Brain Clutter - February 15, 2015 _____________________________________________________________________________
message began with two words – two words that, frankly, made no sense. I
actually resisted entertaining them, and most certainly resisted the idea of
building a sermon around them. The Holy Spirit won that battle and here we are
– here we go. Once I began to explore where these words were taking me, I
realized there was a great deal more than what could be presented in a single
sermon. Consider this message the first of a series to follow.
looking at the scripture references or announcing a theme, (in fact they will
not appear until the very end of this message) let me share those two words
with you. I think the majority will identify with them. Here they are: BRAIN
of writing the sermon manuscript first (which is my normal practice), I
actually put together the beginnings of my power-point presentation. I went to
google-images and typed in the words ‘brain clutter.’ Following are some of the
first images that appeared.
FIRST FOUR SLIDES)
we just viewed are artistic depictions of what it looks like inside our heads. The
word I will be using to describe or define that world is ‘structure’ or
‘structures.’ Try to imagine the mind as this accumulated mass of structures –
structures beyond our ability to count and number, structures of all shapes,
sizes, and colours.
yourself this question: Where did all those structures
come from? Then answer your question: The vast
majority of those structures were birthed and developed in the experience of
your personal history: your physical history, your social history, and your
spiritual history – everything you’ve been exposed to. For this reason,
these structures are deeply entrenched and they are not easily changed. In fact
the most difficult thing for any of us to change is our
many of you have been told, or have told another: “It’s all in your mind!?” What is
usually meant by that is that our mental perspective or assessment of a person
or event is not accurate regarding that person or event. This does not mean that
what is in your head is not real – it is real, but it’s
only real inside your head.
the critical point in all of this: Everything our senses are exposed to –
everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell – is filtered through those
mind-structures. And those structures interpret and translate what we just
experienced. But these mind-structures do not only interpret data related to
our physical senses they also influence how we interpret spiritual experience
is why the same sermon that blesses one causes another to be highly offended.
They are both hearing the same message but they are interpreting or processing
that message through very different mind-structures. Here then is the question: Does the message need to be changed, or do the
mind-structures need to be changed?
or discernment is not determined by things external to us (the sermon) but by
the internal structures of the mind. If those thought-structures, those
entrenched imaginations are faulty or even false then the perspective or
discernment they produce will also be faulty or false.
Wenda and I were treated to a wonderful experience on Thursday. Bob and Clair
took us to Ottawa where we toured the National Art Gallery. I cannot tell you
how the Holy Spirit met with and ministered to me during this journey through
endless expressions of the creativity and diversity of the Creator God
appearing on canvas. The first thing that dawned afresh upon my consciousness
was how scandalous it is when religion tries to take this infinitely creative
and diverse God and pour Him into one narrow expression of worship or doctrinal
structure – and then assume superiority to all the rest.
second very obvious reality I witnessed was the diversity of interpretation,
opinion, and appreciation on the part of those viewing these works. Some – not
many but some – were there only because this was March break and the family had
overruled their vote. That certainly was not the case with me, thus I found
myself taking time to read each abbreviated history of the various works – a
history that included the intention of the artist when such intention could be
often found myself in little clusters of viewers. Perhaps it was less than
ethical but I deliberately gave attention to what I called the “muted mutter.”
That “muted mutter” revealed that no two people totally and completely saw the
point is this – and it is a critically vital point – we all DID see the same
thing: the same painting hanging on the wall, but equally true, we all saw that
painting differently. For instance we
might be looking at the same painting of a house, but we
are seeing that house through the thought-structures and mind sets that were
forged around and in the house we grew up in. Those forged mind sets, those
entrenched thought-structures influence both how we see the house in the
painting and what we feel while we gaze upon it.
me set this illustration of the art gallery in scriptural terms. The idea here
is not to go into any complex examination of these verses; they should speak
Titus 1: 11 To the pure,
all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is
pure, but both their mind and
their conscience are defiled.
Our perception of all we see is
determined by two realities: mind & conscience.
14:14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in
itself; but to him who thinks
anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
If I think a particular thing is unclean that does not make that
thing unclean except to me BUT it affects how I relate to it AND to others.
What happens when I stumble upon Pastor Adam, who does not think this thing is
unclean and he’s enjoying that double chocolate chip, chocolate muffin at Tim
Horton’s? In the interest of his salvation and deliverance I warn him about
this indulgence of defilement. He asks me what my “truth” is based on. I report
that 60 years ago when I was five I ate one of those muffins and was sick for
two days. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out some anointing oil and says
something like this: “Could I pray for your healing so you too can enjoy the
taste experience of this muffin?”
that point I am faced with a significant choice. I
secretly covet his freedom, but my entrenched mind set – an old
thought-structure based upon personal history – generates an attitude of fear –
fear that masquerades as faith/truth while holding me in bondage to an old
Proper discernment, true discernment has got to come from a deeper
place in us – deeper than these entrenched thought-structures based upon
personal history. That deeper place is our spirit
where the Holy Spirit dwells and directs. This means that, when it comes to the
matter of the muffin, I have to reach past my 60 year old personal history with
a particular muffin. I must reach into my very spirit and HEAR the present
witness or testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning where He wants me to be
(PRESENTLY) regarding muffin-eating. And let me say this: for the most part
we’ll be delightfully surprised at the expanded freedom.
The Scripture reading at the core of
this series is: Romans 12: 1 – 2 Therefore I urge you, brethren,
by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will
of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.