Welcome to the MondayMorningReview Online. The goal here is to connect the power of Sunday morning to the reality of Monday morning. What do you think?
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38
I’ve been chasing my boys from baseball game to baseball game for the last 3 weeks. It has been an absolute blast — and I’m developing a real taste for the overpriced cold cheese on stale chips they sale as nachos.
One of the sights that I have grown accustomed to watching is the kids in the outfield as they run up to catch a fly ball – they will come up on it with their glove in the air and have the ball fly just over their glove and land behind them. So I tried to coach my boy on catching pop flies the other day, I dug into my memory and found myself giving the same instruction that was drilled into my head as a young ball player. When the ball goes up – your first step is back.
Looking straight up in the air and trying to find a little round ball in the midst of all of the lights can be a dizzying experience – and that ball is deceptive. And so to gain perspective, to gather your bearings, and to keep from chasing a ball to the fence, when the ball goes up – your first step is back.
That is a principle that applies to more than just baseball. It applies to life. I’m not saying that we run away from the challenges of life, but it is often important for us to take a step back. Gain perspective. Gather our bearings. In fact, there are some events in life that can only be understood from a backward perspective.
A paradox is a truth that consists of two contradictory ideas. Jesus often taught using paradox.
- If you want to be first, then you must be…
- If you want to save you life, then you must…
The problem we face in the Body of Christ is that many times we find ourselves only living one side of the paradox, and not embracing it’s contradiction as equally valid. So let’s look at three backward aspects of life in the Kingdom of God.
The first paradox is found in Luke 6:
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Here’s the paradox: Whatever you want to receive in life you must first give.
- I just want to be heard. Then listen.
- I just want to be loved. Then love.
- I just want to be able to pay the bills. Then you give.
When we decide to just take what we want, we acquire it illegally, or out of God’s timing and what could have been a blessing ends up tasting bitter.
When we give what we want in life, we become a magnet to attract the blessing we are releasing.
The Second Paradox is in Ecclesiastes 11:1 (NIV)
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
The second key principle is: Bread floats in water.
You hear that and your immediate response is, “no it don’t.”
And my intellectual response is, “yes it do.”
No it don’t — Yes it do.
No it don’t — Yes it do.
We could get stuck here forever.
Now, I realize that bread shouldn’t float on water. It should get all funky and dissolve, sink, or get eaten, but the truth of the Kingdom is that bread floats on water.
And we don’t’ look to what is most logical to make our decisions. We look to what is most biblical.
The third paradox is found in Matthew 13:33 (NIV)
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Here is the third truth: Little is huge in the Kingdom.
It’s the story of the Bible -
- it’s the little boy takes down the big giant
- it’s the little army that routes Midianites
- it’s the little river that heals the Syrian general
- it’s the little baby that saves the big world from it’s sins
There is no prayer; there is no person; there is no gift that is too small in the Kingdom of God
I am amazed at the power of the insignificant. The insignificant separates champions from contenders.
Water boils at 212 degrees. It takes 212 of those little buddies to change the physical property of water. 211 won’t do it. One degree separates hot from boiling. One degree.
Many of us watched on television last summer as the fastest men in the world lined up to race 100 meters. And we stood in amazement as Usain Bolt set a new world record in the 100 meter sprint, but did you know that only 3/10 of a second separated first from last place on that day. 3/10 is nothing – we waste 3/10 all the time. But on that day 3/10 set a winner apart from a loser.
The Tour de France is a 2210 mile race on a bicycle. In 2008 the winner of that 2000 mile race was determined by 58 seconds. Less than a minute over 2000 miles determined a champion. If you think that’s close, in 1989, I remember watching as a boy as Greg Lemand came from behind to win the Tour de France by 8 seconds. 8 seconds over 2000 miles.
Or how about the 1992 Indianapolis 500? Men and women driving 500 miles at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour – and that year Al Unser Jr. won by .04 seconds. Four hundredths of a second.
Those are the numbers that factor into racing history, but what are the numbers that factor into the history of the Kingdom of God? What are the numbers that factor into the history of your life?
The almosts… The not quites… The could’ves… The should’ves… And the would’ves.
My friends, it is sometimes hard to see from this perspective. Sometimes it seems backward and confusing, but there is truth in the Kingdom of God that applies to our lives today. It is a Truth that isn’t meant to be just talked about, but lived.
- Whatever you want to receive in life you must first give.
- Bread floats in water.
- Little is huge in the Kingdom.
If there is one word I would use to describe my King. It is that He is generous. And when we, as His followers, live generously in every area of life, we are displaying the character of the one we live for.
Will you measure a large life unto yourself today?
Looking for that crazy backward song Pastor Eric played before yesterday’s message?
How’s your Facebook? www.facebook.com is an amazing way to keep up with friends and track down that guy you sat by in second grade. Come friend me (Pastor Eric von Atzigen)!
You can also join the EFC Facebook Group and keep up with what’s going on at EFC.
You Heard it at EFC
Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang? Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself. You can find them for purchase on itunes.
“Forever and a Day” by Anthony Skinner
“You Gave Your Life Away” by Paul Baloche and Kathryn Scott
“Dwelling Places” by Miriam Webster
On The Radar
Are you a new member at EFC? Are you wanting to be? Come to our Membership Dessert on Tuesday, April 28th, 7 pm at the church to find out all about our church vision, government, and how we operate. Childcare will be provided, and we’ll even feed you a yummy dessert! For more info, check out the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.
Summer Calendars are filling up. Find the latest info for Youth and Children’s Summer Camp at www.efcsweetwater.com.
Hear Pastor Eric’s message from last Sunday at http://efcsweetwater.com/index.php?nid=11648&s=gl
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