Jun 11, 2013

Posted by in Gateway Austin, Grow | 1 Comment

Becoming Receptive (The Dirty Truth Part One – video and notes)

Becoming Receptive (The Dirty Truth Part One – video and notes)

This month at Gateway in Austin, we are walking through a process to become who we are created to be in a series called: “The Dirty Truth.”

Below you will find the following:

  • the message I shared at the McNeil campus on video
  • an overview of becoming who we were created to be
  • the method to move from a hard heart and closed mind to a vulnerable heart and open mind
  • the grid through which to take every decision to hear God’s voice

The Dirty Truth – Receptivity | June 9, 2013 from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

In our culture we seem to have an identity crisis. We lack clarity and purpose! Have you noticed this?

Even still, we have an intrinsic desire that drives us towards progress. We desire to become someone who matters. We long for purpose and meaning in life.

The dictionary defines “Becoming” as “any process of change.” According to the philosopher Aristotle, “becoming” is any change from the lower level of potentiality to the higher level of actuality

Have you discovered who you were created to be? Do you know your calling in life?

Lets do a quick assessment:

  • Do you ever feel unsure of what to do in life?
  • Are you wandering from job to job?
  • Do you ever have a sense of dissatisfaction with where you are and what you are doing?
  • Do you ever find yourself on a cycle you cannot seem to stop experiencing? For example, you overcome an addiction only to fall back into it? You lose weight only to gain it back?
  • In your life, do you seem to start things strong only for them to end badly?
  • Do you ever wish God would just tell you what to do?
  • Ever wonder what you are supposed to be when you grow up?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this series is designed to help you to make progress. How amazing would it be if we could use this summer to make progress in becoming who we were created to be?

Jesus shows us how to make progress!

A huge crowd surrounded Jesus. This teacher and healer had gained quite a reputation, so lots of people wanted to hear what He had to say. So much so, he climbed into a boat and shared a parable, a story with a spiritual message that isn’t obvious unless you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear it.

Matthew 13:1-9 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

So before we read Jesus’ explanation of this parable, consider: which soil best describes your spiritual journey or how you have been recently?

Matthew 13:18-23  “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Of all the messages Jesus could share in front of one of the biggest crowds ever gathered around Him, you might be surprised He chose this particular message. He didn’t start this message from the boat talking about life after death. He didn’t talk about wealth or poverty. Instead Jesus described a journey towards becoming a different person and making a difference in the lives of others.

Jesus is sharing about the invisible Kingdom of God – a Kingdom that will one day include people from every nation, a Kingdom that advances with peace, love, faith, and hope rather than through war and destruction. Jesus is the King of a New Kingdom that does not separate people with borders but includes all who desire to let Him be their King.

Jesus tells us that in this Kingdom you have unlimited potential.

He shared about four types of soil in his parable of the sower.  The fourth soil is described as the only one that bears fruit.  Bearing fruit means living transformed lives and leading others to follow Christ.

God has greater ideas in mind for our lives than we do. As we connect to God we can begin to discover our unlimited potential to touch the lives of other people.

In the parable of the soils, Jesus shared how we can become who He intends for us to be – people of expansive influence. We can become the good soil bearing tremendous fruit. In the Scriptures, the word “fruit” is used to describe the “fruit of the Spirit” – a change in our character. “Fruit” also refers to the lives that we have impacted. We were created to experience this type of dramatic personal transformation and to be a part of helping others transform as well.

Jesus’ parable points out that we struggle to become who we were created to be when we fail in any of the following areas: hearing God’s voice, overcoming the trials we face, overcoming the temptations that distract us, or doing what we know we ought to do.

So which soil are you? What has kept you from experiencing this kind of fruitful life?

Soils

Hardened   –> Vulnerable

Shallow    —-> Deep

Thorny    —->  Clear

Desolate   —> Fruitful

To avoid these pitfalls, we can discover our God-given destiny by developing 4 skills. Becoming who we were created to be means we need to become receptive, tenacious, intentional, and proactive.

During this series, we will look at how developing these new skills can help you make progress in your spiritual journey.

  • an overview of becoming who we were created to be

Soils                                                    Skills

Hardened   –> Vulnerable       Receptive (Overcoming Silence)

Shallow    —-> Deep                  Tenacious (Overcoming Trials)

Thorny    —->  Clear                   Intentional (Overcoming Temptations)

Desolate   —>   Fruitful             Proactive (Overcoming Rebellion)

In the story of the soils, Jesus describes the first soil and how we can learn to discern God’s voice in our lives when we develop a posture of receptivity.  We can move from a hardened heart to a vulnerable one and overcome spiritual silence by distinguishing God’s voice from among the crowd and from among our own.

Do you have ears to hear? Do you want to hear from God? Have you ever felt God’s guidance?

When I talk about hearing God’s voice, I mean the ability to discern the “still small voice,” the “whisper” from the God who created us.

I can tell the difference between my thoughts and God’s thoughts because God’s thoughts challenge me to do something good for others and usually require faith and courage. When you have a thought ask yourself: “Is this selfless? Does this take courage? Is this consistent with God’s character?” If the answer is “yes” to both then it may very well be God is speaking to you because that is not normally not how we think.

Have you had any of these miraculous moments?

If not, are you willing to consider that this could happen for you? If you have, but it has been awhile, are you willing to hear His voice again?

  • the method to move from a hard heart and closed mind to a vulnerable heart and open mind

The problem according to Jesus is that our hearts are hard – like a path that is impenetrable. Does that describe your heart?

Some of us have hearts that have been hardened because others have walked all over us. Jesus is saying, some of us have hearts that are as hard an impenetrable dirt path.

The message of the Scriptures is that there is a God who is pursuing us and speaking to us. The problem is that we aren’t listening.

Is your heart calloused? Want a more vulnerable heart? Want to hear God’s voice? Jesus says: “If your heart is hard then turn to Him, and He will heal you!”

From the beginning to the end and everywhere in between, God is rescuing people from their hard hearts and offering love and new life!

At the end of the Bible, in Revelation 3:19b-20

So be sincere and turn around. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus is a gentleman. He isn’t kicking down the door of your heart. He stands there and knocks, wanting you to turn around and let Him in. When you do, you experience communion and genuine relationship with Him. He says your relationship could be as close as a great friend who comes over to share a meal with you!

Even if you’ve walked for God for a long time, every day you need to open your heart to Him. We can easily drift away, and when our back is turned to Him we cannot hear His voice.

Some of us have come to closure too soon on our understanding of God and what He wants to do in our lives and through our lives.

All of us, no matter where we may be in our spiritual journeys need to be willing to hear the fresh message God has for us.

We can learn to discern God’s voice in our lives when we develop a posture of receptivity.  We can move from a hardened heart to a vulnerable one.

Jesus sees so much potential in you! He desires to change your life and to allow you to see the lives of those you care about change through your influence!

Are you ready for that? Are you willing to let Him guide and lead you?

Reflection:

  • Do you want to hear God’s voice?
  • What is keeping you from hearing His voice?
  • If you are ready, what is He calling you to do?

 Next Steps:

 

  • Afolabi Awujoola

    Great job,pastor. More annointing!