New Hope Notes
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Welcome to our Easter celebration! This is my 23rd Easter in Honolulu with New Hope, and I love every one of them!
When you look at the heavens and see the constellations—our Milky Way, Andromeda, Orion, all the different constellations, millions and millions of light years apart from one another, the black holes and quasars far flung throughout the universe, so far that it boggles our mind—yet everything is in perfect and precise rotation! And why is God so concerned about mankind? He's so small, so unworthy, and shouldn't even be noticed, but God made the canopy of stars for man/you so that you will know the magnificence of His love. He notices you and knows exactly where you are. Let's take a look…
Psalm 8:1-4 NIV, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you should be so mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them?”
You can't find a better expression of God's love than that, can you? How often we think that we're just not worth it—but God thinks we are!
I want to give you an invitation to think as God thinks. What would our world be like if we took a radical approach and invited to our dinner party that person we just cannot forgive or love? Love is really alive and kicking when someone invites us to the table when we don't deserve the honor, and we don't have to bring the hostess a gift or a dessert! You just come as you are. You are welcome!
Oh, how I want to love as wildly and senselessly as Jesus loved! Until I do, I may never understand what He is trying to teach me about forgiveness, invitation, and love. You can't really think as God thinks until you see things as He sees…
Matthew 6:22-23 NASB says, 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
In reality, you don't see with your eyes. You see with your brain. You interpret that data, and that's where your mind comes in. Your mind defines what you have logged. For instance, you can look at the ocean—it's turbulent, the wind is blowing and the waves are gnarly—you can say, "That's so dangerous!" or, if you’re a surfer, you can say, "Dude, let's go!" Same data, different interpretation! You don't really see with your eyes; you see with your mind.
Your imagination takes place in your mind. You can imagine the worst or you can imagine the best. You can imagine it fearful and make yourself miserable; or you can see the same thing and say, “God is good,” and become a person of faith. It's in your mind, your imagination—what you imagine. The scripture says in…
Philippians 4:6, 7 NASB, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This verse tells us that your mind is closely linked with your heart. By renewing the spirit of your mind, your mind can see something as bright as neon or as dark and shadowed.
For many years, the world (through television and newspapers) told us how to think!
The brain is different from the mind! That's the reason the Bible says if you're to see or think as God does, you must renew the spirit of your mind—it doesn't say renew your brain!
Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB says, “Lay aside the old self...and be renewed in the spirit of the mind and put on the new self, which is in the likeness of God.”
To repent is to change your mind about how you see things. When you come to God and repent, you are saying, “Lord, I'm changing my mind about you, that what you say is true. It's not fables.” And the Lord says, “That's how you begin to think as I think about your life.”
I tell people it's never too late to have a happy childhood. You may be saying, “What are you talking about?” Well, it's the way you see your childhood. My childhood was bad—it was terrible! My dad was in the Army and one of my earliest memories is of hanging on to my mom in the bedroom and pleading with my dad, "Please, don’t hit her again." It’s burnt in my mind.
Later, dad and mom got into a very messy divorce and we went to live with our mom in Palolo Valley. She was a waitress at the Flamingo restaurant and couldn't afford the mortgage payments, so she rented out our house, and we lived in our uncle's garage—four kids and a single mom. She couldn't even afford that, so we were sent to our dad in Japan. By then, he had remarried and had another family—we were an intrusion on their life!
My dad was very strict. In fact, my brother went to the hospital twice because of the disciplines he received. Sometimes, I didn't want to go to P.E. because of the red stripes on my back and legs.
When I was 13 years old, I was handed a suitcase with my clothes in it and sent off from Oregon to California to enter a Catholic boarding school. I had just enough money to get there. I waited at the bus stop and didn't have money for food. A man befriended me. I didn't know what was going on and I was molested. I finally got to the boarding school and felt horrible! I was kicked out of school a couple of years later and went deep into drugs.
At age 19, I received Christ and God trained me for ministry. Sometimes people ask me, "Wayne, don't you wish you would have had a better background, a better childhood, better parents?"
At first I wanted to say, "Absolutely," but then I would stop and say, "No, I don't think so. I think I'm good." They always seem stumped and asked, “Why?! Things could’ve been easier. That's a terrible background.”
But you know, God looked into my heart and told me, “Wayne, I'm going to put you in a pretty tough background. But if you will suffer correctly and keep your eyes on Me, it will give you compassion for those who were molested, give you a heart for those who stray, and give you the fortitude and perseverance to outlast anything you experience. That's the training you’ll need to fulfill the purposes that I will assign you. Is that all right?” For some reason, I said, “Okay."
So would I change that? Nope. I have to look at it as a better life with a brighter red and a brighter green—not a dull shadow.
Let me give you two considerations to help renew your minds:
(1) Consider the Word of God. The Word of God is the only thing that can change your mind in a drastic way and allow you to see things differently.
(2) Consider the heavens because when you do, it will expand your mind; you will begin to see the magnitude of the One who created the heavens and uses it as a measurement of His glory and love for you!
Psalm 36:5 NASB says, "Your loving kindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies."
So if you want to know who God is, look at the skies; look at the beauty of the heavens. Do you understand how much He loves you? Well, I do! I think what a great God we have!
Or we could become miserable wicked people that dislike God. You might say, “What are you talking about?” Let's say someone breaks into my house, grabs my wife, and threatens to beat and torture her.
I say, "No. If you want to beat and torture somebody, torture me. Beat me."
So the criminal says, “Okay.” So he tortures and beats me to a pulp until I'm ready to die. When he's done thrashing me, my wife looks at me, then looks at the torturer and decides to run off with the torturer! That's what we did to Jesus.
When Jesus was on the cross and the people abused and taunted Him, we ran off with the torturers! Instead of writing us off, Jesus is like a husband that takes the time to heal and pray for His wife's safety. He'd pray that she would return, and His love would not flag one bit. That's what Jesus did for us!
In other words, the Bible is saying, the work of creation that we can see 24 hours a day is child's play compared to the work of redemption that Jesus went through to show us how much He loves us. For us to reject that is crazy!
Jesus laid down His life for us so that we might live—that's what Good Friday and Easter are all about. The gospel of Jesus Christ is something that we might not ever be able to fathom! Even when we decided to run off with the torturer, He loved us still and stretched out His arms on the Cross. He not only died for us, but He welcomes us home!
Let me encourage you that if you've never received Jesus as your Savior, please do so this Easter. Jesus has done everything He could to show you the magnificence and the magnanimous love that He has for you and me!