“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
These are ancient words, written by the Apostle Paul around 58 AD in the city of Corinth. The focus is “your mind“. Paul asserts that the form of your mind can be altered by renewal (better translate as “renovation“). We’ve met the word “transformed” in our series, Easter Impact. Just remember! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Until recent times it was believed that, once the human brain had matured, the developed circuitry was irreversibly fixed! Via the marvels of brain imaging and other techniques we now know that what Paul asserted is precisely accurate! The brain has the power to lay down new circuitry! View the video below!
Dr. Lara Boyd describes how neuroplasticity gives you the power to shape the brain you want.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything
that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—
and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
“In the beginning …” (Genesis 1:1) Father started a manufacturing business (for those into theology it’s called “the Kingdom”!). Every manufacturer has the same MO: MULTIPLICATION. For example, in 2016 Apple sold its one billionth iPhone. McDonald’s sells“more than 75 hamburgers per second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of the year.” That’s multiplication!
“‘Then God said, ‘Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then PRODUCE the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.’ And that is what happened.'” (Genesis 1:11-12) “Then God said, ‘Let the earth PRODUCE every sort of animal, each PRODUCING offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened.‘” (Genesis 1:24-25) Finally, humankind is created. “So God created human beings in his own image, male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY. ‘” (Genesis 1:28)
Sometime later a deadly virus caused a massive product defect. (Genesis 3:1-7) The Creator quickly responded with a product recall. (Genesis 3:8-13) To fix the problem Father chose an antiviral drug called GRACE! (Ephesians 2:8) Due to its exorbitant cost, humankind was unable to pay a dime for the medication So, the Father flipped the bill (1 Peter:1:18-20). That’s why John Newton, the hymn composer, wrote:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
To commence the therapeutic process God began with a trial group, the Jewish race. Nothing special about this group except that Jesus was to come through that hereditary line. Similar to many medications Father began with a small, test dose to prepare for that which was to come. Finally, the Great Physician (Mark 2:17) arrived to deliver the requisite dose.
But it was our sins that ripped and tore and crushed him!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
It may appear that I got sidetracked from the subject of multiplication. Not so! “The Gospel is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.” (Bonhoeffer) Here’s Jesus’ grace-filled call to the disciples to become his business partners!
“When Jesus finished teaching, he said to Peter,
‘Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.’
Peter said, ‘Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow.
But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.’
It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity.
They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them.
They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Peter and everyone with him.
Jesus said to Peter ‘There is nothing to fear.
From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.'”
They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
You are together the body of Christ, and individually you are members of Him. 1 Corinthians 12:27
The story line of the The Ten Commandments is from the Bible. God miraculously delivers the Jews from 400 years of bondage for one reason: “They’ll realize that I … brought them out of Egypt so that I could live with them” (Exodus 29:46). After liberation the Jews are immediately instructed to build a transportable tent: “The people must make a Tent for Me, so that I may live among them.” (Exodus 25:8) When construction was complete, God moved in: “The Glorious Presence of God filled The Dwelling.” (Exodus 40:34) Then God said: “The twelve tribes of Israel are to set up camp around My Tent.” (Number 2:1)
What was vaguely illustrated in Exodus was fulfilled in Jesus: “The infinite Life of God took shape before us.” (1 John 1:2) and “fixed His tent of flesh among us; and we saw His glory.” (John 1:14) That’s why Jesus was called “Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23) After Jesus “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14) “He chose twelve disciples to be with Him” 24/7. (Mark 3:14)
Imagine a wagon wheel. There are twelve spokes imbedded in a central hub. The rim unifies the spokes in the hub. The twelve disciples (spokes) were connected to Jesus (hub). The Holy Spirit (outer rim) brought unity by keeping the dissimilar members in alignment. Note: there are no Lone Ranger followers of Jesus! If Peter wanted to follow Jesus, he had to relate to eleven other followers: “You are together the body of Christ, and individually are members of Him.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
You’ve just been introduced to the CHURCH as designed by Jesus! It’s a Community of Life; liberated persons connected to and camped around Jesus 24/7.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Note Paul’s formula for dealing with worrying! It’s purpose is to allow “Jesus to displace worry at the center of your life.” The first step is: “Instead of worrying, pray,“; that is, change the activity of your mind. How? “Let praises shape your worries” and so alter the center of gravity in your mind. Once this process is commenced, one is positioned in a more positive mental framework to “make known to God your concerns,” those things that are at the root of ones anxiety.
In the following Tim Ferris explores a practical method by which the self-paralysis of fear can be immensely lessened or absolute eliminated. It somewhat parallels what Paul suggested. Tim “discovered” this tool as he dealt with severe bi-polar condition and several suicide attempts. He encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls “fear-setting.”
“I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser.
This is how my Father will be glorified— `
being my disciples, you become fruitful.
“I have appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last;
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
NOTE: those who read The Bucket List series may think The Vineyard (John 15) is a mere repetition. I agree somewhat. So, allow me to give my rationale. Matthew 28:18- 20 was uttered after crucifixion and resurrection. The Vineyard Series, however, records an event prior to the crucifixion. I shall return to this fact later.
It’s late Thursday evening, a few hours before Jesus death! After the Passover meal the group departs the upper room. Under a full moon they make their way out of Jerusalem, down through the Kidron Valley and up to the Mount of Olives. (about 400 yards) Passing through a terraced, mountain-side, Jesus directs the disciples’ attention to a vineyard. Think of it! Hours before his crucifixion, filled with anxiety, (Mark 14:34) Jesus spoke to his disciples about that which was most important! Why do I assert this? Common sense! If you had the opportunity, what would you say to your loved ones (John 13:1 just before your death? Having searched your heart, would you not speak of that which was most important for the betterment of your loved ones? (John 15:9).
His Father is a vineyard owner, who desires nothing less than an abundant crop, the glory of His hard work! Jesus is the vine on which the branches grow. Only on branches does fruit appear (this is astoundingly important)! The branches that don’t produce are worthless in terms of the harvest! (John 15:1-2) (This too is immensely importantly; yet, most Christians want to dismiss or avoid the implications thereof, after all, “I go to church!”) NOT!
So, here are the “broad” strokes of the series upon which I wish to embark. Father is a business person who desires an immense profit on His investment. “Exaggeration!” Well, let me inquire: for whom did the vine die? The precious blood of Jesus was shed so that the Father’s vineyard would be abundantly overflowing! “No!” you say. “Jesus’ death was for the forgiveness of sins.” No doubt! However, Jesus’ death was the means to a greater end. “This is how my Father will be glorified—being my disciples, you become fruitful.
In closing this post let me ask, what is Father’s ultimate purpose according to Jesus? “I have appointed you to GO AND BEAR FRUIT!” Does that sound familiar? Of course, it was Jesus’ final command to the Eleven after the resurrection and before his Ascension! (Matthew 28:19) There’s an obvious parallel:
“GO > bear fruit / GO > make disciples.”
These are the road marks that we shall be closely following!