January 22, 2012: “God’s GPS”

Posted on : Jan 19th, 2012 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I’m addicted to GPS.  I can’t imagine driving in Los Angeles without it!  I have a “TomTom” with live traffic interface!  That wonderful technological gadget guides me gracefully through each traffic jam in Los Angeles.  It also gets me to where I need to be.  As some of you know, I consider myself “directionally challenged.”  My mantra in life, pre-GPS was, “If I didn’t cross a state-line or a major body of water, I wasn’t lost, I was just exploring new places.”  Believe me, pre-GPS, I saw more places than I ever dreamed possible.

The other day I was cleaning out my car and I found an old “Thomas Brothers” map book tucked under the front seat.  Remember those?  They used to be the way of getting around LA.  They of course are only helpful if you can read a map.  Ugh.

I am so thankful somebody figured out how to make “global positioning satellites” work for the common good of humanity.  I think the next major GPS technological breakthrough will be auto-driving.  Super-computers guided by GPS will drive the car for us.  Not only will we get to where we want to be, but hopefully, we can get there faster and less stressed.  And darn, under those circumstances we should be able to talk and text all we want!!!  The only “driver distraction” would be when the computer system freezes or crashes!   Wow, that will give new meaning to the word “crash,” won’t it!  Let’s hope a certain software company that is notorious for freezing and crashing doesn’t get the contract for this program!  The future is so exciting!

My “TomTom” was a Christmas gift and as I was sharing my excitement about receiving it at a Christmas dinner, one of my friends offered me this advice.  He said, “The real issue is, if you want it to work, you have to trust it.  My wife always tries to “outsmart” it.  I’ve learned to trust it.  Our experience is if you want it to work best for you, you have to trust it.”

Trust a GPS?  A GPS?

In most circumstances, I’ve learned that my friend was right.  The GPS knows what is ahead, and I don’t.  Occasionally my GPS has a fetish for trying to get me onto the Hollywood Freeway at rush hour and I choose to overrule it. But 95% of the time, trusting the GPS is the best option, even with “calculate alternative route.”

Wouldn’t it be neat if there were a GPS to guide us on our faith journey?  Thomas asks Jesus the question we all wish we had the answer to.   Jesus is having a heart-to-heart discussion with the disciples about “life after his death.”  It was, one – a conversation they did not want to hear; and two – a moment of feeling lost.  Who was going to guide them if Jesus was not there?  Thomas raises the best challenge.  He says to Jesus, “You talk about going to be with God, but how are we going to get there?”  Jesus answer is “God’s GPS.”  God’s guidance system – the Holy Spirit.  Thomas and the disciples had to learn the lessons my friend taught me about using a GPS.  If you want it to work, you have to trust it.  Trust it?  Yup.

This Sunday we’ll focus on what it means for us today to trust God to guide us.  If you don’t trust me, it’s ok to bring your GPS, or your Bible, or both.



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

John 13:33 – 14:18 (selected portions)

Thomas says to Jesus:
“But we don’t know where you’re going.
So how can we know the way?”

[Jesus said the disciples:]  “My friends, I won’t be with you much longer.  You’ll look for me, but what I said to the Temple authorities, I say to you:

Where I am going, you cannot come.

I give you a new commandment:  Love one another.

You are to love one another the way I have loved you.

This is how all will know that you’re my disciples:  that you truly  love one another.”

Simon Peter said, “Rabbi, where are you going?

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you’ll follow me later.”

“Rabbi,” Peter said, “why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you!”

“Lay down your life for me?”  Jesus exclaimed.  “The truth of the matter is, before the cock crows [Peter] you’ll have disowned me three times!

[Jesus continued:]  “Friends, don’t let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith in me as well.

In God’s house there are many dwelling places; otherwise, how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you [if this were not true]?

I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I will come back to take you with me, that where I am, there you may be as well.

You know the way that leads to where I am going.”

Thomas replied, “But we don’t know where you’re going.  How can we know the way?”

Jesus told him,

“I am the Way,
I am truth,
I am Life.

No one comes to God but through me.”

“Rabbi,” Philip said, “show us God, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Phillip, and still you don’t know me?  Whoever has seen me has seen God.”

If you love me and obey the command I give you, I will ask God who sent me to give you another Counselor, another Helper to be with you always – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot see or accept since the world neither sees nor recognizes the Spirit; but you can recognize this Spirit because this Spirit remains with you and will be within you.

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