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Luke 10 & the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God in Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Being Interruptible

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Thoughts

Goal of the series—how to walk out the Kingdom including the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Priority is to start now where you are.
Being Interruptible is the the title in the booklet for this series. The problem is that it is passive and a good heading should be active. Also, not all interruptions are good. Steven Covey talks about the Urgent vs the Not Urgent and the Important vs Not Important. Managing those 4 quadrants is a key part of his book about Time Management (First Things First). That is a great book title because it ties in with Jesus’ words to Mary commending her for choosing the one thing that is necessary. So, what exactly is that one thing!?
Learn how to interruptible but not distractable! To be inconvenienced but that NO is a complete sentence so we can focus on what is most important in the moment
Simple Rules for Life:
I can choose
Only a few things really matter
I can do anything but not everything
Who is my neighbor is anyone God puts in my path and I am now responsible to care for “Go and do likewise”
Are people the real point of my life or just as interruptions!
Three Questions about Interruptibility:
Do you constantly look at your smartphone when meeting with someone
Can you easily maintain eye contact with another person
Do you make the conversation about the other person or yourself
“It’s hard to overestimate the unimportance of practically everything “John Maxwell
It’s hard to overestimate the unimportance of practically everything “John Maxwell
John Piper—The Problem of Distraction
Technology is Novelty Candy - the fear of missing out
Being Interruptible is the title in the booklet for this message. The problem is that it is passive and a good heading should be active. Also, not all interruptions are good. Steven Covey talks about the Urgent vs the Not Urgent and the Important vs Not Important. Managing those 4 quadrants is a key part of his book about Time Management (First Things First). That is a great book title because it ties in with Jesus’ words to Mary commending her for choosing the one thing that is necessary. So, what exactly is that one thing!?
Technology is Ego Candy - what other people are saying about us
Technology is Entertainment Candy - feasting about what is weird or fascinating
Technology is Boredom Avoidance
Technology is Responsibility Avoidance
Being Interruptible is the title in the booklet for this message. The problem is that it is passive and a good heading should be active. Also, not all interruptions are good. Steven Covey talks about the Urgent vs the Not Urgent and the Important vs Not Important. Managing those 4 quadrants is a key part of his book about Time Management (First Things First). That is a great book title because it ties in with Jesus’ words to Mary commending her for choosing the one thing that is necessary. So, what exactly is that one thing!?
Technology is Hardship Avoidance - so I can escape from the hardships that I am dealing with
Being Interruptible is the title in the booklet for this message. The problem is that it is passive and a good heading should be active. Also, not all interruptions are good. Steven Covey talks about the Urgent vs the Not Urgent and the Important vs Not Important. Managing those 4 quadrants is a key part of his book about Time Management (First Things First). That is a great book title because it ties in with Jesus’ words to Mary commending her for choosing the one thing that is necessary. So, what exactly is that one thing!?
The context is the “travel narrative”. Jesus has set his face to go to Jerusalem and has warned his followers what will happen when he gets there.
The first part of is the story of the sending out of the 72. In other words, it demonstrates the Great Commission. Jesus tells them that the signs they witness show how the kingdom has come near.
Jesus tells them when they return after a successful mission NOT to rejoice in their defeats of Satan but because their names are written in heaven.
We then have the Good Samaritan parable. A lawyer asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. The lawyer is testing Jesus. Jesus turns it back on the lawyer by asking him what he thinks. The lawyer’s correct answer is to obey the Great Commandments—to love God and neighbor. But then the lawyer asks Jesus to define what it is to be a good neighbor. The famous GS parable follows. It demonstrates the point that we need to be interruptible when a need like this confronts us. It is a practical example of obeying the second greatest commandment. Note that these two commandments combine two OT passages: and
The last part of the chapter goes back to the first and greatest commandment—to love God above all else. This is the story of Martha and Mary. This does not teach the false dichotomy of either doing acts of service for God versus the contemplative live of devotion!
The point is that Martha is DISTRACTED whereas Mary has “chosen the good portion” by sitting at his feet and listening to his teaching. Culturally, women were NOT normally allowed to do that since they were expected to be be working in the kitchen! Mary has different priorities and Jesus affirms that. “The one thing necessary” in Jewish tradition was studying the Torah. Jesus is subtly saying here that listening to his teaching trumps study of the Torah
Distracted is explained by Jesus as being anxious and troubled. So, these are not the trivial distractions of social media etc but things that are causing us to be thinking about the wrong things - cf the sermon on the mount where the focus is on seeking first the kingdom of God rather than being anxious about the basic needs of life.
Research has shown that the mere presence of a smartphone can lessen the quality of a conversation—even if it’s just sitting on the table (pg 68 I Hear You). The problem is that we are too readily and willingly interruptible and less likely to spot the kind of interruption that the GS parable teaches. Divine encounters is a term we use in YWAM that better fits the GS event. JD Greear calls them divine opportunities—stop what you are doing and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. You see, distraction is not the same as divine interruption. There is a time for service, and there is a time for communion with Jesus. Like Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet instead of working like her sister Martha, we need to know what time it is and be all-in in that moment.
Have you noticed that often the best moments in our lives come in the form of unexpected interruptions?
A healthy Christian life is one in which you learn to live free of devilish distractions so you can be open to divine interruptions and obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps being AVAILABLE is a better term than being INTERRUPTIBLE
Note how the 72 are experiencing being led by the Spirit during their mission.

Outline

The background is that Jesus is now on his way to Jerusalem from Galilee. Before he left Galilee he heard Peter acknowledge that Jesus was indeed the Christ (). He then shocked them with the news that he was about to be killed—but that he would rise again. He then challenges his disciples with the idea that following Jesus would cost them everything but the rewards were infinite! He illustrates that with the Transfiguration. He follows that with another warning about what would happen when he reached Jerusalem. The disciples did not get it! Their journey to Jerusalem continues through Samaria. One village rejected Jesus and James and John think Jesus should call down fire on those villagers! The chapter ends with another reminder about the cost of following Jesus
Chapter 10 starts with the sending out of 72 of Jesus’ disciples. This is practical training in obeying the Great Commission. The 72 return excited because they see the kingdom of God working—healing the sick and casting out demons. Jesus tells them that while what happened was wonderful they need to see something even more important—their eternal destiny!
Because now comes a conversation with an expert in the Law of Moses who asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus extracts the correct answer from the lawyer—what we know as the Great Commandment—loving God and loving your neighbor. Did you know that those two commands are actually in two separate places in the OT? Explain! But the Jews had figured out that the two belong together (think about the Ten Commandments!). Jesus will himself teach that the whole law is summed up in those two—the vertical and horizontal laws of love.
The parable of the GS is how Jesus taught us to implement love of neighbor. Who is my neighbor?
Who is my neighbor is: Anyone God puts in my path I am responsible to love: “Go and do likewise”. Obviously, that involves being able to discern genuine need that God is directing us to. Jay taught me about this on Friday!! Learning to expect Divine Encounters in our life. Just as the 72 needed to learn where there time needed to be focused. Am I willing to be interrupted in whatever task I am pursuing with something that God calls me to sacrifice my agenda for? eg of doing acts of service around the house. Doing loving things without being noticed!
The chapter ends with a story about two sisters. This is a demonstration of the first part of the Great Commandment. Loving God with all my being. See notes above. To love God with all my being is an issue of focus. The problem with focus is that we have too many distractions. Martha’s distractions had led her to the place of anxiety and worry about many things. That is the problem. Preparing the meal is not the issue! We meet the two sisters having Jesus in their house a bit later on (). Martha is serving quite happily; Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment. A beautiful story of loving God and neighbor being played out! Focused attention like Mary is giving is the way to life change!
Simple Rules:
Living in the Kingdom will cost you everything! Even being inconvenienced!
The first hour of the day sets the tone for the whole day
Give God your focused attention. and expect him to direct you into divine interruptions.
Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit
When meeting with someone put your smartphone on mute and out of sight
Practice both kinds of love this Thanksgiving. Thank God that our ultimate destiny is assured so we can live lives without anxiety and worry.
Living in the Kingdom will cost you everything! Even being inconvenienced!
Practice both kinds of love this Thanksgiving. Thank God that our ultimate destiny is assured so we can live lives without anxiety and worry.
Not long ago I took a boat ride. When the ride was over and we were loading the boat, I couldn’t help but notice how small the rudder was. How could something so small steer such a powerful vessel?
My “rudder moment” reminded me of a quote from 19th century clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher. “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.”
Don’t miss this … Your rudder determines your direction.
For leaders few things matter more than morning habits. What you do before 9:00 am determines the direction of the rest of your day.
For me the best days are ones that begin with a concentrated hour around the following four disciplines:
Reading – a few minutes of Bible or devotional reading remind me that my life is not about me.
Prayer and meditation – I can certainly relate to Abe Lincoln who when overwhelmed with his responsibility as a leader once admitted, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”
Planning – having a plan keeps me focused and also gives me a measuring stick to look back on at the end of the day.
Exercise – 20 to 30 minutes of cardio, stretching, or strength training before breakfast gets my blood flowing and raises my energy level.
If you find yourself bored, tired, and disillusioned I suspect you might have a rudder problem. Make some adjustments to the first hour of your day and watch what happens to the direction of your life.
Quote from Randy Gravitt

Choosing the One Thing

My title for this message is Choosing the One Thing. It’s part of our current sermon series about Kingdom Living. With the Great Commission plus the Great Commandment and now the Great Priority where do we begin? Tonight we are considering . That chapter reveals what choosing the one thing means. That choice is an ongoing one—not like making the decision to follow Jesus or deciding whom to marry. Choosing implies saying no to other possibilities. As Bill said today: No is a complete sentence!! As life gets more and more complex we need to see more clearly, so that we choose and keep on choosing the One Thing that is Necessary.
Let’s start by setting the scene for this chapter. We only need to go back to one chapter () to get the big picture of what we read in —our chapter for this week’s message and small group study. The most important change in is that Jesus is now on his way to Jerusalem from Galilee. The Galilee part of his ministry is over! Just before he left Galilee Jesus heard Peter acknowledge that he was indeed the Christ (). Jesus then shocked them with the news that he was about to be killed—but that he would rise again. He then challenges his disciples with the idea that following him would cost them everything--but the rewards were infinite! He illustrates that with the Transfiguration. He follows that with a second warning about what would happen when he reached Jerusalem. The disciples did not get it! Their journey to Jerusalem continues through Samaria. One village rejected Jesus. Because of that, James and John think Jesus should call down fire on those villagers! One of the ironies about this event is that in Peter and John go to Samaria and pray for the fire of the Spirit to fall upon them! ends with another reminder about the cost of following Jesus
Now let’s identify what is going on in this week’s chapter. We can boil it down to three key components: One mission trip, one parable, and one shared meal. The mission trip demonstrates the Great Commission at work. The parable tells me who my neighbor is and my responsibility under part two of the Great Commandment. The shared meal is the key part of my message because it demonstrates living according to part one of the Great Commandment and helps us get our priorities right.

Component #1—the Great Commission demonstrated

Although this part of chapter 10 takes up just over half the chapter I do not want to focus on this particular story.
It’s about the sending out of 72 of Jesus’ disciples. This is practical training in obeying the Great Commission. The 72 return excited because they see the kingdom of God working—healing the sick and casting out demons. Jesus tells them that while what happened was wonderful they need to see something even more important—their eternal destiny!

Component #2—Loving My Neighbor

I believe strongly that the Great Commandment trumps the Great Commission. Unless we get the Love thing right our proclamation of the gospel will be (as Paul says) like a clanging gong! The rest of chapter 10 is about the two separate elements of the Great Commandment. What is the Great Commandment? in 10:25 Jesus has a conversation with an expert in the Law of Moses. Let’s read . He asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus extracts the correct answer from the lawyer—what we know as the Great Commandment—loving God and loving your neighbor. Did you know that those two commands are actually found in two separate places in the OT? The loving God part comes from while the part about loving your neighbor comes from . The Jews had figured out that the two belong together (think about the Ten Commandments!). Jesus will himself teach that the whole law is summed up in those two—the vertical and horizontal laws of love.
(ESV)
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
38This is the great and first commandment.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The parable of the GS is how Jesus taught us to implement love of neighbor. But, Who is my neighbor? Anyone God puts in my path I am responsible to love: “Go and do likewise”. Obviously, that involves being able to discern genuine need that God is directing us to. Jay taught me about this on Friday!! Learning to expect Divine Encounters in our life. Just as the 72 needed to learn where their time needed to be focused. Am I willing to be interrupted in whatever task I am pursuing with something that God calls me to sacrifice my agenda for? eg of doing acts of service around the house. Doing loving things without being noticed!
Who is my neighbor is: Anyone God puts in my path I am responsible to love: “Go and do likewise”. Obviously, that involves being able to discern genuine need that God is directing us to. Jay taught me about this on Friday!! Learning to expect Divine Encounters in our life. Just as the 72 needed to learn where there time needed to be focused. Am I willing to be interrupted in whatever task I am pursuing with something that God calls me to sacrifice my agenda for? eg of doing acts of service around the house. Doing loving things without being noticed!
But important as this is we need to address the first part of the Great Commandment

Component #3—Loving God

Luke tells the story of Martha and Mary, two sisters. Martha welcomes Jesus into her home. We don’t know the details. Perhaps Martha is a widow? Anyway, the two live there along with their brother Lazarus (the one whom Jesus will later bring back from the grave). Let’s read that story ().
This story does not teach the false dichotomy of either doing acts of service for God versus the contemplative live of devotion!
The point is that Martha is DISTRACTED whereas Mary has “chosen the good portion” by sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to his teaching. Culturally, women were NOT normally allowed to do that since they were expected to be be working in the kitchen! Mary has different priorities and Jesus affirms that. “The one thing necessary” in Jewish tradition was studying the Torah. Jesus is subtly saying here that listening to his teaching trumps study of the Torah. In other words, loving God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind is more important than anything else in the whole OT!
Jesus speaks tenderly to Martha that she is in fact anxious and troubled about many things. Mary is NOT the problem!! Let’s look at some other words of Jesus about anxiety and the antidote! Let’s read .
We get two more insights into Martha and Mary in John’s gospel. The first is the sad occasion when their brother Lazarus dies. We know the story of how Jesus brings him back to life. I am not going to look at that story, but at another shared meal story a short time later. Let’s read . Martha is now perfectly happy to serve the guests; Mary chooses to anoint the feet of Jesus. Both of them love Jesus! Mary has a more demonstrative and passionate way to show it. Mary makes the same good choice—to give her full focused attention to Jesus. The crucial word there is focus!! What we pay the most attention to is what will grow in our lives. You cannot focus with your smartphone in range. You cannot focus with earbuds on and listening to music. Take Jesus’ advice and go into a room and shut the door so you can give God your full attention!

Distractions

Life is full of distractions! And excuses! Am I really willing to pay the price of following Jesus and being part of his kingdom? My own selfish desires get in the way. What about our enemy—Satan? He hates it when we follow Jesus with all our being and will do anything to distract us from that. When we talk about being interruptible it needs to be limited to just those interruptions that God brings our way.
I see three categories of those interruptions or distractions . The first comes out of my own distorted sense of priorities! Bill had a great quote from John Maxwell this morning: “It’s hard to overestimate the unimportance of practically everything”. That’s a challenging thought! But what if meeting the need in front of me even if it interrupts my schedule is more important than my so-called priorities?
The second comes from the irrational fear of missing out! Why are we so addicted to our smartphones? They are our constant companion! Go to any restaurant and observe! People sitting round a table to enjoy each other’s company? No, it is more likely that each of them will be glued to a gadget!
Research has shown that the mere presence of a smartphone can lessen the quality of a conversation—even if it’s just sitting on the table (pg 68 I Hear You). Why? Because the presence of your phone tells the other person that they are not that important to you!! You want to be available to others who are obviously more important than you think I am!! That is a wake-up call! Scary—but easily fixed! In other words, we need to learn how to be UNinterruptible in those situations!
The third is the worries of this world—Martha’s problem. Let’s remember that Jesus tells us to cast all our anxieties on him. Seeking God with all our being is a repeated theme in the whole Bible. If we truly want eternal life the only way is through intimacy with Jesus—just like Mary demonstrated.
I learned good time management skills from Steven Covey. He explained that everything we do fits into one of four categories: Urgent Important; Urgent Not Important; Not Urgent Important; Not Urgent Not Important. The third of those categories is the one that we need to pay attention to the most!! Distractions fall into the last category and the second category! Mark your To Do list or your schedule according to that classification.

Application

Application

Application

So, what’s the One Thing? Love God with all of our being. That’s what we must choose. That means nothing is of greater importance. Not our job, our ministry, not our family, not even our smartphone. Give Him focused attention every day. We call that Quality Time! As part of that time in His presence ask Him to bring divine encounters that He wants us to respond to. That’s called loving our neighbor! If we as Living Stones Church do that then obeying the Great Commission will inevitably follow. The early church modeled that way of life:
Bill had a great quote from John Maxwell this morning: “It’s hard to overestimate the unimportance of practically everything”. That’s a challenging thought! But what if meeting the need in front of me even if it interrupt my schedule is more important than my so-called priorities.
And what about our conversations with those around us? We have become more and more distracted in the last ten years. The culprit? Our smartphones! These are a major source of distraction and wasted time.
become more and more distracted. The culprit? Our smartphones! These are a major source of distraction and wasted time.
Living in the Kingdom will cost you everything! Even being inconvenienced!
The first hour of the day sets the tone for the whole day: 19th century clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher. “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” Abe Lincoln was often sorely burdened with his responsibility as a leader. He once admitted, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”
Give God your focused attention. and expect divine interruptions.
Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit
When meeting with someone put your smartphone on mute and out of sight
Practice both kinds of love this Thanksgiving. Thank God that our ultimate destiny is assured so we can live lives without anxiety and worry. Perform acts of service without complaining!
So, what’s the One Thing? Love God with all of our being. That’s what we must choose. That means nothing is of greater importance. Not our job, our ministry, or even our family. Give Him focused attention—especially in that first hour of each day. Expect Him to bring divine encounters that He wants us to respond to. That’s called loving our neighbor! The Great Commission will flow out of that love. The early church modeled that way of life:
So, what’s the One Thing? Love God with all of our being. That’s what we must choose. That means nothing is of greater importance. Not our job, our ministry, or even our family. Give Him focused attention—especially in that first hour of each day. Expect Him to bring divine encounters that He wants us to respond to. That’s called loving our neighbor! The Great Commission will flow out of that love. The early church modeled that way of life:
Tertullian reported that the Romans would exclaim about Christians: “See how they love one another!”
Justin Martyr sketched Christian love this way: “We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
Clement, describing the person who has come to know God, wrote, “He impoverishes himself out of love, so that he is certain he may never overlook a brother in need, especially if he knows he can bear poverty better than his brother. He likewise considers the pain of another as his own pain. And if he suffers any hardship because of having given out of his own poverty, he does not complain.”
When a devastating plague swept across the ancient world in the third century, Christians were the only ones who cared for the sick, which they did at the risk of contracting the plague themselves. Meanwhile, pagans were throwing infected members of their own families into the streets even before they died, in order to protect themselves from the disease.
So how do we choose the One Thing:
So here are some simple rules to apply love of neighbor and love of God in the right order:
Remember that living in the Kingdom will cost you everything! Even being inconvenienced!
The first hour of the day sets the tone for the whole day--Give God your focused attention. 19th century clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher. “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” Abe Lincoln was often sorely burdened with his responsibility as a leader. He once admitted, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”
Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and expect divine interruptions
Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit
When meeting with someone put your smartphone on mute and out of sight
Practice both kinds of love this Thanksgiving. Thank God that our ultimate destiny is assured so we can live lives without anxiety and worry. Perform acts of service without complaining!
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