Journey of the Soul 1 Worthiness

I believe that so much of the Christian journey is letting God come and correct how you see. How you see the world, and how you see yourself.

So we're gonna be talking about how we see ourselves and how we see others, and then we're also gonna talk briefly about a tool that for many of us, has been huge in helping see ourselves and see others in the right way, and that tool is the enneagram.

So it's gonna be fun. It's gonna be 3 weeks. And this is week 1 and you could title this week: Self - Seeing yourself from the place of worthiness.


Last year was a huge year for Jordan and I.

Grace - adopted - in womb. Being that our daughter Grace is adopted, there was a time when we had already been matched with Grace, but she was still in the womb. But still this parent instinct was rising up is us, but we weren't able to care for Grace the way we would have been able to if she was with us. So we would pray that God would care for Grace in the womb and install in her this deep sense of her being loved and worthy of love. And we believe God did that. That before Grace did ANYTHING, good or bad, that she was worthy of love.

Also last year, Brian Zahnd, an author that I really love published a book called 'Sinners in the hands of a loving God'. - In which he's critiquing and riffing off the world famous 18th century sermon from Jonathan Edwards called 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'

And when I read it, it brought back memories of when I read this sermon in bible college in the year 2000. We were actually assigned to read it and then we discussed it. And I just want to read you a few lines from this world famous sermon, and I'm hoping it will contrast correctly with the story of Grace being worthy of love.

This is probably the most famous part of the sermon:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear you in his sight; you are ten thousand times as abominable in his eyes as the most hateful, venomous serpent is in ours. (Jonathan Edwards - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God)


Question: What is the deepest truth of who you are?

Is it that you're a piece of garbage? Wicked? Unworthy? Sinner?


Coco Jordan and I have been watching our fair share of cartoon movies now that we have grace, but hardly ever does grace just want to sit and WATCH an entire movie. But instead we'll watch 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. We this was happening for me with a movie called Coco. Any Coco fans in the house? We'll I finally got around to watching the whole thing and it was unbelievably good. I'm an a Coco-fanboy.

Have you ever started watching a movie half way through and the whole time you're just thinking 'What the heck is going on?!' Who is THAT GUY?! - It's hard to understand something without getting the beginning right.


Genesis 1:1-Genesis 2:3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4)

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:5)

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” (Genesis 1:6)

So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. (Genesis 1:7)

God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. (Genesis 1:8)

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)

God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10)

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:11)

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12)

And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. (Genesis 1:13)

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, (Genesis 1:14)

and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:15)

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. (Genesis 1:16)

God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, (Genesis 1:17)

to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:18)

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. (Genesis 1:19)

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” (Genesis 1:20)

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)

God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22)

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. (Genesis 1:23)

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:24)

God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25)

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. (Genesis 1:29)

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:30)

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. (Genesis 2:1)

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:2)

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:3)

Book of Genesis - Beautiful, poetic telling of creation.

Varying opinions as to how much of it is figurative vs literal. I personally think you can hurt yourself when you try and make the bible answer questions it's not trying to answer. This is really a story concerned about God, and creation, esp humankind.

For however much you think this story does or does not tell us about 'how' God made the earth, I believe is really tells us the 'Why' of creation.

1:26-28

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

God makes man in his own image, and then he blesses them.

Every person that has ever lived has the image of God within them.

God is not imaged in anything fixed but in the freedom of human persons to be faithful and gracious. (Walter Brueggemann)

There's unbelievable beauty in the world - Mountains and sky, and animals, and trees, and oceans. And it's all made BY God, but there's only one thing that God makes in his own image and that's humanity. And that's not to diminish creation at all, it's the say that seeing humanity as a disgusting vile serpent is a stupid way to see the world.

It is essential that you know that the story of humankind - that has such a capacity to be evil, begins with us being created in God's image, and being blessed by Him.

We're created with the capacity to :

  • Love like God Loves
  • Forgive
  • Empathize
  • Care
  • Sacrifice

Tonight, I want to really say one thing :

You agree with God when you see yourself as being worthy of love.

Such a simple idea, is not something that people often believe.

Original Sin

Many modern day churches, don't say that that's the beginning of the story. To hear them tell it, the first thing they think about is : Original Sin. The first thing know about humanity is that we're despicable worms.

They'll use the phrase 'Total Depravity'. Really gives a different feel to the whole story when you feel like humanity as a whole was conceived as this horrible piece of garbage.

Unless I'm reading this story wrong, and I'm not, this story does not start with awful, horrible, Don't worry, if you're wanting sin. There's tons of it. Listen to last weeks message. But it DOES NOT START with sin. Sin is not the first word about humanity.

I believe in original sin, Paul says 'All have sinned.' - I believe that. I just don't think that's the first word, or the last word about humanity.

Before original sin came original blessing. I think that's significant that no matter how far someone has fallen, they're still bear the image of God on the inside of them in some way.


What happens when we shift things and make it so the first word about humanity is all about sin?

The answer : End up valuing yourself less than God does. And that's a big mistake.


Evangelism

Modern day evangelism for a lot of people: "Do you realize how wicked you are?" You ever sinned?! - Well God is very mad at you. But if you ask him to forgive you, he'll think about it, and maybe even forgive you.

Imagine with me, if we started in Genesis 1 in evangelizing? "Have you ever had the sense of being homesick?" "Have you ever had the sense that something just isn't quite right? "All this violence and darkness, that this is just somehow wrong?" "Have you ever felt somehow cut off from source of life?" Well what if I told you that God loved you so much, that he'd rather die than be cut off from you.


Distorted It's true that because of sin, the image of God in us has become distorted. But the image of God in us has not been lost. The beauty of humanity has not been lost.

I object : 'Total Depravity'.

This might make some of you mad, but I object to the phrase 'Total Depravity'. I know that sin it horrible, and distorts us, and disfigures us. I just don't think 'Total Depravity' is the right phrase. I agree with 'Depravity', just not the 'Total' part. Because I will always believe that within every human is something that shows the image of God.

I think 'Total Depravity' - humans are just garbage - Leaves no room for human dignity. As if people need another reason to treat each other poorly, I just don't get what's good about saying that we're all totally despicable and awful. And how that in any way is agreeing with the life and ministry of Jesus.

  • Marriages
  • Jobs

Think about Jesus when he said that when you go into the prisons to visit the worst of our society, Jesus says 'You came and visited me'. Because the image of God is still there even in our prisons.

Jesus & the prostitute - Jesus's question to Simon "Do you see the woman?"

No matter how disfigured, distorted, we still see the image of God there somehow. He saw man and woman and he said 'It is Good.'


'The Fall' - beautiful thing :

So now, even when I read the story of 'The Fall' of Adam and Eve, and of course it was tragic, but it's also the first part of this beautiful thing that when people fall, they end up falling into the arms of a loving Father.

Did God really think that humanity was going to go sinless forever? Even in the fall, there's grace. So today, in our lives: We fall, and we learn how deeply we're in need of God.


Tragic : many : believed lies : Identity.

Here's what super tragic, so many of you have believed deep lies about your identity. Your whole story - All about sin, shame, inadequacy. And you go to church and it makes it 1,000 times worse. It's a pandemic in our society for women AND men, to be crippled by body issues.

Even this morning, you might have gotten up and looked in the mirror and been so disgusted with yourself, b/c the world gives us such a broken way of understanding beauty. You're bulging here, you're balding there. Too fat, too skinny. And we can't just enjoy the fact that we've been made in the image of God. And there's something deeply beautiful about you.

Or maybe for you, you look at yourself at this point in your life and you thought you were going to be so much more successful at this point in your life. And you can' just enjoy the fact that you've been made in the image of God.

Or maybe for some of you - it IS sin or struggle. I can't believe I'm still struggling with that. After all these years. I still struggle with depression. Or whatever that is for you. And you can't enjoy the simple fact that you were made in the image of God. Something deeply beautiful.


What do we do?

That's what the story of Jesus is all about. All of us, who have the image of God on the inside of us, but who have been twisted and mangled by sin, can be restored to beauty that we're intended to live in.

If you an think of it like a portrait painting that over time has faded, and been covered in dust, Jesus comes and repaints humanity and shows us that we're valuable, and that the beauty is never lost.

Quote - St. Peter Chrysologus

Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in his image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; (St. Peter Chrysologus 5th century Bishop - Italy)


  • God created you in his image.
  • You bear his image no matter how broken you are.
  • And with Jesus, he wants to restore you back to your original beauty.

Prodigal Son.

I think about the most famous parable in the bible: The parable of the prodigal son.

It's a story of coming back home. It's amazing when you see people come to Christ, I've heard many say that it feels like coming home.

There's a reason is always feels like coming home.

Life with him is exactly what you were created for.


(Prepare for communion)

Back : Genesis 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

This is the idea - God hover over the chaos and darkness, and creates something beautiful. I think some of you need to hear that. That some of you feel like your life is spinning out of control. So chaotic, and meaningless.

  • That's God's speciality. Bringing beauty out of Chaos.
  • That's been his business from the very beginning.

Closing Statement:

The first word in scripture is not human sin and rebellion. And the last word in scripture is not human sin and rebellion.

That's not where you started, and that's not where you're going to end. Hidden deep within you is the image of God. Despite the cracks and bruises and abandoned hope, you're deeply beautiful and you're worthy of love. So enjoy that. And when it feels like life is spinning out of control, remember that God comes and hovers over the chaos and creates something ordered and beautiful. So rest in that, and trust Him.

As they pass : Spend a moment letting God reassure you of your beauty.

(PASS)


(Invitation) / (Pray)

Remember death Proclaim resurrection Await return

(Prayer for the Poor)