Last November 22, 2012, our Young Adult's Evangelistic Night at ANCF Church went so well. In fact, it went more than we imagined it to be. The church hall was filled - at least all the chairs was used. Aaron Atanoza commented that we made "history" with it. And I was thoroughly satisfied with the entire production.
And yet no matter how hard you prepare for a big event like this, with all the loopholes shut closed, there are still things that's left unchecked - the battery of my Nikon 5100 DSLR was fully exhausted just before I delivered the message for the event. We could not capture it in a video. Well. I have learned to trust God's sovereignty in all things.
So, I will just reprint my message that night here in lieu of the video. Here it is:
When you wake up each morning what do you think about? Most probably, you think about your life and your future. But what comes in your mind about your life and your future? We wake up in the morning and think about these things and we don’t feel so good. Why? Because the thoughts are somewhat negative and yet they are undeniably true. These thoughts are:
What do I still lack?”
The irony of this all, is that we live in a time in human history where we seem to have everything. We are in an age where entertainment, goods, food, and wealth pervades all of life. We have tons of magazines, books, cd’s, dvd’s, blue rays, mp3’s, mp4’s, ipod, ipads, cable t.v. Above all we have INTERNET! With the latter, we have Facebook and Twitter - we can see people in distant places, old friends, old memories, old life, new prospects, etc. We are so rich with all these goodies and yet, we feel so…
What do I still lack?”
We are craving for something,
Something fundamental and so basic,
Something more than what we see, feel, hear, and taste,
Something not of this world,
Something spiritual and transcendent,
Erwin Mac Manus wrote a book “Soul Craving” and in it he identifies what we crave in life, why we crave these things, and who can satisfy all these cravings.
Craving for Meaning
Mac Manus says that we all crave for meaning. The greatest question that man ever asks in his life is “WHY”? The ultimate question of life is not “where”, “how”, or “what”, but “why?” Until now, amidst all technological breakthroughs, progresses in psychology, sociology, biology, physics, or chemistry, we are still asking “WHY?”
We look around and we see everything. We ask where all this came from? And in our modern mindset, we embraced a particular explanation – everything came to be accidentally. A cosmic accident took place in the billion years past, and it created a chain of causes and effects and out came this world in which we live where animals, trees, mountains, lakes, sea, rivers, people, human beings, now exist. Everything simply EVOLVED from this cosmic accident, we say.
Even if we comfort ourselves with the knowledge of science we still feel the weight of the question why? Why is there life? Why is there people? Why is there everything?
We ask why because we are designed for meaning. We ask why because we need meaning. We crave for meaning in life. We crave for significance. We can’t live without meaning.
Craving for meaning is actually craving for truth. What is the truth of all this? What is truth about life? What is truth about existence? Who then can answer this?
Jesus said “I AM the truth!”
He said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”.
We are designed for truth. And if Jesus is truth, then we are all designed for Jesus. We cannot live and seek truth apart from THE TRUTH. We are punishing ourselves when we do this. We must come to the truth because we are designed to be with the Truth. And the truth is not a thing but a person, and his name is Jesus Christ.
Craving for Hope and Destiny
Hope is like the sunshine. Take the sun away and everything is dark and gloom. Take away the sun and there is only darkness. We are all drawn to the light. And light is hope; it is destiny. Without light, we have no hope. We have no destiny.
A young girl was constantly and crudely bullied in school. Everyday, the bullying continued until she had had enough. She wrote a letter to her parents and took her life. The bullying took the sun away from her. It took the light away from her. It took the hope away from her. And finally, the darkness was overwhelming. She killed herself. That is what happens when we lose hope, when we see darkness and never the light.
“We need the hope of a future in order to survive in the present. We thrive when we are optimistic about the future. We cannot simply exist. We long for a sense of destiny. ‘It is important to fully live each moment, but equally important to make sure that we do not live only for this moment... We have to believe in tomorrow to function well today. It will never be enough for us simply to exist... Without a future there is no hope, and hope is essential for our souls to thrive’”. (TheoCentric blog, quoting Mc Manus)
Jesus said, “I AM THE LIFE”.
To have hope and destiny is to have life. We are designed for life and not death. Death is not the purpose of existence, life is. Life is the purpose. Life is the destiny. Life is our hope. Jesus said, “he who believes in me, although he may die, he shall live”. In another portion of the bible he said “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly”.
If Jesus is the life, it is foolish then for us to seek life apart from Him. If he is the author of life, we therefore cannot seek life apart from Him. We must come to him because He is hope, he is destiny, he is life. Life is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.
Craving for Love
Another area of human craving is the craving for intimacy. And intimacy is actually a craving for love. Take away love and everything falls apart. Take away love in the family, and the family crumbles. Take away love between man and wife and the marriage collapses. Take away love in society and society disintegrate. Nothing survives without love.
Erwin Mc Manus says, "We cannot live unaffected by love. We are most alive when we find it, most devastated when we lose it, most empty when we give up on it, most inhumane when we betray it, and most passionate when we pursue it. The human story seems more driven by the insanity of love than the survival of the fittest."
"Home is ultimately not about a place to live but about the people with whom you are most fully alive. Home is about love, relationship, community, and belonging, and we are all searching for home."
"If God is love, it is maddening when we are running from God and yet searching for love."
“When we are disconnected from God, we find ourselves increasingly empty of love. Jesus, it seems, is certain that the more you love God, the more you will love people."
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Love therefore is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.
It is clear at this point that what we need, what we crave for is Jesus. What we crave for meaning, what we crave for hope, and what we crave for love is OUR CRAVING FOR GOD. God designed us to crave for Him. God designed us to seek Him. God designed us for Him. It is therefore futile and foolish for us to seek hope, meaning, and love apart from God. It is foolish to live our lives apart from God.
But Jesus is constantly inviting us. He is constantly wooing us. He is constantly crossing our path to capture our attention. He is constantly knocking on our door and waiting for us to open up for Him.
This morning, you may have felt…
What do I still lack?”
But Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
What is your response to this invitation? Will you embrace it? Reject it? Set it aside for another time, saying, “not now Lord! I have so many things to do than accept you!” How is it going to be for you tonight? Will you reject the author of hope, meaning, and love? Or will you deny your pride and say “yes”. What is it going to be?