Denver: Imagine that all knowledge coming from experience? That all we knew was reacting to what people did to us or what we did to others, or what happened to us. This is how many people go through life and it is the recipe to self talk, self medication, and self absorption at the altar in a temple called The self-center. In the valley of our city where can we go to get away from the obstacle we call self. Loneliness is real, no matter where we come from, while we all need time to reflect and think it is part of a process that makes that healthy in our day to day living. There are many songs, pop psychology articles and books, films, and programs that celebrate the self. A steady diet of that can get boring! We need each other. We need to talk, bounce ideas, to laugh, to sing and to pray for one another. When Jesus went to be alone before he was to embark on a mission- he was not alone. He spent deep periods conversing with God the father and came back refreshed, and with power. He was not self-absorbed but seeking the will of God in the next chapter of life on earth!
Obstacle of self-talk
An obstacle that we face is self-talk. I know that I can tap into creativity and not listen to anyone who is talking to me. I want to do it my way and that is a recipe to fall in some kind of fantasy world that breeds escapism, fed on denial. We live in a culture of denial from news reports, to “legalism,” and spewing out critical accusations instead of constructive critical thinking! When we are self-absorbed into promoting our own great idea in our own timeline, in our self promoting style, we become our own worse enemy. This is a problem in the church today and it thwarts evangelism. One great preacher, one rocking worship leader, no accessibility, we become the show rather than the community!
There goes Rhymin’ Simon
So there’s this guy. He is in show business and he’s looking for new material. He is good at what he does and is considered one of the great illusionists of the day! He starts going to church to get some humorous material, and maybe some parody from an over zealous preacher. His motive is self and he knows he can find some fresh material for his act! Self promotion is another obstacle that we must deal with. We are the heroes of our own stories and we know how to publicize ourselves. Something happened to Simon as he was telling people how great he was. Simon recognized that when he walked into the church there was someone greater. There was relationship, there were lives changed. People talked to one another and Simon wanted some of that.
The obstacle of self-promotion
Simon was beginning to understand the relationship and the community might be good for business and so he told the preacher he’d like to invest in the action. He had his check book out but the preacher told him to put it away. “You can’t buy God” the preacher told the performer. “You can’t buy in or get any shares of this work you have too much bitterness and dark thoughts in you.” Rymin’ Simon asked for forgiveness and to hear what Christ did for him and he was changed. He overcame the obstacle of self-promotion and replaced it with a belief system that made him want to cry out instead of promoting how great he was.” Once the obstacle of self-promotion is gone in our lives, our self importance diminishes and our motives, our approach and our prayer changes. We surround ourselves with others who are followers who brag on what Jesus Christ has done for them. You can find this true story in Acts 8: 9-17.
Clearing Obstacles in our lives
There are many Simon’s in our city. There was the guy who saw a story on TV about how to make coffee by exploiting women. He bought in to that “action” but what he failed to see is that his motive for fame and success was counterfeit. Instead of clearing obstacles of financial gain the Aurora businessman put up obstacles in his own community. He failed to see that the story that inspired him so much to act on his impulse, was a charade, a bit of method and self-promotion. Even though many told him that his blind-side was not protected. The man still has a shot of redemption. He can pay everyone what he owes them, repent to the community, and change the theme of his coffee house that welcomes everybody. Immorality doesn’t pay for the long haul, but being a lighthouse in the community does!
Tomorrow I will discuss the physical obstacles that we all might have in our community. From transportation to our own limitations and ways to clear obstacles and gain independence and strength in the community.