Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Aug 1, 2000, 21:05
An organization in Montana offered a bounty of $5,000 for every wolf captured alive. Two hunters named Jeb & Sam decided to head for the hills to make money. They looked in the forests and across the mountains for days. Finally exhausted they both fell asleep. During the night, Sam suddenly woke to find that he and Jeb were surrounded by a pack of 50 wolves. They had flaring red eyes...teeth snarled...ready to pounce. It was then that Sam nudged Jeb and said, "Hey wake up, we're gonna be rich!"
His perspective was a little different than mine would have been. Perspective is important.
After the Sunday School class had studied the story of the prodigal son, the teacher asked, "Was anyone sorry when the prodigal son returned?"
One boy answered, "Yes, the fatted calf...he got killed!"
Again we see perspective. Who has ever thought of the fatted calf having a perspective?
3 people were visiting the grand canyon--an artist, a pastor, and a cowboy. As they looked they said different things. The artist said, “ Ah, what a beautiful scene to paint.” The pastor said, “ What a glorious example of the handiwork of God!” The cowboy said, “ What a terrible place to lose a cow!”
Once again a matter of perspective. As we begin another year of ministry here at Covenant I want to give you a little perspective on where we go from here.
The passage I want to look at is found in 2 Corinthians. That will be our jumping off point.
As we begin we must always keep in mind a simple but foundational truth. That truth is that our faith must be centered on God!
Carl Reiner does a funny sketch on the 2000 Year Old Man. In that sketch the interviewer asks, "You must have been around when people started worshipping God?"
The 2000 year old man responds, "Yea, but his name was Phil--then he got struck by lightning. That’s when I realized that there is someone out there bigger than Phil!"
There is someone out there! He is bigger than you! He is bigger than me! He is the creator of the universe! He is God, and He must be at the center of our faith.
If you would let me, I’d like to point out a few ways that faith in the Father will begin to change our perspective. Look with me at verses 16 through 21 of 2 Corinthians 5.
1) Jesus looks different to you. In verse 16 we read, “Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” Many of us have gone through this process. First He began as a Jesus we heard stories about. Then He became a Jesus we thought about. Then He became more, then Jesus became personal and we got to know Him. And when you get to know Him things become different.
2) God looks different to you. In verse 18 we read “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation...(then in verse 19) that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
The word "reconcile" in Greek means "to adjust the difference." We know instinctively that we ought not to mess with God. Honestly, we don't joke about God in thunderstorms!
And deep inside we know how big and powerful God is. Yet as we grow--we find that God has adjusted the difference. He becomes personal! He looks different! He becomes approachable! We aren’t frightened of Him because He has adjusted the difference and we see Him as our Heavenly Father.
3) People look different to you. In verse 16 we read, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Through we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.”
He changes the way you look at people. Your perspective is different and that is good.
The place was a logic course at a major university. The professor told students as they were preparing for a final exam, "You can bring to class on the day of the exam as much information as you can fit on a piece of notebook paper." So as you can imagine, everyone went to work.
One student came to the final, put a piece of paper on the floor, and had an advanced logic student stand on the paper. That student told the test-taker everything he needed to know...as a result, an A was made. The person was the most valuable thing he could bring.
Jesus said, "Love people"because they are valuable to Him! Our perspective begins to shift as we grow and we see others differently.
4) You look at your life differently. In verse 17 we see, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” And in verse 20, “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his
appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
What is your reason for living? If you don't know Him—you don’t have one. Once you see Him everything will change.
A student was struggling with life. He was angry and frustrated. When he could stand it no longer, he went to the seldom used chapel on campus. He paced up and down and slapped the back of the empty pews and yelled, cried, and raged at God.
"God you created the world, what are you thinking!!! Look at the pain, the suffering, the hunger, the neglect, the waste, the abuse--everywhere I look there are messed up, hurting, lonely people!"
Finally exhausted, he sat in the front pew and looked hopelessly at the cross and continued, "It's all such a mess--the world you created is nothing but a terrible mess! Why even I could make a better world than this one!"
And then young men heard a voice..."And that is exactly what I want you to do--make it a better place!"
How about it? Are you ready for a changed perspective?
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