Summary: Wherever Jesus went, he tried to connect to people, especially, the hurting, the sick, the needy, the despised and the lonely so that they then might be connected to God. The same is true for us. At the heart of following Jess is you and me having connect
John 1: 35-42
Perhaps one of the best movies ever made was Forrest Gump. It was creative, well-put together, thought-provoking, emotionally heart-tugging. I learned some profound things from Forrest Gump. The first is that “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Second is stupid is as stupid does. Stupid has nothing to do with your IQ and everything to do with your discernment and decision-making ability and many times that comes down to just plain common sense. I’m reminded of a fraternity brother William Nakleh. William was brilliant. He took and excelled at so many Advanced Placement classes in high school that by the time he entered Tulane, he was already mid way through his sophmore year. In 1985 when Hurricane Juan was coming toward the mouth of the Mississippi and suddenly veared west, William decided he wanted to go see a hurricane. He drove right into the path of the storm, lost control of his car, running off I-10, hitting a fence and then killing a cow and totaling his car. The third lesson I learned from Forrest Gump is that I don’t have to work so hard on the endings of my sermon. When I’m done, I can just say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
At the end of the movie, there’s a riveting scene when Forrest’s wife, Jennie, who had made a lot of unwise choices in her life, dies at the age of 35. Forrest is standing at her grave. (Run clip) “Do we have a destiny or are we all just floating around kind of accidental like, like a feather on a breeze?” That’s a question everyone on this planet has to come to grips with. There are a lot of people who just show up on this earth kind of accidental like, their life is like a feather on a breeze which just bounces from one relationship to another or one thing to another with no real rhyme or reason. And basically everything in between is really just nothing. If that is true, there really is no destiny. There is no purpose in this life. And as a result, those people are kind of just stuck in life. On the Kenai Peninsula along the Cook Inlet, there’s a “Keep Out” sign along what looks like a beautiful beach. But it’s not. It’s glacial silt which is like quick sand. A few years ago there was a couple who was honeymooning and riding ATV’s. They were driving all over the place and the wife ignored the Keep Out signs. When she got off the ATV, she sank down to her knees. At first, the husband thought it was funny but he stopped laughing when people along the road started yelling and waving for him to get out. They called for help and by the time the firemen arrived she had sunk down to her thighs. They tried using pressure hoses but that failed. She was now waist high in the stuff. They even brought in a helicopter to pull her out and that failed until finally the tide came back in and she drowned. Too many people are just stuck in a life like it’s accidental and they’re sinking even lower until they’re stuck and can’t get out. It may be a life that’s focused on themselves, their pleasure or their happiness. Or maybe it’s a life built on mice things: a nice home or a nice car or a nice job. But regardless, they’re stuck.
The Good News is there is a God who can rescue you from that stuckness, an incredible and loving God who can pull you out of anything, anywhere, if you’re willing. God’s got a purpose and destiny for you. “For I know I have plans for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11 Most of us stumble just thinking about how to recognize God’s plan for our lives. How many of you feel like you have a clear understanding of God’s vision for your life? But discovering God’s plan for your life is less about finding God’s will than it is about following His example in Jesus. Jesus was all about a connecting lifestyle. Wherever Jesus went, he tried to connect to people, especially, the hurting, the sick, the needy, the despised and the lonely. Jesus connected with the 12 disciples, fishermen and tax collectors, by calling them to come and follow him. He connected with the sick when he healed a man with leprosy, a paralytic who was lowered in through a hole torn in the roof and a woman, who had been ill for 13 years, when she touched his robe. He reached out to Jairus and his sick daughter during their time of need. He healed the daughter of a Greek Syrophoenician woman. He connected to people by offering them forgiveness when He encountered the adultress who was about to be stoned and when He spoke healing words to the woman at the well. Wherever Jesus went, he connected to the people around him so that they then might be connected to God. The same is true for us: we are to be about “Connecting diverse communities to a lifestyle devoted to Jesus.” At the heart of that is you and me having connecting lifestyles. And that may mean going beyond our comfort zones and outside our circle of friends.