February 14, 2010: “Broader Bandwidth”

Posted on : Feb 11th, 2010 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Welcome to

LifeServe 2010

Whose lives are different because of you?

Actor Matt Damon was featured in the Oct 11, 2009 issue of “Parade” magazine (one of those Sunday inserts in the Los Angeles Times) in an interesting article entitled:

“Be Part of the Solution:

We Can Move Mountains”

In this article he told his personal story about how and why he offers his life in service to others.  He said,

When I was a boy, my mom had a magnet on the refrigerator with a little picture of Gandhi along with a quote from him.  It said:  “No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.”  As a child, I was raised to believe that, and to this day I do my best to live it.

I got an allowance of $5 a week when I was a kid, but I never spent much money on anything.  My mother was involved in all sorts of causes, and when I was about 12, I started sending a little bit very month to one of them.  I learned then that you find one thing that matters to you, and it changes your whole mind-set.

I can’t think of any more important value to instill in our children than the desire to help others.  I still think Gandhi was right, “No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.”

Please find out what you can do to make a difference.  We’re here for such a short time.  When your great-great-grandkids study history, don’t you want them to be proud that you were part of the solution?

Those are perfect words to reflect on as we come to the close of our Epiphany worship series.  Remember six weeks ago Kobie and I began our series as we preached about being “light and salt” (as in Light of the world and Salt of the earth) and focused our attention on the question, “Whose lives are different because of you?”  I hope we’ve experienced lots of light and encouraged one another to be the ingredient of change (salt) that transforms life for everyone.

This Sunday we’re going to look at our final topic in this series, “Broader Bandwidth:  God’s Redemptive Blessing involves all of the person.”

In the technological world, we’ve heard over and over that in order to transmit greater amounts of data, we need broader bandwidth.  While not a technological wizard, what I understand this to mean is the infrastructure that carries our data has to increase in order for us to send larger amounts of data through it.  If our bandwidth is too narrow, the data is slowed to a crawl or unable to be transmitted.  So it is, my friends, with God’s love.  We’re the channels through which God’s love is sent out to the world.  Talking about God’s love isn’t enough to deliver God’s love to the world.  We need broader bandwidth.  One of the most useful sources of the broader bandwidth needed to transmit God’s love is serving others.  And not surprisingly, as we serve others, God’s redemptive blessing becomes real to us in ways we never could have expected.  We experienced that last Sunday as Randy, Elizabeth and David shared with us their experiences with the people of Nicaragua.  We experience that every day when we use our lives in service to others.

The apostle Paul writing to the Christians at Rome said, “Don’t conform to the values of your culture, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you can judge what God’s will is – what is good, pleasing and perfect.”  Often it’s through serving others that partnerships are formed which transform our “minds,” our values and our beliefs and open us to the greater reality of who God is and how God loves us and all people.  For example, as we serve tutoring kids, we quickly discover that there are many reasons children fail.  One of them is that many of these kids have never been told they can succeed!   Another is that many of these kids have never had an adult sit with them and help them one-on-one in their lives.  In serving others, our values, our assumptions, our cultural beliefs are often challenged and our minds are transformed by the Spirit of God as we discover what is good, pleasing and perfect.

In this Sunday’s gospel, Nicodemus – a member of the “religious right” of his day, comes to Jesus and says, “We know you’re a teacher come from God, for no one can perform the signs and wonders you do, unless by the power of God.”  “Nic-at-night” has his bandwidth expanded because of what he has experienced and seen Jesus do.  Notice the language he uses:  “No one can perform the acts you do, unless by the power of God.”  Then Nicodemus asks Jesus the more personal question.  “How can I experience God’s redeeming grace and love in my life?”  And Jesus responds, “Expand your bandwidth.  Expand your horizon.  Expand your capacity to love and serve others.”  The story concludes with one of the most loved verses of the Bible, “For God so loved the world that God gave God’s Only Begotten Child, that whoever believes in the Christ may not die, but have eternal life.  For God sent Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.”

Serving others is one of the great ways we Broaden God’s Bandwidth in our lives and in other’s lives.  As we grow in our ability to serve, and as we reach out in service with others, our minds will be transformed as we become more and more empowered by Jesus’ message that God sent him into the world not to condemn the world, but that through him all people of the world might be saved.  We pray for broader bandwidth in our lives that me may know and transmit God’s love with all persons of the world.

Blessings!

Dan

This Sunday’s Scriptures:

Romans 12: 1-21

Paul writes about the transformation of our minds so we can know the will of God.

Sisters and brothers, I beg you through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Don’t conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you can judge what God’s will is – what is good, pleasing and perfect.

In light of the grace I have from God, I urge each of you not to exaggerate your own importance.  Each of you must judge yourself soberly by the standard of faith God has given you.  Just as each of us has one body with many members ­– and these members don’t have the same function – so all of us, in union with Christ, form one body.  And as members of that one body, we belong to each other.

We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophecy, use it in proportion to your faith.  If your gift is ministry, use it for service.  If you’re a teacher, use your gift for teaching.  If you’re good at preaching, then preach boldly.  If you give to charity, do so generously; if you’re a leader, exercise your authority with care; if you help others, do so cheerfully.

Your love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil and cling to what is good.

Love one another with the affection of sisters and brothers.

Try to outdo one another in showing respect.

Don’t grow slack, but be fervent in Spirit:  the One you serve is Christ.

Rejoice in hope; be patient under trial; persevere in prayer.

Look on the needs of God’s holy people as your own;

be generous in offering hospitality.

Bless your persecutors – bless and don’t curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same attitude toward everyone.

Don’t be condescending to those who aren’t as well off as you;

don’t be conceited.

Don’t repay evil with evil.

Be concerned with the highest ideal in the eyes of all people.

Do all you can to be at peace with everyone.

Don’t take revenge; leave room, my friends, for God’s wrath.  To quote scripture, “Vengeance is mine, I will pay them back” says our God.

But there is more:

If your enemies are hungry, feed them;

if they are thirsty, give them drink.

For in doing so, you will heap burning coals upon their heads.

Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by doing good.

John 3: 1-17

Nicodemus inquires of Jesus about the transformation of his life.

A certain Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, came to Jesus at night.  “Rabbi,” he said, “we know you’re a teacher come from God, for no one can perform the signs and wonders you do, unless by the power of God.”

Jesus gave Nicodemus this answer:

The truth of the matter is, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kindom of God.”

Nicodemus said, “How can an adult be born a second time?  I can’t go back into my mother’s womb to be born again!”

Jesus replied:

“The Truth is, no one can enter God’s kindom without being born of water and the Spirit.  What is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is Spirit.  So don’t be surprised when I tell you that you must be born from above.  The wind blows where it will.  You hear the sound it makes, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be possible?” asked Nicodemus.

Jesus replied, “You’re a teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these matters?

“The truth of the matter is, we’re talking about what we know;

we’re testifying about what we’ve seen –

yet you don’t accept our testimony.

If you don’t believe when I tell you about earthly things, how will you believe when I tell you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven except the One who came down from heaven – the Chosen one.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Chosen One must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in the Christ might have eternal life.

Yes, God so loved the world that God gave God’s Only Begotten Child, that whoever believes in the Christ may not die, but have eternal life.  For God sent Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.