2014-07-18 - SHAPE
Note: The SHAPE series is based on a series of messages I preached in my church's youth group. I got this "I Can" idea stuck in my head. It was not part of the SHAPE series I had planned, and I saw it merely as a distraction, but felt compelled to explore it and preach on it. The next week, as I prepared for what would have been the third message in the SHAPE series, I realized just how well this tied in. So I hope you, too, will enjoy the "distraction" for this week.
I can. I think I can. I think I can. How many of you remember the story of "The Little Engine That Could©." Well, unlike the train, I don't think I can; I know I can. I know because the Bible tells me so. I am great at chasing after squirrels, when it comes to sticking to my main point, so I'm going to tell you a story about my family - but please know that this time, it is actually about what I want to speak, so humor me, if you will.
Last night, my family and I watched "The Lego Movie©." Dana and the boys had seen it before, and she was singing the theme song before we started or so she thought. "Everything is possible," she said. Then Jordan countered, "No. It's 'Everything is awesome'." After a few minutes of back and forth, I recommended we just watch the movie, and settle the matter of whether everything is awesome or everything is possible.
The main song of the movie does, in fact, say that everything is awesome, but I want to show that the Bible says both.
Matthew 19:26 (NASB) And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Jesus says everything's possible. Paul later says everything's awesome. Well, actually, he says he can do all things through God.
These are understood by many to be some incredible feel-good verses. On the surface, these verses seem to say that God will give us the power to do anything we want. It sounds all zippity-doo-dah wonderful! "Oh - that big obstacle needs moved - well God will give me muscles, and I will lift it like Superman. It is possible." "Oh - I have cancer - well I will pray, and God will give my body the strength to defeat it. I can defeat it." "I want a million dollars - well great - God will give me the brains and job to earn it." These statements are kind of ridiculous, but this notion does creep into the teachings of many Christians, and that type of thinking is quite popular. Hence the popular "feel-good" interpretation. If you believe, then you can receive. Name it and claim it. But that's not what the Bible says, unless we grossly distort it.
What about failures I mean epic failures that have happened to Godly men through the ages. Now I'm not saying he's up there with Mother Theresa or Charles Stanley but let's look at Tim Tebow, for a minute. He got traded then he got released. That doesn't sound like "name it, claim it" and he represented Christ. Does that mean the Bible lies?
No just read the verses more carefully. First, prior to that verse in Matthew, Jesus was asked if a rich man could get into Heaven. Jesus says, by himself (the rich man), no, but with God yes well duh. Jesus is the only way. With God even the hard things like getting into Heaven become possible.
Everything is Possible
So now let's focus on that second verse. Doing all things isn't just the good things; it is all things. That means bad things, too. I can do the bad things that happen in life, through Christ. I can handle cancer. I can handle divorce. I can handle losing a job. Whatever happens, I can handle it with Jesus by my side.
Colossians 1:9-14 (NASB)
Walk in a way worthy of God. Do what Jesus would do. Do it to please him. Rely on his strength to get you through it. Give thanks for his help knowing that ultimately we will obtain heaven just like the saints who have gone before us. And because we know that, we can go through all things. We can endure all things and we can do it glorifying God because we can read the end of the book and know how it will turn out.
Everything is Awesome
Back when my former pastor and I went to a church together, as laypeople, he taught adults, and I taught youth as well as first and second graders. Not at the same time, mind you, but nonetheless, I taught them both. Anyway, there I go digressing again, so to bring it back into focus, let me say that back then, I taught his daughter in first grade Sunday School. One week, we looked at this verse, and each of us decorated a little throwaway clear plastic cup. We wrote the "I can do all things" verse on those cups, and then on strips of paper, we wrote the things we needed God's help with - and as we prayed, we put them into the cups we had made. I still have my "I can cup". It sits in my office at home, as a reminder to me that I can do all things thru Jesus. He makes all things possible, and even better, he makes all things awesome.
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.