Wayfinding Week 8

Hebrews 12:1–2
[1] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The author of Hebrews doesn’t say what every weight is, but there’s a principle we can’t miss.

Expedition - A journey undertaken by a group of people with a definite objective.

  • Set the course.
  • Maintain the course.
  • Reach the destination.

Anything that weighs down or slows down or obstructs or ensnares a runner needs to be discarded. We have to let go of the things that distract us or get in our way. We need to travel unencumbered. As long as we’re burdened by heavy loads, we won’t go as far or as fast as we need to. We have to be able to keep going.

I enjoy reading a pastor named Charles Wagner. I was reminded of one his quotes relevant to this morning’s message.

“From the cradle to the grave, in his needs as in his pleasures, in his conception of the world and of himself, the man of modern times struggles through a maze of endless complication. Nothing is simple any longer.”
- Charles Wagner
Can you relate? Do you have the sense that nothing is simple any longer?

That quote comes from Charles Wagner’s book titled The Simple Life… written in 1901… 125 years ago.

I think that if Mr. Wagner were introduced to modern-day life, its quite possible that his brain would explode.

Let’s see a picture to help illustrate the point…THE PROBLEM

Board Chart
  • left to right
  • troubles, pace, things & stuff
  • too far to left = unhealthy, too far to right = unhealthy

We’ve been conditioned to be consumers, to want more and more and more. We’re always just one purchase away from being happy. The bigger thing, the better thing, the newer thing, the next thing. We’re never quite satisfied with what we have and the things we accumulate only make our lives more complicated.

Our lives are cluttered, over-programmed, and hectic. We can’t move fast enough or get enough done. We rush from one thing to the next. Our schedules are either over-filled or we’re too exhausted to use our time wisely.

“Contemporary culture is plagued by the passion to possess. The unreasoned boast abounds that the good life is found in accumulation, that 'more is better.' Indeed, we often accept this notion without question, with the result that the lust for affluence in contemporary society has become psychotic: it has completely lost touch with reality. Furthermore, the pace of the modern world accentuates our sense of being fractured and fragmented. We feel strained, hurried, breathless. The complexity of rushing to achieve and accumulate more and more threatens frequently to overwhelm us; it seems there is no escape from the rat race…”
- Richard Foster, The Freedom of SimplicityTroubles

We’re overwhelmed because we’ve been inundated with local news and global news and social media and clickbait designed to get us flustered and agitated. We’re worked up because we’ve been stirred up like a hive of agitated bees.

Our longing for peace and contentment would drive us to a place of simplicity, but life in our fallen world offers lies and cheap substitutions. When our lives become overcomplicated and stressful it leaves us with an unsettled feeling.

Richard Foster says that our spirits are frantic. (Burnout.)

Quakers have a word for this. They call this being “cumbered.”
  • Cumbered - cluttered
  • Encumbered - weighed down
  • Unencumbered - not burdened, not slowed down, not hampered

The Quakers have something they call the “Testimony of Simplicity.” It’s the belief that a person should live their life simply so that they can focus on what’s most important.

“The witness to simplicity is profoundly rooted in the biblical tradition, and most perfectly exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ… It is a natural and necessary outflow of the Good News of the Gospel having taken root in our lives.”
- Richard Foster

It’s just as much about an inward state of mind or condition of the heart. It’s an invitation to a more focused life. It’s about about living more meaningfully.

Jesus’ invitation…
“Come to me all who are tired and heavy burdened… and I will give you rest.”

Jesus summarized over 600 commands into one.

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity…

Luke 12:15
Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

Matthew 6:34
… do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Thessalonians 4:11
… aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs…

An overly-complicated life steals attention and energy from what matters most.

It’s never simple to keep things simple. You have to work at it.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
- Albert Einstein
Sometimes we need to eliminate good things so we can do the best thing. Simplicity means being focused on what really matters. Simplicity helps us decide what to do and how much to do it. It allows us to focus our energy and resources to do more of what’s important- things that matter most.

What does this have to do with Expedition Church?

Churches bought into the idea that you have to meet every need and that every need requires a church program. Busyness can be a great disguise for substance. Activity creates an illusion of fruitfulness and health.

Whenever there’s a need, it’s natural for someone to say, “We need a program for that…” So a special ministry gets created.

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone."
There’s nothing wrong with programs or ministries in a church, we just have to be careful that (chart) doesn’t happen.

Chinese Buffet

People assume that the more items on the menu the better.

You can do a lot of things in a mediocre (or poor) way, or you can do a few things well.

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