APRIL 11TH, 2021 // JOHN 2:1-11 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Embracing the New - Week One

Are you ready to embrace the new? Are you ready to leave the old, to walk away for that to experience the new wine that Jesus may have for you and your life? And for some of you, maybe for the first time experiencing grace and truth looked like and love, but the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus.

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Embracing the New - Pastor Larry Davis

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Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Well, good morning. Hey, welcome. Those of you who are joining us online, that was exciting. I was like, okay, greedy, I'm glad you're here and glad to be with you. Those of you who are in the room. So glad that you're here with this the week after Easter, where we get to celebrate the resurrection. And that's why we gather on weekends on Sundays is this is really every weekend represents resurrection Sunday, which is why, again, we gather as a faith community here in this space, online and San Francisco, and those of you who are actually continuing to join us around the country, we are starting a new series today. And some people would be like, what's a series. And a series is really a conversation that we use for little short stents that just add onto each other. So it's difficult to just have a 25 minute to a 20 minute conversation about a topic or a small piece of scripture.

And so what we do is we kind of tease that out into an overlying topic where we get to dig in and understand something that's a little bit more depth. And so we can unpack it over a multiples of weeks. And so I wanted to give you actually just a little like vision casting for the future of what we're going to be talking about. So this is a series that we're going to do for about seven weeks called embracing the new I'll come back to that in just a second. Then we're going to spend 11 weeks in Jeremiah. Jeremiah is somebody that I think that is valuable for us to learn from it's an old Testament figure. And I think there's a lot for us to unpack. So we're going to spend 11 weeks unpacking the life of Jeremiah, how it teaches us, how to live, what we learned from God when it does that.

And then it's looking like I have this deep desire in this new season that we're in to try to dive deeper into our biblical understanding and the way that we're feeding each other. And really, truly seeing this idea of our vision statement of transformation, transforming our homes transforming the community because of that and everything around the world, by pursuing God, building community and unleashing compassion. And I think this pursuing is something that we're going to be deeply focused on. And then the community that's built from that is going to be really beautiful. So we might end up spending like multiple years walking through a book in the Bible, in the new Testament, maybe Matthew or John, where we're going to unpack verse by verse, really understanding who God is and what that means in our life. So to kind of kick that off, as we're looking into the future of these conversations and the growth that we want to experience, and the way that we want to live this series is called embracing the new and over the next couple of weeks, I want you to be able to see some new things that are going on.

Obviously we're coming out of, or trying to figure out how to come out of this COVID season. And things are just different. I know that this last week I went to one of my favorite restaurants. It was open for the first time in like a year. And I went there and they didn't have like the favorite thing. I go there to get, you know, how you go to a place. And you're like, that's the thing. I drove all the way here for, it was like an hour. Wait I go in, and then I'm like looking at menu and I'm like, where is this? And they're like, no, buddy. And I'm like, don't buddy me right now. Tell me where this is at. This is not a buddy conversation. I had to embrace the new, which forced me. I had to try something different and it was actually really good, but I had to like shift, right?

We're all having to like shift into these new things. And so as you are coming back to in-person services or kind of reopening things and adventuring out, there's new things that we're going to be discovering, and God did new things all throughout scripture and profits did these things to Mark or to show, or as this kind of prophetic art of things that were different, although it was the same and what it was used for to shift. And so next week, we're going to have a conversation about rivers, of living water. Some of you have noticed on our campus, we have a fountain out in the lobby that represents something that we're going to be walking into and how water was used all throughout scripture in the story that it tells the next week. We're going to talk about a stump in the ground. Those of you who've been on our campus and the Finnish campus.

We have a stump out in the lobby and how, what that represents and prophetically the story that it tells even in the Davidic time where they thought the line was dead, but a new thing, a new shoot came out from the stump, which eventually led to the line of Jesus. We're going to talk about prayer wall in what that tells us the story that's telling us. We have a prayer wall out in our lobby where the rest of this year, you're gonna be able to go by there and pray for people and see what's going on and connect to their life. And what's, what's happening and be a part of that as a community. And it's a testimony to what God's doing, who he's with and the way that he's moving. I get this on mother's day, we're going to have baby dedications, which is May 5th, but we're also going to have a conversation about comfy chairs.

Those of you who have been before and know that sitting in some more comfortable chairs right now, rather than these like hard black chairs that kind of jolt around on you a little bit, but, and this idea of what that says and what it means. And then we're going to have a conversation about tastes and smells and the senses. And so we're going to have all of these different kinds of conversations that I want you to have kind of like your eyes wide open to what are the new things that you're seeing or noticing or can connect with because these things, and we'll see through this throughout the scripture, typically can point back to God and his creation and what he's doing and how he's moving to capstone all of this on May 23rd with a Sunday that is just worship and baptisms. So for people who are making a decision that want to walk into that, as we want to Mark something significant in our church, in this season, as we're embracing the new and the new life and how baptism represents a resurrection in a new thing.

So that's kind of what the series is about. I'll refer it throughout the conversation over the coming weeks. But today it's really just a kind of kick off and to grasp like, what does this embracing new thing look like? Or what's something that was transformed into something new. And so I grabbed the scripture that we're going to dig into today is in John it's in the new Testament. John was one of the disciples. It's the fourth book in the new Testament, and I'm going to be in chapter two, two, one through 12. And we're going to hang mostly around six through 11, but I'm going to read the whole thing for you right now. If you have your Bibles or your phone, you can follow me along throughout the service, or you guys can watch it up here. On the third day, a wedding took place in canine galley, and Jesus's mother was there.

And Jesus said to us, this Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to this wedding. When Jesus, he had been invited to this wedding when the wine was gone at this wedding, Jesus's mother said to him, we have no more wine. And so Jesus says, woman, why do you involve me now? Real quick woman in this language is that saying, wasn't like a bad term. It wasn't like a put down Jesus replied. My hour has not come. His mother said to the servants, do whatever he tells you and nearby stood six stone water jars is going to be important later. The kind used by the law, by the Jews for ceremonial washing or for purification washing each holding 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus said to the servants, fill the jars with water. And so they filled them too brim. Then he told them, draw some water out and take it to the masters of the banquet.

And so in the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He didn't realize it had come from though the servants who had drawn the water knew, then he called the bridegroom aside and said, everyone brings out the choice wine first, and then the cheaper wine or the box wine after the guests have had too to drink. But you okay? I have saved the best until now. And it says, and what Jesus did here in Keno Galloway was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him. So Joan hones in on this, this miracle, this sign, this first one that he did. And I want to just talk about this concept of signs just for a second. We know scholars tell us that actually, there's this idea that the first 11 chapters of the book of John John, one chapter one through 11, is, would be called the book of signs.

This is where John tells us that, Hey, there's this first sign that we see in John chapter four, where something's taking place. And then he stops and says, there's a second sign. John has a meaning behind everything that he's saying. And he's kind of telling this story that we're watching. And it's kind of this movie situation, you know, in a movie, no, one's actually staring at the camera, but you're just watching and you're invited into the action. And so that's really how John's written. And then John suddenly pauses in a couple of specific spots and it's like, he turns to the camera and says, this was the first sign, right? Making sure that we're brought into this to understand what was taking place after he talks about the second sign, he kind of just leaves us to our own count. And so you have water to wine here.

And this one is the first sign, which of course echoes the Exodus story where God turned water of the Nile into blood and this kind of new Moses image, which is painted all throughout the new Testament, as Jesus, as this new Moses, the new law, right? Or the law's gone away. There's this new covenant that's taking place. And so specifically the signs that there are taking place that we can see if you were to look through on your own, I'll point them out. You have the changing of water into the wine and Canaan. That's John to the first. Then you have the healing of the Royals official, which is in John four. You have the healing of the invalid or the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda in John five. Then that leads into the feeding of 5,000 in John six, which right, following that story is considered the fifth, which is walking on water and then healing the blind man from birth that's in John nine.

And then you have the seventh sign right here, which is the raising of Lazarus found in John 11. And then you don't have anything for a minute. You have these seven signs that a lot of scholars and theologians see this evidence is what's something called the new creation theology, which is this set up in the gospel of John to the resurrection of Jesus, implying that that's the eighth sign that the resurrection is this eighth sign into Cain. This week of creation that God created for six days, the seventh day was the Sabbath he rested, which was the day of completion or a number of completion. And then a new creation beginning with the resurrection. So all the signs stop these seven, which is great again, because for the Jews, this is a really symbolic number of completely complete myth MIS, which is interesting that we'll talk about in a minute, why there was six water jars.

It was really important that John was again, putting in there, re represents this, doesn't represent this completeness, which is really important, but then it seven signs, ultimate sign of resurrection and miss dawning of this new world. So there's all this imagery that we're looking for. And that we're going to get to look through over the couple of weeks. And this image in these signs all are pointers to something that either God is up to. There's something that about ourselves that we get to learn. And there's something about the world that we get to learn and all of these different signs. And as we read through scripture, that's a really great way to like tease it out is what do I learn about God, from what I'm reading? What do I learn about humanity, from what I'm reading or how it impacts the world? And then what can I learn from myself? Or what does this mean for myself? So anytime that you're reading through scripture or doing a study, ask yourself those three questions all the time. If you're like, I don't know how to do a devotional or how to break this down, ask yourself those three questions. What from myth am I reading? Can I learn about God, humanity and myself?

So I love that this is this idea of a miracle that this is an interruption on this micro level. And then it gets this macro application. And here's the beautiful thing that I love about miracles is that they don't just kind of hover in these random spaces, but they become the part of the fabric of creation and the story that we're all part of. It's restoring it's, it's like a weed that's cracking up through the concrete of this decaying, demonic filled evil world. And that there's this birth of a real new creation, like it's wine time, right? Like this, this water that was stale or stagnate gets turned into this new, robust, beautiful thing. This stale water, even the second meaning of what it means for the world is it's like taking the stale water of history. What are you going to do? Let's take the stale water of life and the way people that have tried to connect to God and let's bring it to this new phase.

It says nearby stood six stone water jars. These are the kinds that were used for the Jewish ceremonial, washing holding each from 20 to 30 gallons. Now this is really important for us Gentile readers. We didn't understand all of the things about the significance of numbers and also that they had these purification or these ceremonial washing rituals. This is crucial because this is what he actually came to do. He didn't come here to make wine in this moment. There's a hint here with these six stone jars and they're at a wedding and this is what this is used for. And so if we were going to a wedding and we were there for several days, that's how long these weddings would last. We'd be there hanging out all day and we'd go to sleep. We wake up, we eat some food. And what we would do is we would get dirty, right?

And so for this ceremonial, washing or cleansing, these jars were literally used to go in, wash your hands, right? Or wash the dishes to clean things. As you had been touching things that you would use this to purify your hands or from a ritual standpoint, because the old Testament said, if you touch this thing, you're going to need to watch her. If you're near this thing, you need to wash, right? You got to wash all these things. This was the rights of purification that's represented in these six Waterstone jars. And John tells us remember everything that John says has some sort of meaning behind it. And this is what he's trying to say. He tells us that there's these six into a Jew.

Six has always this really important number because it's one less than perfection, just as it talked about a minute ago of the six days of creation and then a Sabbath. And what he's trying to say here. I love how William Barclays at theologian that says this, that the water pots stand for the imperfections of the Jewish law. They came up just short six. Jesus came to do away with the imperfections of the law to put in their place, the new wine of the gospel of his grace. Jesus turns the imperfection of religion into the perfection of grace. This is the meaning behind what he's doing. This isn't just a throwaway line for John. This is maybe the quintessential theological point of the whole passage that Jesus has come to say that there is a new era dawning in the world. There's a new thing that's happening. And here's what it means that everything that's represented by religion has now reached its point of climax. And I'm here to shut it down. Everything that's been represented by these rules and regulations, the way that you did these things has been good. It's reached the top and now religion and ritual is going to be giving away to something new religion and ritual is going to be giving away.

It's a relationship that guy has entered. The world is turning this old way of connecting to himself. That's represented in these ritual, extended out here with religion in itself. And he's saying now, I'm it. I'm bringing that to its intended point, which was the law or this religion. This is the summary of what John has told us in John one 17, just this chapter before said for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

LA had its moment. This is the old covenant, but now it's giving away to something else, something new that Jesus is going to be this new wine and that all of these other things are coming too. And Paul says in Philippians three, he talks about this idea where he used to try to do all of these things. And it felt really good to be involved in religion because it just does, right? Like to be in that ritualistic and that you're connected to these things and you have this regular rhythm, but Jesus is saying like, Hey, the temple sacrifices or whatever religion you belong to, if you belong to a religion that is sacrificed, you know, there's a sacred place that you've set aside for the gods to dwell over in, or there's rituals where you have to sacrifice animals or grain. It's all over. If there's Holy land that you're fighting for, you're thinking that this land is more Holy than that land. We needed to make sure that it's all over. It's gone. Jesus shows up and says, Hey, we can't climb up a mountain to God anymore. So I have come down the mountain to do for you bringing the suite of vibrant, true relationship of life with God, in a sense has given birth now to a new way of connecting with the God of the universe.

And so friends, are you willing to walk from the old stone water pots of religion and give your life to the one who gives you new wine or not? Or are you going to be showing up here or in your life and your relationship with Jesus saying, where'd that thing I like to eat? Go, where'd that thing go. Where'd that comfortable thing go. This is how I do this.

The next story right after this, he really does kind of the same thing. It's in the temple, right? And he goes in there and kind of shuts it down and storms everything up. And it's basically, I'm doing the same thing saying, and he goes, this thing's over because actually now the temple of my body is what's going to matter now. So Jesus has brought to a climax and religion has given away to relationship that he's come to shut down religion as the way that people knew this. And he's doing all because he's saying, Hey, I'm going to be the Messiah. It's the law. That's now going to give away to grace. And now we can, can't go back. So why can't you go back when it's time to embrace new things? Why is it not to go back? Let me give you a couple analogies and why you wouldn't want to go back for those of you who have had children or grandchildren. I know when we were expecting our baby, we went and we got like an ultrasound and they give you like a little ultrasound video. And at that time was on a little DVD, right? And you'd like, show everybody and like watch this thing. And it's like, but still you're like, Whoa, okay. That's that's Madeline whatever your child's name was, that's my kid. And you, and maybe your grandparents, you have like an actual paper picture of like a mammogram, right. Or not a mammogram. So that really wrong.

That's going to go down in the history books and ultrasound. Why did I even say that? Well, we're embracing the new, I can't go that. All right. You're carrying around a photo of a picture of a baby. Oh, wow. I'm going to recover. All right. So you're carrying around a picture of the baby and your child comes, your grand baby comes. And what do you not do? You don't go around showing some for sound video or an ultrasound picture, right? When the real thing layer like the now grown up new thing is right there. Right? You follow that. I shouldn't have used that at all. I'll use something else. A rocket rocket takes off, and it's got these boosters on the side of the rocket.

And as the rockets taking off the boosters are doing the work to get the rocket out, into space. And in a point, the rocket has reached it. The boosters have reached their climax. Like they've finished doing what they need to do, and they actually break off. Right. And then the rocket continues to go on. Now, if you wanted to go back, you can't go back and then put the boosters back on the rocket, because it will ruin the entire mission. It will destruct the entire mission that's going on at all. It'll blow up the whole rocket.

So there's this new thing that's going on. When you recognize the old and where it's gotten you, you have to be ready to take on the new and the next. And that's what Jesus is doing. Paul Paul's entire argument in Galatians three and four is that the law was set up as a, a teacher, a tutor to prepare you for this new thing, right? Like if you have a tutor, you only use a tutor for so long. When you're in grade school, you don't use the same tutor all the way through college. You've taken off into this new thing. And that's what this was, setting it up. Now, if we think about how this flows

Goes down into our own life, I wanted to make some comparisons so we can understand what this looks like. This religion versus the gospel. Religion says, I obey. Therefore I'm accepted. I obey. Therefore I'm accepted. But gospel says I'm accepted. Therefore I obey religion. Motivation is based on fear and insecurity. God's to get me or bad things are going to happen to me. So I better do something. But gospel motivation is based on a grateful joy of what Jesus has done for me. And then we get to live from that place. Religion. I obey God in order to get things from God, right? You've heard this preached before, talked about, if you do these things, God will bless you and give you wealth and health and prosperity in life. Make us so into your future of these things, right? You've heard these things. It's religion. I obey God in order to get things from him. The gospel says, I obey God to get God to delight. And then to resemble him religion in the old stone, their versions of ourselves is when circumstances of my life go wrong. I'm angry at God or myself. Since I believe like job's friends that anyone who is good, deserves a comfortable life.

This is the construct of religious thinking. Even if you're not formerly religious from the past, or even if you find yourself, you're watching with this right now, you're atheist. You still think you deserve a comfortable life. That the universe owes you because you're a good person. I've asked many, many, many people. Why do you think you're going to heaven? Like, why do you think you're going to live in this relationship in community with God in this new heaven, in this new earth when you die? And their response is typically well, because I'm a good person. And then they go to extreme and they use it as a comparison. Well, because I'm not Hitler. Right? And it's like, because you're not Hitler. You deserve to be comfortable in life in this space, right? In the recesses of our brains. People think like that. We think like that that's religion. Gospel though says when circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle. But I know that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his fatherly love within my trial.

Legend says that when I'm criticized, I'm actually furious or devastated because it's essential for me to think of myself as a good person and threats to that self image must be destroyed at all costs. Right? I, I'm not gonna have anyone thinking that I'm not a good person. Like that's the way that I've been taught to structure myself. And this is how I have it together. Right? And I need to get rid of anything. That's going to threaten that. But the gospel says that when I'm stressed, when I'm criticized, I struggle, but it's not essential for me to think of myself as a good person. My identity is not built on my performance, but on God's love for me in Christ. Religion is my prayer life consists of petition. It only heats up when I'm in need. My main purpose in prayer is to control circumstances. Do you feel yourself doing that? These are religious impulses in the gospel. My prayer life consists of stretches of praise and adoration for who God is. My main purpose in praying is fellowship with him.

See there, that's the difference. That's that's Jesus that he's come to give us this new way of being human. This new thing that we get to embrace and how beautiful is this? That this is what the story means for the world, but real quickly, I just want to pivot the last bit of our time to, what does this mean for you personally? It says verse six, right here. If you jumped to that nearby stood six stone water jars.

That's the kind used by the ceremony, washes each holding about 20 to 30 gallons. Remember that 20 to 30 gallons. Next one Jesus said to the servants, fill the jars with water. So they filled them to the brim.

We thought about that 20 to 30 gallons. Now this, this, this like party only needed like 40 bottles of wine left, but he took six jars that were about this wide and about this tall, if you go and see them and he takes them and he fills them all the way up to the brim. And I loved that. He said, fill them up to the brim because essentially he was saying, I don't want to leave any room left in there. We're going to, we're going to fill this whole thing up. It's going to be overflowing. There's no room for anything else left in there. And so if you add that up 20 to 30 gallons at six doors, he literally was making 900 bottles of wine. Do you think this party needed that it did not need it? Now I'm thinking is the wine was different then, right?

It was probably better with that stuff. But the alcohol rate wasn't as high as the stuff y'all are drinking today, but 900 bottles of wine and then filled to the brim. And I think it's because you can't go back, you can't go back for any water. It's now there's no longer water. It's this new thing that you can't go back for something else. There's not space for you to go back in, to find and to see something else, you get more power than you need to get more forgiveness than you may think that you need. And there's this way that we think when we're looking at this, we're like, man, I don't know. Jesus can forgive me for these things. You know, it's just been so long that I've been doing this thing or this habit, or there's no way he's going to forgive me for this mistake. Or I tumbled it again. There's no possible way. There's not enough grace for this. And I think that this painting a picture that Jesus is saying, this new thing is coming. The law has done its job. And now grace is coming and it's grace upon grace upon grace upon grace, 900 bottles of grace filled to the brim

Overflowing. And Moses was good, but like the law was good and Moses gave us something beautiful connect to you, but you've kept the good wine until now. And this is better. If you look in the sea as the story guide, Kenneth Tenney's right there, we're gonna throw up on the screen. So then he told him to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. You know, the next

It did. So, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. And he did not realize where it come from though. The servants who had drawn it, they knew then he called the bridegroom aside and said, everyone brings out the choice wine first. And then the cheaper wine after the guests have gone when they've had too much to drink, but you

I've saved the best till now. This is what I think it means for us. I think for us, it means this verse 10, first, 10 only just says this. Everyone brings out the choice line first. And then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you, you have saved the best until now. You saved the best until now the Lau was good. He didn't bring out the box. If you now are doing something on top of that, can you believe that the best is yet to come for you? That Jesus wants to give you new wine in your life. That transformation can happen as transformation.

This purification that used to happen in ceremonies of this washing now is this transformation that's happening because of grace and because of the ultimate sacrifice that that's going to represent. This transformation offers you a life where your, your relationships are better. Your marriage is better. The way you deal with money is better. The way you interact with people is better.

Your homes, your communities, and the world. Friends can look and feel better because of transformation in the vision that Jesus has for everything.

One of you that's watching and that's here today is the more that you deny it and run from the new thing where you just want to go back to Egypt. You just want to go back to like the way it was, and you just want to go grab this thing that was comfortable to you. The more you just stave off purification and transformation in your life. And over time as you've let Jesus work on you, that's the practical micro stuff that's going to change and be purified in you as God changes you as he wants to make it better. I know sometimes that can be difficult for us to grasp new things. When you think about how is wine made? Well, grapes are crushed to make wine, right? I don't know how many of you have ever had to have a surgery. There's something a part of you that needs to be cut in fixed to be made new, right?

It's painful. But there's a transformation that takes place in your life today. Friends, I want to ask you, are you ready to embrace the new? Are you ready to leave the old, to walk away for that to experience the new wine that Jesus may have for you and your life? And for some of you, maybe for the first time experiencing grace and truth looked like and love, but the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. So I'm going to ask you right now that you, would you stand, if you're with us online or here in the room, I actually just want us to respond and worship and song as we allow Jesus to make new wine in us.

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APRIL 18TH, 2021 // MATTHEW 23:25-28 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Embracing the New - Week Two

Think about your own life - what needs to be renewed? What is stagnant, and isn’t “flowing”? Where is an opportunity to be in community with someone and allow them to experience the living water flowing through you?

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Embracing the New - Pastor Larry Davis

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Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Well, Hey friends, I'm so glad to be with you today. If you're in the room so glad that you're here and that we get to experience community together. If you're with us online again, thank you for just for inviting us into your space. And as always, I want to let you know when you're ready, we're ready to have you back in person. We're trying to keep it as safe as possible. And again, just glad you're with us wherever you're joining us from. We are in a new series last week. I introduced this series and talked a little bit about why we do series, which is really just a larger conversation that we like to break up into a couple of weeks, because it's difficult to give you all the information or to, for us together collectively to unpack a lot about one specific subject or some specific scripture in just a short amount of time that we spend together on the weekend.

And so we break that up over weeks. So we can go on a walk and have a conversation together. As we unpack things, you can think of it from a box and give you the opportunity to continue to unpack those things throughout the week. And so that's a fantastic opportunity for you to get into community where you can keep the discussion going and really the process of transformation going throughout the week. This isn't just a Sunday thing. We come here to pursue God, but that we build community and continue to pursue God and who he is throughout the week. And then the result of that is seeing transformation our own lives or becoming something new that Jesus wanted us to become. So this series is called embracing new. We just are coming out of Easter where we got to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And it's because of Jesus, we're here and learning how to become a disciple of Jesus.

And that was a new thing. This is a whole new covenant that we talked about last week. That we're a part of. And so we had a conversation last week of just being on the lookout for things that are becoming new things or being able to sense and to see what's going on and how we can experience God in a multitude of ways. And we talked about how last week, God could make a new wine in us that we can walk away from the old and begin to embrace new things. But it's difficult. I gave you the example of, you know, we we've just started opening up more spaces from the COVID situation and went to one of our favorite restaurants. And I went in and I went to my go-to thing and it wasn't on the menu. And I was like, so sad. Cause I was like, where where's the best thing you have in this place at, I don't see it listed here anymore.

Is this like a speakeasy secret thing? And they were like, no, we don't have it anymore. And so suddenly I was forced with embracing something new and learning something new and trying new things and experiencing new things is similar. We get the same opportunity now, then we're gonna be talking about rivers of living water. We have a fountain out in their lobby and might have a picture of it to show you for those of you who are on the line with us. There's a fountain right there. This is what's in our lobby. This is this idea of us looking around and seeing what's going on. So we're going to talk about rivers of living water and what the scripture say about that and how we can connect with and embrace a new things because of water. And then we have a stump in the ground out there in the lobby as well.

That's the prayer way, a stump. And so then we're going to have this conversation about a stump. And even in the old Testament, the Davidic line thought it was dead and it was over with, and it talks about how the chute came out of it, this new thing that ultimately led to Jesus. And so how we can see these things and understand how they point to God when we talk about a prayer wall and how we get to observe community together, observe what people are walking and going through or celebrating, and also be able to come alongside of each other as community and how God made that for us to be in relationship with him and others caring one another Spurgeon's. And that's a space we have out in the lobby that I encourage you all to participate in every week. Then on mother's day, we're going to do baby dedications, which is the 9th of May.

So if you have a baby, we would love to get in contact with you and have a conversation about baby dedications. But we're also going to talk about the comfy chairs. So if you're in person right now, you know, you're experiencing a comfortable chair. If you've been here in the past, it wasn't as squishy. It was kind of like hard and it squeaked and you know, it's kind of cold, but there's this idea that we're going to talk about how this can relate to God and how we can learn from this as this idea of prophetic art. Then on May 16th, we're going to have a conversation about the tastes and smells of that sense. And maybe some of you have grown up or experienced different ways that you can taste and see that God is good and who he is. And then we're going to capstone this entire conversation by a weekend where we're just going to have worship and baptisms where this is something that we can Mark something significant in this faith community, in this space where transformation has taken place.

This is something that we're going to get to do together for quite some time over the next couple of weeks. And then what we're going to do is we're going to walk into a series for about 11 weeks. We're going to talk about Jeremiah and what we can learn from him and the lament or the learning and what it looks like to be a disciple ultimately, where we're heading. So you guys know is we're going to like dig in deep and embrace all the new things and understand what it looks like follower of Jesus. And we're going to go on a long journey through a book in the new Testament, one of the gospels where we get to unpack layer by layer verse by verse, what that looks like and what we can learn from that. So ultimately I'm going to encourage you to get to know our app on there as the Bible app, or you can also bring a physical paper Bible if you want, but I'm going to ask you to engage in those things because of the things follow along with us as well.

So today embracing the new there's things that we get to learn from from true living water, really focusing on this living water and Jesus was really focused on something, particularly throughout the new Testament. When he had conversations with his disciples, people who were even far from God and those who were closer or felt like they were closer to God, at least from the outside. And you see a conversation where he talks about, it's not what you put inside of you. It's not the food that you eat. He's having a conversation with these Pharisees and these scribes and saying, Hey, you're getting upset that we keep breaking these rules and that we're breaking these laws of the Sabbath and ceremonial things like cleaning, right? Or financial things, these types of things. But I want to focus on something else. You're focused on this law, this rule, like we talked about last week, the law gave way then to grace and truth, it was a good setup.

And so Jesus begins to talk about these things. And he's having a conversation with these disciples, with these Pharisees and scribes. And he's saying, Hey, you guys are getting upset right now because you feel like the things that we're putting our mouth aren't Holy or they're not sacred, or they're not clean. And that's not what defiles a person of what you put inside of your mouth. It's actually what comes out of you. The inside of you, the things that you say your heart later on, you find in Matthew 23, he's having this big gigantic Whoa conversation. If you look in Matthew 23, it's, he's giving all these woes to people who are really followers of God at the time, but he's saying, Hey, you don't get it. There's something new that's taken place. It was a new thing that you need to understand. And so he has this conversation, a bunch of different woes, and then he starts talking in Matthew 23.

It's not coming up here. I mean, you guys can thank you Matthew 23 right here. And he says, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside there are full of greed and self-identified, and Dalton's blind Pharisee first clean the inside of the cup and dish. And then the outside will also be clean. He's saying, Hey, the outside, you're cleaning up and you're making it look nice. But the inside of you, this stuff is full of greed and self, a dollar diligence. You need to clean the inside. You need to clean up and understand what's going on on the inside of you so that the outside then can also be clean, continues on and says, you're like whitewashed, tombs, slick, beautiful on the outside. But on the inside are full of bones of the dead. And everything is unclean in the same way.

The outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy in wickedness. He said it is a focus that we have on the outside, right? We want to like present on the outside that these things are okay, but he's saying, you're not understanding it. This isn't about an outside thing. This is about an inside issue that you have. And this is an important issue. He talks about this in multiple ways throughout scripture, and the focus is cleaning the inside. And so what do you use to clean things right? Often, if you really want to clean something, you use water, right? Water has all kinds of connections and meaning of new life or cleansing, or we've talked about last week, the ceremonial cleansing stuff. And today, the first point I want to give to you right now is that Jesus wants to a life that flows deep within you.

A life that flows deep within you. The main verse that I'm gonna focus on is just a short one. Today it's found in John seven 38. It says, whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from them. Whoever believes in me, you can go back in me. As scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow within them. Now this is in the new international version, the NIV, and a lot of people read different versions of the Bible and different things are translated a little bit differently. And so I wanted to show you just a different translation and the we're going to talk about that for just a second. In the NLT, the new living translation says anyone who believes in me may come and drink for the scriptures. Declare rivers of living water will flow from his heart, right?

That's heart. Now the Greek word is this fairly consistently translated for heart in the new Testament all throughout or in the NIV you saw is within heart. Here is really the same thing. It's our English translation, translation of Greek and a couple of different people translate it a little bit differently, but this word is referring right here. And within is referring to this internal midsection. This, this belly part of you most often referring to like a womb or the belly. And these translations are more significant specifically because heart in ancient texts, which isn't what we're getting right here in ancient texts. This word would be referring more towards desire or like the depth of a person. But these translations, the belly was used more for w the, the, the womb or most, most of the vacation. This word shows in the new Testament that is referring to the birth of something. It's an interesting idea. If you think about this, that living waters then would be something that has given birth to, that can come out of you. And that, that gives a life to the one who believes in it that can birth something new in you. It's also something that speaks to the desire and the depth of who we are. Something being birthed out of you, something new that's coming forth. It's a bit like when you are personally transforming experience in your life, when you've been through something or even decided I'm going to experience transformation in this new version of you begins to show up, you were like this. Now you're like this. How about how you will li live or what you want other people to experience when they come into contact with you and how others experience you, it begins to birth something inside of you, the belly.

If you think about it as like the deepest place that's inside of you, when you feel stressed, you experienced it in your gut, right? Have you noticed like all of a sudden you're like, Oh, I just feel this thing it's deep with inside of me. And you feel stressed when you feel anxious, you actually experience it in your gut. Right? A lot of us can say like our heart hurts, but often it's found us in this deep thing inside of us, just at our gut, this aching that can take place. It's a place within you that you've experienced those things in ways that move beyond words, that you can't really express it, but yet is experienced is this is the inside of you. That might be actually, if we had to put words to it today, this thing that's deep inside, all of us, that we have this common connection to you, you could characterize it as your conscience. You could characterize this as your conscience. Now, what is your conscience? What does this thing that is represented deep down inside of each and every one of us will. Conscience is your flow of thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, your choices, the things that you are thinking about constantly, that thing that tells you, like, I just knew in my gut this right, the feelings I just had this feeling, you know, like the butterflies, right? This nervous feeling, or this exciting connective, this romantic feeling, right? Your intentions, like what you're intending to do, what you're thinking about, doing the choices that you're making in the response physically that your body has from making these choices. This is the inside of each and every one of us, this conscience, whereas the outside of us like Jesus was talking about is your behavior, right? You can put on all kinds of behavior. You can show that you're this type of person, you know, there's that, there's a, there's a story that had been around for a long time of, of businessmen who had this really beautiful house and this really cool car.

And it was really big. And he was dressed in a suit all the time, but then you went into the house and it was just empty, right? He couldn't afford what he had done. It was just a big show to put on because he felt like he had to show on the outside. He was put together and had accumulated things and stuff, but I'm inside. It was empty because it was a mess, right? It didn't, he wasn't able to live that life. It's just your behavior on your outside. Now, I'm going to tell you this, that the art of managing your conscience, the battle of life, this is the battle that every one of us deal with the art of managing the inside of us. And this is why Jesus talked about so important to us is actually the battle of life. When John talks about this, this rivers of living water will come from within you.

He's likely referencing this idea of Exodus 17. This is when the Israelites and the old Testament, Moses had taken them out of Egypt and they're going through the desert. And they find themselves beginning to like die a first or feel like they're their, their children and their cattle. Everything is dying because they're so thirsty. They're traveling through the desert and they get near Mount Sinai, or Horeb in the Lords in suddenly miraculously provides water for everyone. It happens through the Lord telling Moses to strike a rock. And from that rock came water, water that both quenched their thirst, their physical thirst, but reminded the people of God that God is with them in their difficulty, that he is trustworthy and he's going to provide for their needs, any of their needs, either in the midst of a desert, even the midst of a difficult situation.

When they're unable to see a way to actually provide for themselves or comfort for themselves, you see friends, it's the very deepest place of our being that Jesus says that he will produce life and flourishing this living water, and that he can be trusted, that he can be trusted to do so, and that he will do so, even in times in ways where we don't see how it's even possible. I love the way author and pastor John. Ortberg put this in a book called the me. I want to be, he said, the only way to become the person God made you to be is to live with the spirit of God, flowing through you like a river of living water. So when when a river flows life flourishes, right? And when a river dries up, you see that life ceases. Psalm one, if you go back into the old Testament, someone describes the person who's connected with a river, get connected with the way of God, in a way that becomes like a tree that is planted by streams of water, a tree that yields its fruit.

It produces what it's supposed to. It's living in harmony. It's flowing next to it has this living water. And so it's able to do what it was created to do what it was created for, but without a connection, it shows that the, the flowing water that it misses it, it misses what it was created for and the way it was best supposed to live. The water produces this flourishing, which is something that is functioning in the way that it was meant to be. It's like being in the flow. Those of you are familiar with psychology. There's this thing called the flow state, right? So there's this big study that's done of like, Hey, when are we at our best, right? When do we feel like we're producing the most, or we're feeling the most healthy we're like in the zone, right? You've heard that maybe like from you've worked and you're like working on a project and you're getting 10 hours of stuff done in like an hour, right.

You're just knocking it out. Or you see this from an athlete and they're just in the zone. They don't even, they're not even having to try there to, so in that spot, right, this is the flow state what's called the flow state. And in a flow state, this is where you're working on something that you are over, or that you've a task that you've been given or you're trying to accomplish. And it's matched up with what particular skill you have, right? Or the way that you were created, your unique individual gifting, the image of day, the image of God has an image bearer you're created in which to be able to accomplish such task. And when those things match up where you're being pushed, right? And the task is a little bit difficult and it's challenging your skill, you are in, what's called a flow state, but when the things that you're trying to manage or accomplish, or where you're trying to see transformation happen, and it doesn't take much effort to do, then it's, it gets to where it's not very fun, right?

It's like bored when the task is easy. And you've a way more skill for this leads to boredom and vice versa. On the other side, it leads to frustration and confusion and irritation because the task is too much. You don't have the skill in which to accomplish it. Kind of like the spelling bee. That was a part that was, I gave you more time to laugh at that one. That's good. Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it. That's good. Just hold on. Waiting for the people on line. You're good. I got you. So you're in the flow state. This is like where we're all like the best. And I really believe that this relates to this idea of living in the flow, the flow of living water, the way that God created us from the inside to be in a groove. And here's the deal friends is that flow either leads towards God or away from God, the way that we're embracing new things and challenging ourselves to grow, right.

Either flows towards God or away from God towards being a more generous person, or it's more self-service or greed towards compassion towards or towards vengeance and apathy, right? Or towards grace or towards judgment or towards reconciliation and righteousness or towards brokenness. And so my question for you is where is there a gap in your life between who you are and the life that flourishes, where is there a gap right now? Where is there a gap in your life between who you are and a life that flourishes in, in what areas of your life in your, in your, in your gut or in your belly or in your heart, within you, you feel like something is off where you might not have words for it, but you feel it, you sense it. And what if, what if you surrendered that place to Jesus and his spirit, that, that, that part that feels more stagnant and stale, that doesn't feel like you're in the flow of this living water, the life that you were created for.

What if you surrendered that right now, here today to Jesus in his spirit, believing that he's with you and your difficulty, that he's trustworthy, that he can provide for you, even when you can't see a way to provide for yourself. Is it possible that even in that place where you find yourself, streams of living water could flow within you, it's the abiding in Jesus that we begin to move towards this and actually experience this a tree doesn't have to work hard to begin to move towards this. It doesn't have to work hard to it's fruit. Rather. It just abides in the streams in this living water, in this flow, it happens. It's this natural thing that takes place streams of living water flowing in those places looks a bit like surrender. It looks a bit like trust. It looks a bit like a biting, the phrase, water of life or living water refers specifically to running water.

That's contrasted with stagnant Stillwater. This is how we embrace the new. We don't keep coming back to this stagnant place. Or we start to address the place where it just looks like there's this stagnant, still water in us, deep within us. And we embrace the new and go after that. And the reason this is another thing that Jesus wants for you and from you, Jesus, Jesus, his life. Then we'll flow through you to bring the life to others. Jesus is life will flow through you to bring life to others. Now because of the way that John seven 38, that we registered a couple of minutes ago, his phrase, there's two primary interpretations that have been debated. And these interpretations, hang on this word out too. This is the Greek word out too, which is like, he, she him, it, they same and this word. And when it's translated, really can tell us who it's prescribed to.

So this first version that you could read has given us the one who believes in me is like the scriptures have said a river of living water that will flow through me. Right? Let's see if I can get this right here. Throw me, Oh, it did it sweet. So this is, this is, this would be who it would be prescribed to in this, in this part, as you would read out to right here where this next version, when you go to it, it is through them, right? So it's focusing on them, Hey, right? So you have me or you have them. So either it's given to Jesus as me, it's flowing, as Jesus saying, it's prescribed to Jesus. This is what's going to flow through me. Or it's given to the believer, you and I, where it's going to flow through them. And we're the them, right?

So Jesus is both the rock that provides water in nourishment. But he's also the one who creates the same thing within us as the believer that you become, then the rock for others because of the work that Jesus has done inside of you, because of him and his spirit that gets to flow in you. And then through you, that life that flows on to other people's this verse can really be read either from this deep within Jesus is life that is provided or as Jesus providing life that flows deep within you. I think perhaps both are what's happening here in this phrase that the spirit flows into us nourishing us, comforting us, providing this deep well of life. That only comes from Jesus. That brings about this flourishing. Well also the spirit throws through us to others so they can flourish as well. We see throughout scripture that God uses his people who are being renewed in order to be agents of renewal.

That that's actually a calling that we have is to be agents of renewal for others and creation. Paul writes this and second Corinthians. He says that thing, custodians one four says that the God that comforts us and our trouble so that we can then comfort others with what we have received that comfort us. So then later on, it can be used to comfort others that are going through something difficult, a part of the way that we discover the unique ways that God is calling us to be a part of renewal of others is based on the way that God has actually renewed us. It's that line that we can use here. That's me too. Right? I've I've experienced that too. I've been hurt like that too. I've been broken like that too. I have lost like that to this stagnant part of our life. That just feels desolate, instill and broken.

They've been renewed. And now there's a new life. It's the places where our own aches have been met with the nourishment of living water. That we're so often to be a call, to be in a part of, to bring in that place to others. So we would ask, how do we tap into the flow of living water? I know the whole time I've just been like, Larry, just telling me, how do I get this living water? Right. Well, one the really easy answer is Jesus too. It's this? We need to practice spiritual disciplines. We need to become a disciple, not just talk about being a disciple, becoming a disciple. It's a constant thing that never really ceases. It's an investment that it's a journey that you continually take a walk towards to be a disciple, is to be in training to be like, Jesus, not trying to be like, Jesus, let me tease this out a little bit more to be a disciple is to be in training to be like, Jesus, not trying to be like, Jesus, how many of us haven't seen no results because we're just trying on the outside to be like, Jesus, but we're not training for anything.

I'm going to tell you right now. If I tried to go run a marathon, next weekend, I'm going to fail. But then you can give me a trophy because at least I tried, right. But what do I have to do if I actually want to see fruit? If I actually want to see change happen, if I want to actually be able to accomplish the task and then improve on that, what would, what do I need, do I need to train? Right? You got to train. This is a constant thing. If you want to see transformation take place in your life. Discipleship is about training. It's about doing the things that it's about getting up and experiencing, practicing spiritual disciplines. Not just trying like, well, I tried a little bit to read something. Oh, I tried to listen to, I don't know Kayla for a little bit. I tried to, I tried to do this. This trying versus training is a game changer for a lot of us. This is where we actually see water, do its job to clean out the inside of us, right? This, this training expert. And this is where we experience the, the growth, the newness. I know for me personally, as a, as a father, as I continue to learn how to be a dad from a almost 14 year old to and on a six year old, this span right here, you know what, like the thing that I've learned is become the most frustrating phrase in my house is I tried.

Right. And what do you do? You look at him and you're like, no, you didn't try. You know, I couldn't, I couldn't get the door open while you didn't problem solve. You didn't learn how to, you didn't take the next step. Right? Go out there, learn how to accomplish some tasks, whether it would be. And it's so easier as fresh just to be like I tried, I tried to be a disciple. I tried to pray to God just didn't work. Like I wanted it to, this is the process friends of training in this is when you find the flow. This is when you get into the flow state. This is where Jesus promises, Hey, I will do something on the inside of you when you are constantly working at. And you're trying to not trying to be like Jesus, but you're training to be Jesus for others.

And in and through that cleansing takes place. One of the spiritual practices that I think has been so powerful for me has been a couple of one has been learning to meditate on his word when I needed to clean something out, some thoughts or some hurt, or just some struggles in my life. It's been finding a place where I can meditate on his word where I can sit there and I can picture and say like, Hey, you have said, you're making new things and I have to actually write out, okay. So what are some new things that you've done? What are some things that I would like to see new things happen, some transformation to change, God. Okay. Then can you show me what training I needed to do to actually see those new things accomplished? So meditating on God's word, looking at that and saying, where do I fit into this?

But the other one is solitude. I have not ever typically been a solitude person because I felt like I was always just distracted. And I've always felt like I got to accomplish something and he'd come up with a solution and it'd be like doing something right. And so this idea of like taking a walk in nature and just in solitude and quiet sounded like miserable. Cause that'd be like, you know, like bird, right? And they're like, Oh, there's a bug crawling around. And it's like, what am I even doing? Like God. And you're supposed to be closer to me right now. But this solid tune leads to this idea that an unaided mind tends to chaos. Let me explain with this meaning unaided, mine tends to chaos, which is why solitude can be difficult for us. It's it's easy to outsource the managing of our consciousness.

Let me explain this. What happens when you to the airport? And you're waiting in line at the TSA line to go through security. What's everybody doing? They're all looking at their phones, right? No. One's standing around taking in. What's going on. That may feel we're having a conversation. They're looking down at their phones. This is the outsourcing, the managing of our conscious it's aiding our minds. It's giving our minds something to do because in unaided mind, hence the chaos. And what is it? Chaos to our mind naturally goes towards fear and anxiety and the what ifs and boredom or just the stagnant state in what unfortunately has happened to us is we haven't trained ourself to aid our minds or to live in that in some sort of tension in the comfort way to see a cleaning, a cleansing of the inside of us, the inside of our consciousness, what we're feeling, what we're thinking, what our intentions are, our emotions and the beauty of solids is that you're left with an unaided mind and you learn what's there.

You learn. What's there. And then you can get to the bottom of that. And you can talk to God about that stuff. You can say, Hey, here's the stagnant stuff. That's in me. Here's this fear. That's in me. Here's this brokenness. That's in me. Here's this confusion. That's in me. Here's where I'm feeling bored. That's in me. And then he let him clean it out. You get to talk to him about that and let him do the cleansing. Let the waters flow from deep, within you living water to Kenya. This conversation. I have some questions you can take out your phone and take a picture of this on the screen or something for you guys to continue the conversation today or over this next week, which is thinking about your own life. What needs to be renewed? What stagnant isn't flowing, what is it about your life right now that needs to be renewed. That's staggered that isn't flowing and where is an opportunity to be in community with someone and allow them to experience the living water flowing through you. Whereas somebody that's outside of this community or in your community that you can come alongside of them. And you can say, me too, this is how God refreshed me and how he nourished me and provided a quenching thing for me.

And lastly, how are you training? And not just trying that one's at the end, cause that's, that's a deeper question right now. How are you training to be a disciple to actually walking through the process to be like Jesus training, to be like Jesus and not just trying, not just like checking a box and saying, Hey, the outside looks good. Look at what I did or that made me feel good. Or actually that didn't work because you tried and it didn't feel like it accomplished the results, but how are you training? And then how can you be training? Where do you need to come alongside of and plant yourself alongside of a stream? So you can bear the fruit meant to bear where with a life with God will produce the living water that flows through you. I think right now, as we, as we kind of just mull this over and allow space for the spirit to do what he wants to do and you, and those of you need courage and comfort or healing or challenge that that can be done in just a space of worship. And so I'm going to ask that you would stand or wherever you're at, just to find yourself, quiet your heart, still in focus on who God is and allow the spirit to do what he needs to do in this place.

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APRIL 25TH, 2021 // GALATIANS 3:22-28 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Embracing the New - Week Three

Is there an opportunity to love someone? You might be having a conversation with someone right that moment and all of a sudden it buzzes in your pocket. And then all of a sudden it shifts the way you're thinking, how did this, this person need to be loved?

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Embracing the New - Pastor Larry Davis

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Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Well, Hey friends, I'm glad you're with us. If you're with us online today, or you're with us in the room, this is great. We've got a lot of people here today. I'm excited to see that. Let's keep it going, come on back. And then we have to add another service. So I'm looking forward to that adding the 11 o'clock service. And for those of you, some of you want to sleep in too. I get it. I get it. Those of you who are with us online, we're glad that you're joining us. And I really just want to say thank you for the opportunity to come into your space as well. I understand what a humbling imitation that is, where we can still work hard at connecting and being in community. And again, when you're ready, we're ready to have you back here. We're working hard on trying to create some spaces that are safe, that are comfortable for you to re-engage into physical community with others throughout this season.

We're in right now. So we have been having a conversation or have called it a series called embracing the new right. And the new is what a lot of us are experiencing. New is what a lot of us experienced throughout life, whether we wanted new or we didn't want new. There are times that we are forced to, or really need to figure out how to engage into embracing what is new. And there's all of these beautiful things we see throughout scripture about how to embrace in with new things and how people connect with God and understanding the new things that he's doing in this ethos throughout scripture. Some of that stuff, it points to like different prophecies or prophetic art or ways in which stories are told or items point to God and who he is in the new things he's doing. And so as people are, re-engaging in this season and we're experiencing new things that are just a little different and adjusting and figuring out where we stand, where our place is and that we want to have a conversation about that.

And some of that stuff kind of doing to do with the things that we look around and see, or feel, or experience. And so in this conversation so far last week, a couple of weeks ago, we kind of talked about this idea of seeing things, understanding what new things are taking place. Last week, we talked about a fountain that we have out in our lobby and rivers of living water, and that Jesus is doing new things in and with us. And so what water represents in the life that it represents and getting rid of stagnant things and pushing that through, and then this week, we're gonna be talking about a stump. Those of you who are been in our space, you see a stump that's out there. And I think this represents for a lot of us, this feeling of a stump where maybe we've been uprooted, right. And things have just kind of been shifted and they're changing, or maybe we feel literally cut off. And we're wondering like what new thing comes from this, or what growth comes out of this and a big season of lament and grief and loss or change and everything that, that means next week. We're gonna talk about comfy chairs.

We're going to, Oh, no, sorry, next week, we're gonna talk about a prayer wall. So we'll go down real quick. A farewell. We have a prayer wall at our bean Aisha campus. That's going to stay up through the rest of the year where we get to carry one another's burdens. We get to be there for each other in community. Whether, whether it's distance or proximity, like where it's close, but we get to see what's going on in other people's lives. And we get to walk by an experience. Not only put our own things out there where other can come, others can come alongside of us and carry this, but we get to gather other people's burdens or praises and celebration. So we'll walk through that and how that points to God and who we were created to be. And then we're going to talk about these comfortable chairs that you're in. If you're at the finish campus, you've sitting in more comfortable chairs. If you'd been here in the past, we have these hard squeaky cold chairs.

And so it's this new thing coming back and being cozy and comfortable. That's also mother's day. And so there's a bit we're going to connect to there and we're going to do some baby dedications. So that's going to be fun. So if you're a mom or, you know, someone who is a family that has a young child in this last year, they're ready to dedicate their child to the Lord. We would love to participate in that. You can let us know. And then we're going to wrap, go to see comfy chairs. Then once snacks, I think we're going to then our celebration, Oh, no taste and smell what it's good that one's going to be a fun one. Just warning. You want to be here in person. There might be snacks where we're going to taste and see that God is good and how that can point to who he is.

And then we're going to wrap this whole thing up with something. I think it's a marker for us in this new life that we're in. We're going to have baptisms. So those are, you're interested in being baptized and taking that step in faith. And then also we're going to just do a whole day where we're just going to worship. So worship only baptisms a call to worship where we get to Mark this new thing that we've gone through. But for today, going back to this stump idea, there's an Isaiah 11, it's an old Testament. This is a prophecy. There is this picture that we get of everything that's just been cut away. That's been cut down and there had been thoughts and promises spoken of who God's people were and where they were going to go and what was going to happen. And they got to a point where it literally felt, and there was this image of a stump that had been cut off and they thought that this was the end.

This is the end of the line that this is dead. And you know what it's going to happen? Is there going to be a Messiah in Isaiah paints, this picture, that out of this stump, a new chute came off a new growth, which then ultimately led to Jesus Christ in this line here. And so for us, there's this, this idea, this, this newness, or this idea that we can embrace something new that we could feel like everything's just been cut off or that we've been uprooted. But God shows us in points that even in the midst of just feeling totally pulled out or cut off that there is a new thing that God can do in us and is asking us to participate in a new growth, a new shoot off of that, where it might not be the same thing or the same exact tree that it had been, but it's a new, and even a better thing, perhaps for you, there have been times where you're missing what God is actually doing, because you wanted it to fit into your expectations of how things normally go, right? Maybe you haven't believed that something new could happen in your life because that's just not how it works. You've just pre decided. That's just not how it works. This new thing isn't going to happen, or maybe the redemptive movement of God and your life is to actually break your expectations and break down the barriers that have kept you trapped in the way that it works, right? To be able to see something new and to be a part of a new thing that God is doing.

I think if we were going to summarize the gospel, if you were going to talk to someone, how would you summarize the gospel and this new thing that Jesus did in the new Testament and this new covenant, you can summarize it in these 30 words, it's this, that Jesus is God with us. And he's come with, to be with us to show us God's love. So he shows us God's love. Then he saves us from sin. He set up this new kingdom, God's kingdom and he's shut down religion. So this is, this is what you can say so we can share in God's life. So that 30 words we would say, Jesus is God with us, this new thing to come to show us. God's love to save us from sin to set up God's kingdom and shut down religion so that we can share in God's life.

And I can't think of too many more things in the universe. That's more interesting than this, this shutting down religion, whether you're a believer or not, or whether you're spiritually seeking or you're curious or not. This is a fascinating conversation that the one time in all of religious history, in all of religious history, where the center piece of religion, the leader of this major world, religion says it's time to shut my own religion down. That's fascinating to me. Now we've said that in different parts of the gospel over time, we have these conversations, they meet our different fundamental needs as human. The needs that we have, for example, that God is with us, right? Jesus is with us equal security. This is what we want to know. We want to know someone's with us and have that security that we would feel from that to show us God's love.

This would be a steam. This gives us the esteem that we're loved saving us from sin. This is the acceptance that the stuff that I've done, isn't too much, that there's a grace that's going on. That I'm accepted in, in God's kingdom. And also setting up God's kingdom. This setting of Gunn God's kingdom gives us this sense of purpose or place. And we get to participate and see a piece because that security that comes with that and having a purpose and in this fascinating part, shutting down religion where it's like this stump, that's this tree that's been cut off. This shutting down. Religion is actually this self actualization. Some of you are going, what is self actualization? Well, it's a psychology term as Maslow a well-known psychologist. He created this pyramid that's in most of that's about most of our basic human needs. And at the peak of this pyramid, it appears in most psychology textbooks is actually self-actualization.

So self-actualization he said is ultimately what we're striving for, but what is self-actualization you already have this up here in a sense it's becoming, who were really made to be so self-actualization is the drive within every human being to become all that we were made to be, to transform, love that word again, transform all potential positive qualities into actual, not potential into actual positive qualities. So self actualization is actually the opposite of self potential it's actualized. And there's so much about us that when we were made or how to be in that, we were designed to live a specific way that we may or may not achieve in this life where we may underachieve in the way that we are created as an image bearer in the image of God. Some of us have skills to do certain things, but you know, that long abandoned thing that you say, like, they, you start doing and you just have to have that raw talent and you feel like it's good.

And you just kind of figure one day, like I'll never make anything of that. Right? And maybe later in life, you get to a certain time where you look back and you look back and you gave up on it and you actually feel like to a degree, man. I wish I had pursued that. Like I wish I had pursued that because I kind of feel like I gave up on me in some certain areas of life. And what's interesting is that Jesus says that religion doesn't necessarily help you achieve who you are supposed to be, that it actually can hold you back. This idea of religion can actually hold you back from who you were actually created to be. And so he brings this thing called the new covenant, which is the end of the old and a launching into a whole new way of being that helps us become actually spiritually self actualized.

And he actually has the audacity to teach this. So then later on, after Jesus has life, the apostle Paul follows up and we're going to look at this passage today that teaches us that the old Testament, the laws of God were right for that time. And they helped us grow to a certain point. But if we were to continue to use those, those same laws past their prime, that they would no longer actually be helping us at all. They wouldn't be helping us move forward to where we're supposed to be. That new thing that they would be holding us back from becoming who we are actually meant to be. It's almost like if you needed to have like a back brace or a brace that helped you for our, a brace for your legs, that if you are young and you're having trouble walking, that could support you and your muscles could grow the kind of brace that kept you balanced and gave you strength. So you could walk where it would be wonderful to a certain point, but when your legs finally get to the point where they can run, like you're supposed to, if you continue to wear the braces, it holds you back from the running that you were now made to do. There's a movie, you know, I kind of explained some of this. Who's checking this out.

Miracles happen every day. Some people don't think so, but they do. I'm sorry. Just want to hurry up. So I think, I think the, you guys are proud of you guys are going to watch forest gum this week. Now I think the new covenant is Jesus saying, run Forrest run, be who you are made to be, right? This is him shouting, this, that what happened or what helped you these braces for a season, get you to a certain point in time that has now passed and that you need to take off these braces because it's actually holding you back. This is a great analogy of self actualization that is actually transferring from this old covenant to this new thing. So we get pointed out this way and say that we were made in the image of God to love like God, that's how the story starts, that we are made as image bearers of God and that the old covenant, it helped us live, but not to love.

When you look back at the old covenant, it's this collection of rules and regulations and rituals and routines, that's given us, basically, it's given us this, this ability to keep us from killing each other and keeping us alive long enough to be ready for grace. But it didn't help us become who we truly are. It was right for a time, but now the new covenant, the new covenant helps us become ourselves. That God breathed into us, the ability and the freedom to make choices that are aligned with love, because we are made in the image of God, of love. So I want to talk to you about the apostle Paul and how he works it out in this passage. For us, you can turn with me. If you have your on your app, you can go into our app. Or if you have a Bible, you can turn with me to Galatians.

It's in the new Testament, chapter three, we're going to go Galatians chapter three 22 through the end of that chapter. And then we're going to go a little bit into four. So verse 22, we'll start there. He talks about how this scripture has locked everything up, how he's locked everything up. So he says, but scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin. So that what was promised being given through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe this idea that scripture had everything locked up under this control list. And he says, scripture imprisoned us in a sense, but in some sense, it was necessary for a time to keep us in different cages, in a sense to keep us from killing one another, walked us up. And if we just continue to go back to scripture without the new covenant motif, being our hermaneutic for our exit Jesus, without it leading us to Jesus.

And when we're going to continue, then we're going to continue to be in prison in that way. That's actually the opposite of self-actualization. And so he fleshes this out now in verse 23, he says, before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until faith. That was to come would be revealed another way he goes about saying this. The law was specifically like our jailer. So we're in prison and it's our jailer. It's, it's holding us in for this specific time. And then he switches metaphors again, next verse in 24, he said, so the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, our guardian and translations, or some others might say a tutor. This is the word that we find in the Greek for nanny it's.

Someone who within the first century would have functioned as a nanny, but specifically for a male child, that would have been like a caregiver. A teacher in the Greek word here is pedagogy. This pedagogy that we're going to see in verses it was here in 24. And in 25, we see this in chapter three, 24 and 25 that it talks about this twice is a slave who's appointed as a guard, or they were appointed as a guard and an educator of a young child specifically, then a male as a tutor or nanny that would help them to a certain point when they were ready to go and rule or to lead themselves.

And so he says, now that faith has come, we are no longer under a garden guardian that we had already served under this. And with this pedagogy, this nanny, or this tutor that had brought us along. So now in Christ, you are all sons. These are children of God through faith. You're going to notice here in this passage, that once more, the apostle tells us that we're under this new covenant that we get to become sons of God.

He says sons here specifically. And sometimes we just open up the passage and we might read this. And we like to say like, well, that's a bit sexist. Like we're always just talking about sons and men. And so what happens to women? Now, you have to understand that within this context, that this is actually the opposite, that this is radically equitarian that he's saying that within the culture, only males at this time, he knew got educated that only males would receive an inheritance that only males could end up making their own choices about what to do life and not just get passed on from father or VIN to the husband over the woman about all the decisions that were going to be made for them, that only sons received this type of responsibility, not daughters. So when Paul writes to this mixed group of men and women, he says under this new covenant, you all become sons that you all get the same rights as sons.

He's actually saying something radically freeing in this moment that men and women, you're all going to have equal rights, equal privileges, equal opportunity within the kingdom of Christ. Faith has come. We're no longer under this pedagogy. We're no longer with this tutor or this nanny. It's not what we're under anymore. That that's totally done. So that in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God. You are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who are baptized into Christ, have clothed yourself with Christ. I think this is a beautiful, beautiful image of baptism that we were plunged into the water. It's symbolizes this spirit, plunging into Christ Jesus, beautiful gifts that God has given us that we don't have to do this in order for our salvation to get saved. But it's a beautiful privilege.

Sure. This red is to remind ourselves and others that we are delighting in our salvation, that when we are plunged in this representation of burial and resurrection into this new thing, into this new covenant, into this new thing, that Jesus gives us that we are delighting when we say yes to doing that and showing everyone around us through the act of baptism that we're delighting in our salvation. And if you've not been baptized, I'm going to encourage you not to miss this beautiful gift that God has given us. It's this perfect, beautiful gift that symbolizes this beautiful experience that we're being spiritually plunged into Christ. And those of us who have been baptized into Christ have clothed ourself with Jesus Christ. So maybe you're here today. And as you're kind of thinking through that of like, yeah, that's something that I haven't actually walked into it experienced or said like, yes, God delight. I want to delight in what you've done for me and the grace that you've given me, we're going to do baptisms. I said, and just a couple of weeks on May 23rd and would love to do that in here with you. If you want to sign up for baptisms, you can text baptism one to nine four zero zero, zero. So you can do that online or throughout the service. I'll tell you about that a little bit more later, but he's switching this metaphor again. And he's saying, you're wearing Jesus all over. You're wearing Jesus all over. You've clothed yourself with Jesus. And it's the thing about clothing, right? Is that it covers you and it covers you clothes. It's the most intimate thing really that you wear all throughout your day. And we bring Jesus close to us. He's saying, Hey, look, it you're covered in him. This is this new thing. Verse 28. He says, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free neither male or female. You are all one in Jesus Christ.

Within that culture. In that context, there was a lot stratification in society. At the time, there was a lot of division on every point that you could divide, certainly through gender. Like we just discussed what we've already been talking about. And you've seen this around the world, certainly through race, whether Jew or Gentile, different races, couldn't just mix and match certainly through status or socio economic status or three different roles and how they kind of played out. And don't get this confused friends just as in this place here, even virtually online right now, as they came together as the church, as they walked through the doors of that house, which is most likely, which they were meeting in, they were this church together. And all of those other things melted away. All of the other things about society melted away. It just disappeared. Someone might've been a slave out in the world that would walk in the door and then be fellowshipping with the church, maybe participating as a deacon where he was an elder where he's a minister. At the very least, he was a fellow brother or sister where people could come in and then the spirit was given to women, not just men, they could come in and they just had this beautiful equitarian community that showing people a different way of living new thing, just for the sake of time, let's jump to the beginning of chapter four.

So he's continuing, he said, what I'm saying is that as long as an heir is under age, there is no difference from a slave. Although he owns the whole estate, the air is subject to guardians and trustees until the time is set by his father. So also when we're under-aged, we are in the slavery under the mental, spiritual forces of the world, he then continues on and glacier. It's four, four through five. I don't have it up here for you guys, but I'll read it to you. It says, but when the set time had fully come. So you started out as just, you were in air, you, still were a toddler, a young child. When the time had come for this new thing, when the time had fully come, it says, God sent his son born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law that they might receive adoption to sonship.

I think this is the full picture of what salvation looks like. Salvation is both redemption and adoption into community. It's both freedom to be free from something and family salvation is from something, but also to something we enter into this beautiful brotherly sisterly relationship after we're freed up. And he says that when we were under the law, we just weren't experiencing the full rights and privilege of someone who is actually an image bearer of God, that this was necessary though, because we were toddlers, right? But when the time came, God changed that. And we're now grownups. We're children of God. And we're we're, we we're heirs. And he has made us to be that. But this new covenant brings us to this new time. In other words, when it was just the right time in history, God transitioned us from the old covenant to the new and the braces came off and we get to run. Now you would ask what makes the time, right? I think every answer to every question will, it's another question when you're talking about such an infinite topic as this. So Paul answers a lot of questions here, but he also raises new ones. Someone might ask, well, if God always wanted us to be followers of Jesus to be saved through Jesus, then why didn't he just go straight to the Jesus bit? Why did he wait so long throughout the old Testament? Well, one of the answers the apostle gives here is developmental answer. He says that because we weren't ready because we weren't ready. You like kids who actually needed rules and regulations, you needed the braces. You weren't fully developed. You were meant for more than this, always, but you weren't mature.

You're enough to be able to handle it. So God gave us the law because we messed up. We're called to do something greater than this. Even in the garden. One of the very first things that you see with Adam and Eve is that he creates us in his image, in his likeness to rule over, to be the ones who represent the image as choice makers, to make decisions who are in leadership over to de to dominion over things. And we are, this is how we were created in the first place. And we're taking care of the place. We're responsible for the planets. We're representing God, who is as loving others, making loving choices for ourselves and our relationships to one another in our environment. But we mess that up. We went backwards instead of forwards. So on came the braces on came, the braces came the law, but God waited until we were ready.

And some might say, don't you think God was like a little tardy getting around to the new covenant. I mean, look at all of this stuff and the old covenant and the old Testament that took place. I think as a fine question, actually, but I'll tell you the question I ask. I look over the last years of church history. And I think that God might have been actually a little too early. I don't know how ready we were for the covenant of grace. We started abusing it like right off of the bat. And it's not about the law. It's about, what's been done for you now. Grace has happened and we live this life of gratitude and everyone was like, great. I get to do anything I want to do. I get to send it any way. I can really just approve that. There's grace. And then Paul, you see right off the bat has to write this book of first Corinthians, for instance, right off the gate to say, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. It's like the it's like the teenager who gets their license and you know, its own back roads. Let's go.

But what's beautiful is that he never retracts the gospel and says, all right, I guess we better go back to the law. We must the new, and sometimes we've got to kind of stagger through that, but the new has an important purpose. He reminds them who they are. He reminds us who we are. He says, that's who you were in first Corinthians. So you're living like who you were not who you were made to be. And he helps them self actualize to actually become the people that they were meant to be. There's a new covenant ethics, this new thing, new covenant ex-US ethics is that we're not our own. That God does so much for us, that he gives us a new heart. A new covenant ethic is that God gives us a new heart. He gives us a new spirit. He gives us a new spirit. He breezed this thing into us, the spirit into us. And it gives us the example of Jesus. And it gives us the support of the saints and friends. That's the church, that's the church.

And he says, make loving choices. Self-Actualized to be the person that made you be in the image of God, the person who has loved start making those choices. He says, I won't make you do it on your own. I'm changing your heart to be who you're actually supposed to be, who I created you to be. I'll give you a new heart. Those who are are different. I'm giving you a new spirit internally. And then the church. You, you have Jesus as your example, a mentor, a teacher, the support of the state saints, but now friends make the loving choice. Under the new covenant, you are changed. You are transformed. That was always prophesied in the old Testament. It was always the prophecy in Jeremiah, which we're going to go through in a couple of weeks, we read this, the days are coming declares. The Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel, with the people of Judea, they will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors. It's not just going to be a new covenant and a new 10 commandments. It's a new set of rules. ZQ 36 puts it this way. God is speaking through his prophet right here. I will give you a new heart. I will put in you a new spirit. I remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you to move you. He says, I'm going to put my spirit in you to help you. I'm going to recreate you. And my spirit is going to move you. But at force, you, it's not going to force you. You have everything working from within you, creator of the universe to help you and I, that we had to become the person, friends that we were made to be. And it's going to revolve loving, revolve around loving like Jesus, because Jesus shows us what the perfect human is supposed to be made in the image of God made in the image of love. Jesus, put it this way. He said, let anyone who is thirsty. We talked about this last week.

Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink for whoever believes in me as the scripture said, rivers of living or we'll flow from them. This is from John seven 38. This is what we talked about last week. It says, after you come to me and drink, you'll have rivers of living water flowing from within you. Both of these images are true. It's beautiful. First of all, see this double maneuver here. This double movement of all, you get to move towards Jesus. If we're thirsty, he says, when you get to come to him and we drink that Jesus is the source of living water. But when he gives us this spirit, that's now within us, then we get to go away and we get to have that encounter of spiritual living water. That's bubbling up from within us. That we're changed. And there's something that's inside of me. That's guiding me in moving me in a direction of love towards other people, to be an agent of love. That I'm a different person that when I walk in Jesus, that I actually feel more myself, self actualized. I sense that there's two ways that we could fail to live in the fullness of this as people one, would it be that we go to Jesus, but we don't actually acknowledge the change that he makes in us.

And we treat them like our new version of the old covenant. We say, just tell me what to do. Just tell me what to do. Give me the checklist. So I can like check the things off or tell me I need to come to church so many times or tell me to go and do this serve project or this mission thing or give to this. Just tell me what to do. And we build a religion out of this called the Christian religion, which had all refined in the Bible where we just come to our religious leaders. And we say, tell me what to do. Why is confusing? Just tell me what to do. I need rules and regulations. I need rituals and routines. Tell me what to do. And we keep it external. We don't acknowledge how we have actually been changed, transformed inside. And every time you come to a religious leader and say, Hey, tell me what to do. He's usually happy. She's usually happy to comply. And we love setting up systems right of salvation. So there's many people who have come to Jesus, but are not living out who they truly are. I want you to hear that again. There's many people who have come to Jesus to take a drink of the living water, but they're not living out who they actually are.

Where do you land? I think in other way, we can fail this as to experience the fullness of this. And then actually we just missed the step altogether. We just skip it. We've join this like new age thing that says, just turn inward, get rid of this unorganized thing of community, just turn inward. And the truth is in there and you'll find it, you know, meditation, introspection, it's all in there. You have it. And we miss the beauty of truth and the good news of Jesus. And so we think first it starts with Jesus. He remakes us. Then we come a new people, a new way of living. And Jesus said, I'm going to be about love when you're a changed. We see that Jesus said a new commandment. I give you, I want you to love like Jesus, a new commandment, not just love God and love other people, but love as I have loved other people, this new thing, this is a huge love upgrade.

He's guiding us into this new self-actualization becoming ourselves. And when we talk about love, we're talking about this friends, the choice to value someone in two things, an attitude, and an action. We can be pretty good about this one. We can be pretty poor about this one. We choose to value another human, another person in attitude. The way that we think, the way that we speak our intentions, our conscience, and an action to actually do something about this. Love is a choice to value someone in attitude in action. It's a choice, not just a feeling. It's a value. It's, it's someone, not just some thing. It's relational, it's personal. It's a personal concept.

I know that love mint action, but sometimes I actually fell the, remember that that also means an attitude of esteem for another person of value. Paul says it like this in first Corinthians 13, he says, I can do a lot of very loving things. I could even self sacrifice for the good of someone. And if I have not love, I am nothing. There's a kind of action. It's just another religious legalism I have to do good deeds. Right? That's an action. We do. We're just like, Oh, I'll do good, works good deeds. But love actually slows us down enough to say this person is valuable and I'm going to treat them according to that reality, that this person is valuable. And that actually includes myself, that I'm going to say, this person is valuable and I'm going to love others as myself. And it starts a lot of times with loving me. Self-Actualizing who I am created to be. Let me, let me share with you a final thought for the sake of time to wrap up and we can come back real quick to John seven. I think it's what Jesus says here. I think there's, there's more that we can dig into. And there's just this one passage. He says that anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink. So I say, hold on a second. Anyone who is thirsty, I think right here, this reminds us that there may be people out there who are not thirsty.

Now we all know everyone needs like the spiritual living water of Jesus. But some people made us not be aware of their first. So they're not thirsty. They don't perceive themselves as thirsty. This is the same as Jesus saying this for him. He says those who have ears hear when he teaches us. He says, I'm not talking to everyone right now. I'm talking to those who are actually listening right now. So he says, this is for those who are thirsty. So I'll ask you as I wrap this up, is anyone thirsty? Ask yourself, are you thirsty? Are you ready to hear what Jesus is calling us into this new thing that we needed to embrace?

Can I suggest a few things that will keep us growing to actually self-actualizing as a new covenant calls us to do? I think these three things first is this know who you are. You are reborn. You are a reborn image of God with a new heart. You friends have been made new number to know whose you are. You are God's dear child eternally loved you are a, an air, a co-chair with Christ and number three to self-actualize in this practice, letting love lead practice, daily practice, daily, the little things to prepare you for these big things that we experienced when you practice loving people, well friends, you're releasing the lover that's inside of you. That you've been made to be when you practice in the little thing, it actually trains you. This is what we spoke to us for a moan about last week, we were really good about trying things, but we lack the endurance or the energy, the will, whatever you want attach to it, to train things and how we become. Self-Actualized what we were made to be who God created us to be as actually to train into that, to practice or an over and over again. How can I let love lead in the situation? Some of you have become followers of Jesus and you're filled with the spirit, but you just ignore it. You just ignore it. And so we don't grow.

We don't listen to that thing inside of us. That's supposed to be bubbling out of rivers, of living water. And some of you say, well, I'm a follower of Jesus. I've experienced this life changing transformation that you're talking about, but then all of a sudden, you just feel chopped up. Like life comes at you hard and you feel knocked down or you feel uprooted. You know, you think about it this way. If you were going to get married to someone and ignore them for the rest of your life, your marriage, wouldn't also be radically transformed. Wouldn't be radically transformed. And it wouldn't radically transform your life. When you just go about your business, ignoring the spirit, you don't experience the transformation. This thing that changes you from the inside out. And instead, oftentimes we're not self-actualized because we're allowing the flesh to lead us instead of your spirit.

I'd like to suggest one final piece of homework for you this week. This is it. I want you to train your spirit to love because when you do, you become more yourself this week, can you train your spirit to love you and say, well, how do I do that? Like, how do I train my spirit to love something else? Well, like a simple way, as you guys, most of you have a phone or some sort of alarm system. You can take your phone even today, this afternoon, and set an alarm, set an alarm for like every hour during your waking hours. This is crazy. This is a little extreme for some of you have to set an alarm every hour. And when that alarm goes off in your pocket, it's just going to readjust yourself a little bit, to be like, Oh, in the middle of whatever you're doing, is there someone that I could love right now?

Is there an opportunity to love someone? You might be having a conversation with someone right that moment and all of a sudden it buzzes in your pocket. And then all of a sudden it shifts the way you're thinking, how did this, this person need to be loved? How can Jesus loved this person through me right now? How can I become more present? Maybe there's a word that I need to give them. Maybe there's this comfort that the spirit is actually trying to use me to care for someone else. Or maybe it's Oh, man, I actually need to send an email or this person popped up in my mind instead of just thinking like, Oh yeah, I was thinking about them this for a second. Or you might even connect it to, I was praying about them just for a second to actually then popping them a text or an email and say, man, you were just on my mind.

Just want to say, I love you. I'm here for you and what's going on. And you know, sometimes the cool things that happens, Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much I just needed that right then and there. And that's training yourself to allow the spirit to work in and through you that this new shoots can come from the stump, this brokenness, this thing that feels cut down and uprooted, but we can actually self-actualize and train ourselves to live in the spirit and to let the spirit live through us, to be agents of love, to be image bearers of love. So this week, train yourself to love. That's like a little easy way that you could do it. That's a practical and tactical way in which you can do that. But if you allow God to do new things in you, he will. So I think in this moment, this is a good opportunity to respond to God about who he is about what he's doing and how much we care about that. So I wanna invite you all to stand or wherever you're at with us online. If you want to just take a moment, quiet yourself right now and respond in worship to this.

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MAY 5TH, 2021 // MATTHEW 9:35-38 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Embracing the New - Week Four

Prayer is something that allows us to participate with God in bringing about the change of history. But one of the primary changes in history that prayer wants to affect is the change of our hearts. We are part of the change or new thing that prayer brings about.

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Embracing the New - Pastor Larry Davis

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Well, good morning. How's everybody doing today? Online. They're with us. How are you doing so glad you guys are here with us today? Yeah, I'm excited to Oscar just shared a couple of things that are coming up. And I wanted to give you just a, a bit more of a preview of may. I can't even believe I'm saying we're in may. This is crazy. We're running into summer, like real fast. So next week, like talked about as mother's day, baby dedications. We're going to do two services just for that week because we know, you know, like this is the one thing mom wants for mother's day is to do church and do community and see the babies that are dedicated. So show up with your mama. That was a good thing to do in church. So you have two services do that the following week.

What we're going to do on May 16th is we really wanted to try to figure out how to create some more community and some community spaces that safe, but yet seen each other. It's just been so much fun to be able to see each other and share and just catch up. And so on May 16th, we're going to have a food truck up here on the Benicia campus after service. And we're gonna have music outside because the weather has been beautiful. And so we're going to enjoy some tasty food because that's why we show up. We like food and some music and hang out and do those sorts of things that week. Just another encouragement for those of you like food, we're going to have snacks during service. I'll tell you about that in a minute. I know, I know we're really going all out.

That's crazy. Then on the 23rd, we're ending this conversation we've been having about embracing the new with a worship Sunday service, where we're just going to sing music. We're going to call the worship and then we're going to have baptisms. So those of you who have signed up to be baptized and that expression we're so excited to take just take part in that with you. And so I encourage you all to show up for that day. It's going to be really rich and special, and then geez, we're onto June swimming. Great. I will give you one last preview for you, something to something to be thinking about in August. I know I'm talking way ahead here, but in August and August 15th, we're going to do a celebration of life service. So for those of you who, during this last 18 months have lost a loved one, or we've lost a loved one in this faith community, or, you know, someone in this community, the whole community, that's lost a loved one.

We want to be able to gather on a Sunday morning and we want to celebrate them and lament together group together, but then celebrate who God is through that. So if you know someone or that, something that you'd be interested in helping participate in that and share photos and to celebrate who they are, we're going to give you more information about that in the coming weeks. As we kind of put that together over the next couple of months, and really want to offer that to the whole community as just a gift. So we can come together when it's really meaningful in those ways. So onto today, we have been having a conversation called embracing the new more we're talking about, Hey, there's new things going on and the new things that are going on, or also just an expression. If we see it as an opportunity to look out and see what God is doing, and that he's doing a new thing in every day, he can do a new thing in us.

And we've used different art pieces to express this you know, we talked about water and living water, and we have a fountain in our campus and Dominica campus out in the lobby. And so we talked about what living water looks like. And then last week we talked about a stump. There's a stump out there. And how so many of us can feel uprooted or chopped off. Like, we're just kind of beat up from this last season and how in Isaiah, this Davidic line kind of, they felt like it was dead and lost. It was chopped down a new, a new shoot grew out of that. Something new came of that. And so we got to discuss that a little bit this week, I'm going to skip real quick, but next week, we're going to talk about comfy chairs. You guys are sitting in comfortable chairs if you're here on campus and what that looks like as we bring people in and how that can actually connect to scripture and who God is for us.

And then we're going to talk about this is the snack week taste and smell and how that works with the Lord. And we can taste and see that he's good, or those are different ways that we all get to connect with who God is. And then finish that off with baptisms and this worship service where we get to say, Hey, this is something that we want to Mark as a faith community as this new thing that's happening in us, through us, around us and hear testimony about that. So this week we're going to talk about this prayer wall. If you've been on this campus, we have a prayer, the wall out in the lobby, and we're going to have this per wall up there, the rest of it. And this is something that we all get dissipated in. As in, like you can participate, you can walk past it.

Yeah. You can read the different prayers or praises where we get to carry one, another stuff. Maybe we can even see how enact change or a tangible, like response to someone's prayer or what's going on in their life. It's also a place for you to put up your own prayers of what's going on and updated stuff. And so we'll just see that thing get packed out through the rest of this year. And so we want to talk about what does scripture say about prayer or communal prayer and how can we embrace that as this new thing, as we're walking through this season that we're in right now? See the thing is, is that prayer allows us to participate with God in bringing about the change of history. But one of the primary changes in history that prayer actually wants to affect is the change of our hearts.

We are part of this change or new thing that prayer actually brings about. They're the kinds of prayer that primarily changes us. There's a kind of prayer that focuses for specific needs of others or healing or breakthrough for spiritual warfare. And we get to learn from Jesus and the scriptures, the Jesus prayer, or the Lord's prayer, where we're called into worship and adoration and praying for God's guidance in our own life and praying for daily bread. Our basic needs. In fact, in the future over this next year, we're going to spend a couple of weeks just breaking down and going through the Jesus prayer specifically in the context that we see of Luke's gospel. We learn that when we pray for our daily bread, that we're really praying for more of the Holy spirit in our lives, so that we'll be able to serve others around all the more that's what we do here at church on Sundays, we gathered together, we get to learn from scripture.

We can live more like Jesus, and it's not just about a one day a week thing, our Christian faith, or at least it shouldn't be we gathered together so that we can feel more equipped and inspired to go and to make it an every day thing as we follow Jesus. And part of this is going to be praying every day, the way that Jesus taught us to pray. And today we're going to talk about how we can actually blend together our prayer life and our evangelistic life, or our outreach life together, this evangelistic thing. And this is a evangelism. This is where we're sharing the good news of the gospel, our own testimony with others who don't know who Jesus is, or don't know what Jesus provides. And so we get to blend these two together, our own prayer life and our outreach life together, where Jesus teaches us how to do that.

In fact, he actually calls us in the passage that we're going to be looking at today. Some of you right now might actually be saying, well, this is going to be interesting because I don't have much of a prayer life and I don't have much of an evangelistic or an outreach life. Well, great. You've come to the right spot to grow in both areas today and see how they actually feed one another. When some of you here, maybe you're not even a follower of Jesus, and you're checking this out, or you were bought by a friend and you shut up online today. And I just want to actually just say welcome right now. I'm so glad that you're here. And what's great is that right now, you're going to get kind of like a peek behind the scenes today behind the curtain of what it would be like to be a follower of Jesus and what Jesus wants from us.

And part of that, part of that would be that you're praying to him, to partner with him in all that you do in your life. And so we're going to talk for a few minutes through a passage, and then we're going to pray together. And then we're going to pray, will having communion or the Lord's supper or the Eucharist. And we're going to turn that into kind of an enacted prayer by the end of the message. So that's where we're headed for the next few minutes. So if you need to grab, if you're at home or you're joining us virtually, if you need to grab something to take commuted with, this is kind of your opportunity as it going to continue through this message. So we're going to be in Matthew chapter nine today, when he get you guys kind of familiar with our app, you can hop on our app and there is a Bible there's also to follow along.

There's some fill in notes there. You can check that out. We're going to be in Matthew chapter nine. This is in the new Testament. This is the first book of the new Testament. It's just past the middle. If you're looking through your Bible, trying to figure out what this is at, and this is in chapter nine, starting in verse 35. It says that Jesus went through all of the towns, villages teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. So Jesus went through these towns and villages and he mentions three things that he did here. These are the three that tri-fold ministry right here of Jesus. It's teaching in their synagogues. It's proclaiming the good news of the kingdom in his healing, every disease and sickness. And so we look at this good news of the kingdom right here, and we realized that this good news of the kingdom, what it does is it actually invites us to participate as citizens of this kingdom.

So that we're a part of this new culture, this new culture, this new way of living with love at the center. It's this whole new way of living. Secondly, it's not only as citizens, but as an ambassador's that we have the privilege to participate in and invite others to join in the kingdom and what that looks like. The good news of the kingdom. Isn't just, I'll go to heaven when I die. The goodness of the kingdom is that I can start a heavenly life here and now with Jesus has my King and everyone together, living out this beautiful life of love, starting now. And it gives life purpose and fullness now. So he's preaching to people who are on the outside, who aren't invited in, and maybe aren't particularly religiously, and they're not showing up at the synagogue services. And he's saying, I'm letting them know about this message of purpose for your life.

And then he also healed diseases and sicknesses. And so he practically met people's needs. And we get to do that as well. We can be like Jesus here and practically helping meet the needs of others. And we want to talk about scripture with people who are open up their Bible with us, and if they don't and if they want, we want to at least let them know that their life has purpose and meaning. And they're called into the kingdom of Christ. And then we also want to say, how can I serve you? What are your needs? What's going on? And we can do this as individuals and our daily lives, but we can also do this in ways that are collective, where we collectively pool our resources all together in ways that we wouldn't be able to do singularly as individuals, right? That's a beautiful example of like the dollar club or later on this year, when we're going to have a all service day where we're all going to go out and serve the community together, collectively, you can just look out at the prayer wall out there and you can see how we get to not just do things as individuals, but collectively carry the weight, the burdens of the stuff that's going on in other people's lives.

We can even get this. We can even walk by there and see a need and be like, Whoa, I could like tangibly do something about that right now. I have an answer to that. Maybe God has gifted me in a way to be able to come alongside of and respond to that. These are things that we get to do when we come together as a community. Then in verse 36, as it continues, we see that when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless. Those are the two words that he used to describe them. It's interesting in the original Greek, I think these translations actually kind of these ones right here, kind of tone down the nature of these words that he uses right here, this sheep, without a shepherd that they're actually like sheep that have been attacked and the shepherds have run away this first word harassed.

And when it's translated actually is this word that translated to school school, which means to be skinned alive, right? We don't get that from the word harassed, but the word he's using here in this specific incidence in this Greek language was schooled to be skinned alive, that when an animal goes in like filets and other animal, when it's ripped apart by that, cause I'm an attacking animal and the sheep have been under attack right here. And their flesh has been ripped open at the very least. What we see right here is that they're broken, they're bleeding, they're hurting in Jesus sees that this is what he sees him in. And one of the first things that we do when we pray evangelistically, when we get our prayer life and this evangelistic life together is that we begin to actually see people the way Jesus sees them.

And we see that often behind the veneer of having it all together, that there is a lot of brokenness out there. There's a lot of people who are hurting. And sometimes certain people, they look like they have it all together, right? And that's just because of that, they have more money to spend on looking good, or they have this deposition or personality that can play it off and make it look like everything is okay. Different people have different kinds of defense mechanisms. Some of us it's easier to actually spot the person who's hurting, but most people are hurting in some significant ways, even if they aren't able to build a larger veneer. And so Jesus sees through this pretense, he sees their pain right there. That they're not only scolio, but the word for being actually wounded. But they're also this next word, helpless. And this word helpless that he uses right here as Rippetoe, which means to actually be mask off or thrown away.

So there's people like that. You know, this, maybe you've been there, maybe you're living there right now where you just feel like garbage. You feel like you're useless. He sees people, friends who feel wounded and people who feel useless. He says, they're like sheep without a shepherd. And going to say, well, where's the shepherd like what's going on here? Well, throughout the old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures say that the leaders of Israel were like shepherds to God's flock and they had scattered. And this is actually an indictment against the religious leaders. At the time Jesus was speaking right here to Israel, to Jewish people saying they're like sheep without a shepherd. And this is indictment against the religious leaders. In fact, the religious leaders have either fled or some of them in some cases may have actually been the ones causing the wounds. These are people who have been hurt by religion and religious leaders in life.

And Jesus sees that as well. And what he does is he wants us to partner with him on a rescue mission and a reality of mission to wake up to the truth of God's love. And to call them into this is healing. Community is healing community, which is what the church should be about. And Isabel, when it's at its best. And so he says in verse 37 to his disciples, he says his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field here, Jesus says, pray for the in gathering of people who have needs. He's mixing his metaphors right here, right? First there are sheep who are wounded, but then they're also in harvest who is ready to be gathered. Cause that's what you do with a harvest. And so it's kind of missing these two metaphors cause no one metaphor can carry the weight of the full reality of saying that these people they've been hurt, that there are people who've been wounded and feel tossed aside and just have to come together to get them. And the metaphor then shifts and brings and talks about bringing them in and giving them a safe place where they can heal and where they can be infused with the truth of God's love for them friends. We, we have the privilege to participate with God in all of this. And interesting. He said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. There's a lot of work out there to be done. There are people who are ready. The problem what's the problem. The workers are there. Few. He said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into the harvest field. So the first movie you were, here's two things that he did not say. He doesn't say the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore start recruiting you guilt if you have to, but get people out there, right?

He doesn't say that it's not the first thing he does. What does he say? The harvest is plentiful. The workers are few. Start with prayer, ask the Lord, integrate your outreach life with your appreciate life. Because when you're inviting people to come in to join, you're inviting them to join something that we should, that you should be experiencing yourselves already. Right? So start with that experience. Start with the intimacy that you have with your father and praying with him about even outreach. And I said there was two things. So the first thing he doesn't say as he doesn't say, go and recruit, he says, first pray, ask the Lord. The other thing that he doesn't say is so simply pray. He doesn't just say so simply pray, Lord, bring the harvest and sweep through this mighty land and bring revival. Amen. Right. He doesn't just say that God's, that's like telling God to go and do it yourself.

Like, Hey, I'm going to ask you to do that, to take care of that. When he just told us to do that. So it's like our prayers were saying, nah, you do it. Here's the irony is we're praying to God. And we want to see this harvest brought in, but we understand that laborers are the issue and it's not your involvement. It's our involvement at the end. And we pray that you would motivate us God, that you would empower us. And in Bolden us to partner with a things that you're already doing. And then that's when we realize, and we go, Oh, I'm just going to pray. I'm also going to be a part of the answer to my own prayer. Did you know Jesus only instructs people on how to pray with any kind of detailed twice? Only twice. One is the Lord's prayer and the other one is actually this right here.

He models it. He refers to it. There'll be one-liners about prayer throughout scriptures, as you read that, but in any kind of detailed teaching on how to pray is the Lord's prayer. And then there's this, that the harvest is plentiful that the workers are few and ask, pray to the Lord to send out the workers to the harvest field. So with this in mind, I'd like to challenge us on how to pray this week and moving forward and through this year. And we're going to close at the end of this and have time for communion. So how to pray moving forward, there's 10 thoughts, 10 points. And we're not going to walk through them all, but I'm going to read them all to you. And then I'm going to kind of land on a couple of them here. So let me just go through these real quick this week, meditate and pray through Matthew nine 35 through 38 every day, this week read through that, understand what that looks like, meditated on the ask.

God what's going on with that. I'm going to pray for opportunities to evangelize in-person or an online, what are the needs? How are others wounded, three, open your eyes, God, that you would open my eyes, that we would wake up to what you're doing all around us for in conversations. Ask lots of questions. When you're having conversations with friends, ask them questions for genuine spiritual curiosity, and also look for signs of their awareness of their need for the love forgiveness purpose. And we all want this one rest that only Jesus gives every six. If someone shows interest, share your own experience, share your story, share the stuff that you've carried that you're going through and what God does with that. You can invite them to listen to Jesus for themselves through church or podcasts, books, Bibles. However, they can listen to this, take a come and see approach. You know, come and see this. Now I'm just going to tell you about everything that's going on and what this is actually like number seven, don't feel pressure. Excuse me. Don't feel pressure to win an argument, introduce them to Jesus and let him convince them. Think of it. Like you're the ultimate ambassador. You're not going to score the dunk or the layup. You're going to pass the ball right here. Let him convince them. You are a dating service, not a salesperson. I will come back to that.

If they're not interested, sir them in other ways, or just move on. There's some freedom in that, serve them in other ways or just move on. And if appropriate, let them know that you'll be praying for them. So the first and second looked like this, we'll go back to one and to meditate and pray through this every day, this week, I'm inviting you to meditate and pray through this passage every day, this week to meditate and think through it and then pray it every day. This week, and Jesus will begin to open your eyes and your mind to seeing people the way he sees people. As you look at and understand an instance of how he saw people and understood them, the family members, the friends you'll start to see them. You'll start, your heart will begin to change and you'll start seeing through different eyes.

And then you can begin to pray for those individuals that come to mind. But in general, you can pray for yourself to see people the way that Jesus sees people and then be motivated to be the answer to this prayer for you and go and begin to actually talk to others. And that's number two, pray for opportunities to evangelize in person or online. Pray for these opportunities. There's a few things that you saw there like three and four, I'm going to jump to number five and we're five. Look for signs of their awareness of their need for love, forgiveness, purpose, and rest. That only Jesus gives. There are some people who just aren't ready to have a spiritual conversation and that's fine. But when you are looking for signs of their awareness, you're your or walking with a limp, you know, that's what you're asking.

Are you walking with a limp right now? Do they show signs of being aware of their own brokenness and whatever season that they're in right now, their needs will often reside in these four primary areas. These are four significant needs of the human soul. Your human soul needs love. It needs forgiveness. It needs a sense of purpose and it needs rest, love, forgiveness, purpose, and rest that only Jesus gives your four basic needs. Our need for love and acceptance from other people, our need for forgiveness from the freedom or the guilt and shame that we carry our need to have a purpose so that when we get up in the morning, we feel like we have a purpose to this life that we were doing something our need to find rest, even rest from the religious treadmills that some of us have grown up on Jesus in a couple of chapters, just after this, he's going to say, come to me. If you're burdened down, if you're heavy Laden, if you're carrying a heavy load in, I will give you rest. They was talking about the religious loads, that many people carry the loads of guilt and shame. Lastly, I just want to mention number eight when you're having these conversations with people and you're looking for these needs and you're just trying to help them see how the gospel might actually fit those needs. Don't feel the pressure to win an argument. Maybe that's like a weight off of your shoulders right now. Don't feel the pressure to win an argument. If they want to start an argument, that's not why you're there. You don't have to feel the pressure to win anything in this moment. What you want to do is you want to introduce them to Jesus and let him convince them. And I say this right here, you're more of a dating service, not a sales person.

In other words, you're not just trying to convince them of this product that you've got. You actually know someone that you think would be really amazing for them and who loves them already. And you want to introduce them and let Jesus do all the convincing. And so if there's any way to help them move from this investigation time with Jesus or begin reading the Bible for themselves or a different book about Jesus or listen to a podcast, invite them to church. These are things that you want to do to help them begin to connect with the teaching of the person in the example of Jesus himself, and allow him to begin to convince others and to convince them in their own heart. Say, if anything, there's a faith community right here. You can say, have a faith community where you can show up where you can show up like all of you and they are going to love you. And that you're not alone. In a moment we're going to sing. This song is called. I am not alone. But first, what I want to do right now is I want to ask you to grab your communion. And we're going to pray with our bodies right now. We're going to actually like an act this with all of us. Cause that's what this community represents because Jesus gives us baptism and communion as ways to enact a bodily prayer, baptism, where we can say, I accept you, Jesus, I am cleanse. And I declare and I'm birthed into a new life as they come out of the water. And we're going to be doing that in just a couple of weeks, like I said, and you haven't would love to have you sign up, but in communion, we get to say, Jesus, thank you that your death, your brokenness, you, you took on the human condition, including the scars that the school, Leo, the Greek word of being under attack or the tearing apart that you took that on yourself, that you became a wounded sheep. And so with that, that's really what represents the bread. If you want to take that bread, he said, this is my body.

That's going to be broken for your brokenness. That's going to be ripped apart. It's going to be beaten and torn. And I'm going to give that, I'm going to take that on for you so you don't have to. So as you take the bread today, take that and remembrance that Jesus died for us. He took on this full human condition, including yours, yours, and my own pain and suffering. And we want to say Jesus right now, I thank you for that. Your blood, this juice, what it represents your blood was spilled. And I think God's love through death. And I see the forgiveness you offer through this. I see you as King ascending to your throne through this, I see you as the flesh, sacrifice that chuffed down religion and brings rest through this. I see it all. And so I want to say, thank you for what you've done for me.

And we take it in. When we take this in, in just a few minutes, swallowing this, digesting it into our whole body. Our body actually gets to participate in this prayer. And so as we sing the song, you can have your own quiet time, your space with the Lord and remembrance of this blood, this flesh sacrifice that was for, you know, for me. And as we respond in worship and singing this song, I am not alone. I see to participate in this enacted prayer through communion, on our own remembrance of who he is and what he's done for you. You can take the juice.

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MAY 9TH, 2021 // MATTHEW 12:46-50 // PASTOR LARRY DAVIS

Embracing the New - Week Five

Today we are talking about what it means to be family.... And especially when we all come together and find out we don't agree about everything. We don't approach life the same way. There's a lot of diversity. And how do we experience that diversity in a way that still promotes unity?

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Embracing the New - Pastor Larry Davis

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Well happy mother's day again. I'm glad you guys are here joining us online if you're with us virtually so glad that you're here with us and when you're ready, we're ready to have you back here in person. My name is Larry. One of the pastors here, and we have been having a conversation about embracing the new and how there's new things that we are all experiencing right now. And that when we come back to what we think is normal, there's a lot that isn't normal about it. And there's new things that we get to learn from this. And a lot of our conversation has been surrounded about old covenant and new covenant. And so a lot of people we've gotten to learn some new things about what an old covenant new covenant is and the new things that Jesus does. And we've been using some pieces of art here at the campus in Benicia to kind of explore and to see how those things can point to God that the things that we see or experience actually can give us a direction.

There's things that we can learn from this. And so one of the weeks we talked about a fountain that we have in our lobby and that there is water or living water that comes through Jesus and what that looks like. And then there's this stump out in the lobby. And so we talked about this stump, how there's a lot of us that in this last season that we were in or this time that we've been in, that a lot of us can feel like we've been chopped off. Like we're literally like a stumper uprooted pulled out from the ground and we're just feeling like broken. And we looked back how from Isaiah, that was like a representation of the Davidic line that just felt dead and pulled up and cut off. But there's a new thing happening there that there was actually a shoot of new life that was coming off from that that ultimately led to Jesus.

And there was new things that we can grasp and learn new growth that we can experience. Whereas I got to talk about a prayer wall that we have in the lobby and how we get to care for one another, that we get to comfort one another, that we get to come alongside one another. We get to carry each other. And that, and actually all of this, it's not just our job to pray for a harvest or pray for comfort in what the Holy spirit does, but that we are invited into participate in that, that we're invited to participate as an tangible answer to some of these places. One of the workers of the harvest and the gathering and the caring for others today in just a minute, we're actually going to talk about these comfortable chairs. There's comfy chairs or sitting in where before there were these hard black cold squeaky chairs.

And there's something about coming into something new that's comforting, especially even on mother's day. Something that feels like family, where you're just cozy and you've been taking care of next week. We're going to talk about tastes and smells and you can taste and see that the Lord is good and we're actually going to have a tangible tasting session. So just a heads up beforehand, there will be snacks. So if that's something, get you here in person, you will get to experience tasting of something. Delicious food is good. Food is so good that next week, the nine o'clock service only. So you can come to the nine o'clock service. And then right afterwards, we want you, if you're not here in person to come, or if you're at the nine o'clock service to stay afterwards, we're actually gonna have a food truck and we're going to have some music.

We're going to enjoy the weather. We're going to enjoy some food and some community. Yeah. There as we kind of re-engage one another. So that's next week, the 16th. Then the last week, we're going to use that week to Mark something new in this faith community, through baptism and worship and this new thing, this thing that people have embraced, and those who have made decisions about what baptism looks like and how they get to experience this, the delighting in their salvation, and that we get to experience it together. So that's something that you're interested in being a part of. And just a couple of weeks, we would love to do that with you. We'd love to experience that and just a worship service. We're going to call the worship and we're just going to see baptisms and small testimonies. You can text baptism one to nine, four zero, zero zero.

If you're with us online, or if you're with us in the room, you can go by the information desk on the way out of here. And we'd love to come alongside of you and see baptism. So that's, that's what we've been having a conversation about and really been enjoying that. And today, again, we're talking about this idea of family or comfortable that we are a family and I wanted to pick up and really just kick off in Matthew 1246 through 50. We see this right here. Jesus is hanging out. And this is what it says. It says while Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to speak to you. And he replied, who is my mother right off the bat. Like you would say like, you don't do that to your mama, right?

He replied, who is my mother and who are my brothers pointing to his disciples? He said, here are my mother and my brothers for whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother see what's happening right here is the physical presence of family becomes actually a teaching opportunity. You see this all throughout scripture with Jesus, he would use what's happening right around him. And use that as an example, he often made connections to the things that were around him to this bigger point, kind of like what we've been doing with the different pieces that I just explained an aspect of, you know, even like a Trinsic art or tangible things around the campus in the series, Jesus takes the way that family is understood culturally. And what he does right here is he expands it. If he's not getting rid of this kinship or this relational family, but instead he's expanding on top of that.

It's no longer defined just tribally or nationalistically or through bloodline relations. But anyone who does the will of my father, the people of God are a new kind of family. And so rather than blowing up this definition, he actually just redefines it and expands on it. It's bigger than cultural understandings. More people actually get to be included. Jesus even is challenging the current understanding of gender here in verse 50, right here by adding sister that women can be disciples in the same way at the same level as men, which was a radical concept. At that time, he is being radically inclusive in a way that challenged cultural understanding of the way people saw gender nationally or gender are not boundaries. When it comes to Jesus, Jesus is new redefined and expanded understanding of family. So what does this mean? Then?

It means that you are not alone. You belong. You're not alone. You belong in for some of this. This is life-changing that you're not alone. That you belong by expanding our understanding of what family is. Jesus invites more people to be included. You may have been abandoned by your blood relatives. You may not feel like you're a part of a tribe, but you have a family. You are a part of the people of God, which transcends time, place, culture, nationality, gender, and age. Anyone who aligns themselves towards the pursuit of the kingdom is doing the will of God. They are included, which is also why we have this kinship type of bond with people around the world, who we can care for and about not because we're the same nationality, but we have Christ in common. Any of you who have ever gone on like some sort of missional trip or travel abroad and met like a fellow follower of Jesus, there is a kinship that automatically takes place because you've just met a fellow brother or sister in Christ, right?

In this, like you just pick up where you left off and you've never met before, because you are a part of this thing. Kingdom. This family, Ms. May also mean that we feel abandoned by places where we live are supposed to belong to culturally, but we have a larger family in which we belong to. So today we're talking about what it means to be family. And especially when we all come together and get this, we find out that we don't agree with everything. We don't approach life the same way. There's a lot of diversity in how do we explain that diversity and still y'all promote unity. I believe that this is a critical, next step question that we have to come to cover. If we're going to continue to talk about NXP, what it means to be family here in this faith community and at North gate, the question is this, is there a way to navigate issues where no one compromises on what they believe? And yet we find a way to embrace Christians with whom we disagree. I think that this is really a key skill. This is a key skill for the church to learn in order to manifest the unity of the body of Christ Jesus above all else. Jesus actually prays about this at the end of his life, for the unity of the church. We see this in John 17, John 17, he says, my prayer is not for them alone right here. Not for them alone. He's talking. He had just prayed specifically for the disciples and where they were going to be going through. And so now he transitions my prayer. Isn't just for them. But I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that through their message, that all of them may be one, the followers of the way as that continues to go out, father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have me. I've given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

And then you and me, so that they may be brought to complete. What's that word? Unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them. Even as you have loved me, what a vision for the church to have the sense of unity, of family, of diversity and unity, this, this amazing oneness. That's not just a copy of the world. You see in the world, people can get along with each other when we agree about things, right? We're like, we agree on something and you're like, Oh yeah, we saved that. We think the same way. And you're like, yeah, you're my people. We can get along. We're going to do real great, right. People who vote for the same political party who are cheering for the same team, like the Denver Broncos, right? Where are they at? No, nobody okay. People who are fighting in the same side of a war, people who are a part of the same religious sex can get along.

There's lots of examples of union in the world, but there is something miraculously about the unity of Christ that actually brings people that may not agree on all things into a sense of unity and family together. So that we're stuck with one another. And it's this kind of unity that has been so seen as so evidential of the miraculous nature of who Jesus is, because it goes beyond the kind of unity that any of us experience in the world in Ephesians, it's written like this in chapter two first, 19 through 22, consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers. We'll come back to that in just a minute, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Christ Jesus himself, as the chief cornerstone in him, the whole building is joined together and raises to become a Holy temple in the Lord. And in him, you too, being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit. You see right here in verse 19, right? As it kicks off this word, foreigners and strangers. These are categories that the people of people that God instructs his people to actually take care of in the Levitical law, this is old covenant old Testament thing, but these people were always meant to be taken care of foreigners and strangers. This was common language, but they were also explicitly outsiders where they weren't a part of like the family quick bro pro right. Paul is making a reference right here to strangers and foreigners aliens of the covenantal family and claiming that through Jesus. Now that there is full citizenship, that there is this shift, there's this new thing that's happened. And this is so significant. There's this hierarchical like leveling taking place where it's not this it's, we're all on the same page.

The people who are outsiders are now invited in to be equal members, not just as somebody who was invited in by another cider, I can watch and observe from the distance they're feeling like they don't quite belong yet, but rather fully equal participating members. Paul's understanding here of the kingdom of God, is that it was a part of taking place as a new family of God. A new structure of the temple was actually being created when he talks about this temple here with Christ as the cornerstone and all of the people who follow him are part of this. That's simple in this time was obviously the place where God's spirit was most present. And it was the symbol of this embodiment of God's presence for the earth. This is people came to visit her, become close as they could to God and who he was.

And for Paul, the people of God become the new temple because in this new code of this new thing, there was no more temple God's spirit resides in the mist of you yourselves as the temple. And so Paul's attempting to make this gent, these Gentile, Christians are these people who hadn't been a part of this Levitical law, this old covenant season, that, that wasn't, God's chosen people. He's trying to make these Gentile Christians of emphasis. See that they're actually now a part of a new family, a new family that gives them rights as if they were Israelites from the very beginning that they were equals not outsiders, just coming in and watching and peeking through the window and watching what was going on, but actually a place at the table. Well, not just the new family, but integral pieces of the new temple. They were part of this.

The, the tabernacle that was used where God's dwelling place or the temple was actually the site of the high Roth money. The higher Anthony is the touching of the divine or God's presence was there. And we see, I would actually suggest that not only are we members of this ancient, confidential family, but we are also foundational pieces of the space that God touches down. God's spirit meets us. And it uses us as ambassadors of light and love to accomplish God's work in the world, which includes making sure that those who belong feel like they belong regardless of where they came from or whatever their story is. I love the way that Eugene Peterson racists message version says this. You belong here with as much, right to the name, Christian, as anyone, God is building a new home. He's using all irrespective of how we got there and what he is building.

He used the apostles and the profits for the foundation. Now he's using you feeding you in brick, by brick stone, by stone, with Christ Jesus at the cornerstone that holds all of these parts together. It's beautiful. How do we partner with this though? How do we partner with what the Holy spirit wants us to see how we see this happen? I really believe that as, as part of this new family and our understanding of what this family looks like as part of the church, we understand we help others feel like they belong. So that is part of the church us. We get to help others feel like they belong. One of the gifts and the callings of the church is hospitality, hospitality. Isn't just simply the ability to throw a good party. Although I'm totally down. Let me know when I'm on it or the hospitality.

Isn't just about decorating a space and making the space look really pretty and look nice. It's it's the ability to actually make others feel welcome. It's a gift. It's not just, you know, having the event, making it look cool, but it's making others feel welcome. It's about expanding your care in your heart for others in a way that ends up causing you to have fresh encounters with God, to see things that you would have never noticed before to be a part of creating a new community. Even the practice of the early church, beginning to refer to one another as brother and sister, even though they weren't biologically related is an act of hospitality to call someone, Hey, brother or sister was this intimate thing that actually expanded your view of what family and what care actually looked like. It's taking responsibility for others in the same way that you would take responsibility for your own family.

Hospitality is making space for people. You don't have to make space for. It's making space for people that you don't have to make space for. So say, okay, well, this is what family looks like, and we have a place to belong. And that I'm a part of this, all right? But it's, it's hard. Family's hard, right? And I'm going to call them brother and sister, brother, and sisters fight. Right? And there's like quarrels. So what's one of the bigger things that makes it so difficult for us to be family. I think it's this. What do we do in cases where Jesus followers have studied scripture, they want to follow Jesus as their Lord and their master. Yet they have come to a different inclusion, scripturally and believe differently than you. Now, what we'd like to be able to say is that when we study scripture, when I study scripture, it's clear to me, therefore, anyone who disagrees with me, obviously they don't care about the word of God.

This is what it says. And sometimes that tone can come out of people, right? That tone through the things we say that comb through the things we type that tone through the way we block, I try to make sure it never comes from me. And the idea that this idea that we're clear in scripture, anyone who disagrees, obviously doesn't care about scripture, doesn't care about following Jesus doesn't care. Doesn't care is one of those damaging attitudes that can ooze out of people. And doesn't help us understand that there are good and godly followers of Jesus who can study scripture and come to a different conclusion on a good many points. There are those who want to just abuse grace for a license to sin. You see that you've experienced that in your family, that they just wanna abuse grace for licenses. Then we would love to be able to put everyone in a category we disagree with and say, obviously, look at what you're doing in your life.

You're a heretic because I studied scripture and I've come to a different conclusion than you. That would be easy to do. And that's what people of Jesus have tended to do for the last 2000 years. And the prayer of Christ for a unity has not come to fruition. But what we need to believe is this more biblical approach to say, I can't just wipe everybody off because they disagree with me. Or there's this rub and this division, I have to get to know them, get to know their heart and find that there may be some who are just turning grace into a license to sin. And there may be some who honestly, passionately want to follow Jesus Christ. And they just disagree with me. And now it becomes harder. When you get to know them and friends, we don't like to do hard work. We prefer just to condemn from the distance, but this forces us into a closer relationship to actually get to know one another. And then we can condemn them as a joke. I'll give you guys some more time to, I thought it was funnier. I even had a highlighted in my notes, friends. We are all called to be family together to work it out. A messy, melting pot of people, messy, broken people. I always think it's hilarious. When we get really upset about broken people act broken. Once we realized there's some freedom in that of like, Oh, they're just a broken person like me acting broken. They're broken too. There's like a huge sense of release and extra grace that comes along with that. We're a messy, melting pot of people, a messy broken people. And there are persons who love Jesus love scripture and disagrees. And we can be family together while we disagree. We get to know their heart and we work it out. As family. This approach is called the third way approach. It's not necessarily conservative or classically liberal. Every label has exceptions, but these are short forms. Traditionally with a conservative church or a conservative person, they can go through this list and say, here are the behaviors that are sin, right?

Here's where we don't agree with each other. Therefore, anyone who disagrees with us, they're obviously a heretic. They're not welcome. You have this wrong. And I'm gonna tell you right now, you have been hurt by that in the past. Like some of you who even maybe even showed up here today or showed up with us online today because of mom where you're like, I really don't want to go to church. They're just a long list of this is what's wrong. This is what you can't do is what you do. You, I'm not going to love you here. Not going to give you grace in this place. Right? And you've been hurt by this in the past. So then this idea of the liberal church that says, I sense the lack of love in that list there, you just gave us, you love scripture, but where's the love of Jesus in that.

And so then they say, let's create a space for everyone where they're welcomed no matter what they believe and how they live, but here's where that ends. But there's no challenge to actually become, to show up. As you are into leave and to be M is transformational life that's changed by Jesus. And so that only invigorates the conservative side to say, well, if that's how, what being kind to people looks like and leads to, then you don't care about scripture. You don't care about ethics. See we're right. And then back and forth, back and forth. And people that come to the space to be a part of this family. They sit and they look at this and they say, I don't know if I fit well in either category. And so that's why we believe. And I can even go so far as to say that we must believe in the unity of Christ, that he calls us to a third way.

Not just here or there. It's not black. It's not white. It's gray where we teach clearly on Jesus issues. But we also don't automatically condemn people with whom we disagree, making space for everyone to come and experience the transformational work of Jesus, man, woman and child. They're all extended into this new family where we want to get to know each other's hearts. We want to create a safe place for people to come and experience that adversity of the body of Christ to learn from one another, argue with one another, challenge, one another, his family. And where are we willing to admit that they're good and dialed the followers of Jesus who have come to a different conclusion. And we don't automatically treat them as heretics or outside of what family is to us. And so we create this space that is to be challenged and to work through these things together, like family, like everyone who shows up for mother's day when mom's like, I don't care if you ride your motorcycle here, right.

Or whatever it is, care. If you bring your friend here, I don't care. If you've got new tattoos that you don't want to see, just show up, just come in here. And we're going to be family, as you are. Let's do this. It's hard. When I hear people who have left faith communities, this faith community or families, because of the tension that being a family brings when brothers or sisters don't see eye to eye on every little thing. So what do we do? What do we do with that? Well, friends, I hope you understand that this takes a mature person, right? It takes a mature church to make space. It takes a mature person to come and say, I know we're going to have some points of disagreement about something that's very dear to me. And yet I will do the hard work of being committed.

Here. We can wrestle with God. We can wrestle with scripture and we can prioritize, exploring, and growing and faith in Jesus Christ. So friends, what's the value of choosing a third way approach. One thing is this. We will grow in the gospel. As we live this, we will grow. And the gospel, our understanding of what it looks like to be ambassadors of love and grace when we do this. And we then, because of that will bear witness to the world of the power of Jesus. We will bear witness to the world of the power, Jesus, that people who disagree, people who are diverse, people who are different can actually be family together. And hopefully it can be a part of generation where Jesus sees an answer to his prayer of unity for the church. But I promise you this. I promise you this. I promise three things. If we do this, if you do this number one, it's going to be a lot of work. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a lot of work to be that type of family. It is not easy to be that type of family to live in the gray and sit there and really lean in to one, another. Number two, we're going to make a lot of mistakes. We're going to make a lot of mistakes. Jesus is perfect. We follow him, but we follow him imperfectly. We're going to mess up.

But to not try friends is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make and we don't want to make it. And so we're going to do this the best that we can. So we're, it's gonna be a lot of work. It's not going to be easy. We're going to make a lot of mistakes. And number three, I can promise you this. It's going to be worth it. It's going to be worth it. It's hard. It's messy. But my God, he knows it is so, so worth it. It's going to be worth it. Paul says in Ephesians four, be completely humble and gentle. Be our favorite word, patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. Make every effort, make every effort. You're going to do this hard work, but don't collapse into the easy approach of tribalism, where you just go to your corner and you point at others and condemn others, friends work hard, work hard for now. We want to pray that God, by his spirit will soften our hearts. Give us wisdom is running an extra dose of wisdom to do this well. So you get to hear your phones now, or there's notes in the app. You can do that. I want to let you take a picture of this as some discussion points to kind of continue this conversation up on the screen.

What does people in process mean to you? What does people in process mean to you? This come as you are attitude. Is this just a people in process where you just show up and say, well, I'm a people in process. So you've got to give me a ton of extra grace, but don't expect anything else from me or is it there's people in process says, Hey, you can come as you are, but you need to be on a transformational journey. You need to experience a spiritual journey of seeing what it looks like to live as family, as examples of family. The other question, where do you need to do the hard work of reconciliation? Where do you need to do the hard work of reconciliation and say, man, there are some things that I have done to cause division disunity amongst this, where I haven't been as openly welcoming that I haven't been a good family member. I need to reconcile that. I need to actually act like I'm an ambassador of love and grace and this new thing that Jesus has done in me. And now I get to watch him do it. And you through reconciliation. Now, can you create space for a larger family? How can you create space for a bigger family? How can you create another table setting that says like you can actually come and sit and be equal into this family. Everyone's welcome. Just come and watch us eat, but come eat with us to welcome you. And to be a part of this family, it's going to be hard. It's going to be hard. It's gonna be messy. The friends, it is so worth it. Would you stand as we respond and worship.

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MAY 16TH, 2021 // EXODUS 25:3-8 // JON TALBERT

Embracing the New - Week Six

And God's created order for your purposes to enjoy and trigger to action, to let your scent be something that allows us to live and to love like Jesus, to respond like him and to love God and to use our census for him.

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Embracing the New - Jon Talbert

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Note: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, and word usage.

Well, it's good to be here. Thank you. Do we have any A’s fans? Let me just see across the room. Let's just close them. Thank you God. For today. No, that's awesome. I'm thrilled to be, I'm actually an A's and Raiders fan. If there's any Raider folks here, I talked to a guy in the lobby. I can't remember his name. I'm sorry, sir. But we talked, we had this bonding moment because he was telling me about being an ACE fan. And I said, you know, truth be told I'm a Raiders fan too. And we were like, we were like instant brothers, right? Instant brotherhood. And what I realized around the bay, you know, you get this love, hate thing with the Raiders. And I realized for me loving the fact that I'm in the east bay a little bit east dish bay y'all are Raider folks.

A lot of you that if Jesus were walking on the earth today, he'd be a Raider fan. And the Bible teaches us that it does because the Bible talks about Jesus coming to seek and save those who were lost. And if you've been to Raider nation, you know exactly what I'm talking about, centers, demon, possessed, tax collectors, they're all on the black hole, right? Like, like even if you're not ready for it. Okay. Now that makes total sense right there. That just really he's he's spot on this guy. So anyway, yes, I work with A's in there and first place, it's super fun to watch. And thank you for having me. I wasn't sure I was going to be here this morning. Not because you know, Larry invite me and we didn't this, you know, confirmed on my calendar, but I got an email and I'll show it to you in just a second.

But I got an email and so on my property, I live out in Soquel Capitola area, near Santa Cruz, and I've got a 14 acre property and my family all lives there. My parents, my kids and my grandkids. I have six grandkids, one on the way and all live together, kind of in this property thing. And I've got so much space created a couple of air beeps. I've got three Air bnbs go in there. And so we get the air. Does anybody have an Airbnb? Does anybody use Airbnb? So for us that host, we get these, we get, you'll get an email of somebody coming and going. And you know, people, you know the interaction you have with individuals that are coming to your property, to the Airbnb. And so I get an email just this last week and it looks like this. It says, Jesus arrives Friday, May 14th. And, and I'm like, and actually the top of it's cut off. But it's just the top of the email. The subject line was Jesus is coming soon. And I'm like, whoa, I probably ought to read this. And then I saw that he's coming on May 14th. I'm like, shoot. Cause I'm speaking like that weekend, like, that'll be problematic if I'm not there. Or if I am there, then it's really problematic. But you just, and I'm like, oh, I'm still here. I hope he's going in alphabetical order as he takes us into heaven because my last name starts with a T, but I love [inaudible]. I love this line right here. If you haven't already reach out to Jesus, send him directions and coordinate a check-in time.

How often do you get an email like that?

That was pretty fun. Anyway, I'm glad to be here. And that's not why we're here, but it was a fun little thing. So the theme of this series embracing the newest pastor, Larry was sharing. It's a series around that. Really the science of semiotics, which is the study of signs and symbols and their meaning, what you experienced in this world, how you, and what they mean. So coming out of COVID, the church needs to see and embrace the new you do. You know how good it feels for somebody who has watched church online for so many times to come up here to a church service like this, it was worth the hour and a half drive just that alone to worship together and worship with a band. That just sounds like Coldplay. I mean, it was just awesome, right? You guys, you guys put fog machines on and it smells like popcorn and you're like, this is great.

But there's something about that. When you come out of that, coming out of COVID church needs to embrace the new and to see the signs and symbolic things that have new meaning for us. Ironically, some of the new is actually been here all along, but we just need to in a new way and take it in through our census. Let me give you an example of embracing the new through our census. So my family, I have a family or a family of six. I got four kids. And when my kids were little, we'd go to the mall. And one of the things I went there, one time to a store called the sweet factory. Have you ever been to the sweet factory? And I'm talking about, they give you these bags and then you go in and you shovel in what you want and then they weigh it out.

And then you realize, whoa, I put way too much candy in this bag. Super expensive. So I did it one time with my kids. They all got their own bag. Two things happen, one, it was too too expensive. The second thing that happened was they just sat in a corner and just this and just ate this candy. And I'm like, like a good parent would say, did you even taste it? And they're just shoveling it in their mouth and like hovering over like this. And so I thought the next time I go to the sweet factory, I'm going to change things up a little bit. So pictures of the sweet factory here, I'm going to change things up just a little bit for you to see for my kids to experience. And when I got to call it experiencing candy. So I said, you get one piece that you get to choose that's for you, one piece, and then you get to pick one other candy you've never had before.

And you put six, those in your bag that you're going to share with the rest of the family. And so each of them were going to do that or is a family of six, or they're going to get six pieces of candy. Plus there are pieces that they chose. So they have seven pieces of candy that seems reasonable. And so we got, they got their candy. And then I said, okay, each person got to take out that one piece of candy and give it to each we're the family. And then we held the candy up. We smelled it, Put it in her mouth. And I said, then you close your eyes and tell me what you're experiencing. Now at first they were like, dad, this is weird. But then after a while, all of a sudden candy begins to trigger a memory. It reminds you of something. And one of my kids says, I remember last summer when we were, because he had some sort of lemon drop and we had the limit. But when we made all that lemonade and it was so fun to be together and I'm like, okay, here we go. And then the next kid did something. And the next kids did something that every time we went to the mall, my kids kept saying, can we go experience candy? Now I know realize they want candy, but we played that game and my kids are in their thirties now. And they talked about it. I told them I was doing this message.

They said, are you going to tell them about experiencing candy? Cause they still do it because it changed the trajectory. It actually took us to this place where I'm experiencing some dang and it takes me somewhere. I took a bunch of college kids on a missions trip and we were going to Haiti. So we'd go across the country. And as we were flying, my wife had packed some candy. And so I was telling the students about this in our little portion of the plane, we had about 11 people with us. And so I'm passing out candies. I said, this is what we do. And so I had different candies and we're trying to different people on the plane. Weren't even part of our group. They're like, they're like, can we try this too? I had people on the plane crying. This reminds me of my mother who passed away last year.

She's experiencing something completely different than just having a piece of candy. And it's interesting within the semiotics of things, you can find an embrace, something completely new. That's the irony of this whole piece to experience something with your senses. That's been there all along, but you experiencing it in a new way and you're embracing the new and the senses, sight taste, touch, sound smell are our God. Given research enters to experience all things and discern new things. God gave us these receptors. Ironically, the receptor that's been covered every year has been our nose. I mean our mouth too, but your nose has been covered for a year. When you think about and think about what we have disconnected from, but in the Bible, there's a story. The story of Isaac, when Isaac is blessing Jacob, rather than Esau and nothing else illustrates the culmination of all the senses at play and how the senses of smell is used in such a powerful way to change the trajectory of people's life. Then this story here, you know, story, right? This is when Isaac and Rebecca, they have twin sons Esau first, then Jacob, Jacob steals his brother's birthright. And then he and his mother deceive Isaac to steal.

Blind Isaac to steal the blessing that would normally go to the first born by putting on this charade and misleading the father. When you read the story, it's a perfect storm of all the five senses that come into play in the deception piece. I love this picture right here. It's a beautiful picture from an eight 17th century Italian artist named Joe Aquino also. And he was a Baroque style painter. And while that doesn't necessarily depict ancient near Eastern culture, I love how this picture plays itself out because you watch how all the five senses come into the storyline first. And it's in Genesis chapter 27 in verse one, it says for sight, sight is taken out. It's taken out of play. It says his eyes were so weak that he could no longer. See. I love the picture here where it shows. If you look, if you zoom in on the picture, his eyes are closed as if I can't see, I can't see what's going on here. So, so sight is taken out of play. Second is taste. So Esau was a hunter as a hunter who probably prepares some tasty feast for his father that he would love. And of course on this occasion would warrant a great meal. And so instead, Rebecca Isaac's wife, it says in verse 14, it says prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. So the food right there prepared and ready to roll, but there's a catch there's this catch in the whole, the whole plot that deceived AISES Isaac is related to touch as well. And so you see the touch when it moves into this part, it says, my brother Esau is a hairy man. This is Isaac speaking. Armena Jacob speaking. And I have smooth skin. So in verse 16, she covers his hands with the smooth and the smooth part of his neck with goat skins. You see this in his hands, sight, taste touch, but how will they fool them with the sound of Isaac's voice? It's almost like they say, this is a great meal. And he says, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You've got to change his voice a little bit. And I love this picture of the mom, shushing him. It says this, Jacob went close to his father who touched him. And he says, the voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. As you see the mom going, don't say too much, still not convinced in the story. Verse 24, he asked the question, are you really my son Esau? And then he gets to smell and smell becomes this confirming piece. When Isaac caught the smell of the clothes, you look at this picture here. He blessed him, see the clothes. You can't see where it below, but his clothes wear the clothes of a warrior clothes of a hunter.

And he's right under his father's nose. And he can smell it. He says Rebecca, because it said earlier, Rebecca took the best clothes of Esau, her older son, which she had in the house. And she put them on her younger son, Jacob. And even in his blessing, the confirmation, the smell is in the blessing where he says, Aw, the smell of my son is like the smell of the field that the Lord has blessed out of the five senses. The one that pushes them over the top, it's smell, smell more than any other of the senses is a powerful, confirming, clarifying emotion. Evoking. It's a memory jarring sense that God has given to us to connect us to the divine, to fully enjoy his creation and to remind us of his goodness. And have you ever played that hypothetical game? Like if I had to get rid of one of my, if I had to surrender one of my senses, which one would it be?

And the first one that the one that never goes is our sight, but then you start to play out the other ones like losing sound. Yeah, that would be a bummer because it was great music out there or touch or taste that has high values. But smell is often the underrated sense that I think is one of the most powerful and overlooked things that we have to experience God, even at Jesus's birth, the three Wiseman what'd they give gold frankincense and myrrh. Two of the three are aromatic gifts. Like when you think about it, think about it this for a second. For the Wiseman, they were saved a lot of time traveling from the far east, if they had just given Jesus a monthly subscription to essential oils. So Joseph and Mary Doterra, this, I know what you ladies do. So when it comes to smell, think about it this way, smell triggers, memory, smell, triggers, memory. You guys have a Costco here, right? Costco in this area, you know, Costco, like it's the only place where you can get 12 gallons of milk and a kayak, you know, Costco, right? If I blindfolded you and took you to a Costco or an In-N-Out burger or a Starbucks, anywhere in the country, you'd be able to guess exactly where you are. And for, for, for women, I would include TJ Maxx, target and trader Joe's. In fact, I can, I can blind from my wife and take her TJ max, and she'll know the difference between a TJ max and a TJ, max homeschool, home goods. You know what I mean? She'd be like, oh no, this is a home goods right here. That'd be like, take this. I got a shop a little bit. You know, I see what they got, but it triggers something that triggers a memory.

You remember? Oh, I was here before smell triggers. Emotion smells can make you happy, like smelling a flower or going outside right after a rain. And you're like this. It's not just how it smells. It's how it makes you feel. Right. It can make it a smell can make you happy. Smell can make you angry, ever walk by a Yankee candle store. And you're like, whoa, I am angry. You've just assaulted. My senses. Smell is always on. It's always on you. Don't shut it off. As of the things where you can close your eyes or just smell is always on. Have you ever woken up to the smell of bacon? You didn't taste it. You didn't see it. You didn't hear it. You didn't feel it. But all of a sudden you're like, whoa, it's always on. I read this study and the power of smell in a discovery journal where it said this in 2014 study showed that we can distinguish at least 1 trillion different odors from the previous estimates of a mere 10,000.

And it says awareness of our innate smelling abilities. However, it's complicated because the human language doesn't have words for a trillion smells. And much of the smelling happens under the radar of our consciousness. Unlike our other senses, the olfactory nerves do not proceed directly to the brain's thalamus, the gateway to consciousness. Instead information feeds from the nose to the cortical areas to arouse emotion and memories without our awareness. And when it comes to smells, people can be influenced and not even realize it. Thus, you coming in and wondering why is my stomach growling? And people use it all the time. That's why there's phrases and idioms related to the power of smell that triggers other intuitions. Like something smells fishy or I smell trouble, or it comes up smelling like a rose or the sweet smell of victory. Why is smell associated with these other things that are intuitive to where I'm listening and thinking, why am I, why do I feel this? Because it's going through an, a sense that you have that is far more powerful than just that smells good. It doesn't smash. Doesn't pass the smell test, or it smells like a rat stinks to high heaven. And my personal favorite smells like somebody died in here. Smell is this incredibly, this is key now incredibly powerful sense that God gives us to connect to the divine, to fully enjoy his creation and to remind us of his goodness.

Don't miss that because it's been covered for a year and all of a sudden, how do I begin to experience God in his goodness in my life? How do I connect to the divine? How do I see and embrace something new based on this sense that God has given me, don't ever underestimate the smell of the aroma. In fact, smell is used throughout the whole Bible. I'll point out just five that stood out to me as I was preparing. This message smell is used as first, a reminder of redemption throughout the whole Bible. It's a reminder of redemption. It says this and Ephesians chapter five, it says, walk in love as Christ loved us. And he gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God references the old Testament sacrifice throughout the whole old Testament there references again and again about the substitutionary sacrifice being offered up on the altar as an aroma that would please God, throughout the whole Testament that happens.

And then we get to the new Testament, Jesus on the cross serves as that ultimate sacrifice of the sins of the world for our sins and referenced at that same fragrant offering to God on our behalf. And so when you read that about that, that's this active, this is, this is an aroma that is pleasing to God. Reference a of redemption smell also is used as a reflection of character in the Bible. I love this in the book of song of song of Solomon. It says this the first three verses that him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is better than wine because the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is like ointment poured forth. When they referenced name, they're talking about character and your character is something like, as they go through all this love language throughout all of song of Solomon, the first thing they talk about that attracts them to one another. Isn't how they look. Isn't about the sensuality. Isn't about eldest of the things. It's about the character that draws me to you. Your character and character is something, you know, when you work with somebody like that, guy has a good reputation. He's not even there. And his character has proceeded him. It's like a fragrance. Like when you, you smell somebody before they even get there. And after they leave, the fragrance is still there. That's good and bad character you ever get in an elevator when somebody like there's some bad character in here. I'll wait for the next one. You know what I'm talking about, right? And character reflects that aroma of your character, reference of character, reflection of character smells also in the use is in the Bible as a representation of generosity, a representation of generosity. He says this in Philippians chapter four, it says I have received full payment. Is Paul. Now speaking, I received full payment and more. And I have well supplied having received from the gifts you sent and what does he say? A fragrant offering a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God, our generosity, our hospitality, our ability to give of ourselves is in a Roma. You know, when you meet somebody that's super generous and not like, or, or, you know, somebody that's super generous and you like generosity exudes him like an aroma does generosity. Another way it's represented smell is used as a reference to worship as a reference to worship.

It says in Romans chapter 12, verse one, this is that famous passage. Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies going back to that sacrificial idea to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, not a dead sacrifice, not an animal sacrifice, but crawling up on that alter to say, in my living in Christ, I am offering myself to you as a living sacrifice. And he says this holy and pleasing to God, that's your true and proper worship that our worship is a reference through a Roma, ironically worship. Isn't just sounding, oftentimes people think worship is what I do on Sunday morning with the bands up here.

It's not just the sound. It's the smell. Singing is one of the many expressions of worship that collectively reflects the heart, which becomes this aroma that is offered up to God. Because if worship, if, if, if, if, if the aroma of worship like the music and how good it is the only thing is susceptible. Then really the only people that are acceptable to God are these ones. These guys that played this morning, cause I'm not that good of a singer. So it can't be that it has to be the collective. The other thing smell is also used as a revelation of the gospel. That's a revelation of the gospel. It says this in second Corinthians, but thanks be to God who in Christ always leads us in triumphal profession. Through us, through us. People here spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere that closely tied to redemption, but the gospel as it's present, presented to the world in the community, and those around us becomes this fragrant expression.

The fragrance of the knowledge of him that would spread everywhere. Those are just five that just stood out to me that I wanted to share with you. So aroma, being this powerful in our human state and such valuable sense that God uses to connect and bless mankind throughout history. My question in the process of putting this together and listening to the sermons before and thinking, how can I challenge you? Is w how can we leverage the power of scent and the gift of aroma, the dynamic of our ability to smell and the power that it possesses to live more like Jesus, and experience the divine. How do we do that? So I have five. Thanks. So if you got some paper or I want you to write these things down, because these are my action items, where are you today? I call it the spiritual aroma therapy.

Write down correlations to the divine correlations, to the divine. And what I'm saying there is to make a random connection to the divine, through a scent, take something that is ritually mundane in your life that has a scent and connect it to something transformative. So let me, let me just make it super simple. How many in the room had coffee this morning? Just raise your hand. Let's see all the addicts here. Okay. I have three cups. So I'm thinking what if we, if we were to take coffee and connect that and that scent, you know, when you walk in and you just like a fresh ground and you grind it and you smell it like that, and it smells, oh my gosh, this smells so good. Or take something like that, but take that and connect it to the holiness of God. And you do it again for a week.

And again, next you get a next day. And the next day, and every time you have coffee, you discipline yourself to connect it to something that is transformative. A mundane smell that rather than just being, I love the smell of coffee. I love the smell of coffee, because it reminds me of the holiness of God, whatever you want to make it out to be. But the holiness of God, that seems like a good one or whatever it is. The other one, freshly toasted bread. You know what? Somebody toast bread, especially if it's sourdough, holy smokes. How awesome is that? That smell just goes in the house. It's just like, oh my gosh. It's like, you're baking bread again. What if freshly toasted bread was connected to the power of the resurrection know, toast pops up resurrected? You know what I mean? Like something like just make the connection.

I don't care, but don't worry about that. I just thought of that. My trigger of first thought wrong. Wasn't working. So usually I don't say that anyway. I don't want to downplay the resurrection. I'm just saying, take a mundane scent that you have on occasion and connect it to something transformative F and use that sent to remind us of the work of God in our lives. That's the first thing correlations to the divine. Second is this reminders, write this down. Reminders of blessing, reminders of blessing. So like the smells in the morning, like, so I live out in the country like in the forest area, overlooking the ocean. And when I come out, it's either a fog layer or, you know, the sunshine or whatever else. And we have just different scents and smells that are going on. And so in the morning, I'll walk out and you know, when you walk out, I'm reminded, I'll walk out on my balcony and I'm reminded, and I'll say this, and I'll just put my hands out. His mercies are new every morning. Great. Is that I less reminders of the blessing.

You know what that is? It's like, whatever was going on today, ain't happening today? Cause he, his mercies are new. He's the one that matters. Let's take that in, in the morning, reminders of his blessing. So correlations to the divine reminders of blessing. The next one, I call it prompts for soul care prompts for SoCo soul care, make sensory association to spiritual practice. Now this is different than correlation to the vine. That's just like take a mundane thing and connect it. This one is doing something that is an ongoing thing. It can be a candle during dinner and you light it for a reason. And you say, we like this candle because of it doesn't have to be advantaged. Didn't have to be anything else. It can be just own personal act of soul care that says, this is what this is. And this is why it could take you smell.

Like for me, one of the things I do, I started doing, I have I'll have a meal. My wife's a phenomenal cook and I have a meal. And when we're praying, I bow my head, not out of reverence. I bow my head to get the nose closer to the food. Just being very honest. I have a hard time closing my eyes and I'm like, and I'm just, and I just pause for a moment because my wife has taken something and co-created with the divine, something that is unbelievable. And I just take that in. And that becomes this soul care. That reminds me, it's something about eating and caring for your soul really well together.

The sensory association to a spiritual practice, the next one, connections with creation, very similar to reminders of blessing. But the Reiner's a blessing is that, oh yeah, this reminds me of how God is good to me. But the connections with creation, the smells of nature that connect you to beauty, don't hesitate to stop and smell something. When you think about how God designed things like a pine tree, you think he just designed the pine tree. There's a smell that's associated with the pine tree. He did that purposely and who are we to miss it? So when you stop and smell something, it was designed for the beauty as a reflection of what God's doing for you to enjoy and to give glory to God and the smell and the fragrance that comes from it is part of the beauty. So connections with the gotcha. We did it with a distinct scent.

Why for us to experience and enjoy, and don't miss it. That phrase stop and smell the roses, make that a spiritual practice. And the last one is triggers to action triggers to action. And it's this making this make a sensory association that triggers you to do something, a sensory association that triggers you to go, I smell this. I need to go do this. I need to think this. I need to pray this in my home. We have star Jasmine right outside of our door. And the set when you walk in, it reminds me of when I walk in, I'm like, oh man, this scent is so beautiful. God bless. Thank you. Thank you for my house. Bless my house. And bless my family in my house. It's a triggered to an action.

I mentioned, I mentioned Costco before. When, when we first moved here, Costco does have, right. Costco has a distinct scent, right? You can totally smell it. Like when you go in there, it smells a certain way. I go to Costco. We love, I love going to Costco all the time. Now I'll tell you the story about trigger to action. So I go to Costco with my family. When I moved here from Southern California in 1996 and we find our Costco and we'd go there and whatever else. And we're a family of six. So when we started, we had a cart, we moved to a flat. Then we were cart and flat. And when you go and you're shopping, you realize I got to navigate. You know, when you're checking out, I got to navigate a cart and flat. And so I get in a line and we're, we're all ready to go.

And I noticed the other lines of moving and my line, isn't moving and I'm getting super annoyed. Cause I got things to do. I got places to go and get people to seat. And I look up above and I'm like, what the heck? And I'm, and I can't navigate my cart in a flat to another thing. So I'm just like just annoyed. We finally get to the front of the line and it's this girl, her name is Natalie. It's her first day as the checker and she's super slow and she knows she's slow. And she says to me, she looks at us and I could tell she feels embarrassed about it. And she goes, it's my first day. And I'm like, we now.

And then something happens and something triggers inside of me that I'm like, it's, it's her first day. Let's bless her. Let's encourage her. And I, and I looked at my wife and I thought, you know, why am I giving this girl? Why am I giving her this annoyance? This vibe. She feels from me. Let's bless her, listen, courage her. So I said to my wife, I said, you know what? Listen, at first I said to Natalie, I said, you're doing a great job. Keep it up. And she goes, really? And my wife goes really, you know, like that. I said, yeah. And I looked at my wife and said, listen, every time we come to Costco, we're going to get in Natalie's line. And my wife goes, you realize she's slow. I said, it's perfect. It'll give us a chance to get to know her.

And so every time we come to Costco, we get in Natalie's line. It's really easy to identify. It's a long one. So I figured when I get to the front of the line, it's my turn now. So I'm gonna take my time because I've been waiting for all these people in front of me. And so I get up there and I asked her a question, how's it gone. Remember us and would talk and hug high five, whatever else. And for the next, however many years, she still works there. We always get in Natalie's line. One time we get aligned to pick up a story where we left off and go back in a couple of weeks or wherever we're at. Our rhythm of Costco is, and we see Natalie, we talked to her, hi, how's it going? She finds out. She knows I'm a pastor.

And we talk about different things. One time we got in line and I see her we're in the back we're wave. And she goes like this, she got engaged. She's super excited to tell me I got engaged. I'm like, oh my gosh. And then she says, we want you to do our wedding. I'm like, oh my gosh, I'd be honored to do that. And it was, it was coming down. It was like, you know, eight months or nine months later. So it wasn't anything. We had to do counseling right there in line, you know? So we're just talking about stuff. And then another time we go and we get in line, I see her. And I could tell she's just super bummed. By the time I get up there, I said, are you okay? What's going on? She says, my mother-in-law to be, doesn't want you to do the wedding. So why, what happened? She said, well, she doesn't want a pastor from Costco. I might, I don't work here.

Like Kirkland, seminary. Like I went to real seminary, right? Like I'm a real person. Look me up online. I'm a re I'm the real deal. Right. It turns out we were able to do the wedding and stuff like that. And it was super fun. My wife and I were able to meet with them, do counseling and hang out. And then it was shortly after that, it was after they were married. They said, Hey, we would like to come. I'm at a church. I was at a church at that time called west gate, which is down in the south bay a lot like this really cool church. And she said, we would like to come to your parish. I love that parish for Christmas Eve services. Now our Christmas Eve service, probably a lot like yours. It's like a Coldplay concert. She brought 11 people. They sat in the front row and she's like, that was the most interesting Christmas Eve service at the parish I've ever been to.

She has an accepted Christ, but the stories being told and the interaction in her life is happening. Because all of a sudden you take a moment and pause and you realize from that passage, we are Christ's ambassadors. If, is, if God were pleading his case through us to be reconciled with him, that the next person I meet, oftentimes when I'm super annoyed, when God's going to shake things up and say, I've got something for you right here. So now every time I go into Costco and I smell the smell of Costco, I am reminded I am Christ ambassador. It is a trigger to action to pray, to be mindful and keenly aware that this person here doesn't know Jesus. And what can I do? Introduce have a conversation, be friendly, take my mask off and show him. I'm smiling triggers to action. These things here, correlations to the divine reminders of the blessing, prompts to soul care, connections with creation.

And God's created order for your purposes to enjoy and trigger to action, to let your scent be something that allows us to live and to love like Jesus, to respond like him and to love God and to use our census for him. You guys joined me in prayers. We commit our, this next portion is you father. Thank you for the opportunity to be with my brothers and sisters here at north gate and the work that you're doing in the area of Benicia. I pray a blessing over them and thank you for the opportunity to be here at this church and to share. I pray as we look forward to coming out of this crazy season, that you'll use this time for us to slow down and leverage the census that you've given us to experience you and to serve you in all things. I pray a blessing over our time. Thank you for this day in Christ's name. Amen.

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