Change the Trajectory of Your Thinking - March 19, 2023

March 20, 2023 00:29:58
Change the Trajectory of Your Thinking - March 19, 2023
Lawrenceville Christian Church
Change the Trajectory of Your Thinking - March 19, 2023

Mar 20 2023 | 00:29:58

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Show Notes

This Sunday. our Regional Minister, the Rev. Dr. Denise Bell, will bring us the morning message. The sermon title is “Change the Trajectory of Your Thinking,” based on Romans 12; 1-2. Come prepared to be challenged by Rev. Denise’s message! See you Sunday, in person or online.

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Episode Transcript

Change that trajectory or you would think, I don't know about you, but I have to say that to this, Denise. After Denise changed the trajectory of your thinking, if you change your thinking, you will change what you do. And as you're doing it, you will do more of it, change the trajectory of your thinking. Would you pray with me just for a moment? Oh, God. In the name of Jesus, I do. Thank you so much for how good God is. We surrender ourselves to you, will guide you. Take over as we make ourselves vulnerable. Oh, God. To the power of a Holy Spirit. Lord God. It is not that which we speak, but God. It is that with you speak through us. I thank you, Lord God, as we confess and admit our limitations or God that you then give us words to speak, that your people and even we might be encouraged. So, God, I prayed that you would hide me behind Calvary's cross of God. That the people would look past all of my frailties and see. You forgot. We come because we love you so much and we've come. Oh, God. Because we thirst. After you meet us in this place of God, as you already have to take us deeper in Jesus name a man. And I must confess, I have a bad habit. Now, in our denominational experience, confession is not necessarily always valued, but in the Catholic Church, compassion is valued greatly. And it's valued so that people are absolved of their sin so that as they confess, their sin is just wiped away. Right. Well, I confess not because my sin has been absolved, not because I no longer commit this sin, but I confess, in case there's someone in this church who share the same bad habit as I am, this habit causes me sometimes to pull away from strangers. This. This habit causes me sometimes to miss some of the important things I need to do during the course of the day. This habit causes me sometimes to think that people who are not like me must be something wrong with them because they don't think like it's a bad bad habit. This habit makes me think that I'm better than other people. This habit makes me think that the perversions that I enjoy in life is really the standard of what everybody else ought to do. This is a bad habit. This habit takes over my life for important several minutes during the course of the day and typically at the very beginning of the day, this habit somehow or another takes precedence in my life around about 7:00 every morning. Well, I don't know about you, but this bad habit is called the consumption of bad news, the consumption of bad news. And so you see, I used to turn my TV on and watch the news real after real after real bad news. And I would watch it as if somehow or another it was making me stronger. Maybe because the news was happening something else other than in my house. And so I didn't feel quite so bad about it. But for some reason I kept watching it. Maybe I kept watching this bad news so that I would know just in case it happened to me. I would know what to do. Maybe I was so consumed about the bad news is because it made me feel better about myself. Because of course, whatever malady or bad habit was bound up, someone else or whatever scandal someone else found themselves caught in it. What? Me? Of course. I have more sense than that bad habit at news consumption. Well, then, when I realized that the habit was so bad, I suspended all of my cable subscription subscriptions, turned the TV off. But then we got these doggone smartphones. So now in the morning, this bad habit. Then it plagued me as much as it used to, but it still slips. And I pick up my phone and they know by now the kinds of bad news that I like. They call them algorithms. And so I go from story to story to story. And by the time I get ready for my day, I must admit I have a bit of a melancholy spirit, otherwise called depression, just like, Oh, hey, can we have one day without bad news? Gosh, can we have one day where I don't feel utterly hopeless and helpless about how to help the world be better and can I have this one day where the bad news doesn't take the place of everything around me? Because the problem with this bad habit is that it makes me pull away from my neighbors because I'm not quite sure where they fit in. All this bad news that I hear. I'm not sure what political party they're in. I'm not sure what their thinking is. And so I don't want to get too caught up. I don't know about you, but they're bad news consumption sometimes. Trust me, when I'm in the grocery store and I don't say anything to anybody, just mind my own business because, you know, you got to be careful what you say these days, right? This bad news consumption makes me always ready to debate. I promise. It makes me think that other people are different than me. It makes me think that somehow or another they're better than me. Sometimes it makes me think that maybe God is not who God says God is. Sometimes it makes me think God. Have you taken a big case to God? Are you seeing this bad news? Consumption messes with my mind. Bad news. Consumption, I think, messes with all of our minds. So rather than bad news, one day I said after I watched a nice little story about a little puppy having found his way home after being somehow another drop miles away, I remember that story from miles away from where he lived. And I don't know how we got there, but the puppy finally found his way home. That that was good news. But then I realized that while I need good news, I'm not talking about news that had been whitewashed to where it's Pollyanna. Nothing wrong with the word. I'm not talking about good news that that is. So I'm firming my own bias, but I feel like I'm a winner and I'm not talking about good news that there's all officially a comprise, they call them now artificial intelligence, talking about good news that is based on alternative facts. Actually, I've come to realize that that the only news that helps me deal with my bad news consumption is the good news. Hallelujah. The good news. God so loved the entire world that Denise, not just you, but the people look like you and the people who think like you. Other people who live in your apartment complex. Not the people who drive the same kind of car as you. This word says the good word. God so loved the whole world and gave his only begotten son that he gave us Christ. And whoever believes in Christ shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. And so that means to me, everybody I encounter. Oh, my God, Aren't you excited that God loves me? And you don't even have to know what they believe? Because I don't know the order of God's sovereign will for all of us. So I am glad we're all brothers and sisters. So when I wake up thinking that I think the people in the morning. Hello, how are you? Yesterday I was someplace and I spoke about eating and I've been called and I said, Boy, that cold sure does look good. And the God letter is said, Yes, it is good. You can go just down the walkway and find the store where I bought it from. I was at a restaurant and a young woman began to tell me a story about her brother. And I said, Oh my God, that is a different story. And we began to talk and I said to her, Do you mind if I pray for your brother? She was looking for a wife for him. I said, I don't mind doing you in that prayer because if it works, maybe we can pray together. But I'm Elizabeth. But it was the good news that allowed me to come outside of myself to talk to somebody about how amazing and wonderful these days are in our lives here. There's a lot of news that is not always good, but God still has blessed us with life and life more abundantly. I'm excited about it. So then I says, Well, how do I connect to that good news? How am I sure that that this God who gave his only begotten Son is the God? But I have to be seeking in? Paul gave me some information on Scripture starts in Rome. Romans Chapter 12, verses one and three and two. But it really is talking about Romans Chapter 11, starting with verse 33 in a sense, then, is that this God who in fact gave us all the begotten Son, Let me tell you about this God. He says that this God, all the depth of the riches, that the wisdom and knowledge of God, I like to know that the God that I serve, the God that I seek, has depth of riches and wisdom and knowledge. Oh, how uncertain about his judgment and his past. Beyond tracing, who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counsel, or who has ever given to God that God should repay for from God and through God and to God are all things to God be the glory forever and ever. I like that about that God, because through all that that God knows more than me. Sure, that God knows more than the pundits that I watch on TV. Surely God knows more than people who try to lead and direct our thinking to confirm their own. By surely God knows more. And the bigness of God allows me to love everybody. The bigness of God allows me to love people that I don't agree with. I heard a sermon the other day that the bigness of God loves both Cain and Abel. You know the story. Cain killed Abel, but in that story in Genesis, God showed love for both Abel and Cain. God showed love for both the victim and the murderer, because that's how big God is, how uncertain of what our God judgment was means. I'm not going to judge. God does all of that all by God's self. So Paul then says to me, therefore, Denise, for you, you should all part yourself as a living sacrifice acceptable unto God offering yourself, because the God that you offer yourself to is filled with riches and wisdom and knowledge. And what he's saying to the people in Rome that you have made yourself God. But that is incorrect. Let me tell you about another that whom you can offer yourself. Where in this God does not require you to perform this God only requires you to surrender in order. This God only requires you to say God. I don't have much prayer you can have all of it does. God only requires you to say yes to love. And then Paul says, Now, now, when you offer yourself to God, what I'd like to say to people, I think I said this on yesterday. Um, have you ever heard the statement? When you know better, you do better. Well, I told the group one yesterday that I really don't believe that. I used to believe until I got older and the doctor told me, you have to exercise for the rest of your life and give me all the reasons why, and I still don't do it, he told me. But I still don't do it. Oh, bless, your Honor. Bless you. Only when I do it, do I do it right. Only when I think differently about what I ought to do. Do I do something different? And so in Scripture, Jesus says what a person thinks, so shall they do? Right? So here Paul is saying in verse two, not only I ought to offer myself as a living sacrifice, not only I surrender myself, but Paul says, do not conform any longer. And so when I saw that any longer, I said, Oh, they had the bad news consumption to do not conform any longer to the way of this world, which is death dealing. The way of this world is not your friend. The way of this world does not like you any farther than it can use you. The way of this world is militaristic. The way of this world is unchecked. Capitalism, which really is not concerned about people more than profit the way this world is more concerned about othering than gathering. So he says, do not be conformed by the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and be change. Turn around and turn away from war. The renewing of your mind that what is life giving you? There's a lot of things that are debt dealing in the world in which we live. I went to well, I'm not going to say that, but the things that this world tells us that are, as the young people would say, sexy, are debt dealing, whether it is a real tight pair of jeans that I put on by the time I'm done during the course of the day, I can hardly walk that back. That's not I don't wear high heels anymore because they're debt dealing. They're cute, but the debt dealing, right. And so I have to be transported. So he says we transform, whether we're doing your mind. But what is really key here and I'm not going to be much longer. The real key here is so that you might know the acceptable, the good and the perfect will of God. So the fact of the matter is, yes, this God is amazing and his judgments are unsuitable and his riches and wealth are untold. Yes, we ought to offer ourselves to be acceptable to God, but the real thing He wants us to do is do his will that we might do soon and know the acceptable and perfect and good will of God. But gosh, how do what I want to that? How do I know that? Well, why? I have to start with recognizing that in the morning when I am exercising this bad habit that is not God as well, I don't think that it is God's will that I know everything that is going on in the world. Why should I want to know when God already knows? So I don't think that is God's will for me to spend the night. And sometimes I spend too long and by the time I come up out of it, I'm already late for my first meeting. I know that's not God's gift for me to be distracted in that way around the thing that makes me think poorly about the rest of the world. I know that's not God's will. I find God's will from my sheroes, in my heroes. But you know, they've got flaws, too. But celebrating Women's History Month, I can find God's will. But by remembering all the wonderful women that have gone on before me. And that's wonderful. But what they do may not be what God calls me to do. I can find God's will from from prophets and apostles, and that's wonderful. But as we talked on yesterday, the Old Testament is one thing, and yet the New is another voice. And so I decided to look at the only true one who knew God's will, who knows that, who continues to propagate God's will in this world, and that is Jesus Christ. So in 2016, I went to Jerusalem and I had an amazing opportunity to go to the Garden of Testimony. As a matter of fact, I brought this beautiful dress in Jerusalem, and when I knew that I was going to talk about the will of God, what other outfit could I pull out of the closet? But the one that reminded me of that moment where I understood something about God's will. So here in the Garden of God, simply as we sat there, we saw olive trees that were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years old. As a matter of fact, they tried to convince us that that was the olive tree that Jesus leaned against. But it was so amazing. I could believe it. The trees had so many nuts and twists and turns. We could hear anxiety. We could hear the angst of Jesus in the garden of this many just by looking at the nuts in those olive trees. And so Jesus says, Not my will, but thy will be done. And then I began to think about the life of Christ. You know, they wanted him to come and be the ruler over Jerusalem. They wanted him to be the king of the Jews. They wanted him to strike down the Roman Empire. But that was not God's will. They wanted him to do an eye for an eye tooth for to prove that was not God, but they wanted him to hate their enemies. But that was not the will of Christ. Jesus says, Love your enemies. They wanted him to dismiss people who were flawed and simple. But Jesus does not. He embraces, He heals, He delivers, He touches even the leper who others have othered so much that they dehumanize them and dismiss them from their idea of who was human. Jesus says, We're all human. Jesus says that people at the border are humans. Jesus has people who commit crimes yet are human. Jesus says that people who have different perspective than you are human Watch what you say about them. But when you speak of them, you speak of me. Jesus says, Not the will of my flesh, but thy will be done. Jesus says, Lord, I love Denise, but I really don't want to die for her like this. But Jesus then says, What if it is your will? I will love her so much that I will go for the cross, for I offer myself as a living sacrifice. I turn away from the way of this world that is not exemplary of the will of God. And I conform, I transform. Rather, I change to the power of the cross. To have the mind of Christ is not what the words that we might have, the mind of Christ. That we must be humble, that we might know that we called to lift people up higher than ourselves, to recall, to forgive. Yes. 70 times 70 that we're called to ask, How may I help you to call to serve for those who need a voice were called to do mercy, to be just to walk humbly before our God were called to be incarnate out of the very essence of Christ, recalled that when we serve at this table, that we remember it not because it's a merely a ritual, but we remember it so that when we go out, we are the life of Christ is remembered in us that we might not be acceptable, good and perfect will of God. And even as the church is in this moment trying to discern what's next for us, let us make sure that we are not consumed by all of the difficult stories we've experienced in our church community. Make sure that we're not confused about all of the arguments that we've had, make sure that we're not consumed by all of the things and ways in which we've tried to address issues, make sure that we're not consumed by the worst of ourselves. Let us be consumed by the best of our which is acceptable and perfect and goodwill of God. God, What is your world for our church? And while we celebrate our yesterday, we know that God's will is not the same yesterday as it is today. God's will has to be something new and fresh and life giving gospel has to be like that. Star Wars like that, Star Trek where it takes us where no one has ever known before the will of God. How is restoring is vital, is hopeful, is fun, is exciting. It's hard, but it's not hard on me. It's not easy, but it's rewarding. And when I think about these things, it changes the way I think. And when it changes the way I think, it changes the way I behave, it changes what I do. And so because I'm not perfect seven days a week, I no longer pick up my phone, maybe one or two, and I'm working on that, but I don't pick up my phone anymore and scroll all of the bad news. But I get up and pray. Now, that's not to say I don't look at the news because I do, but I'd rather look at it through God's lens, through the lens of this unsuitable God to the lens of this God who has our riches and has all knowledge to the lens of this God whose judgments are unsuitable. So if I look through that lens, what I read does not upset me. I just didn't see God. How are you going to deal with that? And that is anything that I can do God to be a part of what you're doing. Yes. When I change the trajectory of my thinking, no is not the first thing on my mind, but rather yes. God. And my confession becomes God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. Whosoever believed it. Then God shall have life everlasting, shall not perish. That life comes from God and that it is abundant. I don't think scarcity, but I think the text, which becomes a text of hope forever and ever and ever. And so I hope, like me, you are trying to change the trajectory of your thinking. Is there anybody that that has had that bad habit besides me now right. Can I pray for us? Can I pray for us? Most gracious God, we do. Thank you so much for your presence in this place that we desire so much for you to lead us, for you to guide us. We decide. We desire so much for you to saturate the very essence of our being. We desire someone to look up to you, to transform into the very likeness of Jesus, the Christ. We desire so much for God, for you to change us in ways Lord God that helps us to be better, helps to help one another, to be better. And God, we know that in order for that to happen, we have to change how we think. So first of God, we must change how we think about ourselves so we no longer as we come confessing before you, God, we need you. We confess that we need to be compassionate, that we thirst after you. We confess that we don't have all the answers. We compare so God, that we are hurting. We confess or guide, that we have pain. We can to God, that we're wounded. We confess to God that we have done some things that we're not proud of. We come personal. God, that we've not always been the way we should have been in this place, in our homes, on our jobs, at the grocery store, even in our car. We confessed before you God, and then Lord God, we thank you for your word that says that when we confess that you cleanse us and you make us blameless, that you caused the Lord God to allow the light of Christ to shine in us. And so God, we pray that you would direct us to the we can walk in that light, that beautiful, beautiful light that we can be Lord God, sons and daughters. We can be like that holy nation look at acceptable in your psyche. But we can be, Oh, God, conduits for your marvels like to shine through that We can be, Oh, God, men and women of God who people are drawn to because they want to experience the peace in the Lebanon joy that we have. Remind us, Lord God, of our story and you remind us so God of our calls to serve and to live. Remind us of God of the joys that we've experienced in this place together. Remind us so God, that you have greater joy for us. But Jesus says, and I think He still speaks these things to us, greater things shall you do than I help us. So, God, to know that you've called us to do greater things in the generations before us. The Veil. God might be proud. We trust you with God, but the spread. Knowing that this prayer continues on and on and on. And yet God in our Amen, we say amen because we agree. Bridges is in the Blessed, the Holy and in the matters name of Jesus Christ. Let us say amen together. Amen.

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