As I continue working on Sunday’s message on, “Does Life have a Purpose?” Maslow’s voice cried out to me from his grave to say some basic needs must be met before man can even consider such lofty thoughts. Indeed missions experience says that some have trouble seeing a need for anything as long as there survival is in question. The eternal may seem inconsequential to an aids infected mother with aids infected children for whom she is having trouble providing enough calories in their diet even to survive. Often on the mission field we satisfy physical needs in order to reach and meet the individual’s spiritual needs. Maslow however would also put safety, belonging, and esteem ahead of the question, “What purpose does my life have?” And certainly asking what purpose God has for man would be last in his list of expressed needs. In 1943, Maslow based his conclusions on the top 1% of his group intellectually with no spiritual consideration at all. Indeed one might perceive an anti-spiritual bias.
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. NKJV
The heart of verse 38 is sometimes translated ‘belly’ and refers to an empty place within man that seemingly only God through the Holy Spirit can fill. Both Augustine and Pascal made reference to the God shaped hole in man’s inner being that only He can fill. The apostle John quotes Jesus as saying that this filling will help satisfy the thirst of others. The direction is from finding purpose that leads us to service. Lord help me to communicate that first the indwelling of the Spirit and then the expression of His power through service is the proper order. Faith first.
Next Sunday's message asks the question, "Does life have a purpose?" The difficulty for me is that it seems that I have always had a purpose in life. It was not always a good one, however. Education was a goal in order to become a doctor. Not a bad goal but one motivated by the desire to escape the hard life of a poor farmer. I saw the respect given to and lifestyle earned by the medical profession and that became my goal. I placed much effort into preparing for the educational challenges ahead saving money for college, working after school and keeping grades up to get me to my goal. Somewhere in Vietnam or after it everything began to seem unimportant and empty. After that time God gave me HIs purpose and life began to have meaning. There is a difference between our goals and God's purpose. God help me to communicate that on Sunday.
Ecclesiastes 1:3 What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun? NKJV
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Tomorrow we begin a Study of Isaiah in my 9:30 Bible Class. I have had the joy of preparing for it this week. Unlike many of the prophets Isaiah was of noble birth and of high standing in the Jerusalem community. He had wealth, position, and education. I suppose one might say he was born of the silver spoon class. That would make his submission to the call of prophet a one of deep devotion to the will of God. Hebrews 11:37 says, “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented…”(NKJV). This gives us a good idea of the reception prophets received in Isaiah’s day. It is also of note that the phrase “sawn in two” is thought to refer to the end of Isaiah’s 50 plus years of ministry. In spite of the prospects before him his only objection was that he was unclean or unfit for ministry. I hope that all who are called to a place of leadership with God’s people feel the same way. Cleansing is available but that lesson is still a few weeks off and I get ahead of myself.
For 35 chapters he preaches a series of sermons with what is to become a familiar pattern. He points out the rebellion of God’s people and the suffering that sin brings and the need for a redeemer even as Job in his book that precedes Isaiah by centuries (Job 19:25 “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;”) The excitement of seeing the redeemer revealed hundreds of years before He was born is a major joy of the study of this wonderful book written by the Holy Spirit through the pen of Isaiah. Join us at Living Word tomorrow at 9:30.
There is something about small town Friday night football in Texas. The national anthem playing at the games always touch me. It is the same with the opening of the rodeo as the riders post the flag of the USA, the anthem is played and everyone stands, many salute or place their hands over their heart. I love my country and have spent a large portion of my life hoping to lead a few to a 2 Chronicles 7:14 place so that God will spare her for another generation. I sometimes feel like Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. “Lord if there are but 10 righteous there will you not spare America?” You may think I am too dramatic, but my country saddens me and I must work and pray that we will have time for my great grandkids to enjoy the country I have loved and served so long.
2 Timothy 4:2New King James Version (NKJV)2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
We are trying something different this fall with the Explore God series. As people have become more isolated than they were in the rural culture I grew up in, it has become necessary to find new ways to fulfill our command to “teach the gospel” while going through this old sinful world. This campaign in the DFW metroplex will have over 300 churches taking part and is a platform that we will use to further obey our Lord’s will. We have home discussion groups with a few brave Living Word members inviting people into their homes as well as following the topic schedule outlined below. I hope all members of Living Word will join together for discussion and bring skeptics to the services as well as Sunday School , Awana and Children’s Church. Join us at 9:30 and 10:30.
The 7 Big Questions Series:
Does Life Have a Purpose? September 13
Is There a God? September 20
Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering? September 27
Is Christianity Too Narrow in Our Culture? October 4
Is Jesus Really God? October 11
Is the Bible Reliable? October 18
Can I Know God Personally? October 25