Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lifeshapes - the Triangle

Last week we began to look at the balanced life that is needed for authentic discipleship.
We saw how work and rest were as equally as important
God has given us work to do but he also called us to rest –
I guess part of being human is that we are involved in the act of creation through our work but also in recreation of ourselves body soul and spirit as we rest, reflect on God’s work and wait on him.
At the end of Matthews gospel he tells the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations – that is work
But the next action we see the disciples doing is going up to an upper room where they wait for the Holy Spirit SLIDE
Work and rest.
Create and recreate

Were continuing to look at the balanced life today – in particular the balance in relationships

In Genesis 1:26 SLIDE
Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…
I guess that fact that we are made to create and recreate are a way in that image is fleshed out in us
Just as on the seventh day God rested from the work of creation so God has made us with that same rhythm in how we operate…
But there is more to that image than just how we work rest and play

The God we are created in is trinity – Father Son and Spirit – three persons but of one substance
For those who were here last week you’d probably remember this icon that I used during communion
Remember I said that icons were not paintings of reality but windows to the mystery of God – and how they use everyday figures in a manner that portrays the reality of God.
Nothing is by chance every brush stroke has meaning
The colour blue which is the base rob colour for the three figures reflects the common nature – but the outer colours of the robs help us understand the different out workings of God
Namely as
God the Father
God the Son and
God the Holy Spirit
Within the God head there is relationship
One of the ways in which people are beginning to recognise that the image of God work it’s way out in us is that we are built for relationship – we are built to be in community
From the earliest days of human existence humans have formed themselves into relational groups that mutually support each other – the village, the tribe.
But that relationship is not just about people it’s also how we relate to God too.

In Jesus we see this relationship lived out to the Max –
He demonstrates 3 relational dimension of his life–
Luke 6:12-19 SLIDE
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
In Luke 6 Jesus modelled the following relationships SLIDE
• UP to his Father

• IN with his close friends

• OUT to people not in the community

This brings us to our next shape, the triangle
Each point reflects something of the relationship

Firstly he related to god the Father in an upward dimension UP
Again and again we have Jesus drawing away to be with the father in rest, prayer, worship and solitude
But Jesus relationship also had an inward dimension IN
He related intimately with the people around him the disciples was a model of the first cell group – they were family he would talk through concerns with them share with them
And finally Jesus also modelled an outward dimension OUT
He ministered to the crowd – he had compassion on the crowd he wasn’t just concerned with the inner circle – but when ever there was a need he gave of himself to meet that need
Jesus modelled not only the balanced life of work and rest but of healthy 3 dimensional relationships
It was God calls us to do also SLIDE
Micah 6:8
Ask the question, “What does the Lord require of you?”
Answer, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”

Three dimensions in text
Do justly (what is right for others) – OUT – witness and service - MISSION
Love Mercy – IN –loving others - COMMUNITY
Walk Humbly – UP – submission to God – WORSHIP/PRAYER

Here is the thing I have seen time and again people, churches, youth ministries, Children’s ministries, and cell groups tend to do two dimensions well. And often fail with the third – which leaves many thinking is their more – is that it, is this is all my Christian faith is about? Well the simple answer is yes there is more – for you there is another dimension to your existence – but you’re probably going to need to work at it.

As I said the Natural human tendency to do two well – which means we fail to reflect God and we get frustrated.
Look at it like a ring road with three sets of traffic lights SLIDE
Traffic moves smoothly if they are all on green – but as soon as one is red or the lights are out of sink with each other you have traffic jams – you get flustered – you cease to grow in your faith and in fact you probably stagnate.
Community fuels Mission
Mission fuels worship.
Worship fuels Community

Important for individuals – Zoe - UP, Jon - IN
But it’s equally as important for Churches
THE BARREL growth principle SLIDE
Water sinks to the level of the lowest hole
We will only grow as much as our weakest aspect

Jesus had three dimensions to his life.
An upwards relationship with God his Father,
An inward relationship with his disciples
And an outward relationship with the world around him.
We need to have a focus of all three to fulfil our purpose and identity and make life whole.
I hope you can see that in terms of your faith you are probably struggling in one are
So how do you overcome – change?

Maybe you need put the Triangle in light of the circle
Throw it into the learning circle – maybe this is a Kairos moment for you
Observe – Worship Sucked
Reflect – No Fuel to do the other stuff – yet we have great musicians
Discuss – Where is the blockage coming from? Well probably from me – worship wasn’t my thing so as so often happens in leadership it isn’t the group’s thing either – whether they like it or not
Plan – We need to introduce new leaders into the worship, I need to be come a worshipper
Account – met regularly with people to talk worship
Act – We worshipped - TOGEHER
It took off we went form being a two dimensional group to a group whose worship fuelled mission whose mission fuelled community whose community fuelled worship and people grew in their faith.

Here at nativity we are hopefully addressing some of these short comings seeing where the traffic lights are and over the coming months – and I think we have already begun we’ll challenge those blockage – hopefully for us as a Church but hopefully also for us as individuals

If we are going to call ourselves disciples we need to
Love as Jesus loved – Up dimension
Live as Jesus lived – In dimension
Do as Jesus did – Out Dimension

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