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stew

Life is a process of trading one thing for another. We’re all given a certain amount of time and ability which we exchange to gain other things, such as money, food, shelter, relationships, leisure, and pleasure.

We also can trade our identity – who we really are – who God says we are – for other things and if you turn to Genesis 25:29-34 we can read about a shocking exchange between Esau and Jacob that illustrates the danger of trading away who we are.

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a])31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

 

This has to be the worst negotiation in history.  Esau’s birthright meant that not only would he get DOUBLE inheritance but it would mean that he would become head of the family and all the benefits that brings.  It is the door to wealth and prestige.  It is the key to future opportunities and provision.  It was designed to be an incredible blessing for his life and his family, onwards even past his lifetime down the generations.

And he swaps it, he exchanges it for a bowl of lentil stew.

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.  How dumb can you be and still breathe?  What was he thinking?

The reality was that he wasn’t thinking.  He was just doing.  Just living.  Just breathing.  Verse 34 says Esau despised his birthright. This verse reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.  He lived for the here and now. “Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?”

His birthright should have been something he valued and protected and lived in the reality of – instead Esau trades it away for a bowl of lentil stew.

We point fingers and scorn Esau.  We shake our heads dismayed at the choice he has made.

But we all like Esau have gone astray and we have all played the trade game and exchanged our identity for lesser things.  We have all traded things that we should value in our lives for things that are of the same value as lentil stew.

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Only Christ truly defines you. Measure every other voice by His.

 

 

"Remember who you are. Don’t compromise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live that truth."

~ Lysa TerKeurst

 

 

 

 

 

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blend in

the world is moving and morphing at warp speed and the meaningless, dead-end chatter and enemy-crafted banter is piling up online like rush hour traffic.  Christ is being discarded.  biblical values are being marginalized more and more.  influence is the currency and increasingly, Christians are broke.  if you choose to roam aimlessly and blend into the online world, some pay perish – eternally.  @stickyjesus

 

blend.  blend in.

 

ugh. 

when i read that, distaste rose up in my heart!

i dont want to blend in!

 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:1-2 MSG, AMP, NKJV

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Bright red.  The hue of bullseyes.  The exact opposite of camouflage.  That’s the colour Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the red baron, chose to paint his warplane during WW1.  This was not the irrational decision of a self-destructive mind however, but rather the calculated intimidation of a seasoned, deadly hunter.  The Red Baron did not want to hide.  He wanted to be a beacon of arrogance in the sky.  A challenge.  A dare.

I read this at the Blenehim Airport.  It is on a sign advertising the Air War Museum thing there.

But it hit me in my spirit and I could feel God speaking to me right there, in the airport.

To wear bright red on a battlefield means you are declaring who you are that you refuse to back down and hide.   You’ve picked your side and you’re not afraid to declare it.

You are a Christian.  You are forgiven.  You are righteous.  You are a child of God.  You are loved.  You are saved.  You are redeemed.  You are the light of the world.   You are called.  You are chosen.  You are a servant of God.  You are filled with the Holy Spirit.  You are witnesses empowered by God.  You are ministers of reconciliation. You are ambassadors.  You are supernatural.  You are Christians.

Lets see how this plays out in real life.  Please turn to Acts 3.  Acts 3.  This attitude, this no camouflage living is demonstrated and lived by the disciples.

Lets put this in context.  50 days before Pentecost Jesus was arrested as a criminal and convicted and condemned and executed.  3 days later he rose again but the movement he begun with his teaching and his life still was viewed by the religious authorities as criminal and treasonous.  Before getting saved the apostle paul was hired by the jewish leaders to purge Christianity from Israel – by killing followers of Jesus.  It was unsettled crazy dangerous times.  It was all brand new.  Jesus had really JUST died and JUST rose and the Holy Spirit had JUST fallen and the church was JUST born.   Acts 1 Jesus asends to heaven.  Acts 2 is Pentecost – the Holy Spirit falls, tounges of fire, speaking in tounges, miracles, salvations, revival.

So in this brand new dangerous time we see how the disciples responded – and we should take a leaf out of their book and make this real in our lives.

Acts 3:1-10

The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in. The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!” The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.    At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.

Matthew 5:14-16  says You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

The disciples let their light shine.  They did not hide their light under the bed.  They went out into their community and shined hard and bright.   Did you notice verse 1 – it was the normal everyday usual time of prayer – their everyday day ordinary lives.   We don’t just let our light shine between 10 and 12 and 5 and 6 on Sundays (and 7.30-10 on Wednesday nights….)  we be Christians, real christians everyday and every moment.  We don’t turn it off like a lightswitch…

And just so you know – Jesus isn’t talking about a this little light of mine –  though in saying that, the light from even one match in the darkness can be seen for miles away….

Light will always penetrate darkness. It is a law of nature. It is the same way in the spiritual realm. When the light of God shows up, it literally shows up, and the darkness flees before it. It must, because that’s what darkness does when light comes. Simple.

Don’t hide your light.  Don’t hide The Light of the World, Jesus Christ!  Camouflage is for sissies.

The disciples had a choice.  They were having awesome fellowship times and prayer meetings in each others homes.  They could of hide in their homes, they could of turned their housegroups and housechurch into a place of hiding but they made the choice to get out there and to be bold and to BE Christians.  To BE light.  To be demonstrating the love and grace of God to those in need around them.  They did not hide but they shinned a bright light in a world trying to get darker.

The man was healed.  The Gospel was declared and shared.

We are called like the disciples, like the apostles to get out there and shine and to be real Christians.  To not hide away the power of God that lives within us.

BREATHER:  LOTR clip….

Lets jump forward a chapter to Acts 4….  Living a no camo life is bold and awesome… but can have its adventures on the way….

The disciples were arrested.    They were dragged before the courts and told to sit down and shut up pretty much…

Peter’s response – Peter who had JUST over 50 days ago denied he even knew Jesus Christ – “Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:19-10)

Do you think God wants us to obey you or obey Him?

Do you think God wants us to please them or Him?

Who will I live to please?

The world?  Or God?

Myself?  Or God?

My friends?  Or God?

The lukewarm Christians I know?  Or God who calls me to love him with all my heart and soul and strength?

As Christians we live our lives, not for ourselves but for our God.

We are not our own?  For we were bought at a price ;   we were rescued from the useless way of life that we learned from your ancestors. But we know that we were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever. we were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb ; so  it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

1 Peter 1:19, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 2:20

We are not of this world and we don’t cling to it.  We make a choice to live our lives in this world, living and breathing and physical, but we are citizens with a Holy Mighty King whom we serve.

Any Star Trek fans here?   The world is the borg and we reject assimilation!  Resistance is not futile!

“Do NOT be CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD (Don’t Copy the Behaviour and Customs of this World), but let God TRANSFORM you into a New Person by changing the way you THINK. THEN you will learn to know GOD’S WILL FOR YOU, which is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT.”  Romans 12:2

Live bold obedient lives.  Make the choice to follow God.  Don’t camouflage yourselves by compromising.  Don’t camouflage yourself by blending in with the world and disobeying God.  Don’t let compromise become a way of life.  Be holy and follow God.

Don’t compromise in the way you talk.

Don’t compromise in what you wear.

Don’t compromise in relationships.

Don’t compromise in what you watch.

Don’t compromise in what you do socially, in the music you listen to, in the places you go, in the conversations you have, in the computer games you play, in the things you read…

The goal is not to live gray lives but to live lives knowing our awesome amazing God that stretched out his arms on the cross, as Jesus Christ, dying to make the way for us to be saved and clean and forgiven and new.

Today the call is to live our lives knowing God and following Him and making Him known… to be bold and radical and Christian!   Christians are not called to wear camouflage.  The call is to not blend in but to stand out as lights in this world.  The challenge is to not be assimilated into this world but to be Christians in it – demonstrating the love and grace and power of God as he leads us and empowers us.

preaching notes for this sunday young adults church

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