Season 2, Episode 1: What Easter Tells Us About Moving from Cultural Conflict to Spiritual Transformation

Episode 1 April 03, 2021 00:22:22
Season 2, Episode 1: What Easter Tells Us About Moving from Cultural Conflict to Spiritual Transformation
Thinking Christian
Season 2, Episode 1: What Easter Tells Us About Moving from Cultural Conflict to Spiritual Transformation

Apr 03 2021 | 00:22:22

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Show Notes

Heat to Light: Moving from Cultural Conflict to Spiritual Transformation

That's the theme of Season 2 of the Thinking Christian podcast, opening on Easter weekend with a focus on Jesus, not only his death but with surprising relevance, even his birth! See the accompanying blog post here: "From Heat to Light: Transforming the Heat of Cultural Conflict Into the Light of Spiritual Growth." And along with it, download this new preview chapter from Tom Gilson's Too Good to be False: How Jesus' Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality. It's free here for all new followers of the Thinking Christian blog.
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome to the thinking Christian podcast, your weekly guide to solid Christian thinking on culture science, faith, and Christian confidence hosted by Tom Gilson. Speaker 1 00:00:22 Hello, I'm Tom Gilson. And with today's podcast, I'm introducing and beginning the second season of the thinking Christian podcast this year, beginning. Now I am launching into a whole new series of courses, training, coaching webinars, and so on focused on one main theme, a theme that I think you'll agree is really crucial for our lives as Christians today. And what I'm talking about is all the heat, all the cultural conflict in our world today. And how do we transform that heat into the light of spiritual growth and this second season of the thinking Christian podcast and the blog [email protected] that will accompany it is all focused on the theme of transforming heat, to light with an emphasis on training on equipping so that you, as a church leader, perhaps as a pastor or as a lay person, will be better equipped to manage the heat and the culture and turn it from the conflict that may exist in your home, your work, even your church in school, whatever, turn it into the light of spiritual growth and spiritual life. Speaker 1 00:01:38 So where does one start with this? Well, the only answer, the only possible answer is you start in the same place that you end, and that is in Jesus Christ. I'll have lots of more opportunity as the season goes on to explain exactly what I mean by that. But in short, Jesus Christ is so good, so great. So amazing. He is the way the truth and the life. He is our only authority. He is God himself, so that whatever we do as we face controversy, as we face, uh, sometimes painful situations that involve people that we love when we face questions, the guide, the anchor, the truth, and the example of grace that we have to turn to must be Jesus Christ. He is the only one, and isn't this weekend, this Easter weekend, a great time to reflect on the centrality of Jesus in our lives. Speaker 1 00:02:37 And I think of the Easter message. You can't cover it all so many things, but among other things, Jesus, death on good Friday that painful torturous death, following brutal treatment and incredible embarrassment along the way. He did it for us. I'm going to come back to that later here. You're you're going to be amazed when you hear some things that you hadn't actually realized about how much he did that for us. I bet you haven't realized it. So, so hang on. But first, where does Easter even about, I couldn't begin to cover it in a short podcast, but just to mention it, you know, this Jesus loves us. He did it for us, but Easter tells us too that Jesus is our only hope Jesus uniquely died on a cross and Rose again. No one else did anything even remotely close to what he did. Speaker 1 00:03:32 No one else met death was apparently beaten by death and then Rose again to life in victory, conquering death. And because of that, he's the only hope. And he's our only life. And we have every reason to look to him as our only truth. Who else is going to know the truth, but someone who has power over life and death, and it also tells us that Jesus is the authority, which includes by the way that he is the only judge Jesus came once, 2000 years ago to live for us as an example, to die for us, to save us from our sins, to rise again, to give us new life, but he's not done yet. He's coming again. And this time it's going to be as the judge. And he has the right to judge because of his truth because of his goodness. He has the right to judge. Speaker 1 00:04:26 So when we try to judge what is true, we ought to do it in line with the one who knows and who has the authority to judge. What's true. We don't decide. What's true. Sure. There are times when you have to make decisions based on how well do we understand the principles, but the principles come from him because he is the authority and he is the judge. That's a lot of what Easter tells us. Jesus loves us. He's our only hope. He's our only life. He's the only truth. He's the one authority. And he's the one judge. So how do these truths about Jesus and about Easter relate to this season's theme of transforming heat to light? Well, again, he is the standard. If there's a conflict, of course, there are always going to be questions about how, how, how do you work it out? Speaker 1 00:05:15 What's the best way to come to an end. If we come to an answer that is consistent with Jesus' teachings, we're on the right track. If we come to an answer, that's inconsistent with his teachings, we'd better stop and turn around and go back again there. And if someone says, I don't want to go the way of Jesus, they don't have the authority to decide that that's right. I'm sorry. Even if it's someone that we love, Jesus loved us. He still does. And he had the authority and he still does to decide what is right. His way is the only way his example is our example. And I'm so encouraged by the fact that he was according to the first chapter of the gospel of John verse 14, the word came and dwelt among us, the word being Jesus. And we beheld his glory glory as of the only begotten of the father full of grace and truth. Speaker 1 00:06:12 Sometimes in a conflict. You're just trying to look for the truth. You're trying to figure out what's the right answer. What's the right answer. And I've been kind of emphasizing that haven't I, he has the right answer, but he gave it to us in such a gracious way. He wasn't like, okay, um, I'm fully balanced. I am exactly 50% truth. And exactly 50% grace, no, his grace was fully truthful and his truth was fully gracious. He was a hundred percent of each. And, and that tells us for one thing that is possible by his power, by his grace, in our lives for us to find a way to be truthful and gracious at the same time. Good thing. This is just the start of a season on this cause that one's going to take some unpacking. I'm not going to get to that today. Coming later, it's possible to deliver truth in a way that is gracious. Speaker 1 00:07:07 Another thing about his example though, and you find it later on in the new Testament too, you find it in him in his own words about how to deal with someone who sinned against you in Matthew 18, he says, go to him, discuss it privately. And if, and if he repents you have, you have one, your brother, there's a seeking for restoration there. Galatians six verse one it's talks about restoring the center. And in Matthew five, again from Jesus, he talks about regaining your, your relationship with your brother. So as we enter into these heat to light situations, the first goal is hallways restoration, recovery, reconciliation, repentance, redemption, all of these, bringing back in words, these words are, talk about relationship being brought together and just bathed in love. Now he never gave up truth to do that. His truth was always gracious and his grace was always fully truthful, but he always sought to reconcile, restore, rebuild, and to have the strength of relationship. Speaker 1 00:08:17 That's our example. That's what we are called to do. That's our, isn't that what you want to do anyway, when you're in conflict with someone don't you want that to be the first thing that you're trying to accomplish with that person, we can approach every difficult situation with the intent to love. Even if conflict ends in disagreement, even if it ends in sharp disagreement, we can intend to love. We can let the other person have the sharpness we can, we can do as Jesus did and weep, we can long for that relationship. We can love sometimes love. Again, this is the first session in a long series. We can love as we watch them walk away because they've decided not to do what is right. That one was going to take some unpacking too. We'll get to it. But because of Jesus, we know, and we have the example of love as the intention, even if conflict ends in disagreement. Speaker 1 00:09:23 If you want an example of that, just look at Jesus' relationship with the Pharisees. And we'll again, cover that later. This is hard though. How do we do this? How do you manage these disagreements? How do you handle these conflicts? How do you handle it when someone's coming at you hot and hard? How do you handle it when someone's undermining you passively cultural conflicts? I didn't define that earlier, but I'm talking about the hard things that are going on in our culture that caused disagreement on a big scale. Things like matters of marriage and morality, critical race theory. What do we do with these questions of intersectionality or transgender? What do we do about social? Speaker 2 00:10:03 What about politics? Ooh. I said Speaker 1 00:10:05 A, a word you're not supposed to say in church. Speaker 2 00:10:08 No. What about politics? We have to be able to handle these things. What about the Speaker 1 00:10:12 ICS of conscience that come when maybe everybody in your office is putting up stickers saying that they're allies of the LGBT movement and you don't know whether you should or not, because you don't know whether to stand out or whether to stand up for your beliefs. How do we do this? I had a question when I was a very young leader in Cru campus crusade for Christ in my twenties. The first time I ever led, I had some staff who were very, very hard to work with and we were in conflict a lot. Sometimes again, it was subtle. They were passive aggressive. Sometimes they were in my face and I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to do from a Christian perspective. I didn't know what the loving thing was to do when someone was doing the wrong thing to me. So I, I wrote some other leaders and I asked for help. Speaker 1 00:10:59 And they said, we're working on that. Well, let me fast forward. A few years, I left that team. I had other leadership opportunities. I became a human resource director in campus crusade, where it was kind of my job to be the person who helped. I went to grad school and I got a master's degree in organizational psychology, which was the science of how you can be successful with people or as a person in organizations and years after I wrote the letter asking how to resolve these kinds of difficult conflict filled situations. Years later, after I wrote that letter, I answered it. And I wrote a paper called how to help struggling staff members. We use the word struggling as a euphemism for staff members who are not performing well, not relating well in the team. And so on. I wrote the paper and gave a talk on it at a conference. Speaker 1 00:11:51 And a few weeks later, one of the men who was here is a leader of one of the major divisions of campus. He said, he called me and he said, Tom, I want to tell you, I was in this situation with this person who is, who needed a hard talking to. And I thought, Oh, I better call HR and find out how I'm supposed to do this, or have them do it for me. And then I thought, wait a minute, I got the training. I know how to do it. And that's what I want for us all is to know that we can do it. We can get the equipping. And so I'll be sharing those principles as season two continues. And you will find them very applicable to the heat, to light issues you're facing right now, especially leadership issues. If you're a pastor or a lay leader or an elder, or maybe a boss at work or a business owner, you will find these principles really applicable to helping you resolve heat to light kinds of leadership issues. Speaker 1 00:12:46 But we started out talking about Jesus, and then I moved into discussing where we're going with this heat delight equipping that's ahead in season two, I have to come back to Jesus because you may not be sure that Jesus really is the only guide. The only standard, the only objective you may not be so convinced that we should be focusing on him alone or, or looking to him as the way alone, the truth alone, the authority alone, the life alone, you might be asking. How could a man who lived that long ago have what it takes to be our guide today. Look how the world has changed since then. Do we even know what's true? Here's what I'm going to do about that for today. Especially if you've got questions on this, I'm going to give you something for free. All you have to do is go to my blog, which is thinking christian.net, thinking christian.net, and there for the first time ever on this blog or podcast, I'm announcing a free download from my book, too. Speaker 1 00:13:49 Good to be false. How Jesus' incomparable character reveals his reality. You can go to thinking christian.net, download a chapter from there. And that will give you an introduction to my answer, to the question and my goodness. There's, there's plenty of answer in the whole book. This one chapter will introduce my answer to that question. How do we know Jesus is the one he's too good to be false? His incomparable character reveals his reality. This is by the way, I've had a chapter up there available for a while for people who decided to follow my blog, thinking Christian, this is a new one. This is a different chapter. And it's a special deal for new followers of the website for new followers. Only this chapter is titled Jesus astonishing love, and it'll give you an introduction at least to just how extraordinary he was and how extraordinary he still is. Speaker 1 00:14:48 Just to give you a little bit of a preview again on that though, I want to read from something that Bob Perry wrote, Bob Perry, retired Marine pilot, flew Harrier jets. And then after that, he flew commercial airlines for the rest of his career. He just retired and he wrote a review of the book for salvo magazine. I'm going to read you part of what he said there. He said the real Jesus is a leader. Unlike any the world has ever seen. Now, from there, he's summarizing a whole chapter of the book when he said that the real Jesus is a leader. Unlike any of the world has ever seen. He speaks and acts with authority, confidence, and power, but he never misuses that power. He never even uses it to his own advantage. Instead, he directs that power toward loving others. He commands respect, and he is always the wisest person in the room. Speaker 1 00:15:44 The combination of these traits describes a man who cannot be of this world. He's unlike anyone, any of us has ever met or even heard about. And while it's tempting to say that makes him too good to be true. History tells us differently. The facts are more compelling. They make him too good to be false. So I encourage you to go to my homepage and thinking christian.net, where you'll find an easy form. You can use to download a chapter of the book and maybe you'll want to read the whole book. By the way, though, if you want to check out this free chapter, you don't have to be someone who has questions if you're actually already sure that Jesus has had extraordinary. You'll find by reading this chapter alone, Jesus is actually greater than you realized he's actually better than you thought. And so I encourage you to download and read this either way. Speaker 1 00:16:34 Still this weekend, we have to focus on the one very most extraordinary thing about Jesus. The greatest thing he did, he died for us on the cross and he Rose again in power and in victory for that, I'm actually going to read a short excerpt from the chapter that I've got available for download, but let me set it up first because we talk about Jesus freely giving up his life for us. Don't we? And it's true. I want you to realize it's more true than you noticed before that it's uniquely true in ways that no other person has ever approached because some of us have made the choice to die for other people, famous stories from war of soldiers, flinging themselves bodily on top of grenades to protect the rest of their company. The Polish priest, Maximillian Maria Colby who volunteered to die in place of a stranger at Auschwitz I myself, during a, it turned out to be a 7.4 earthquake. Speaker 1 00:17:35 I ran upstairs to pull my nine month old son out of his crib and to bring him downstairs and out to safety, which I actually had to do by sitting down and bumping down on my bottom on the steps because the stairway was moving too hard and too fast to walk down it safely. It was actually an hour or two, at least later that I realized that I had risked my life for him. It never even occurred to me at the time. It's just what a parent does. You do the same thing. And if someone said, you're a brave four, he'd go. What? No, I was just being as parent, but that's all to say. We can choose to risk ourselves. Maybe even to die for someone. But Jesus' choice was different. Man was at different. It was nothing like that. It was no split-second decision like mine. Speaker 1 00:18:22 When I ran upstairs for my son, it was in the plan from eternity past. And he didn't just choose his manner of death as some may do he chose to die? Think about it. The soldier who flings himself on the grenade in that split second has decided he's going to die. That way. He's not in the back of his head thinking, well, I never have to die, but I guess I will know in the back of his head, we all know that death is in our future. And that soldier decides at that moment that this is the way he will face it. Jesus didn't have to make that decision. He had to make a harder decision. At least from a human perspective, he didn't just decide how he would die. He decided whether he would die at all. He didn't have the sin nature that leads to death in the rest of us. Speaker 1 00:19:14 He didn't have to die for himself at all. He did it only for us. Here's where it gets really fun though. And here's where I'm going to read from chapter two of too good to be false. And I'm going to start out, not talking about Jesus, but about someone else you've heard of crazy lawsuits, right? This one might top them all early in 2019, I read in the news about an Indian man, Raphael Samuell who filed suit against his parents for bringing him into the world. Without his consent life was imposed on me. He complained. I want to make you the legal right for a child to Sue a parent. Ideally, the parents should not have the child, but if they do have the child, they must compensate the child. End of quote, from Rafael, Samuel. Now, continuing to read, I get the sense he would have let go of the complaint. Speaker 1 00:20:06 If only he'd signed a waiver before he was born informed consent, you know, then his parents would have been off the hook. Yeah. Right? That's silly. Of course, no one gives their consent to be born. No one, but Jesus, that is it. Isn't just that he didn't have to die for our sins. He didn't even have to be born. He chose it freely in willing obedience to the father, unlike every other human who's ever lived. He had that option. And he said, yes, I'll do it. He freely gave up the rights and prerogatives of his eternal godhood and condescended to being born like any other human baby. And he did none of it for himself. Only for us, everything, everything Jesus did by his extraordinary powers he did for others. He could have saved himself from the cross, but he remained there for our salvation. Speaker 1 00:21:08 End of quote, from the book, he remained there for our salvation. He went into the tomb and on Sunday morning he Rose again and he gives us life. That's why I say it's Jesus, no matter what, he died for our sins. He was raised for our life. He is our only life. And there's so much more to say on how to move from heat to light. But this is the starting point. Jesus' death and resurrection. As you seek to move from heat to light, Jesus must define that light for you and his way must guide your way there. So happy Easter again. I encourage you to go to thinking christian.net and download my newly available chapter there on Jesus. Astonished Speaker 0 00:21:53 Love until next time then for the thinking Christian podcast. I'm Tom Gillson. Thank you for listening. The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected].

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