1-1-10-Christian Guidance

May 3, 2007
Lake Geneva, Wi
1-1-10-Christian Guidance

10-Christianity's Helpful Guidance

Now that we have taken a look at the most important resource available to us, to help us improve our "Quality of Life," we can now look at how Christianity can help us.
The message of the Christian religion to us is our human condition of sinfulness, of powerlessness and essential human limitation is not only about a power greater than ourselves but about a God who can save us from our sinful condition.
"You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21)
Satisfying God does not come from the work we do, but from whom we believe.
"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent>" (John 6:29)
As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth he is the reality of all God's promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally.
"I am the way and truth and the life." (John 14:6).
The Christian gospel calls us to believe in Christ as our Lord, and in the sufficiency of his grace for all our needs, for all of life, for our death, and for our salvation. It calls us to put our ultimate trust in him for our salvation and changes in our lives.
Salvation is becoming willing to change asking God's help to change, being forgiven by and forgiving others, forgiving self, seeking to remain honest with self, seeking greater knowledge of God's will and the power to do it, and sharing with others what has been received as a result of the spiritual awakening.
Cardinal Bernardin (a Catholic leader) spoke about a profound spiritual change that took place in his life.
"Now it is no longer, I alone. It is the Lord and I together. Indeed it is my weakness and vulnerability that become my strength because then I no longer pretend that I am in control, but the Lord Jesus."
The gospel's response to the problem of suffering can be summarized in three commands: (1) trust in God's grace, abiding presence, and his promise that all pain can work for good in our life, (2) deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ, (3) bear one another's burdens. The bible and our own healing, meaning, growth, and hope in the midst of pain, brokenness and human limitation. In the spirituality of the gospel, the ultimate is trust in our Lord, committing not only our living but also our dying to him - the resurrected one, full of grace and always with us.
On the cross Jesus exclaimed, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). In life and in death our Lord is the ultimate expression of true spirituality. And to those who confess his name he says, "Follow me."
The word sin is an important word in the Bible, the only word that describes the basic spiritual nature of persons outside the reality and presence of God's grace. It alone describes the inability of humans to let God be God, the inability of humans to fulfill God's moral law of love by perfectly loving God, oneself, and others, the inability to heal our own brokenness or remove our human limitation.
The good news is "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son; that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). The next verse is also essential: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him" (v17). Saving is the personal activity of a God, full of grace, a God of unconditional love. And his name is Jesus, the name above every name. Jesus if the Lord, full of grace.
The gospel of God's grace revealed in Christ is indeed a simple message. Christ himself said, "...anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15). Not childishness, but childlikeness is essential in believing and living the gospel of our Lord. Faith is not so much a matter of knowing as it is believing, trusting, risking, and following.
Matthew 10:12-13 starts on the search for these answers: "As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it...". One of the answers Christ has offered us is that the concept of discipleship enter in to our bodies, minds and emotions. And the second part of this is that these areas be deserving.
Websters New World Dictionary defines discipleship as "a pupil or follower of any teacher or school." One of the first thing that each teacher or school demands of their disciples is the area of trust. Without this both the "disciple" and the school/teacher would be wasting each others time. Christ also demanded this of his disciples as he stated in Matthew 10:29-31.

(Matthew 10:28-31)
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows."
If Jesus called you to participate in a ministry, what do you think he would say to you in light of your own personality and needs?
"We drag ourselves out of bed to go to work expecting to be rewarded by a pay-check. What makes us do these tiresome thankless task?? Why does anyone get out of bed in the morning when it is so much more pleasant to lie drowsily under the warm covers? The force that gets me out of bed is hope. Today's 'me' sacrifices for tomorrows. Mature human beings know how to do this almost as second nature. We didn't get it from nature, though. Our parents and teachers drilled it into us just as we must drill it into our children" (Knowing the Face of God - Tim Stafford).
God wants us to be great and free in heaven and he will show us how to get there.
"God is the living God who has a plan for the world. I am convinced that our ways are guided in other words that we have to discern a call, an occasion" (Father Yves Conger, O. P.-Roman Catholic Theologian).
As part of the growth path, we will be discussing how each individual must take an active part in planning his/her own growth. But a even more important part of growth is how well you are able to follow that plan. Therefore we see that this growth plan must affect our "Heart."
(Jeremiah 31: 31-34) are some of the greatest words in the book of Jeremiah and it points beyond Jeremiah's own troubled time to the day when there would be a new covenant, one that God's people would keep without a teacher to remind them; because it would be written on their hearts.

Christians must never lose all hope. Our belief in Jesus Christ gives us hope for the future.
For thousands of years, using his wit and charm, man had tried to be friends with God. And for thousands of years he had let God down more than he had lifted him up. He's done the very thing he promised he'd never do. It was a fiasco. Even the holiest of the heroes sometimes forgot whose side they were on. Some of the scenarios in the Bible look more like the adventures of Sinbad the sailor than stories for vacation Bible school. Remember these characters?​
Aaron. Right-hand man to Moses. Witness of the plagues. Member of the "Red Sea Riverbed Expedition." Holy priest of God. But if he was so saintly, what is he doing leading the Israelites in fireside aerobics in front of the golden calf?​
The sons of Jacob. The fathers of the tribes of Israel. Great-grandsons of Abraham. Yet, if they were so special, why were they gagging their younger brother and sending him to Egypt?​
David. The man after God's own heart. The King's king. The giant slayer and songwriter. he's also the guy whose glasses got steamy as a result of a bath on a roof. Unfortunately, the water wasn't his, nor was the woman he was watching.​
And Samson. Swooning on Delilah's couch, drunk on the wine, perfume, and soft lights. He's thinking, She's putting on something more comfortable. She's thinking, I know I put those shears in here somewhere.
Adam adorned in fig leaves and stains of forbidden fruit. Moses throwing both a staff and a temper tantrum. King Saul looking into a crystal bail for the will of God. Noah, drunk and naked in his own tent.​
These are the chosen ones of God? This is the royal lineage of the King? These are the ones who were to carry out God's mission?​
It's easy to see the absurdity.​
Why didn't he give up? Why didn't he let the globe spin off its axis?​
Even after generations of people had spit in his face, he still loved them. After a nation of chosen ones had stripped him naked and ripped his incarnated flesh, he still died for them. And even today, after billions have chosen to prostitute themselves before the pimps of power, fame, and wealth, he still waits for them.​
It is inexplicable. It doesn't have a drop of logic nor a thread of rationality.​
And yet, it is that very irrationality that gives the gospel its greatest defense. For only God could love like that.​
(From God Came Near by Max Lucado)​