Interesting Sermon: The Mind of Christ

In regards to my post about church last week, I just want to say that this blog is about me. I am not a professional writer, pastor, theologian, or any such thing. I consider myself somewhat of an amateur Bible scholar, emphasis on the word "amateur." As I said, this blog is about me. I’m 34, and though I’ve picked up a few things along the way, I still (hopefully) have a long way to go and a lot more to learn. I don’t believe I would be ashamed if anybody from my church did read that entry last week, but I want to clarify that I’m not attempting to use this blog to put a sugar coat on anything. The book of Proverbs discusses wisdom. The Hebrew word for wisdom is kohkmah (unsure of exact spelling), which means among other things "skill." Wisdom is about learning and acquiring the skill of living well; of living a dynamic life. I am along on that journey myself. As I learn these skills, I’m sure my blogs will all tell some form of story. I go through the entire gamut here: I get confused, frustrated, exuberant, joyful, and just plain ticked off. One thing I will promise to do as a blogger is to not break any bounds of ethics or confidentiality. I will not mention anything that could be confidential to my employer, family, church, friends, contacts, etc. I will also do my best to avoid gossip and hearsay. I will attempt to verify my facts or state that I haven’t.

In any case, I said that last week’s sermon (and song selection) didn’t do very much for me, but this week is another story, at least in regards to the sermon. Our other pastor, Steve, preached this week. Dan has been with the church for about 30 years. Steve just joined the church last year. We used to have a youth minister, so at the time I would refer to Dan as the "senior pastor," but Dan and Steve are very well matched in experience and maturity, and they don’t seem to be differentiating whether one is senior or not, so I’ll try not to.

Today’s sermon was about the Mind of Christ. I forget the exact title, but it was centered around I Cor 2:

[16]  For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” * But we have the mind of Christ.

There was also a healthy dose of Philipians thrown in for good measure. Steve discussed as one of his points Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Therapy, as we may know, goes like this:

Thoughts->Feelings->Actions (or Behaviors)

Behavioral Therapy goes like this:

Behavior (actions)->Feelings->Thoughts

The point was that feelings are in the middle. Our thoughts and actions do not change by changing our feelings. This would be a good post for some kind of self-help topic, but this isn’t about self-help; it’s about obeying Scripture. I’m sure if Steve came across this post, he’d think I’m ruining the entire point, but that’s not my intent. I’m just discussing one aspect of it. I’m also not saying that I learned anything "new" today, but this was a great summary and refresher on things I’d heard before.

I can’t speak for everybody else, but far too many details in my life have gotten lost because I didn’t "feel" like it. That is entirely the wrong way to go about life. Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a man I really love to listen to, covered this point in one of his many materials that have crossed my monitor or iPod lately. He said something to the effect of "if you don’t feel like doing something, just get up and start doing it. Your feelings will come inline with your actions later." Since hearing that, I have tried to take it to heart. In both of the models listed about, feelings are in the middle. You can change your thoughts, and you can change your actions, but it’s apparently hard to change your feelings. When my wife asks me to go grocery shopping with her (which means taking both kids to a crowded Acme), I NEVER, EVER, under ANY circumstances, FEEL like doing it, but occasionally I will load the kids in the car and do it for her.

Steve also pointed out that nowhere in the Bible are we commanded (or even suggested) to feel anything. We are told to think on some things, and do other things. Some people come back with "Well, we’re told to love" but the Greek agape implies a choice more than a feeling. True love is a choice. I was once infatuated with my wife, when my hormones and other assorted body chemicals gave me great feelings around her trying to trick me into getting married, but several years and two kids later, love is not a feeling, it is a choice.

This was a great sermon that engaged my mind and gave me something to think about, and write about, later on.

Technorati Tags: Sermons,church,feelings,actions

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