“Why Did the Chicken Cross the World and 307 Other Questions That Could Start a Fire.”
At first glance, this seems like a very simple question with a very simple answer, but the answer requires more in depth study, a historical background check and ends with a very spelled out, sound reason, that makes great sense.
Basically this question, answered, examines the chicken’s ever growing and complex role in society and civilization.
This question takes us on a captivating journey through the history of the most fundamental and significant source of human protein.
Jesus asked some questions…307 to be exact.
He only ANSWERED, 3.
Some questions were straight forward and simple.
Others were rhetorical.
And still others were a challenge and NOT easily answered.
In Martin B. Copenhaver’s book, “Jesus is the Question”, he says: “Easy answers can give us a sense of finality. By entertaining questions, God has a chance to change us. Answers can be offered as a conclusion. Questions are an invitation to further reflection. For the most part, answers CLOSE and questions, OPEN. It is telling that the word question contains the word QUEST. That is, a QUESTION, sends you on a journey, and OFTEN in search of something valuable.”
I am going to ask a question, today, that I hope will INVITE YOU to further reflection. I want to send YOU on a journey, in search of something valuable.
One of the questions that Jesus asked was pretty simple, but not so easily answered.
He asked His Disciples: “Who do people say that I am?”, and then He followed it with ANOTHER question, “But who do YOU say that I am?”
Knowing WHO Jesus IS, is one of the most important pieces of knowledge that we can acquire. But, KNOWING Jesus, is even MORE important. One is about information, the other is about RELATIONSHIP.
The way we answer this question can change our life.
It can change the way we look at the world.
The way we look at people.
The way we REACT to the world AND people.
But most importantly, the way we look at OURSELVES.
So I would like to redirect the question. Let’s ask the original QUESTIONER, the question.
Let’s ask Jesus: “Who do YOU say that I am?”
Knowing who JESUS says we are…can give us an IDENTITY that is grounded and affect EVERYTHING that we think…
And everything that we THINK can affect everything that we SAY…
And everything that we SAY can affect everything that we DO.
Who Jesus says WE are can be the most life altering bit of knowledge and truth, of which we can take possession, CLAIM for our lives, and proceed to LIVE this truth out as a testimony to the world around us.
It can change the way we see not only with our EYES, but how we venture into the world with our HEARTS.
Who OTHERS say we are, can sometimes DESTROY us for life, causing us to alter the very thing that God created; our SOUL… and therefore, STUNTING our growth in HIM.
When our development in HIM is skewed, our God-designed POTENTIAL is forever altered;
not that He can’t restore and heal, which is what He does BEST, but we must become secure IN Him, in order to find our way back TO Him and all that He has planned for us.
Some of us here grew up in homes that were loving and encouraging; a place of safety and security.
And some of us probably grew up feeling insecure in their home environment; unsure of being loved, wanted, or of worth.
I’m very sorry if YOUR memories are part of the latter.
How much we accept ourselves as adults is STRONGLY tied to the type of LOVE that we received as a child.
Unconditionally loved children will generally grow up to have HIGH levels of self-acceptance or self-esteem.
Conditionally loved children; children who feel love based on how they act, what they do, EVEN, how they look, generally grow up with lower levels of self-acceptance.
Now this is Generally speaking. There are ALWAYS situations that don’t fit the norm;
But how you enter the world as an adult is greatly affected by WHO the people in your life, “Say” you are;
Especially if you BELIEVE that it is the TRUTH.
It takes COURAGE to Listen to Jesus’ truth and then, FAITH, to believe that it IS the TRUTH.
I’ve never understood that phrase; “Quit being such a “CHICKEN!”, because all of the videos that I watched on chickens showed that they are brave and inquisitive; that they will defend and protect their young.
They are extremely affectionate and caring.
In fact, Jesus even used as an example, the love of a hen for her chicks to express God’s love for us in Matthew 23:37.
In ancient Rome, saying you were raised by a “Hen” was a compliment.
So let’s hear Jesus’ answer to our question: “Who do YOU say that I am?”
What is this truth that Jesus proclaimed about each and every one of us.
What does it say about our point in being here and our PURPOSE?
Where do we fit, in the big picture of LIFE?
What defines us?
What makes us….US?
“You are a CHOSEN PEOPLE,
A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD,
A HOLY NATION,
GOD’S SPECIAL POSSESSION, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His WONDERFUL LIGHT.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of GOD; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received MERCY.”
Let that just settle on your soul for a second….
How many of you claim this for yourselves as truth today?
How many of you truly believe that Jesus is speaking about YOU??!!
This is not coming from ME, or The Vineyard Church or our Senior Pastors.
This is coming DIRECTLY from our CREATOR…from His HOLY WORD.
This IS our IDENTITY.
But really…how many of us feel like royalty or like priests, or HOLY??
I didn’t the other day when I was exhausted and was trying to get something done and ended up dropping something and creating a big mess, to waste more of my time to have to clean up and the “F” bomb flew out of my mouth with a few other choice phrases!
Why is it a constant to try and stay on track? And not do the things we hate to do?
We’re in great company, though, because even the Apostle Paul, who WROTE most of the New Testament in Holy Scripture, struggled with this. He said in Romans 7:15, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
So for a short minute I feel like a failure, but then I apologize to God and then to my husband who happened to be in the room at the time, and I move on.
I don’t wallow and condemn myself.
I don’t think that God isn’t going to forgive me or worse yet, not LOVE me.
I know deep in my heart that He has mercy on my soul and that He will NEVER abandon me.
But that’s MY personality and according to psychologists, this security comes partly from how I was loved as a child.
It comes from positive self-esteem.
But I know that it comes from a place deeper than just my upbringing.
It comes because I KNOW where my identity lies.
It comes because I KNOW who HE says I am.
And I believe HIS truth.
But what happens when we don’t know all those things.
When we were told maybe that we wouldn’t amount to anything, over and over again, or “Why try… you’ll probably just fail?”
What happens when we DON’T know who Jesus says we are.
That voice of authority inside our own head can almost destroy us if we allow it.
Who is this?
Harland David Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame.
Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “Lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.
He tried starting a business that ended in bankruptcy and failure.
He wouldn’t quit.
Today, Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies, and theme parks around the world.
Most of us equate Albert Einstein with the word GENIUS.
He did not speak until he was 4 and could not read until he was 7.
His teachers and parents thought he was MENTALLY HANDICAPPED, slow and anti-social.
He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
In the end, he won the Nobel Prize and changed the face of modern Physics.
She is one of those people who only need to go by one name.
She is one of the most iconic TV personalities, as well as one of the most wealthy and successful women in the world.
Oprah’s road was long and not easy though.
She endured an abusive and rough childhood and as an adult was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV”.
There are many examples and stories written about how, now famous, successful people, had they listened to some form of authority in their life, would not have made an impact on the world, the way that they DID.
They would have believed that that was the truth about them and would have given up.
But these people EACH had at least ONE person of authority, who actually knew what they were talking about, who encouraged them on toward SELF-CONFIDENCE, SECURITY and eventually, GREATNESS and SUCCESS.
It had to be the right person, though; not just anyone.
Someone who KNEW the truth of the matter.
Someone who saw the POTENTIAL.
It’s kind of the same way OUR relationship with God is.
He is the ONE authority who knows the TRUTH about us and Knows the POTENTIAL within us; because HE is our CREATOR.
We need to listen to what HE says about us.
All of these claims come from HIS SCRIPTURE.
He designed us and KNIT us together in our Mother’s womb.
He knows the very hairs on our head. (Of course some he doesn’t have to count very far).
He ordained OUR birth, even BEFORE our parents THOUGHT of conceiving us.
His plan for our FUTURE has ALWAYS been FILLED WITH HOPE!
We were NOT a mistake, because He has ALL of our DAYS written in HIS BOOK!
His DESIRE has been from DAY ONE, to LAVISH His love on us.
He is the Only one who has a RIGHT to make these claims on our lives.
“You are a chosen PEOPLE.”
God is telling you and I that WE are ACCEPTABLE.
Now most of us in here were born to our parents. They didn’t get to pick us out from a lineup of babies. They didn’t choose us.
They were basically, “stuck” with us to put it crudely.
But there are a couple of people in here who were ADOPTED. They were chosen.
Both children are loved, but to know you were chosen, puts a special meaning to it.
And so it is with God….He CHOSE us.
We are His ADOPTED children.
We ALL have in innate need to be ACCEPTED.
It’s not on the same level, but remember how GREAT, OR how AWFUL it felt when you were young and teams at school were being picked?
Everyone dreaded not hearing their name called out.
Well, with God, it’s as if we were all picked “FIRST”,
That we EACH, were the MOST DESIRED and WANTED.
That EACH of us is his FAVORITE.
And He chooses US, in spite of our weaknesses, character flaws, physical flaws, our sins, or any number of things that would make us unattractive or unlovable to someone else.
It’s a mystery how that works, but Jesus STILL would have gone to the cross, even if there were only YOU…JUST ONE PERSON, to die for.
I pray that you FEEL that today…how loved and how SPECIAL you are by the Father.
You don’t need to do anything to IMPRESS,
You just need to accept this amazing GIFT.
So, not only does He say we are CHOSEN,
He also says that we are His SPECIAL POSSESSION.
This means that we are of VALUE, ESPECIALLY to HIM.
If we add up the value of a body based on chemical elements,
Summing up all the amounts in the VALUE column, we can get an accurate amount on just what a body is WORTH,
ROUGHLY around ONLY $160!
Doesn’t sound like much.
When I’ve considered having a rummage sale and wondered what to charge for things, Kenny always told me that something is worth ONLY what someone is willing to pay for it.
According to a recent article in “Wired” magazine, a human body could be worth up to $45 Million!
That’s on today’s market value if you sell off, by components, piece by piece;
Say, for instance the BONE MARROW, DNA, the LUNGS, KIDNEYS, HEART and so on.
People are willing to pay THAT kind of money because it literally means LIFE or DEATH.
So what is OUR value?
Not in a pile of chemical elements….
What is our VALUE to GOD?
What are we WORTH to HIM?
What was HE willing to PAY for US?
1 Corinthians 7:23 says: “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.”
We must stop letting the world tell us who we are, and START listening and CLAIM the TRUTH of who GOD, says we are.
His voice is the ONLY one that matters.
He is the ONLY AUTHORITY who has the RIGHT to tell us who we are.
After all, He PAID the highest price.
He gave up HIS Son, and separated Himself from Jesus while He hung on a cross and died a HORRIFIC death.
Unlike piece by piece where our organs can demand a high price in the world of medicine,
in order to save a life…
God demanded the HIGHEST PRICE from His Son;
His SON’s whole body, spirit, mind, and soul;
Everything that He WAS, hung on that cross;
And it too, saved a life.
YOURS and MINE.
Each and EVERY life.
All we need to DO, is CLAIM that TRUTH.
THAT is what God says about YOU and ME.
That we are WORTH more than we could EVER be able to imagine.
We BELONG to HIM.
We are PRECIOUS to Him.
He gave HIS life so that we could HAVE life and not just any life,
Not a mediocre life, Not a life without MEANING and PURPOSE; but an ABUNDANT life, filled with that indescribable joy, even in not so wonderful circumstances and a life that is ETERNAL.
In John 10:10, Jesus said: “The thief does not come except to STEAL, to KILL, and to DESTROY. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
The word for “abundant” in Greek is ‘perisson’, meaning:
MORE, SUPERFLUOUS, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than one would EVER expect or anticipate.
Therefore, Jesus PROMISES us a life far BETTER than we could EVER imagine.
This doesn’t mean more “stuff”.
It doesn’t mean MATERIAL abundance.
It MEANS SPIRITUAL abundance.
Abundant life is ETERNAL life.
It begins the moment we accept Him into our heart and continues to the day we leave this earth.
In John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Being part of His Chosen people,
His Royal priesthood,
And His Special Possession will gift us with 2 benefits:
- We will have direct access to Christ, Himself.
We will have a personal fellowship with God. We can open our own Heart and Mind to Him. We don’t have to confess our sins to anyone else.
We can go directly to HIM.
- We will have a responsibility to minister to the needs of others.
And YES…I consider that a GIFT and a BENEFIT.
You know we really aren’t called to do THAT much.
Some people complain that as CHRISTIANS, we have so many rules that we HAVE to follow.
And that is such a perverted view of Christianity.
You see being a CHRISTIAN isn’t about being RELIGIOUS.
But it IS about RELATIONSHIP; with GOD and with PEOPLE.
It is a means of serving and loving, our CREATOR and SERVING and loving, each other increasingly as each day passes.
We are called to do only 2 things in this life of ABUNDANCE: and that is…
LOVE GOD and
That is IT!
The SIMPLEST thing and the HARDEST thing.
Saying “yes” to Jesus means that we are saying “yes” to being a part of His MINISTRY.
To speak out FOR Him and to take the message of WHO Jesus says that THEY are…and tell them of the PROFOUND CHANGE that He has made in OUR life.
So this morning, we have asked Jesus an important question: “Who do YOU say that I am?” in the hope that it would invite us to further CONSIDERATION.
That it would take us on a little journey in search of something valuable.
The journey was learning a little more of what God claims over US, as His children.
And the “something Valuable that you were to find, was hopefully….YOU.
An abundant life takes a lifetime of: LEARNING,
DISCIPLINE and PRACTICE,
GROWING in our faith,
as well as FAILING,
And then….One day, we will stand before Him, Face to Face, and we will KNOW Him COMPLETELY and
WE will be known COMPLETELY.
And we will not STRUGGLE anymore with SIN
Or with DOUBT.
We will NOT care what the world THINKS or SAYS about us.
And THIS, will be the ULTIMATELY, FULFILLED ABUNDANT, LIFE.
Debbie is a Pastor at The Vineyard Church Ft. Myers. Debbie is a wife, mother, grandmother and lover of people. Debbie believes that love is always the answer and lives her life as a bright and shining example as what LOVE looks like in action!