How do we know?

Posted by Brian Asker | Posted in Life | Posted on November 8, 2012

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Let me ask you how did you get here?

Think about it for a moment.

Let me tell you how I got here

Yankton, SD

I was born in Yankton, SD. I don’t remember much about that place because my family moved to Clarissa, MN when I was 6 months old.

Clarissa, MN

I remember a few things about Clarissa. First, we lived above the drug store where my dad worked.  I remember he used to bring the boxes up from the drug story. My sister and I would jump in them and my dad would push us up and down the hallway and we would laugh the whole way!

I also remember my sister’s third birthday.  We were all celebrating, eating cake and having a great time when my mom went into labor. My brother was born that same day 3 years to the day from my sister.  My sister sure was downright mad that our brother had stolen her birthday!

When I was five we moved to Brainerd, MN.

Brainerd, MN

For the next 13 years I lived in a number of different houses in and around the Brainerd area.

Of course I have a lot of memories from that time period.

I remember one time in particular when I was a teenager. I came home to find the house locked!

I had a concert to get to and I was starting to worry!  I went to the neighbors house. No one was home. I paced back and forth for a while and then I did the only logical thing I could think of.  I punched a hole in the glass with my bare hand.

As a side note, I did make it to the choir concert on time and I for some reason my parents didn’t punish me.

Fargo, ND

After high school I went to college at North Dakota State University where I lived in the same dorm all four years.

Bemidji, MN

After college I did an internship with InterVarsity at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN.  That’s where I met my future wife.

Duluth, MN

I moved to Duluth for two years working with the InterVarsity chapter at the University of Minnesota Duluth before I got engaged and moved back to Bemidji to begin married life.

Back to Bemidji

Bemidji is where our two kids were born.

In the spring of 2010, life was good. We had a great church, good friends, a great house that I had just remodeled. We had a great ministry at Bemidji State University. Life was comfortable. My wife and I began to ask each other if this was the time to move to Duluth to rebuild the chapters in the Duluth/Superior area.  We put our home on the market.  It sold in 6 days.

Back to Duluth

That’s how I got here.  I’m the area director for Northern MN and Northwest WI. I supervise the staff who work at the University of Minnesota Duluth and they invited me to speak on Jesus words in John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life.”

What’s interesting is that when I started college, I had no idea I would be working with InterVarsity Christian fellowship 14 years later.

So let me ask you this question.

Where do you think you are going?  How do you know how to get there?

Think about it.

If we’re talking geographically, its simple, right? Just get the address, enter it into a computer, gps, phone and it will give you turn by turn directions to your destination.

But what about life’s more complicated destinations? Like how do you get that destination dream job? Or a destination hot wife? Or put another way… How do I know God’s destination (God’s will) for my life?

One of the ways we know is from the Bible

John 14:6-7

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Let’s look at this in context:

In John 13 Jesus finishes washing the disciples feet. Then he begins to tell them about who will betray him and sell out.

Let’s pick up the story in vs 33:

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”

Peter thinking wait a second Jesus, wherever you go, I’ll go! But Jesus reiterates:

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Continuing in  chapter 14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Have you ever noticed how important place is? In the OT, God told Abraham, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

They wandered in the desert for years trying to get to that place

Place is important in our culture too.  Think about when you meet someone, one of the first questions we ask is, “Where are you from?”

Place reveals something about who we are.

The disciples all want to go to the place…  So Thomas says:

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through meIf you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.

Then Philip…

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

So here we have three different disciples voicing their desire to follow Jesus.

They know that Jesus is preparing a place for them and they know enough to know that they want to get there!

Similarly we all are longing for a place to be.  A place to belong.

Isnt’ it interesting that psychologically speaking, people have trouble when their home is destroyed. Think about the current hurricane victims.

Home is important.

We all want to be home.

But here’s the deal, the place that Jesus is talking about isn’t exactly what the disciples expected.  That’s part of the reason they are confused.  They were expecting a conquering hero, maybe like a Captain America who saves the day.

Maybe your expecting the charmed life. A good paying job, life in the suburbs, two kids and a dog. A nice church home without a lot of sacrifice.  That’s the dream destination isn’t it?

Sometimes we think that Heaven is the destination. But Jesus is saying that HE is the destination.

Jesus is talking about suffering.  He’s talking about death and betrayal, serving others.  He’s telling Peter that he will someday be a martyr.

I can’t tell you what your Destination is.  That’s part of the mystery.  That’s part of the point that Jesus is trying to make with Philip. Philip wants to know the destination he says “Show us the father!” so he can just go there on his own.

I think we’re all tempted to try to figure out how to get there on our own merit, in our own strength, using our own map / gps / computer / cell phone.  Our own Plans!

I remember when I first moved to Duluth, my brother and sister came to visit us for the first time. I told them about the construction on the main road and how to get around it.  They ignored it and followed their cell phone.  It took them extra time as they meandered their way around the construction. I’ve done that!

I’m a huge proponent of planning, but lets make sure our plans include his plans.

What are his plans?

In Jesus response to Philip’s question Jesus says in verse 15

4:15

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

4:23

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.

 

So what are his commands?

If you remember back in 13:34-35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Imagine if we loved one another.

In my marriage counseling my wife and I read a book that talked about the “yes spiral.”

To illustrate the concept:

Imagine I just got home from a long day of work. I’m tired. I come in the house and sit down on the couch. My wife asks, “Brian can you get me a drink of water?”

I could say, “I just sat down”

Or I could say “yes”

Imagine if more people were saying “yes.”  Sure I can help.  Sure I could give more money.  Sure I can meet you for lunch.  Yes I can give you a ride.  Absolutely let me edit your paper.

Wouldn’t our world be different? I imagine that more people’s needs would be met.  And imagine how much easier it would be to ask for help!  Imagine others are actually thinking about how to help you before you ask!

I imagine if everyone else is taking care of you, you wouldn’t have to take care of yourself anymore because others would be doing it for you!

Now Imagine people doing that for their enemies like Jesus talked about in Luke 6:27.

Ask him to show you how to love others.  John 14:13-14 says

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Pray and ask God how to show His love to others.

Conclusion:
So I ask you, where are you going? What’s your destination?
And more importantly is how are you going to know how to get there?

You think you want a good life, a great marriage and security.
I’m telling you that Jesus is THE WAY. He is THE LIFE. He IS the good LIFE!

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