Don't know about you but I've been let down on many occasions. We're all guilty. But unless I'm just an unfortunate type, my experience has been 90% with Christians. I have contacted some key Christian organisations and individuals directly and have very rarely been contacted back. And we wonder why Christian businesses and ministries fail. It's real shocking and we gots to learn from this. I felt God call me to do this session to challenge all of us. This is a kind of truth-reliability crossover session.
SPOT THE TRUTH
Get Person 1 up as a volunteer 'chooser'. Get 5 volunteers up who are fairly spontaneous. Tell the 5 people that you will ask them all the same question in quick succession with person 1 in front of them. The 5 people can choose whether to tell the truth or whether to lie in answer to the question. Line em up in a row, get person 1 in front of em and let it flow.
Now, can Person 1 (or anyone else in the room) identify who was telling the truth. Whatever happens, you can make a point out of it. If people are easily identifiable as having lied, you say that 'see, lying is a stupid idea' etc. If people can't guess who's lying, you say, 'see - we don't know who's lying - see the problems it can cause.'
Of times when people have let you down - left you feeling annoyed, upset, frustrated, lonely maybe. Talk about something people can relate to that gets across the point of being reliable and being up-front about stuff.
Matthew 5.33-37 says - "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Is that Jesus has said let your yes be yes and your no be know. Jesus says 'be up front.. don't go waxing lyrical, fronting or wasting people's time - are you going say yes or no - are you going do what you say or not?' Speak what's in your heart or mind.
Too many times we all mess around with language to weave our way out of something when inside we know exactly how we feel. This is like lying and it's dishonouring to God, yourself and the other person. Jesus calls us to no messing.
Jesus goes further though - anything that comes from beyond 'yes or no' comes from the evil one (Satan).
Now let's not get confused. It's OK to say 'I may be able to be there, maybe, possibly...' Say for example your parent's may be going out so you may have to stay in. Of course that's cool, no problems, it's common sense.
But say you know your parents are going out and when someone asks you, your reply is a muffled, 'maybe, I'm not sure' cos you're trying to get out of something. That's the kind of thing Jesus is on about.
If Jesus had said to the disciples: 'Alright lads, go down to Jerusalem, find a donkey as I'll be heading in there in the next few days' (paraphrase Matthew 21.6-8).
Except that Jesus didn't then bother to turn up - or said to the disciples, 'Go get the donkey just in case I turn up. I'm not sure I can or not.'
I don't think so somehow.
A STEP FURTHER
1 Corinthians 10.30-31 - If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God - even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Colossians 3.22-24 says - Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
MOVIE CLIP - chapter 18 on DVD
In Bruce Almighty where he's been hit by the lorry and is in heaven talking to God. God asks Bruce to pray and Bruce prays for 'world peace'. God says, 'that's not a prayer, what do you really care about?' Bruce has no hesitation in saying his girlfriend. (Aarhh, sweet isn't it..)
You may want to show the bit with him getting hit by the lorry or explain this is what has just happened as God makes a funny line as Bruce sees him in heaven, 'can't kneel down in the middle of a highway and live to talk about it son..'
Clip also good for repentance - and for road safety of course.
This passage is taken from Paul talking about the believers freedom to eat what they want as long as it doesn't bring offence to other believers. Although it seems out of context, we learn that Paul is concerned to do everything - 'whatever you do' - even if it's eating - for the glory of God.
Secondly, in Colossians, we find Paul again talking about obeying earthly masters, at all times, because you are not working for them but for the Lord. Whatever we do we should work at it with all our heart.
What is the heart? The thing that pumps blood around your body to keep you alive and functioning. Think also of your heart as the thing that is most important to you. The 'heart of the matter' in a subject is the most important thing. Someone says to you, 'what's at the heart of that?' meaning what is at the centre of what you're saying. Sometimes people say, 'where is your heart?' No, it's not them being biologically incompetent, they're asking what matters most to to you.
Tie in the clip from Bruce Almighty here. The Lord sees all we do that is Godly and will reward us. When Bruce truly speaks his heart about his love for his girlfriend (I think I'm going to cry..) God sends him back to earth to the hospital where his girlfriend meets him (snuffle..)
Say that so often as Christians we aren't reliable (eg. some Christian companies!), we aren't up-front and we don't honour God because of this. We must be truthful, honest, reliable. We should honour God by doing our best in all we do. That means not being in-efficient and lazy (God hates laziness by the way - see Matthew 25.26. Also see what we should be like - Hebrews 6.12)
1. Ways in which we are un-reliable, lazy
2. Way in which you are un-reliable, lazy
3. Ways in which you want God to change you to be less like this!
PRAYER - whatever feels appropriate