By Pastor Bob Myers
A very aggressive atheist approached me at an evangelistic book table and said, “Your kind of people scare me. If you ever get your way, you’ll bring about a way of life that will put an end to everything I love.”
A friend responded, “No sir, you misunderstand. If we should ever achieve the lofty goal of bringing about the way of life that Jesus envisions, you will experience a paradise on earth that causes you and others to flourish in a way that you have never even imagined.”
Do you want to flourish?
If you are flourishing that means you are realizing God’s design for you in your spiritual, emotional, psychological life, your relationships, your work, vocation, and in ordering your “piece of the planet”.
This question of what flourishing looks like depends upon your vision of God’s original design for you.
This weekend we kick off the ministry year and a new sermon series. The new sermon series will look at God’s original design. We will trace that theme across the Bible through the lens of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. Sometimes we can frame the gospel by starting with the advent of sin and the fall and completely bypass the beginning and the glory. We should never skip over Creation! It is impossible to understand how horrific the fall into sin is without understanding the original height we fell from. That original design informs our present vision and our ultimate hope.
Our ultimate hope is a new earth, transformed and filled with perfect love and righteousness and unclouded by sorrow or sin. The concrete reality of this, as a resurrected, embodied, life is sometimes spiritualized to the point of becoming a ghostly and faint echo of what God intends for us.
We also must face the fact that everything has been impacted by sin and the Fall. My moods, my judgments, what I see in the mirror, and how I react to what I see is all affected by sin. Even my selective memory is infected by the fall. The virus of sin has penetrated every operating system I possess. There is no deliverance from this apart from Christ. There is no perfection of anything apart from glorification and the final redemption. Your body, your marriage, your work, your relationships, will never be perfect. Sin married us to the messiness of all of these things but through faith we must be filled with hope. While we wait eagerly we can work wholeheartedly in hope and expectation.
When we see brokenness around us we can honestly say, “Me too”. When we see the brokenness in ourselves and each other, we share a common reality that points us to Jesus that allows us to say, “This is not the final word on this”. Even when we look into the grave of a loved one, we can say defiantly, this is not the end!
We Were Made to Flourish is a sermon series where we will look into the following areas of life: Creativity, Identity, Work, Hope, Relationships, and Stewardship.
This week we will see that because God is Creator, we are called to create. As image bearers of the Creator we are all “creatives”, entrusted with the task of creative endeavors under Jesus, who was the Creator of everything that was made. That means He owns all of reality. That means there is no culture that He does not claim as His. There is no piece of created reality that He does not desire to redeem. There is no place of fallen and created reality that He does not plan to heal and set right for eternity.
We live in this in-between space between the original, perfect Creation, and the final act of God’s renewal and the perfection of all things. We need to understand the greatness of the original pattern, as well as the perfection of the hope we are destined for if we are going to flourish as God intends.
One reason I remain a Christian is that it is the best explanation for reality as I have experienced it. One reason I am excited to live out the Christian life is that it presents a compelling and coherent vision of what flourishing means. It explains why everything is so screwed up but still filled with a stubborn goodness at the same time.
It’s important to understand what it means to flourish. We also must put that vision for flourishing into practice. We will never do it perfectly but flourishing is what God wants for us in every area of life.
God’s vision for what it means to flourish in your creativity, your relationships, your work, and even your ultimate hope, has to be deeply implanted in us so that we respond to it. When we live this way, we flourish. When we flourish, we become signposts of the perfect flourishing to come.
September 8 | Flourish in Your Context: Created to be Creatives | Bob Myers
September 15 | Flourishing in Your Identity: Genesis 1:26-27 | Rob Chifokoyo
September 22 | Flourishing in Your Work: Genesis 1:26-28 | Bob Myers
September 29 | Flourishing and the concrete Hope of Heaven: Revelation 22 | Bob Myers
October 6 | Flourishing in Relationships: Original Design and Fallen Reality | Rob Chifokoyo
October 13 | Flourishing as Stewards of Creativity, Identity, Work, Heaven, and Relationships | Bob Myers