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Revisit Deuteronomy 6 ... [read vs. 1-9]

Review: Our culture and our religious heritage have gone through a division of these components: heart/soul, strength/mind.

Strength/Mind is typical of the 19th and 20th century. It is the emphasis of the Modern Age, the Age of Reason and Enlightenment. Slogans: Better living through chemistry. The Age of Reason. Scientific Progress. Church: We are a people of the book. Bible names for Bible things. Common Sense. The Ancient Order of Things. Reasonable Faith. Study to show thyself approved. Bible Facts. Memorizing Scripture.

But what did we do with the Holy Spirit? Not much. What did we do with the mysteries of God? We de-mystified some of them. What did we do with imaginative texts like Revelation? We ignored it or said don’t take it literally. What did we do with miracles? We left them in the first century.

Heart/Soul is typical of the 21st century. It is the emphasis of the younger generations. Experience is equal to fact – or maybe even more important than objective fact in some cases. This is the postmodern age. Reason is good, but it has failed us. We live in a world of pure imagination.

But feelings are flexible. They change. Faith without work is dead and useless.

Imbalance: Heart-Soul w/o Mind-Strength: Non-reflective. Sloppy Agape. There’s no compass, no center. No memory of what God has done. No future. Focus is on the moment. Experience without the connection to something larger, without the mentoring and testing of community is narcissistic.

Mind-Strength w/o Heart-Soul: Rules without compassion. Sacrifice without Mercy. Action without Joy. Mechanical, legalistic. Outward. Believe the right thing, do the right thing, but feelings and heart are not surrendered to God. It is too rigid. Being rigid without mercy and humility becomes self-righteous and judgmental.

Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God

I believe the enemy wants us to be imbalanced. To focus only on our strengths. That makes us self-reliant and we never have to rely on others. And we hardly depend on God.

When we are imbalanced, we become divided because we treat one another with suspicion rather that respect ...

Some of us are more comfortable in one quadrant, but the community has to give place to them all. When the community or group preferences one side or one quadrant, then people are excluded.

Of course the community has to be creative in connecting h/s and s/m.

As an individual we want you to use your gifts (head, heart, hands). We pledge that there’s a place for you in our congregation.

Of course the application of this involves much more than just our Sunday morning assembly. It is much larger that because it involves all aspects of our lives and our life together.

Like the disciples in Acts 15, we will seek inspired wisdom and the guidance of the spirit to connect all of us for God’s purposes.

But doesn’t this mean we could seem different. Yes. But we can all worship God.
But doesn’t this mean we might not understand one another. Yes. But we can all submit to God.
But doesn’t this mean we might have some disagreements? Yes. But we will persevere through love and respect.
What we cannot do is just give up ...

Does our whole self belong to God?

I want you to think about your baptism. Was there any part of you that wasn’t buried with Christ? (I don’t mean was a toe or elbow sticking out of the water). I mean did you give your whole self to Christ?

Perhaps you’ve learned that the word “baptize” means immerse. Well that’s true enough, but baptism means so much more than that. When we are baptized, we are buried with Christ because we die to self. We offer our entire body, our entire self to Him. There’s no part of self, not heart soul strength or mind, that we can hold onto for ourselves – and if we do hold on to any of it we will lose it.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 30 May 2010

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