Just the Facts, Ma'am

-- (Fish Called Wanda analogy)

"Don't call me stupid."
"Oh no, calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.  
You're an idiot; you're an ape."
"Ape's don't read philosophy."
"Yes they do, Otto; they just don't understand it."

Otto spent all his time misunderstanding Nietche when he should 
have been exercising common sense and checking his appointment 
book to see if he was going to be late or on time.  The KISS 
method.  Keep It Simple Stupid.

So often we spend our time trying to pry out all these mysteries 
and hidden secrets (this is what the Gnostics did) when there are 
plenty of plain facts lying right in front of us.

-- Is there any Biblical precedence for using the KISS method?...

Ps. 131:1 My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; 
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too 
wonderful for me.   2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like 
a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul 
within me.
(Relationship stressed far above secret knowledge.)

Deut. 29:29   The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the 
things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we 
may follow all the words of this law.
 (If somebody tells you secret knowledge, ask how is this 
knowledge helping me to obey God; or is it helping me at all.)

-- Just the Facts, M'am.  Just the facts...

So this morning we are going to look at some things in the Bible 
and think about what they mean.  None of these things came in a 
dream or in a vision.  It's just stuff in the Bible.

I'm going to touch on a lot of things.  If I say something that just 
seems normal to you, let it go.  But I encourage you to write down 
and pray about the things I say that challenge you, because I bet 
those are the ones that God is wanting to change your mind about.  
We want our brain to conform to this book, not vice-versa.  You'll 
have to trust that I'm not wrenching these statements out of 
context.  If you're really bothered, look up the references.

1.  Sabbath -- Exodus 20: 8-11  "Remember the Sabbath day by 
keeping it holy.   9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,   
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it 
you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, 
nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the 
alien within your gates.   11 For in six days the LORD made the 
heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he 
rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the 
Sabbath day and made it holy. "
(A commandment that has not changed.  More prevalently 
commanded then tithing or fasting.  It's like tithing your time to 
the Lord.  It's meant to be an entire day; you can't do it in parts, 
just like you can't sleep in parts.  I can't do it on Sunday, because 
I work on Sunday.  Lay your clothes out in advance.  Prepare your 
meals in advance (or eat out).  Don't get legalistic about it, but 
don't neglect it.  As with tithing (if you feel short on money -- 
tithe), so with the sabbath (if you feel short on free time -- take a 
sabbath).  If your job won't allow you a sabbath once a week, you 
are working too hard and you need to get a new job.  What about 
kids?  Do you think they had kids when Moses put down the ten 
commandments?  Yes?  How do you do it with kids?  Ask the 
Lord.  But it's haaard to take a day off.  Yea, so is tithing and so is 
fasting and so is not sinning.)

2.  Tongues -- 1Cor. 14:18   I thank God that I speak in tongues 
more than all of you. 
1Cor. 14:5a   I would like every one of you to speak in tongues...
-- Paul
(Half sayings are still true.  "Vanilla ice cream is good, but 
chocolate is better. "  Don't I still mean that vanilla is good?  Yes.)
(It doesn't mean tongues are the evidence of your having the holy 
spirit, all it means is that Paul wishes that all the Christians in 
Corinth spoke in tongues.  Do you speak in tongues.  Paul wishes 
that you did.  Would you like to?  Then pray to.)

3.  The Second Coming -- Matthew 24:35-36 Heaven and earth 
will pass away, but my words will never pass away.   36  "No one 
knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor 
the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 13:31-32 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words 
will never pass away.   32  "No one knows about that day or hour, 
not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 
-- Jesus
(No one knows when Jesus will return.  Two out of the three 
people of the Trinity, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, don't even know 
when it will be.  But you know because some 20th century man 
told you?  I don't think so.  I pray Jesus comes soon.  But as the 
millineum approaches, please remember these verses.

4.  Jesus' bodily resurrection -- 1Cor. 15:14   And if Christ has not 
been raised [from the dead], our preaching is useless and so is 
your faith.  
1Cor. 15:17   ...if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; 
you are still in your sins.
1Cor. 15:19   If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to 
be pitied more than all men. 
-- Paul
 (Jesus literally, physically, and historically rose from the dead.  
This historical fact is the cornerstone of Christianity.  We base our 
faith on an historical event.  God intersected human history, put 
on a body, and accomplished stuff.  New age people will tell you, 
"Just believing in the resurrection myth is enough.  The 
resurrection didn't really have to happen."  Paul says, "If the 
resurrection didn't literally happen, please pity me above all 

5.  The Gospels as history -- Luke 1:1   Many have undertaken to 
draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among 
us,   2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from 
the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.   3 
Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything 
from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly 
account for you, most excellent Theophilus,   4 so that you may 
know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
-- Luke
2Peter 2:16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we 
told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but 
we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.   17 For he received honor 
and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from 
the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him 
I am well pleased."   18 We ourselves heard this voice that came 
from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 
(Some may read the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life as a powerful 
story, but those who wrote it never meant it to be a story.  They 
were writing about what they had seen.  The Bible itself says so.  
It would be like reading a bicycle assembly manual as poetry.  
Yeah, you could do it; but on the front of the manual, it says -- 
"this is a bicycle assembly manual."  We'll get a lot more out of the 
Bible if we read it aright.  Some books are poetry, some books are 
apocalyptic literature; but some books are history.  By the way, 
Genesis is a history book, if you'll notice.)

6.   Life is hard --  John 16-33b In this world you will have 
trouble.  -- Jesus
1Pet. 4:12   Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial 
you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to 
1John 3:13   Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates 
(Basically, life on this earth is sometimes hard.  It may not be 
hard because of overt demonic activity, it may not be hard as a 
result of your sin/ lack of faith/ immaturity/ etc.  Sometimes life 
is just hard.)

7.  Heaven is real and coming soon, and it's going to be good -- 
Luke 23:42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come 
into your kingdom. "   43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the 
truth, today you will be with me in paradise." 
Rev. 21:1   Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first 
heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no 
longer any sea.   2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming 
down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully 
dressed for her husband.   3 And I heard a loud voice from the 
throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will 
live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be 
with them and be their God.   4 He will wipe every tear from their 
eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, 
for the old order of things has passed away."   5 He who was 
seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he 
said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
(God said it's going to happen.  We don't know when, just like we 
don't know when a hurricane is going to happen.  But if you live in 
Mobile long enough, it's going to happen.  And it's going to be 
good.  I get discouraged imagining clouds and cherubs.  People tell 
me heaven will be beyond the best I can imagine, so I used to not 
imagine anything.  Now I imagine specifically the best things I can 
imagine, and it gets me glad because I know heaven will be even 
better.  The Lord has encouraged me to hope high, because I won't 
be disappointed.  If these aren't your best things, don't worry; it 
will be different for you.  
	Entire planets to hike, not just North Carolina.  Entire 
computer systems to hack, develop, figure out.  The learning will 
never cease.  The song that you can hear in your head but can't 
play quite right; there you can play it.  Friends.  Parties in a high 
mountain cabin with great instrumental guitar music playing and 
stimulating conversation and good food and wine (without the 
fear of getting drunk); and afterwards gathering around on the 
front porch with instruments and singing worship songs as the 
sun lenghthens shadows across the near ridge.  And there is no 
fear of lusting, or overeating, or any sin.  You can do what you 
want and you know it's got God's 100% approval, because you're 
in heaven where there is no sin.  Dreams deferred will be realized.  
I never broke 5:20 in the mile.  Now I can shoot for sub-1:00 in 
the flying mile.  I can work at it for 20 years, or 100 years, or 
1,000 years, or ...
	And best of all Jesus will be there.  We won't have to 
wonder what he thinks, or what he would say, or what he would 
do.  He'll think it and say it and do it.  And we can hang out with 
him -- lover, brother, friend.  And the Father will hold us.  And 
any love we were ever denied, and any tenderness that 
overlooked us here on earth, and any wrong ever done to us -- it 
will all be made right.  It will be more that made up for.  And 
those that were double-minded will be clear-minded and genius.  
And those that were abandoned will belong.  And those that never 
fit in will be the life of the party and the center of attention.  A 
home; a family; a party; a celebration forever.  And sweet rest, 
because Jesus will always bear all our burdens; even the ones we 
can't quite bring ourselves to let him bear while we're down 
This is what awaits us.  It's real, and it's coming very soon.  Best of 
all, it lasts forever. so take courage.  Let's be bold to let others in 
on this wonderful home that awaits us.  They will be glad we did.  
And don't be ashamed to hope in heaven.  Paul encourages us to 
hope in heaven when things down here get tough.  It's like 
working for the weekend, or running for the cold drink that you 
know will be waiting at the finish line.  Don't put heaven out of 
your mind.  But call it up to your mind frequently.

Hebr. 12:1   Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great 
cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and 
the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance 
the race marked out for us.   2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the 
author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right 
hand of the throne of God.   3 Consider him who endured such 
opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and 
lose heart.

Ministry for which of the seven.