Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

THE STARTING POINT IS KEY THAT CAN CLOSE YOU IN OR OPEN THE DOOR TO TREASURES OF LIFE

REFLECTIONS;

A man with conviction is hard to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away.

Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point (Leon Festinger et. al).

People cant live with change if there is not a changeless core inside of them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, and what you are about, and what you value (Stephen Covey).

TEXT TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

Luke 19:28-42; Mark 11:1-11, 15-19;Matthew 21:1-16

John 12:12-19

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" NIV

Preparing a sermon for Palm Sunday, I thought of the most appropriate title as being committed to a cause or focused. Jesus Christ was committed to the purpose for which he came. It then dawn to me that even Pharisees were very committed to some cause. The Pharisees were exposed to what Jesus Christ was teaching and doing. They listened to him and witnessed the miracles he performed but instead of joining others in acknowledging him as blessed king of Israel, they were getting indignant, angry. The Pharisees, teachers of the law, chief priests were all disturbed when children acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. Why was it so wrong for the whole world to go after a man who could raise the dead?

Being a crusader for eradication of ignorance in the continent of Africa, the Pharisees response brought out the awareness that it is not just exposure to knowledge that will bring change. It is not even experience of change because those teachers of the law and the Pharisees were exposed to people whose personal testimonies of what Christ had done for them could not be doubted. Why were Pharisees so committed to fighting knowledge that changed people and gave them pleasure, dignity and hope?

The fundamental processes of reasoning of all peoples are essentially the same, but the premises on which such reasoning rests and the basic categories that influence the judgement of different peoples are somewhat different. . . men differ not so much in their reasoning powers as in their starting points. E. Nida The assumptions that people have as they encounter new experiences and information play a big role in influencing their response. The first 12 years of life are critical in belief formation. Those beliefs are like inoculation that make people resistant to any signal that does not agree with what they know. The firm foundation is very important if people are to cope with change for people without a base are swept by any wind of teaching.

The initial perception tends strongly to shape and fix the meaning assigned. Once a meaning is assigned, other information has to fit in or else it is seen as threat. New meaning that would alter that meaning is filtered out or rejected. Learned response from childhood is a liability when it makes people develop elaborate defence mechanism to block pain, suppress emotions and become compulsive perfectionists. People have overwhelming desire to succeed or withdraw and become passive. Such people tend to attack those who do not fit in their pattern of thinking. Such were the Pharisees whose core beliefs locked them and chained them causing such are rot that Jesus Christ referred to them as empty tombs that were whitewashed. People who seem to have it all together but inwardly they are empty, dying for lack of self value and self acceptance. Such could be an eloquent preacher who speaks powerfully about Gods unconditional love and grace of God, yet he is rude, harsh to his family members because he feels that he does not deserve the same grace.

The early life experiences and models infirm people when they provide premise that is insecure. When one is made to believe that they have to perform in order to be acceptable. In such an environment there is lack of objective as the means are elevated in place of the goal. It is better to have a man dead than be raised on the wrong day. The cultural means are more valued than human life and dignity. Why was Jesus fame such a threat to the cultural leaders of his day? Was his teaching revealing pain and melting walls of defences? When light of love and honesty shines in our thoughts of hopelessness, it is often very painful and can make people do everything to block that light.

Christs death and resurrection will be meaningless unless we take some moment to review and reflect on our initial beliefs for we might be blocking ourselves from hearing life saving messages. We can be following Jesus and be in the crowd but we are insecure and lacking sense of purpose. Like Nicodemus who had to go at night and alone to try to understand the new teaching, we need individual reflection. We need to allow Jesus Christ to shine his spirits light on our thoughts, feelings and actions.

In this our continent, we have information that will make us act in ways that will dignify and speak to the infirmed spirits, but our basic assumptions that were formulated when we were young can fight every possibility of removing us from chains. We can continue, preaching, teaching, working, learning in ways that confirm and agree with our deeply embedded fears. Sincerity does not exempt people from being sincerely wrong. Am thinking of a Christian friend of mine who works in a medical institution. The other day she told me how she ensures that no one from her rural home or a fellow Christian needs to queue when she is working in the institution. She told me that she ensures that their files are taken in first. Is that not in teaching with Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers? On the surface that may seem a good act. It is a short term solution that causes more hurt than would have been the case. If we destroy structures the next time another person will be on duty, and we shall be needing the service but will be ignored because the person does not know us. To do good to others is not to use public funds to show favouritism to your relatives and friends. We must think in terms of humanity and the responsibility we have been given. If you think a queue is taking long, come up with solutions that help all those who come to be attended not just trying to appear generous using other peoples resources and at their expense. When Christians who are the light of the world use holy corruption in order to find security and acceptance, the whole country becomes dim. Then attaching blame to the devil and whoever is out there without realising that the map we are using is the problem. You can increase your faith, pray more and enjoy fellowship of others like you, but if the map you used to start the journey is wrong, you are lost.

The beliefs that we acquired when young should be reviewed if we are to say Hosanna to the coming King and be a blessing to one another. Can we join the singer who caught a glimpse of what it is to have basic beliefs renewed by Christ Jesus.

When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small,

Love so amazing so divine, demands my life, my love, my all.

(If it does not rhyme it is because it is from memory)