where he stands up and begins the journey home the word that’s not there might be this jewish word which is teshuva it simply means to return in this story everything changes in this one verse this is where he makes a decision and all of the action changes as well that was the low point from now on things are going to get better he knows his father is gracious he feels confident that he’ll be allowed to live out the rest of his life working hard manually but still having enough to eat he just doesn’t know how good the story will get it’s going to get better how good will it get is the question but while he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him he ran to his son threw his arms around him and kissed him there’s a couple of cultural little nuances there that are important a landowner a rich wealthy person in that culture did not run anywhere not even for sons that were making their way back after a long absence you walked in a stately and steady pace so when you see run you’re like huh this is interesting he was filled with compassion for him that word has like almost like a guttural sense of like it’s like something moving inside you you just can’t resist you just can’t hold back and then I love this moment because the son has his speech planned right he’s got what he’s going to say he’s got it all worked out like I’m just going to ask just write off the debt let me come work for you don’t call me son I won’t call you father but at least I’ll I’ll get to keep living and so he begins his speech but but the speech is notably shorter than his planned speech earlier on he gets maybe halfway through it and it’s like the father says I’m not really interested in that like stop apologizing we’re done with your explanations we’re done with your story there is no good reason for me to take you back and yet I will anyway but the father said to his servants quick bring the best robe and put it on him put a ring on his finger this sense of like family belonging and sandals on his feet bring the fatted calf and kill it let’s have a feast and celebrate for this son of mine was dead and he’s alive again he was lost and he’s found so they began to celebrate there is this attachment of this idea of celebration to the return of the son can you see why I feel like Jesus language of forgive us at debts doesn’t quite get as much to the emotion of this story as we might like when we pray forgive us our debts this is what we’re talking about this story we’re talking about a God who who doesn’t stay still who runs who is desperate to welcome us home the van mumford and sons put this into song in this beautiful way it seems that all my bridges have been burned but you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works it’s not the long walk home that will change this heart but the welcome I receive with every start there’s that skip in the story right the sun gets up and begins his journey home we don’t see the length of that journey we don’t see the overthinking that might take place during that time we just see the welcome at the end and yet it’s the moment he gets up off the ground that determines whether he will be welcomed the father is always way already waiting it’s him that has a problem with his identity not his father his father is longing to welcome him home all of that information is just new information to him the writer philip yancy put this story into a modern parable based on a young girl who lives in traverse city in michigan and running away from home just because she gets sick of her parents and all of their rules she ends up down in detroit he takes detroit it’s like this negative place and I think detroit’s great I lived there for a while I love detroit but in his story it’s bad bad it’s the far distant country and so she goes off there and she gets involved in a whole bunch of lifestyle things that end up with her being sick unable to make rent living on the streets and there’s this moment for her same as with the sun where she says I’m just gonna try going home so she picks up the phone and gets simply the message on an answer phone and decides to go anyway and philip yancey just does this beautiful job capturing the distance and the way that she might overthink that decision as she makes this journey back to traverse city there’s one stop and then another stop and another stop and and this question should I have waited till I could get hold of them what if they were on vacation what if what if they just weren’t around and then finally there’s the moment where she gets back to the stop and she sits on the bus and says I’ve got 15 minutes to decide my life do I get off the bus or do I just keep going to canada and just find a different place to live apparently even in his story going to canada’s a bad idea she’d live in america not canada canada’s the place to be not the place to be this moment where she’s left sitting there and she’s like what do I do and as she climbs off the bus there is this moment where there’s a welcome banner hundreds of relations and a father steps out of the crowd and comes over to her and hugs her and she begins her explanation just like the sun does and he says simply there’s no time for explanations we’re not going there we’re not recounting every wrong thing you’ve done simply know that you are welcomed back and there is a party waiting for you at home there is a celebration to use the words from Jesus own parable it seems that in Jesus mind the prayer for your kingdom come is attached to these later petitions in Jesus kingdom in his world there is daily bread when there might not be in the normal world in his kingdom there is forgiveness when there might not be in a normal world and when we hear that when we live in a graceless society maybe we struggle to believe it I think that’s my question like if this story is as good and spectacular as it seems to be why do we struggle with this compelling narrative why do we struggle why is it that I struggle with guilt and shame from stuff in the past why is it that so many followers of Jesus that I meet struggle with that sense of guilt or that unworthiness that just seems to say there’s something missing something’s out of whack what gets in the way what stops that incredibly good story being as true as we would long it long for it to be for us and there’s a couple of things I think maybe I would suggest one is this I wonder if it’s a belief that we are more than we are I wonder if it’s a belief that we are more than we are let me unpack that a little bit what do I mean by that I think some of us when we look into our past the things that we would recognize as as failures sins whatever language you would choose to use I think sometimes we look back and we say I can’t believe I was that kind of person that wasn’t really me is maybe the language we’ll use oh there was a good reason for that yes it was wrong but you don’t understand what all of these other people did we start to color our language with all of these different senses of excuse I actually wonder if that’s a thing that gets in the way of the goodness of this story this is the writer frederica matthews green she says when we continue to be distraught over a forgiven sin of the past it is linked to our pride it’s that we can’t believe that we would ever do such a thing it doesn’t fit our sense of what kind of person we are yet it stares back at us reminding us that we did do it apparently we are the kind of person that would do that it seems somewhere to really get the goodness of the story involves looking back and saying no that that was me I I take ownership of that I did that thing I was that person Jesus pushes this sort of idea in some of his what you might call harsher passages this is matthew 5 22. you have heard that it was said to the ancients do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment again anyone who says to his brother raka will be subject to the sanhedrin but anyone who says you fool will be subject to the fire of hell this is this is harsh language right it pushes to us this idea it’s not just the action of murder it’s the emotion the passion that’s under the surface you may not act on it and yet still that very emotion that very thing is a problem when you hate the something that’s damaging you inside and he pushes us to acknowledge no I I’ve been there I may not have pulled out the knife I may not have pulled out the weapon but I’ve but I’ve been to that point of looking at another human being made in God’s image and say I wish you were dead I wish I could do these things to you I wish I could bring harm to you Jesus comes after us and says no you you at times are exactly that kind of person you can’t just push it off and say I’m not really like that you are you’ve been there it almost takes the acknowledgement of the position of this son that we’ve tracked in this story there’s this moment where it says he comes to his senses but when he comes to his senses he finds himself sitting at his lowest point he is sat in the dirt in the lowest place and I just wonder if to capture this story we don’t have to say something similar I don’t know if we don’t have to say no I am the one who sits in the dirt I am often the one that finds myself there I’m often the one that finds myself doing things that I don’t think I would usually do I wonder if it takes acknowledge acknowledging that that is part of us that is part of our story but I wonder if we also have the opposite problem too I wonder if it’s a belief that we are less than we are I wonder if it’s a belief that we are less than we are I’m always amazed by the way that paul addresses his letters to people in the new testament for those of you that know something about the new testament this church that he’s writing to in this town called corinth this church is a mess they’re doing some of the worst things they are not on the surface good people and yet look at the language that paul writes to them to the church of guarding currents to those sanctified in christ Jesus and called to be his holy people together with all of those everywhere who call on the name of our lord Jesus the lord and ours grace and peace to you from God our father and the lord Jesus christ and you read it you’re like those people they’re not sanctified they’re a mess they’re terrible and yet paul’s language to them he’s God sees you as good God sees you as whole God sees you as his redeemed and holy people I think one of the worst phrases that happened to the church was this phrase you’re a sinner saved by grace that is not in my mind what the new testament calls you if you’re a follower of Jesus what it says to you is this you’re a saint that is saved by grace God has transformed you he has moved you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the son of his love there isn’t a sense that you are still what you once were there is a transformation that has taken place you are made perfect and whole and that is how good the good news is at that at our lowest point we were still loved by this God and in those moments where we sit in the dirt it seems like we are still loved by this God I wonder if this is our confession I am the one who sits in the dirt and I am loved by my father I am the one who sits in the dirt and I am loved by my father in my mid in the midst of my brokenness my failure in my journeys to the far country in my sitting amongst the pigs feeding them because I have nowhere else to go in the moment that I sit there at my lowest point I am still loved by my father when we hear the word confession I think what we often hear is this I’m gonna give you a list of all the ways that I’ve failed that is not what the word confession means quite simply the word confession means this it’s to say the same as it’s to come into agreement with it’s to stand in relationship with God and say that the actions that you see I say the same about them my place in the dirt I say the same as you about it but my status is your son I say the same about that too that is who I am my position may be where I am but but but but my position as your child that never changed in the midst of that dirt of that mess and my lowest point that was still the same I love the movie blood diamond for how it articulates the story there’s this moment where the young child dia has become a child soldier he’s gone into some of the worst situations and and become genuinely broken because of them and there’s this moment where his father threw out now navigates one of the other characters through this idea I’ve got to look for him I’m his father if I don’t look for him who else will look for him I have to I have to find him I’m dead otherwise I’m dead without him I’m going to go look for him anyway and there’s this moment where they meet at the end of the movie and and the the boy dia actually draws a gun on his father and points it at him and his father in this moment this incredibly poignant moment doesn’t react in any negative way he simply starts to tell his son who he really is simply starts to articulate what is true about him you are my son dia you are a good boy who loves football and school your mother waits for you cooking plantains over the oven the wild dog waits for you the one who listens to nobody but you and then finally these incredibly important words I am your father who loves you you will come home with me I will be your father and you will be my son I am your father who loves you what is the boy’s choice at that point he has one very simple choice he either believes the world’s narrative about him or he believes what his father says about him he believes the world’s narrative about him or he believes what his father says about it I would suggest that every day you and I have that exact same choice we believe what we’re told about ourselves or we believe what our father says about us you may find yourself sat in the dirt but I am your father who loves you everything hinges on that I don’t think nietzsche satra freud were right about guilt I don’t think we can just dismiss it and put it to the side I think the antidote to guilt is that father who loves us even when we sit in the dirt and when Jesus says pray forgive us our debts that is how good the story is it is a father who loves us even at our lowest point this is my brief little blurb summary forgive us our debts is a plea not that God would tear up the note of debt but he would mend the relationship and call me something more than a debtor it’s a prayer that he would continue to pick me up from the dirt and continue to journey with me even and perhaps especially when I’m the worst version of myself it is a confession that I am the one who sits in the dirt but that I am loved by my father we get to come to this table as aaron and the worship team come back to leaders and we get to celebrate that idea celebrate the idea that that love that story that is as good as it sounds is possible because of Jesus when he gathered with his earliest followers he gathered around a table in some ways like this and taking bread he broke it and said this is my body broken for you he took the cup and shared it with each of them saying this is my blood shed for the sins of the world when we come to this table today we come out of celebration we come knowing that the prayer forgive us our sins is possible because of what Jesus did but the story is even better than that even at your lowest moment this God said I am your father who loves you so I’m going to invite you to make a journey I’m going to invite you to walk as that son did I’m going to invite you to walk to this table and take the elements and take them back to your seat and as you walk maybe the the prayer for you is God I feel this weight of guilt would you lift that from me would you speak to me truth would you remind me who I am maybe there is a concrete thing that you know stands between you and God that sense of I’m doing this and it’s it’s not good it’s a mess and and this table is a table of forgiveness it is a table of grace it allows you to come and say God in my brokenness I I bring what I have which is myself and you get to know the redemption that Jesus put in place through his blood and through his body let’s pray together

and the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his earliest followers taking the bread he passed it to each of them said this is my body broken for you in the same way he took the cup and sharing it with each said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you gather together do this in remembrance of me today Jesus we remember you we remember you that you are the God of covenant faithfulness and you do not forget for those of us that find ourselves a kid we’re in a distant country thank you that you love us

for those of us that need to come to our senses and return home would we do that

for those of us that need you to lift the weight of guilt that feels like it crushes us the sense of shame would you remind us who we are as aaron and the team lead us in worship feel free to come take the elements and take them back to your seat if you would like prayer there are people around that would love to pray with you as I said confession is this saying the same as perhaps you would love someone to come alongside you and pray with you and acknowledge with God that you are forgiven

thank you Jesus that you’re present here with us as we do this amen

The Beauty of Forgiveness | What To Say When You Pray (Part 6)2022-07-14T14:01:26-06:00

The Significance of “Daily Bread” | What To Say When You Pray (Part 5)

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good morning friends how you doing today my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting we’re really glad that you are it’s great to have you here uh and uh yeah what a beautiful day to join us on I’m gonna start us with a question um I’m gonna start us with this question do you have a weakness do you have a weakness I’m not talking like a vice or like a a sin issue or something like that to use some language we might use in churches I’m just talking about something that if somebody offers it up to you you’re going to find it really hard to say no like so every now and again every maybe once a year my beautiful wife will come to me and say I think we should go on a diet mainly like for health reasons just to you know make sure everything’s working properly and so we usually do this one called whole30 which requires giving up a load of things that I love and me being fairly resentful for 30 days of just of supposed wholeness I don’t feel very whole I feel empty but we do it and here’s the truth I can look brownies in the face and be like no not interesting candy not a problem uh but bread bread is going to be really hard for me to give up so some good friends of ours came to us and said you know you’ve got no gallbladder anymore we want to make sure you’re on a diet that’s going to keep you healthy for a long time and I’m like you’re going to tell me to give it bread aren’t you and you can stop right there I’m I’m not going down that route I I love bread and then when I moved to america someone presented me with this thing

now when I came I was deeply suspicious of of you people that have come to love very much um I I was I I didn’t think that you understood um beer or chocolate or um something some other stuff as well but but bread as well and then I got this and I it confirmed some of my suspicions I’m afraid I even found a list of ingredients that’s a lot of ingredients for bread let me just say that generally bread comes with five ingredients and and azodia carbonamide is not traditionally one of the ingredients of bread nor is high fructose corn syrup and all of these other things so a few life lessons for you if this is still your bread of choice uh if you can leave bread in a drawer for two months and it looks the same when it came comes out that’s not bread if you can squash it into a ball and it springs back into the shape that it was before you squashed it also not bread so I just thought it was worth getting that out of the way as we begin our discourse on bread so so just to make sure we were all on the same page I had someone make this my good friend eric schmidt made this for me uh and and I’ll be honest someone on staff I think it was aaron said to me so is this like an illustration of something I was like not really I guess it could be really what it is is I’m on whole30 and I really want to eat bread so so just as part of the sermon this just felt like an opportunity for for me to ah look at that it’s so good for me to have bread and if you’re watching at home you can go get some bread but these guys in here they’re stuck with me and uh man and eric schmidt is working some kind of witchcraft with this stuff this stuff is incredible and so here’s the deal if you listen patiently and well I will share some with you at the end of the service I’ll be walking around I can’t do that to you anymore oh that’s so good let me take a drink of water and then we’ll get started for real

we get to talk about bread and in Jesus day the conversation about bread was a very real one there was a discourse on bread who had it who didn’t have it in a society that looks almost nothing like ours today he spoke mainly to a group of people who survived on wages from day to day if you didn’t work today the chances are you didn’t have bread tomorrow and that got bad really really quickly Jesus talked regularly and often about bread before we go too far down this train though let me just make sure everyone’s up to speed this whole prayer begins with some disciples of Jesus coming to him and saying lord teach us to pray to phrase that another way you may say they asked a question something like this or made a statement something like this show us something that works show us something that works they were not irreligious people they had grown up with religion but in Jesus they see a way of being a way of connecting with God that seems and appears to be different so their plea to him is show us what you’re doing how is this working for you we want to learn from you and in response he gives them 57 words after a preamble that teaches them a couple of principles and they are these the ones that you just read our father in heaven hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one as we talked about a couple of weeks ago there is one opening that really changes everything the idea that you and I can come to God and call him father that these 12 men could come and call him father was groundbreaking enough but then three clauses about God three things that speak about God and his name being holy three things that they talk about God and his kingdom that might come and his will that might be done on earth like it is in heaven and then these three petitions that were slowly getting to and yvonne walked us last week through your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven so this is matthew writing an early follower of Jesus a slightly later follower of Jesus called luke we’ll phrase it just a little bit differently father hallowed be your name your kingdom come he leaves out the heaven part but it seems that matthew wants to remind us that there is a place on earth where God’s will is done it may not be this place right now but it will be one day he wants to say that in all the universe that you see there may be only just earth where his will isn’t done maybe just maybe everywhere else it is done and maybe that can change one day and maybe you and I get to participate in that on some level these were people that had a very definite view of tears in the world so I picked the shire because it exemplified to me the most about what is wholesome on earth but there was the earth here and then they were very aware of the tear above the earth here somewhere there was earth and then there was heavens and later on as the language started to develop as the thoughts started to develop you slowly start to get this other place that you don’t want to go but for most the most part the language was fixed on there is earth and then there is heaven and what would it look like if heaven stepped down to earth what would it look like if the principles that were at work in God’s kingdom there started to work here as well this in the first century was rebellious language the roman empire covered maybe half the known globe at this point and you couldn’t pass it off and say well you know we’re really talking about a spiritual kingdom they didn’t want any other kind of kingdom you couldn’t say it’s going to be some time in the future they believed their kingdom the roman empire was going to last forever it was a problem however you phrased it when Jesus talks about a kingdom coming he’s using what you might call eschatological language now I know some of you are only one coffee into the day so throwing words like eschatological at you is a little unfair but I just mean like to do with the end to do with some kind of change some kind of way God might work in the world and so yvonne walked us through the fact that God invites us to participate and partner with him in this world you are offered a commission and and you get to participate you get to say yes which is good news indeed and then after all of this after all of this spatial language this big story he then says oh and give us today our daily bread it’s space it’s up there it’s eschatological it’s stepping down into this world and then it’s give us today our daily bread it’s bread it’s just bread give us today a daily bread what did Jesus mean what did Jesus mean and and maybe what does Jesus mean or what did Jesus mean by bread the language that he uses is actually maybe a little confusing certainly interesting he uses this phrase appusion auton so our tony’s bread and then a pusion appears nowhere else in greek literature of this age it’s just not there it’s just missing this is the one time it gets used you might say it’s the right amount of bread for tomorrow if you’re praying at night it’s like God provide for the next day provide for the the near range the the sort of like the just about to arrive time frame what does Jesus mean when he says give us today our daily bread what does he mean by bread so given that he talked about a kingdom coming down maybe it’s that word I used already that confusing long word eschatological is that what he’s talking about is he saying God provide for this kingdom to come provide for this thing that we can’t see yet give us the resources to make the kingdom happen you could make an argument that the translation could be the bread for what’s next the the bread for the coming thing but there’s a problem with that reading because Jesus for the most part when he says bread he means bread Jesus dealt very particularly with people’s physical needs he did it often and regularly he cared about what was practical so I would suggest that the large part of this language about bread is about the physical what we’re seeing here is this it’s a petition for provision it’s a petition for provision and in a community like the one Jesus was operating in that was important language may be difficult for people like you and I to understand the average american spends about six percent of their salary on sustenance on bread and food the average nigerian spends 60 percent of their salary on bread or on food and a hundred years ago the average person in the west spent around 90 percent of their celery on bread or on food add dialogue and narratives around bread have fluctuated and change as the years have gone on but to this community as I began with the language about bread and the daily need for it was was very relevant and very important some people had lots and lots of people had none so when Jesus says daily bread one it spoke very much into like a deep need that they were aware of what if God doesn’t provide for tomorrow but it also probably tapped into at least one story that taught them a lot about how God might provide bread for them so if you have a text that you’re following along in you can go back to exodus chapter 16 and we’re going to pick up in verse 1. the whole israelite community is how it begins this israelite community it speaks of have been in slavery in a land called egypt the superpower of the day for about 400 years uh life has been rough they have cried out to God and deliver her deliverer has come called moses and he has miraculously through God’s favor brought them out of egypt into this desert which is between elim and sinai on the 15th day of the second month after they had come out of egypt in the desert the whole community grumbled against moses and aaron they have come from a city where there are some resources and now they are in a desert where there are no resources what do they not have in deserts they don’t have water and they don’t have bread and so this community finds itself free but now starving hungry the israelites said to them if only we had died by the lord’s hand in egypt they specifically say we wish we were dead it would have been better this way why didn’t he just kill us then there we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted and maybe we questioned are you remembering the story accurately the slavery that you described was not one of sitting around big pots of meat it was not one of abundance and yet to this starving people suddenly it’s like if we could go back remember the old days they were so good we got to eat all that we wanted life was great but you have brought us out into this desert to staff the entire assembly to death you’ve brought us out to staff the entire assembly to death the people are grumbling the people are unhappy then the lord said to moses I will rain down bread from heaven for you the people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day gather enough for that day I will rain bread it won’t be something you work for it will come gravis free of charge on the house it will lie on the ground and your job is simply to go and collect it but just gather enough for that day and in the morning there was a layer of jew around the camp when the jew was gone thin flakes like frost on the ground disappeared appeared in the desert floor when the israelites saw it they said to each other what is it for they did not know what it was moses said to them it is the bread the lord has given you to eat this is what the lord has commanded everyone is to gather as much as they need take an omar for each person you have in your tent the israelites did as they were told some gathered much some gathered little and when they measured it by the oma the one who gathered much did not have too much and the one who gathered little did not have too little everyone gathered just as much as they needed in this story God provides for his people and he provides the right amount in this story they don’t have resources they don’t have access to resources and God provides anyway and you see this sort of miraculous provision appear in some of the other language in this old testament the lord is my shepherd famous psalm 23 I shall not want this is a group of people that believed that had stories about the way that God had provided I I shall not want might not even be a particularly good translation of it you might say the lord is my shepherd I lack nothing God my shepherd I don’t need a thing to the people listening to Jesus there were real stories of how God had provided and this possibility was sketched out that he would provide everything that they need and I would suggest that Jesus says the same to you and I and yet here’s the problem how many of you would say that feels true or true in your life perhaps is a better way of saying that now in a community like south a ton of economic diversity people in all sorts of different situations I might say it may not be true because you actually come and you sit here and you say I have a real need that feels like it isn’t being met I don’t have enough it may not be bread but it’s something I feel like in the world system that I’m sitting in I don’t have enough to survive and thrive so that may be one way of looking at having a want or a need but on the other hand couldn’t it be that just we live in a society that constantly plays with us so we want more and more and more and even when we have enough maybe we’re not actually very satisfied either maybe there’s a different sort of connotation to this maybe you’ve noticed that you might buy a car and for a while it’s good but you spring back to normal very quickly and and then you kind of want or need depending on your language something else you buy a house and it’s nice but you go to a neighbor’s house and and well that one’s nicer you get stuff and and it’s slowly that the satisfaction of it disappears this is uh a piece of as a verse from the the bandwizard there’s always a number that’ll make you feel bad about yourself you try to measure up try to measure up to somebody else numbers are out to get you there is a way maybe that we compare to each other that makes our satisfaction disappear and and gives us this sense of there are lots of things that I want and or need even if that maybe isn’t particularly true I have a friend that used to do financial advice and he told me all of the metrics that he had for how he what he drove in terms of a car and what kind of watch he wore and he explained to me once he said I’m supposed to make people money so if I drive a honda their suspicion is that I’m not making very much money now no problem with honda’s if you drive a honda good for you they’re great cars but he said I can’t I can’t drive a hunter they’ll say I’m not good at my job but he said if I drive a ferrari then they’ll think I’m well maybe not too good at my job but I’m certainly taking too much of their share of the profits and he said there’s this whole system for what you drive and what you don’t drive what watch you wear and what watch you don’t wear he recognized that there was this numbers game in play and and the story with lots of guys is they meet people and say what do you do for a living and sometimes it’s just we can’t think of anything else to say but sometimes it’s a it’s a way of assessing it’s a way of figuring out where do I fit in the order do I fit above you or below you we live in a world that’s constantly telling us to check how you measure up with everybody else for those of you that are on instagram there’s a fascinating instagram site called preachers and sneakers you can look and follow your favorite celebrity preacher and they’ll take pictures and they’ll go work out how much the the clothes that they’re wearing cost in the fair market so we see here a guy who I don’t know that’s why I picked him I didn’t think it was fair to pick someone I knew uh but it says that he bought these shoes that maybe are about a thousand dollars normally and there he goes and I’ll show you this so you can keep me in check right if I ever end up on here you can come and slap me or something like that I think I’m fairly safe today I don’t think I don’t think there’s going to be a problem but but there’s this whole culture here right even the new york times asked the question should pastors wear five thousand dollar sneakers even for those of us that would claim to be following Jesus in a particular way there is a temptation to think about what the outside looks like and how you can measure up to people around you some wise person once said that comparison is the enemy of contentment the moment that you choose to compare to other people the moment your contentment drops and maybe the way that you pray this prayer Jesus gave us changes just a little bit what do you mean by give us our daily bread it’s so easy to move from I need sustenance to I need a bunch of other stuff it’s so easy to make that movement and the truth is your news feed whatever you look at it probably alters your felt need your newsfeed probably alters your felt need maybe our language in prayer changes maybe this is why the incredibly wise people that put together the proverbs said this give me neither poverty nor riches but give me only my daily bread they go on to unpack this for two reasons otherwise reason one I may have too much and disown you and say who is the lord affluence wealth or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God in the first century the second one was a concern for most of Jesus listeners what happens when I really don’t have enough what happens when the bread is gone do I then steal do I then kill do I dishonor my God just to get enough to live and so the prayer there is God please don’t give me that little that I fall temptation to that the first one maybe is more of a concern for us who don’t lack bread for the most part otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say who is the lord Jesus was constantly saying to his earliest followers to the people of the crowds that were listening to him just be aware that wealth does funny things to people this is matthew 13 22 and I spent just some of the week just thinking about this and the connection to what Jesus says to us to pray as for the seed that was spread among the thorny plants he’s given them this parable about three different kinds of ground that cinder that the seed has landed in as well as the good ground and this thorny ground he said is like those who hear the word but the worries of this life and get this the false appeal of wealth choke the word and he bears no fruit now I’m lucky enough to get to know some of you some of you more than others but but the truth is I know that there’s some of you that handle wealth incredibly well you use it to resource people you use it to give you use it to help make the world around you a better place and I’m so glad that there’s people that God can trust with that I have this deep suspicion that I may not be one of them maybe that’s why like maybe it’s just some kind of principle God has put in the universe if I buy a stock it will go down it’s like almost a guarantee so I should do this advice thing where I’ll tell you what I’m doing you do the opposite and you guys will have more money and life will probably be good I do not believe myself to be someone that suits wealth and yet the plea of this proverb seems to be God know me better than I know myself know what I need know what I’m likely to want and find the right place for me somewhere in that spectrum somewhere I don’t want to be too poor because I might end up stealing I might end up taking things that aren’t my somewhere I might be too rich and it’s just possible that in that richness I will forget you and forget that really everything that I have is dependent on you I think we can buy into this lie that we actually create our own wealth and we may participate in that but the truth is all of it comes from somewhere else and this proverb says help me to land in the middle maybe when Jesus says God give us today our daily bread what he’s saying is know me better than I know myself land me in the right spot for me the hard part is that that spot may be very different for you than it is for me it may be different for you than it is for somebody else and if comparison is your goal it may just not add up and yet this decision to trust God and say God land me in the right spot for me seems to be the thing that Jesus has for us and so I have another question assuming all of that is true if this is mainly about trusting God to land us in the right spot if this is about saying God don’t give me too much wealth don’t give me too little wealth well that’s about surrender that’s about giving it up and saying God you make a decision that seems healthy that seems like a good thing to take away from today but is there an action is this something we’re supposed to actively do surrender is almost like a passive doing it’s giving it up to God but but is there an action Jesus has talked about the kingdom coming he’s talked about participation and so is there a sort of some kind of connection to the kingdom is coming you get to play a part in it I get to play a part in it and is there something we’re supposed to do with our bread and here’s a clue here what does this mean for people who don’t have a need for bread give us today is the language that he chooses maybe the emphasis isn’t just on daily and bread but maybe it’s on us somewhere this language is plural for a reason it’s plural for a reason it matters that it’s about us this isn’t about your bread this isn’t about my bread this is about our bread this has a plurality to it that seems to matter I love what our food bank does we have all of these wonderful volunteers that they help feed about 60 families a week which just makes such a difference and you guys participate in that was so thankful for the way that you do that and as I wander around the church sometimes I just get bored so I just go for a wonder I notice this sign it says this please take what you can use remember others will be shopping after you please come and take for free take out of grace take because it’s there and you need it but don’t just take it for the sake of taking it make sure that you remember that there’s someone else who’s coming along who may have that need and think process what you’re doing with that bread think about how it might be shared and how it might resource more people than just you somewhere there’s this way we get to think about bread that at least asks the question is some of my bread needed by somebody else and maybe that matters this is the wonderful colorado river that begins in colorado as you might guess from the name of the river and you can raft down it you can do all these wonderful things all these beautiful sights to see and as it makes its way to down towards baja california I pronounced it baja in the first service and I was told that was wrong apparently my spanish pronunciation not so good but the gulf of mexico as it makes its way down there it hits this incredible site that is the hoover dam built in the 60s built out of necessity built out of the need for water in places that don’t have water built so that farmers could make sure they could grow enough crops built so that you and I could have our daily bread good nothing wrong with that all important we needed access to that water but look what happens as this river makes its journey down here through arizona down to baja california just to show you my accent’s working when it gets there this is what the river delta looks like it didn’t always look like that when there was no dam it teamed with life it teamed with fish it teamed with tourists it had so many different things happening there it was an ecosystem that was just full of life and now it isn’t when they asked one fisherman who had lived there in his 80s he said this it was a lot deeper than than now it was a lot deeper than than now was the dam created so that crops could be grown so important things could happen yes has that created a need that wasn’t there before for a whole other group of people yes and somewhere there there is a tension right somewhere there it’s not just as simple as knock down the damn let the water go again loads of people will go hungry but somewhere there is a whole system of how water is shared that actually matters somewhere when we think about our daily bread we don’t just get to ask what do I need God what can you provide for me we also get to ask what does another person need it isn’t just about me it isn’t just about you somewhere the language is about us it was a lot deeper than than now it was a lot deeper than now we had a lot more before you guys came along there is tension there for us to wrestle with somewhere it seems like when Jesus says to pray our daily bread it’s not just a petition for provision somewhere there the invite is this somewhere the invite is a participation in provision you get to participate and I get to participate to go back to that moses story that exodus story that we began with this is the next part of the story then moses said to them no one is to keep any of it until morning however some of them paid no attention to moses they kept part of it until morning but it was full of maggots and began to smell so moses was angry with them in this narrative there are a group of people who in the midst of God’s provision keep more than they need and the next morning when they go back to it is no longer good I’m not saying to you and I’m not saying to me you should give away everything you own you should only have enough for just tomorrow I’m saying to you do something harder wrestle with that tension ask God what that means for you I’m not saying cancel the 401k I’m not saying cancel or planning for retirement but I’m saying wrestle with that tension this is a passage from this prophetic book ezekiel it talks about a city called sodom which is somewhat famous for being destroyed by fire and brimstone and we think we know that story and then look how God unpacks that story through this prophet he says now this was the sin of your sister sodom this city that was destroyed she and her daughters were arrogant overfed and unconcerned they did not help the poor and needy whatever we think may be the root cause of sodom’s destruction what we’re told is this they were unconcerned and my plea for you and I is not I don’t want to tell you what to do I’m not even telling myself what to do but I’m pleading with us oh don’t be unconcerned daily bread is far more than just God give me what I need it is about provision for everybody always Jesus was constantly interested in what people had to eat just before feeding 5 000 people miraculously has this challenge for his first followers what landed he saw a large crowd he had compassion on them and healed their sick as evening approached the disciples came to him and said this is a remote place and it’s already getting late send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food send the crowds away so they can deal with their own needs and find their own daily bread they do not need to go away you give them something to eat Jesus in the midst of his earliest followers who have said we don’t have enough even for us says share it anyway share it anyway and then he does this miraculous provision thing which kind of like wow where did that come from and yet the the plea for the disciples is no don’t give up on sharing just because you feel you might have it not have enough for tomorrow find ways to share with those who need it the most give us today our daily bread is not just a prayer it’s a deeply challenging spiritual principle to live by give us our daily bread it’s not eschatological in my mind it’s probably physical but I just wonder if there’s another twist as well because this is what I love about Jesus Jesus has this incredible way of being able to take something obvious and then at different points in his conversation just twisted a little bit so maybe it has a spiritual meaning as well my question for us is what might he mean in terms of the spiritual sense of give us today our daily bread when fasting in the desert Jesus statement on bread was this man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God Jesus talks about bread as something that we can have and we can have our fill of but if that’s all we have we may find there’s a twist we may find that we find ourselves emptier than we realize I would suggest that somewhere in the west today we are we are wrestling with this dilemma I wonder if we at times are starving people that are never hungry I wonder if we’re starving people that are never hungry we’re never hungry in the physical sense but because of what we have because there is so much somewhere deep inside us there is this spiritual aspect that we are malnourished and really starving for something more and Jesus pushed to the crowds listening to him well oh I fed you but there’s more than just that thing in a whole discourse in john’s gospel in chapter six he makes this incredibly broad statement I am the bread of life I am the bread of life in actual fact as the crowds arrive he he looks at them and says I know why you’re here you’re here because I fed you you’re here because I gave you food and you didn’t have any and and that’s that’s fine but but know that that’s not everything that I long to do for you know that there’s something else that you need that is beyond that Jesus it seems is interested in their physical food but more than that perhaps he’s interested in their spiritual food really his words to them seem to be something like this don’t find yourselves full of physical food and find yourself starving spiritually and when asked to unpack what that meant he said I am the answer to that if you have any questions about whether Jesus thought he was the answer to that spiritual malnutrition he was like no no I am the thing I am the bread and this is the moment this struggle in john chapter six is the moment where it says and many of his disciples left him because they said who can who can handle that you’re calling yourself bread you’re calling yourself sustenance you’re saying you are the answer and he said yeah I am Jesus discourse on bread is strong he says that God longs to provide for our needs but his language is that somewhere God has provided for a much deeper need than that perhaps today our struggle is this we are so obsessed with the physical thing that we miss the spiritual thing and when we get to those lowest points the chances are that the physical thing just having enough to we just doesn’t cut it and give us what we need anymore I have a old testament professor when I was in seminary and in the middle of an old testament texts class he just dropped in this deeply personal emotional story I think he was in the book of job and he began to tell us about the moment where that story became real for him he said there was this moment where I lost everything my wife and I split up she left she took the house she took the kids and I was left with nothing lost my job because of the depression just just had nowhere left to go and he said I found myself in the middle of winter stood by a lake covered in ice and I had this moment where I was about to throw myself into this lake and just ended or to do what the people in the desert said like would be better if we died before let’s just end it here and he said in the midst of that in the the moment before leaping that moment just before I jumped he said I heard a voice of God and he said I’m not saying it was like some kind of internal thing I’m saying loud outside audible and in that moment God said to me this he said if you have nothing else am I enough for you if you have nothing else am I enough and he said he wrestled with this this question is he enough and he said in that moment he said I got down on my knees by the side of a lake and I said if I have nothing else you are enough you are enough Jesus the bread of life comes and stands in the midst of us on earth and says I have come to provide something far more than just bread in all of your deepest need and lack in all of your brokenness in your need for forgiveness I’ve come to give you that thing that you most need he’s called for his earliest followers he’s pray regularly and often God give us today a daily bread but don’t miss out on that other application Jesus came that you may have life and life to the full let’s pray

God in the midst of a discourse language on bread thank you that you cared for the physical needs of those who needed you thank you that you spoke to ordinary everyday people people concerned about whether the money they would earn today would feed their families tomorrow and you provided and said God cares and knows and provides

thank you for the way that you challenge us on how we share our bread may we not be people that eat bread belonging to other people that sydney bread while the one next to us has nothing to eat

may we not miss out on the spiritual bread that you talk about that you came and your death and resurrection meant the possibility of life if you are here and perhaps you’ve never been able to believe that Jesus matters maybe you like some of his teaching but the idea of him bringing life and being bred to survive on maybe that seems foreign we’re going to close our service by singing and that song is almost an invitation it’s an invitation to attach bread and breath to each other to talk about how God sustains with each breath that we take in and each breath that we let out

that God sustains in that he is the bread of life the thing that we need the thing that your soul needs

and in a time and a place where it’s so easy to believe that we survive on what we need physically Jesus pushed to us is is that really all you need

God for my friends myself may you speak to us meet us at the point of our need wherever that is amen

The Significance of “Daily Bread” | What To Say When You Pray (Part 5)2022-07-14T13:58:32-06:00

The Kingdom of God | What To Say When You Pray (Part 4)

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well good morning south I’m yvonne one of the pastors here and I get to join you yet again for another part in our series called what to say when you pray isn’t that exciting but I have to follow all of that cuteness so I feel like I have I’m a detriment

but uh we get to continue in this prayer and today we actually get to learn what to say when we pray hooray all right so by way of review uh remember that Jesus and his disciples you know they were praying in a certain place and the disciples go up to Jesus and they say lord teach us to pray we want to know what to say when we pray maybe they didn’t say that but that’s what we want to say and alex talked about the first week that we’re not praying at God for human attention our prayers are not just for our own uplifting and for our own status building we’re also not praying at God to force his hand in divine intervention when we pray we’re not praying that God would just divinely intervene and our prayers are now forcing it to happen we also talked about we could pray alone or we could pray together but ultimately we’re praying with God we can find ourself in him and last week we talked about him being our father and that he wants to be abba and daddy and close and near to us

and we’re praying to our father in heaven so we’ll continue as through the series and and go on to the next bit our father in heaven Jesus said hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

whew there have been tombs tomes of of material on this part of the scriptures I mean you could start an open in genesis 1 and go to revelation and still not understand what this means and I get the task of following the cuteness and trying to communicate this within 25 minutes to all of you no pressure right so um to to do this job I decided that I needed a few a few props okay hopefully this helps me compare to all the cuteness we have a story of a king with a story of a globe and we have a story that involves a snake

so hopefully if ever uh during this message since we’re trying we’re gonna have to cover a lot of ground and you’re gonna have to buckle up uh if ever it gets too much for you just remember the the crown the globe and the snake okay and then think yeah she has a little bit of cuteness okay let’s pray father God king Jesus holy spirit we need your help today it’s your name your kingdom your will that we’re talking about on earth as it is in heaven gosh our my understanding of of earth and heaven is so limited and yet God there’s something that you want to teach us today so lord I ask that you would guide this that you would highlight something in this for people on their journey with you and lord that you would help us understand more of your kingdom and more of what it means to pray on earth as it is in heaven in Jesus name we pray amen on earth as it is in heaven have you ever thought about what that means when you’re praying it we’ve prayed it together multiple times now here at south we sing this phrase do you imagine what this means on earth as it is in heaven maybe your response is yes I love thinking about earth as it is in heaven yvonne because I say yes I want heaven on earth and maybe some of your imaginations you find heaven on earth to be a place with vibrant color and things coming out of the woodwork and feeling alive and invigorated maybe you think about heaven on earth as something heavenly and glorious and full of light shining forth and full of magnificent color like rainbows

I was happy when I did a search in google to find out that one of the places of heaven on earth is this little town called holstadt it was the one and only half marathon that I will ever run in this town and it’s a beautiful little place and it holds a little special place in my heart so maybe you think of heaven on earth as some of those places where it feels like heaven is thin the layer between heaven and earth is thin or or it has some type of special place in your heart maybe you just want to go to a place of relaxation and bliss maybe alone maybe together but you think this is heaven on earth

maybe heaven on earth is like we saw earlier the miraculous miracle of childbirth where it seems like God’s given us a gift in his miracle workings of children maybe heaven on earth is is more relational for you and and you think of all the happiness and and beauty in relationships with your family your friends and and when all is right in the world maybe sometimes when you think about heaven on earth it’s a little bit more ethereal right it’s like this majestic majes majesty of light coming through the clouds and and there’s an opening in heaven and and it’s coming to earth

I think if we’re honest we think about heaven on earth as being a place of love and harmony kindness peace joy

but as I think about it don’t we also have an enemy who wants to bring heaven to earth

he existed in the heavenly realms and he wants to bring his kind of heaven to earth

so what do we really mean when we say heaven on earth when we talk about the enemy and the way that he wants to subtly bring his heaven on earth he twists the things of God he twists love

and he robs us of our ethical compass he twists harmony and kindness and he steals from us the ability to have conversations critical conversations and he robs and steals our peace and joy when he presents justice because it it’s his way wants to rob us of true good beautiful and right relationships so it’s so important that we know what we mean when we pray on earth as it is in heaven

in this passage we have some context on earth as it is in heaven we see that we’re praying for the father in heaven for his name to be hallowed his kingdom to come and his will to be done now this wouldn’t have been a surprise prayer this wouldn’t be very unusual to those disciples because they had heard this language before we talked about even alex shared with us a prayer that’s recorded that would have been spoken regularly in that jewish culture of their day they would have heard prayers that included exalted and hallowed be his name in the earth which he created along according to his will may he let his kingdom rule in your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of your whole household right so this idea of God’s name his will and his kingdom was not new language for the disciples they would have understood that but he says

your kingdom come it well first of all let’s remember that he’s using this this pronoun of your it’s the king it’s the the God that he’s referring to not his own he’s saying your kingdom come and this is pulling from another similar passage in the in the gospel of luke luke shares the same prayer but he eliminates part of the prayer and focuses and hones in on just one part of the prayer of all the things that he says he says your kingdom come he doesn’t say your will be done on earth as it is in heaven we don’t have that in luke’s account and so I think it’s really important for us as we learn about how how to pray and what to imagine when we’re asking God to make heaven come to earth we have to see it through the lens of kingdom your kingdom come so when we think about kingdom there’s a few things that we need to remember is true about any kingdom and so there are going to be three things that we look out look at throughout our time together this morning that are going to guide our understanding of the kingdom and God’s kingdom okay you ready for this okay buckle up number one

there is a king who rules surprise right everyone knows that when you have a kingdom you’re talking about a king and obviously for those who are sitting around that circle with Jesus the disciples kingdom is in their language it’s in they’ve got this concept it’s nothing new they were the one nation out of the entire world that went from being a nomadic people wandering in a wilderness to then developing a judicial system to be run by judges to then

conquer other nations and then take military governance and then develop a position of anointed king and this guy here king david was a very important figure in their understanding of kingdom now this is michelangelo’s david and I thought you know to be appropriate I would just show you the the top part but

david was a key figure in their understanding of kingdom because during the time of david he was the anointed king and he took over that position but the kingdom didn’t actually become fully understood as a kingdom in the whole known world at that time until he gave over the inheritance of his kingdom to his son once he gave over inheritance then we have this monarchy we have a king who then passes his kingdom on to his heir and we know

that this kingdom that Jesus is talking about is a kingdom that goes beyond israel’s understanding of their king david because king david during that time it was said that there would be someone that would come from his line in air that would rule on the throne forever it would be someone that would come that could save them that would unify them that would create a and establish a kingdom of goodness and justice and love and so israel and these disciples are waiting on a king but they know that the kingdom is beyond Jesus is saying it’s it’s not just me and my kingdom it’s your kingdom Jesus uses these words he in his prayer he says your he says someone else’s kingdom come so we’re looking to a kingdom that goes beyond just Jesus in the human flesh we’re looking to a kingdom that is a kingdom based on its name he says your name be hollowed so who is it that is this other that your name be hollowed well there’s a ton of ways we could talk about the name of the king but I’m just going to highlight a few of them here the name of this king is yahweh he calls himself yahweh I am who I am I’ve existed at all times there is not a time in the lifetime of anything in the in the heavens or in the earth that I did not exist this is a king who is the creator we open up our scriptures and we see in genesis 1 that he says God created the heavens and the earth he’s the creator and he speaks things into existence this God his name is ancient of days meaning he was from the beginning he’s ancient and he is the king of kings so even he’s over other elohim he’s over anyone else that has any type of rule and authority he is above it all which means that this king has intrinsic authority there is no higher we can go than this king he has intrinsic authority because it is in his name to have authority

and he is not like any other human king because he is three in one he’s like a cord of strands that cannot easily be broken and he exists and we see him in other frequencies and other wavelengths like the wavelength of sound where we get three notes unique and distinct notes and yet played together in one sound he exists in light wavelengths green and blue and red unifying together in brilliant white light he’s the God that’s over the musical wavelengths he’s over the light wavelengths and don’t we know that light wavelengths is what our whole universe is created by

he is the triune king and so this kingdom it’s led in triune monarchy

it’s like no one else nowhere else do we know anything like this kingdom except from the scriptures that there is a triune monarchy out there and this king his righteous and everlasting king everything that this word says about him is that he is righteous everything lines up perfectly under him and he’s everlasting there is no escaping the longevity of his kingship and he will be king forever

this is the king this is the your name be hallowed your kingdom come your will be done the ultimate king

so for the the disciples who are sitting there hearing these words they may have thought about themselves in present darkness they’re still waiting for a messiah waiting for a king and they’re thinking the king ship should be future but he’s saying the kingship has always been ladies and gentlemen the kingship has not gone anywhere it started as a kingship it is now when Jesus says this a kingship and it will always be a kingship you know the pharisees came to Jesus and they said when when we want to know when that kingdom is coming when is the kingdom of God to come and Jesus replied the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed nor will people say here it is or there it is because the kingdom of God is in your midst he doesn’t say the kingdom is just past or the kingdom is just to come he’s saying the kingdom is right now it’s Jesus who brings kingdom near he’s ushering in nearness of God’s kingdom coming to earth he’s giving access to the kingdom he’s saying you can call him father

right we can have relationship with the king

and yet

he doesn’t take the kingship right away he’s ushering in the nearness of the kingdom when he says for I’ve come down from heaven not to do my will listen Jesus is saying not to do my will he says but to do the will of him who sent me to do the will of the eternal king the king of kings

our king and we’re going to get to that Jesus is the king our king comes and says that he’s not coming to do his will he’s coming to do God’s will your kingdom Jesus says your will that’s an incredible character of our king he says later he doesn’t want to go through with with the the direction that his father says and he’s wrestling with it even Jesus himself wrestled with how do I step into the kingdom and he said father if if you are willing just please take this cup take this request take this invitation from me but ultimately not my will but yours be done Jesus as he brings the kingdom near is still honoring the king

and stepping into it and so he is the one who can rightly take the kingship because he is good he’s obedient and one day he will Jesus will take the king he will become the God-man king who will take the throne and rule on the new earth after he goes through a period of humility and and refining it says that God will exalt him to the highest place he will give him the name that is above every name and at the name of Jesus every knee will bow that’s kingdom language right every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess they will acknowledge that Jesus is the king and when he takes his throne one day guys there’s going to be loud voices in heaven that say the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our lord and of his messiah and of Jesus’s reign he will reign forever and ever it says forever

Jesus this king is the everlasting king past present future and when Jesus says this to the disciples your kingdom come your will be done it’s an invitation you got to know your king you got to know who’s in charge it’s not the kingdoms of that you might see around you you’ve got to know the everlasting king but the truth is Jesus says that not everyone who says to him king king lord lord will enter the kingdom of heaven so it’s not enough guys to know the king we can know the king we can respect the king we can know that he exists in all of his amazing glory this invitation of your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven it’s an invitation to join the king we must join his kingdom or else we we miss out on the glorious eternality of his kingdom so the second thing about all kingdoms is that a king he reigns surprise and he reigns in a realm right when he reigns the meaning there is is to say that there is there are subjects in his kingdom there is some there are people or nation or tribes to that come underneath him right so let’s say we were talking about a worldly like a king that we would know right they would have servants and peasants and and a whole world that they would reign over and then there’s a realm it’s a location for the place the boundaries and location for where they reign maybe we could think about this in the animal kingdom okay if we think about the animal kingdom that’s a location right it’s it’s within a certain segment of the world but for God his realm is heaven and earth the kingdom has been established in the heavens and on earth and he reigns over the subjects that have filled those realms this king he reigns over two realms guys he reigns over heaven that has been filled with angels and creatures and and even ranking angels he’s also designed earth to be a realm with male and female and offspring and creatures and he’s filled these realms with his subjects and the amazing thing about this God when he shapes this earth and he fills it with his subjects

he doesn’t reign over it in such a way that that makes them just subservient this king

he is known to be a king who commissions his God-like imagers to expand his kingdom throughout the earth the very first commission God gives to these people that he puts on earth and he fills it he says be fruitful I think south fellowship is being fruitful good job guys increasing in number and filling the earth right but look at this he says rule rule over

this is a king who delegates his authority amen he delegates his authority to us and he asks us to he commissions us to go fill the earth make it like eden make it beautiful and in relationship with God and and make it full of God’s kingdom the commission doesn’t change friends when we get to matthew and when he says go into the world making disciples of all nations be fruitful multiply baptize them in the name of the father son holy spirit triune monarchy guys we get to bring the triune monarchy to the world my roommate and I joked last night she was like how many times can you say rule the world you know but we do that we become imitators of God we become his children his beloved children walking in love and we offer ourselves as a fragrant aroma this all has commissioning language in it he gives us the ability to be like God that was from the beginning he says I’m going to create God-like beings to be like God and rule for God’s kingdom again paul takes this a step further and he calls us he says that we have this task of reconciling people to him and we do that by becoming God’s ambassadors that’s commissioning we’re ambassadors for God and that’s how we join the king we join the king when we accept our commission that he’s made us in his image he has adopted us as children so we can inherit his kingdom that’s beautiful and we get the choice of accepting our commission we get to say yes God that’s who you made me to be yes God I want to be a part of you and your kingdom and I want to have purpose and I want everything that you’ve designed within me to expand when it looks like you and your kingdom when I become an ambassador who actually really represents the king

but of course there’s a third prop

and uh there is a problem right the our commission gets interrupted because we have a corrupt being who shows up on earth shows up on earth hopefully he’s not that big um to sabotage God’s commission and he undermines the value of the king robbing us and of our dominion he wants to take over this world but he doesn’t deserve to it says that the God of this age

has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel the light of the good news of the king as it displays glory in christ who is the image of God

so our battle is not against flesh and blood it’s against enemies rulers authorities in the unseen world it’s against mighty powers in that world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places

this enemy wants to bring his kingdom on earth

and that is not what the king wants he is undeterred he and he is determined to conquer that snake right he’s determined and and he can remain true to his values and in the meantime he can orchestrate a plan that stays true to him and to his name he cr he orchestrates a plan of rescue redemption and ultimate victory for his God-like imagers like you and like me so that we can rule again with his glorious inheritance it says that when the fullness of time had come God sent his son to redeem those under the law so that they could be adopted so that they could get the inheritance so that they could call God abba father and he did this because he loves us so freaking much

he loved the world that he gave us his son he didn’t come to condemn us he loved us and he wanted us to to be true to our our calling our purpose yet again and so he does it he rescues us out of the dominion of darkness see you later little snake

he brings us into the kingdom of his son listen to that kingdom language the son that he loves he brings us into the kingdom through redemption and through the forgiveness of sins

friends it’s up to us we get to join the king and all it takes Jesus said when it comes to his kingdom he just says repent for the kingdom of heaven is near just turn just accept your commission re-accept your commission just turn be a part of the kingdom it’s right here it’s in your midst you have a choice to do that

we join the king by accepting and re-accepting every day our commission and then we have a king and so we also walk in submission to this king that’s a part of the kingdom language is submission and although the enemy wants to destroy that word for all the good that it is the invitation when we follow a king is to walk in submission because the third thing we know about the king is that he rules with law and ethics every king rules with his law and his ethics and the law and the ethic of this king the everlasting king is the law of love

if we open up our scriptures

to a passage on love we’ll see that this is this is the ethic of this king he says love is patient

kind does not envy or boast it’s not arrogant or rude it doesn’t insist on its own way

this is the ethic of the king the everlasting king and anytime we get an ethic of a king or a leader it’s because that is in his dna

when when we’ve transitioned to have a new leader here at south fellowship church and a new lead pastor there’s some adjustment because you have to kind of figure out a new value system a new way and this king this is a part of who he is and his ethic is love he says love bears all things he bears with us he believes all things he hopes all things endures all things and of his love it never ends we get to join the kingdom of love and so if we want to adjust and learn the value system of the king there’s plenty in this scripture that will teach us the value of the king more than anything I think these scriptures you know some people present it as a manual some people present it as a love letter and I think more for myself it’s a character study it’s a character study of the king who reigns in heaven and on earth and so I learn about the king when I read these words when I open up to the red letters and I read from Jesus’s spoken words about the kingdom he uses that word all the time and we don’t have time to go into all the things that are a part of his ethic and his kingdom but we know a few things

we know that this king he values covenant he values that kind of agreement of love and of sacrifice we know that his kingdom it it expands he talks about it like like a little mustard seed and it starts so small and then and then it grows into this giant tree he talks about it being like yeast and like getting all over and in the the bread you can’t stop it when it starts he talks about humility the the value of the king Jesus he valued humility he was submissive under his father in heaven and he valued that and that was exalted it was honored Jesus says that poverty people that have nothing are blessed he says that sacrificial love triumphs when you turn the other cheek when you love your enemy you actually have more leadership and more power and more authority he flips the script and he says when you choose forgiveness it will always reward you

the way of the kingdom and of this king whose ethic is love will always result in flourishing now friends that doesn’t mean that it’s not painful at times there are times when we are invited to be submissive to the king and and we go through a refiner’s fire it feels painful and and then we think God I don’t know if I can trust you as king in my life

but he will strip away the things that need to die so that you don’t have to die to the things that need to be and when you start to learn the ethic and the law of the king you will start to see it all around you you will go to the movie theater and you will say whoa this story has God’s kingdom written all over it because you see a story this was one that I just had happened to me this week I went to see american underdog and I was like wow this has kingdom written all over it this kid he got a commission and he knew who he was as a young guy to be a football player for Jesus and he and he went through trial and he didn’t make it he was pretty small and humiliated because he didn’t get on the league he didn’t have an opportunity open for him but there was work to be done in his identity and once he knew who he was for Jesus he could stand out there on the football field and he could do it knowing who God made him to be and then when we do that when we step into our commission and we walk in submission

God gets the glory and he becomes way more than this little guy in iowa and so to me I was like ah thank you lord that you’re teaching me your kingdom so much that I can just see it I can feel it I can taste it around me and when you start to learn the way of the kingdom and walk in the way of the kingdom you’ll see it around you

there will be opposition and there will be places and times in your heart when you say I don’t want heaven

I want heaven to stay in its box and I want me and my earthy experience to stay in my box and I want to be in control of it and I want God to just answer my call for what I want in my kingdom

but what we’re doing when we pray as it is on earth as it is in heaven is we’re seeing kingdom come come to me unify God’s reign in me unify heaven and earth when I accept my commission and I walk in submission to you we bring heaven and earth closer because we unified all under God’s reign what he deserves all along and so this word of the week we’ve been giving you words each week to go off and pray the word is yes yes yes I take your kingdom yes I join your kingdom I accept my commission and I walk in submission because you’re the king of all kings you are not deterred by a slithery little guy who wants to bring his heaven on earth

so I will follow you I will be the person that you’ve made me to be and I will align myself with the way that you’ve designed the universe to be designed and I will walk in submission under you and as my king are you willing to say yes this week in prayer yes to his kingdom to his name to his will so that God the king gets the glory let’s pray

father God king Jesus holy spirit you are the king of all kings you are the one who one day we will all run into your kingdom and there’s no escaping it so lord teach us to pray teach us to say yes to your kingdom

lord there are times where we’re going to be distracted where we’re not going to want to choose your kingdom when you give us our little nudges to say speak up

go deliver a meal

you don’t need to eat that what does love look like in this situation when you speak to us from you and your voice and your kingdom lord we’re gonna struggle it’s not always gonna come easy but lord give us courage to say yes to you and your kingdom even when it’s painful even when we don’t understand it give us courage to say yes

lord we don’t want to pray for you to make our experience on earth to be like paradise so that we can experience all the goodness that we think this life offers but we want to pray your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven we want to pray may heaven and earth unite under God’s kingship as we accept our commission and walk in submission to your way amen

we just want to give you a moment to ponder the ethic of the kingdom and this song just speaks about that ethic

oh that I could see your face make my

who are crying

and their souls are the song of the kingdom of God and they will find a refuge for theirs is the kingdom of God

beauty shine from your face always long to see this place is there somewhere I can stay even just a couple days blessed all the

blessed are the guilty

and their souls are the salt of the kingdom of God and they will find a refuge for theirs is the kingdom of God the lord is a shepherd we shall not want invalid or pastor we shall not want a cup runneth over

forever

now

ever of the kingdom of God and they will fight our refugees

beautiful picture the idea of a kingdom in heaven that we can’t see joining with juan that we do see and and take that word yes and say how can my severe sphere of influence my kingdom how can I say yes to his kingdom in in my world what a great thing to take away so I’ve got a couple of things to let you know about before you go as usual we can’t tell you everything that’s going on at south so we have an app we have a website we have all of these different ways that you can stay connected and we’d love to connect with you if you’re new at the new here desk couple of things if you have been asking where can I get involved where can I serve we would love to have some more volunteers with our kids ministry as you could see we have some kids that are appearing out of nowhere almost and and they need people to love care and shepherd them and so if you’ve been praying God what is it that I’m supposed to do you may have just had the answer now we don’t take just anyone for kids ministry it’s uh it’s this place where we want the very best but here’s the story I get to hear over and over again from people as they get involved working with kids they say things like I got to have an influence and watch someone grow up to follow Jesus and isn’t that perhaps the most rewarding thing that you could possibly have so amy has a table as you leave she would love to talk to you about kids ministry love to find some ways that we can get you involved second thing we have a new here lunch every now and again we have one today if you didn’t sign up it’s okay just come anyway you can have my lunch it’s fine I’m on this diet anyway I probably can’t eat it if we don’t have enough we’ll get to practice that moment where Jesus prays to multiply food and we’ll see if it works for us too it may just mean that we share the food we’ll see and then finally this we talked a bit about giving back in december and I just wanted to unpack that just really quickly for you we got to look back and this december was the the the best giving that we’d had at south in any year that we could find a record of and so I just wanted to say just firstly thank you south is not a I don’t know how to phrase this well it’s not a cheap place to make happen we do lots of things all over the world we get to be involved in so many different ways we have people with giftings that work in so many different areas and so on an average month our giving is somewhere between 90 and 100 000 in december it was 244 000 which is just incredible and and that was just the general giving aside from that there was an anonymous uh larger gift that we’ve put to one side that we’ll talk about soon I still don’t know how to talk about it well it’s one of those things that sometimes God moves someone’s heart and you look and you say I’m I’m just a little stuck here I don’t know what to do and so it just unlocks this question of God what are you doing here and what are you asking us to do how are we supposed to participate with you how are we supposed to bring your kingdom down with with this gift for those of you that know dan elliot one of our beloved associate pastors aside from all of that giving we asked a few people by letter would you like to send dan on sabbatical before he goes to part-time just in that gift there was 14 000 to send down and carry off on sabbatical for a a couple of months to enjoy some experiences that they haven’t had before and so I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you however you participated um this is a community where God is at work and that’s exciting to see so thank you so much for listening to what he was calling you to do God thank you for the things we’ve seen today thank you for children coming into your world their father’s world may they work for your kingdom may they grow it may they know you the king of this kingdom may we participate with taking our kingdom may you shape your world through us for each person here may they go with blessing father son and spirit into this world and may they know your peace go in peace friends have a wonderful sunday amen

The Kingdom of God | What To Say When You Pray (Part 4)2022-07-14T13:56:33-06:00

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How NOT To Pray | What To Say When You Pray (Part 1)

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