Happy Friday High Places!
This Sunday we’re going to build up our diet strategies together as we examine Jesus’ fourth beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will have their fill.” Perhaps the reason that emptiness grips our culture today is that we simply don’t hunger and thirst for the right thing. Maybe the reason that many people journey through this life feeling unfulfilled is because the things culture has us chasing were never designed to fill us up to being with. Perhaps the unfilled yearning inside us is a clue that we need to adjust our diets! :)
While we are waiting on Sunday, consider some of the things Jesus didn’t say in this verse. He didn’t say “Blessed are the righteous, for they will be filled.” Jesus knows that righteousness isn’t a condition that human beings obtain so much as it is a constant pursuit, a chase we make, in partnership with the Holy Spirit who gives us glimpses of righteousness as we walk with Him.
Jesus also didn’t say, “Blessed are they who hunger for God, for they will be filled.” That would seem to make sense to us given how Jesus says later in the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will added to you.” One of the primary reasons Jesus doesn’t go straight there in this beatitude is because of those in this world who seem to be hungering for more religion (and call it God) and also, those who seem to have a lot of spiritual power (see Matthew 7:22) and yet do not know God. These are not chasing righteousness and according to Jesus they are the emptiest of all, hiding beneath the shell of religion.
At the end of the day, it is impossible to hunger for righteousness and not find God in the process, because only God is holy, set apart from all else, and only He is totally righteous. Going into hot pursuit of God and His hopes for humanity is the ONLY way to truly be “filled” in this life! I look forward to being with you all this Sunday!
-- Don’t forget to sign-up for the adult retreat, which is coming April 12-14. Rumor has it some of you have been doing some web searches for what an APEST really is and why we don’t want a church life without it! Way to get a head start!!! We will have more on this in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, please sign-up if you haven’t already!! Also, if finances are potentially an issue keeping you from being with us then please let me know. A way will be made to include you!
-- I am looking to rebuild the hosting team for 2019 and stock it with folks who really love serving new faces and building relationships with all our area artists, dancers, musicians, and more! If you are interested, please see me! And thank you, Matt, Meredith, Martin, Chad, and John S. for all your help this week… it was a busy one!!
-- Finally, don’t forget our “This Mite Be Huge” matching campaign which has really garnered a lot of excitement this year so far! In an email I received early this year announcing the match, our anonymous donors said this,
“We are grateful to be part of the High Places community and want to see this church thrive! We believe in High Places and what it brings to Oak Ridge and the larger community. What we love is the strong push for inclusiveness, Grace, and a sense of wonder at how much good there is…. We believe in the vision and outreach of the church. What we so much appreciate about this church is its massive outreach to all, the giving and helping, Community Dinners, summer camps, and the love this church provides to a very diverse community. Our goal is to help High Places become more self-sustaining by hopefully increasing involvement from everyone in the church. We hope that every person will choose to join us!”
I love the vision, the faith, and the spirit of this incredible gift – and the enthusiasm it has already sparked in so many. The response so far has been truly inspiring!! Thank you everyone and let’s keep going! Martin has taught us many times, and drilled into my head repeatedly (thank you, Martin!), at High Places, we long to be a church willing to “get excited about the right things.” Getting excited about the right things means that, like the note I received, people are increasingly inspired as God touches the lives of others through the ministries at High Places. May that always be our #1 focus as a church family: sharing God’s love with everyone. I believe when it is, the rest takes care of itself. Or as Jesus said above, “all these things are added unto you.”
Praise God for all He is doing at High Places, in our community, and in our world. May we be in tune with the song He is singing forever and ever!!