A Different Perspective

Finding Joy In Life Does Not Depend On Your Circumstances.

Tim Lundy
Jul 18, 2021    
This message taught from the Book of Philippians helps reframe how we look at joy. We learn that finding joy in your life does not depend on your circumstances; it comes from your relationship with Jesus Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:35] Well, Venture, we start this new series, I'm excited because it's in one of my favorite parts of the Bible, we're going to spend some time there. And I've entitled the series Reframe. When you think about reframing something, or change of perspective, sometimes you can be looking at the exact same thing, but when you reframe it or you change the perspective, it changes everything.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:00] A lot of you know this optical illusion, it's one of the most famous in it. And as you look at the picture, I don't know what you saw when it first came up. My eyes immediately go to this older woman, you can kind of see there's her eyes, and her nose, it's got a little wart on it, and kind of that grim smile with it, that pictures there. But if you look at it long enough, it can kind of change everything. In fact, if I cover up this part of it, you start to see a younger woman, and there's her eyelash and she's looking in that direction, you can barely see her nose, and a necklace, and her cheek. I mean, the exact same picture, in one minute, it flips back and forth.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:39] And I think the same is true for us a lot in life, especially as Christians. We're looking out at the world, and we're seeing the same circumstances, but there's a better way of looking at it. Honestly, if you look in Scripture, there's a better way of viewing life. And so when we use that image, when I say reframe, I mean to see the current situation from a different perspective. And I've told you the Book of Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible, it's a little book, it's only four chapters. And this summer when I was on vacation, I just started reading through the whole book over and over again. And it struck me how powerful this little book is, and it struck me how many verses I had memorized, I'd known out of it. I think you'll be surprised over the course of this series; I think it's one of the most quoted books in all the Bible because it brings such a unique perspective, especially when it comes to the issue of joy. How can you face life, face your circumstance, but instead of seeing all the trouble, instead of always just feeling oppressed with the pain and everything going on, how could I, especially as a Christian, view it joyfully? And you see in this, this theme of joy that comes over and over again.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:00] Now, when I say that, I want to make sure we define our terms well, because a lot of times we kind of mix up joy and happiness. And so when you say joy, people kind of think happy-clappy, and you're supposed to be up all the time. There's a difference here, when I say happiness, it's based on what happens to you, it's based on your external circumstances. That hap, is an old word for chance, so what might happen in that? And so what happens to you, and you kind of see the root in it, my happiness can be based on circumstances. And so I win the lottery, I'm really happy. I lost the ticket, I'm not happy. I have a great day at work, I'm happy. My boss yells at me, I'm not happy. I mean, you can see in that, and hear me, there's nothing wrong with happiness. There's certainly nothing wrong with happiness, and it's sometimes based on what's going on in her life, it's reasonable to respond to it in those ways, that's like everybody.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:56] Happiness, though, is interesting, it's one of the most elusive things in the world, in that the more you chase it, the harder it is to actually get it. That's why when the Bible talks about joy, it's talking about something different that's not based on external circumstances. Happiness is based on what happens to you, joy is based on what Christ is doing in you. And that's why I think it's important to make the distinction, I may even be going through a sad season of life, some of you, maybe you're struggling with sadness. And you should, there's nothing about this series that says, oh, nobody's ever allowed to be sad. If anything, as a Christian, man, we wrestle with and we mourn, we mourn with others and we hurt with others. I mean, the Bible says, weep with those who weep. The unique thing, though, is even in a sad season, I can experience joy.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:54] As we go through this, you're going to see how the Apostle Paul uniquely teaches this. And I think even knowing some of the background of the book, it helps frame it because you might think he was in a great season of life, and that's why he wrote the Book of Philippians. Actually, go into the background, look at the first couple of verses, it says, "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." So Paul's writing this, just to give you a little background, he's writing it in 62 A.D., he is a prisoner in Rome.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:33] Now, he had planted the church in Phillipi on his second missionary journey about 13 years before the book was written. And so 13 years earlier, Paul had come to Macedonia, that northern part, north of Greece in there, the northern part of modern Greece. And as he came to Phillipi, usually when he came into the city, he looked for a synagogue. And if there was a synagogue, then he would teach there. and then out of that, find those who were open to Christianity and start the church. Phillipi didn't even have a synagogue, that shows you how few people followed even the Jewish faith in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:08] He found one little group, a group of women who had a Bible study, they would study the Old Testament Scriptures under a group of trees. And in that group, there's a woman named Lydia, she becomes one of the greatest leaders of the New Testament. And Lydia had a big home, she invited Paul to stay there so that he could plant the church there. And the combination of those women, and then also remember, while he was in Phillipi, if you know the story, he also had a confrontation where there was this little demon-possessed girl that was being exploited, they would use her for her abilities to the demons. And Paul cast the demons out, and it made the authorities so mad they threw him in prison. And while he was in prison, he and Silas, they're singing, there's an earthquake, the jailer comes, he thinks they've escaped. And Paul's able to use that situation in order to share the gospel with him, and so that jailer and his family became Christians. So you get this little group, you've got this group of women who are part of that study, you've got the jailer in his family, and out of that this church, the Philippians Church, was formed. And over the years, it wasn't the wealthiest church, it wasn't the biggest church, but it's one of the churches that Paul loved the most.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:21] So here he is 13 years later, and he's a prisoner in Rome, he's waiting for his verdict from Caesar. He didn't know if he's going to be killed, he's literally chained to a guard every day. So he's living under the stress of that, these aren't great circumstances. Paul had always dreamed of going to Rome as a preacher, he finds himself there as a prisoner. So here's what I just want you to feel in this, when he's writing this letter, it's not because, oh, life is so great for him right now, he's joyful, everything's worked out, so of course, he's writing about joy. No, he's writing as a prisoner, he's writing to a church that's facing its own struggles.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:06] But, boy, you read line after line, and you hear the heart of a guy who loves them and he's so thankful for them. In fact, read with me as he continues on, he says, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." I love this line, he says, I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. He says, every time I think of you, I thank God. I mean, do you have those kinds of people in your life? Now, there are some people in our lives, they make us thank God maybe for the wrong reason. And sometimes I'll interact with somebody, and I'll say to myself, well, thank God I don't have to deal with them every day. Or, you know, sometimes I'll meet somebody and go, oh, thank God I am not married to her, she's a piece of work. Maybe I shouldn't admit that out loud, but I will, I'll go home and give Lea a kiss. And she'll say, what's that for? And I go, just thanking God, thanking God with that. Now you have those thoughts too, maybe you have those people in it. These aren't those kinds of people, he's not thanking God because he doesn't have to deal with them, he's thanking God because of who they are.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:20] In fact, he continues on, look how much he loves them. He says, "It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus." Yeah, I mean, literally, he says I have so much affection for you. And so when you look at this group, here's what he is saying with them, they're the kind of people that always make you thank God for them. I don't know if you have those people in your life or not, the kind of people that when they come to mind, you just thank God for them.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:02] And part of it is, look at the characteristics of them. They share the same faith, he says, you and I, we have the same grace, we've experienced that together. And it's one of the things I know to be true, that as Christians, man, there's a base that comes being in Christ together that gives you that connection. The other thing with this church, in particular, they partner together with you, they were partners with Paul. You're going to see in this, the Philippian church was one of the ones that were the quickest, they would give money generously to Paul, they'd give money away to others. Now, they didn't have a lot, but they were generous. So it's not just in name only, there is a real partnership with it.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:45] The third thing that you say about this church, they stick up for you in the hard times. Paul says you're one of the few that, man, in my imprisonment, you still stood up for me, you spoke up for me. See, this is a period in Paul's life he wasn't always popular, a lot of people didn't like it because he spoke so forthrightly, he spoke so straight and true, and so some of the churches turned on him. And Phillipi was one of those churches that that here in the hard times, they are with him.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:14] You know, as I look at this list, and I look at these kinds of people, and just even as I was doing my study this week on this, these characteristics. This list reminded me of Venture, and it reminded me of the people of Venture, and it reminded me how thankful I am for you guys and thankful for this church. Because, especially, all that we've gone through in the last year and a half, I love that we've stayed together in faith, man, Jesus Christ has been our rallying point. I love, and I'm so thankful, that you guys, you've partnered together with us. I mean, I look at last year and our church supporters, we met budget for the year. That didn't even count the $565,000 that you gave on top of that, that we were able to give away for Covid. There's just this heart of partnership, even during a time when we weren't able to meet on this campus. There's a sense of sticking up for you in the hard times, that we stick together. And I had that sense, you know, last weekend was our first time in the worship center, and we were able to worship there. And if you've not been a part of it, we'd love to have you on a Sunday morning with us. But as I looked around the room, as I saw the people there, it was just this overwhelming sense of gratitude. The sense like Paul talks about, that I'd just go, man, thank God for these people, thank God for the privilege to be able to do life and stick together in that. And it gives me such excitement about what our future holds as a church because I see a church full of these kinds of people. And you just need to know as a leadership team, as a pastor, we don't take that for granted, we know what that means.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:58] Now, we've been talking about that as a church. But really, before we move on, I want to make sure, do you have these kinds of people in your life personally? Because everybody needs that. Now, I want to really say this to young people, especially, you're not going to make it as a young person, as a Christian, especially, if you don't have these kinds of people, people that share your faith, people that will partner with you, people that stick up for you. And so I'd really encourage, I mean, it's great for each of us to go and who are the people in my life that I would go, man, I thank God they're there, I wouldn't make it without them.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:36] And maybe the greater question is the second one, are you this kind of person for someone else? Are you doing this for somebody else? And so I'd encourage you, maybe it's today or sometime this week, it'd be great to stop and think about both those questions and think about, OK, who are those people and maybe reach out to them and go, you know, I want to thank you. I couldn't make it without you. Let them know that. On the flip side, who are the people that you would go, man, I need to step up for them, I need to stick with them, I need to encourage them this week.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:12] I love that Paul, when he's writing this letter, this letter on joy, man, he starts it by thanking these people for what they mean to him, for what they've done for him. And in the middle of it, he puts one verse, I skipped over verse six because it's really the heart of the passage. In fact, I call it, you can see in your notes, I call it the reframe verse of the week. Every week during this whole series, there's going to be one verse that we focus on in particular. Now, a lot of times you'll be familiar with these verses, like I said, this is one of the most quoted books in all the Bible. But I want us to look at this, and I'm going to encourage you, what I'm doing for each of these verses each week. I'm memorizing this verse. I want this, I'm going to rehearse it every day because remember, my goal is I want to reframe the way I'm looking at my circumstances. I want to look out at life, and I want to experience the kind of joy that Paul had, and so I do it by taking his words and I memorize it.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:09] And so this is the verse I want you to memorize. Look what he says in the middle of this, Paul says, "I am sure of this, (I have absolute confidence) that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Now, I want to go a little slower with this verse because it is so important. Paul says, I'm sure of this. I've got complete confidence, I don't worry about this at all, this is what I can take to the bank. And notice what his confidence is based on, it's not based on the fact that the Philippians are such a great church, they are such great people. No, his confidence isn't based on them at all. He says, I have confidence that he, he's talking about God, that God who began a good work in you. Now, what's this good work he's talking about? He's talking about their salvation. If you know Paul, especially, he's not one to say that we're good in and of ourselves. Paul points out the fact there's no inherent goodness that was in us, all of it has been tainted by sin, all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God. So when he talks about this good work, he's talking about what God did in our salvation. He says, "This good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Now, what's the day of Christ Jesus? That's the day of his second coming. And so at his second coming, this Salvacion that has been started in us is going to reach full completion, and it's in the process until the.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:49] And so, as you think about it, let me just explain it theologically. As you think about it, a lot of times people will say when they talk about salvation, we always think of that one day, you say that one prayer, and you get forgiven. Paul is pointing out, he goes, oh, no, no, it's a whole process, it's a lifetime process that will literally go all the way to the point when Jesus returns. There's a lot of people will put it this way, they'll say, I am saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved. Now, what do they mean? When you say I am saved, or I was saved, it's talking about your justification. It's talking about that forgiveness you received the moment that you received that gift from Christ, you were saved. God says you are righteous, and that's never taken away, that's done, that's justification. There's a second part of it, and that's the part that's going on right now, they call it sanctification. That's that process where God is making me look more like Jesus, and my character's being changed by him, and he uses life circumstances, he uses what's going on, he uses his word, he uses the Holy Spirit, and I'm being saved. And then there's a third part that will happen the day that Jesus comes back, that's called glorification, or I'm going to be glorified. And what that means is, literally, I'll get a new body, I'll get a glorified body, I'll get my body for all eternity. So that he not only saves me spiritually and on a soul level, but he's going to take me physically as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:16] All of those things are happening, and Paul says, I am so confident of this that the God who started this work, it started with him, is the God who's continuing to do this work, and he's going to bring it to completion. He's going to finish what he started in you, it's a process along the way, so you don't need to get discouraged in it, you don't have to be fearful about it. Every part of it, I love the story that Ruth Graham, Billy Graham's wife, she was driving one day in North Carolina where they lived, and on the interstate, there was all this construction. And she got to the end and saw this sign, and when she saw the sign, she said, that is what I want on my epitaph. And so if you go see where she's buried, on her epitaph, it says the words she saw in that sign. Do you know what she had put there? It says end of construction, thank you for your patience. I mean, it was her way of declaring that, man, I have been in construction, God has been doing this work on me over a lifetime, and sometimes you got to be patient with me in the process.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:24] But the truth of knowing this...And again, I'll come back to the whole point of having more joy, see this is so important when you think about having a joyful life and being a joyful Christian, because see, I think this verse confronts the joyless Christianity that you see a lot in the church today. Well, if we're honest, there's a lot of joyless Christianity, there's a lot of fearful Christianity, there's a lot of angry Christianity, and all these things. It probably is not the first word that people would use to describe Christians today, joyful. And when I look at it, I think there are three forms of joyless Christianity that can take root, and this verse addresses all three.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:07] The first form is those who are spiritually arrogant. When you get spiritually arrogant, when you think you've arrived, and it's easy to get there because those who've maybe been around the church a long time, or we know a lot of the Bible, or we have all the right answers for everything. And the reality, when you get spiritually arrogant, man, you're some of the most joyless Christians in the world. If you look in the Bible, the most joyless followers, the Pharisees, the scribes, the ones who had reached a point of spiritual arrogance, and they use that spiritual knowledge, they use that spiritual pride, to look down on others and judge others. And it can hit that point where you know so much that at some point you become unteachable, like every time you're taught anything, it's not really whether it changes your spiritual life, it's, well, can you say something I haven't learned before? Or this quest that I always want to be deeper and deeper all the time, and everything is about knowledge that much more. And it can reach a point, and here's where I've seen it most damaging, nobody wants to be authentic around you. Nobody really wants to confess what's going on in their life, because they don't feel like they're going to get an attitude that supports them, or that somebody looks down on them. And so maybe somebody struggling with their purity in their lust, and when the only answer they get is this sense of, well, I remember when I struggled with those things. Somebody struggling in their marriage, or with their kids, and there's almost an attitude of, if you would just try harder, if you would do what I did, you can get to where I am. See, this is why I like this verse, because I think it totally cuts the legs out of spiritual arrogance. Here's what Paul said, Paul said, If there is a good work in you, it's not because you did it, it's because God did it. You were as wretched as the rest of us, and the only reason that there's any good in you is because Jesus Christ loved you enough that he did a good work in you. And the only reason you follow him today, is he keeps doing that good work in you. And so every one of us needs the same posture of spiritual humility, spiritual humility, that we all desperately need him. There's no place for spiritual arrogance in the church. And I promise, if you drift into that, if you start thinking spiritually, I'm kind of a big deal, it will kill your joy immediately. It's one of the most joyless ways of living the Christian life.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:50] Now, the other end of the spectrum as well, though, are those who are spiritually anxious. These aren't the ones who are spiritually arrogant, they go to the other end. These are the ones, and I know a lot of Christians who live in this place, where they're always anxious that I didn't do enough. They're always anxious that maybe I spend too much, maybe God's done with me, and maybe I'll walk away from my faith, maybe I didn't really believe, maybe I'm one of the ones that Jesus is going to look at and say, depart from me, I didn't really know you, and they live under this fear all the time that they don't measure up. They live under this fear all the time that I'm not enough in it, and they feel spiritually anxious. Guy's, this verse is for you too, remember what he said, "He who began a good work in you." If you feel like you didn't measure up, listen to me, look at me, you didn't, you never measured up. And here's a reality, you never will, but Jesus did, and Jesus paid for you, and Jesus did a good work in you, and Jesus is not done with you. And he's not going to give up on you, until the day of completion, he's going to finish his work. So you don't have to live in that fear all the time. When the enemy attacks you, and you think you sinned one too many times, or you're struggling with the same thing too much, or he's trying to convince you that you're not really God's child, man, you need to go back to this verse and go, no, here's my confidence. He who began a good work in me, he's going to complete. See, that's why you need to know this.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:35] One more category as well, the spiritually apathetic. And this is the group, you might be tempted, you look at this verse and you go, yeah, I like this verse, God began the work, God's going to do the work, I'll just leave it in God's hands. Man, I don't get to torqued, I don't get too worried about my spiritual life. And it's this mentality of, you know, I kind of have a basic belief, I know Jesus died, I kind of believe on that, I did the prayer, I'm good. But otherwise, I'm going to just live life and I'm not going to worry too much about growing, I'm not going to worry too much about me really put myself toward this, I'm not going to worry about spirituality. I'm in the club, and that's good enough for me. And I'm telling you, if you have that kind of attitude, man, you would do well to stop and go wait, let's look at this verse again, "He who began a good work, is faithful to complete it, is going to bring it to completion." Here's what it's declaring, that if God started something in you, he's going to finish it completely. And do you think God does anything half-hearted? Do you think God wants any of his children, he looks at them, goes, oh, as long as they're in the club, I'm good with them? I'm telling you, and you need to hear me on this, if you're here and you kind of go, you know, I've got the basic belief, but I'm not really concerned about growing any, I'm not really concerned about what the Bible says, I'm not really concerned about being involved in church and some of the stuff, all that stuff, I don't want to be involved in that. You might do well to look under the spiritual hood, you may not have the spiritual engine you think you have, there may not be that work in you.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:11] Now, as I say that, I know the spiritually anxious crowd, you're freaking out right now. You go, maybe he's talking about me, maybe I don't have...I'm not talking about you, the fact that you are so concerned about it shows that you've got a conscience that's alive by the Holy Spirit. I'm talking to a group, and I think we have them, they've been around church a lot, that as long as I've punched a spiritual ticket somewhere and I got a ticket to heaven, I'm good with it. That's not what this verse says, this verse says that God not only began the work, but he also continues the work, and maybe you need to examine it. See, this verse hits head on all of these things because none of us were meant to just be spiritually apathetic, or live in anxiety, or live in arrogance. All of us, and you'll see this in the book, Paul, has this mentality that none of us have arrived, we keep growing.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:09] In fact, I want to finish out, look at his prayer. Look at his prayer for the Philippians as he finishes, "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." I mean, he says, I am praying for you guys, and as I pray over you, this is how I want you guys to keep growing. I'm absolutely confident God's doing his work and he's going to complete it, but here's what it looks like.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:44] And I would encourage you, I put a little checklist, you can see it in your notes there. If you look at this, maybe sometimes you ask yourself, man, I want to grow. What does it look like to grow? Here's a great list of what you should grow in. I mean, you look at it, look at the first thing he says, you need to grow in sacrificial love, that your love may abound more and more. And when he uses that line, your love may abound, he's not talking about the sentiment of love, that I just feel love. This word is agape, this is sacrifice. And so Paul says, hey, you know how you guys need to grow, you need to be sacrificing more, you need to be serving more, you need to grow in a way that you're giving your life away, it's a great area to grow.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:22] Look at the second thing with that though, you need to know the truth and you need to know how to apply it. You need knowledge and discernment, that's what those two things are. Knowledge is knowing the truth, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, you need to know your Bible, you need to know those doctrines. You do need to get deeper; you do need to be able to understand it, and read it, and do that. But it's not for knowledge's sake, it's so that it leads to discernment, that I know the truth, and then I know how to apply it in life, and how to think biblically, and know how to approach situations in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:56] So that, the third part of it, your choices are based on God's standards. He says, "So that you approve what is excellent." That's what that means, that when I have a choice in life, I'm no longer looking at it based on just what I think or feel. OK, what is God say about this? What's God's standard in that? See, that's what growth looks like. And then it continues on with this, "so that there's evidence of fruit, of what Christ is doing in you." That's all fruit is, when you see fruit in Scripture, it's just evidence. And so he says, "You're filled with the fruit of righteousness." The fruit has grown in your life. I mean, if you come to a fruit tree, or this summer, I planted some tomato plants and I put Miracle-Gro on it, and, man, they immediately got really tall, a lot taller than I expected it to be. And it was great, they were leafy and they're tall. But at the end of the day, I planted the tomato plants for one reason, I wanted tomatoes. And so I'm watching every day, man, is there evidence that this plant is healthy, it's life, and it's actually producing fruit? And so Paul says, hey, this is what growth looks like in your life, that you were designed as a Christian to produce fruit, meaning the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, the fruit of good works. Paul says, I want to see you grow in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:23] And the final part of it is, "To the glory of God and praise of God." So that you're bringing greater glory to God. Now, again, I told you, it's a great checklist for growth and I encourage you to look through that and go, man, God, I want to grow in these ways. But hear me on this, because this really important point, when Paul praised this for them, this isn't a list, this isn't a prayer of correction. He's not praying it because there's something wrong with them, it's a prayer of affection, he's praying because he loves them so much. And so much is right about them, he says, I am so confident with you guys, Christ began a good work in you and he's going to bring it to completion, and here's what it looks like when that's happening in your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:12] Man, don't you want that? Don't you want to experience that? That's why I want to go back to our reframe verse of the week. And so even as I say it, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." You know, I love this one word in it, completion, he's going to bring it to completion. That root word in Greek, it's the same root word that Jesus uses when he was on the cross. Remember when Jesus was on the cross and right before he died, he said a little line, he said, "It is finished." The Greek word is tetelestai. Literally, he's saying, it's complete, it's complete. I completed everything that I needed to do on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, it was done. And I love in the same way that Jesus completed his work, Gods make it a promise to us. that he will complete us. He's not going to leave any part undone, and he uses this lifetime that we're in, he uses our experiences good and bad, he uses the good days and the hard days, the great times and the painful times, to complete us, to make us more like Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:49] So I don't have to look around and find my happiness based on what's happening, I can find my joy knowing that he's doing this process of my life. Now, a great picture this, Michelangelo, many say the greatest sculptor ever in the world, certainly one of the fathers of the Italian renaissance that came. In 1498, August 27th of 1498, he completed one of his greatest works, the Pieta, it's a sculpture of Mary and Jesus. And many acclaim it around the world and hold it as the highest standard. The process of that sculpture, it began years earlier, he went to Carrara because he wanted the finest granite. And so he got that marble, the stone, the huge block that they were able to get out of the quarry, and he brought it to his studio. And then for two years, through cold, through heat, he just was working away. If you had watched him during that process, his main tool was his hammer, that hammer hitting over and over again at the stone, all the different kinds of chisels, some more pointed, some flat, some had serrated edge, each of them produced a little bit different result. But the final product was to take this rough piece of marble and turn it into this beautiful masterpiece. You know, if you watch the process at times, it would feel like it was almost violent. I mean, as he would take a hammer and he would strike, and rock would break away. I mean, if you were the stone itself, you'd feel those blows and you'd wonder, is there any purpose to this?

Tim Lundy: [00:34:44] You know, it's a great picture of how God shapes our lives. It's a great picture of this process that we're talking about, that God who began a good work in you, he is faithfully completing it, and he's using every part of life. Sometimes those blows, they feel painful, sometimes you can't even understand, why would he let me experience that? But I can promise you this, every blow, every tool, every experience, is shaping you, it's shaping me, to look more like Jesus. How would it reframe the way we view every day of life, that instead of just responding to our circumstances and deciding whether it's good or bad, whether I'm happy or not, how would it change it if I looked at all of it as a God who loves me, Christ who died for me, who completed his work on that cross, and a God who's using every day of my life, every experience, to shape me to be more like him?

Tim Lundy: [00:36:06] See, I have absolute confidence in this, "That he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." I hope you've experienced that; I hope you can embrace that. Literally, my prayer for all of us, is that verse would reframe the way we see life.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:31] Will you pray with me? Father, I do thank you for Jesus. I thank you for how he just changes everything, that because he was willing to die on a cross and stay there and experience it all until the point that he could cry out, it is finished, that I can have confidence that he is doing his good work in me, that I will be finished to look like him. Lord, I pray for each of us as we go through this series, I pray these verses would not just be something that we remember, but they really would change the way I see life, the way we see life. That our perspective could be marked by joy, not based on what's going on in the world, but based on what Christ is doing in our lives. And we pray this in His name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032