Monday, January 11, 2010

Discovering the Possible

"Discovering the Possible"

Scripture: Psalms 46:1-3; 10-11, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Matthew19:6

Pastor Tom Millner

SpiritSong Worship Center



In the world of physics, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Ever traveled the tunnel through a mountain to the other side? Isn't it marvelous to think of the engineering that accomplished that task? I've never been through the "chunnel" from England to France, but what a marvel of engineering in the 20th Century that delivered a path from London to Paris in about two hours. In each of these marvels, many challenges were faced that could have rendered the task defeated. Yet, in each case, a hope for the destination and the willingness to surrender to the possibilities delivered a result greater than imagined.


This month Ray and I celebrate the milestone of thirty years of discovering the possibilities of being together on our life journey. This sermon isn't about us, but I will share with you some things we learned along the way that have been illuminated by the Word of God. I grow to appreciate more and more every day the meaning of mercy and grace in God's love and the miracle He brings in translating tat through each of us to one another through surrender to Him. In the realities of life's journey, the destination we're called to can't be a straight line.


I recall the story of Moses and his journey on the call to lead the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt, a place that had been refuge for hundreds of years, but also a place that had become one of bondage. If you look at a map of the region, the distance between Egypt and the Promised Land is a relatively short distance. Allowing for geological obstacles, the journey should have taken only a few weeks (if that). In actuality, it took 40 years. Before they even got started, the way had to be cleared for the journey. Moses interfaced with the Pharaoh on multiple occasions on behalf of God, and the people of God learned their first valuable lesson in obedience at the event of the Passover. The way made clear, the waters parted, the people embarked on the journey of infamy. There are many stories and lessons that were told and learned during this time. This is not simply a story about Moses and deliverance – it's a story about relationship and possibility. The relationship of God's people to Himself and the discovery of what's possible in that relationship is the overarching message in the story. "All things are possible" – right? – How? Through Christ who strengthens us! With God all things are possible – that demands relationship – us with Him, Him with us. How often do we demand from Him that "my will be done, my kingdom come"? Looking for the perfect partner, the prefect friendship, the perfect wife/husband, church? They don't exist except in the confines of your own imagination…and they can never exist because they are a product of your own creation. Do we give up dreams, hopes, and aspirations then, in the face of impossibilities? No, we surrender our idols of must be to the place of possibility where the God of eternity calls us to unity. While God was giving the path to relationship with Him, his partner (the Israelites) was busy trying to create the fantasy of the perfect god as they envisioned. You might say they were blinded by their own sight. Relationship requires surrender to discover the uniqueness of the "other" that is often greater than what we ever imagined. God gives us the perfect example over and over again in Scripture. He has a vision for us, a divine purpose and plan, but He doesn't punish us into submission nor browbeat us into acquiescence nor insist it is His way or the highway! He loves us patiently back to Himself…when we are willing to work on the relationship – just like He demonstrated to the ancient Israelites and then again some 2,000 years ago at Calvary. We still serve the God of miracles. Not only does He love us to Himself, but He also gives us tools for the experience.


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." It should be no surprise to us that the tools for love are spelled out in behaviors that are observable; patience, kindness, other focused, calm, forgiving, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering. That's how God loves us…the same love He asks us to pass on to each other…the same love that we cherish getting! It isn't surprising either that each of these represent the fruit of the Spirit. God knows we can't do it on our own, so He gives us Himself as example, His Spirit as comforter and guide, and each other to practice on. It is in relationship that we get to practice the love in action that has been demonstrated to us through the act of love through Jesus Christ. When we come here, we come to love practice. When we fellowship, we love practice. When we are hurting, we love practice. When we are angry and upset, we love practice. When we're ready to throw in the towel, we love practice. That's how we gain greater understanding of how to use the tools He's' given us. Love practice requires surrender…of things needing to be our way in order to find THE way.


The teaching of Jesus has an over-arching theme – surrender. Surrender does not mean being weak or losing. It takes strength to surrender one's most cherished ideas and behaviors. I takes faith to give up a notion that we've held for so long – a dream that things MUST be the way I see it, dream it, feel it, know it…to discover things more beautiful, blessed, fulfilling than I could ever have imagined. In surrender is freedom…Freedom to discover the possibilities, the beauty, the reality, the uniqueness of the other. Surrender doesn't take your identity. Christ fulfilled His identity at His surrender to the cross. The burden of His surrender birthed the blessing that you and I experience today. What blessing is He calling you to birth?







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