Should… Can… WILL

Russell Minick think~be~do 1 Comment

{For a message at the Gathering}

Completing a study on the Navigator’s Wheel Illustration
Today’s goal is to review what we have been learning and to make a decision about how to respond to Christ and his way.  To make it useful, I’ll need to talk a bit directly, so if you are really doing great spiritually, couldn’t be better, then please don’t be annoyed.  Just pray for the rest of us who are living a relatively mixed Christian life right now.  I’m talking about the majority of us who are living a ‘hai keyi’ Christian life.

Ok, we’ll start the review with a reminder of the “hai keyi” story.  I’m in China, learning Mandarin, and being way to intuitive about it.  I hear people with skills respond “hai keyi” when they are asked if they have skills. 
You play basketball a lot, are you any good “hai key”. 
You are an English major, so you understand English movies ok?  “hai keyi”
etc.
So I get the idea it means something like, “yeah, pretty good”.  And it sorta does, in some contexts, but not really.  I found it out most clearly when I used it in response to my language teacher’s wife asking me if I like her cooking.  “Hai keyi!” was my effort at being colloquial in complimenting her without being over the top.  “Yeah, this pretty good!”
But Zhang Laoshi was not shy.  “Hai keyi?!?  What’s wrong with my cooking?”
huh?
My teacher explained in English, “hai keyi” means “could be better”

So, I’m now taking my Mandarin experience of being ‘hai keyi’ about learning mandarin, and talking to all of us ‘hai keyi’ Christians.  People who are willing to admit (at least to ourselves) that although there are some really good things happening in my Christian life, in too many ways it is still “hai keyi” – “less than it could be”

Here is the review:

We Should live out the Christian life, we Can live out the Christian life, so… will we?

  • We should know who we are in Christ (the hub)
  • We should talk to God in prayer (vertical up)
  • We should learn from God in his word (vertical down)
  • We should live the Kingdom way with one another (horizontal right)
  • We should share the Kingdom way with others (horizontal left)
  • We should have a pattern of trusting Jesus in learning new things and being faithful to old things, obeying him with confidence in him (circle that makes the wheel).

WHY?

Because Jesus knows life, and offers life and, in very deep ways which require reflection to begin to appreciate in a sense more than just a slogan… Jesus is Life.

The Navigator’s wheel illustration is a useful image to remind me how to get more out of life throughout my whole life.

CAN I DO IT?
IF you are a Christian, you already are doing the Navigator’s wheel. 
You do have an identity in Christ which you have acknowledged at least enough to make a profession of faith. 
You do talk to God in prayer, and maybe even listen.
You do take in info from his word, either by reading it yourself, or via sermons, etc.
You do live out Kingdom community when you are a Christian with other Christians
You do represent Kingdom hope when you are around people who are not trusting Christ as King
And you do have a cycle of trusting and doing what Christ says regarding life and love and such…
The question is whether I am doing it as well as I should and as well as I could.

No.  We could do better.  “Hai keyi!” (the story from last week about misunderstanding the Mandarin phrase to mean ‘quite good’ when it actually means ‘it could be better’)

The question for today is… WILL I?

First of all, lets be biblical, instead of religious, and say something odd.  Let’s say, no Father, I won’t do what you ask me.  I will continue to drift, and get by and be puzzled when my ability to process life is not up to life’s complicated and painful realities. 

MATTHEW 21 The Parable of the Two Sons
28“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. 
 So why would I be so cynical?  It is prophetic tradition
EZEKIEL 33
30“As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
33“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
The unfaithful son fulfills the duty to act AS IF the message from the Lord was good.  The faithful son?  He counted the cost quickly and realized how uncomfortable it was.  He counted the cost deeply and realized how good a deal it was.  What about us?
My goal is wrapping up our time together is to move toward Jesus’ most simple and compelling invitation to action.  We will get ready for the Lord’s Supper.  I’d invite you to consider not taking it.  But after considering not taking it, out of fear that you are too used to lazy, selfish, worldly, compromising ways and that you don’t want to be guilty of being a hypocrite… consider a little more deeply.  
The story of what you Should do (intentionally following Christ’s ways) is actually hopeful because it does not make a big deal of your will power.  In fact, it turns it upside down.  God opposes the proud, including the religiously ‘christian’ proud… but he gives undeserved kindness (grace) to the humble.  What you should and can do is humble yourself and say, I make no promises, I just confess that Jesus is good and that I want him.  “Lord help my unbelief”- better translated – unfaithfulness.
You should and you can come to the Father like the prodigal son, even as a normal Christian at a normal church listening to a normal church message.  And you can expect the normal response from the Father: an unashamedly enthusiastic embrace, encouragement… a feast of love from God, from his resources, into your life.
You should.
You can.
You will?
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