Summary: At the core of finding life is the life building truth of Jesus who transforms my life for the great life.

The Great Life: Finding Life

June 22-23, 2002

Matthew 10:37-39 (New International Version)

37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross a nd follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

INTRODUCTION: This is the Gospel of our Lord?

When we finish reading the gospel lesson, the reader will say, “This is the Gospel of our Lord.” And the congregation responds, “Praise to you, O Christ.”

There are some Sundays, and this would be one of them, where I think instead of saying, “This is the Gospel of our Lord and ending with a period, it would be more accurate to use a question mark, “This is the Gospel of our Lord?”

I am glad these verses weren’t for last Sunday on Father’s day. Talking about family division might deal with the dysfunctional family issues of our day, but does not sound like gospel or good news to our ears. Yet in these difficult verses from Jesus where he says things like to save your life you must lose it, there is good news.

Jesus is not trying to shock us, he seeks to save us. The issue isn’t tolerance, it is the truth of what ultimately makes the great life. He invites to discover the core of finding life and at the core are 3 life building truths in Matthew 10:38-39.

The Core of Finding Life

LIFE BUILDING TRUTH 1. CENTER my life on God as priority number 1 in my life. Jesus says in Matthew 10:39, If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. -- (Msg)

According to research commissioned by the Weather Channel, 1 in 5 viewers of the Weather Channel watches for at least 3 hours at a sitting. The company calls these people "weather-involved." Can you imagine that? I mean, if you watch the Weather Channel three hours a day, you need to get a life!

Jesus says if anything comes between you and God, we need to get back to the core of life the center of life. This means worship. This means God as priority #1. Most Christians understand this, and so Satan comes in with a sneak attack. We know we should worship, and he throws the bait of worry right at us, and we so easily bite into it and worry.

When worry becomes the center of life or even when it attacks on the fringes, we are in trouble. When worry replaces worship or even shifts our worship, God is knocked off-center in our lives, and there is trouble ahead. How can we keep God in the center, especially when worry comes? Look at Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6-7, 6Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. -- (Msg)

Pastor Peterson and I are both committed to leading people to worship God in their daily lives. Pastor Peterson was telling me one day that when he was driving this guy around Chicago, the man just broke in worship and praise to the Lord, singing songs of praise. I thought that was great, and then told him when I used to drive people around Chicago, they would break out in prayer.

Folks, what’s guiding your life – worship of God or worries of life? And so the question to ask ourselves is What do I want to be the center of my life? ________________________

Jesus’ challenges us to center our lives on God as priority #1.

LIFE BUILDING TRUTH 2. COMMIT to get to love more than got to love. I saw a Peanuts cartoon with Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, "I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!"

Charlie Brown says, "But I thought you had inner peace."

Lucy replies, "I do have inner peace. But I still have outer obnoxiousness" And are those the ones, the people with outer obnoxiousness that are the most difficult to love?

We understand God’s call to love other people, and often we see that as duty that I’ve got to do. Similar motivation for flossing your teeth, paying your taxes, and taking your vitamins. It’s something you know you have to do, but you really aren’t excited about it. It’s more duty than delight. And we are challenged by Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:38, If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. -- (Msg)

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