Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
- TITLE: Revving Up the Reverend
By Noel Mitaxa
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An old Jewish joke came to mind. Asked, “Why do you answer questions with a question?” the rabbi had replied, “So, what’s the matter with a question?”
“This means I’ll be talking about what interests them as well as what interests me, he thought, marking the date and opening his heart for God’s guidance on the session.
On a cold December evening, the lounge room was warmed by wall-to-wall people, a log fire, and a few songs and video clips keeping everyone positive while possibilities and hopes about 2016 wove through their conversations. But then it came time for the questions to begin...
“Can our resolutions nullify God’s will?” asked Helen, serious-faced. “I don’t want to let God down.”
“You’ll grow old before you’ll find where the bible shows God saying, ‘Wow, what a surprise!’ Helen,” replied Kelvin, taking another sip of his coffee. “Our resolutions can shape our faith as we face an unknown future.”
“But pastor, doesn’t God secure our future if we trust him?” countered Alex. “Surely setting resolutions is like telling him we don’t need him!”
“Alex, remember how Jesus summarised the law as loving God with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves?” Kelvin responded. “Love is never static. For his Spirit within keeps integrating our ideas, our attitudes and our actions with his values, his truth, and his timing and wisdom. And the bible is always calling us to respond by choosing his way, so our resolutions focus our responses to his call.
“As for the future, it is not set unchangeably. It’s like when breaking news comes directly from the newsroom, with a wall of screens behind the announcer. Those screens are all running different news items to be selected and edited for future bulletins.
“God sees the full potential of every decision we could make, and his sovereignty enables him to edit those decisions and to work his will into our lives as we keep giving him the final say. Romans 12:1 describes this as being living sacrifices―which results in something that’s way bigger than items that disappear so quickly in a 24/7 news cycle. That something is our discipleship growth, which comes infused with God’s love―his love for us and his love through us to our neighbours and to our wider circles of influence.”
A furrow-browed Jerry put up his hand, “What if we get ahead of God, pastor?”
“Nobody can get ahead of God, Jerry,” said Kelvin with a warm smile. “After all, he invented the time and space dimensions that shape our existence, so they can’t push him around. And though he’s older than time, he’s already into tomorrow – waiting for us. It takes faith to set resolutions beyond our ability to handle them, but as we commit them to God’s grace we can keep growing within our relationship with him. For he wants to help us reach our goals without getting too hard to live with.
“And getting back to television for a moment, God sees us with far deeper resolution than the finest pixel-per-square-inch images of any plasma screens. He sees who we are on the inside; he sees who we can become; and he sees the influence he can have through us.”
Questions kept coming as the evening continued, with Kelvin inviting people to share their insights to broaden the base of the answers; while he took other questions on board for a future sermon series…
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