Ken Costa – Voices and Choices

Our world has been described as VUCA. 

Volatile 

Uncertain – we don’t know what tomorrow will bring 

Complex

A = Anxious or Angry

Have we ever known a more divided time? When we are trying to make the divisions even greater. ‘Age of anxiety’ may be suppressing the anger? 

Pressure and stress

Coldplay ‘Everyday life’ Chris Martin wants to express more anger’ https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/chris-martin-coldplay-interview-singer-everyday-life-new-album-god-is-the-answer-children-apple-moses-hxzp8h625

St Augustine “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” 

People are facing the realities. 

The story we live is lived according to the back story of this uncertainty which is the prevailing narrative of the world. 

Look at Coca Cola ads over the years. They capture the zeitgeist of where we are. We are living in the post-realworld. 

Reality is becoming blurred. VR, AR. What is the real world? ‘Taste the feeling’ is the latest ad. They are merging categories. We are called to describe reality in the light of God (David Ford). 

So what will an authentic spirituality do for every day life? Can we articulate that? 

The stress and pressure we put upon ourselves. We now live under pressure 24/7. It’s not just cramming for a test or having a busy week. Where is the release valve? 

Pope – How do you deal with pressure? 

‘Just as Jesus did. He had to live under pressure every day. I cope with pressure like he did’. 

John 7 Voices and Choices. 

Not the pressure of time, but timing. 

What are the voices shaping us, by the choices we are making.

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.

Pressure here to prove yourself

What was the Voice that spoke and birthed in him that he was the Beloved? He came back to it again and again. 

Luke 4 – then he went and made choices. In the face of temptation. Rather than prove himself straight off with a miracle he goes into the desert. 

The pressure comes from those closest to him. His brothers say ‘leave Galilee’ – they have very good reasons they present to him. Go public. But Jesus knows it’s good to stay in Galilee. There is a Jerusalem and the temptation is to get there on our own. You have to be on TV and Insta. It’s obvious! You want to be successful! To be recognised. Come out of the backwoods. Be famous – not secret, that’s useless. Your disciples need you. What are you going to do if you stay in Galilee? They are writing the strategy for him, ‘Go here, now, and be successful. Where you will be most seen.’ 

The world is opposed to God’s ways in the world. 

But what appears to be reasonable is not, when tested by revelation.

Jesus says no I am going to confrontthe world, not comfortthe world. He had just said ‘I am NOT going there, they want to kill me!’ 

But the disciples didn’t really know him or see who he is now. The bothers said ‘let’s go now.’ They want to slot Jesus into their own story. It doesn’t work like that. Even if it’s justifiable and you’re doing good stuff. Jesus won’t go on your journey, he wants you to follow him. 

The needs will always be greater and never ending. Voices shouldn’t drive our choices. Be cautious about the voices you allow into your life. Weigh the prophecies. 

Jesus didn’t have to prove himself. He replied ‘My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.’ 

They went. Without him. Ahead of him. They leave him and go anyway. 

Jesus says ‘It’s good in Galilee right now.’ God keeps the time. He wants you to go where he wants you more than you want to. But trust is the test. Do you trust the journey he wants you on? 

The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster; the right action at the wrong time leads to resistance; the wrong action at the right time is a mistake but the right action at the right time leads to success…

The only thing harder than waiting on God, is wishing you had. 

Peter didn’t get out of the boat until Jesus said come. 

It’s not ‘bless what I’m doing’ it’s ‘help me do what you’re blessing’. 

We can’t need the people we lead, because their desires are not necessarily is. They will take you somewhere, but it’s exhausting to row back from. Don’t always be looking at what’s next. Look at what’s now. We can’t determine the outcome. Even if it’s a righteous activity. But we can’t do it. And that becomes anxiety and destroys our rest and peace. 

But we can put ourselves in a position to know whether we stay in Galilee or go to Jerusalem today. 

It’s the pressure of timingnot time that kills most leaders. Is it ‘the right time’? The voices you hear should not determine the choices you make. He heard their voices. Then made his choice. They went without him. 

We can become technically competent. That breeds confidence – but that can be a disaster in ministry. You then produce something God never planted. Because they grow fantastically on day one but wilt on day three. 

What was the source of Jesus strength? 

1 Tim 3:16 He appeared in the flesh,

    was vindicated by the Spirit

You will crave the approval of others. He was justified by the Spirit not by other’s opinions. So he could hold back when everyone wanted to go forward. He knew the Spirit would lead him. Would vindicate him from a standpoint that would not be the same as the world said was success. 

Our success is JOYFUL HOPE. That gives us strength. Joyful hopefulness. 

Anger might get you followers but it does not give you joyful hope, it does not give you life. 

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