So last night, as you know, I decided to turn in early; what I didn’t mention was that I decided in the last minute to put my phone far away from my bedside, and instead of counting on the magic of downloaded YouTube videos to get me to sleep, I decided to break in a book by TH White – The Once And Future King.
I had a mild headache while I was settling in, and a couple of words in, I tried looking at the bedside drawer for some White Flower to apply to my temples, only to see some red-tinted shades I purchased so long ago, which they say helps with getting the right rest in (I don’t know, I remember hearing that it conditions the eyes right so I get to the right sleep rhythm faster).
I guess it all worked, because after a few pages, I found myself needing to re-read paragraphs, and eventually, I fell asleep.
After waking up a couple odd times (11pm, 2am, 6am, and then 7am) I finally got out of bed, and instead of making a beeline for the phone, I decided to do some actual meditation, at least to my understanding. So what I did was to sit tall, and to inhale for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts, for 30 repetitions. After this I read a little from Job 22 – can’t remember what I picked up exactly, then I did 20 more repetitions of the same.
Can’t say I felt exponentially better or anything, but I’m just glad I did it. Happy, more or less, after all that. I did my usual stretching routine, and it was only after all this that I opened the phone.
It’s funny, because as I went into one screen after another, and one app and program and webpage after another, I literally felt unproductive – it’s like I knew I was rationalizing all the time I had with these devices when I knew I could do better.
I was aware that I needed to meet up with my team in the afternoon to do their recordings to be ready for tomorrow, so I decided to try to do my recording for my message this morning.
And I got that done, basing it on what I typed last January 6. There was just one problem; I wasn’t satisfied with what I produced. It wasn’t that I said bad stuff, but I just knew I could do better.
I knew I could do better by way of readying virtual flash cards, with ready topics to cover in sequence in between takes… and here’s where I discovered that I could do better – not only in my presentation, but even deeper than that, in the message I’d like to present.
In the preparation of the said flash cards and topics, I thought it was necessary to introduce parts from Scripture: Matthew 24:4-14, and 1 John 4:10-16. When I said I could do better in my presentation and message, I meant that I could do better in my opening salvo for this quarter of 2022.
Good afternoon, thank worship team
We’re recorded because I’m feeling under the weather
Recently, we’ve been placed under Alert Level 3, meaning a maximum of
30% indoor venue capacity for the fully vaccinated
Recap of Last Week’s Message – 2022, take a look at Psalm 22
Parallel, connection between Psalm 22 and Christ’s Crucifixion
A deeper perspective on what could have been going through Christ’s mind
1st Half of Psalm 22 – Alone, Condemned, Surrounded, Bleeding, Broken, Thirsty, Hopeless
2nd Half of Psalm 22 – Praise the Lord, o my soul; Praise the Lord, you congregation, for God will save and satisfy me and my posterity!
Recognize the pain, but be overwhelmed by Christ
2022 will be overwhelming.
Joseph Prince’s Vision – 2022 is the year of Rest and Acceleration
We can try to accelerate on our own but we will fail.
If we rest in Christ, then acceleration will happen.
2022 is overwhelming, because even when we rest, we accelerate.
In recognition of this overwhelming year, I have thought it proper for us to talk on three themes in these coming quarters leading to our Anniversary this coming September.
These themes are as follows: Practical Love, Tactical Grace, and Strategic Peace.
For the first quarter of 2022, we will focus on Practical Love. Together we shall all explore God’s love – from multiple perspectives, and multiple points of view.
I have no doubt that we will all come to the common agreement that this true Love is an overwhelming love, one that overflows in and through us as individuals, not only in our words, but in all we do. Practical Love.
For the second quarter of 2022, we fill focus on Tactical Grace; coming out of Holy Week and into Pentecost, we will be speaking on how the Grace of God was present and crucial in the establishment of the body of Christ, or the church.
Finally, for the third quarter of 2022, we will place our focus on Strategic Peace; a couple of months in, considering how our country has, at this point, struggled with more than 2 years of COVID, and we as a people have chosen our leaders, it is certainly peace that we need for us to establish our strategies, for ourselves, our families, and now, also for the rest of the world.
“Pastor Brent, we just talked about love in the Gospel in Ten Words. We know that we are loved. Why are we circling back to it?”
New International Version
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
First of all, trivia, Matthew 24:14 was the very first verse I preached on, last July 2011. My Dad was still there too.
Second, a disclaimer. While it is easy for me to go through each of these verses and say something like, ‘See, look, the end is near’, I maintain that nobody can ever know when the end is…
…but I will point out verse 10: many of us are turning away from the faith, being exhausted by religion. Many of us are hating each other. This guy hates that guy because he isn’t vaccinated. This guy talks behind this guy’s back because he’s voting for something else this coming May.
The hate is only amplified by the world’s continued use of social media, and eventually the fear and anxiety becomes so prevalent that something, ANYTHING that causes comfort, no matter how temporary, and no matter how much it costs to our being, will be welcomed with open arms.
That’s why a good deal of people get scammed, is because they’re willing to risk what they have, if only to have temporary release from the relentless projections of fear and hopelessness.
Christ goes on to say that whoever endures to the end will be saved.
Here, I can easily go ahead and circle back to Psalm 22, and have us focusing on God, who saves us. “I can say it’s easy to endure! Look to God!”
But I’d rather point us here:
1 John 4:10-16
New International Version
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Friends, the love we share, the love I testify to you, and the love we show to each other, is a practical love. It’s a practical love in that it is necessary for for to keep coming back to it. It’s a necessary love.
Amidst all the hate we see online and face to face, the love we have from God through Christ is what is necessary for the world to see. It’s like the norm for us to be overwhelming each other… but it’s necessary, REVOLUTIONARY for us to choose, not to be overtaken by the events of today, but to be overwhelmed by the timeless love of God, given to us through Jesus Christ.
I shared this on Social Media, and I find it fitting for me to share it here, to close:
If your problem is overthinking, then overthink on what is infinite.
Overthink on the infinite love of God.
Overthink on Christ and His finished work.