Locations of visitors to this page
A Journey of Wonder
Scripture: Genesis 1:31; Luke 11:2; Romans 1:18-23;...
Track 4 of 9 in the Primal Christianity - Love4 series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes, 31 seconds.
Some people live deeply, they live fully. Their circumstances are the same as anyone else. They breathe the same air but they have this ability to see more, live more and enjoy more. There are others who act as though they are half awake, half aware or even half alive. They see less, experience less and enjoy less.

Click above to listen in this window.
Right-click to download MP3. With one-button mouse, control-click.

Be sure to scroll down to read the transcript.

Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

A Journey of Wonder

How many of you if you had the chance would be thrilled to visit an art museum especially one in New York, Washington or even in France? Are you the type of person when viewing a famous art piece can just stand in front of the painting for a long period of time and soak up all the passion painted onto the canvas or are you someone who looks at it, sees a nice picture and then moves on?

What about this painting? Does this do something for you? Do you think she is pretty, beautiful or plain? Is she happy or sad? How do you think she is?

She was the daughter of a wealthy Florentine banker, and her portrait—the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas—was probably commissioned about the time of her marriage at age sixteen. Leonardo himself was only about 22. The portrait is among his earliest experiments with the new medium of oil painting. The three-dimensionality of Ginevra's face points to a new style of painting by Leonardo that would transform Renaissance painting. He was the first to use a style of painting that included graduated shadows, not by line or an abrupt transition of colors. He made the face almost real, natural and 3 dimensional.

Quick fact about Leonardo, anyone know what his last name was? He had no surname because as an illegitimate child, he was fortunate that his father, Ser Piero, acknowledged him and let him be known as Leonardo di ser Piero. Da Vinci is the town he was from, not his last name.

To see this painting, a person might have to wait for hours standing in line to see it. Once there, observers will stand for long periods of time enjoying the deepness of the painting. Now I don’t know about you, would you wait for hours to see this painting? Does this type of art really turn your senses on? Every visitor who passes through the gallery where that painting hangs can say they saw the Ginevra de Benci. Some of them have seen it only with their eyes. Others have seen it with their souls. Some only gave the painting a quick glance. Others have hollowed it.

Life is like that isn’t it? Some people live deeply, they live fully. Their circumstances are the same as anyone else. They breathe the same air but they have this ability to see more, live more and enjoy more. There are others who act as though they are half awake, half aware or even half alive. They see less, experience less and enjoy less.

Leonardo once observed and wrote the following:

The average person looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, and talks without thinking.

I wonder how God feels as he observes His beautiful Creation. In the very first revelation of God, the very first image of Himself that he shares with us is in Genesis. His displays for us the artist side of his character. Like a master painter he created all his Creation. When one steps back and really tries to comprehend all of its beauty, it is impossible to take it all in. The very first reaction recorded is His reaction to His Creation. It is repeated each day until the 6th day:

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

For me, that statement gives me goose bumps because in reality, we get to see a personal glimpse of God that is awesome. I think what is awesome about this whole statement is, His primal reaction is wonderment at His own work.

How many times has God’s Creation just blown you away? What was it that caused you to react in simple wonder or awe-ness?

To be honest, I had several times when his creation just causes me to stop and react in wonder. When my niece Shawna was having a distressful time with the twins, Pam and I stood on the very rim edge of the west side of the Grand Canyon. The immense beauty of that spot and the vastness of the canyon were unexplainable. It was at that moment that Pam said that God Almighty who created all of this can certainly take control over the lives of the twins. I have to say that day; during that experience I loved God with my soul.

True or False: Our lack of wonder is really a lack of love.

Is it possible that we at MPCC have given God a passing glance instead of truly hallowing His name. What does it mean to hallow his name?

Jesus prayed like no other man. Where his disciples prayed like a Jew, mechanical, memorized, monotone, no real feeling, Jesus was totally different. His prayers were alive and his disciples wanted to learn how to pray like He did. So they asked Jesus how to pray. He started them off with this statement:

Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name,”

When I first attended MPCC as a teenager, I never experienced a mass outside of the Catholic Church. MPCC was my first experience of a protestant worship service. The first thing I noticed was there were no kneelers attached to the pews. I thought that was really weird. How do you kneel when you pray without kneelers? I have to admit that the one thing I do miss from my Catholic days is kneeling in church when we pray.

Wonder defies logic. Wonder defies words and anything else or anything less is religion. Unfortunately, for many followers of Jesus today, they’ve lost their wonder. What they do on Sundays or whenever they attend “Church”, it is not something of wonder but of religion. That’s where the Jews were when Jesus entered the world.

What has the church done wrong to cause so many followers to treat God as an object of knowledge rather a cause of wonder? Many try to prove God as factual. God is factual but facts don’t awe us. God is more than facts. Too often we spend more time on educating the mind where we need to be educating the soul. We educate the mind with facts but we educate the soul with beauty and mystery. The curriculum is Creation.

As you all know I am somewhat fanatical about the stars, the heavens and astronomy. The night sky is far more than just beautiful stars to me. Do you realize how many people today in our country have never seen a full and unhindered night sky? Light pollution, pollution itself, large cities and massive skylines prohibit people from looking at the night sky. Some don’t even think about it.

9 Romans 1:18-23 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools3and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

We see very early in man’s history the recognition that the creation was something to marvel over. Every night the wonder of God was displayed before all mankind. It was obvious, beautiful, mathematically perfect, predictable and always pointed to God. The very reason why God created the Sun and Moon and the stars was so light and darkness could be separated and to tell time and to shine light upon the world. Man depends upon what’s in the sky.

Genesis 1:14-19 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

My very first time to visit and travel through Israel was a very surreal experience. I found myself unable to talk most of the time. For so many years as I studied the scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, I had pictured in my mind what everything looked like. Now my mind was going to get to see what everything actually looked like. I couldn’t take in the things that I saw, the sounds, the smells, all of the emotions fast enough. I found myself several times on the edge of crying because my soul was experiencing something it had never felt. I had the sense that Jesus was close. He was so real and it was awe inspiring to look at things that Jesus himself probably had seen, especially the Sea of Galilee.

The first time I was confronted by the tomb and Golgotha, I was almost unable to even look upon the place. To actually think that I could be standing at the very spot where Jesus sacrificed everything for me and then was buried and then raised from the dead was way too much for my soul to experience. It took some time for me to even move once I was before the tomb. All I wanted to do was just look and try to take the awesomeness in. Silence was all I could muster that morning, and silence was enough.

How valuable is silence to you? Are you a person by nature who needs regular moments of silence to have a balanced life or are you someone who needs all the noise you can get?

Pascal, a French philosopher from the 17th century once wrote:

“All of mans miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone”

Silence is one of the soul’s love languages. When we are filled with wonder, it is a foreshadowing of what we will experience in heaven.

What are some of the things that should cause us to wonder with amazement but we take for granted and don’t think a thing of them? Why is that? What about worship? What about the Lord’s Supper?

Can you imagine what it will be like at that moment when you get to see Jesus for the very first time? Can you imagine the rush of emotion you will have when he comes up to you, looks in your eyes and hugs you and welcomes you to his presence? What do you think you will say?

An Epiphany Moment

You never know how or when or where an epiphany will occur. At any given moment God can invade the reality of your life and give you a glimpse of his Glory. It is those unexplainable and unforgettable moments that make life worth living.

What is an epiphany? The term itself means "to shine upon," "to reveal," or "to appear, manifest." The Epiphany of Jesus is celebrated January 6th by some parts of the Church. The Epiphany of Jesus is when God first revealed or made manifest Jesus to the world. Many equate that moment when the Magi came and visited Jesus. We now know through astronomical math that the true date for that event was December 25th (The Star of Bethlehem).

An epiphany moment can best be described as a moment when God is so tangible that you swear he is right next to you. It is a moment where the event is proof to you that God exists and God is close at hand and all you want to do to worship him and give him praise.

Any epiphany moments that someone would like to share?

Epiphany moments are experienced because your soul is reacting to the events around you. Your soul can see things your eyes can’t see. It feels things sometimes our touch can’t feel. Our soul allows us to connect to God using senses that are spiritual, not necessarily physical. But too often our physical perspective can hide or block our responses from the soul.

We all heard the phrase before, “Seeing is Believing”. Can someone explain this concept to me and is it true? What about “Believing is Seeing”? What does this mean and can this be true as well?

A fascinating study was done involving a group of Americans who had never been to Mexico and a group of Mexicans who had never been to America. Each participant was given an eye test where one image was shown to the right eye while at the same time a different image was shown to the left eye. One image was a snapshot of a baseball game; the other was an image of a bull fight. When asked what they had seen, a high majority of the Americans said they saw a baseball game while the Mexicans reported they saw the bull fight.

On one level seeing is believing but the opposite is true also. Our perceptions are greatly affected by experience, education and expectations. The psychological term is perceptual vigilance. What we see largely depends upon what we have experienced or have not experienced, what we know and what we don’t know, what we expect or don’t expect. That is why the Americans saw baseball and the Mexicans saw a bull fight.

Let’s go one step further, we generally see what we want to see and don’t see what we don’t want to see. We see what we are looking for. We hear what we want to hear. If you don’t believe me then watch cable news and listen to everyone talk about the same event with very different conclusions.

What is it that you see in your relationship with God? Do you believe only what you see or are you a person who can see a whole lot more because you allow your soul to do the looking for you? Do you believe what you want to believe or do you allow your soul to open up for you something you never felt before.