We are all THE SAME. We all messed up! God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention. You can listen to the podcast of this message by clicking here.
Last week, we talked about our sameness is our identity. Our identity is like clothing. We have the same type clothes. The good news of Jesus is that he brings a new set of clothes. A new identity. Be clothed with Christ. A new identity, a new family name based on the name of Jesus.
Today, I want to talk about HOW that change actually happens. Going from the same ol’ same ol’ me to a transformed, child of God. Different attitude. Different results. Type of me!
We can make all the resolutions about change that we want, however a resolution without a new routine is like a Ferrari without any gas. It looks really good but it will not take you anywhere.
Your resolve won’t change anything that your routine created. Determination alone can’t change conditions that your decisions created. You can’t believe your way out of problems that were created by routines of behavior.
You have been in the same pattern and that is the problem. The problem is the pattern.
There are patterns everywhere! Weather patterns, fashion patterns, seating patterns/parking patterns, daily patterns, weekly patterns, music patterns.
JESUS GIVES US THE TRUE PATTERN OF LIFE
John 15 :1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Remain is the key word in the passage. Remain Remain. Jesus repeats this SAME word. Remain, stay, repeat, same, pattern, stay, remain, repeat, same, pattern. This is a pattern that Jesus is establishing. You will have a pattern in your life and it is all about remaining in Jesus. Abiding in Jesus.
The faith to step out is worthless without the faithfulness to stick it out!
There is a process and purpose. Pain is not pointless if you remain in me. I don’t hate pain, but pointless pain is brutal. Our life bears fruit through purposeful pain.
Our spiritual life produces through a pattern of sowing, waiting, fruitfulness, pruning.
Pruning/testing/trying in the fire. We are pruned so that we can produce again. It is a pattern. Verse 2 – he cuts off every branch! Whoa! That is not the gardener we want to hear about
Jesus is trying to get his disciples to perceive a pattern. He is about to be crucified. He will look like he lost. He is pruned himself. He wants his disciples to know that sometimes life seems random, but there is a pattern. Even, when there is trouble or difficulty, remember the story you are in is not your story, it is God’s story and the pattern is that he wins every time.
Movie – “the way way back” – pacman – a grown man playing pacman and the kid interrupts him.
I wouldn’t normally care, but I’m having the game of my life. I’m on the cherry level.
DUNCAN But, that’s the first level.
GUY Yeah, and I still have one man left. So, like I said, it’s the game of my life. 24.
DUNCAN (smirks) You like Pac Man?
GUY What? It’s a classic! (re: other games) Not into all the bells and whistles, my man. Too much going on.
CLOSE ON Pac Man screen. Pac Man chases a “blinking ghost”, barely devouring it before it changes back.
GUY (CONT’D) See, my mistake is that I get greedy. Going for all the ghosts and fruit instead of just clearing pellets.
DUNCAN You know, there’s a pattern.
GUY Oh, don’t tell me you’re one of those guys. That takes all the challenge out of it. Anybody can learn a pattern.
Just then, the blue-shirted GUYS start to get up, putting up their TRAYS. BLUE-SHIRTED
GUY Owen, we gotta go! We hear the familiar sound of PAC MAN DYING.
OWEN (GUY) Well, so much for the game of my life.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
Realize the pattern. It’s not the world that is the problem, it is the pattern of this world.
If you don’t perceive the pattern of this world, then you will spend your whole life chasing after ghosts and strawberries, and new majors, new friends, new jobs, new cars and or even a life without trouble.
When you perceive God’s pattern, life doesn’t seem as random anymore. Life is not a series of unrelated problems. Everything is a part of the pattern.
2 Timothy 1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Some of you might wonder why we talk about some of the same things over and over. The reason why is THAT MESSAGE is what God is wanting us to abide in.
The Gospel needs to keep thriving.
We can’t disregard the patterns of what has made us what we are. We can’t think we are getting too smart for the old fashioned pattern. Paul says we need to keep the sound pattern of teaching.
Romans 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
Adam was ‘the man’ and he was a bad pattern. He started a pattern of sin.
A child comes into the world with a natural inclination to sin and rebel.
We reproduce what we are. What ever you are as a parent, you are passing down a pattern to your kids. Just like your great grandpaw.
Hebrews 8:5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” 6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
Moses was warned to make the tabernacle exactly what the pattern was. It was modeled after the original in the heavens. Same thing with us! We are to pattern our life after the original Word of God.
It is not complicated. It is not. Peaceful people are those that are following the pattern. Get over yourself, submit to a higher authority (Jesus), live for him, serve others.
Math patterns –In Multiplication the problem is a pattern.
111×6=666 111×6 is problem. But the problem is a pattern. 111, 111, 111, 111, 111, 111 The problem is the pattern. The product is 666 (not the kind of # you want to come up with). If you don’t like the product, you have to change the pattern!
Before you start thinking we were real creative, we completely ripped this idea from Elevation Church in NC. However, we did STEP it up a HUGE notch.
The idea is to show your congregation what it would be like if no volunteers served at your church. When people arrive at ‘No Show Sunday’ they have no idea what is going on. It was extremely important for us to keep this a big secret. The first clue they get is that there are no folks in the parking lot to help them park. There are no greeters at the door, no greeters anyway. The children’s building was locked with a sign that said, “All kids will be joining us in the service today.” (This is where we differed from Elevation. They offered children’s ministry on their No Show Sunday)
When people arrived into the sanctuary, there were a few lights on the stage (very basic), all the screens were off. I think we had a stack of worship guides on a side table. People could find them if they looked around.
Once church started, our worship leader went to the keyboard and a drummer started playing. They led us in 3 or 4 songs. She even taught a new song (without words on the screens or printed guide with words). After worship, I went to the stage and spoke. I clued everyone in to what was happening. We told everyone, “If you guys can sit nice and tight during the sermon, everyone gets FREE ice cream after church.”
At the end of the service, people filled out a card where they could commit to 4 months of serving in one of our ministries. They gave their offering in baskets at the door as they left.
Here are our conclusions:
- It was a huge success. People loved it.
- Our volunteers were HONORED and felt appreciated.
- Having kids in the service was not as distracting as we thought. We supplied crayons and coloring paper in the pockets of several seats on each row.
- We had a TON of volunteers sign up
- The worship music part of the service was actually awesome. God didn’t need all the hype. People learned words the old fashioned way. People stepped up and engaged in worship. This is not what we were aiming for, but it was a great lesson for us all.
- The chaos was awesome. The confusion on people’s faces was worth it! It was a great palate cleansing for our church. I do recommend making sure volunteers that have to plan during the week (teachers) know early. No need in surprising them at last minute. We did surprise all other volunteers and simply said, “You don’t have to volunteer today.” It was funny to see naturally friendly people being forced to not be friendly and greet people. So awkward.
- I recommend it in Mid-August when crowds haven’t fully returned from summer and it is great prep for the fall.