Not As The World Gives

Life Notes—April 19, 2012

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”  John 14:27 

We live in a competitive society.  We are capable of finding countless ways to separate ourselves from others.  We are male or female; black or brown or red or white; Democrat or Republican; rich or poor; old or young; or…well, you get the idea.  I played in bands as a teenager and we used to scrutinize other bands and seek out things they did poorly.  I work for a company today that compares itself to other companies and measures its worth, at least in part, by how much better we are than others.  It is true in our schools, our families, our circle of friends—even our churches.  In order to build ourselves up, sometimes it seems we must tear someone else down.  That is simply the way of this world, at least according to some. 

Jesus distinguished between realities, but not in a competitive way.  In the passage above he says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”  Jesus distinguishes between his world and ours.  It is confusing because both worlds appear the same.  The sun rises and sets in both worlds.  The rains fall and the flowers bloom in both worlds.  People are born and people die in both worlds.  The difference is not found in the physical characteristics of the worlds, but in the Spirit’s application to the physical realities.  In the verse prior to the one above, Jesus says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit…will teach you everything…”  The difference between the worlds is the presence of the Holy Spirit and the applied knowledge the Spirit brings.  As we learn to turn to the Spirit for wisdom and guidance and perspective our world changes.  But not physically, as some expect.  Rather, our experience changes.  It still rains when we wish it wouldn’t.  People still get sick.  Loved ones die.  But as the knowledge of the Spirit is applied to the world, negative experiences are seen as less-than-pleasant phases in an amazingly beautiful journey. Coloradois a beautiful state, but certain necessary aspects of the journey from easternKansascan be less than thrilling. 

We all desire to be a part of something greater than ourselves, so we seek groups to identify with and belong to.  But it doesn’t have to be at the expense of others.  We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.  Jesus invites us into his world, joining with our Christian brothers and sisters in a love “our world” cannot comprehend. 

Tom’s sermon downtown is “We Believe in the Holy Spirit,” based on John 14:15-18, 25-27.  Life worship begins at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship at 9:00 and 11:00.  His sermon title is “Hunger is not a game: Our Community,” and is based on Isaiah 58:6-10. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  All are one at the foot of the cross.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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