Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Have you ever considered what it means to have the mindset of Christ? Or have you heard the words in Paul’s letter to the Philippians and thought it’s just plain impossible to think like Jesus. I would like you all to give some thought this morning to what it would mean for you to think of yourself as Jesus thought of himself.
The first word that came to my mind immediately was that I would have to “change” my thinking. In fact it would have to take a change of heart. That word “change” is being tossed around a lot these days by the candidates running for president of these United States. But I don’t think they are talking about a change of heart to think of themselves like Jesus thought of himself, do you? No I think the change they are talking about is more worldly.
There is a song by Eddie Espinosa called “Change My Heart, O God” and it goes like this.

Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You

You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray

Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You

Now if we all had a change of heart and our hearts were true and like Jesus’ heart what kind of change would we see here?
First, we have to decide in our own minds what Jesus’ heart was like. What was His primary concern as he walked all over Galilee, Judea, and Samaria? How can we really know Jesus’ heart?
I think that I would start by reading the gospels to see what they told about what he was doing when he was living among the people of Israel. What was he doing? He was teaching, he was healing, he was casting out demons, he was feeding hungry people, he was upsetting the religious community of his day, and he literally upset tables and through people out of the meeting place, the synagogue in Jerusalem. So what was Jesus’ mind like?
First I think we need to be certain what it was that he was teaching. Was it something worth believing and would it make the world a better place? What was Jesus teaching and is it relevant for us today?
Jesus was teaching the people that the kingdom of God was here right now and that there needed to be a change. He was preaching repentance, change of heart. He was preaching that God was love. He was baptizing people a symbol of the cleansing power of God’s love and forgiveness.
But Jesus wasn’t all about words. His life was an example of service to people who were at their wits end. They had been everywhere and tried everything looking for healing. And they came to Jesus to see what he could do. They received healing beyond anything they could ever imagine. Not only were their bodies and spirits healed but they found that by believing in Him their sins were forgiven!
Jesus didn’t just help one or two people here and there. No, wherever he traveled people were healed. And every town and city he came to the crowds were there waiting for him because word of his amazing powers preceded him. And he never failed to help those who believed. They were all healed.
But those who were skeptical and doubted and called him a blasphemer couldn’t be made whole. If there was no faith there was no healing.
So having a mind like Jesus means that you and I have to stop putting ourselves first. Having a mind like Jesus means that we are to be constantly looking for and seeking ways to help those who have tried everywhere else to get help and now have come to us as a last resort. What does that mean? I think it means whatever God has put into your mind right at this very minute. What he puts in your mind may be different than what he puts in my mind or they just may be identical. Wouldn’t that be something, God changing our minds and having us think of the same thing, would that be too weird?
What was that we heard Paul say, “If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.”
Friends, I think that means we have to be servants. We have to continually be aware to how God is working around us every minute of the day. We must be alert to the needs of people all around us and ready to answer the call to help when it comes.
Sisters and brothers, that’s what it means to be a church. Having a heart and mindset like Jesus probably means that we will have to change. But is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.
Our world all around us seems to be tumbling down, falling to pieces and we feel so helpless worrying about our savings and investments. Is there anything we can really do about it? Probably not much, but there is something we can do for the neighbor who can’t pay for groceries this month, or the family who is having marital problems, or the neighbor who just lost a loved one. There’s something we can do for them. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t fix the national debt but he did heal them and feed them and gave them hope in a God who loved them. He set an example for the disciples and he is an example for us.
Friends, it’s not impossible. We can change. We can think of ourselves like Jesus thought of himself. We can share the love of Jesus Christ with our neighbors. Change is good and if we are honest with ourselves every one of us needs to have our hearts changed.
When God calls to your heart I hope your answer is yes but if it’s no at first I pray that it will change to yes later. God is calling all of us the change our hearts and minister to his children. God is faithful and will help us all to finish what he has called us to do.

Steve Green - He who began a good work Lyrics
He who began a good work in youHe who began a good work in youWill be faithful to complete itHe'll be faithful to complete itHe who started the workWill be faithful to complete it in youIf the struggle you're facingIs slowly replacingYour hope with despairOr the process is longAnd you're losing your songIn the night you can be sureThat the Lord has His hand on youSafe and secureHe will never abandon youYou are His treasureAnd He finds His pleasure in you

God loves you my friends, and so do I. Amen.

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