The way most of us are living is just not working.
It's not conducive to human flourishing. It's definitely not conducive to a healthy spirituality.
It's detrimental to hearing the voice of God. And hearing the voice of God is everything!
When you are in a position to discern the voice of God:
- You gain guidance during crucial times when you face crucial decisions
- You feel encouragement when you feel like giving up
- You experience a certain amount of certainty when you begin to doubt
This is what Jesus says:
If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
-Matthew 6:19, 22, 23
Physiognomy: Physical appearance indicates character.
There are families in the same part of Africa that wield the evil eye, whose gazes cause meadows to dry up, trees to wither and infants to perish...who also injure by the evil eye and who kill those at whom they stare for a longer period of time, especially with furious eyes.
-Plinius the Elder
The Hebrews taught that what the eyes shine light upon, what the eyes fix their gaze upon, reveals what is in their heart and will also have deep ramifications of mental health.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
There is a high cost to how we are living and it's not just money.
This series is about: healthy eyes, healthy bodies full of light, healthy souls experiencing shalom peace, human flourishing.
We are fixing our eyes on Jesus, together, that we may know God and experience His presence in our lives!
How do we pursue Jesus?
1. By listening to the language of God
God has gone to great lengths to communicate with you in a way you can comprehend. It's called the Bible!
God’s story of redemption, hope, and ultimate security are all found in Jesus!
If you are seldom in the Word—you can’t possibly know and experience Jesus in your everyday living.
God’s relationship with human beings in the pages of Scripture and throughout history, as well as the very existence of the Bible, gives ample evidence that God guides, instructs, corrects, inspires, encourages, reveals, and more. Inspired writers even call Him, 'The Word.'
Early will I seek thee.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.
The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.
How to begin? No shortcut here.
It's taken me a long time to learn that my daily time with God would pay huge dividends later!
When you feel worthless:
Before you were born, I formed you...
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
When you feel distant:
God is a friend who stays closer than a brother.
When you feel lost:
By grace you have been saved, through faith.
-Ephesians 2:8, 9
When you feel unloved:
Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.
When you feel abandoned:
God will work everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
2. By listening to the language of friends
The language of friends can keep us centered and increase our ability to know Jesus in a way that grants us incredible power over our temptations, emotions, and doubts.
If you are not moving toward Christ, you are moving backward.
Who speaks into your life?
Feeling (experiencing) Jesus comes as a result of a decision to position yourselves in the places where His voice is heard most loudly.
His voice is heard most loudly in the Word of God and the words from mature friends.
Pursuing Jesus involves positioning ourselves around Christian friends who:
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
3. By listening to the language of obedience
When Moses asked for a sign, God did not mention any of these things - Pillar of cloud, fire, manna from heaven, Red Sea! Instead?
And God said, 'I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.'
If you do what I tell you Moses, follow my instructions, so that you know you are in right standing—you will be amazed at how deeply you will feel my presence.
This weekend is a good beginning. Who needs to repent? Who has the courage?
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
We have lost our ability to feel Jesus because we have lost our willingness to obey Him.
4. By listening to the language of Worship
I am convinced more than ever that music has the capacity to strike at the core of our beings in a way that God has designed our beings to respond.
“I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live.”
Worship is not only a powerful apologetic. It is also a primary catalyst for feeling the truth and presence of God!
The words and melodies strike a chord deep within the soul as they connect Creator and Creature to sacred realities!
That day in Rwanda, I felt Jesus that day more than any other day of my life through:
1. The language of the Word—words the Spirit brought to my mind at the right time and the right place.
2. The language of Friends—words when Anastase reminded me that I don’t get to choose which commands to obey. “Does it matter?” Did God tell you to come here or not? Did God not open these doors? No man could do that?”
3. The language of Obedience: Think of what I would have missed without the courage to go forward.
4. The language of Worship: that night the words of the songs sank deep into my spirit and I can still hear the voices of that night on the border of the Congo.