The Infant and the Cobra

A couple different places tonight

  • 1 hand - Jayne and Alex - Wedding
  • Other - Aware this these past 2 weeks for a lot of people is one of those weeks that have seemed like hell on earth. Where moms have buried their children.

The Earthquakes

  • April 14 - 6.5 Magnitude Japan
  • April 15 - 7.3 Magnitude - Japan - Killing - 45 peoples
  • April 16 - Ecuador - 7.8 magnitude

Deathtoll - 650 - 130 Still missing. 26,000 people - homeless - living in shelters

Two children who were killed with their mother while buying school supplies.

Desensitized.


We are the people who pray 'Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.'

Need to be clear on what that means.


Isaiah 11 - Beautiful Chapter

Most descriptive picture we get of what the world looks like when Jesus is Lord.

ONE OF my favorite chapters in the Old Testament

What I'm hoping you can do is not just to read Isaiah's words, but to maybe see what he saw.

Isaiah 11:1-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2)

And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, (Isaiah 11:3)

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4)

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:5)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (Isaiah 11:7)

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the vipers’s den. (Isaiah 11:8)

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)


When I was young, Heaven terrified me. Sitting in a room, with Gold TBN chairs, in toga, playing a harp. Does that sound fun? Is that your idea of a good time now? If there's just a guy with an acoustic guitar playing shout to the lord over and over.

But I think it's important for us to remember, that we are the people who pray 'Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.'

So let's be honest, when you hear someone maybe write a song, or write a story or something and they talks about this place where there is no war, no fighting, no pain. It just seems brutally idealistic. Does it for you?

But as Christians, we believe that this IS actually the future.

I've talked about this idea of escapist theology - which is, thank God we're getting out of this hellhole!' is so contrary to the message of Christ.

We actually believe this is going to happen.

  • There will be a time when the infant will play next to the cobra's hole and there's no danger.
  • There will be a time when Lions eat grass like the ox.

It doesn't always feel like we're getting any closer to that.

Does it seem to you like we're heading towards a time when the Israelis & Palestinians are finally gonna sit down and have coffee.


I think about technology

I am a guy where whatever your problem is, I want to solve it with technology.

  • Don't drink enough water. Dude, there's an app.
  • Cancer
  • All these diseases that killed 100,000's of people, and we basically cured it with technology.

You think about the wolf laying down with the lamb. - You can't make computers or robots or something to cause that to happen.

It's something that is completely un-natural.

Lions don't want to eat hay.

Name animals …. Don't tend to come together and form communities and watch each others kids.


You all know that when it comes to animals - softest of the soft.

Bird Story (When that bird was on our back door step and we tried to keep it alive, but it died.)

The animal kingdom is BRUTAL.

The Last Lions Documentary

Awhile back I heard someone talking about a documentary that I know I can't watch. - Called The Last Lions.

So basically 50 years ago there was half a million lions in africa, and now there's fewer than 20,000.

So they tell the story of this one girl lion (Lioness) and her male mate. He gets in a fight another lion and is hurt and it clearly dying. So she decides to move on and take her 3 cubs and move on. - Journey

  • She gets in fight with another lion - gets her eye taken out.
  • There's crossing this river and one of these so cute cubs gets eaten by a crocodile.

She leaves to go find food and comes back and one of the little cubs has had some encounter with an animal and their back is broken, so they can't use their back legs. The mom realizes she won't be able to care for it, so she just moves on.

Nature shows.

You watch those nature shows. All the animals are always paying attention. Because they all have another animal, that if given the opportunity will maim and kill them. Many of them are constantly looking for another animal to maim, kill, and eat, while simultaneously watching out for animals that want to main, kill and eat THEM.

The fact that that's the world we live in is deeply, deeply disturbing to me.

That kind of story - that's natural.

Unnatural

What would be unnatural would be for us to go to Africa, hop in a range rover, look to the right - and seeing crocodiles and lions walking along together. Or maybe you see a baby playing with a black mamba. Which is the gnarliest snake that I can think of. Picture the baby poking it, and the snake is laughing.

That kind of story is un-natural. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is 'On the Hunt'.


The idea of the future from God's perspective - feels strange.

We read Isaiah 11, and say, 'Yeah that's cute'. And walk away. No, we believe this is what's actually going to happen.


we're ≠ different - average pack - Lions.

I think in so many ways, we're not ALL that different from your average pack of Lions.

We pretty much travel inside our own pack.

Make alliances, but only if/when we need them to protect our own self interests.

Corporate America - backstabbing, kissing up, unbelievable.

Political system - the stances of politicians have surprisingly little to do with their actual convictions, and more to playing to certain parts of the voter base.

Eat or be eaten. Protect our own self interests above all others.

"There are wolves and sheep in this world kid…figure out which you're gonna be." (Better Call Saul)


So we have this picture of how God wants the world to work

Where the wolf lays down with the lamb.

Disclaimer: There are some things here that are just NOT going to happen, until Jesus comes again.

But again, we are the people who pray 'Thy kingdom come'.

And for those of us who are audacious enough, we actually LIVE thy kingdom come, and it's our great hope that our lives would be a contributing factor in world becoming more like this.

And I believe that what it really means to be 'The Salt of The Earth', where we're different, is in precisely these ways.

Here's my point: Isaiah 11, as beautiful as it is, especially for an animal lover like me, is not ultimately about animals.

Cats and dogs finally work it all out!

That's great, but this is talking about something much bigger.

Taking care of the poor - Which has NEVER happened in the history of the world.

Side note: Saying that all poor people are lazy is the same argument as saying all Christians with health issues don't have enough faith.

There are things that we do to contribute to our own bad situations and there are times when this fallen world deals us something unfair.

In both cases, it's not the Christians role to be the judge, but rather to be the defender of the weak.

One of the reasons I struggle with super politically minded people is that we can so quickly reject a teaching of Jesus if it doesn't align with the talking heads of our political party. And it proves that there's something that's more important to us than Jesus.

I have political views. Really. I do. But they are order or magnitude lower in priority than how Jesus has told me to live.

Isaiah 11

So Isaiah 11 is certainly talking about how things will be in the coming kingdom, but it's also a directive on showing us what we're supposed to be working for as a follower of Jesus.

My hope is that if you have begun to take Jesus seriously, that there's something in your heart that's glad when you see 'The reconciliation of all things.'

(Otters holding hands)

Freedom House - feel safe, and sit in a circle with other people who have been through the same thing, and begin to let God heal those broken things on the inside on them. That's not natural. But it's what God is doing.

The KEY to Isaiah 11 is the first half - Talking about the coming King - Jesus

He doesn't judge by what his ears hear, or by what his eyes see.

With righteousness he judges the poor - separating the message of Jesus from how we treat the poor is really silly.


This might make some of you nervous, but I think that in these last 5-10 years of my life are in some ways the first time I've really taken my Christianity seriously. And only in these last third of my life would I be really confident to call myself 'A Christian' - a little Christ.

I said the sinners prayer 1000 times growing up, so I know that 'technically' I did have a relationship with God, but I'm finding out that being a Christian is something so weird to the world, and there's a time in a Christians life where we gradually open up ALL parts of our life to the message and life of Jesus.

I wonder if you're like me at all, then whenever I say something about Jesus and you instantly think 'Oh my gosh, the democrats aren't gonna like that! Or, the republicans aren't gonna like that!' - I agree. It's scary. Because we kinda KNOW that there's things in people's lives that they hold MORE sacred than the message of Jesus. And I think we need to move past that.


Nelson Mandela, MLK, Rosa Parks.

I love looking at the lives of people like : Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks. These were people who were able to look at the world and say 'This is not the way the world is supposed to be.'

So instead of playing by the rules that had been given to them, they just start playing by different rules. And they start living in the world that they want to see. Of course they get persecuted.


American Church - Incapable - surprising - world.

One thing that bums me out about the American church is that we've become incapable of surprising the world.

I think we try to things.

Technology I'm a huge tech junky. I love all that stuff. And if you only come to this service, it might surprise you to know that we are a pretty high tech church. We've got lights that move, and an giant LED wall, and we play cool videos, and all that, and it's all super great, no bashing it at all.

But that can't be the thing that we're hoping is going to make the world take a second look at us. That has to be the Isaiah 11 thing.

My generation of church leaders I can joke about, but we try these outside thing and think that they're making us so different.

  • "Come to our church, David doesn't wear a suit, he wears jeans!"
  • "Come to our church, we don't have an organ, we play electric guitars."

That's all super cool, but that's not surprising to the world.

That's not gonna make them look our the land rover and say "What in the world?!" That has to be something deeper.

The thing that impresses me these days, is when I see Christian communities loving each other and loving the world.

My parents - "Community group" My parents have what we call in this church a "Community group" It's cute and quant. But in these past few years they've had people in their community go through all kinds of real stuff. One of the members died, and that community group rallied around that family. They had a man diagnosed with cancer, and they rallied around him and cared for him and his family.

To me, I see that and say 'Yup. That's it. That's the WHOLE thing, right there.'


I think about what Jesus says in John 13:35 - By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The world looks out their land rover and says "Who ARE these people?" Be amazed.

God will use communities like ours to heal a broken world.

As we prepare for communion

The only chance we have to make this a possibility is we love because he first loved us.

Our love is a response to His love.

It's amazing the kids can do this. When you're a child, you imitate. And eventually becomes the way that you are too.

If you need a place to look, look to the cross. And then you imitate it.

We do our worst, and he simply responds with father forgive them.

As they pass - spend a minute asking God - "Where does my love need to grow?

(Pass)


Prayer of St Francis

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."

Pray

We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.