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November 30, 2020 12:00 pm
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Clusters connection to show all about having conversation surrounding life ministry was a quick link your friends at the network and welcome to everybody who are listening right now here in the Truth Network were always so grateful for all of our listeners and want to send out a special thank all of you for joining us this holiday.
Christmas season here across its fellowship and I want to personally invite you if you do not have a home church.
If you're looking for a place to connect and plug-in.
This Christmas I want to check out Crossroads.org for more information about how you can join in with the were doing throughout the month of December here across its fellowship first joint special is even talking about here lately, you know that what's going on the world around us has been very much a disruption for the last almost boy it's going almost a year. Can you believe that almost your last March, everything, shifted and changed and I think at first everybody, felt like it was an interruption.
And hey, I think as a pastor I thought that by Easter this past Easter that we be back to someone of norm and here we are now in mid-December going into Christmas and wow what a year there's been this is a disruption.
My friends and disruption simply means that things are probably can go back quite the same way as they were before this not really a bad thing because I think that it gives the church an opportunity whether it's Crossroads or your church or you as the church to make an impact in our world. Maybe like we haven't done so before you nothing for churches for pastors and for a baby a lot of view listening. We relied on programs or the church to fulfill the great commission. Nothing wrong with programs. Nothing wrong with the church building. Of course, but I wonder if we've lost sight in who were supposed to be as relates to how were supposed to reach the world around us. I been thinking a lot about that as the world has so much need right now and its ever-growing every single day and were seeing the world spin more and more chaos every single day.
How wonderful it is to be the church, the bride of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus who can actually deliver a positive grace filled mercy filled relevant salvation repented message to the world around us, but I think sometimes we get our own way. Recently I preach the message that I titled the problem with religion and the power of a relationship that's an old saying we all know that's be true is not about religion it's about a relationship, but I wonder what would happen church and talking to you as the church.
If we truly would lead with the relationship we have with Jesus first and then you know and then we can follow that up with all the other things but lead out of love and lead out of humility and lead to grace basely lead the way Jesus would have led. I think right now as we look at the world around us and listen. Christmas season is a wonderful time to introduce Jesus the people.
Let's face it, everybody is singing Christmas songs. By this point, you might be tired of Christmas songs, but here's the reality.
Here's the beauty of the world whether they want to or not.
Everywhere you go you cannot escape Christmas songs. Not all of them are about Santa or know about the reindeer or just sing and you know about some bills somewhere but there's a lot of it about the truth of who Jesus is and I think what opportunity you and I have right now to reach into a hurting hurting world. So I want to take you to a recent message again.
I entitled the problem with religion and the power of relationship. The first want to thank our sponsor and you can join. Listen to this quick word from our sponsor and will jump right into the message. Perhaps you've asked yourself this question. Are you running the business or is the business running you. How might your teams grow. If your teams are driving the business forward.
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How do we now take this hope for the world.
We've identified that the world needs a church like you the world is a church like Crossroads. So now we go into the world resentment. How do we actually handle the obstacles of what's going on so ever Bibles which in turn acts chapter 17 were to be in verses 2232. This is now as the Gospels being preached and Paul now is out and he's evangelizing spreading the good news, and he runs into something pretty amazing in his response to the religious people and the religion that he sees is such a beautiful example of model sorghum model. Paul's response the people he speaking to an acceptor 17. The first one is simply this.
The first point we just all agree that religion is broken.
Religion is broken now again grant I did say race relationship is broken or the server that churches are broken or denominations are broken.
But religion is broken.
Now watch this verse 22 says so Paul standing in the midst of the error pages. This Collins is colonnade with all the statues work as were the people atomic, they were debating they would discuss different things including science and religion and politics in life and Paul's going there. Paul's a brilliant man is a brilliant theologian. He goes there and he simply says he says men of Athens and just imagine you're watching this and you're here with me that this whole room is filled and there's colonnades there statues everywhere is in Athens as men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious now. So a complement. By the way, it was a sight complement them and how religious they were his just simply noting you are pretty religious, you got this religion thing down and a and is and explain this in just a moment is as for as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship objects of your worship is think about that for a moment, all the things that people wore spring all the different things that you identify as their hope has maybe even their goddesses.
I also found an altar with this inscription to the unknown God. What therefore you worship as unknown.
This I proclaim to you, so just a quick snapshot.
Paul walks into their pages where they all discussed the things of the times there statues and altars that are dedicated to all the known gods every nose just in case I miss any of them right there there make sure their bases are covered. Worship this God in this god of this kind is got any case we miss any work is gonna make one for the unknown God and others.
These people are just make sure all their bases are covered because they actually didn't know the one true God. Come on this and this was happening the world.
Every has their own altars and all the stuff that they worship without actually knowing the one true God. That is the answer to everything that they're facing a life so you might be having. Maybe your altars, altar of your finances in your job. Maybe it's your family.
Maybe it's your own skill set, maybe right now it's the altar of politics, whatever that altar is that you are putting your hope in Alma say the same thing to you that Paul said those people listen to make that unknown God known to you today. Here is the problem with religion… Address some of the problems because were seeing it happen and at times if were not careful.
The religious part of us might come up and trump that relationship. Part is again the goal is relationship.
There is a problem with religion. The first one is that it becomes AI have to mentality instead of and I get to mentality. I have to have to go to church. I have to be nice have to be kind have to read my Bible. I have to give financially right is so religion, just gives a checklist is just what we do is who we are versus not tonight. I actually gets to join God in my generosity actually gets to join him in giving of what he's already given me back I get to join God in hope I get to join God and being kind because is also the night is have to do actually want to be kind actually want to live my life with empathy and kindness and gentleness actually get to participate in life and offer somebody hope. I actually get to go to church tonight. I get so volunteer I get to help somebody else see there's there's two different sides that religion just makes it I I have to I just I have to go because as well as raise the do, it's who I am at your parents do it. It's what were supposed to do on a Sunday source was there at Christmas time we we have to go participate now that that's religion to the side of agates exit. Join us and here's thing what happens. The problem religion is that it actually removes the relationship which removes personal responsibility, the danger of this religion trapped the problem with religion is that it it removes my personal responsibility because it takes the relation about and so the relationship is out. My personal responsibility is just checking off the boxes just as is, do what I think I have to do as opposed to know that I actually have to own this I I'm personally responsible as a follower of Jesus, to spread the good news of the gospel as a follower of Jesus. I I am convicted and have responsibility to go and so witness in the be a witness.
I have the responsibility and I get to be part of giving financially of my time of my effort in my skill set. That's all part of who I am.
But if we hold it at an arms length every kind removes that personal responsibility are you responsible for your neighbor. Are you responsible are you your brother's keeper as it says in Scripture.
Are you responsible for your workplace. While the answers, yes, there's a personal responsibility that you and I have two proclaim the good news of Jesus the promise religion is this is that it is, it's absolutely easy to manipulate religion and people who have been manipulating religion since the Old Testament will been manipulating religion and manipulating who God is and can be for their own personal gain or for an organizational game and if were not careful.
Again, we could take our knowledge of God and this knowledge of religion and we can start to turn it and twisted to make it sound and feel well just how we want to be which leads Gahanna in the next little pointer that is that truth becomes relevant instead of grounded in Scripture. Truth becomes what is truth to you and see that's what religion does it take that personal responsibility to take that relationship out and it kind of just turns and says well what is true to you. If we look in Scripture we see what Scripture says is that truly you are or such as, relative to what's happening right is relative truth as opposed to putting truth in the person of Jesus sutures. Here's the thing when it comes religion that you and I we have an opportunity and may I even say a responsibility and a calling to make the unknown God known why what what I just see my from a what a great opportunity. We all have right now right here to make this unknown God is. The world is scrambling and maybe that's your neighbors and maybe the people in your own household are at your job or your school, wherever it is, there are people just scrambling looking for an answer and so they're trying to put their answer in who gets voted into the trying to put their answer in their own job in their own security in their scrambling trying to just makes sense of it all, because right now we just all agree right now. Common sense is a very common right now and were to see in so many random things that don't make sense. Whether things about COBIT about politics or about racism about moral justices and all these things you look out there so many different views and opinions. A lot of them just don't make sense at all. And people are just gravitating to whatever is true to them as opposed to was actually true in Scripture soon. I have an opportunity of calling. What a great time in our lifetime to look at the world and look at that person is next year to see him I'm in a give you the solution. I'm a tell you the answer. What you been looking for is not found in all these other things and this God that might seem unknown to you.
Let me make him known is that not our calling is that not what we are called to do that now with the early church went out to do as the early church were following that the road that led to all these other cultures and all these other countries and they went in making this unknown Jesus known to them. Jesus was saving people's lives and many people come to know Jesus, I believe, and that will happen today.
I think what's happening right now is that this world is setting itself up for a great revival and a great awakening that happens when you and I actually believe in who we worship was is a second point about the problem. Religion and the second point answer the question with that with the answer that God is not far from you is a great reminder. If we look and say okay religion is broken, we see that and here's why. But the answer is that God is actually not that far from you LOL Paul, he's walking these people through his verse 24 says the God who made the world and everything in it being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man. Of course Paul is speaking this in somewhat of a colony temple area made by man. You imagine Paula Gorelick this in the God who made everything you see this world and everything in this world who made you he made me doesn't live in some stone statue. He doesn't live in some templates made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind. Life and breath and everything. Verse 26 says, and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth course notes tying in the story of Jesus having determined allotted periods in the boundaries of their dwelling place. Verse 27 says that they should seek God and perhaps find their way towards him and find actually love that little verse there. Paul is describing everything you say we say the same thing was everything you see here all that you see has been created by God who loves you who see review and he is in and through all things that we see and quite honestly, you can find your way to him.
Here's the reason why the last part of verse 27, yet he is actually not far from each one of us and then Paul using poets of their own time goes on and says, for in him we live and we movably have our being even this summer your own poets have said, and he begins the quotes of their own poets, for we are indeed his offspring being then God's offspring. We ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone an image formed by the art and the imagination of man.
I love Paul's response again you got a picture in the setting of all is his pride socket is pointing to all these stone images and all the wealth that there is there in Athens and is point all that say listen, God is not live in a the stuff that you made.
You did not imagine God you cannot create an faction. This God to your own likeness in your own being. This is a guy that's been and always has been. He is the guy that created everything you see here in him and I love Paul uses note he uses the wording of their time in others what they were actually writing beautifully about about all these other guys pulse and that you you even written about this in him we move and we have our being. So answer question will quickly wise and at times we feel so got as far away wise and at times that you and I might feel that this God that can be known and wants to be known by the way is not just that God can be known. He wants to be known wise and at times I feel as though he so far away. And yes, I said I because we all feel that I did every one of us right now. This morning is all from time to time fellows of God's way over here and I'm way over here is a couple reasons. Maybe why just the a gut check moment. Maybe it's because our attention has been drawn away from God and onto our problems. So instead of following God and looking at him for the answer, we start to look at what we can do in our own imagination and what we can create and what we can solve ourselves or look at and how big the problems are that were facing right now. We can look at this world around us and say well there so many problems and they seem so big and we start focusing on the big problems instead of on a bigger, all-knowing, all-powerful God and so maybe it's because our attention. We feel distant from God because our attention is no longer on him and worshiping him and said it's it's on these problems that were facing in this. What happens when that happens.
Now with that happens, we human size God we take this God that is infinite.
This God that is all-knowing, all-powerful, this God that is everywhere all the time that is always been this guy that can create everything in the universe that we see just by speaking it into existence right you get the picture got three powerful is pretty awesome. And yet we take this powerful, all awesome God we make him just our size, we view them as if he just one of us limited in his power limited in this knowledge limited in his capabilities and astounds Emily human size God we in a sense limit God's reach is that because God can't reach is not because God can't perform miracles. It's how we talked about last week that perhaps were not seeing miracles of the time, perhaps not seeing God move in powerful ways because we his churches stop believing and saying in the name of Jesus. There is power there is healing there is deliverance there is freedom. Maybe it's because we have so I've human size and may God really really small.
Another reason why I think at times we feel the guys far away is because we've allowed our emotions to dictate our theology.
We allow how we feel.
Currently right now about all that were seeing in the world will how we feel about people that we know and respect we love how we feel about ourselves and even about God dictate now the theology of Scripture. In other words, we have a Scripture that says what is right and what is wrong with Scripture says that this is how you should live and what Jesus can offer you and we can stand on that and believe that what happens when somebody that you love and respect use that differently to happens when I carefully allow the emotions of how we feel toward somebody to know such a question, whether or not our theology is right always say that this is the way we should live and we should walk in it and you could pick up but any topic you want you could pick in this category that God said I'm so's to live my life this way. Some of the love and respect is choosing to live life this way and because of our emotional connection to them. It allows us to have theology drifts and we look in the world around us and we see the world and the religion of the world, possibly changing the game change in the theology. Again, this is why was so important last week that one of her points about what the world needs as a church and people that are in sound doctrine and theology, and fellowship with one another because if we do not have fellowship with each other.
We start to lose ground in our theology and doctrine, and it's on shaky ground, and it starts to shift from under our feet. Then at times when I carefully human size God and we also allow our motions to dictate really truly what we know is true and so that we operate in the postulate says will God. You owe me something because again now. We got kinda bad theology and we got our emotions tied into roommate got smaller. Look at all the problems the world and if were not careful what religion will do and what we will do to ourselves as we will act as this God owes me something that is remind you, maybe table the first time God doesn't owe you anything like the very salvation that God offers us the very gift of grace the got offers a few dozen human owe is that and yet he chose to give it to us really see God at times might not answer your prayers the way you think you should and again we pray we ask God to move in and to do the work and he doesn't answer the way we should then at times we feel as though were far away.
But you know the belief of the time was this and I think this is so true for today. The belief in the time that the gospel being written is that God is as close as your very next breath soever you are dynamite. This might seem a little strange, especially if you're Iraqi read on how it is where we are just remotest just breathe out the scope just just breathe out what is there with just breathe out every breath you take. God is, and that breath that was the police then was the belief of how close God was to but it's true. God is as close as your very next breath was wide. Paul wrote God is not far from you is right there in your moment. He's the one who gave you that breath.
So as we start to see about why we might feel distant from God to be reminded is actually right there with you, even in the middle of the pain and sorrow.
You might be feeling even the middle of the confusion in the anxious and worried that you are so what happened now we take our next breath and we believe that God is right there with us.
The third and final point this morning about the problems religion is have a solution to some of this but also it's a call to your feet it's it's a gut check moment again and that is simply the seven title number three. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is not bliss. In other words, having a head knowledge of God or just knowing about God that is not the answer. Ignorance of God is not bliss, not happiness.
True happiness is found only in action understanding God to degree that you and I have relation with them continue the passage in verse 30 is the times of ignorance God overlooked no words you are bidding at this point because you didn't know, but now you know in the times of ignorance God is overlooked, but now now is commanded all people everywhere to repent God. You had your time of ignorance. You kinda had your time of making man size God and and make all the statues but now God is calling us all to repentance because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world and he will judge the world in righteousness by a man who he has a point of now.
Paul of course is time is not a Jesus and that this man that he has given assurance two by raising him from the dead. Melanie heard of that of the resurrection of the dead, some octave others said we will hear you again about this verse 33 so Paul went out from the myths but some of them actually joined him and believed. Listen, you and I we can no longer act as if we don't know we can no longer act in multiple ways we can be ignorant to what's happening the world around us. We can't just hide her head against the pain and the sorrow and the distractions in the exes and the worry you can you can just hide from covert you can't hide from racial issues. You can't hide from electric election issues.
You can't hide from your own personal issue can be ignorance was having the world around you, but at the same time. You can also be ignorant to what God can actually do to who God actually is a focused too much on the problems the world and your ignorance of the things of God to you for joining and listening to our program today and thinking across fellowship and the Truth Network for making this show possible. You can find out more information about CrossFit scholarship CrossFit Star Trek if the shell has impacted you. We'd love to hear from you. You can contact us at info@CrossFit stop work thank you to C3 Advantage for sponsoring this program. We look forward to having you join us on the next shadow, your success as a leader hinges upon buying from your teams clear and consistent communication from you and strategic delegation. My name Cheryl Scanlon C3 Advantage helps you steward your most valuable resource. Well, improve retention and grow employee engagement and generate higher team and individual ownership.
The success of your organization begins with you and depends on your team go deeper as a leader and watch organization further visit C3advantage.net three Vantage.net