The truth is…there is no real life until your light shines into some darkness!
Mommy can we go find some darkness so I can shine my light” A little girl was with her mom in Wal-mart she was playing with a little flashlight that she loved, but the Wal-mart lights were so bright that she could no longer see her light. The little girl cried out to her mom…”
You see once you have tasted of the Kingdom of God, there simply is nothing else that compares.
I talked the Pediatrician who heads the camp in the Ukraine, she told me that the kids are so overjoyed with the camp experience that many have to be sedated to go back home!
How powerful is the Kingdom experience?
That is the Kingdom of God overpowering the Broken Place of Loneliness and Isolation!
”Today I am your family And for that woman who fainted a few weeks ago and had no family to call…it was a caregiver in this Community who grabbed her hand and said to her… “
It is a poor woman downtown who has no car but found love in a Korean church that she can walk to. She can’t understand anything that is said but she says they love her and she just knows that several times during the service she will hear the name ofJesus and that is enough for her.
Orphanage boys- having their hands washed for the first time and unable to stop giggling because for many of them it is the only times there hands have actually been touched or held.
It looks like Disabled kids in the Ukraine locked up for months at a time being taken to summer camp, being hugged cared for a listened to by the hands of Jesus
I can’t describe it fully in words but I can give you pictures of what it looks like when it is happening…
And When a lonely or Isolated person is invested in and loved the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth!
When a person if physically or Spiritually healed the Kingdom of God overpowers the Kingdom of Satan
When a person in imprisoned by a system of Injustice is set free light penetrates and overcomes Darkness
When a broken Human being is reconciled to His/Her creator, at that very moment the Kingdom of God penetrated the Kingdom of Darkness.
When we live the lives we are called to live and we move into any of these Broken places, please, please don’t think of it as a Service project, or a short term Mission’s trip, when you give money don’t think of it as charity…picture it as it really is, picture it as the Kingdom of God piercing and overcoming the Kingdom of Satan!
It is at the TIP of where the Kingdom of God penetrates any of the Broken places that we find meaning, purpose and REAL life!
You WANT to go to these Broken places with us.
You NEED to go to these Broken Places with us!
experience it.should experience as we can WE will not experience LIFE as we
to liveempowered and
to live sent
to live, Created
We are Disciples of Jesus and until we live the lives that we are…
But don’t miss this beautiful truth…in going to these Broken places we are actually fed ourselves, in entering into these Broken places we find real LIFE!
We are going to the Broken places because we are commanded to by Jesus.
and with all our hearts we believe that doing the will of Him who has sent US is LIFE to us!
Going to the Broken places…Doing God’s will, it was LIFE to Jesus!
Bringing the Kingdom of God to that Isolated woman at the well, “fed” Jesus!
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
The disciples had gone to get food and offer some to Jesus. Jesus turns the food down saying that he had food the disciples did not know about…they are confused and question Jesus about this food and Jesus says to them…
The key is at the very end of the interaction with the woman at the well…
We already agreed it will be unnatural, it will be uncomfortable and it will be costly… so WHY should you walk away from this series committed and compelled to come with us into these Broken places?
WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO with us TO THESE BROKEN PLACES ?
This church is going into those Broken places, and if you just want to stay in the Bleachers, if you just want to stay warm, comfortable and self- focused. Then this church is going to get real uncomfortable for you…or at least we hope it will.
And in the mean time people are dying! Figuratively and literally.
ourselves.into pouring more and more
ourselves, to doing more and more stuff
ourselves, for buying more and more
Instead of giving our lives to bring the Kingdom we are giving it to fantasy football teams or endless wardrobe changes…
Have taken our salvation and then taken a seat…riding the clock out waiting for Heaven.
But too many of us, too many Christians…
Yes, Jesus saved us to assure that we would spend eternity in Heaven, but Jesus also saved us to send us to bring the Kingdom of God into these Broken Places.
That is a strong statement, but the purpose of this series on the “Broken places” is to make very clear where we are headed as a Church.
” if you are not ready to repent and leave racism and hatred behind, please do not associate yourselves with the name of Jesus Christ please do not associate your name with this church” Last week Dave made a strong statement in terms of Racism and Hatred. He said
But that is where this church is going…
Anybody think this is going to come without cost?
Anybody think this is going to come naturally?
Anybody think this is going to be easy?
- We as Followers of Christ have the Blessing of experiencing a healing, loving relationship with Jesus Christ
- and we as followers of Christ (As Grace Community church) have the blessing of and exist for the purpose of Bringing healing, loving relationships to the Broken place of Loneliness and Isolation.
Jesus brought hope and healing into a world broken plagued by loneliness and hurting relationships and Isolation.
To those alone and isolated because they are unwanted or unloved…we, the people of Grace Community Church in the name of Jesus Christ, and by the Power of the Holy Spirit will “LOVE them as we love ourselves!”…Gal 5:14
To those alone and isolated by sickness, illness, disabilities we the people of Grace Community church will do our best to be the “Healing Touch of Jesus”…Luke 9:1
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ…Gal 6:22
To those ISOLATED by the brokenness of Life and with Heavy Burdens life can bring. We will…
” restore with a spirit of gentleness”…Gal 6:1
And when those destroyed by sin are ready to repent and return, We the People of Grace will
“Forgive one another” Ephesians 4:32
To those Isolated by sin we, Grace Community Church, will offer the forgiveness of Christ, because we are commanded to
“speak the Truth in Love”…Ephesians 4:15
To those lonely and Isolated by confusion, ignorance or even arrogance, we will speak truth because God tells us to
And “We”, Grace Community Church…WE are going to do just that!
AND WE ARE COMMANDED, URGED, CREATED, EMPOWERED AND SENT By Jesus…TO DO THE SAME!
Jesus went into the Broken Places because it was the reason that Jesus came…
To the sick, to the lost, to the captured, to the oppressed, and to the lonely Jesus came to announce that the Kingdom of God “was Near”, “The Kingdom had come to Earth”
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." 19
broken by sin, poverty or injustice, to those broken by loneliness and Isolation.“To set free those who are broken hearted or broken in pieces”, …literal translation- To set free those who are oppressed” And …”
”- That is all types of physical healingRecovery of Sight to the Blind “
”- Captives means those who are captured at Spear point- Captured by the lies of the world, by Spiritual oppression.“Proclaim release to the Captives
And what is the Good News?
Jesus was sent by God to Preach the Gospel…the “Good News”
"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED 18
Luke 4:18-21 (NASB)
Jesus stepped to the front of the Synagogue, selected a scroll and read it out loud and announced His purpose…
Because that is why Jesus CAME!, NOW LOOK with me at LUKE Chapter 4…
Why do we always see Jesus moving into these Broken places?WHY DID JESUS DO THIS?
.Into each case of loneliness and Isolation Jesus offered healing by offering Himself in some way and form
I can’t imagine what that touch must have done for that man.
him… and touchedJesus stretched out His hand 3
Matthew 8:3 (NASB)
Jesus could have healed him from a distance, He could have healed him with a command…but Jesus knew what the man needed so badly
How long had it been since he had been touched by another human being…5 years, 10 years?
We don’t know the details of this man’s story but he was very possibly a husband, maybe even a Father. A man who’s symptoms he wanted so badly to go away never did. A man who one awful day realized that his disease meant he would have to leave everyone he loved and live out his life untouched and unloved.
a Touch!Jesus offered To the Leper Isolated by his illness-
To this woman who had been Isolated by her sin for so long, Jesus gave FORGIVENESS.
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 48
The Bible tells us Jesus turned towards the woman, these next words were just for her…
Jesus knows her, he knows everything about her…
…”if you were really a prophet, you would know who stands before you!” She came to Jesus at Simon’s house. The religious one’s challenged Jesus-To the Woman Isolated by her sin
And just by speaking to her, just by engaging her, Jesus gives this Samaritan woman outcast DIGNITY!
Even she is shocked! And unless Jesus had some kind of a pocket ladle, he was going to drink from hers!
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" 8 9 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 7
John 4:7-9 (NIV)
- She was a woman, men did not speak to women, she was a Samaritan Woman, the Jews despised the Samaritans so a Jewish man would never speak to Samaritan women. she was an outcast Samaritan woman, A Jewish holy man would never speak to a Samaritan Woman who was outcast. But Jesus speaks to her… To the Woman at the well Isolated by life circumstances or poor choices
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 8
Luke 19:8 (NIV)
and sometimes just sharing a meal with someone changes the course of a life…it did with Zaccheus!shared a meal with Zaccheus… Jesus simply
“COME WITH ME!”and LET GO”… To the man captured and imprisoned by the things of the World Jesus offered true meaningful relationship…”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 21
Mark 10:21 (NIV)
an invitation…- Jesus gives To the Rich Young Ruler
… I came into the world, to testify to the truth"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this 37
John 18:37 (NIV)
…TRUTHlonely and isolated by a combination of confusion, arrogance and ignorance Jesus offered To Pilate
offered the Holy Spirit To Nicodemus lonely and isolated by empty religion Jesus
Jesus told Nicodemus there was another Kingdom and to experience that Kingdom Nicodemus needed to be “Born again” to be born of the Spirit.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 5
John 3:5 (NIV)
To Nicodemus, the Religious leader, Jesus said…
WELL….HOW DID JESUS RESPOND?
As proclaimed Followers of Jesus Christ, as the Church, What is our response to this Broken Place of Loneliness and Isolation?
The fact is that there are lonely, isolated, relationally starved people sitting all around you right now!
She attends here but when we asked who we could call, friends or family, she said there was no one to call, she is alone.Right here in this church-Woman fainted two weeks ago-
You think it is just out there? Outside the Body of Christ…it’s not like that in here right, not inside Christianity, not inside the Church!...
And you would NEVER guess it by looking at him. He has everything…or at least that is the way it looks on the outside, but inward he is dying alone and isolated.
I got a note from a man just a few weeks ago, he attends another church but is not really connected anywhere…it was gut wrenching telling me that he was so messed up that he did not know which end was up or down. He had no idea why he got up in the morning, he was self medicating to try and make it through the day.Man’s note-
It is not just other countries, it is not just the poor, it is our neighbors…
We don’t even get to tell a person about our Television problems anymore, we are serviced by telephone prompts, electronic voices and the worldwide web. I feel like I am nothing but a bunch of “login ins”, “passwords”, “cards” and and “key Fobs”… I am not an actual person I am one big Bar code, Nobody talks to me anymore they just SCAN me…
worse than that it feels like nobody even KNOWS us! It feels like nobody cares about us…
We run across lonely, relationship starved people EVERYDAY!
She got all welled up and thanked me for acknowledging her telling me how awful it feels having person after person pass by her as if she did not even exist.
I have made a commitment not to be on my cell phone when someone is waiting on me or serving me. One day as I was checking into the gym I got a phone call and I answered the call as I handed my card to the woman waiting to check me in at the counter. I checked in and walked away. I was convicted and walked back up the counter and apologized.Lifetime check in folks-
I don’t think so…
But maybe that is just the extremes and in other countries…or maybe it is just the poor…
I saw in her a sadness that far exceeded the sadness of the terminally ill. To be terminally lonely is even worse than being terminally ill.
Loneliness and Isolation looks like a woman in a poor part of Eastern Europe that I visited. She is about 25 years old and living alone, outcast by her family because she is mentally impaired. Not severely impaired, just enough that she is not totally self-sufficient so she has been put out and lives in a little one room building in the middle of nowhere with no one else in sight, no family, no friends.
It looks like that Haitian 17 year old, having to hold on to relationships that happened for 1 week, 11 years ago because current deep, caring loving relationships just aren’t available in his life.
What does loneliness, isolation look like today in our world?
Each person surrounded by people, each person a different affliction, some caused by poor decisions, some by confusion, some by arrogance, some by the difficulties of living in a Broken world, but ALL lonely, All isolated and all irresistibly drawn to Jesus Christ in hopes that HE had an answer for their loneliness.
Illness, disease, disability or just being different in appearance can lead to Loneliness and Isolation
He had the most dreaded disease of the time. It was incurable and believed to be incredibly infectious. Because of his disease he would have been forced to live outside the city and to announce his disease loudly to anyone who might approach him so they could avoid him.The Leper-
Sin leads to loneliness and Isolation
- she was a sinner, probably a prostitute and everyone knew it. She was not welcome in this Pharisees house, she was not welcome in any house…but she grabs the most valuable thing she has and proceeds through the whispers, through the stares, and through the hatred, she must have a moment with this Jesus.The Woman who annoints Jesus feet at Pharisee house
Life circumstances and poor choices can lead to loneliness and isolation
She came to the well at Noon under the full heat of the sun when she knew no one else would be there. She came alone because no one else would associate with her. She had had 5 husbands, had some of them died? Had some of them left her? Had she left them? We don’t know, we only know she is now husbandless in a culture that only values her as a wife and Mother and she now lives with a man who is not her husband and she was shunned and alone. Woman at the well-
LACK OF MEANING AND PURPOSE CAN CAUSE LONELINESS and ISOLATION
Zaccheaus was rich like the ruler, except that he was hated because he was a tax collector and any friends he had were friends because of his money. Zaccheus -
Arrogance, Ignorance or confusion can lead to loneliness and Isolation
“Are you a real King?…and what is truth?
A Roman, a man with power and authority serving a man-god. Pilate hated the jews and especially the worthless troublemaking Jewish peasants…yet he calls for one of those Jewish Peasants to ask some questions…Then there is Pontius Pilate-
Riches and comfort are not an escape from loneliness or Isolation
what am I still missing?”A man with a title, education and wealth, still he is lacking something…no one had to tell him he was lacking, he knows it because he FEELS it deep inside. With all his opportunity, with all of his options, with all of his “toys” he comes to Jesus and asks…”Rich Young Ruler –
Religion void of God can leave us feeling lonely and isolated.
A religious ruler who sought out Jesus in secret at night by a fire. With all of the religious piety around him, with all the study of the laws and the rules…He did not know God.Nicodemus -
Jesus life is a study in interaction with the LONELY and the ISOLATED, they were everywhere and seemed to be irresistibly drawn to Jesus.
Jesus lived, walked, taught in a world that suffered from the same Broken place of LONELINESS and ISOLATION and He had some really strong examples and teaching on what to do about it!
Because loneliness, lack of deep relationship, Isolation is one of the Broken places left by our rebellion against God, it is not a new or present day phenomenon.
The truth is that in a world full of Billions and Billions of people and more connectedness through technology than ever before, there are people all around us and all over the world lacking true community, and deep and trusted relationships to share the Joy of their lives in the good times…or to help them navigate and hold onto their lives in the bad times… and they feel lonely and isolated…
Thomas Merton.Loneliness is the first thing that God’s eye named “not good”-
Loneliness is an equal opportunity afflicter and Thomas Merton pointed out this truth…
It is so strange to be so universally known, and yet so lonely- Albert Einstein
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
― Maya Angelou (famous author and poet)
Naomi CampbellAnger is a manifestation of a deeper issue... and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness.
And just so we do not make the mistake of believing that loneliness is only in the poor, the sick, the weak…
and strikes at a much younger age…40 years ago the mean age of the first episode of depression was 30 years old…it is now 14!Depression is now 10 times more prevalent than it was in 1960
Today with expanded categories like Mental health counselors, marriage and family counselors and life coaches that number now exceeds 1,091,000
, this would include Mental health workers, clinical psychologists, social workers and therapists.In 1950 the USA had a combined 33,000 “paid confidants”
Loneliness is not just a problem, it is an epidemic…
“Across the Western world, physicians and nurses have begun to speak openly about an epidemic of loneliness.”
Look at this said statement from a Medical webpage…
separated from other persons or things; alone; solitary. Isolation-
Yep- This week is another downer topic, another hard truth about the broken world that we live in. But please remember with every one of these hard topics comes an opportunity…this topic does as well. I ask you to listen to the hard truth, but also to look for the place of HOPE and promise that God has for all of us in these Broken places.
This week we search the Broken place of LONELINESS or ISOLATION.
Week 4 Hatred in racism
Week 3 Broken Minds and Spirits
Week 2 Systems of injustice
Week 1 separation from God
week of our Series of looking at 6 Broken places in the world…broken because of man’s rebellion against God.th We are in the 5
someone. to something orfor The sad truth is that people all over the world are hurting and suffering silently and alone longing for relationship, meaningful relationship that will confirm they are known and that their life has meaning and purpose
At first I thought…how cool that was, but as I thought about it some more, I was not so sure it was so great. He was 6 years old when we met him, 11 years had gone by in a life that needed and should have had hundreds of different and meaningful relational experiences that should have made our relationship with him a fond but distant memory. Instead, 11 years later this young man was having to hold on to one week of his life, when he was 6 years old when someone actually engaged with him, when someone actually related to him, when someone actually cared he was alive.
Someone we know recently took a mission trip to Haiti, during that trip a 17 year old boy walked up to him with a picture of a team I had taken to Haiti 11 years earlier. There were at least 20 people on our team and that 17 year old went through the picture and named every person on that team.17 YR OLD HAITIAN-
Scripture comment- Luke Chapter 4
Door code:1475 being the heart and the touch of Jesus to the lonely.- OF be and the blessing TOthe Lack of meaningful, dependable, life affirming, life saving relationships- are an “effect” of our broken world. The Kingdom of God, the coming of Jesus gives us all the hope of experiencing the loving “heart” and the restoring “touch” of Jesus. And as His Disciples we have the mandate Big Idea: Loneliness-