Friday, September 9, 2011


Greg Haswell, pastor of  Northlands Church in Atlanta, Georgia, shares a strengthening message about "the kindest person you will ever know," Jesus. You will hear more from Greg at HOPE AT HOME 2011, September 23-24 in Atlanta, Ga. 
Register now!

Jesus said that His kingdom was like yeast that when mixed into dough permeated the whole batch. That’s an interesting simile. It seems that following Jesus introduces into our lives a vital ingredient that enlarges us, causes us to rise and creates lift.

Matthew 13:33 "He told them still another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.'”

What is this yeast that can so affect our lives? I believe it is the personal acceptance of Jesus and His ministry into our lives. It is the rugged embrace of a relationship with Him. It means that I open my life to Him and welcome His influence. I surrender to Him in the raw unpolished places in my heart and ask Him to make a change. He is the kindest person we will ever meet. His influence in these secret and deep places inside of us has a profound power to restore, heal and invigorate us. Jesus is full of grace and not judgment. He is the most faithful and trustworthy person we can open our lives to. He is able to sympathize even with our weaknesses, because as a man He tasted the pains and struggles that are part of the human condition. The scriptures teach that His understanding has no limit. The yeast of His kingdom is experienced most often as a great sense of cleansing, deep peace and an inexplicable joy. Those of us who have had this yeast mixed into the mundane stuff of our lives are eager for any interaction with Him. His yeast takes root in those hearts surrendered to Him and for those who have experienced it, this yeast is very precious.

What happens in the absence of that vital ingredient? Will there be any lift or enlargement of lives marked by its absence? People without the “yeast” of God’s kingdom in their lives are susceptible to other influences. Jesus warned His disciples about other kinds of yeast.

Mark 13:15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

The yeast of the “Pharisees” is a system of religion and rules that embrace God in theory but not in practice or experience. Pharisees will expect you to pray but berate you if you expect God to answer your prayers. The yeast they offer to mix into our lives is full of harsh sacrifices and rigid rules. Often laced with a sense of God’s displeasure, they make us feel as though God is at a distance and wants to stay there. Be careful of this kind of yeast. It will leave you condemned, servile and crestfallen.

The yeast of Herod is a philosophy that excludes God altogether. In its atheistic root it celebrates only the strength of people while vehemently denying any divine presence in practical living. Its tenets will cause us to live as “practical atheists”, existing as though there was no loving God who has a perfect plan for us. These self made people will belittle you for any quest for God’s help. This leaven teaches a dependence on man’s effort alone, the ultimate humanistic influence.

Neither the yeast of the Pharisees or of Herod brings lift, enlargement or peace. Rather they become to us a heavy ingredient, making smaller people of us, setting limits for our lives and adding stress.

Yet all the while something inside each person whispers hauntingly of the dream that we human beings are designed for something glorious. The yeast of God’s kingdom and of Jesus the King of the kingdom is the missing ingredient which, when added, does all the heavy lifting. Jesus' yeast slakes the hunger inside of us for eternal meaning and purpose. It is settled in His kingdom.

Decide today to remove bad yeast from your life and to introduce deliberately the yeast Jesus offers. Let Him work through your entire life and in 3 months time you will not recognize who you have become. Happy baking.

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