series: Red Letter City
title: The Beatitudes (overview)
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: April 10, 2016
scriptures: 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Luke 6:40, Matthew 5:1-12
Last week our family went on vacation.
It was the kids spring break, and Dawn’s mom blessed us with an awesome place to stay in Orlando. It was a really great time. so we were gone for a little over a week, and even in that small window of time… in fact, only two short days into the trip, one family in our church had a baby… they welcomed new life into this world that they get to be stewards of now. A crying bundle of joy, we got to go and visit them as soon as we got back and it was just so good to see this child born, healthy. The mom doing great. A beautiful child.
And they rejoiced, and we rejoice with them because Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice. But then right after that, it says to mourn with those who mourn.
and only a day later, while we were still gone in Florida and completely disconnected from what was happening here, another family in our church faced a tragedy.
and I received the message of this news, and man, it crushed me. Because people matter… every one of you matter, and even if Paul hadn’t said to mourn with those who mourn I believe that i would still mourn. Because even though my life is so full of imperfections, Christ is working on my heart every day and making him more and more like him… and he hurts for people… and in those moments a mourning position becomes the only sensible one.
When you live elbow to elbow with people that you come to love and then something happens in their life that only happens because we live in a world that is just so broken… man, all you can do is mourn.
You have to understand that this message is about a Kingdom.
Because this Kingdom of heaven that is here on earth is standing opposite to the earthly kingdom that we live in. And the earthly one is completely broken. and how our Kingdom engages that one will determine the fate of our city. Peoples souls are at fate. Peoples eternities are depending on us to learn how to love them in a way that shows them Jesus.
Detroit’s future depends on the Red Letter City.
It depends on us bringing heaven to earth, because everything in this kingdom is so fickle. It is fleeting… it is changing.
Things for both families were one way, and then you blink, and it all changed.
Things change in this kingdom.
But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
and when tragedy hits it makes you evaluate your life. The way you are raising your family. The way you treat your spouse, and your friends, and those who God puts in your path.
Even when I look at my life… it seems like it is just flying by. We have been pastors here almost a whole year… May 1 will make a year. That is crazy. I met Dawn ten years ago this June, and the last ten years have just flown by.
I blinked, and I have three kids, and have lived in Lansing, Los Angeles, three of the five New York burroughs and now Detroit. and I want to make every moment count… so that every person that I come in contact with on that journey comes in contact with Jesus… because He is in me and that should be obvious.
Something else happened the week I was gone that really made me wonder about those things…
it made me wonder, “does my life look like Jesus? Am I shining the light of Jesus everywhere I go? And made me seek Jesus’ face in prayer because man, I want to raise my family in a way that ushers in the Kingdom of heaven. I want my home to be a haven for my children as much as anyone else who enters it… that they look to our family and they see Jesus. I want to be an example like so many others have set for me.
There is a family I grew up with. A great family. Several members of this family are very close friends of Dawn and I. In the first two days that we were gone on our vacation, their grandmother passed away. She lived in Lansing so all of their family who live all over the country now, from Wisconsin to Philadelphia, all regrouped here in Michigan… for a funeral. and one of them posted a picture of her grandfather… the man who had just lost his wife, and he is sitting around a table surrounded by all of his children. And he is kind of smiling in this picture, and moving his arms in a way that it is obvious he is teaching his adult children, even in that moment. And all of their heads are facing him and their eyes are locked on him.
and I couldn’t help but wonder as I starred at this picture… “What is he teaching them in that moment?” that would cause them to look with such anticipation for what he was sharing, in the midst of such a brokenness and void that they all had to of been feeling…
and then I wondered, how did he and his wife manage to raise that many kids up in such a way that they still hung on every word that he says?
When everything about our world is despair and pain and disappointment how did this family turn out ok?
How is it that some people can rejoice even when they mourn?
How is it that in the middle of loss, people can come together and somehow, in some amazing way, they can do something collectively that just feels like Jesus. Thats just this beautiful reflection of what he is like.
Like he is there. and everything that is supposed to be wrong, is going to turn out ok.
its almost as if they have learned a secret. and I am not sure if I have learned it myself yet or not, but if I had to guess as to what it is, it would be this.
That Jesus lives in the broken places of our hearts.
That he came to call the sinner… the broken one.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor… but those who are sick.”
But what if the secret is just realizing, “We are all sick.”
Some of us just don’t know it yet.