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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mission Imposible

Rosario Butterfield was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, a radical feminist, the director of the department of women’s studies, and was in a same sex relationship. Then through a long process, which she describes in here book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, she became a follower of Jesus. Here’s the beginning of her story in her own words:
How do I tell you about my conversion to Christianity without making it sound like an alien abduction or a train wreck? Truth be told, it felt like a little of both. The language normally used to describe this odd miracle does not work for me. I didn’t read one of those tacky self-help books with a thin coating of Christian themes, examine my life against the tenets of the Bible the way one might hold up one car insurance policy against all others and cleanly and logically, “make a decision for Christ.” While I did make choices along the path of this journey, they never felt logical, risk-free, or sane. Neither did I feel like the victim of an emotional/ spiritual earthquake and collapse gracefully into the arms of my Savior, like a holy and sanctified Scarlet O’Hara having been “claimed by Christ’s irresistible grace.” Heretical as it might seem, Christ and Christianity seemed imminently resistible. Butterfield, Rosaria (2012-09-06). The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Kindle Locations 108-119). Crown & Covenant Publications. Kindle Edition. 
I mention this because it vividly illustrates a statement Jesus made that I don’t think we spend much time focusing on. Here’s the statement from Mark 10.

Mark 10:24 (ESV) 24 . . . Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!

No one accidentally becomes a follower of Jesus. It requires a supernatural intervention of God’s grace.

At Bethany Place we are in the midst of a series I’m now calling Caring for Young People in a Technology Obsessed World. Originally I called it Parenting in the Age of Instagram. But that was misleading. For one, as I stated last Sunday morning, the series relates to anyone who cares about young people, not just parents. Also, beyond the teens and young adults among us, not that many know (or perhaps care) what Instagram is. My new title is perhaps not as catchy, but it better explains the intent of the series.

Through the series will offer practical suggestions for helping to manage the brave new world of technology in most of our homes. But more importantly I’m seeking to show that what is most needed and most effective is to apply carefully the full message of what it means for us to be right with God. This message is largely lost in our culture and so many assume they are okay as long as they avoid major sins. The understanding that to be right with God requires a supernatural act of God’s grace is the greatest hope for us to negotiate the unique challenges our technology presents for all of us. You can the outline for this second message titled Mission Impossible here.

Mission Impossible
Mark 10:17-22
Caring for Young People in a Technology Obsessed World: Part 2

1.   Answer the question, Who is a good person?
Mark 10:17–18 (ESV) 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

2.   Update your understanding of love
Mark 10:19–22 (ESV) 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

3.   Tell ourselves the truth
Mark 10:23–27 (ESV) 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.

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