New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon Burgess and Pastor John Tilton
[Video – Pastor Jon Burgess from Kailua]
Aloha and welcome to New Hope Oahu! Thank you for joining us from wherever you may be to our potluck with friends in Kailua (Oahu). The Hawaiian Islands is one of the most diverse places in the world. Look at all the nationalities represented just in this one plate alone—Korean, Hawaiian, Mexican, American, etc.
I prefer the metaphor of mixed plate than melting pot because a melting pot is when all these amazing ingredients are thrown into one pot and they lose their distinctive flavors! But in a mixed plate, you get all nationalities representing their distinctive flavors, and you get to enjoy all of them equally and separately united by one plate—a great metaphor for the Body of Christ! We each have our own unique culture, background, personality, distinctiveness, traditions, and when we become a Christian, God doesn't say, “I want you to all taste and look alike.”
The more we find our identity in Christ, the more we realize our distinctive personalities and cultures that make the Body of Christ more beautiful! Let's celebrate our unity and diversity—we're a mixed plate!
Jesus Christ first appeared to His disciples in His resurrected form to eat with His disciples…
Luke 24:36-43 NIV, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence.”
The moment that Jesus ate fish was proof to the disciples that He was alive and well! It brought back beautiful intimate moments around the campfire cooking fish and sitting around the table eating and having communion with Him.
When Jesus walks into a room, everything changes! He turns our panic into peace, our fears into faith, and doubting people into disciples! Jesus wants us to experience the Taste of Hawaii—the diversity and understand that of all the places in world He could have placed us He put us on this rock—in the middle of the ocean! It's more than coincidence or happenstance—it is providence! Jesus wants us to understand not only our own beauty as a cultural distinctive, but also the beauty of the people around us. They are amazing people (all different) and God wants us to celebrate that difference together!
Forgiveness is sometimes very difficult, especially, when the wounds go to the very core of our being (identity/security) like being based upon our skin color! Jesus in His resurrected form called us (looking at His disciples) and said that our main mission to all nations is forgiveness…
1. Forgiveness For The Nations!
Luke 24:45-49 NIV, says, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’”
In the Greek, “to open their minds,” means to give them the interest, desire, and the faculty to understand this brand?new thing (to open what's been closed through wounds, fears, prejudice or misunderstandings) and preach to every nation the forgiveness of sins and repentance, which is literally the changing of the way we think!
The birth of the church is an indicator of the purpose of the church: to go to all nations, to people of different cultures, skin colors, and flavors, with one primary message: repentance and forgiveness for all. That includes everyone!
[End of Video]
PASTOR JOHN TILTON:
2. Freedom For The Nations!
Here’s an equation that I want to share: Repentance Leads to Forgiveness Equals Freedom.
Freedom is defined as change of heart—it's not complicated. God wants a changed heart.
A. Change Of Heart, Will Lead To Freedom!
Psalm 51:10 NIV says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
The heart is a physical organ so what does it mean in a spiritual sense? The inner part of a man/woman is the soul (my will and emotion that I control). What I take in of the light affects my inner part (soul) and prepares my heart for the Lord.
Acts 13:22 NIV says, “After removing Saul, He made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’”
David was a portrait of success and failure—far from being perfect! We read about his sin with Bathsheba, what he did with Bathsheba's husband, and the people he killed—how could he be a man after God's own heart?
In spite of David’s failures, the Bible says that his heart was always pointed to God. He had a deep desire to do everything that God wanted him to do; and whenever David failed, he immediately repented and sought God’s forgiveness. That made David a man after God's own heart. Isn't that a portrait of us? Nobody's perfect except Jesus. The Bible says in…
Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIV, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. They will be My people, and I will be their God.”
The heart is an organ, so how do we renew the heart? To renew the heart, we must have a desire for a new heart/change of heart.
Decisions are made based on our emotion and will; therefore, if we feed on good things each day, good will come forth. If we feed on worldly things each day, worldly things will come forth. Changing/renewing our heart starts with daily devotions:
- Read the Bible and contemplate on what is God saying.
- Prayer is to converse with God: Ask, “God what do You have for me today?”
- Wait for His still small voice.
- Daily devotions will cause us to be godly focused—not worldly focused!
Medically speaking, stimuli can physiologically increase the size of the heart or shrink it. So too, God's Word changes our spiritual heart. As I stimulate my heart with the things of God, my heart grows for God. If I don't, it can shrink. Therefore, if you want freedom in your life, start with a change of heart that leads to freedom!
We conclude that because of the beauty of the islands and the diversity and unity of cultures in Hawaii, we live in paradise (just a step away from heaven)! God has called us to share that freedom with the nations! Two scriptures tell about the future and what God called us to do…
Revelation 7, 9 10 NIV says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”
Revelation 5:6,9, NIV says, “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders… And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made themto be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’”
Earlier, Pastor Burgess compared us to a mixed plate of diverse cultures and unity, and that we have forgiveness through repentance, that through a change of heart, we have freedom—a gift, a makana in Hawaiian, we believe that we are called to share our freedom with the nations.
Matthew 28:19 NIV, says, “Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’” In Hawaii, Oahu is called the gathering place. We live in a place where we are able to exercise our diversity, yet be unified.
We have a special word, Aloha (love). We market the “aloha spirit” to the world (every nation, tribe, and tongue). We are called by God to invite all people to receive forgiveness of sin and freedom through a changed heart: Love based on the heart God has given us.
PASTOR JON BURGESS:
We are celebrating A Taste of Hawaii this week because the nations have literally come here, to Hawaii!
We are ohana (family)! We are one through Jesus Christ and have a deeper unity with our ohana at New Hope than with our own flesh and blood. We have a message of forgiveness and freedom to everyone that we come across—it doesn't matter the color of skin or background—everyone wants to know they belong somewhere and we invite all to A Taste of Hawaii!
Sometimes we make it a little too complicated—but LOVE conquers all! Jesus did it in our hearts. Let's allow Him do that through us. I am so thankful that we get to do this together!