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Spaghetti Map Thinking - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
September 17, 2021 8:00 am

Spaghetti Map Thinking - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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September 17, 2021 8:00 am

In a world with no idea of what to do with the rapidly drifting culture, we must keep our eys focused on the Lord above.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. As believers in Jesus Christ, I think we asked the wrong question. The question we keep asking ourselves is this one. What in the world is going on? Like, what's going on out there? And the truth of the matter is, as a believer in Jesus Christ, it really doesn't matter. What's going on is going on. But that shouldn't change us very much at all. There are two questions we should ask.

The first one is this. How can I live with confidence in a chaotic world? And secondly, how can I impact this, what I call, disintegrating culture? How do I impact it or how do I serve the Lord to impact it? Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt. Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana.

Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's word meets our world. This past week, Velma and I were talking and what we were expressing was just how confused we are about what we think about almost everything anymore. I think the last year and a half in our country has been about as many confusing thoughts as you could put together. From the disputed election to the critical race theory, the funding of the police, COVID-19, Delta strain, gender identification. All this has kind of happened.

And, you know, it's really hard to sort of focus on how you think through this. And all of a sudden she just hit it right on the head. And she said, you know what? I feel like one of those spaghetti maps that they use to forecast hurricanes. And you know what?

I thought that was perfect. That you know what they're like. You see them. They got like 20 squiggly lines on them. You know, and what's funny is if it's early on, they'll let you know in the local weather that the hurricane could hit anywhere between the east coast of Florida and Bronzeville, Texas.

You know, and then you've got to figure out which squiggly line you want, you know, out of all these lines. But they're all over the map. And to show you how that even works, on Thursday I was watching the National Weather Channel.

And Henri, who is just now approaching New England, you know, right now they showed the nurse spaghetti maps that there's a 300 mile variance on Thursday as to where this could possibly go. Which simply means at that stage when they use those, they don't know what they're talking about. Like they really don't know. These are just projections that people make. And I thought, wow, that is the reality of living today in America. That's the way we think. We just think like spaghetti maps. We have just think of all the different things you've heard people say.

Just take one subject, COVID and vaccines. Just think of all the things you've ever heard. It's just like they're spaghetti maps.

They're everywhere from that perspective. And we end up getting really caught up in it. And so the first thing I want to tell you this morning is this. This is just my opinion. It's probably going to get worse. That's what I think.

It's going to get worse. So I want you to open your Bibles to First Thessalonians Chapter five and the first three verses. First Thessalonians Chapter five and the first three verses. The apostle Paul writing to the Church of Thessalonica. And in Chapter five, he says this.

Now, as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. And while they are saying peace and safety, then destruction will come upon them suddenly, like labor pains upon a woman with child. And they will not escape.

Now, what I find interesting about that, as Paul is talking to the church, he uses the exact same expression that Jesus uses in the Olivet Discourse when he's talking to his disciples about the future of the nation, Israel. But he uses the idea of labor pains. He says that's just the beginning of labor pains. And if you're a lady and you've had children, you know exactly what that is, labor pains. And you know how it works. Starts out not a lot of pain and then a lot of time and then another pain. But it's a little more and then a little less time, a little more pain, a little less time.

And it goes on and on. And he said that's the way it's going to be in the end. So the question would be is, is that starting to happen now?

And the answer is I have no idea, but it's possible. And the reason I would say that is when you read prophecy in the Bible, you end up coming to this conclusion. Whatever happens to the world that sets up the stage for the Antichrist to come is worldwide. Something's happening worldwide. And if you look at the history of the world, almost nothing had ever happened was worldwide.

Almost nothing. I mean, even World War I and World War II weren't really world wars. They were European wars. The Americans got involved and the Japanese got involved, but the whole world.

You see, they were closer. But think of just three things that have happened in the last 25 years. Think of terrorism.

Wow. Where does terrorism occur? Anywhere. Who has to deal with it?

Everyone. You have acts of terrorism in Africa and Asia and Europe, the United States. I mean, there's terrorism.

How about this? What about global warming? Affecting everybody. The whole world's going to be affected.

And by the way, if you're going to go spaghetti map thinking, you get really upset by this. I was reading about 10 days ago in the USA Today and apparently a meteorologist somewhere. I don't know where he's from, but he said that as they've done research, they believe that we're very, very close to permanently eliminating ocean currents. And he said, and if we do eliminate those, like the Gulf Stream, he said, if we eliminate the Gulf Stream, all of Europe and half of the United States will go into a colder period than it ever has in its history.

Well, there's a good thought. You know, I mean, we're worried about global warming and then we're worried about how many people are going to pour into the South. It's so cold in the north. So global warming is an issue.

Then think of Covid. Is it a local issue? No. Is it everywhere? Yes. Everybody in the world is facing it together.

So at the end times, the setting for the end of crisis, the whole world is in crisis and he's the guy that's able to solve it. So is it possible this is the beginning of labor pains? Sure. Do I know? No idea.

You know, I have no idea at all, but it certainly is possible. So when you think of those and then you think of our country, of how different it is now than it was not long ago, I read an expression that really describes our culture from a sociologist. He called it the he calls our country the disintegrating culture.

And he makes a case that America is disintegrating as a culture faster than almost any culture ever has. It's just right in front of us. You see it happening in every possible way that you can imagine. And what ends up happening to us is this. We ask the wrong question. As believers in Jesus Christ, I think we ask the wrong question.

The question we keep asking ourselves is this one. What in the world is going on? Like what's going on out there? And the truth of the matter is, as a believer in Jesus Christ, it really doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter what's going on. What's going on is going on.

You know, but that shouldn't change us very much at all. There are two questions we should ask. You see, I think there's two questions that we should be able to ask.

The first one is this. How can I live with confidence in a chaotic world? How do I live with confidence in a chaotic world? And secondly, how can I impact this what I'd call disintegrating culture? How do I impact it or how do I serve the Lord to impact it? And those are the questions I want to answer this morning. So I'd like you now to turn to Colossians chapter three. Just a book to your left. Colossians chapter three. And we'll start with the first question.

How can I live with confidence in a chaotic world? The apostle Paul has just finished the first two chapters. And so the first word of chapter three is a favorite word of Paul's.

Therefore. And what he's done is typical of Paul. In the first two chapters, he tells you who you are in Jesus Christ. He tells you what Jesus Christ has done for you. He tells you what it means to be a believer. Therefore.

Now, what are you going to do about it? That's the way Paul writes virtually every epistle. So he starts out and he says, Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ. That word, if. As typical Americans, when we see the word if, we always say if means maybe yes, maybe no. But that's not Greek.

Greek never does that. This is a first class condition of the word if should be translated since. It means if and it's true. Second class condition in Greek, if and it's not true.

Third class condition, the way we use it might be true, might not be true. This is if and it's true. So he says, Since you have been raised up with Christ. Paul loves that. Paul constantly reminds you and I of the relationship that you have and I have with Christ. He constantly talks about this.

He said the identification is so strong and we don't think about it very often at all. How strongly am I identified with Christ? In the book of Romans, Paul goes so far as to say this. When Christ when Christ was crucified, you were crucified. Then he said, When Christ was buried, you were buried. When Christ raised in the dead, you were raised in the dead. In fact, he gets the Ephesians and he said, I'll take it even further. Christ now is seated in the heavenlies and you're seated in the heavenlies and you're seated here in church and he's seated here. The identification is so strong that you have with Christ.

That's his point. If you have been raised up with Christ, he said, OK, I'm going to give you now two commandments. They're imperative mood. It means it's a commandment. Keep seeking the things above.

That's what he says. You need to keep seeking the things above. It's a present tense. What's that mean? You have to continually keep seeking. That means you have to seek it today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. And until you go to be with the Lord, you have to keep seeking it. You have to think about this every day of your life, that I am seeking the things above. Notice he said the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand.

Wow. Where Christ is seated at the right hand. He said, that's what you have to be doing.

You have to keep on seeking the things above. But we live in a spaghetti map world. That's how we think.

We don't do this. That's not the focus that we have. In fact, when you're in a crisis like we are, what's the world say? Well, psychology says if you have a problem, what do you do? You look within.

That's where the answer is within. An opportunist would say, no, no, you look around to take advantage of whatever situation you're in. An optimist would simply say, you look ahead. It'll get better. A pessimist would just say, look out.

It's going to get worse. What's God say? Look up. You should look up.

That's what he's saying. Keep seeking the things above. You should look up. And I'm not sure at all that's what we're doing as Christians in this culture. It seems we're looking for answers in all the wrong places and not necessarily where the Lord has put it. And notice he says where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Now, if you read your Bible a lot, you know this. Whenever that phrase right hand of God means, it always means this authority. If you sit at the right hand of a king, you have authority. You sit at the right hand of God, you have authority. Jesus has absolute, complete authority.

Let me illustrate it. Hold your place right here and go with me to Ephesians chapter one. Ephesians chapter one.

And verse 18. Again, Paul already tells you in verses one to 17, one of the longest sentences in the Greek text, all the great things God has given you. He said he's given you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

They're all yours. Everything, every spiritual blessing there is, God said, I give it to you. Now he says, though, there's something I wish would happen. He said, I pray.

That's interesting. I pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened. What's he mean? He said, I want you to know how incredibly special you are to God and what he's given you. But I'm not sure you know it at all. So I'm going to pray for you. I would pray, he said, that the eyes of your heart are enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of his calling and what are the riches of the Gloria's inheritance and the saints. I wish you would know who you are. I just wish you'd know that.

I'll pray for it. And I think Paul would tell us the reason I'm praying for it is so many Christians have no idea. They just think I'm a person who believes in Jesus and I got a ticket to heaven when I'm dead. He said, that's not even close. There's so much more to it than that. He said also, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe? I wish you understood the surpassing greatness of the power of God that he's made available to you. He said, that's what I pray for. I would wish you would know the power that you have.

Again, why would he pray for that? Because so many of us don't know. You see, so many of us don't know at all.

In fact, most of us in our thought life spend our entire lives thinking spaghetti maps. I just find out what are they saying on the news? What did they say at work today?

What did my sister-in-law tell me? I'm putting it together. Well, it doesn't work too well that way. God said, these are in accordance with the working of the strength of his might. The only limits that the power of God has for you is the strength of his might. Well, what kind of strength is that?

Unlimited, but watch. Which he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. What kind of power is this? Resurrection power. God said, I want you to know you have resurrection power. That's what God says. Now, have you ever felt that?

Fought that? He said, no, I give you that. That's just one of the blessings I'm going to give you. You've got to understand who stands behind you. You see, this is the way this works. And he goes on and says, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. He said, the power you and I possess is more than the power of the United Nations, the President of the United States. There's more power than that.

They can't compare to this. He said, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in the age of the one to come. He said, it's the power of God in your life. And he says, and he put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him his head over all things to the church. Jesus has absolute total power and he has absolute total authority. That means Christ is in control of everything.

The Bible will say this. Everything that is in heaven is under his authority. Everything that happens on earth is under his authority. He is sovereign. Everything.

The demise of the culture. He's sovereign. Covid. He's sovereign. Terrorist. He's sovereign.

Global warming. He's sovereign. There is nothing in the world happening now or will ever happen in the future that he's not had does not have authority over. You see, that's such a phenomenal thought. But be honest. How often do you ever even think it?

Ever. We don't think about him having that kind of authority. But if we keep seeking the things above and we keep setting our mind on the things above, it should become a reality to us. That's why Paul wrote. Let's go back to Colossians again. Chapter three, this time, verse two.

He says, I'm going to give you the second command right now. Paul says, then set your mind on the things above, not on the things of the earth. So there's the second commandment. You have to set your mind, set your thinking on the things above, not on the things of the earth. Now, just think about your thinking in the last year and a half. Has your thoughts been all heavenly? Or you think about what's going on on earth?

I mean, we've got to be honest here. And by the way, are there a lot of spaghetti map, different opinions of what's going on on earth? They're everywhere. I mean, they're everywhere.

And sadly, they're in the church. There's just thoughts. Everyone has thoughts about everything. And it's confusing.

And it's anxiety producing for many folks. And he's saying in this sense, you and I, my thought life and yours should be this. Just like a compass, what a compass always do, points north. No matter where you take it, points north. No matter where you take me or you, we should point north. Our thoughts should always be to the Lord.

Always. He has all the authority. He has all the power of everything that's going on. So my thoughts should be about him, not about what's going on. I can look at what's going on and I can pray to the Lord, how would you want me to react in this? You say, how do you want me to react in this, Lord?

Because that's the only thing that matters. Because I'm really anxious? How many times do we command in scripture not to worry or be anxious for nothing?

Over and over again. That's the Lord telling you that. And here's your reaction of mine to it. He doesn't know what's going on. He does know what's going on. In fact, he even tells us something about what he'll do with what's going on. All things will work together for your good. I don't feel that.

I don't think that. I mean, what if it hit? I mean, what if it hit us? I got it. See how this works. It covers everything. What if I got the worst prognosis possible?

Because people do. What if he told me I have six weeks to live? The Lord says, wait, I got this. You'll be absent in the body. You'll be present with me in my father's house in many dwelling places. I go and I prepare a place for you that where I am, you will be also. And I'm going to receive you to myself.

See, the last day of your life is going to be the best day of your life for you. Is that what you think? I need a second opinion.

I need to find another doctor. You see, we end up thinking this way. Because the worst thing that could happen to you can't happen to you.

That's the point. You see, that's our faith. And if it's not this, I can tell you something, it's going to be that.

And if it's not now, it's going to be then. So please be at peace with this. That and then is going to happen to you. That happens to everybody. You know, and God says, I got it. I've got this. Just think about me. Just dwell on me.

Not on what's going on. You remember the apostle Paul in Philippians? He was asked a hypothetical question, but he was asked the question. Paul, if you were given the choice. To die today or to live on, what would you choose? And Paul said. I choose to die. What?

Yeah. Why? It's going to be the best day of my life. I'm going to be with the Lord. But notice what he said, then. But for your sake. I'll stay. He said, if God wants me to stay for your sake, I'll be happy to serve him.

But if he wants me home, I'm happy to go home. And the funny part is nothing can change that. Remember the Psalm 139, the idea were fearfully and wonderfully made. Remember, he said, while I was in the womb, God knew every day of my life before I was born. So he knew how long I'd live, when I'd go and be with him. He knew all this. Now, what's going to change that? Am I going to be able to change what God knew?

No. But I should be at peace with what God knew. You see, then I'm not afraid. You see, I'm not afraid and I'm not going to live my life foolishly. I don't mean that.

That's what you're saying. I think what I ought to do is just climb the Mississippi River Bridge and jump off. Because if it's not my day, right? Well, let me say this. It would be your day. Okay?

And you would have been officially died of stupidity. Okay? But I don't mean it in that fatalistic way. I mean, I trust God in this.

And that takes away the anxiety and fears that I feel. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts, or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called That's, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 12:42:48 / 2023-08-22 12:53:00 / 10

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