Hope for our Broken World, 25 August 2019

Hope for our Broken World
August 25, 2019
1 Cor. 6:9-11; John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:8-9

Series Big Idea:
The gospel—“good news”—is powerful and transformative.

Big Idea:
Our broken world desperately needs to experience the Gospel.

Jesus is the hope of the world! Our politicians, scientists, educators, or entertainers will never bring the healing our nation and planet desperately need. Only the love, grace, mercy, and redemption of God can cure what ails us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus and his power, not the evil of our world.

Today we’re concluding our series The Power of the Gospel. We said the gospel—or good news—is ultimately about Jesus, Jesus is LORD. He is the good news. His life, death, and resurrection have wonderful implications for those who follow him, but the gospel is so much more than going to heaven when you die. It’s about Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life…now!

We talked about how the good news needs to be shared, and last Sunday we saw an example of a remarkable transformation because of the gospel as Saul—an enemy of Christianity—encountered Jesus and became arguably the most important figure in the movement Jesus began. Today we conclude our series in a message entitled
Hope for Our Broken World.

Our world is desperate for hope. This is not only obvious, it’s nothing new.

I know, some of you want to return to the good ol’ days, but did they ever really exist?

What if today is tomorrow’s good ol’ days?

I don’t know when America was actually great (though I heard a rumor that Queen Elizabeth has a hat which reads, “Make America Great Britain Again!”).

Has there ever been a moment when our world was truly at peace?

Our world is broken because of sin. It is desperate for hope.

If you study world history—and especially church history—you’ll see how desperate humanity has been for hope. Consider this excerpt from a letter written to the church in ancient Corinth in Greece:

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NLT)

As someone once said, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Our world is desperate for hope.

They seek it in the strangest places.

  • - Politics
  • - Entertainment
  • - Science
  • - Drugs and alcohol
  • - Sex
  • - Religion
  • - Greed and consumerism
  • - Adventure and danger

The problem is none of those things will truly satisfy. Sure, they may bring temporary happiness, but they will all eventually fail to live up to their promises…and in many cases will create their own problems such as addiction or even death. Amazingly, people have been “lookin’ for hope in all the wrong places” for centuries!

If my first statement would delight Captain Obvious, I’m even more convinced of my next declaration…

Jesus is the hope of the world.

Unfortunately, this is not obvious to everyone. In fact, billions of people know nothing about Jesus. They’re not offended by him. They haven’t had a bad experience with him. They’ve never even heard his name, much less met him!

If we turn back to Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, it continues…

Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11, NLT)

Only Jesus offers real cleaning.
Only Jesus can make us holy.
Only Jesus can make us right with God.
Only Jesus offers real hope.

Many of you have heard this a thousand times, but listen again…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

The meaning of “so” is not about the amount of God’s love. It literally means the qualitative aspect of God’s love, the manner in which He loved the world. It is stating, “This is what the love of God looks like”…a sacrifice, a gift, …action!” To follow Jesus means we follow his example of sacrifice, of action, of sharing good news.

How in the world did Jesus-followers get the reputation of being filled with hate when God loved?

How can we be known as people who are after people’s money when God gave so generously to us, sending Jesus?

How is it that so-called Christians can judge unbelievers when Jesus came to save them, not condemn them?

Jesus is the hope of the world.

Hope is good.
Hope is attractive.
Hope doesn’t need to be sold, only offered.

For some Christians, there are only two dates that matter: the date they were saved and the date they die and go to heaven. What a tragedy!

Jesus is not just the hope for you. God loved the world! Jesus is the hope of the world! It is a responsibility and a joy to proclaim the gospel…good news…Jesus…to the world!

Some pathetic Christians are sitting around waiting for the world to end so they can get out of here, but that’s not God’s heart. That’s not a Jesus’ attitude. He sent us on mission, family. He commissioned us to make disciples, to love, to proclaim the Gospel. Peter wrote,

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Do you know how many of my kids I love? All of them!

Jesus said he would return soon, and I think he’s a little slow, which is why I’m grateful for these words from Peter. See, if anything, God’s waiting for us. It’s not that He’s slow, but that He is love. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to repent, to turn from their sin, to surrender to Jesus. He’s not eager to judge us—though we will all be judged—but wants all to repent, to turn from sin, to follow Jesus. But…

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)

If the only thing that mattered was your salvation, you’d get zapped to heaven as soon as you surrendered your life to Jesus. But you’re still here! You’ve got work to do, and so do I.

We are here to re-present Jesus.

Followers of Jesus—Christians—are to look like and act like Jesus. He passed the baton to us. He told us to go and make disciples. This requires action. It’s not a suggestion. It’s why we’re here!

What would happen if we really loved Jesus…and proved it not with our head but with our hearts and hands? What if we really took him seriously, got out of our comfort zones and loved this city that way Jesus would love it? Imagine if every person in Toledo was given an invitation to know and follow Christ? Wouldn’t it be great if we could participate in an earth-shaking spiritual awakening in our world which began here in Holy Toledo?

I’m done with status quo, mediocre, boring Christianity. I want more of God! I want more of the Holy Spirit! I want to see revival…in me…in you…in our city…in our world. I’m sick of satan grabbing all of the news headlines! I want some good news! I’ve got some good news!

We are called to be hope dealers!

If Jesus is the hope of the world, we become that hope as we re-present Jesus, as we are the hands and feet of Jesus today.

Our nation has had some revivals, including the Great Awakening.

There’s a fascinating video called
Transformations which documents communities transformed by the Gospel, by Jesus, by a miraculous move of the Holy Spirit when people come together in unity repentance, prayer, and evangelism.

I want Him to do it again…here!

Is anybody with me?

This is our day. This is our world. Previous generations experienced revivals, but what about us? God never changes, friends. I believe He’s ready to pour out His Spirit on us, our city, and our world if we will repent, pray, and share the gospel. We have to go and make disciples. We have to proclaim in deed and word good news. We have follow Jesus and practice what we preach, 24/7/365.

So What?

“Great, pastor. You had too much caffeine this morning, you’re getting all excited, but now what?”

I’m so glad you asked! I want to offer a few, simple, next steps. In a word, BLESS.

BLESS your neighbor.

Begin with prayer

You don’t have to be a spiritual giant to share good news, to offer hope to our broken world, one life at a time. You can bring someone to Dinner Church tonight. You can ask open-ended questions to stimulate conversation such as, “Where are you at on your spiritual journey?” You can invite your neighbors over for a BBQ. You can buy someone a cup of coffee and chat.

This fall you can be a conversation partner with Water for Ishmael.
You can volunteer at the After School Klub and Rosa Parks Elementary.

Barna research has concluded 97% of church members will never share their faith, yet I bet most of you want to. You want your neighbors to experience good news. You want them to have faith, hope, and love. You just feel awkward. I know. I don’t walk up to total strangers and say, “Hi, I’m Kirk. Do you know Jesus?” Some people actually do that! But you don’t have to do it alone. We’re a family. We partner together. We literally set the table once a month at Dinner Church. Our Christmastime gatherings will create great opportunities for people to encounter the Hope of the world.

But there’s one more thing I want to tell you about. Coincidentally, this past week was the beginning of a movement which could be a catalyst to revival in our city and nation.

Saturate Toledo

We have been invited to join Toledo area churches in distributing bags to reach all 500,000 souls in our area. What an opportunity! We will pray, stuff bags, and deliver them to our neighbors. It’s that simple…and all of the resources have been donated!

Area pastors are invited to a free lunch on October 1 at The Premiere Center. If you know a pastor—besides me!—make sure they know about it. Our plan is to assemble and distribute bags this fall. If you can walk, talk, and/or pray, you can participate.

The goal is 60 million homes by the end of 2020. So far, 28 million have been adopted and nearly 13 million have already been saturated…that’s 40 million people who have received a bag in 45 states!

One of the exciting things is donors are making this available to our church and city for free! All we have to do is assemble the materials and pass them out to our neighbors.

Saturate Toledo is a simple way we can make sure everyone has a chance to encounter the Hope of the world, Jesus Christ.


Our world is desperate for hope. They’re never going to find it in Columbus or Washington, Hollywood or Broadway. Money, sex and power will never truly satisfy. It won’t come through Facebook or Apple or Instagram.

Jesus is the Hope of the world…and we get to re-present him to every person we encounter, online or in person.

It’s time for us to rise up and proclaim good news. No pressure, no manipulation, just love. BLESSing. Hope. Our world desperately needs it. It couldn’t be more obvious. What are we going to do about it?

LORD, give us Your heart for the lost, the lonely, the least of these that we may re-present Jesus, the hope of the world.

Credits: series outline from D6.

  • You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.
  • Church: Hospital or Museum? 11 June 2017

    Church: Hospital or Museum?
    Mark’s Gospel: The Real Jesus
    Mark 2:13-17

    Series Big Idea: The shortest gospel is filled with good news about Jesus!

    Big Idea: We are to welcome sinners, recognizing we are sinners ourselves.

    Good morning saints! Good morning sinners!

    My name is Kirk and we’re studying Mark’s biography of The Real Jesus. In chapter 2, he has been baptized, begun his preaching ministry, and done some healings. Word is spreading and while he is attracting crowds, he’s also drawing the envy and wrath of religious leaders. This will be a common theme, so significant the religious leaders will eventually kill him.

    Jesus has at least four followers—four fishermen. Now he continues his recruiting trip.

    Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. (Mark 2:13-14)

    Levi is also likely called Matthew, though it is possible he was not one of the Twelve, making this invitation even more compelling. He works at a toll booth, but it’s not automated like the ones on the Turnpike. These collectors were known for extortion and dishonesty.

    Levi likely worked for Herod Antipas. His father’s kingdom was divided among his three sons. Tolls suddenly had to be paid to cross from one part of the old kingdom to another. Levi did not have a popular job!

    Jesus comes by, and instead of complaining or swearing at Levi, he says, “Follow me.” What an invitation! Instead of working for a man who thought of himself as king of the Jews, he is invited to follow the true King of the Jews, the Messiah.

    Can you imagine someone walks into your office, says, “Follow me,” and you walk out on your job? Levi takes a huge risk in following Jesus. The fishermen can always return to fishing, but a government job? They’re not always available, especially after suddenly leaving without giving your two weeks notice!

    Jesus’ identity as King was not yet revealed, though. Instead, he was known as a preaching doctor who loved to throw parties…for sinners, outcasts, the marginalized.

    While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. (Mark 2:15)

    Jesus continues to attract crowds, even at dinnertime. But he did not just attract the educated and elite, the righteous and religious. Jesus was a friend of sinners.

    The best scholarship seems to suggest Jesus was the host, throwing a party at Levi’s house. Jesus doesn’t just preach to sinners; he befriends them. He loves them. He offends the religious establishment who have rejected these “sinners.”

    When we are invited to dinner, the polite thing to do is say…yes. Who doesn’t like a free meal, right? But in the first century, table fellowship implied friendship—even approval. If you and I share a meal together, it tells the world we are close friends. Does Jesus approve of these greedy, dishonest tax collectors and sinners? Doesn’t he care about holiness? It makes sense for Levi to gather with fellow sinners, but why is Jesus present?

    When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16)

    They’re afraid to ask Jesus! They go to his disciples and criticize him.

    Now the Pharisees get a bad rap. It’s deserved, but they were devout. They wanted to honor God by carefully following the Jewish law. They made two mistakes, however. First, they were prideful, also satan’s downfall. Second, they focused on every minute detail of the law without understanding the purpose and spirit of the law. They could no longer see the forest for the trees. They were so concerned about staying clean and pure that they missed opportunities to love their neighbor, to extend forgiveness, and to see reconciliation and repentance. They wanted to exercise control rather than compassion.

    But make no mistake, Jesus did not endorse sin.

    In John chapter 8, a woman is caught in the act of adultery. A group of Pharisees condemns her. Jesus famously says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, the Pharisees walk away, leaving only Jesus and the woman. He says he does not condemn her. He offers grace and compassion. But the story doesn’t end there. He tells her, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    Jesus welcomed sinners. Jesus loved sinners. But because Jesus loved them, he urged them to repent, to turn, to change…not because he doesn’t want them to have fun, but instead because he knows there’s a better way to live.

    Sin always leads to death. It might not be instant physical death, but it will kill relationships—with others, with God. Sin will destroy our ability to experience the abundant life Jesus taught and modeled. Greed. Pride. Adultery. Envy. Gossip. The list goes on.

    Can people live in sin and survive. Sure! But I’ve discovered following Jesus and his Word are the path to true satisfaction, true peace, and true joy. We need to welcome sinners

    We need to welcome sinners, but we also need to encourage them to experience Jesus, grow in their faith, and love God and their neighbor.
    David Garland notes,

    “to follow Jesus in the full sense of the word requires repentance and obedience. His goal in reaching out to the sick is to bring about healing and transformation in their lives, not to gather them together for a fun time. Instead of sorting people into classifications, holy and unholy, clean and unclean, righteous and sinner, Jesus gathers them under the wings of God’s grace and love.”

    It breaks my heart to see people make poor choices. But what shall I do? It depends upon the relationship. If it’s someone I know and love, tolerance might be the most hateful thing I can do, standing by watching them self-destruct. On the other hand, getting in their face about their behavior may cause our relationship to be destroyed. Obviously, this calls for wisdom…and it matters greatly if the person claims to follow Jesus or not.

    If you are my brother or sister in Christ, I owe it to you to encourage you to pursue Jesus. This doesn’t mean I point out all of your sins, but it does mean I might love you enough to confront.

    This week I received a short e-mail which simply said, “If I'm openly gay, would I be accepted at your church?”

    Would they, church?

    If they are seeking to know God, I hope and pray we would welcome them with open arms. I replied:

    All are welcome at First Alliance Church. We exist to help people know and experience Jesus, our example of what it means to be truly human. I hope to meet you soon.

    When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16)

    Why was Jesus a friend to tax collectors and sinners?

    On hearing this, Jesus said to them,
    “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

    We are not a museum for saints. There’s a museum next door if you want a museum!

    We are a hospital for sinners. And we’re all sinners! It might get messy. It might get uncomfortable. But the reason we’re still on this planet is because of the
    mission Dei, the mission of God, to seek and save the lost, to call sinners, to heal the sick, to make disciples, to serve the least of these, to love the unlovable. If all you care about is your own comfort, it’s not Jesus you’re following. Jesus lived to die and that’s what he calls his followers to do—die to ourselves and love and serve others.

    You would think after 2000 years we would understand this, but religion persists. Self-righteous people insist on pointing fingers.

    Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about love the sinner, hate your own sin?

    Brothers and sisters, I can summarize this message in three words. Many Christians have had the attitude the if you behave and believe, you can belong.

    Behave – Believe – Belong

    We must reverse it. Jesus did! He said you belong. As you are loved and accepted, belief often follows naturally. And don’t miss this: when you believe in Jesus and make him King and LORD, you are also given the Holy Spirit who gives you power to behave. You can’t just change your behavior because someone tells you to do so. You need power. You can’t just walk up to a guy with a brown bag on the streets and say, “Stop drinking” and expect him to never take another drink. He needs power to quit his addiction.

    And we’re all addicted to sin of one sort or another.

    Belong – Believe - Behave

    You belong here. All of you. Everyone. Young or old. Gay or straight. Black or white. Christian or atheist. Citizen or immigrant. Republican or Democrat. You belong here. You were created in the image of God with dignity, value and worth. Jesus died for you. Come as you are.

    But we don’t want you to stay that way. Jesus doesn’t want you to stay as you are. He tells all of us to “go and sin no more,” not because he’s a scolding, condemning God but because he knows sin will always harm us. He wants what’s best for us.

    You belong here. We would love for you to experience Jesus and believe in him, surrendering your life to him. It’s not that we are trying to manipulate you or sell you anything, but we’ve discovered the source of real life, real peace, real joy and it’s not in religion but it’s in a person, Jesus!

    If you welcome Jesus into your life, you will want to change, you will want to follow Him, and you’ll be given the Holy Spirit’s power to do so.

    "God judges, the Holy Spirit convicts, we are to love." -Billy Graham

    Credits: some ideas from NT Wright, J. Vernon McGee, and David Garland.

  • You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.
  • Journey Through The Wall, 22 January 2012


    “Emotional health and contemplative spirituality, when interwoven together, offer nothing short of a spiritual revolution, transforming the hidden places deep beneath the surface of our lives,” says author and pastor Pete Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. This series is based upon the biblical themes of Scazzero’s book in an effort to help us better understand ourselves in order to better love God and others.

    The Big Idea

    The third pathway to emotionally healthy spirituality is to journey through the Wall.


    Life is a journey. We are all at different places in the journey. It matters not where you are, but where you are headed.

    The Bible is full of journeys. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land. Jesus spent three years journeying with his disciples. Life is not a simple straight line. We have detours, curves...and obstacles or Walls.


    What is the greatest obstacle in your life? It might be your job, finances, physical health, shattered dream, betrayal, a wayward child, being single, your marriage, etc. The Wall is not a traffic jam or getting the flu. It’s a season of testing or a severe trial.

    If you’re honest, there are moments in our lives when we just don’t understand. Our faith does not appear to work. God seems distant or absent. We have more questions than answers. St. John of the Cross called it the dark night of the soul.

    On Monday nights at the greenroom we’ve been talking about being real with God with our anger, fear, and even doubt. For reasons sometimes known only by God, we just don’t understand. We ask why. We cry out for help.

    I’ve done that countless times—especially over the past several years. I’ve faced walls, I’ve searched for God, I’ve struggled with pain, uncertainty, and stress.

    If you’ve ever felt like the door of heaven was closing when you prayed, you’re not alone. If you’ve ever felt helpless, empty, dry, or defeated, you’re in good company. Today we’re going to look at the story of a man who faced an incredible wall. In his case it wasn’t the absence of God, but God’s presence and outrageous command that challenged his faith and reality.

    The Bible...and church history is filled with people who have faced walls.

    Ignatius Loyola, John Wesley, Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Evelyn Underhill, and countless others have experienced stages of their faith.

    David cried out to God for years when Saul and his men pursued him, and he
    was forced to hide in caves.

    Psalms 69, 70, 71 and others are filled with cries for help from God. In fact, the largest category of psalms—about 1/3 of them—are psalms of lament.

    Consider Job. Satan challenged God to take away Job’s wealth, animals, children, and good health, all as a way to see if Job would continue to be upright. At first, Job cries out to God, but God does not answer right away (Job 13: 20-26). Eventually, God speaks up and Job repents and relents (Job 42:1-6).


    Abraham had his share of Walls in his life. He was asked to leave his family and travel to an unknown land. He arrived and encountered a famine, had a conflict with his nephew Lot, his wife was unable to have children, he bounced off that wall and had a son with his wife’s servant.

    At age 110 he hit another wall. His promised son was finally born and then God asks him to do the unthinkable.

    Genesis 22...

    Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

    “Here I am,” he replied.

    Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:1-2)

    God does not tempt, but tests Abraham to confirm his faith and prove his commitment.

    This seems so bizarre to us, yet in that day child sacrifices were commonly offered to pagan gods.

    Tragically, 1/3 of my generation has been killed, but that’s another issue for another time.

    Mount Moriah is now the covered with the Dome of the Rock in Israel, a Muslim structure.

    Abraham faces a Wall, a test that he causes a crisis of faith.

    Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:3-5)

    Imagine that journey!

    Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

    “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

    “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
    (Genesis 22:6-7)

    Good question!

    Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

    When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

    “Here I am,” he replied. (Genesis 22:8-11)

    “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

    Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:12-14)

    Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich developed a model in their work
    The Critical Journey: States in the Life of Faith that looks something like this...

    Stage 1: the beginning; we recognize our need for God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness

    Stage 2: we learn about God and what it means to follow Jesus.

    Stage 3: we get involved, serving God and His people with our gifts and passions

    We encounter the Wall which turns our world upside down. Our faith doesn’t seem to work.

    Many people get stuck at the Wall and refuse to do the hard work necessary to journey through it. They give up their faith, mask their true heart, or self-medicate.

    How do we get through the Wall?

    - by the grace and timing of God
    - on our hands and knees
    - through deep introspection
    - by releasing the trappings of this world
    - with prayer and help from others
    - with determined faith
    - by not giving up hope or giving in to temptation
    - by not losing sight of God

    Stage 4: The Wall compels us to the inward journey. Sometimes the inward journey leads us to the Wall. It is ultimately God that brings us to the Wall.

    Stage 5: after passing through our crisis of faith, we begin to serve God, but this time we give out of a new, grounded center of ourselves in God. We have a deep, inner stillness and an awareness of God’s deep, unconditional love for us.

    Stage 6: the brokenness we have experienced coupled with the healing of the Holy Spirit brings us to a place where we surrender to God, His will, and His power.

    There are several things that the Wall roots out in our lives.

    - pride
    - greed

    luxury (using God for your own pleasure)
    wrath (easily irritated)
    spiritual gluttony
    spiritual envy

    The Wall changes everything!

    You may not know exactly when you begin to go through the Wall, or when you reach the other side. Ultimately God moves us through the Wall and there is a mystery to it, but you are making progress if you experience shifts in your life.

    From Pride To Brokenness

    Years ago there was a young preacher that was attracting huge crowds of people. An older, wise pastor was asked about him and said, “He’s gifted, but he’s not broken yet.”

    When we journey through the Wall, we are forever changed. We are broken. We endure pain, but experience transformation in the process. Our affections and passions are purged.

    Richard Rohr has written five realities that we must recognize if we are to grow into maturity.

    - Life is hard.
    - You are not that important.
    - Your life is not about you.
    - You are not in control.
    - You are going to die.

    From Pleasure To Appreciation

    Rather than focusing on our own pleasures, we have an awareness of ourselves, God, and the world around us. We begin to seek His pleasure.

    We don’t take things for granted.

    We also have a greater awareness and appreciation of the mystery of God. We know He does not fit into a tidy box. As the classic line from the Narnia book says, we realize that He is not safe, but He’s good.

    The more I know about God, the less I know about Him. That may sound like a bad thing, but actually it’s wonderful to have a child-like faith filled with awe and wonder, resting in the truth that God is in control...and I’m not!

    From Impatience To Patience

    I hate to wait, but I’m slowly—pun intended!—learning that God’s timing is perfect. He is never late, but rarely early.

    I want things now, God knows best.
    Look at Psalm 130.

    A song of ascents.

    Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their
    (Psalm 130)

    Here’s a man facing the Wall, yet aware of God’s perfect timing. He’s been through the wall previously.

    Abraham learned to wait. He was 75 when he was told he would be a dad. Eleven years later, he got tired of waiting and birthed Ishmael through his maidservant Hagar. He waited another fourteen years for Isaac. Then he had to wait until the very last moment for God to provide a sacrifice in place of Isaac, his cherished son.

    There are so many similar examples throughout the Bible, yet we literally read years or decades in a sentence or two.

    From More To Enough

    The purpose of the Wall is not to harm us, but to help us detach from certain selfish actions and desires and experience a more intimate, loving attachment to God.

    Those who are most detached on the journey are best able to taste the purest joy in the beauty of created things.

    They are able to experience contentment. They look to Jesus to be enough.

    They are able to fully surrender to God and worship Him with all we are.

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    Note: many ideas derived from Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituailty.