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Loving God with All Your Thinking

Frank Hasel


Frank Hasel

Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) at the General Conference



  • May 29, 2021
    10:00 AM
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Good morning. Happy sabbath to you. It is a great joy for me to be with you here this sabbath morning. Believe it or not, for me personally. This is the 1st in person sabbath service that I participate in, in, over a year since this terrible pandemic hit this country here. So this is really special to me and I just enjoy the fellowship. And I just enjoy the people, the real people, not just the virtual presence of people on the screen, but the real presence of real people in the room is just nothing like that and nothing can top down. So thank you for being here. And thank you for joining us here for the sabbath said I just come from ma, my and law to leila walters. She lives just a few miles down the road in banning really. And this morning reset together and all yesterday afternoon and evening and talking and talking and talking. And she was relating some of the stories that you could read in that special book that was announced. A 1000 shall talk. Can I see who has read that book? A 1000 shall fall, amazing book, isn't it? An amazing thing is that it's true stories and she told me even other stories that are not in the book. You know, there are many more stories that happen during that time. And I could tell you a few more if we have time to. So it's, it's, it's good to remember things how god has been active in our lives and how he has led in the past. So if you have your bibles with you, I invite you to open your bibles with me to the new testament to the gospel of john chapter 8 verse 31 and 32. You know, I'm of the older generation. I still like the real thing. The book or the printed page that you can turn and tear and feel even smell of it all. You might not be as fortunate and rich to afford a book. So you may read on your I phone on your I pad as long as you read along, i'm fine. So here's john chapter 8. For 31. And 3032. The jesus said to the jews who had believed him. If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples. As you will know, the true an the truth will set you free. It is well over one year, and now that this global pandemic had hit our world. And I still remember in March 2020, I was just on my way back from gonna west africa. And I cut my trip short for one day because I heard the rumors about the virus going around. I was able to re book my flight and arrived in the United States. And just a couple hours later, president trump close the borders, shut down all the air, traffic and everything because of that. And ever since we have to live with this little virus and its consequences, it is interesting to me that No natural disaster. No sir nami, no war, no earthquake, no flooding, no hurricane, nor no famine, has accomplished what this little virus has done to us. It is interesting that not even a persecution, not even war, ever forced us into such behavior to stay at home rather than go enjoying a worship service or prayer session, or whatever it is. It, it has caused this, this tiny, microscopic little of virus has caused a cataclysmic, global cherice. And it has changed the way we live. It has changed how we work. It has changed, how we engage with each other. It has changed how we teach. If we are teachers and school and universities, it has changed how we even where things on our faces. So in my sermon this morning, I will not a labyrinth on a global economic and social impact that this covert 19 virus hath on our important society. And in this world, instead, what I would like to do with you is to reflect With you on a few principle from the bible, from god's worth, ah uncovered 19, and what it means for us and how we shall react to the realities that are before us It has to do with the way we are thinking. And that's the title of my sermon, loving god. With all your thinking, it has to do with how we think it has to do with how we conduct ourselves. And there is another aspect that the covert pandemic has brought to the forefront. I believe that poses an even greater challenge than even the health risk that it brings along with it. And it has to do with nothing less than truth at how real we relate to it and how we engaged with the coping of combat. Ms. Cast accelerated, a shocking new realities and a social phenomenon that is nothing short of mind. Boggling experts are agreed that at the beginning of this pandemic in 2020 so called fake news and conspiracy theories have spread equally rapidly, like colbert 19 itself. It is interesting already in February 2020 a month before it even hit the country. The director general of the world health organization hed ross at an um hip rice's warned in munich at the security conference there with the following words. And I quoted here, he said, we are not just fighting a pandemic. He said, we are fighting an in for damage. And yes, we are faced with a belleville ring flood of information and best information that leaves many people confused and irritated and things that once seemed sure and secure no longer so. So what do we do with fake news and the fake and Miss information and conspiracy theories that have become prevail and in this age of Social media. And how skyrocketed since the beginning of colbert 19 and in the context of these fake facts and so called alternative france and fake truth. We sadly, sadly realize that fact alone will not convince any more any one of the truth. You compile up facts the floor and it will not do any change of thinking. So this affects, i believe our outreach. This affects our mission. This affects what we do as a church and this subjective sick subjectivism. Really, paul arises not just society. I see the same phenomenon even within our own rents within the church. So this a situation in my opinion is extremely concerning because it undermines trust. It undermines trust in health institutions. It undermines trust in science. It undermines trusts even in the word of god, and how we relate to each other. That is very interesting. In 2016, the oxford dictionary chose the word post truth. As the word of the year. It 2016. It is defined as relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping put public opinion than appealed to emotion and personal belief. So it's no longer the objective facts that decide the thing. It's your subjective beliefs and how you feel about the things that make something true or not true. So we live in a post truth era. It is interesting that this phenomenon is really not a something new. Already in the year 19 or 9 at the beginning of the 20th Century jail birth chesterton, a british scholar and philosopher and thinker, has lambert it the following. He said men was meant to be doubtful about himself. But undoubtedly about the truth. He says this has been exactly a re worst. He said this in 19 or 9, and indeed, modern people have become absolutely sure about their subjective cells. But very doubtful about truth. And that's the situation we live in today. So this post true of the mindset has become a mainstay in political commentary in society, even in the church and the prefix post truth, the prefix post indicates that truth really has become unimportant, really, has become irrelevant. Truth has degenerated into and this was a new word for me, but it's an english word that actually exists. If you look it up in the dictionary, truth house degenerated into truthfulness. Have you ever heard that word? truth in US? It's a sweet sounding word. It has the ring of truth to it, but it is defined by the oxford dictionary as the quality of seeming or felt to be true, even if not necessarily being sol. So truthfulness sounds true. Truth in this field is true, but it doesn't necessarily has to be true. And that's the situation we faced today with many people connected. With this, choosing this mentality, i noticed another disturbing phenomenon, phenomenon in many social media and networks and platforms. And that is that there are an increasing number of people getting used. And I don't know whether you have noticed that yourself. But I noticed that when I watched the social media platforms that an increasing number of people are getting used to disseminate derogatory comments, they use language that is even hate speech. They use malicious rhetoric, they debunk others. They quickly very quickly vents their disapproval and they harshly voice their disgust poisoning the atmosphere in which we deal with each other, questioning and doubting each other's integrity, using inflammatory words, questioning and doubting each other's integrity and commenting on really trivialities that occupy our attention. And it seems to me as if people think they have the right to comment on every single mist cheese and every mistake. Other people make every thing they disliked and they share that disgust unfiltered immediately around the world. It is really a toxic, toxic atmosphere that is promulgated on the social platforms. Have you ever wondered, have you ever wondered why it is that people are so popular with negativity? And why people have such success with fake news and fake truth? Now it is interesting, there are some scientific studies about this and mit the massachusetts institute of technology has done a matress study and they found out that the dissemination of false information on the Internet is 70 percent more likely and successful than the spreading of true information. 70 percent more successful. Why is this so perhaps perhaps it is saw because lies are more interesting and lies are more original. I don't know. It takes 6 times longer. Mit says it takes 6 times longer to reach 1500 people With the truth than with Ally and with a negative information. It is interesting already. Mark twain has pointed out and stated a lie, he said, has circled the globe 3 times before. Truth has even put on its shoes. And that's the situation we face to day. So at a time when polarization is at its peak and truth has become a 4 letter word, the question on everyone's mind is, why, why does evidence seem to have so little influence on people's beliefs? And what can be done about this? Since a list of facts apparently will not help us move forward. What is needed? That is the question that is before us today. So I would like to share with you some thoughts that I think might be helpful for us to move forward. One thing certainly is I think that we need to learn to be authentic and the way we communicate and behave and be and live. And another one is that I believe I firmly believe that scripture, the bible really can teach us and enable us to broaden our horizon. It can open our understanding and it can transform even who we are. It can give us guidance that can help us to overcome the impasse that I have just briefly delineated and described. And this is what I invite you to explore with me. The remaining minutes that I have with my sermon there is another interesting and noteworthy. Ah, bible passage in the new testament, a worth that jesus actually said in luke chapter 10, whereas 27. If you want to read that with me, you can open your bible, luke chapter 10, whereas 27, I think this passage can help us to broaden our horizon and to be a blessing to society and the church in which we live. So here in look 10, the new testament records, an interesting conversation that jesus had with an intellectual person. He was a lawyer by profession. And his conversation deals with are matters of eternal consequence, life and death. And a man asked jesus what it takes to inherit eternal life. And the man raises that question and it jesus response. Calling them saying to the man that he should recall scripture and the man response. And I quote him now from luke 1027. He says, you shall love the Lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Interesting, jesus, jesus approves this answer of this lawyer. Now when we think about the love of god, I don't know how it is with you, but if we think about the love of god, we usually associate with the word love something on the emotional that some feeling. But it is interesting that we rarely understand our love for god's to also include our mind, our thinking you rarely reflect what our love of god has to do with the way of our thinking. And so I would like to explore with you a few facets of what it means to love god with all your mind as jesus says, here in the chapter, what it means to exercise. What I call virtues, thinking Now which is thinking is a way of thinking that is correct. Arise by is certain inner attitude by a disposition to things like truth, knowledge, understanding that I believe we all should have, we all should exercise. We all should be engaged in whether we are students or teachers, or professors, or scholars or experts in the field without birch who was thinking, I believe we cannot truly love god with all our heart and all our minds without virtuous thinking, I believe we cannot truly honor god and is him glory. That's what you're thinking will also be valuable. I believe as an anti antidote to, to the things that I described at the beginning of my sermon, the viral in for demick that the face with all the fake news and fake truth. So let's look at some of these key principles. Now. A very honest with you this morning. The things that I will share with you have not just drawn out of my own thinking. You know, once in a while you have the pleasure and, and the joy to come across some books that really stimulate your thinking. And that really are interesting to read it. Here is one book that I recently read that really has influenced what I share with you today. It is written by philip dough. And it's Paul, virtuous mine and the subtitle is intellectual character development. And it is written for students for educators, dan, for parents. It's a very interesting book and I highly, highly recommended. And I also wrote a little bit about this in my recent book, living forgot, where I devote a whole chapter on this virtuous thinking. So this little advertisement at the beginning allow me now to dive in into those I have chosen for virtuous. The things that, that I important for for our thinking and how we can back ourselves. So, are you ready for the 1st one? Here's the 1st one. First, virtuous thinking is intellectual carefulness, intellectual cheerfulness, see any inquiry into knowledge, any serious study, any serious scientific research requires carefulness, right? Whenever we are trying to understand something, we need to cultivate intellectual carefulness. And here, I think not so much of scientific rigor or methodological exactness. What I have in mind here is the intellectual carefulness that is at the bottom of all of our knowledge. Those who are intellectually careful earnestly wants to know the truth and consistently make sure not to rush to any hasty conclusions that are based on rather limited knowledge. Instead, intellectually cheerful, people are thorough and diligent in their thinking. Cautious not to overlook any important details. We all know stories, i'm sure where hasty nis, or carelessness in our work, in our studies in our thinking, even in our relationships in science and yes, also in theology wreck, careless list has led to disastrous results. Sometimes those negative results of hasty nests or careless thinking are seen quickly. Sometimes it takes a little longer until the results are evident. But the negative effect in every couple cheerless thinking is always dangerous. And we've seen that in the discussion about cobit 19 around the world. Another tragic example of careless thinking can be seen in the faithful crashes of the 2. Boeing 737 maps, airplanes. One crashes crashed just off the indonesian coast in 2018 and another one just a few months later. It's your p, I in africa and these crashes killed 346 people. A faulty software system was implicated and the software had a critical flaw which caused the plains to repeatedly and unexpectedly no slides. And you know about the discussion in the media that reported about all these things. Careless thinking really led to the tragic death of many 100 people. And it also led to a significant embarrassment at financial loss both for boeing and the federal aviation administration. Who was involved in now think about it. If we are really god's children, it rip truly believe that we are children of, of god. Then what we do and how we do, what we do reflects the character of him to whom our ultimate legions belongs. As christian and I believe as 7th, the adventists we should pursue and cherish intellectual carefulness. Not just because it is academically sound because it is scientifically mandated, but because it rolls out of our respect for our creator, god and redeemer. See his character. His character compels us to work and to think carefully his example in creation and salvation leads the way for our cheerfulness. Faith is never sloppy and faith knows no haste as virgin one said so um, to put it positively. You love god, with all your heart and all your mind. When you are intellectual, careful. He comes point number to intellectual, fair minded, intellectual, fear, mindedness, the we live in a world of bias. You turn on the news, and you are likely hear the current events explain in a partisan and even polemic way. And this spirit of bias seeps into our thinking in ways we don't even realize. But few people are really villing so carefully and impartially consider thoughts and ideas that might even challenge their own bias. Fair minded people are people who earnestly want to know the truth and who therefore deliberately, are willing to listen in an even handed way to different opinions. It is impossible to be fair minded if we think we already know everything there is to know it. We think that we know it all And mind you when we stop believing in truth, when we start to believe that's true is relative or that every few point is equally important. The virtue of fear, mindedness morphs, into meaninglessness, and the end of Education is not far we want to be open minded, but not so open minded that our brains fall out. So fair minded miss does not mean that we don't have any convictions or won't stand for those convictions. The secret of fair minded people is that they have chosen truth over any allegiance to their own egos or cherished opinion. And therefore, fair minded people consistently are willing to listen in an even handed manner to different opinions even if they have already a strong you on the subject. And sir minded people also try to view things from the perspective of those. They disagree with. Because they are aware that they do not always have all the knowledge or the complete knowledge or accurate perspective on any given topic. And intellectually fair minded person hears more about knowing what's actually true than about convincing themselves and others that they all right. Intellectual bias is the corresponding by So among the many benefits of intellectually fair minded people to stand out in particular, i think they are benefits to exercising that physical principle of fear mindedness. One is a mark, a more I would say a more abstract, a benefit. The other one is ridiculously practical, but both are equally life changing. So let's begin with the abstract benefit of fair mindedness. Here this a fair minded person is much more likely to escape from the Prism of false assumptions. A historical anecdote or shall illustrate my point in the 17th century. The astronomer, your highness kept in Europe, permitted himself to a greater understanding of the stars and the plan. And because of aristotle, the western world had firmly assumed that the universe revolves around the earth. And the catholic church was convinced it had interpreted. He passages from the bible in line with the arrest will tell you and you and that have proven so successful in many other areas. Not only had significant church doctrine been built around this theory, but scientific inquiry had also been rooted in the same set of assumptions. And this perspective was so pervasive, so strong that people failed to challenge their assumptions. And those who noticed inconsistencies between the popular view and the vague, the universe actually behave increasing the are came up with more and more extra began so explanation and theories to harmonize those phenomenon. Now what distinguished your highness kepler from his other colleagues who were no less intelligent and educated, was his genuine fair mindedness. It is unlikely that he was more intelligent than his peers, but he was willing to consider other possible explanations objectively and impartially for the evidence. And kepler's contributions transform our understanding of the universe and lead to a host of other innovations that form the foundation the foundation of science today. But fear mindedness is not just for intellectuals and academics and nurse fair mindedness has a very practical benefit as well. Here it is and it is something that should not be underestimated. Genuinely, fair minded people tend to make and keep friends more easily than those whose thinking habits are close minded or bus wise. That the reason is very simple. It's very simple. There is an inherent link between fer mindedness and attentive listening because they are committed to discovering truth. Fair minded people listen. They actually this and There are very few things that if people a greater sense of their own value and worth and nothing attract them more than being listened to where you see that a person actually listen to what you have to say for active listening helps people to feel jan, your eye and the valued and respected. So you love bod, with all your heart and all your mind when you are intellectually fair minded. And this leads me to my 1st characteristic and here it is. Intellectual, on intellectual honesty, you've heard the word. Honesty is the best policy of all the intellectual virtues. Honesty is perhaps the most admired, but the least practice. Unlike other intellectual character traits, intellectual honesty is not primarily about the process of getting knowledge, but rather about how we choose to use and to present the knowledge we already have. The intellectual honors person won't use information taken out of context. On my instagram page, I recently posted a nice phrase I can do all things with a bible birth taken out of context. It's amazing. What you can do with the bible were as taken out of context. But an intellectually honest person will not take evidence taken out of context. An intellectual, honest person will not exaggerate facts or distorts truth by describing it with loaded language or misleading others by using statistics or any other type of supporting evidence that might have In addition, intellectually honest, people do not take credit for ideas that are not their own let me remind you that I have taken a great benefit from this book. I have profited from that and you will profit yourself. I'm sure the casualty of honesty is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that in 2017, the collin's english dictionary choose faith news as the word of the year. And it is defined as false often sensational information disseminated under the guise of news reporting. Today, This practice is so commonly used that people have almost gotten used to using or manipulating knowledge in this honest way causes a battle with your own conscience. And unless the conscience when one of 2 or negative outcome will be certain. The 1st possible outcome is a life weighed down by heavy guilt that you feel and you have to deal with. While intellectual honesty may seem to be the more difficult lot to take, it always leads into greater freedom. I believe the 2nd outcome is even worse. Intellectual dishonesty can lead to the death of your conscience and danger in our moral integrity. So when we distort the truth and then create a moral code to justify the things that we know, we have distorted in the end, we will be misled and firmly believe belie. And then you are thoroughly to save, and who can help you then? Nobody, on the other hand, honesty, inevitably bills, internal self respect and it builds relational trust. And this is at the core of every healthy relationship, interpersonal and in society. As well as in the church. I think as god's people it is essential to practice honestly in order to reflect his love and to win the confidence of both we wish to read to each. So you love bod, with all your heart and all your mind. When your intellectually aunts becomes my 4th and final characteristics, i call it ease, electoral humility. The virtue of intellectual humanity is perhaps the most mis understood virtue. So what does it mean to be humble in the way we think intellectually humble, people have the amazing, the amazing relaxation, and inside that they are dependent upon something or someone outside themselves. They realize that they are not the measure of everything. They are aware that truth is not of their own making, but is ultimately bod brief. Realizing that their reason and rational intelligence is not the measure of everything, they gladly submit all their thinking in obedience to christ and his work. How did the apostle paul, who was by no means idle in his thinking? He was a team thinker, how does the apostle paul say? And talk about this in 2nd, corporations chapter timbers 5. He says, we take captive every thought into the obedience of jesus christ. That's what I'm talking about. Intellectually humble, people understand that the larger their own ego, the less space is in their minds for anything or anyone else. And humble people, value truth over their own ego Or their own need to be right. Humility, a thought has countless benefits and blessings, i believe. Humble curiosity is at the foundation of all growth in knowledge. I believe why? Because it naturally produces a humble spirit that is willing to learn. That is teachable. And this makes humble people so very pleasant to work with. As any one we has to work with proud people can easily testify. Now this does not mean that humble people are often necessarily wrong or that they will always change their minds, no intellectual. Humility does not lead to a lack of firm convictions. Humbler christians are confident involves truth and they are submissive to it. At the same time, they are aware of the limitations of their own thinking and knowledge, and therefore therefore they are capable of expanding their understanding of the world in a way that a proud person is never, ever capable of of succeeding the proud people don't feel the need to learn from one another. They think they know it already. So if we want to continue to learn and grow, our knowledge must be tempered by your Now let me illustrate that with historical and a story to store it for him. Lincoln modeled intellectual humanity in a remarkable way. I believe. At the height of the American civil war, president lincoln was doing everything in his power to preserve the unity of his crumbling nation. As the nation's elected president and one of the most intelligent persons of his time, lincoln had every right to expect, deferential respect from his subordinates. And yet, as the war raged, he found himself criticised and even ridiculed by pose and friends alive. One was his secretary of war, edwin stanton, whom lincoln initially considerate a friend Both publicly and privately stand and with increasing time made it No secret made no secret of his disrespect of lincoln. Even though lincoln was aware of stanton's insubordination. He kept his secretary of war, believing that stanton's sharp mind and independent perspective would be a valuable balance to his own. At one of the war's most critical points, link consent, a direct order to edmond stanton. Not only did stand on refuse to obey this direct order that he had received, he also publicly muffling phone. He called him a fool. Now instead of reacting in anger or spies, lincoln responded the following way. And this is remarkable. Lincoln said, if stands and said, I was a fool, then I must be one. For he is nearly always right and generally says what he thinks i will step over and see him immediately. Or you have to remember, lincoln was no weakling. He had demonstrated many times that he was willing to stand his ground if necessary. Still, as the story goes, the 2 men had a meeting in which lincoln attentively listen to what stanton had to say and concluded that stanton was white after all. And he withdrew his order. Lincoln ignored the demands of fly in order to pursue the wisest fall and ultimately this intellectual humility, health safe, his crumbling nation, and ensured his reputation to be one of the greatest statements in the history of the United States of America. Put positively, you can love broad with all your heart and all your mind when you are intellectually So as followers of christ. And these are my computing as followers of why we can love god with all our hearts and all our minds. By being intellectually careful, fair minded, honest, and humble. In addition to the benefits already describe these intellectual virtues, i believe also enhance our ability to worship god. What we experience here in the setting entering into meaningful worship as we do on the sabbath morning. When we celebrate, god shall arm his teeth in our lives is closely tied to the character of our minds. Of course, I know worship is much, much more than just knowing a lot of information about god. But our worship and our relationship with god, the men, i believe that our minds are fully engaged. You cannot truly worship god without thinking. And when we take on those, we're choose of thinking. I believe our actions with each other will also reflect increasingly thoughts, goodness. And this is hardly surprising why the, how we st. Influences how we behave. If you are careful, in what you say about me. If you begin to treat my opinion in a fair minded way, if you are honest in your dealings with me, and if your demeanor reflect humbleness, it is only natural that you're actually behavior. For me will be increasingly gracious. And this is exactly how god relates to each and every one of us doesn't. Now imagine if our homes, imagine if our workplaces, imagine is our school, our classrooms, our churches, our communities, were filled with people off such character and attitude. Just imagine dream, if you will with me. What a fellowship that would be. Imagine how the relationship and the atmosphere within the adventist church and the world at large would change for the better. If we all were really to practice word, she was thinking i'm convinced i'm convinced god would be delighted people would be attractive. And each one of us would be greatly blessed. So may we be people, adventist teachers and students, and pastors and church members, scholars and theologians joy of loving god. I use this media was brought to you by audio purse, a web site dedicated to spreading god's word through free sermon audio, and much more. If you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon, please visit w W W dot audio verse dot org.


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