Los Alamos Church of Christ

2016 Connections

Introduction 3

Body, Mind, Soul, Strength

 

 

Our challenge for the year is to find our sweet spot of worship.  We are attempting to learn how to connect to God.  So far, in our challenge…

--We have learned that God is infinite.  God may have created 1 million species of beetles.  They have discovered a new species of beetles… (picture with VW)

--We all reflect a portion of God’s infiniteness; like broken mirrors each reflecting a piece of God’s glory.

--We have learned that God requires infinite worship.  Each of us can worship God like only we can worship God.

--God is good.  God’s grace is enough.  God desires you. 

 

 

That is what we have learned, so far.

 

This morning I want us to introduce us to the theme verse for 2016… Connections.  The verse I want to use as the basis of our connecting is from Mark 12.  Listen to this interesting connection between Jesus and a scribe.  Usually the scribes and the Pharisees weren’t on the same page as Jesus.  But this one was only a page or two off. 

 

 

ESV Mark 12:28-34 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?"  Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."  And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

 

 

This is an amazing exchange between the LORD and this scribe.  This scribe seems to get it.  Connecting to God with all we are and allowing that to move us to connect to each other is the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  That is the kingdom of God!

 

 

But there is a lot going on in this passage.  Let’s break it down…

 

 

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Jesus is quoting from what is called the… Shema Israel or shorten to the Shema.  The first word of Deuteronomy 6:4 is Shema; hear.

 

 

ESV Deuteronomy 6:4-9  "Hear (Shema), O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

 

The Shema is a prayer spoken by devout Jews every morning and evening.  It captures the unique monotheism of ancient Israel and it centers a person on what is the essence of Scripture.  We are called to love YHWH our God with all we are!  Say it with me… from your heart.

 

 

ESV Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” 

 

 

The Shema is the heart of the OLD LAW.  Jesus calls it the most important commandment.  It is the heart of the New Law

 

 

Let’s say it again…

 

 

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We have a mystery. The Shema is quoted at least 4 times in the Bible.  Listen for the differences.

 

 

ESV Deuteronomy 6:4-5 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

 

 

ESV Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

 

ESV Matthew 22:37-39 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.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

 

ESV Luke 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

 

 

It would seem that the 4 writers are a bit confused about the pieces parts of humans. 

--Are humans made up of heart and soul and might?

--Or, heart, soul, mind and strength?

--Or, heart, soul and mind?

--Or, heart, soul, and strength and mind?

Are we 3 parts or 4?  Which pieces parts make up human? 

We have a mystery.  Intellectuals love solving mysteries.

 

 

They all 4 agree on the heart and soul, but disagree on the rest.  Without taking the next hour and half solving our mystery, let me share the simple solution.  The solution partially lies in translating the Hebrew and Greek Old Testaments to the Greek New Testament and then to English.  It also has to do with these 4 writers capturing the essence for their readers.  Listen to this quote from the… Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

 

The three parts of Deuteronomy 6:5: lev (heart), nephesh (soul or life), and meod (muchness) rather than signifying different spheres of Biblical psychology seem to be semantically concentric. They were chosen to reinforce the absolute singularity of personal devotion to God. Thus lev denotes the intention or will of the whole man; nephesh means the whole self, a unity of flesh, will, and vitality; and meod accents the superlative degree of total commitment to Yahweh."...The NT struggles to express the depth of the word meod at this spot. In the quotation in Mark 12:30 it is rendered “mind and strength,” in Luke 10:27 it is “strength and mind,” in Matthew 22:37 simply “mind.

-- Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

 

Trying to dissect humans into pieces parts is exactly the wrong point.  The biblical view of humans is a whole.  These words are like Hebrew poetry, which repeat the same thing over again to create symmetry. The point all 4 authors are making is that you are a whole.  You are a person.  All the pieces parts make up a whole.  You, holistically, are to love YHWH with everything; with all your pieces parts working together as one. 

 

 

Because the LORD is one, we are one as we worship God!  The thoughts are connected.  That is why I choose Mark 12:30 as the key verse.  “Hear, O Israel the Lord is One… and we are one… therefore, connect to God with all your oneness.  The thought that we worship God with our spiritual part but the body and emotions and imagination and all the other pieces parts are unimportant is a violation of the Shema. 

 

 

I am not made up of parts.  I am me.  My intellect, my personality, my body, my determination, my chemicals are all one.  I am me.  I am not a soul in a vessel of my body.  I am not a being trapped in a mortal body.  All of me is all of me.  That is the biblical view.  All of me is important.  I love YHWH with every bit of me… all together!  We connect holistically to the LORD who is One. 

 

 

We love the One.  We love the One with all our One. 

 

 

This is where this year’s study of our temperaments is going to be fun.

 

 

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We love YHWH by connecting all of who we are; our complete wiring.  Watch how all nine temperaments use all of who we are…

--The Intellectual: Mind & Spirit… working out theology.

-- The Sensate: Body & Soul… touch and smell and sight

--The Traditionalist: Body & Spirit… connecting to the emotional, nostalgia of stories in ritual.

--The Enthusiast: Spirit 7 Body… “We have spirit yes we do.  We have spirit how about you?”

--The Ascetic: Soul & Body… discipline and quietness and reflection  

--The Caregiver: Spirit & Body… touching of other’s bodies in healing

--The Naturalist: Body & Soul… the emotions of seeing God in the physical

--The Contemplative: Soul & Mind… seeing the beauty of God

--The Activist: Mind & Body… It is fixing wrong by doing stuff

 

 

As all of us have differing levels of these temperaments, so, we can love YHWH with all of who we are!

 

 

ESV Mark 12:29-30 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

 

 

This is a great verse to do this year!  We can connect every aspect of you to the infinite God.  It doesn’t get any more fun than this!

 

 

Let me give a sneak peek into some of the practical application of the Shema in our connections this year.

 

 

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We can find worship outside the box.  I want to break our thinking of worship as just 10:30 to 11:30 on Sunday.  That time is worship.  It is important worship.  I don’t mind you calling it worship, because it is. But don’t let your words narrow your view of worship.  Let’s find worship outside of this box. 

 

 

We need to be aware of worship opportunities/connections… all the time.  Anytime we can connect to God in what we are experiencing we step into a sweet spot of worship.

 

 

For Example…from my life… not to set myself up as something special… you know me… regular guy who happens to preach…  Over the last couple of weeks I have been attempting to be more aware of outside-the-box worship.

--Painting the hallway… aesthetic

--Making a segmented bowl… sensate

--Playing with some grandsons… seeing God in others

--Asking, How are you doing?  Helping God in others

--Reading theology for connections. Wow great thoughts about god!

--Playing my strumstick. My sensate and

--Skiing – my enthusiast  - naturalist praising God

--Watching football?  I am still working on this one.  I am having trouble with it. 

 

 

The difference in just doing something because I am supposed to it or enjoy it and turning it into a sweet spot of worship is all about connecting my heart, mind, soul and strength toward God - as I do it.  Worship can be quite the out-of-box experience.

 

 

We live our lives in worship.  We discover sweet spots in all/most of what we do!

 

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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.  AND God desires you.  BUT God desires all of you.

 

ESV Mark 12:29-30 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

 

Join me in reciting…  Shema… Hear this…

 

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 17, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ