Los Alamos Church of Christ

2016 Connections






This morning we begin a challenge.  This morning we begin our 2016 challenge.  This morning we begin the challenge of finding our sweet spot of worship.  This morning we begin… Connections.  This morning we begin to attempt to get our head and heart around…



ESV Matthew 22:37-38 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. 



Our challenge is to love; worship; connect to… the Lord our God with all of who we are… not just our 10:30 to 11:30 on Sunday mornings; but every desire of our hearts; every longing of our souls; every thought process of our brains; all of who we are!  The great, first commandment is to connect to the Lord our God!



This morning we begin quite the challenge… because



--Our God is an infinite God.



ESV Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.


We have quite the challenge to connect who we are to the unsearchable creator.


--This infinite God loves variety.

--Last week I told you there are 400,000 identified species of beetles.  There are, conservatively estimated to be a million species of beetles! Why?  Infinite creator!



--According to FishBase, 33,100 species of fish have been described by April 2015 with 250 new species identified every year. 



Our God loves variety, but he went crazy when he created homo sapiens…



--Our God created each of us differently…


It is like a mirror; a broken mirror.  In the moment of creation God looked into a mirror and saw His own image.  Then God broke the mirror into a gazillion pieces.  Each piece bore a part of his image.  As each person is formed, a piece of mirror, a portion of His image, is imprinted upon who they are.  Each of us bears a portion of the infinite God.  We each reflect a portion of God.  I can see a glimpse of God in you as a reflection of God. 



ESV Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.



--Our God loves to be worshipped in infinite variety!

Only you can worship God like you can worship God.  Your connection to God is YOUR connection to God.  God has you on his favorites list; Straight line to God.  7 billion of us on earth are all unique and each could worship God uniquely.



New thought…  That is what the restored earth will be like… everyone there will have be distinctive temple of God… wow!  On the renewed earth we each will have an eternity to learn how to connect to our God!



ESV John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.



That eternal challenge begins today.  Our challenge is to find your distinctive temple… your sweet spot of worship.  I can hardly think of anything more exciting than to learn to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and ALL you soul and ALL your mind.  Being fully engaged in connection to God surely is what we are created for.  Is this going to be fun, or what?






Throughout 2016 we are going to…



--Find our sweet spots, individually first. Who am I?  What is my piece of mirror?



--Learn to rejoice in other people’s uniqueness.  I see that you are different.  How can I appreciate you more?  How can I support you?  How can I cherish your distinctive gifts?



--Get over being judgmental of other people.  One of the reasons there has been splits within churches and distrust of other Christians is misunderstanding how others are wired differently to connection to God.  If I can see your value to God, you have to be valuable to me. 



--Get out of our comfort zones by sampling other temperaments.  As we get older we get stuck in routines.  We need to be brave.  We need to see if we can participate in each other’s connections.



--Share our sweet spots together to pump up our church.  Imagine if we all found our sweet spots and then brought them together to form the body of Christ… a thin place of worship with all of us connecting!



--Learn the word “Temperament”.  Here is what I mean when I use this word…

--Temperament is your spiritual tuning.  Using a musical metaphor, each of us is tuned to the key to which we are wired to connect to God.    

--It is your distinctive way/s of connecting to God.

--It is who you are naturally.

--It is your spiritual fingerprint.

--Is a person's normal manner of thinking, behaving or reacting



There are nine historical temperaments…

The Nine Temperaments



• The Intellectual: Mind and Truth

People with an intellectual temperament love to understand God.  When they understand something new about God or his ways their adoration is unleashed.  Those with this temperament aren’t necessarily more intelligent than others, nor do they have more formal education or academic degrees.  Rather, these people love God best through using their minds to ponder Jesus and theology. 




• The Sensate: Beauty and Creation

The sensate connects to God through their senses; taste, touch, smell, sound and sight.  The sensate’s heart is drawn closer to God in the creation of beauty. God is beauty.  God is seen in beauty.  For the sensate they often connect to God in the making of things; architecture, music, incense, icons, stained glass, sculpture, a delicious banquet, or an inspirational movie can open the sensate’s heart to God.




• The Traditionalist: Ritual and Symbol

Rituals provide a way for us to enter into God's glory and still be protected from a force that is too great for human experience.  Rituals connect us to an act of God, a story that tells us about God.  Through the story, remembered in ritual, they connect to the heart of God.  Symbols overcome the problem of poor memories. 




• The Enthusiast: Mystery and Celebration

Enthusiasts enjoy a celebration form of worship as well as many of the more supernatural forms of faith.  People with this spiritual temperament like to let go and experience God on the precipice of excitement and awe.  They are the spiritual equals of thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies, and extreme sportsmen.  This may make the enthusiast one of the more controversial of the spiritual temperaments. 




• The Ascetic: Solitude and Strictness

For the ascetic solitude is not loneliness, but rather an opportunity for intimacy with the Father.  Ascetics are often distracted by their senses.  So, they attempt to shut them off.  A quiet place of no decorations can be better than a place of song and decoration.  Discipline, self-denial and obedience are words the ascetic enjoys.  They are strict only because they want to reserve a major portion of their lives for their passionate pursuit of God.




• The Caregiver: Service and Compassion

Caregiving, as a temperament, means expressing love to God by reaching out to others.  It is a picture of a heart overflowing with love and spilling out unto those around us.  For caregivers, care isn’t a chore but a form of worship.  They feel the presence of God as they sit beside the bed of someone who is ill.  They know God by taking a meal to someone in need.  Acts of service are their way of connecting to God. It is not so much they love the hurting, as they love God and connect to him through the hurting. 






• The Naturalist: Outdoors and Observation

Where we worship can have a profound impact on the quality of our worship. The naturalist seeks to leave the formal architecture and the padded pews to enter an entirely new "cathedral," a place that God himself has built: the outdoors. Naturalists feel closest to God when in the outdoors. Something inside their souls comes alive when they are surrounded by God's splendor in nature, be it the mountains, the desert, the plains, the beach or under the stars. For Naturalists, just being outside dramatically increase their awareness of God, since witnessing the Lord in nature comes easily.



• The Contemplative: Adoration and Intimacy

The contemplative seeks to perform the work of adoring God. While some seek to serve the Lord, others seek to celebrate him, and still others seek to explain him, the contemplative seeks to gaze lovingly into God's face and be caught up in the rapture of a lover's experience. They want to enjoy God and learn to love him in ever deeper ways. Contemplatives remind us that God does not seek obedient, but dispassionate servants, rather a passionate love that is so strong it burns all other bonds.







• The Activist: Confrontation and Injustice

Activists are nourished through battle.  While many of us are exhausted by confrontation, the activist is energized through opposition to wrong.  A sense of justice, right and wrong, inequities, are at the heart of an activist.  They have an overactive sense of vengeance.  They connect through righteous confrontation.  Activist will get involved despite personal cost.  Wanting to be liked is not as important as righting a wrong. When the activist is confronting wrong there is solidarity with the Holy God. 









These are the historical nine.  We are going to focus on them as a starting place for discovering our connections to God.  Each of these is like a slide on a sound board, which leads to interesting combinations.  Each of us become unique. 



I have identified at least 8 more Potential Temperaments… Some of these are combinations of the nine.



• The Writer: Words and Mind

It is not enough to learn the truths of God; the writer connects by crafting words so they others may know God too.  They feel the connection as they form the words. 



• The Preacher: Communication and Passion

The preacher connects to God through speaking for Him.  Preachers feel the connection to God as they passionately communicate His message to others.



• The Servant: Service and Obedience

The servant simply connects to God through the performing of acts of service, apart from any recognition.  Their love to and from God flows in their often solitary service performed out of devoted obedience to God. 



• The People Person: Hospitality and Conversation

The People Person connects to God through fellowship with others.  They enjoy getting to know others and seeing God in others.  Their hospitality is how they serve and express the love of God.



• The Giver: Money and Generosity

The Giver connects through sharing.  Their generosity honors God.  Supporting good works is connection through others.


• The Teacher: Sharing and Truth

Similar to the Intellectuals, Teachers love the truth and learning.  But they connect when they are able to pass on the truth to others. Discussion of deep theological concepts connect them to God. 



• The Connoisseur: Beauty and Appreciation

Unlike Sensates who enjoy creating with their own hands, the Connoisseur can connect to God in the appreciation of beauty. Like the Naturalist they see God in the beauty of created things. 



• The Spiritual Warrior: Prayer and Fight

Some people more easily see the spiritual world… demons, angels, etc.  These people have a deeper level of focus on the unseen world around us.  They can be powerful intercessors into suffering brought about by the prince of the air. 



I hope to identify other temperaments throughout the year, but working on these will keep us engaged through the year.



There has never been or ever will be someone who is just like you.  This isn’t a testimony about you, but rather a statement of God’s infiniteness. The significance of your uniqueness is… only you can worship God like you.  No one can take your place. You are invaluable and irreplaceable. 


We begin the challenge to find our sweet spot of worship.


Join me in reciting…



My temperament is God’s gift to me.

My temperament is my gift to God.

My temperament is my gift to the body.

My temperament is my gift to the world.




Tim Stidham

January 3, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ