Created for Big Things: August 21, 2016 Service

Sometimes we forget that God is the King of the World. God has always been great and has always created things exactly as he wanted them by his great power.  Whatever is given to God has the potential of becoming great or being used greatly, and that applies to each one of us.

But for myself, as I grew up and did all the normal family things, I never considered that God could use me in a great way or that something I was part of could be great. It’s interesting, isn’t it, to think this way?  That we serve a great and indescribable God but that we will never be used for great things.

We realize we are part of creation and that the great Creator was the one who did it, but we stop short of thinking that God as the Creator created us for big things. In fact, as I was growing up, one of the “big things” I wanted to attain was to have a life like that in the houses across the street.

I grew up in a little town called Dillon, and I remember looking at the houses on the other side of the street where I lived and thinking that their lives were better; their house was better, their yard was better, they dressed better, they had more normal lives. I wanted to be like that!  That was my big dream, always trying to strive toward normalcy.  Every day I walked by those houses, I would admire what they looked like and what the people inside them did, and I would be filled with longing and envy for what I didn’t have.

Recently, though, we took a trip back to Montana for my niece’s wedding, and we took a side trip to Dillon so I could see our old house and walk the familiar streets where I grew up. It was a funny thing, today those houses directly across from ours look pretty run down!  And now our old house is the one with the nice yard and the “normal people” inside!  The houses I thought were so great didn’t stay that way.  In fact the entire neighborhood was pretty run down and overgrown. Everything had changed so much!

Your perception and even reality changes over time. I created something in my mind that really wasn’t going to last, and, in truth, probably wasn’t even true while I was growing up.  I had simply created a false perception.

When we look at our world compared to the massive stars and planets surrounding it in the universe, it’s a very tiny, inconsequential planet that God created for great and far-reaching things! We humans are also small in proportion to other things, just as the earth is tiny compared to the stars, yet God considered us and the world important enough to visit and to give his life as a ransom for many.

What an extravagant thought! It forces me to realize that even now I might be used for great things!  My size and background don’t matter; all that matters is God’s touch on my life and what he wants to use it for in his kingdom of greatness.

Jossy Chacko, a pastor who grew up in India, tells this story from his childhood when he was trying to learn three different languages, one of them Hindi:

“One day my Hindi teacher grew so frustrated she made me stand on the teacher’s table at the front of the class and ridiculed me as a hopeless failure. She said I would never achieve anything in this life.  Then she made me sit under the table for the rest of the class.”   (from the book, Madness, by Jossy Chacko)

How humiliating that was for such a young boy!

But in spite of some humiliating and belittling things that are said to us as we are growing up, we sometimes have big dreams inside us anyway. We imagine what we might do someday.  Now this is a normal way to think, for the most part.  It’s part of human nature to imagine big dreams for the future.  But sometimes this can become a mental illness if carried to the extreme or if someone is in denial about reality.  When this is the case, it’s diagnosed as Delusions of Grandeur.

A delusion of grandeur is the fixed, false belief that one possesses superior qualities such as genius, fame, omnipotence, or wealth. It is most often a symptom of schizophr, but can also be a symptom found in psychotic or bipolar disorders, as well as dementia (such as Alzheimer’s).

People with a delusion of grandeur often have the conviction of having some great but unrecognized talent or insight. They may also believe they have made some important discovery that others don’t understand or appreciate.  John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

I always think of this diagnosis whenever I have big plans that are beyond me.  I remind myself that I might only be experiencing Delusions of Grandeur, or D.O.G. for short!

I sometimes get a really big idea or dream of what I want to do and I tell myself, “RuthAnn, that’s only a D.O.G.! A delusion of grandeur; you can’t really do that—you only think you can.  You’re deluded!”

Have you ever had big plans or big dreams, something you wanted to create, but you weren’t sure if you could do it? Or do you stop yourself from even having the dream because who are you to think you could carry out something so big or so important?  Sometimes you might get really excited to start something, and you can imagine what it’ll be like in the future if only it works out….and then, you give it up, thinking, “Oh I guess I got it wrong.  I could never do that!”  Many people have given up many dreams simply because they did not think they could create something so much larger than themselves.

But throughout the Bible, God has always been shown to us as a God of the impossible and a being who can create anything, no matter what it is. The very first verses of the Bible say that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  We live in the incredible universe God has made.  God is a great God and an awesome creator who can do anything with anyone!

Creation fills me with awe; it also fills me with questions.  Where does evolution fit in?  Design is so evident, how can anyone think this all happened by chance?  Who am I to think that this great designer would relate to me personally?

In the Bible, David, the great king of Israel had similar questions:

Ps. 8:1-9:

God, brilliant Lord,     yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;     toddlers shout the songs That drown out enemy talk,     and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,     your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings.     Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us?     Why take a second look our way?

5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,     bright with Eden’s dawn light. You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,     repeated to us your Genesis-charge, Made us lords of sheep and cattle,     even animals out in the wild, Birds flying and fish swimming,     whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord,     your name echoes around the world. The Message

The earth in relation to the enormous stars that surround it disappears into nothing but a pinhead in the universe!   But that tiny blue dot that is our planet and is so small among the stars has been given incredible beauty and majesty by God, even though it is tiny.

But after we read the verses from David and acknowledge the astounding work of creation, what does it mean in our lives? How does it change us?

It’s easy to look at creation, both earthly and heavenly, and admire it and be in awe of God for what He has made. But what we forget to do is look at ourselves with that same admiration and awe.  Just as the earth is tiny among the other planets in the universe, we, as human beings on that tiny planet, are tiny amongst the amazing mountains, cliffs, oceans, and lakes that have been created for us!  Yet we need to imagine ourselves as fully part of that glorious creation and praise God, not only as THE Creator, but as OUR Creator.  My Creator.  We need to personalize our relationship with the Creator of the universe.  Jesus Christ made that kind of relationship possible!

When Jesus came to live among us, He was speaking to religious communities and leaders who fully agreed that God was Creator of all things and should be worshiped as such. What struck them dumb was the fact that Jesus called God his Father and even said God was their Father as well!

When Jesus gave the sermon on the mount, described in Matthew 5, he said:

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Mt. 5:16 NASU)

Jesus called God Father consistently, and while he was in the garden, praying before he went to the cross, he even used the term Abba, which is a child-like cry similar to “daddy” in our language.

36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”   (Mark 14:36 NASU)

The Jewish people and leaders could understand and connect with God as Creator, which is His transcendence, but they had a hard time grasping his immanence, his personal relationship with each of them. Here is what one Christian scholar writes about the difference between God’s transcendence and his immanence:

“Transcendence…refers to the fact that God is more than and other than His creation—indeed, more than and other than any possible creation. This is part of what it means to call God “the Supreme Being” or “that than which no greater can be thought” (to use St. Anselm’s description).  Immanence, on the other hand, refers to the fact that God is present in His creation—as the author is “in” his book or the painter “in” his painting, only more so.  God created the world and it is marked by His creation of it.  But God also continues to sustain the world in being.  If He ever withdrew His power, the cosmos would cease to be.  In that sense, God is closer to the cosmos than it is to itself—closer than its very own existence is, for God gives the cosmos existence, moment by moment.   ewtn.com, Mark Brumley

We, today, think to ourselves, “how could they not understand that God is Father?” But when Jesus used the term Father, it wasn’t meant to be just a picture of how God is, it’s meant to be a statement about who God is.  When put in that context, we sometimes can mentally and intellectually understand the concept of God as Father because we think, “God is like a father”.  In reality, God is our Father, and my Father.  He is not the Creator, but my Creator!  And if that is true, then God is in me as immanence defines it because I am one of his works! One of his masterpieces!  And so are you!  When we can begin to accept this, we are acting in faith.  We are becoming aware of God’s true desire to be our Father.

Now the reason this is so important is because when we realize how much a part of God we are, and how intimate He is with us, the potential of creation explodes, just as it did “in the beginning!”

If God can create such beauty in space and on earth, he is more than capable of creating something vast and wonderful and beyond imagination through me and through you!

God called light from darkness.

God can call light from us!

God called day from night.

God can call a new day in us!

God called creatures into being.

He can call creations from us!

God called what he made ‘good’.

God calls us ‘good’ for we are who he has made!

Do you follow God’s example and call yourself ‘good’?

Or do you call everything else God made ‘good’, but when it comes to you, you think, ‘bad’?

If so, you are not respecting creation and the Creator! You are part of creation just as anything or anyone else is, and when you don’t get a different perspective and see yourself as a masterpiece of the Creator, you are not really a lover of creation in its entirety.

God deserves more! God deserves your praise and respect for the person he has made you to be.  It’s what you are destined to give, and it’s your privilege to give it.  When you begin to see yourself in this light, then anything in the earth and universe are not beyond you because they are not beyond God!

And you will not be given the credit for that potential or its outcome because the bigness of what God does through you will make it obvious that it is through God, not you! That is the point of bigness!  It directs the world’s attention to the one working in you and not to yourself.

But, you argue, “How can I be considered a masterpiece of God when I make so many mistakes and I do things that are so unlike or against God? If people look at my life, they won’t see masterpiece, they will see Master Disaster!”  That might be the case, except for one person.  Jesus.

Jesus came to make us all masterpieces! He was truly the masterpiece of God!  Not that He was created—that would make him not God.  But he was a masterpiece in following God, as the Firstborn of Creation.  When Jesus is called the Firstborn of Creation, it’s a term that means he existed before creation and in fact produced creation.  And when we read about what each person of the Godhead does as the unity that is God, we see that Jesus is the actual creator of everything.  He is the one through whom God created all things.

Col 1:15-17 describes Jesus like this:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.

17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. NASU

So when this person who was actually God and the one through whom everything was created gives his life for yours as a substitute for all your mistakes, you can believe that God no longer sees you as a person who fails. Instead, he sees you as a person covered and made perfect by His Son.  God creates a new you!  And you and Jesus together, carry out God’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So you see, when you let Jesus’s life be a substitute for yours, his light and creativity now shine through you!

2 Cor 4:7 explains it this way:

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, [our bodies] so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; NASU

2 Cor 4:6-7 in the New Living Translation makes it even clearer:

6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. NLT

The brokenness of the vessel only makes God’s light shine brighter! So should we be more broken, so more light comes through?

No! Instead of concentrating on breaking the vessel more, and putting more holes in, we instead focus on being better light bearers.  We bring more light into our lives, not more brokenness.  The brokenness takes care of itself!  It will happen.  But the light is up to us.  The closer we are to God, the more light we have.

1 John 1:7 tells us:

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. NLT

So all of this is to say that just as the earth was without form and void and God spoke light and life into that void, now we, through the creative work of Jesus Christ have become full of light and life and bear fruit as we listen to God’s voice in our own darkness.

God can create big things through you! You are one of his creations, and through the masterful work of Jesus Christ, we are transformed into light bearing vessels that bring light to the darkest places in the world.

What I concluded from my trip back to Dillon, as I walked those familiar streets, was that I had a new reality in my life.  My greatest accomplishments and masterpieces were walking right beside me! They were my wonderful husband of 25 years, my daughter, Raquel, and my son, Russell.  I thought I wouldn’t attain to anything greater than being like the people across the street, but God created an amazing family with me!

Remember the Jossy Chacko story?  Here is what he writes in his book, Madness, as a testament against what his teacher had prophesied: “How wrong she was. The Bible says that God has a plan and purpose for each one of us.  It’s not the words of a teacher or anyone else that creates your future, but what God does.”

From the Global Leadership Notebook of 2016, here is the description of Pastor Chacko: Jossy Chacko leads a global ministry that exists to ignite holistic community transformation among the unreached and needy people of Asia. With a goal to see 100,000 communities transformed by 2030 through the planting of churches, they are on track, averaging 11 church plants per day during 2015.  Providing leadership to a team of more than 6,500 in seven countries, Jossy uses his gifts as a communicator to challenge business and spiritual leaders to capture a larger, God-size vision.  Jossy Chacko wrote of his experiences in a book called Madness! A Story of Transformation, Miracles, and the Leadership That Inspires It.

Remember my abbreviation of delusions of grandeur?  D.O.G. can now have a new diagnosis when God is involved! Now D.O.G. can stand for Design of God; the definition is rewritten to state:

“A design of God is the fixed and true belief that, because of God’s great grace, one can possess superior gifts such as fame, wealth, or power for serving others.  It is a symptom of faith in God but can also be a symptom found in conviction of calling, and a transformed life that renews the mind.  People with a design of God often have the unbelievable blessing of a recognized talent or insight.  They may also believe they have made an important discovery of God’s work in their lives that they want others to understand and appreciate.”

With this new diagnosis, dreams that are far beyond our own abilities are now within reach because of God’s abilities in us!  In fact, I came across an article that named 25 of the most heroic dogs honored for their ability to protect the lives they love.  How fitting that the word dog also blends so perfectly with D.O.G. meaning design of God!  Dogs, I believe, have been designed to help and save us in so many situations:

Brutis: A Golden Retriever, who,  in 2004, snatched a coral snake as it slithered toward a child he loved.

Zoey: A 5-pound Chihuahua female, who, in 2007,  rescued a 1 year-old from being bitten by a 3 foot rattler in Colorado.

Katrina: a Black Lab that rescued a drowning man during hurricane Katrina, and then was rescued herself.

Shana: A wolf mix who saved her owners from dying in a snowstorm by finding them in the yard, digging a tunnel through the snow, and then dragging them by the feet back to their house.

Maya: a Pit Bull, who, in 2008, saved her owner from a vicious male attacker.

Moti: A German Shepherd, who, in 2007, took a bullet from a masked intruder and made him run away, keeping the family safe from harm.

Honey: A 5 month-old English Cocker, who, in 2006, ran for help and led rescuers to her owner after a crash that turned their SUV upside down in a ditch, trapping the owner inside.

Napolean: An English Bulldog who rescued 6 kittens from a lake where they had been thrown inside a burlap bag.

Eve: A female Rottweiler who pulled her paraplegic owner out of her burning truck right before it exploded after a crash.*

*[http://www.dogguide.net/25-hero-dogs.php]  The Dog Guide: 25 Heroic Dogs and How They Saved People.

D.O.G.  has been redefined!  Delusions of grandeur refer to the human side of us, and to a mentally ill person with unrealistic dreams about themselves.  But with a diagnosis of design of God, everything can be reevaluated.  The family I have from God is a D.O.G.  A design of God for my life.  The ministry that Jossy Chacko dreamed of was a D.O.G. A design of God for India.  The dogs who saved all those lives were D.O.G.’s! A design of God to offer us not only companionship, but to literally save the lives with whom they were bonded.

A design of God can accomplish amazing things! Turn your delusions of grandeur into designs of God by giving your entire heart, everything you have, and all your dreams to your Creator!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/twuLr5rQmp0  Newsboys: He Reigns

Mark 14:36

36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”   NASU

Gal 4:6

6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ” Abba! Father!”   NASU

Rom 8:15

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  NASU

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *