rap sheet 1/3/21
KEY TEXTS: Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-11
ICE BREAKER: What was your greatest accomplishment in 2020?
This week we started a new series with a simple idea - after the dumpster fire that was 2020, don't we all need a Reboot in our lives as we walk into a new year? A year ago, we were told that 2020 was going to be the year of Vision. Now we are in desperate need of a REVISION.
What was the hardest part of 2020 for you?
What are you most concerned about heading into 2021?
The first place we normally learn Revision is in English class. We learn to write a good paper through a simple, repetitive process - revise and edit, revise and edit, revise and edit. A Revision is a thorough re-examination to make much needed changes. If we want to see a major difference in our life story, we will need to take the same approach.
To see a REBOOT, we need a REVISION
To help us understand what this looks like, we read from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. A large portion of the Israelites were being held as captive in Babylon. While there, they were being forced to the extremes of two narratives. The first was pushed by Babylon. They wanted Israel to give up! Give up their heritage, their customs, their culture. They wanted them to RESIGN. The other narrative was from false prophets within Israel who wanted them to fight back. They did not allow their fellow captives to unpack their bags or set up camp. They were convinced that God would rescue them any moment. They wanted to REBEL.
REBEL or RESIGN. These are the options that suffering forces on us and these are the same extremes that the world tries desperately to push us towards today! Rebel - fight back, refuse to listen to reason and distance yourself from anyone who disagrees with you! Resign - just give up, this is how life will now be forever! Live in defiant pessimism and refuse to see the hope or the purpose in the pain.
Can you identify how to have been living in the season of Covid-19?
Were you living as a Rebel or did you just Resign?
What caused you to pick the side you ended up on?
Suffering pushes us to the extremes. It does this by exposing the hardest parts of our story - broken promises, crumbling relationships, out of control finances, toxic patterns, etc. No one likes to be exposed! If left along Suffering SHIFTS us to one extreme or the other. The extremes act as distractions to keep us from dealing with the reality of the hard parts of our story! They are Visions, albeit it broken ones, that we run to when we really need a REVISION.
Jeremiah knew this, so he wrote to Israel to break the false dichotomy or REBEL or RESIGN. He pushed them to REVISION. He told them to build homes, build families, build communities, and even to build trust with their captors! God still had a plan for Israel, but if they resigned and gave up their heritage, or if they rebelled and died in battle, God could not use them.
Suffering exposes us and, if left alone, causes us to SHIFT. However, with the power God has given us, we do not have to be shifted - instead we can learn to allow suffering to SIFT our lives. To lay out all the nasty parts of our story and allow us to careful look through it to find what is useful and what is useless!
In middle school English class, you would hand your paper to a peer and ALL the mistakes in your story would be EXPOSED! It is a hard process, but it is also a gift. This exposure makes way for a revision. The way you live a great story is the same way you write a great story - Revise and Edit, Revise and Edit, Revise and Edit!
Here is your application question for the week
What is ONE WAY you will allow the suffering of 2020 to begin a REVISION in your story?
It is a new year! Spend some time asking God to help you begin the process of Sifting through your life. Ask Him to expose the broken parts of your story. Be bold enough to sit still and listen to what He may be saying to you. If you can, find it within yourself to thank God for the opportunity the suffering of 2020 has brought your way. Thank Him for the chance to begin Revising and Editing the story of the life He has given you.