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Sermon Recap: Security (Luke 12:13-21)

This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series on Jesus on Money.

We live in a culture where a premium is placed on security. The question we need to ask ourselves though is what exactly are we securing? What do we think we can guarantee for the future? What we see is true security is only found in  giving up control to the God who is in control of everything and secures our future by His Son, Jesus.

Our Unsecure Security

In v.13-15, Jesus’ rebukes the interloper for covetousness, which clearly was connected to a desire for security. He was more concerned with his financial future rather than his eternal future. Reality is that most of our efforts with earthly security aren’t all that secure. If anything, our search for peace of mind only brings us more worries. Jesus’ parable reminds us that there is no form of earthly security that can rescue us from death.

Our Insecure Security

Just as we are with money, the more security we have, the more security we need. Our sense of security is all-consuming and relentless. The parable shows that the rich fool is not satisfied with what he has but only sought to make space for more. Ultimately, my definition of what is the right amount of security to have in life is purely subjective and never truly secure.

Our Savior’s Security

By every worldly standard, Jesus was the least secure person in the world, with no home, no wealth, no influence. He gave all this up so we might be recipients of God’s love and protection. Gospel tells us it is acknowledging our inability to secure and protect ourselves that God meets us with Christ and his care. We know we are spiritually secure when we think more about what we can give rather than save, are self-forgetful rather than self-protective, and are no longer worry about our security.

Reflection and Application

  1. In what ways have you tried to secure for yourself and your family a good future?

  2. How much control do you think you have over your own safety and security? Do you ever think you fight God for this?

  3. Is there a point where you think a person has saved too much for the future? What is it?

  4. How does our sense of security become a form of self-righteousness before God? How does it affect our attitude toward others? How does it reveal our own insecurities?

  5. In what ways was Jesus the least secure person ever? Why did he choose to live this way?

  6. Are there ways in which you see your own heart changing as you’ve grown in trusting your safety to God in your own spiritual life? How might placing your security in His hands change your life now?

Walking in the Word 2017 - Luke 13:4-5

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
— Luke 13:5

I was watching primetime TV a couple nights ago when an informercial popped on for miracle water. Some huckster was selling it and abusing the name of God, claiming that a sip of this spring water was enough to change a person's life. It was followed by the testimonies of the misled, claiming that the water had healed them, made them wealthy, or lifted them out of depression. It was disheartening and sad yet a true sign of the times where for any price, people can buy airtime to vomit whatever false message they had.

It's interesting to think that the "spiritual but not religious times" who may subscribe to a karmic existence would watch a commercial like this and scoff. Because ultimately, this health and wealth/name it-claim it false message is karmic at its heart as well. Do this, get that. Avoid it at your own peril. To be angry at these slimeballs and yet turn to your own karmic system is to be wildly inconsistent in how your belief system functions.

Jesus clearly showed our God did not operate with a quid pro quo mentality. The Tower of Siloam did not prove that the victims were worse sinners than others; it only proved that we can't expect the unexpected. Hurricane Katrina doesn't strike land because New Orleans is a den of sin and 9/11 didn't happen because New York has led people spiritually astray. They happen because the consequences sin leaves this whole world plunged in brokenness and darkness. It's not just the laws of thermodynamics and physics that says things fall apart. An honest look in the mirror or an honest word from your spouse will tell you the exact same thing. Karma only works because you're denying these realities.

The Tower of Siloam fell because death comes to all at some point or another. What is in question however is which of those who die will be raised again in the Resurrection of the dead when Christ returns? Who has tasted of new life in Jesus and will see restored perfection on that day of glory? Drinking miracle spring waters from idiot salesmen is settling for far too little and seizing control with no ability to actually wield it. It demands from God that which He does not offer. Our arms are too short to scratch God's back. And our deeds too minuscule to expect Him to scratch ours in return.

Instead, we trust in Christ and the promise that His Father is our Father. That God can make sense of a world which has lost its sense in sin and that He is good, loving, and merciful. That we were created for more than just bigger bank accounts, sunny days, even cures for cancer. But we were created to bring glory to Him, whether it's a tower that falls apart or our lives that do.

Walking in the Word 2017 - Luke 12:22-34

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
— Luke 12:32
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Back in 2009, ads were placed on the sides of buses by atheists that had the following slogan: "There's probably no God. So stop worrying and enjoy your life." It's quite the catchy line. Yet it's not very helpful. 

Have you ever talked to someone who left the house and fears they left the stove on or the garage door open? Aside from hard evidence, how do you attempt to assure them? You might try to get their mind off the doubt by changing the subject. You might tell them that this is something that never happened in the past, why would you do it now. You know what doesn't work? Telling them to stop worrying. Because if you tell someone not to worry, all it does is exacerbate their worry. 

When the stakes are high (as if possibly burning down your house isn't high enough), to tell someone to not only stop worrying but to instead enjoy life can seem a bit trite and in most situations downright cold. "Stop worrying and enjoy life" is horrible consolation for someone who thinks they're next to be laid off or is waiting for a cancer diagnosis. 

So to flippantly expect people to stop worrying about if their lives are actually ruled by a supernatural being more powerful, infinite, sovereign, wise, and omniscient than them who just might care about how they live and given them a purpose for living or realize they're just a pile of atoms and energy, slowly falling apart with no rhyme or reason, aimlessly hurdling through space and time seems callous and unhelpful. 

Frankly, if you're an atheist, you need to be worried. Because you have to make every moment of your life. You need to recoup every second. It needs to all count, it has to matter at every moment because your value, worth, identity are being redeemed and purchased by whatever it is you're shedding blood, sweat, and tears for. It's always on the line, all of it. Even when you party, party hard, party right, party so it's epic and memorable because if it ends up being a lonely night with Netflix and Domino's pizza, you'll probably consider it a fail in light of how hard you worked during the week. You have to carpe diem the heck out of everything you do. But don't worry. Just enjoy it. 

It's been said that worry for the Christian amounts to practical atheism. It makes sense right? If you believe in a God that's in control of all things, then why be overly preoccupied about all the details of life? Understand however that this isn't simply a call to fatalistic living. The Bible isn't telling you to let go and float into nothingness. Instead, we're pointed to Jesus Christ to see that He's won for us all things by His life, death, and resurrection. If God's pleasure is to give me His whole kingdom of heaven and earth and everything in between, then I don't need to fret over any earthly sandcastles I keep trying to build. Unlike the atheist bus ads which tell me not to worry and enjoy life with no place to set my feet firmly on, the gospel tells me to plant two feet firmly in Christ and know that He will never let my feet slip.

When I was a kid and asked for something from my dad, he'd always launch into a short parable about how if we were on a sinking boat together and there were only one life jacket, he'd give it to me. (He's not very good at answering yes/no questions.) He's told me this enough times now where he's mercifully shortened his answers to, "I've already given you my life jacket." It's his way of telling me to not worry and that he'll help or provide or whatever it was I need.

How much more can my Heavenly Father accomplish! How much more can He comfort and assure me that I need not worry! Because He points me to Jesus and says, "I've already given you my life jacket. What more do you need?" 

Walking in the Word 2017 - Luke 8:4-15

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
— Luke 8:15
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It's summer and we've begun to go outside, take our vacations, lounge with friends, and enjoy a slightly slower pace of life. We can dictate so much more of what happens, how it happens, and when it happens. Everybody wants to be out and about, soaking in the sun and re-connecting with people. 

Church attendance dips like crazy during this time of year. This isn't a bad statistic necessarily on its own. People go on vacations with their families or attend weekend weddings, hopefully attending another Sunday services in far-flung locations. Churches generally recognize that and either ramp up programmed activities like crazy with kids camps and all-church picnics to keep families close by or ramp down and let people operate at a slower pace, allowing them to organically connect with others. There's no right or wrong way for a church to respond to this season. 

From a pastoral perspective, our concern isn't whether we provide a ton of options or not enough options for your family to stay connected during the summer. What we care about is that this is the time of year people go into spiritual drought. The extra free time usually turns us inward, focused on our own personal development, our own recreation, our own kingdoms. It's easy to avoid taking the time to do the hard work of caring for the soil of our hearts, cultivating our spiritual lives, and allowing the Word of God to take root in our hearts. Our spiritual disciplines easily get cast aside for beach trips and barbecues. 

When something takes root, it doesn't come out easy. It doesn't get ignored but will always sprout and flower again. God's Word does exactly that but only if the soil is prepared, packed, and watered properly and regularly. Summertime is actually an ideal time to do that. You can take the Word with you anywhere and spend time thinking, praying, and memorizing it. On your long drives to your vacation destinations, getting a tan on the beach, sitting out on the porch on a cool summer night. It's work, sure, but the fruit it bears is wonderful. Take the time in this season to care for your soul by caring for your heart's soil and planting the Word in it.

One other note about this passage to point out. When it comes to sharing the Word with others and talking to them about Jesus, this passage is a real encouragement. Note that the sower doesn't pick and choose where he sows but is promiscuous in sowing seed. He throws it on all surfaces. While this isn't the main point and purpose of the parable, I find it interesting that Jesus doesn't show the sower to be a careful planner. In fact, many people would accuse this sower of being wasteful and unwise. It's a reminder however that our God shows no favoritism and wants His gospel to made known among all, regardless of where they are, what they are, and in what condition they happen to be in. Our call to evangelize is not limited to those that are "prepared" or "ready" or "ripe". We are to proclaim the Good News of Christ to anyone and everyone. The burden for whether the seed takes root in the lives of those who hear is not ours to bear but God's and theirs. As you have opportunity to live life alongside your family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, may you sow the seed of the Word no matter who you come cross!