Los Alamos Church of Christ

Connections 2016

Thank God Sequence

 

Last week, I presented the …The Thank You Sequence.

--Last week, I advocated that when we are faced with the unsatisfying things of the world…

--When we are on the edge of exploding…

--When we are ready to jump off a cliff…

Perhaps, we should turn to the Thank You Sequence as a way to deal with these upsetting vibes.

 

For those who were here last week, let me recap The Thank You Sequence… for those who were not this is a cap…

 

1) An offered gift opens a space.

Whenever someone offers a gift, a clearing is created.  The offering of an authentic gift is this empty space which you are invited to enter.  It is empty but the offer is an invitation to join the other person in this clearing…”Here is a gift…”

 

Step 2 of the Sequence enters the space…

 

2) “Thank you” enters the space. 

Saying, “Thank you” enters the space created by the gift. The acceptance of the gift steps into the clearing.  Speaking the magic words… “Thank you” moves you into the clearing to join the person who offered the gift. 

 

“I’m good” denies the gift and does not step into the clearing.  “No, thank you” is better.

 

Because step 3…

 

3) Entering the space acknowledges the worth of the giver.

The clearing has been created by the gift.  “Thank you” enters the space.  Entering the space gives value to the gift.  I accept your gift says… I appreciated you.  Thank you says to the giver you are significant.  I will accept the kindness of your gift because I value you. 

 

Step 4 works on us…

 

4) Entering the space is humbling.

Saying “thank you” enters the clearing and acknowledges the worth of the giver, but it also recognizes who we are.  It recognizes our submission to the giver.  “Thank you” says… I am humble enough to accept your gift.  It kills our pride.  It changes our thinking from always being self-sufficient, to understanding that can be the recipients of the kindness of others.

 

Within this humility then step 5…

 

5) The Thank You Sequence leads to connection.

The… “You’re Welcome” completes the bond.  A connection is formed. 

 

Let me add a little of what I have learned since last week.  The “You’re Welcome” is important.  It should not be messed up with diminishing statements…

--“It is nothing”… Diminishes the gift. 

--“Forget it”… We are creating a bond… don’t forget it.

--“No Problem”… If it is no problem it was not much of gift. 

--“I know you’d do the same for me”… creates an obligation. 

 

“You’re welcome!”  Completes the connection.

 

Gift—Thank you – You’re welcome – makes a bond. 

 

The Sequence continues…

 

6) Entering into the space curtails our whining.   

When “we” enter the clearing; when “we” say “thank you”; when “we” offer a “no buts” acceptance…

--But…You shouldn’t have

--But… I will return the favor

…But… I owe you

A no “buts” acceptance of the gift forms a “we” instead of a “they”.  This should curtail our whining. 

 

And it does lead to Step 7….

 

7) Repetition forms fellowship. 

If the Thank You Sequence has happened, both ways, many times it becomes an understanding that you can ask me for help.  A shared bond of willingness!  That is what the church can be.  That is what this church should be.  That is a powerful reason to be a part of the body of Christ.  We serve each other.

 

Fellowship is the continual creation of bonds through the Thank You Sequence. 

 

That was last week… The Thank You Sequence!

 

Today I want to take it to the next level.  I want to advocate that there is another important Sequence we need in our lives… The Thank God Sequence…

 

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The Thank God Sequence works with the same seven steps, sort of… 

 

1) God created an open a space

 

ESV John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

God sent his only Son into the world to bring life.  Death is the enemy.  We are not designed for death.  Death is not a part of life.  Death must come to an end.  Jesus came to offer his own death on the cross to end death.  When he rose from the grave on that first Easter morning Jesus killed death.  God sent his son to bring eternal life.

 

God opens an amazing clearing… whoever believes in Him will not permanently die, but have eternal life.  That is the gift of all gifts.  That makes any Christmas gift you will ever receive pale in comparison.  That makes anything you bought on Black Friday… Wait it was Black Friday that purchased the greatest gift ever… eternal life! 

 

God has created a clearing… an eternal open space… called life!

 

We then… Step 2… enter that clearing.

 

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2) We enter with the “Thank you” of faith.

 

ESV Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

We enter the clearing of his death by being baptized into his death… so that we can walk in the clearing of life.  Baptism is “Thank You”!  That is a remarkable way to view baptism.  It is not an obligation.  It is not a work.  It is not a box to check.  It is the stepping into the clearing.  It is the acceptance of the gift of life. 

 

In faith the gift of life is received in baptism. 

 

The gift of life is offered in the clearing of His death.  Faith steps into that clearing to say “Thank You, for eternal life”.

 

In doing this we move to step 3.

 

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3) Entering the space honors the Giver…

 

ESV Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

 

Because of the life given by the lamb we become priests of God who sing… Worthy is the lamb!  In accepting his offering of life, we honor the one who gave us the gift.  Each of us who have been baptized into his death, now live in eternal life so that, so that, so that we can join the angels singing. 

 

ESV Revelation 5:11-13 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" 

 

Entering the space honors the Giver!

 

That leads to Thank God Sequence Step # 4…

 

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4) Entering the space is humbling.

 

ESV Philippians 2:1-8 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

Our pride ends when we step into the clearing.  The receiving of the death of Jesus in baptism; the praise of the one who is Worthy; forms a model for who we are to be. 

--We have the same mind as Christ.

--We have the same love as Christ.

--We look out for others.

--We become servants like Christ.

--We learn humility…

 

Accepting any gift is humbling.  Accepting the gift of eternal life should be most humbling. 

 

Wow… we still have 3 more steps…

 

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5) Entering the space is connecting.

 

My current favorite verse…

 

ESV Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

In the clearing there is the love of God; there is connection.  As I said a couple weeks ago, we are princesses snuggled in the big chair with Christ.  The Thank God Sequence is connecting.  God makes this amazing connection as we are connected in Christ!

 

Therefore, therefore… step #6…

 

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6) There is no whining in the clearing.

 

ESV Romans 8:16-19 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God…

 

What is there to whine about when we think of being children in the big chair for this life and the next?  What could we complain about from the clearing of life? 

 

When we catch ourselves whining… imagine yourself as kids in the clearing of the big chair… forever…  Then imagine that…One day creation will reveal the sons of God.  We will walk with God in the cool of the evening. 

 

Which is step 7…

 

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7) Repeated “Thank Gods” is fellowship.

 

ESV Colossians 3:14-17 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

Through the Lord Jesus Christ we give thanks to the Father.  We live in the clearing of eternal life.  From the clearing we offer thanksgiving.  That thanksgiving is fellowship with the God. 

--The opening words of every prayer could be… thank you… I love you… 

--Every song of our hearts could be… thank you… I love you… 

--Every action, every word, every deed is done in the name of the Lord with thanksgiving! 

 

We live in the clearing of God’s grace with thanksgiving. 

 

Let’s put it all together…

 

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Thank You God

--For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should have eternal life… a clearing was created!

--All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus walk in newness of life.  We step into the clearing with Thank You!

--So, we can sing a new song, "Worthy is the lamb to make a kingdom of priests to reign on the earth." Because the giver is worthy!

--So, we develop the mind of Christ to live in humility.

--We are raised up with him!  We are seated with him in the heavenly places… Where connect!

--So, that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…. So we don’t whine.

--Then, we do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him as we live in the clearing of Thanksgiving!

 

May the Thank God Sequence be your way to… life!

May the Thank God Sequence be your way of… life!

 

 

Tim Stidham

November 27, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ