Fall 2011 Chapel - November 2nd
November 2, 2011
Karaoke, Christ & You
Good morning! This morning I’d like to begin chapel with karaoke. I need fourvolunteers, one from each class. Who will come up here and sing “My Way” with me?
And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way
For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes it was my way
Today I want to look at the fundamental, primary choice of life. I want to use thesong just sung and this passage from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 8 to layout the mostimportant choice of life.
Hear the Word of the Lord:
And Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and onthe way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?”And they told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but still others, oneof the prophets.”
And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said to Him, “Thou art the Christ.”
And He warned them to tell no one about Him.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejectedby the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.
But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
“For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; and whoever loses His life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
“For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Mark 8: 27-38
Don’t you just love how Jesus lays things out with such clarity?
We have a choice.
Live life, as Frank Sinatra, for yourself, My Way.
Live life, following Jesus the Messiah, the Jesus Way.
Listen again to the comparisons and the contrasts in the passage from Mark:
Save your life
And you will lose it
Lose your life
And you will save it
Gain the world
Forfeit your soul
Set your minds on God’s interests
Set your minds on the interests of man
The world in which we live and the culture in which we’ve grown up has warped and abused life’s pleasures and possibilities. We have grown up in a world that taught us to live for self rather than the value of yielding to God’s rule and design.
Let’s turn our attention to John, who identifies the self-absorbed interests of this world;listen to his words from First John 2: 15-17
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If any one loves the world, the love ofthe Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
I John 2: 15-17
The lust of the flesh—Dale Kuehne, last week’s speaker, provided crystal clear commentary on our misguided attempts to use sexuality as the defining element of our humanity.
The lust of the eye—our appetite for things, fueled by a materialist, consumer culture.
The pride of life—the desire and appetite to find fulfillment in the pursuit and acquisition of money, power and prestige.
Beware of this trap.
To serve the appetites of self, is to live in a world where the self-seeking individual is the center of all things. In the “MY WAY” world getting takes the place of giving, so much so that eventually the self-centered individual gets what he’s been pursuing all his life; himself and himself alone. A solitary person, focused on getting, is ultimately unloved because of his inability to genuinely give love.
The MY WAY life goes directly against the true nature and essence of the loving life God intends for us.
You see, if you live only for self there is no love.
For love exists in relationship.
To be loved, I must love.
Because God first loved me I can in turn love God, my self, others.
Think back to the passage from Mark’s gospel. Before I reference the Jesus way, pay attention to Peter’s Way.
Can you identify with this man?
“Who do you say that I am?”
Peter boldly replies:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”
Peter gets it right. It’s clear to him who Jesus is. He is the one. The one they have been waiting for, the Christ, the Messiah.
But then Jesus starts to go into detail, preparing the twelve for what lay ahead, his persecution, death and resurrection.
And pay attention to what Peter does here, even though he believes that Jesus is the Messiah, He doesn’t want to do things the “Jesus way”.
Instead, he takes Jesus aside, and lays out for him the fact that with all these miracles and the growing crowds, they’ve got a good thing going. You’re the Messiah. Act like it. Use your power. In fact, I’ve a few ideas about how I can help you and advise you in using your power. I’d like you to consider doing things “my way”…
“Get behind me, Satan!”
Though Peter believed Jesus was Messiah, he had yet to realize the full weight of Jesus’call. On one level Peter thought he was following Jesus’ way; but in reality, it was a counterfeit version of the Jesus way, for Peter was seeking to use the Messiah for his own way, his purposes. No wonder Jesus said, get behind me, Satan. Peter’s exchange with Jesus highlighted the very “temptation to power” that Jesus dealt with up through His crucifixion. Jesus Himself was called to deny self, take up His cross and follow the will of God the Father.
So let’s consider Jesus and THE CHOICE. Jesus looked at his disciples, and the multitude of people who had yet to earnestly begin following Him and He lays out life’s two paths: MY WAY, JESUS’ WAY.
Jesus was inviting the people into the world God the Father had always intended His children to live in. Jesus’ call was not some last ditch effort to save humanity from itself; this was God’s plan from the beginning.
Jesus spells it out in the clearest of terms:
Take Up Your Cross
Essentially He’s saying, instead of feeding appetites and denying God, He wants us to deny self, control our appetites and choose God. To move from self-rule to God rule.
C.S. Lewis said it this way:
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. . . . Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, Iwill give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” C. S. Lewis
You see, God has designed an interdependent world. Yet we live in a culture that has foisted upon us an independent façade of reality. It isn’t all about me and my way. We need God and we need each other. Life is best lived in relationship with Him and with each other; this is the will of God for our lives.
In our family we have a sign. With one hand you use your thumb and index finger to make a point, with the other hand you make fist and rotate the fist around the point. This is what we do when a member of the family, or someone we’ve met, is acting as if they’re the center of the universe (or at least our family’s solar system).
I tell you this because I think many of us are the children of helicopter parents, folks who hovered and affirmed and instilled in us such a success drive that we have come into our adult lives believing it is all about me:
My life, my career, my goals, my gifts, my friends, my spouse, my children, my money, my things, my success, my plan.
So when we are confronted with THE CHOICE, we’re taken aback, because we thought it was all about us; well not really us, me—my plans, my desires, my path to success. Are you telling me that God wants to take all this from me? Cue the tape, I want to sing “My Way”.
What I am telling you is that God has more in store for you than you can plan for yourself. He’s not going to ask you to leave aside your aptitudes and talents, He gave them to you, but He does want you to use them for Him, His way.
When Jesus says, “deny yourself” He is reminding us that we’re not the center of all things; God is. He’s is calling us to go from being creatures of God, to becoming the sons and daughters of God. (C.S. Lewis)
To deny self is to open ourselves up to God’s rule and reign; to choose to let God do to us, in us and through us, what He has intended to all along—to make us like Christ.
To deny self is to get on the right track; to admit my inability to live a fulfilling life focused only on self, and instead learn of God’s ability, to allow the Lord to be Lord. You see, “everything which really needs to be done in our souls can be done only byGod” (C.S. Lewis)
So, “who do you say Jesus is?” And if you know, if you understand the need for Messiah, are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross, a cross that calls you to learn to live not merely for self but for others, and in so doing become a true follower of Jesus Christ?
My prayer for you is that His way becomes your way.