Summary: It's tempting to prioritize things over people.
Continuing to this new year by focusing on how our lives can be joining God in the present.
Jesus called us into life with him.... an the life he lived he now continues in us
And a quality we see in him is how he lives in a constant relationship to what his Father in heaven (eternal realm) was doing on earth.
As we've seen.... not bound by the past. When Jesus first declared his ministry...his purpose....they said "He's just a Galilean."
People will want to say: "You're just the guy next door.... in the cubicle or office down the aisle...." You can fill in the blank of how you might perceive your past. But Jesus knew it wasn't about his natural past...he was participating in something much bigger...he was joining his Father who was working all the time...and you and I have to do the same.
And the future....do we have to get that settled and secure before we can focus on the present? We want to have the future all figured out. Jesus said "You can't." We can be faithful but we can't be in control of all events. We have to entrust our lives to the Father...and His goodness.
> God is calling us to focus on His purpose in the present.
There is freedom in that. If we spend our lives bound in a past that doesn't control the present....we are never free to join God. When we try to control a future that we don't have ultimate control over....we are going to miss the moments that really matter.
Jesus wasn't disconnected from the past or future as he walked through life here on earth....he simply knew that the Father was always working and that his purpose was at hand in the moment by moment present.
Jesus was engaged in the present moment... because he knew that His Father was working all the time.
Staying connected to God's purpose is what gives life...life.
• It makes the difference between existing and living.
• It makes the difference between a new year that is just another new year ...and a new year in which every moment is new.
When Jesus came to the final days on earth.....he told the Father he had completed the work he had given him to do....by glorifying him. (John 17:4)
He had one central purpose: to glorify his Father in heaver....God the Father.
Didn't say many of the things we feel will validate our lives with meaning.
Didn't say, "by bearing children.....building a monument of wealth....by gaining recognition."
> By bringing PEOPLE into life with God.
(We tend to define ourselves by "what we do and by that we mean our jobs or roles. That certainly is a big part of our lives. But to God it is a context not a valuation.)
How do we stay tuned in to God's purposes in life?
God want us to realize that there is a general frequency range that God is on....it's PEOPLE.
God is moving....at work....always involves people.
I. Joining God in the present will be found in the intersection of the love of God and the love of PEOPLE.
When asked what the greatest command of all was… what really mattered most to God… what was it that we really needed to get right… Jesus said, I can do that....if you get this...you get what life is all about.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength… love your neighbor as yourself. There are no commands more important than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NCV)
A lot can be said about his response...about each of these two commands. But one thing should initially strike us. He did not answer with one. They are inseparable.
You cannot love a personal creator without loving those he personally created and loves.
You don't have to like my kids....but if you don't have any interest or intent to love them...any relationship of love we might seek is limited at best.
The intersection of these two helps us join God in every present moment.
Some of us will tend to focus on loving God and separate it from loving people. We may... religious... yet God has expressed how offensive such self centered religious life can be (Isaiah 58, Mark 10:42-45, Matthew 5:2-24).
And some of us may tend to serve people apart from serving God. Some of us have to consider whether we have made people the gods of life. Have we been defined and driven by their affirmation and approval?
Jesus tells us that it is the love of God and the love of those around us...we will find God at work in the intersecting.
John 3:16 (NIV)
"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.