Los Alamos Church of Christ

2016 Connections

Teaser

A Million Beetles

 

 

This morning we are going to begin with a biology class.  I don’t want the kids to get rusty while they are out of school for the holidays… so let’s do some biology.  I like biology.  Let’s begin with Scientific Classification…

 

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Coleoptera

Family:

Genus:

Species:

 

 

The point of our biology class this morning is the Order… Coleoptera. (co-le-OP-ter-a) These are more commonly known as… beetles.  The order Coleoptera has the largest number of species in the entire animal kingdom.  The order Coleoptera contains more described species than in any other order in the animal kingdom, constituting of about 25% percent of all known life-forms.  Get this… there are 400,000 identified species of beetles.  But biologists estimate, conservatively, that there may be over a million species of beetles.  What? Why?  Really? Wait…  Here is the point of this biology class…

 

 

God loves variety. 

 

 

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And that is just talking beetles.  Think about the vast variety in God’s creation…

--Birds… from humming birds to ostriches… 10,000 species

--Discus… Tanya’s favorite fish…

--Roses… There are over 100 species and thousands of hybrids.

 

 

What else can we conclude from observing God’s creation than…

 

 

God loves infinite variety!

 

 

Let’s think about humans…

 

 

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It is pretty obvious that just looking at humans we are a varied bunch…

--Tallest –8’3”

--Shortest – 24”

--All kinds of humans…

 

In his book, The Arithmetic of Life and Death, George Shaffner looks at human life through mathematics. Shaffner calculates the probability that you would get the twenty-three chromosomes you got from your mother is .5 to the 23rd power—that is 1 in 10 million. The same is true for the twenty-three chromosomes you got from your father. If you multiply the two of them together, you realize that from a biological perspective, the chance that you would be exactly you is 1 in 100 trillion. But you have to factor in that your parents had the same probability, and their parents, and their parent's parents all the way back to Noah. George Shaffner says the probability that you would be you is a… jillion gazillion. 

 

God loves variety.  God, who is infinite, loves infinite variety!

 

 

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This infinite God… made us in his image.

 

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.

 

This is a fundamental spiritual truth.  Unlike all million species of beetles, we are made in the image of God.  But, a single one of us could hardly bear the fullness of our infinite God.  This is an amazing thought… each one of us bears a glimpse of God’s image. 

 

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. 

 

Everyone is different…

--We are wired differently.  Our DNA is unique.

--Our culture is different from other cultures.  Those born in the Amazonian Bonga Bonga have a very different perspective than we do.  

--We had different upbringings.  No one has had my set of life experiences.

--Some have been damaged by people in their lives.

--Each of us had different relationships.  My set of acquaintances; friends, family, others have all left a different mark on me.

--The Spirit has gifted each of us differently.  As we commit to the Lord, he gifts us differently.

--Our own responses to God’s calling leds us to be different people.

Everyone is different, because…

 

God loves variety.  God, who is infinite, loves infinite variety.  God makes us all with infinite variety. 

 

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The point of this sermon is not really a biology lesson on the differentiation of the species.  The point of this sermon is...  Because each of us is different, the way each person relates to God is different.  As each of our pieces of the mirror reflects a bit different image of God, each of us relates to God with a different connection.  My connection to God is a bit different than your connection to God. 

 

 

God is infinite. So, God can relate to each one of us individually. Because God is infinite he can focus exclusively on each one of us.  YWHW is my God.  I have a direct line to Him.  But so, do you.  We who are Christians, indwelt with the Holy Spirit, God, is a sacred place of worship with a direct connection to God.  Pow… mind blowing. 

 

 

The God of infinites loves to be worshipped in an infinite variety of ways.  My connection to God is not going to be exactly like your connection to God.  Your way to connect to God is going to differ from the person next to you.  When I use the word worship I am talking about connection to God, not limited to 10:30 – 12:00 on Sunday morning.  Our worship, our offering to God in connection is infinitely varied. 

 

 

God loves variety.  God, who is infinite, loves infinite variety.  God makes us all with infinite variety.  Our worship of God is infinite in variety.  

 

 

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

 

The challenge then is to discover your worship of God.  Cookie cutters don’t work.  You are unique.  Your worship must also be unique.  The challenge of your life is to discover your worship; that sweet spot of worship.  That is a challenge worth getting excited about… I want to discover my sweet spot of worship.  Sound good?

 

This sermon is a trailer; a commercial for next year’s sermons.  Coming soon to a pulpit near you… like right here, starting next week.  Our goal for 2016 is to discover your sweet spot of worship… your connection.

 

Our theme for next year is Connections. First, our connection to God… finding that spot of worship.  But this leads us into connections with each other.  Doing our vertical connections with God leads to doing our horizontal connections with each other.  Our interaction with God and each other sounds a whole lot like…

 

ESV Matthew 22:37-39 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.

 

The first and second commandments are to connect to the Lord our God with everything and as a result of that connection we love each other.  How we do that is the challenge of next year.

 

Let me get into some of the details of our theme of Connections.

 

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Much of the material I will share with you next year comes from two books...  

--“Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas

--“What’s Your God Language?” by Myra Perrine.

 

 

We are going to learn the word… temperament.  Our challenge for next year is to discover our spiritual temperaments.  These will help us find our sweet spot of worship.

 

 

Here’s Myra Perrine’s definition…

A spiritual temperament is the way we best relate to God, namely, our most natural and meaningful approach to connecting with God, knowing God, and loving God. A spiritual temperament serves as an entry point into greater awareness of Jesus-His presence and His love. It is that place where we almost effortlessly find what some have referred to as our "sacred space." Our spiritual temperaments influence where and how we are quieted inside, and where and how we most often sense God speaking to us, refreshing us, and stirring our passion for Him. Our spiritual temperament serves as our "default mode" spiritually, the style we fall back on when we want to be with God and are not intentionally pursuing Him another way. Just as one person may prefer football to golf, or skiing to mountain biking, so a spiritual temperament is a preference in the spiritual realm.  --Myra Perrine,  What's Your God Language?

 

 

Gary Thomas identifies nine spiritual temperaments.  There are more than nine and lots of combinations which leads to the infinite variety we are.  Here are the nine.

--The Activist—loving God through confrontation with evil

--The Ascetic—loving God through solitude and simplicity

--The Caregiver—loving God through serving others

--The Contemplative—loving God through adoration

--The Enthusiast—loving God through mystery and celebration

--The Intellectual—loving God through the mind

--The Naturalist—loving God through experiencing Him outdoors

--The Sensate—loving God through the senses

--The Traditionalist—loving God through ritual and symbol

 

 

The purposes of our study next year in Connections is to…

--Help us find our temperaments and mixtures of temperaments.

--Learn to rejoice in other people’s temperaments.

--Help us to not be judgmental of other people’s temperaments. 

--Learn the upsides and dangers of each temperament.

--Sample temperaments which are outside of our comfort zone.  We may be surprised. We can be a more complete Christian with more connections to God.

--Find our sweet spot of worship, where we are connected to God and loving each other! 

 

Here is my plan.  We will spend a few weeks on each temperament.

 

There has never been or ever will be someone who is just like you.  This isn’t a testimony to 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. 

 

God loves variety.  God, who is infinite, loves infinite variety.  God makes us all with infinite variety.  Our worship of God is infinite in variety.   Only you can worship God as you! 

 

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.

 

 

“God of the numberless beetles, grant me to know who you made me to be.” amen

 

 

 

 

Tim Stidham

December 27, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ