Sunday June 7 – Trinity Sunday
Sermon Series: Spirit of Truth and the God-shaped Brain
Church seasons and the focus of study
- Advent – we study the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ
- Christmas – the events of Christ’s birth
- Epiphany – the life of Jesus; miracles
- Lent – the teachings of Jesus; call to discipleship
- Holy Week – the sufferings of Christ; atonement
- Easter – the resurrection appearances
- Pentecost – the Holy Spirit living in believers
- Sanctification and the witness of the Church in the World
Sunday June7 – Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost and celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Holy Holy Holy #2
The Churches One Foundation #668
Last Sunday we began a series on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth and the God-Shaped brain.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
The God-shaped brain
Dr Timothy Jennings, a research doctor in brain neuroscience wondered how beliefs about God affect ones mental and emotional health. He cites many examples of people whose belief impacted their health. His research has led him to study underlying causes of ill health that is often located in one’s beliefs about God which affects what they believe about themselves and others, thereby impacting their mental and emotional health which affects their relationships as well. What you believe about God actually, changes your brain. Brain research in neuroscience has found that our thoughts and beliefs affect our physical, mental and spiritual health. Mind and body are interrelated, and we are designed for healthy relationships of love and trust. When we understand God as good and loving, we flourish. If we embrace a “love-based God concept,” we will have a healthier mind. If we embrace a “fear-based God concept,” our actions become selfish, and the brain is actually damaged. The picture you hold of God affects your mental and physical heath as well as it affects your relationships and emotional life. If you hold a distorted belief about God, it damages your brain and its ability to think truthfully about life which then causes damage to yourself and relationships.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of ALL TRUTH. Distortion of truth impacts our knowledge of God as well as the world we then create.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans 1:18-19, 21-22
[unbelievers] suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them…For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
Truth counters false ideas and distorted perspectives of beliefs. Truth can bring healing and wholeness.
Dr Jennings advocates an integrated evidence-based approach to discovering truth. Such an approach seeks to integrate three important threads or ways of discovering what is true.
- Science and nature
- Experience; ours and others
When we separate the 3 threads of discovery, we get into trouble
- Science by itself leads to human pride, arrogance, folly … godlessness
- Experience by itself leads to mysticism, irrationalism
- Scripture by itself leads to confusion
The Spirit leads us into ALL truth. A right relationship with God is just the start. God is also concerned about a right healthy relationship with others as well as with yourself.
For example: Science shows that exercise can improve your brain.
You may exercise to grow big biceps or lose belly fat, but the biggest benefit of exercise may be the unseen gains in your brain. In the past two decades, research has found that exercise greatly benefits the brain. Exercise can decrease stress, anxiety and depression. Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2016, a meta-analysis found that exercise is an effective treatment for depression—comparable to psychotherapy and antidepressants—and can increase energy, focus and attention. Research has also found that exercise improves memory and cognition while helping to fight neurological conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study, which was published in 2019 in Scientific Report, tied the results of a walking test to better cognition…Stella Martin, a researcher at Germany’s University of Münster and one of the authors of the study, says that researchers were surprised that physical fitness made such a big difference in the brain function of younger people. “It seems that even in good health, fitness and exercise make an important difference.”
Another example from Breakpoint 6/5/2020
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts warned of its impact on people with mental illnesses. For those with mood disorders, the pandemic packed a “one-two” punch: the depression and anxiety caused by the fear of contracting the coronavirus itself, and the depression and anxiety accelerated by measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Even the wide use of the term “social distancing” instead of the more accurate “physical distancing” communicated isolation and the loneliness. Add to all that canceled appointments with psychiatrists and therapists, and we should expect a steep decline in mental health. Which is exactly what happened. “The rate of anxiety and depression were highest among young adults, women, and the poor.” The Washington Post said, “the results reflect a deepening of existing trends,” such as “rising depression, stress, and suicide,” especially among young adults. What we do know is that COVID-19 is attacking a nation already emotionally and mentally fragile. This fragility is, as we often say of other things, downstream from the rest of culture. Some of what makes people depressed and anxious is biology, but much of it has to do with how we are made to live. Societies like ours are, by most accounts, loneliness-producing machines. Our deeply-rooted sense of individualism is only made worse by our growing preference for virtual relationships instead of face-to-face ones. Add that to the fact that, for many, upward economic mobility requires severing ties to those people and communities that gave us a sense of belonging, purpose, and security. On average, the number of close friends Americans have, “confidants with whom (to) discuss important matters,” went from about three in 1985 to about one in 2006. It’s difficult to guess what that number might be at the beginning of 2020. With social isolation and, as the Journal put it, “decreased access to community and religious support,” the phrase “perfect storm” is less a cliché, and more a reality. This is part of the plague that Christians, of all people, should be running into. Reaching out to the hurting among us doesn’t require state permission, and we do have the means to keep physical distancing from becoming social isolation. Part of this includes educating ourselves about signs of depression, and steps to take to help those struggling. There’s no shortage of educational resources online. And, not only can we pray for those people that are hurting, we can tell them we are praying for them. To be sure, this pandemic will pass. When it does and we begin to again move about the country, it will be easy to forget the hurting and the lonely. We must not.
Another Example of the Spirit leading us into truth …. One in Christ
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken… 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” …
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Organizing for equality between Greeks and Hebrews. In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together… 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
Oneness between Jews and Samaritans. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria…. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
Romans are not “unclean”. At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly…15 The voice spoke to [Peter] …“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” …23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Redemptive power of the HS
One family of faith
We can enact policies and provide training to curb some of the worst effects of the sin and curse of racism …. But it is the heart that needs to change. Reparations will not heal the wound.
Class distinction, affluence and poverty, owners and slaves, hatred and prejudice and bigotry is a rotten core in the center of every civilization – it is in the heart of humankind.
Cain vs Abel
Jews vs Arabs
Europeans vs native Americans
Japanese vs Korea and China
Todays – Human trafficking …. More slavery in world than in the 1800s
In recent weeks the Black vs white racism has been thrust back into the headlines.
Laws and legislation alone will not curb the power of sins curse. Laws may keep in check certain features of the sin but it will break out unless the sin is cured by the power of the HS.
Dr Jennings believes science has correctly identified an instinct called the “survival of the fittest”. But science has also mis-diagnosed it as normal. Scripture says it is a function of the Fall where we now think of self and the need to survive – even if it means taking another’s life in order to survive. This principle of self first is seen everywhere …. People seeking to dominate others … silencing others who disagree.
But the scripture tells us the Holy Spirit is working in us to establish another version of truth – another narrative or world-view than self first.
And this too is seen by many examples of people who live by serving others in the power of the Holy Spirit – love even to enemies.
In Acts – Peters vision of unclean animals …. All are equally invited to the family
James – no distinction of class, rich and poor are brothers
Corinthians love feast … not to be a display of your affluence
Philemon – treat slave as a brother in Christ
To slaves treat masters as you would treat Christ – give honor and respect and good work
The Holy Spirit is working to help us to not think of ourselves first. Philippians 2:1-6
Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Privileges and advantage. We need to use our gifts abilities and talents for the good of others.
- Male privilege ….. female privilege
- Wealthy, good looking, as well as poor and disabled
- White, black, Asian, Hispanic, etc
We need the Holy Spirit to help us to listen – really listen to others; their needs, pain, and dreams.
We are not to just think with our emotions but to think with all our faculties and all areas of truth.
One problem in our world that hinders our understanding of truth is Emotional Reasoning.
Emotional reasoning is not fully factual … it is thinking it must be real because I feel this way or I feel it is
- A cognitive process by which a person concludes that his/her emotional reaction proves something is true, regardless of the observed evidence.
- Examples of emotional reasoning include: “I feel guilty, therefore I must have done something bad”; “I feel overwhelmed and hopeless, therefore my problems must be impossible to solve”; “I feel inadequate, therefore I must be a worthless person”; “I’m not in the mood to do anything, therefore I might as well just lie in bed”; or “I’m furious with you, this proves that you’ve been acting badly and trying to take advantage of me.”
- Emotional Thinking refers to a generalized inability to distinguish emotions and thoughts. For some, strong emotions tend to interfere with balanced and realistic thought processes and can result in distorted views of situations and relationships.
- Research has suggested that when we are very emotional, our critical thinking abilities decrease dramatically. … If athletes do not control their emotions, there are serious consequences. The more emotional they get, their ability to think critically decreases and they lose focus.
- To “emotionally reason” is to take your emotions as evidence for the truth. Your logic: “I feel like an idiot, therefore I am an idiot”
What we experience and see is not the same as having the whole truth. ER says that what you see of experience is the whole truth and what you see has given you all the facts. This kind of reasoning is misleading because your feelings reflect your thoughts and beliefs. If they are distorted — as is quite often the case — your emotions will have no validity.
Emotional reasoning plays a role in almost all depressions. Because things feel so negative to a depressed person, such a person assumes they truly are. It doesn’t occur to them to challenge the validity of the perception that creates their feelings.
One common side effect of emotional reasoning is procrastination. So, a desk-bound clerk avoids cleaning up his desk because he tells himself, “I feel so lousy when I think about that messy desk, cleaning it will be impossible.” Six months later he finally gives himself a little push and does it. It turns out to be quite gratifying and not so tough at all. He was fooling himself all along because he had adopted the habit of letting his negative feelings guide the way he acted.
ER plays a role in almost all fights between people as well acting out.
At times the church has been negligent in walking in the fullness of the Spirits truth and not seeking all truth.
- Isolating from the world and needs of others
- Family only orientation – putting family above community
- Not running to care for the needs of others
- Silence in the face of injustice
4 June 2020, Board of Church of the Nazarene General Superintendents: Dear Friends,
The last few days have been exceedingly difficult for the global family. For months now, the world has encountered the deadly effects of the coronavirus, which has affected our societies, our churches, and our families. Yet, this week, the news of an older virus that continues to affect many segments of our society—and even our churches—has added to the world’s grief. The virus of ethnocentrism, expressed in explicit and/or veiled racism, has struck again the core of our society; we are now witnessing the many ways in which people respond and react to such a rampant disease. People are in the streets calling for justice and a human cure to this endemic sin of the heart manifested in violence, political division, and great suffering.
With so much bad news, what does it mean to be a people of hope? More specifically, what is Christian hope and how does it change our perspective? Two fundamental aspects of Christian hope are absolutely linked together.
Christian hope is based in a Person. Hope is not the power of positive thinking. It is not based on circumstances, either good or bad. It is not new and better ideas, utopian philosophies, or reformed politics. It is objectively focused in the person of Jesus Christ who has been revealed to us as “the grace of God,” “the salvation of all people” and our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:11-13). Hope in anything else will not give us what we are looking for. Jesus is the only One who can satisfy the deep hunger of our hearts and the pain of our world. A deep embracing of Jesus’ life, teachings, and sacrifice will give the world the true sense of peace, justice, and harmony that brings about hope.
Christian hope looks forward to a promised future. Our hope in Jesus Christ is the hope that there is coming a day when God will make all things that are wrong in the world right again. Our hope is that God will remake the world the way He intends it to be. Our hope is that we will live a resurrected life with Jesus and with all the family of God, from all races, cultures, and times. Christian hope looks forward to a better future. That hope changes us. Looking forward in hope changes our behavior. Suddenly we find ourselves acting very differently and thinking very differently. “It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions” (Titus 2:12). The old way of life does not have the same pull on us that it used to. Looking forward in hope changes our purpose. Our priorities change. Our passions are redirected. “It teaches us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12).
We begin to live today as though God’s promised future were already at hand. Looking forward with hope means we see God’s vision of a world with no more injustice, no more violence, no more poverty, no more prejudice. Because that is a picture of what our future hope looks like—as citizens of the kingdom of heaven and people who believe that God always keeps His promises—we start working toward that vision right now, here on earth. We begin to long for, and pray for, and work for a time where there is justice and peace; where hungry people can eat and where diseased people can be made well; where holy love enables us to live together joyfully even in our great diversity. We begin to live toward the time where there is no hatred, prejudice, unjust systems, or racism. We live today the way God wants His world to be tomorrow.
Hope demands we do more than speak a good word—it is a call to act on behalf of God’s preferred and coming future. Because of our deep sorrow for the way things are, and our profound hope in God’s faithfulness to bring about a more just and loving world, the Board of General Superintendents calls the global Nazarene family to a Day of Prayer and Fasting on Sunday, June 7, 2020 (also known as Trinity Sunday). The prophet Joel declares, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly” (Joel 2:15-16). We ask our district superintendents and pastors to lead our churches in prayer for the healing of the world according to God’s vision for reconciliation, justice, unity, and holy love. In the case of the current news in the United States, we are moved by the responses of pastors and district superintendents who are calling their congregations to address these issues in their communities. We join with the prayer that one of our USA district superintendents wrote from the depths of his heart. God’s promised future gives us the courage to risk much more than we could dare without it. “All things becoming new” is the future hope of God’s tomorrow and gives us.
Songs from Carol:
Rise Up, O Men of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pcj6hR87NY
Build Your Kingdom Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9USwkHHzZY
Chris Tomlin – All To Us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riWye9M0L4E
The Family of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj97unXda6c
The Family of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRztHse0cPk
The Mind of Christ, Jody Mcbrayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KO2faof_aY&t=170s
To receive when others reject, to treat each one with true respect,
To shield when others throw stones, to be with one who’s all alone,
To think and choose to see the very best,
To live like this is nothing less than to possess
The mind of Christ, my highest goal
The Lords delight, the desire of my soul
The Fathers heart will always guide my life
If I will have in me the mind of Christ
To build up when others tear down, to seek the lost until they’re found,
To give grace where it’s needed most, rejecting pride when others boast,
To sacrifice my all without regret,
To live like this is nothing less than to possess.
Oh, I Want To Know You More, Steve Green https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM5ZUIUZCow
Just the time I feel That I’ve been caught In the mire of self.
Just the time I feel My mind’s been bought By worldly wealth.
That’s when the breeze begins To blow I know, The Spirit’s call
And all my worldly wanderings Just melt into His love.
Oh, I want to know You more! Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You. To feel Your heart and know Your mind,
Looking in Your eyes stirs up within me, Cries that says I want to know You
Oh, I want to know You more. Oh, I want to know You more.
When my daily deeds Ordinarily lose life and song,
My heart begins to bleed, Sensitivity to Him is gone.
I’ve run the race but set my own pace And face a shattered soul,
But [And] the gentle arms of Jesus Warm my hungering (omit ‘ring’) to be whole.
Oh, I want to know You more! Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You.
And I would give my final breath To know You in Your death and resurrection,
Oh, I want to know You more Oh, I want to know You more Oh, I want to know You more