Pastor Miles was very ill today, but he stopped in to offer some encouragement and excitement after the wonderfully successful Toys for Joy event that just took place. This was an opportunity to unite and show love for our community, and Pastor Miles was touched that there was so much unity displayed. As we have been studying The Lord’s Prayer in the book of Matthew, Pastor Miles reminded us that this has been Jesus’ lesson to us on how to pray, but the actual prayer of Jesus’ own heart is for His followers to be united:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23
He wants us all to be rich in relationship and intimacy with Him, knowing that these eternal treasures far surpass anything we could have on earth.
God’s heart for the Rock Church is that there would be more of Him here and less of us. He wants us all to be rich in relationship and intimacy with Him, knowing that these eternal treasures far surpass anything we could have on earth.
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:22-34
As a trauma chaplain, Pastor Mickey has served many people in crisis over the years. What he has found is that Christian faith is evident in suffering; there is an inexplicable hope for a life to come that surpasses whatever is happening on earth in the moment. You may not always be able to avoid earthly trials, persecution, and poor health, but when you are invested in an eternal kingdom and living for God’s glory and purposes, you can have joy and peace in the midst of suffering.
Many years ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Hooked Up,” about students in a class about traditional relationships offered at Boston College. This class covered covenant relationships, commitment, yielding to one another, and sacrificing for one another and the students reflected, “If only these relationships were real…if only we could experience that kind of commitment, joy, fidelity, and trust…” Instead, this “hooked up” generation experienced relationships of going from person to person, leaving them feeling, “dirty, used, regretful, empty, miserable, disgusted, ashamed, duped, and abused.”
This is a picture of life apart from God because His desire is to give you the kingdom. But if you turn away and believe the lie of doing whatever you want and having it your own way, this leads to emptiness and loneliness.
Pastor Mickey shared some painful experiences from his own life about losing his mother at a young age, and his motherly sister only three years later in a car accident. But his perspective is that experiencing trauma can make you bitter or make you better. Mickey had a natural tendency to help people to comfort them in their pain, so when he became a Christian, he had a clear ministry. But he still had to overcome the fears, insecurity, and anxiety he had built up from being hurt himself.
As people, when we get hurt, we naturally build a wall up around our hearts. We don’t want to feel hurt again, so we don’t want to get close to others or be vulnerable. But this is why Jesus’ words in Luke 12 are so meaningful:
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” V.32
God takes pleasure in protecting us and providing for us. He is trustworthy beyond any brokenness we may have experienced. Our sinful nature causes us to defend ourselves, underestimate the contributions of others, and overestimate our own contributions. But God calls us into a covenant of grace by giving His own Son. When we give up control to Him, we are completely covered by His grace.
Are you holding back with your church community? Or are you still resisting joining a life group or a life class? Pastor Mickey gave us a statistic that about 90% of the people that come in for counseling at the Rock are not in a life group. This is because if you have a community that supports you, you are less likely to feel hopeless and alone!
Pastor Mickey’s challenge for you today is to let Jesus in. Though people may have hurt you in the past, God’s desire is to love and bless you through His Son and His pleasure is to provide for you. Let go of the earthly treasure that only has temporary value and grab hold of the treasure which has eternal value in heaven!