“Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” — Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline
Here’s what I find remarkable about that quote – the book was first published in 1978 … 42 years ago! Jimmy Carter was President.The Colorado Rockies weren’t a Major League Baseball team. It was pre-commercial internet, pre-smartphone, pre-Facebook.
The quote was true 42 years ago; it’s perhaps more true today.
I believe the last 3 months have shown that what the world needs are Christians who think – then act – like Jesus. God does not expect non-Christians to think and act like Christ. He does expect Christians to think and act like Christ.
As Christians, we’re to approach conflict and tension as Jesus would. So, what does it mean to think like Jesus?
We’re going to be in the book of Philippians, written by the Apostle Paul while he was in jail awaiting his trial. While it’s known as the book of joy, the church also had problems that had the potential to divide them.
- It had preachers who preached Christ out of false motives.
- It faced persecution and suffering.
- It had 2 ladies deadlocked in a disagreement.
How Paul tells them to navigate these challenges is a model for how we ought to behave in our current environment.
Where does he start? With this expectation …
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” – Philippians 1:27
The Philippians were citizens in a Roman colony … and proud of it. Paul knew this and it’s why he appeals to a higher standard than our legal citizenship — he appeals to the gospel – the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus.
Paul sees the gospel as more than what saves you. It’s also to be what shapes you. Or, to put it another way: Does the gospel –example of Jesus – change the way you conduct yourself?
According to Paul, it should.
What Jesus has done for you and me is to be example for how we live our lives. Where does that get tested the most? In our relationships.
For most of us, God is not the problem. The problem tends to be the people he created. That’s why Paul starts by reminding us what God has given us …
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion …” — Philippians 2:1
Where you draw your identify from matters. If you are in Christ, this is who you are – you are united with Christ, you are loved, you share in Holy Spirit.
What we do is to flow out of who we are.
“2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” — Philippians 2:2-4
Paul makes it simple to understand: Be united. Be humble. Easy to understand, harder to do.
From beginning to end, the Bible reminds us that we have a spiritual adversary who is described as the father of lies, a murderer, and a roaring lion seeking to devour.
Although he is wily and scheming, there is a limit to what the devil can do. What he CANNOT do is weaken the power of the gospel. What he CAN do is make our presentation of it less effective.
How does he do that? What is one of the devil’s most effective tools? It has nothing to do with song selection or sermons. It’s creating division among Christians.
When we are fighting each other, we are not fighting against him … or against the injustice he creates in our world.
Let’s just talk about social media for a second. Pre-coronavirus, researchers ranging from neuroscientist to psychologists were warning us about some negative side effects of social media. Among them being increased loneliness and the irony that social media encourages anti-social behavior.
Facebook’s corporate mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
How’s that been working for you lately? During COVID-19 and the recent racial conversations, do you find social media bringing us together or causing us to further sub-divide?
One of the things I love about the Bible is how it’s often ahead of its times. Paul speaks against selfish ambition, vain conceit, and ignoring the needs of others. In many respects, he just described our selfie culture. While our culture encourages self-interest, the way of Jesus is to look out for the interests of others.
In this respect, the way of Jesus has always been countercultural. That’s where Paul closes his argument.
“5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” — Philippians 2:5-8
What does it mean to have the same mindset as Jesus?
Don’t miss this – this is the key to understanding the attitude God expects from his people: God is best revealed in the crucified Christ. Jesus …
- the one who relinquished his power and privileges
- the one who chose to serve
- the one who humbled himself
This is how God acts … and how he expects his people to act, too.
Why did Jesus become human? Was it simply to save us from sins? Yes and no. Yes – he certainly died for our sins. But he also became human to show us how to be human … and how to live a life worthy of the gospel.
I want the world around us to see a group of people that’s not organized the way most groups organize – based on economics, race, or politics.
I want the world to see a group of people who are shaped by the mind of Christ.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in management and leadership
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
Need an engaging speaker for your event or conference? At the moment, I am available on a limited basis to speak for seminars, workshops, or worship services. Click here to learn more.
I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.