New Life Church of Tampa
Get Out Of The Box
Pastor Thomas Atchison's Sermon Notes
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
A man became lost in his travels and wandered into a bed of quicksand.
Confucius saw the man’s predicament and said, “It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this.”
Next, Buddha observed the situation and said, “Let that man’s plight be a lesson to the rest of the world.”
Then Mohammed came by and said to the sinking man, “Alas, it is the will of God.”
Finally, Jesus appeared on the scene ad said, “Take my hand, brother. I will save you.
We have a common trend in the corporate world of America. It’s the idea of our need to expand our horizons. To look at things from a fresh perspective. To find out a new agenda or develop a new plan. We call this term “getting out of the box.”
A lot of people work in offices or in cubicles for these companies. How interesting to think that while the higher ups are saying, “try to think outside of the box,” most of their employees are physically stuck in a box all day!
I guess the box is how we see things. How we have always seen things. It refers to how you have tended to think your whole life and the statement, “think outside of the box” is a term to make you think beyond what you normally think. Shift your paradigm.
Now there’s a only a few stories that have made it into all Four Gospels.
The Feeding of The Five Thousand.
We must realize the significance of this passage. Why do all four gospels mention that Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed 5,000 people with them?
I have read this scripture many times and to be honest, it is not a miracle that really baffles my attention. Now, the widow’s son coming back to life! There’s a miracle. Or raising Lazarus – AWESOME! But the feeding of the five thousand???? I never got it till I read it from the Book of John.
You see, in John’s account the Disciples were the Ones in need of a paradigm shift.
They needed a new way of looking at Jesus. They were familiar with his powerful teaching, his healing ministry. But here, when 5,000 people are holding their stomachs suddenly they run out of faith in who they have been following.
The Bible says, that Jesus saw this crowd and against the better judgment of His Disciples decided they would feed them.
Now first thing, He asks Phillip to see where they can get all the bread necessary.
Phillip, being a native of the area, knows the cost of such an endeavor. His analytical mind gets cranking and spells out the message of impossible.
There are always people like that. You have come across the impossible and instantly, they are there to show you just how impossible it really is.
Philip was sadly stuck in the box.
Commonly for ourselves, this is our paradigm, being stuck in a box. And for the moment, it’s Philip’s mind.
You can’t see much in a box. In fact, it’s a bit constrictive. But that’s how Philip is thinking. Jesus, you may be a great teacher, but now you really don’t understand what’s going on here.
I think that Philip became what many of us become when we think in the box, rather than in the vision of God. The world calls it reasonable.
Then there’s Andrew. Andrew is constantly outside the box. In fact, to be the brother of someone like Peter, I think you have to live outside of the box because Peter is always taking the high road.
Andrew is an interesting character. We don’t read much about Andrew, but we do know these things.
· Andrew brought Peter to Christ. – This was the first thing He did as Christ’s disciple.
· Andrew brought some Greeks to Christ.
· Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist.
Andrew was an outside the box kind of guy.
He comes to Jesus with a morsel. At least he came with something.
The Bible says he found a lad with “five small barley loaves and two small fish.”
Emphasis on small I guess.
Then He asks a question that really means more that what he intended it to mean.
“But how far will they go among so many?”
You and I know the story all too well.
Jesus tells the people to sit. Breaks the Bread and Blesses it. Then hands it to the disciples to pass out to the people. Twelve baskets left over. The people want to make Him King.
Now, what’s the meaning of all this?
The meaning is that if all we ever think of Jesus is what is in our box, then that’s exactly what we will get.
God wants to break your box wide open this morning. In fact, he wants to burn your box in the fire of revelation to cause you to see the incredible things He can do for those who believe.
2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;”
Did you know that God has equipped you already for everything you need to do that is good? It’s exciting to know that I don’t have to have a Seminary degree to preach his word, and neither do you. What we do need is a heart and mind full of expectancy that God is able.
We all like the story of Shadrach Meshack and Abedego. The story has been told in countless Sunday School classrooms throughout decades of time. I like what these three stubborn followers had to say to the king that held their lives in the balance.
Daniel 3:17 ". . . our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.”
Now that is thinking outside of the box.
I think there is ample evidence to support the idea that our world really takes to abstract thinkers. Look at the great people of history from Winston Churchill to Leonardo DiVinci. These people were known not for their ability to just think well, but to think abstractly. They took the level of status quo and made people realize there were whole new ways of looking at everything from art to world leadership.
And we can firmly say this, the world is a better place because of the abstract thinkers. For those that dare to look beyond limitations of the mind and preconceived ideas God takes pleasure in.
In our story is one final person of significance. The little boy with the meager meal and the miraculous mindset seems to get our attention in the midst of the doubting disciples and frustrated followers.
He comes simply with what he has. To this boy, there is no limitation on what God can do with what God has given him. To him, the sky is the limit for a limitless savior. After all, isn’t this the man they call Messiah?
I like that kind of thinking. Thinking that is not based on the here and now. Thinking that stands in the gap while everyone else finds some way to make the plans and purposes of God seem impossible and say, “Here, take this, see what Jesus can do with what I have.”
Perhaps it is fitting that a child brought Jesus this food. Perhaps because you and I could take a lesson not in the child’s faith as much as the Saviors ability to supply. I want to come to Jesus with a fresh attitude. I want to get out of the box. I want to see Him work in my life that I may not have allowed Him to before because of preconceived notions of worldly thinking and short sighted faith.
I pray you and I come to the altar this morning, not only to burn our boxes of faithlessness, but to put our whole selves on the altar of God’s sacrifice and say the simple words of the boy in our Bible text this morning,
“Here, Lord, take these.”