Questions Jesus Asked: Week #3

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May 30, 2020 • Beth Guckenberger

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In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asked 307 questions. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings — that’s how we discover for ourselves that He is the way, the Truth and the Life.

This weekend, Beth Guckenberger continues our series, “Questions Jesus Asked...And Is Still Asking.” This series will address moments captured in the Gospels, when Jesus asked a question, revealing a Biblical truth.

In Week #3, we explore the question that Jesus asked in Matthew 7, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Message Transcript

Welcome to the Vineyard. I wanted to address right off the bat this weekend, the injustice that we are all grieving about what's happening in the country right now as we mourn the loss of George Floyd, who just is one of many stories like him. I invited a friend of mine to have a conversation here together in front of you. This is Michael Sickles. He works at Back2Back Cincinnati with me. And we have these kinds of conversations all the time about racial tension, racial reconciliation, this subject. And I just, I wanted to have this conversation in front of you so that if it helps you gain understanding, if it helps start conversations in your homes, if it helps you put words to things that you're feeling, then I feel like as a church we've served you in that. So, thanks for joining. Michael, tell me a little bit about what was it like for you when you heard about this most recent injustice - the death of George Floyd.

Yeah, so it was, it was tough. It was hard to hear that, to see that, to have the truth that sometimes is out there kind of be thrown in your face. And it kinda hit me hard because at the time I really had to start thinking about my children. I've lived through a lot of different things and in that moment though it became what if that's my son? What if that's my daughter? And it just really kind of sat with me and then I struggled, I wrestled because it was, how do I speak to my children about a truth that's out there, reality that exists, but in also not jade them to the point to where they grew up in a place where they are having hate for other people or certain people groups.

And so it was really tough and it was tough to see that there is a lack of love for human life. You know, at looking at that video, it was to the point of even if things go the way they go when somebody is not moving, when there's somebody pleading and begging, there's other options. And it was just, it was just that moment of I'm focused on, what I'm focused on and nothing was done. And so it, it hurt. It grieves me. And it was hard for both parties that were involved with that. And it was just hard to see. It was hard to watch. It was hard to have the conversations. It was hard to see how everyone reacted on both sides of the spectrum because there's so much loss that's involved in this one situation. George has lost his life.

You have a country, a nation that is grappling with: Where do I stand on this? And then you have the officers that are involved that they are going through whatever they're going through. And it's just, it's hard to reconcile all those situations in just one moment. And to think that we're going to solve it, you know, in a conversation or we're going to solve it in a movement is not possible, but there's options out there for us. And so it was definitely hard for me to see that. And like, why is it important for us to have conversation? Like why, why, why, why do we need to gain understanding? Yeah. Yeah. It's important because when you don't know something, you don't do anything right. And it's a phrase I've heard all the time. You don't know what you don't know.

It's that simple. And the way we begin to move or change a narrative is by learning about something, sitting with individuals, having a conversations or having a conversation I should say. And so when you learn now you have more ability to do something about it. When you know better, you can do better. Absolutely. Absolutely. But the problem that I see a lot is that we're not willing to be intentional enough to have a conversation, to learn from somebody, to hear their story, to hear where they come from. So therefore I can have a better understanding of the value of life. And we know that in history, we've seen it in American history, that the marginalized population, no matter what group it is, it has been prevalent in our history. And that is just a group that we put somewhere else to say that we have power over and that's just the marginalized.

And so we know that it exists and it's, it's a sin that we see that is prevalent because it's, it's about I need to have power or something because I'm trying to cover something up. There's something that's there that I need to cover. And I know about that because I was once in that same position to where, you know, I grew up hating, I grew up not knowing the gospel and my father was present, but he wasn't. We were like strangers in the same house. But that's because I realized that he didn't know his father. And so me not knowing that, I learned to hate that, you know, what, I'm not going to deal with this. And so then it became about me trying to take over and take what I wanted and I grew up hating and in situations that happened to me where, you know, I've been arrested, I've been pulled over, I've been thrown in handcuffs, thrown on top of the hood.

I've had all these situations that have happened to me. And so then at one point I was, I was like, man, I hate all cops. I hate all white people. And that was my stance. And if I look at the record of my life and the way it went up until the point where I met God, it was a train wreck, man. There in the wake of my ignorance, I hurt many people. And there was just a lot of things that I did wrong that didn't help until God said, I've got a way. There's a way to do this, but I need you to commit. And, at that moment, that's when I met Christ and when I met Christ, it was love that transformed my heart, not my degrees, not my athletic ability, not the people I knew, not the fame, not the money. It was love. Love is what came into my life and completely transformed me and helped me see people the way he sees people. I love that. This weekend our message is all about judgment. And the antidote to judgment is love is understanding why, going from thinking like what's wrong with that person, to what happened to that person? And when you, when you wonder and are curious about what happened, then you have, you're in a posture where you can to love. Yeah.

Well tell me like as a church, like what are our options? What can the church do to be a place of peace, to be, to be agents of reconciliation, to be Biblical? Like what, what are our options as a church?

Yeah. Yeah. I think one of the things that I had the pleasure of being able to go through was "Undivided". And that was a amazing journey, but I had to get in the right space first my heart-wise. And as I was going through that journey, I was able to have those conversations. I was able to see people intentionally for who they were and have a conversation. And that was one of the biggest challenges for me is because I was, I was looking through my phone, I was going through the people around me. I didn't have much diversity groups that I was in. Guys I played ball with. Whatever the case was, I wasn't intentional enough to be in conversation. And so that was one of the first challenges was to create a space that's safe to have open conversations. Cause what we know is that where you grew up is not where I grew up.

And so because of that, not a bad thing, not your fault, not my fault, but we all have our own individual silos, our unconscious bias that have existed from whoever has taught us from the time that we were little until now. Uncles, grandmas, you know, extended relatives, whoever the case might be. That's what they've given you to help you survive. And so because of that, you automatically operate in this unconscious state. And so without the intentionality of having a space where you can say, Hey, well, I always thought it was this way and not having to be condemned or judged, that allows you to kind of put that fear aside. That allows you to even be vulnerable enough to say, I've kinda got this fear. I always thought that this. And again, it will be offensive. It'll come out the way it comes out into the hurt.

But it's when you have that safe space that people can start to say, Oh, I didn't look at it that way. I can't tell you how many conversations Chris and I have had around despair and division, around how we have four pillars that we work in, you know, equality and unity, and you have division and disparity, right? And so we want to say, where's our story trending? And so we know the spirit division exists. We want to move towards unity and quality. But in the middle of that, we know that the race conversation is real. We know it exists. We're not taking that away. It is prevalent. It's real. We see that within millions of Black people that were killed, millions of Asians, millions of Jews. It's prevalent. We know the race conversation is real. Social, economic status, history, cultural norms. That's the story in the middle. We don't want to get caught in the middle. We want to figure out how do I go from equality to unity, disparity to, to, to just that piece of it, right? We want to be able to merge these things together. Equality and unity is what we want to come to.

That sounds like God's family. I mean, that's what, that's what God's family sounds like. It's a place where we see each other and all of our fullness and, and fellowship. I think that sometimes people don't, they don't know how to get in a place where they can be vulnerable. They don't, they don't understand how to look at their phone or their life and recognize, maybe we take the first step and say, okay, I do live in a silo. I do have only people around me that reinforced the same things I've always thought. Do you recommend that people take the first step? Like do you recommend that they like H like what is a practical thing that somebody can do this week that just moves them towards that equality and unity?

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And, and so first it's, it's got to come from the Church, right? The Church has to be the pillar of the doors. Being open to invite people into a safe space to be able to say, I can do this. It's the confidence that we have to have. And then the next part is to learn, right? If you're unsure of something, learn about it. You don't have to post, you don't have to do anything special. Just learn about it, read articles. If you know somebody, ask them questions but learn, learn as much as you can about what that is and then share, right,? share information. And then because when you share information, as we're doing now, you engage in conversation. When you engage in conversation, you get to see somebody and you get to realize like, man, we're more alike than we are different.

And then the last part of that is, is to be, and that's usually the hardest part because to be the first piece you have to do is be, is to be present, which is to acknowledge, to bring something to the attention I have to, to bring to my attention that there is a disparity. There is a difference. That there is inequality, that there is injustice, that I do see that a certain people group is being targeted. So once you, once you're able to brand to attention, then you can get proximate, you can draw that near and that may look like eople on your street, the mailman whoever the case might be, who's around you that doesn't look like you, that you can try to be engaged in intentional relationship with and just have, start having a conversation. It doesn't mean that I go out tomorrow and I knock on somebody's door like, Hey, I want to be in relationship with you.

But it's just being present over time. It's showing up every day. I remember there was a time in my neighborhood the other day, I can't remember, maybe three weeks ago, I was in the backyard. And again, it's nerve-wracking 'cause it's hard to talk to people. Right? Absolutely. And so I'm in my backyard doing some work and I see my neighbor over there and I'm in my head like, okay, talk to him, but I'm like, nah, because don't do it. You know, cause it's just, and this is the struggle that we grapple with. It's just the realness of it. And so I finally said, okay, if I'm going to be intentional, I gotta be intentional. So I said, Hey, how's it going today? And next thing I know, we just started talking, he's witnessing about God. And next thing I know tears are shared. And I'm like, where did this come from? And, but it just left me in a space where I was like, this is what it can be. Like if somebody takes the initiative, the vulnerability to just say, Hey, how are you?

What I love about what you just said is that I'm always saying we need to make room for God. Like we need to get in the middle of something that maybe we're uncomfortable with, maybe as a risk or a faith step of ours. We need to get in the middle and then just create space for God. Because God's been telling us since he told Moses to build a tabernacle. If you make room for me, I'll fill it. So I like how hopeful that sounds, that God's never gonna not show up. He's never going to not grow us. He's never going to, not create, like, he's never going to not be God. So if we can just get ourselves into places where we're unfamiliar or uncomfortable or risk taking our faith, stepping and make room for God, then he'll come and bring our, bring his presence, which will ultimately create connection.

Yeah. And we have to be careful because there's an enemy that's present and he, and when we start to do these things, you'll get reinforced with some negative things of somebody might say, I don't want to talk to you. And that's okay because that's their guard. Right. And we know the enemy of learning is arrogance and ignorance and so either trapped in one or the other. And so we have to be really careful when we do those things because it, it's the intentionality that we have to have to be able to say, I need to learn. Because as we know, the Bible tells us that every man is right in his own eyes based on his own understanding. Yeah. And again, if I look at my own understanding before I met God, Oh man, it was horrible. It wasn't good. And so when I'm learning from other people who have lived experience, when I'm learning from other individuals who are currently doing the work, when I'm learning from other people about their story and about where they come from, about their pain, about their trauma, I get to see them.

And it's not based on my understanding. Cause I might see somebody say, Oh well they're, you know, they're typical. That's what they do. That's them. That's the system. That's what they do. And we know there's systemic issues. We know it exists. We're not taking that away. But we're talking about the root of what's causing this. And that's the spiritual root. We have to get back to our roots. We have to realize that love is the way we're going to change this thing, that God is the one that's going to make things change and that the hearts in order to merge and melt heart. Jesus, an encounter with Jesus is the best thing to do. And so when you, when you're in that space of understanding, when you're in that space of I need to learn, not my understanding God, but yours helped me see this person the way you see them, because God sees everybody.

And when I think about, it was funny the other day I was talking to my brother about this. When we look at what Jesus did on the cross, it just constantly reminds me that he went to the cross for everybody's sin to the point where he was willing to make himself the most arch enemy to God for you and I, yeah. No matter what color we are, Jesus wasn't saying, I'm done for the blacks I'm buying for the wise. I'm not. No, he didn't say that. Jesus went to the cross to say, I'm taking on sin because I know that there's something that's going to come against you later and I want to make sure that when you come against me, when you come to my father, you have the seal of approval. I want to make sure that you are welcomed. I want to make sure that when you get lost as a prodigal son did, you know where to come home to. Because that father didn't say there, Hey, you went out and got lost. Jesus could come get us. And we know he chases the one, but he leaves space for us to come home. No matter who you are, no matter what you've been through, no matter what you've done, no matter how much you think you've done in your life, he always has a space for you to come back to. And he says, I love you no matter what. And I'm your father,

Best sermon you're going to hear at this church for a while, I'm not kidding you. Thanks for being with us and for that good word. And I just, I pray that these stories, this conversation continues on in your household and in and in your community.

Hi, I'm Kerry Ray and I serve as the Director of Students here at Vineyard Cincinnati. Thanks for joining us today. In James 1:5 it says this, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you." You see, life is full of pitfalls and snares. Yet it's comforting to know that no matter what trials we may encounter along our journey, we have all been given the gift of prayer so that we can ask the Lord for intervention and insight and spiritual understanding. So how are we utilizing the incredible gift of prayer in difficult times like these? Well, we hosted our first drive-in prayer experience last Saturday, May 23rd. The Vineyard joined with the Greater Cincinnati Prayer Canopy, which is a collection of Cincinnati churches and ministries committed to praying for Cincinnati 24/7. Our OneLife business ministry has been hosting a prayer room for local leaders on Tuesday mornings, and our extended prayer time opportunities continue with our Healing Center prayer teams.

We serve a generous God who provides us with creative ways through prayer to navigate our lives together. I want to thank you for supporting the transition of where we are as a community to where God is leading us next with these tithes and these offerings. To give online, you go to or text the amount to the number on the screen. Allow me to pray over this offering today. God, we thank you for who you are. We thank you for this awesome gift of prayer that you have given us and God, we just ask in the name of Jesus that you take these tithes and these offerings and that you do great things in your name across the city and across this nation, across all the world. May your name be glorified and lifted high and may it give you all the praise and honor and glory for which you so richly deserve.

It's in your name we pray. Amen.

Hello, I'm Andy Bowman, kindergarten through fourth grade, pastor of Vineyard Kids. I'm so glad you have chosen to worship with us today and hope that you've been encouraged. Vineyard Cincinnati has always been a church that believes in the power of prayer. We have recently joined the Greater Cincinnati Prayer Canopy, which is a collection of Cincinnati churches and ministries committed to praying for the needs of the city 24/7. Vineyard. Cincinnati covers 24 hours of prayer on the second Tuesday of each month. In May, we covered all 24 hours of prayer with 62 people participating. Way to go Vineyard! If you're in need of prayer, one of the new ways you can receive it is via drive-in prayer at our campus in Tri-County. We're trying things out for the next four weeks, asking folks to drive to our main building on Saturday mornings between 10 and Noon.

Check out the website and we cannot wait to pray with you next Saturday. Now is a great time to build or improve upon your foundations of the basics of the faith. Take part in one of our online foundation classes and learn how to live and grow as a Christian. Lasting only seven weeks, How to Study the Bible and Basic Beliefs are both launching on Wednesday, June 3, and they are both great next steps to grow your faith. Please visit our website to register. As our church has moved completely online, there's a chance that you've just found us and you're brand new to the Vineyard Cincinnati family. If that's the case, Welcome! We're glad you're here! We would love to get to know you better and would love also to share what makes the community so you need. So we created a digital connect card, especially with you in mind. Visit vineyard, to share your details and someone will be in touch with you real soon. It's that easy. Again, it's you'd like to know more about the heart of Vineyard Cincinnati Church, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Vineyard Cincinnati. I hope that you have been taking advantage of the opportunity to join into community during this season. It's not too late. If you are not in a Life Group right now, and you want to gather some friends, all the resources are online. Or, if you want to join a digital small group - it's an opportunity for you and some other folks to process the messages of the weekend. I hope that you have a chance to do that. We need to continue to be in the habit of meeting together. I also hope that you've had the chance to take advantage of drive through prayer that's been going on Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 here on the church campus. You have a couple more weeks to do so. Just drive into the campus, follow the signs, we follow all the safety protocols and you can have the things that are on your heart

lifted up to the Lord in person with someone right there next to you. We look forward to the opportunity to praying with you and for you for the things that are on your heart. I look forward to seeing you there. Well, we are in the third week of the Questions Jesus Asks series and I'm going to be diving into this question Jesus asks: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in own eye?" And I had prepared this message and I was practicing it last week on my husband. He's always kind of my first audience, and when I finished the message I looked at him like, okay, did you did you like it? Did you get the feels? Did it, did it move you in some way?

And he's like, first of all, you had way too many words. And he goes, second of all, you didn't even tell them that this is a sin that you struggle with. And I looked at him, I said, you're exactly right. I don't know why - sometimes as pastors we tell stories about when we struggled with sin way long ago and then we give the false impression to anyone that's listening that today we have it all together; but we used to not have it all together, but today we have it all together. I'm telling you right now, I don't have it all together. Judgment. This question pierces my heart because it's something I've been wrestling with for a really long time and I have experienced some victory in it and I'll share with you what those steps have been in my life to experience victory, but it's still something that I wrestle with and I want to start out our message and be honest with you about that.

Two major teachings that really began to unlock the taking the log out of my own eye. One of them was about 10 years ago, I was studying a Bible study called Gospel Transformation and it was during a season - I don't know if you and the important people in your life have new and creative conflicts all the time -- but I was finding that my husband and I were having the same fight over and over again. In fact, it was so predictable. I could tell you exactly when it was going to happen: every Saturday morning we would have the same fight and the reason we were having it on Saturday morning is we were living as missionaries in Mexico at the time and we were serving orphanages on any given day, anything could happen. Somebody could break their arm or somebody could be getting dropped off or I didn't have a very high expectations about our family life and family rhythm during the week.

But on Saturday morning, every orphan I knew was still sleeping. Every staff member I served with was enjoying their own free time and every guest that might be coming to visit was still en route to Mexico. And so I would wake up on Saturday mornings with these sky high expectations. And in our marriage we defined expectations as premeditated resentments. Like I would wake up and I'd be thinking, Oh my gosh, our family, we're going to go hiking and eat pancakes and play board games and it's going to be awesome. And Todd was waking up on Saturday mornings with that same rhythm and same schedule. And he also recognized we have some space so he would wake up and think we have to rotate our tires and pay our taxes and go to the grocery store. And his agenda (he and I are so different) would clash with my agenda.

And at some point in that morning we would come up against each other. And if I was feeling feisty, it would happen in an aggressive way. If I was feeling, you know, kind of spiritual, it would happen in a passive-aggressive way. But at some point, my idea of what we should do and his idea of what we should do would come at odds. And then we would have whatever words we'd have and then we would and what we call in our marriage, we'd have a disconnect. We would, we would really essentially break relationship over it. And it's my personality to be uncomfortable with that disconnect. It doesn't make me any more spiritual that I was typically the person that would go to him before he came to me. But I'd usually go to him and say like, okay, I'm sorry I said that. I'm sorry how I said that.

I'm sorry who I said that in front of like some version of that. And he would say his version of that. And then we would, you know, salvage Saturday by coming up with some mutually agreeable plan. And we used to think we were so mature, so spiritually mature that we didn't go to bed in our anger. But let me tell you, it's not spiritual maturity with seven days later you repeat the whole thing all over again. And we were finding ourselves in this pattern. And I was studying this Bible study with my friends, gospel transformation, and we were finding ourselves in the book of Hosea. And Hosea is one of the 12 minor prophets, and the minor prophets kind of follow the same pattern. Basically God's people are doing the right thing, then they're doing the wrong thing. And then God tells them, "They're doing the wrong thing" through a prophet.

And so usually some of them respond to that message and God rebuilds whatever it is that what once was, but in a stronger way through those that respond to that conviction. And then there's some that never respond to that reconstruction, that conviction. And then they face the consequences of their ongoing sin. So Hosea is 14 chapters. The first verse I want to read you that pierced my heart comes from the seventh chapter. So seven chapters into 14 chapters - the people already got, people have already done the right thing and then they'd done the wrong thing. And now here they were getting talked to by the Lord. And he says to them in verse seven "I long to redeem them, but they speak lies to me. They don't cry to me from their heart. They just wail at me from their bed." And as I was thinking about that verse, I was realizing like people were upset about the fact that God had given them a consequence for their sin, that he had separated his presence from them, that he had essentially had a disconnect from them because of their sin.

But what they were crying about was the disconnect. They weren't crying about the sin that got them there. That's why God said they're just, they're not talking to me from their heart. They're just wailing at me from their bed. And I thought, Oh, when I go to Todd on Saturdays, I'm not actually sorry about the sin that got me there in the first place. I'm just sorry about the consequence of the way that I've sinned. And I began to feel some shifting happen in my heart and mind. If you go on to the 10th chapter of Hosea, the Lord goes on to say, "Sow righteousness for yourself and reap the fruit of the unfailing love. Break up your fallow ground for it's time to seek the Lord until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." Fallow ground. We don't use that word "fallow" very much.

It's a farming term. It means like laid dormant, unused untilled left alone, but we have parts of our heart and mind that we'd rather just lay fallow. We'd rather just like let it stay alone. I don't want to deal with that part of my past. I don't want to deal with that broken relationship. I don't want to deal with that unconfessed sin. I don't want to deal with that, that, that thing inside of me. I'd rather just create a workaround. I'd rather just blame other people for it. I'd rather just leave it fallow inside of me. And the Lord was saying to me, you have something in your heart and mind and it's fallow and I want to break it up for you because it's creating a consequence in your relationship with me and in your relationship with your husband. And he tells me exactly how to break up that fallow ground.

In the 14th chapter, this is the last chapter of Hosea. He says, "Take words with you and return to the Lord." Take words with you as another way to say like, confess your sin. "Say to him, forgive all our sins and receive us graciously" because confession brings freedom Confession is like looking square at my own log and realizing just how much that log is interfering with my life. When I realize how significant the log is in my eye, that I have to confess, I actually lose the oomph in me to point out what your spec looks like cause I, I recognize the sinful and broken state with which I find myself. When I went to the Lord first confess my sin and felt the deep conviction that I was prideful. That was my sin, not how I was talking or how I was saying it.

My sin that I was that I was prideful and I went to Todd and I said, you know what? I think I thought somebody gave me a crown and I was the queen of Saturday mornings and I frankly thought my way was best and your way was wrong or at least not as good as my way. The sin that I need to confess to you is pride and when you confess your sin like that, when you, when you humble yourself like that, first of all, God gets all the space to do his work, which is awesome, but it also invites the person that you're confessing your sin to, to do the same. As I confess my sin, Todd confessed his and I'm happy to report, We don't fight anymore on Saturday mornings. It's been years since we've had a Saturday morning fight. Now we fight on Tuesday evenings, but you know, we're still working it out. Okay. I'm just kidding. We're not {inaudible].

The passage says, "Do not judge or you too will be judged". It's in Matthew 7 that this question is found embedded in "For the same way in which you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say your brother? Let me take the speck out of your eye. Well, all the time there's this plank in your own eye." I've been thinking about COVID-19 and for all the hashtag rhetoric about alone and together, we're an awfully divided culture, and division comes, it comes from judgment. It has the course of judgment sounds like" my way is better than your way. My people, they're better than your people", and we are desperate to be right in our way of thinking because it satisfies our sense of justice and our feelings of shame.

Even with the work I've done to experience freedom from judgment, I found myself more judgmental than usual during this COVID-19 season, I've had to go back and remind myself some of the things that I've learned about judgment. I mean, there's a million things we can pass judgment on. Like do you mask or do you not mask? Do you travel or do you not travel? Do you, do you interact with people or do you hide in your house? Do you open or do you close? Like at some point, if you're honest with yourself, have you said like, "those people are crazy!"? Whether you're talking about college students that were on spring break or your neighbor who's never left their house in two months. Like when people do something differently than the way that we think they should be done. It's, it's the lazy way and the simpler way, but it's the natural way to be judgmental.

I think we've seen in this timeframe, our culture extend itself in some pretty unbelievable sacrificial, generous ways and it's brought out the best in us, but we've also seen it bring out the worst in us. So we've had thoughts we shouldn't have had and entered into debates that were literally none of our business. The other teaching that really helped kind of unlock my own "log in the eye" struggle was this. It's an old teaching from theologian N.T. Wright, and he talks about how in the beginning of time there's like this, think Genesis 1:1, the very beginning of the Bible. "God's presence during creation came and rested on the earth" and he draws this like circle and he says, God's presence rested on the earth, his presence, his peace. In Hebrew, we call it the Shalom. We've talked about Shalom before, remember? And Shalom, that definition talks about Shalom fills in the cracks.

It's wholeness, completeness, God's wholeness and completeness rested on the earth. Not must've been beautiful, but it lasted like a hot second. And then Adam and Eve ate the Apple and God's Shalom, his perfect presence, had to be removed from the earth. And the absence of peace is chaos and the earth was left in chaos. And I don't feel like I need to spend a lot of time trying to convince you the earth is in chaos. Five times in the Old Testament think of all those covenants with Noah and Moses and Abraham and David and certainly Adam. God rested his presence back onto the earth covenant with this man. And then eventually, Jesus came and brought his physical presence on the earth, was crucified, was resurrected. And then Acts 2, deposited his Holy Spirit here for us. And now God's perfect presence rest permanently on the earth in us.

He says he puts that deposit in us, that Holy Spirit in us. And now God walks around in with his perfect peace residing in us around in this chaos all the time. And so now we're, that place combines that little almond shaped space that's called the kingdom of heaven on earth. And that's, if you're a Christ follower, where your spiritual citizenship lies. We don't live in Shalom. Not yet. I remember I was with my father when he actually passed away. My mom looked at my brothers and I when he died and said she was quoting the apostle Paul "absent with the body means present with the Lord". And I looked at my brothers and I'm like, dad just moved somewhere. Like we could tell he had just moved somewhere. He moved to permanent Shalom. I'm not there yet, but I haven't been left in the chaos.

I don't have to live among the chaos. I don't have to live where I'm following agendas of self-righteousness and self-absorption and self-interest and self-...everything. I get to live in the kingdom of heaven on earth. But here's the temptation. We can get ourselves in the kingdom of heaven on earth and we can think, I want to make sure everybody around me looks just like me. I wanna make sure they work like me and talk like me and spend like me and felt like me and drink like me and worship like me and everything else. Just like me. I want to just stay here. Thank you Jesus. But really this Bible, we could probably boil it down as complicated as it is, 66 books long, we could probably boil it down into just two words. The first word is Come. God is an invitational

God. He has invited us into relationship, to come into relationship with him and he encourages us to do the same. But the second word in the Bible is Go. It's that great commission he sends us to go and he where's he want us to go? He wants us to go in the chaos and represent him, and every single time I've ever gone into the chaos, it has cost me something. It's cost me time, money, it's cost me my reputation, sleepless nights, gray hair, you name it. It costs us something to go in the chaos. But Jesus set us an example of what it looks like to be in the chaos and love them, not judge them. Jesus was always eating with tax collectors and centers. In fact, if he ever had a harsh word, it's for people who thought they were perfect, not people who admitted they were broken.

Think about that story when he said "You, you who, you who are without sin. You cast the stone." He was always telling us, "be in the chaos:. Be among those outside of our family and" love them. Don't judge them". And I think when I can, when I confess my sin, I recognize that God has made me a peace bringer. He wants me to go into places where there's chaos and not judge them, but instead, love them. We can be ministers among the chaos and bring peace. If we don't, we might find ourselves in chaos. And if we're not peace bringers if we're not, if we're not gospel lovers, if we're not bridge builders, if we're not working to understand, we think the worst of other people, we look at them and [inaudible]... like I can't believe they're doing that.

We talk to them, to people in chaos about their faults instead about God's grace. We judge an entire life by their worst moments. Like do you ever watch TV? Get that one dimensional, two dimensional version of their story and think what a terrible human being that is. When all we've been put on display is their worst moment. We judge an entire life only by the assumption of their motives. We think well, that's why they did that. We have no idea what's going on inside of them. We judge others without considering ourselves in their same, in the same circumstances. When we... When we don't see the log in our eye, it's so easy to sit from wherever it is we see it and think our way is better. I'm actually better and now my sense of shame, satisfied. My sense of justice is satisfied. In 2016 I had a double mastectomy and during that season one of the things I learned, I didn't know this before then, but one of the things I unfortunately learned firsthand is that pain, it makes you mean, I'm not normally a mean person, but I was in so much pain during that season.

Imagine the surprise of my family when they saw me get really mean. A few months after those surgeries and that recovery and I was feeling better. I was at one of my son's sporting events and I saw a woman a few rows in front of me and the bleachers and she was being very unkind to this little, I assume like, a four year old grandson that she was taking care of and the old Beth, the pre-surgery Beth would have been super judgmental of her. I would have thought to myself, you do not talk to children that way. You horrible person. He did nothing to deserve your wrath, but I was watching her be mean to that little boy and instead I started thinking, I wonder where she's hurting? What happens when we take, when we decide to take the log out of our own eye is we move

when we hear about something or we see something we don't like, we move from thinking what is wrong with them to, I wonder what happened to them and when we've realized maybe something happens to them. Maybe God's calling me to go into that story. To be a peace bringer, to be an image bearer, to be, to be a love,, be on a love offensive for them. We have to remember at all times in all circumstances, where whether I'm alone with my thoughts or I'm in the middle of a sporting event or in the middle of a global pandemic, or I'm sitting in the middle of my neighborhood, or I'm in a conversation at work, or I'm on social media, or I'm at the dinner table with my family, in absolutely every circumstance, I got to look like God's kid. If I'm going to look like God's kid, I need to look like God and God showed us.

Jesus showed us how to be in the chaos. He spent several years here in ministry demonstrating to us throughout all the stories of the gospel what it looked like to love people and he tells us, you know what? You're my kid so now you get to look like me. When people interact with you, they should know more about me. So if you're generous, they'll know I'm generous. If you extend yourself towards them, if you give mercy to them, if you listen to them, they're going to know I'm a listener, I'm a mercy extender. If you, if you love on them, if you think about their needs before your own, they're going to know I'll love on them and I'll think about needs of, theirs more than my own. One night a couple of years ago I woke up and I had a dream and I knew in the middle of the dream it was prophetic.

I didn't, I woke up and I knew I had had a Jesus dream at a normal kind of dream, but I didn't know what it meant. I told my husband, I'm like, I had this dream and in this dream I was building a bridge across a river and I didn't have enough materials. I'm like, what do you think that means? I couldn't get to the other side. We were in the middle of our most recent adoption of an adolescent boy and he goes, I know, maybe it, maybe you think you don't have what it takes to do this adoption. I'm like, yeah, that sounds exactly right. And I just went on about that day, assuming that that's what that dream was about. And I just asked the Lord to give me what I needed for the assignment that he had for us. I got on an airplane and flew to a speaking engagement. And it was a season where I was feeling kind of depleted;

I'd been traveling a lot, speaking a lot. I walked into this big ballroom at a hotel and when I was on stage, I had no problem giving that message. It was very energizing to me. But as soon as I was done, I walked off the stage and that's when people come forward. And I was not sure like, Oh Lord, I only have so much energy for so many people and I need to know exactly who it is you want me to talk to. And I don't know among these women who I should talk to. And there were people kind of lining up and this one lady was like making her way towards me and I didn't recognize her. I didn't know her, but she was like, Beth, Beth, Beth, I have something I need to tell you. And she was kind of insistent enough

I was like, yes, what is it? And she's like, while you were talking, I had a vision. I just feel like I'm supposed to tell you. You were building a bridge across a river and you didn't have enough materials. And I just looked at her, I'm like, are you kidding me? I'm like, Jesus, to set us up on a blind date. What is your name? And I just left everybody else. She and I went to the corner of that room and we began to have a conversation. She works for the Center for Disease Control. In fact, today, she's in the middle of this coronavirus crisis. Her name is Dr. Susan Hillis, and she's the first person that told me that of the 2 billion children that live on the planet today, that 50% of those kids, 1 billion children on the planet, have experienced trauma. I already knew 163 million of them were orphans.

That's what I do, love and serve orphans around the world. But that number that went in my brain from 163 million to a billion children have experienced problems, have experienced trauma, have felt the pain of someone hurting them. And I was like, Oh my gosh, life is really hard. And we started to have a conversation about something that in Christian circles we call the "orphan spirit" and the orphan spirit doesn't actually have anything to do with whether or not you have biological parents who take care of you. Your orphan spirit is this idea that even though you have been adopted into God's family, you still live like you're outside. You have a spiritual father, he died on a cross and resurrected and gives you a new life and you have a spirit living inside of you and you can take his peace anywhere around the world and act in the way that shows to the whole wide world who he is.

But you don't. You have that, you have that salvation, but you still live like you're outside. And we were talking about these 1 billion children and the idea of the orphan spirit and we've got to talk to the church about it. And I was thinking about this idea of shame while I was preparing this message. And if we let, shame is like the, it's like the middle name of the orphan spirit. It basically says like, you're not enough in case you wondered, you're not good enough. And it keeps us feeling like we're outside. Like we don't have what it is that it takes to tolerate this moment or this circumstance or this thing that's in front of me. And then because that hurts so much, it's so much easier to judge other people. So we think, I don't have what it takes, but at least I'm not as bad as the them.

But the antidote is until I close our eyes, the antidote is to realize we get to live different. So I'm going to read you a list that describes the difference between someone who's living as if they still have an orphan spirit and someone who's living as if they're God's kid. I just want you to listen for, and if you get any like little ping in your spirit, like a thing, you're like, wow. I think that, even though I'm God's kid, I'm living like that. Just talk to God about it. He wants to heal that part in your heart. This is what it means to work out our faith with fear and trembling because the act of judging has its origin in self judgment and shame - shamed people end up shaming people. And what I want for us as a church body is for us to experience freedom.

And when I experience freedom, I give it away to others. Okay, let's go through my list. And the orphan spirit operates out of insecurity and jealousy and competition. We don't, we don't have to be jealous. We don't have to, we don't have to compete. We don't have to be insecure because we're God's getting God's kid functions out of things like love and acceptance and untold amount of blessing. The orphan spirit serves God in order to earn God's favor. That's not the way God's kid works. God's kid serves gone out of a sense of divine acceptance and favor. We serve him out of the overflow not to earn anything. The orphan spirit tries to medicate deep disconnection through physical stimulation. Think overworking, poor relationships, indulgence, addiction. It makes me physically feel better. God's kid walks in joy and seeks the presence of the Lord for its comfort.

The orphan spirit is driven for a need for success. That's where he gets his identity, his success. But God's kid has a mission and a calling and wakes up and thinks two things. I'm going to be faithful today and obedient and the rest of it is up to God. An orphan spirit uses people as objects, but God kid, God's kid, serves people with the desire to just bless the kingdom, advance the kingdom, bring peace into chaos. The orphan spirit has anger and fits of rage because things feel out of their control and they want to control the people that are around them. But God's kid rests in the father's ability to guide the future. I don't have to control anyone else. God is sovereign. He's in control. The orphan spirit lacks self-esteem. But God's kid walks in the love of the Father. He tells me who I am.

I don't need to look to anyone else to know who I am. He, he tells me who I am. The orphan spirit receives its primary identity through material possessions, through physical appearance, through, specific activities. But God's kid is grounded in the father's affirmation. God invites us to live as his kid and that should end up looking to us like freedom. And in that freedom we bring peace and we don't need to judge. You go be you. I'm busy working out my own faith with fear and trembling. I'm busy. I don't need to think about your speck because I've got my own log that I'm busy having to confess, and I'm busy giving up to the Lord and I'm busy walking out in that faith and the way that we understand who we are in God's, as God's kid, the way we understand our identity is Christ, is we spend time with him.

We worship him, we pray to him, we read our word, we spend time in fellowship, we live in community. We like that's, those are the places where the God kid identity gets reaffirmed in us, gets confirmed and us so VCC,, mean family, that's my plea for us this week. Let's spend time with him. Let's let him remind us of who it is that we are. Let's be curious about what happened to others instead of instead of trying to perceive what do we think is wrong with them or talk about what we think is wrong with us, or draw lines between them and us. Let's enter into that chaos and be image bearers of Christ. Be peace bringers and gospel tellers. Let's love, let's love generously and recklessly and relentlessly until they want to know more about the God that it is that we represent.

That's, that's the charge this week. Let's pray. Jesus, I'm so thankful for who you are. I'm thankful that you, you want to break up our fallow ground, that you want us to take words with us. You don't want us to walk around with logs in our eye and the consequences that come from unconfessed sin. Jesus, we want freedom. We want freedom in you, we want to understand who you are. So, so on this day I ask that you would bring your conviction into our hearts, that you would start to minister to us. You would start to allow your word to divide us, bone and marrow. Lord Jesus, may we look like you during the years you were in ministry here and we eat with tax collectors and sinners. May we sit in places of chaos and allow it to cost us something, knowing that when we do so, we look more like you. Jesus, fill our cup. Remind us of who we are, fix our eyes on you, Jesus. We trust you with all these things and it is with the authority that I have as a co-heir with you that I ask you, release an anointing on every person listening that you would bless them and their household in the week to covering prayer. All these things in your Holy and precious name. Amen.

Thanks for joining us at Vineyard Cincinnati Church, where for over 30 years, we have believed that small things done with great love will change the world. Vineyard Cincinnati is open to everyone no matter what your thoughts are about God or church, whether you're new to church or have been at your whole life, you're in good company with those of us who are exploring who God is or are rediscovering what church can be. If you've enjoyed this service and want to know more about us, visit vineyard, forward slash connect and someone will be in touch with you very shortly. Once again, that's