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Holy Curiosity
Scripture: Mark 12:29-30; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Luke 3...
Track 6 of 9 in the Primal Christianity - Love4 series
Running time: 1 hour, 09 minutes, 30 seconds.
When Jesus was asked the question about which was the greatest commandment, the answer had everything to do with loving. When a Christian stops wondering and loses his or hers curiosity, the need to keep on learning, that is when the Christian stops loving.

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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.

Holy Curiosity

Mark 12: 29-30 ďThe most important one,Ē answered Jesus, ďis this: ĎHear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.í

A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

There is an old wives tale that many believe to be true: You canít teach an old dog new tricks. That might be for old dogs but it isnít true for humans. God has created us with the capacity to keep learning until the day we die. If a person gets to the point that he or she canít learn anymore, it is not because they donít have the capacity, it is because they donít want to learn. Neurologists estimate that we have the capacity to learn something new every second of every minute of every hour of every day for the next 300 hundred million years if our brains could survive that long.

At what age do we quit living out our imagination and start living out of our memories? We stop creating the future and start repeating the past? What is wrong with that idea?

Doctors believe that when the human mind starts to think that way that is the day a person quits living and starts to die. And what causes this? We stop learning. Loving God with all your mind means making the most of your mind by learning as much as you can about as much as you can.

True or False: The true test of spiritual maturity isnít how much you know; itís knowing how much you donít know.

What I am talking about is the coming to terms with the fact that God is not an object of knowledge as much as he is a cause of wonder. It is that cause of wonder that fuels a holy curiosity to keep learning more about the Creator and his creation.

1 Corinthians 8:2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

I donít know if a person actually says that out loud but a person can through action and stubbornness displays that belief. Are there times when you are confronted by a new idea that you reject it not because you are stubborn but because you just donít want to learn something new?

True or False: The unwillingness to learn something new is a sin.

I can only speak for myself but my biggest problem and my greatest danger I this area is I know just enough to think I know a lot. I hate to admit that to you but it is true. Sometimes my knowledge about a lot of things gets in my way of learning more. It usually takes a lump of ďhard knocksĒ to teach me I donít know everything.

Do you have or did you have a teenager in your house who thought they knew everything and that you were an idiot? They refused to listen to your good advice just because you were old and didnít know what they know today? In fact, it was they who didnít know what they didnít know. Did they learn anything?

This isnít a teenager only problem, adults act like that also. We become so proud of our one-dimensional knowledge when there are so many other dimensions to know and experience. To our Father God, we look and act like teenagers and cause Him to allow ďhard knocksĒ to reshape our thinking. How come bad things happen to good people? There are times when bad things happen because of our stupidity.

True or False: Santa Claus is white.

There is a sin that many Christians commit every day, it is called ďintellectual idolatryĒ. To white kids, Santa is white. To the black kids in the world, Santa is black and so on. Santa is to kids as their minds see and imagine him. Unfortunately, Christians do the same thing with God. God to them often times becomes a god with a lowercase ďgĒ. Basically god fits into a nice cognitive category in the brain and how we picture god is how god really is. Jesus of course was white. To the black communities in the world, Jesus was black, etc.

But we play an even more dangerous game, what I like Jesus likes. How I believe Jesus believes also. If I believe abortion is right, then Jesus too is sympathetic to the plight of young women facing the choices of having babies out of wedlock. How we want the world to look and operate, my god backs me up. ďIntellectual idolatryĒ is believing in a god that doesnít exist. Oh, he might exist in your mind, but in reality, that god is not God Almighty.

The god who conveniently fits within the confines of our mind will never fill your soul with wonder.

The past two weeks we discussed how to love God with all our souls. It is through the soul the God of Wonder speaks to us. There is a direct linkage between loving God with all our soul and loving God with all our mind. Wonder (the soul) and Curiosity (the mind) are spiritual cousins. When the soul stops wondering, the mind stops learning, and vice versa. A lack of wonder breeds a lack of curiosity and a lack of curiosity breeds a lack of wonder.

But here is the main point, when Jesus was asked the question about which was the greatest commandment, the answer had everything to do with loving. When a Christian stops wondering and loses his or hers curiosity, the need to keep on learning, that is when the Christian stops loving.

Any idea what the number one reason is why marriages that last over 20 years end up in divorce? There was a lack of learning more and more about the one they loved. True love is never satisfied. It always wants to know more and more about the object of its affection. The more you love your spouse, the more you want to know about them. The same is true with God.

True or False: Use it or lose it.

If true, give me some examples.

In the physical world, if we donít use certain parts of our bodies, it atrophies. In fact, atrophy can happen almost instantly in some cases. Just like building up the muscles in our bodies through exercise, the brain can also be built up. The left angular gyrus Is the part of the brain which plays a major role in language processing. In those who are bilingual, the left angular gyrus is found to be larger than with someone who only knows one language. Bilinguals use that part of their brain more. It is a fact, if you fail to use your mind, it atrophies. And when your mind atrophies, your soul shrivels.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Albert Einstein

Who was Albert Einstein?

I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.

God is filled with curiosity and when confronted by God, curiosity and questions are natural by products of the experience.

Go back into the Gospels, describe for me the encounters people had with Jesus. What were many of the reactions and reasons why people followed him?

Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.

Today in the church, why is it so hard to get people to crave after the Word of God? MPCC has about half of our members connected somewhere in a small group or a class actively studying Gods Word. In modern statistics, that is absolutely unheard of. But think about this a minute, that means half of our church is not connected at all. The elders set a goal this year to be at 80%. The point is this, it isnít to say we have 80% connected, we know that unless a person remains curious about God, the wonder of God will die and the soul will shrivel with it.

True or False: It is easier to come up with answers than it is to ask questions.

Have you ever noticed how Jesus worked when he taught and confronted people? There were times when Jesus gave answers but most of the time he answered questions with another question. Why was that? Is it the answer that drives the mind or the quest in dealing with questions? Once you know the answer to a question, does it satisfy you? Do you just quit or do you move onto the next question? What would life be like if there were no more questions to ask and we knew all the answers?

Can it be true that the church today is afraid to ask questions? If you had the chance to confront God face to face and he gave you the opportunity to ask any 5 questions openly for answers, what would you question God on?

The quest for the lost soul of Christianity is a quest driven by questions. Any question, every question. Holy Curiosity isnít satisfied with easy answers.

Curiosity is a holy instinct. I donít know about you but I lately have been more curious how many thing work and why. Things like the universe, dancing, government, business. It seems as though I donít have enough time to learn enough about any of them but I have a desire to know more and more. I started on a venture to read the biographies of all our Presidents. I am up to Thomas Jefferson and started on John Quincy Adams. People ask me, how do you find time to do all these things. There is time to do many things if you put your mind to it.

Do you realize that if a person would just read a book during the time you spend on the toilet every day, you could read a book a month? If you would carry with you one scripture written on a card and whenever you drive, you worked on memorizing that verse, 1 a week, you could memorize the whole plan of salvation and the discipleship process in less than a year. 20 minutes a day is enough time to get you through the Bible in a year. Turn off the TV! Allow your mind to exercise and become curious again.

What would have happened if Adam and Eve didnít eat the forbidden fruit and obeyed God? What kind of a world would this be today? Would we all be living I Eden?

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, ďBe fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.Ē

Was it Godís plan for man to lie around in Eden and live a life in Paradise? NO Then why does man strive to gain that kind of life for himself?

Godís first commission to mankind was to get out there and explore. Everything out there was uncharted territory. They could go 24,759 miles in any direction and never see the same landscape twice. There were 196 million square miles of virgin territory to explore. Think of the wonders man discovered that God placed before us just so we would use our minds, our curiosity. And when man does this, he can come to only one conclusion if he is honest with himself, God Is Awesome and worthy to be worshiped.

Do you know where the largest telescope is in the world? Mount Graham International Observatory Ė Hosted by the University of Arizona, owned by the Vatican.

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived according to God. Solomon himself was a Renaissance man who lived 2,500 years before the Renaissance. His mind wasn't confined to just theology. He had extensive knowledge beyond what was religious. His knowledge and wisdom was famous that kings and queens traveled just to talk wit him.

1 Kings 4:29, 32-34 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomonís wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahiteówiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomonís wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

Whenever I read this passage, I wonder if God bestowed onto Solomon a super natural ability to be wise or if God installed in Solomon a super charged instinct to be curious. Did God just make Solomon smart or did God open up to Solomon the knowledge of the universe through curiosity? My personal sense is this; God blessed Solomon with the gift of curiosity. It is no fun to have all the knowledge poured into your head, the fun and excitement is the discovery in finding the awesome truths and then standing back and giving God all the praise for the creation. Solomon loved God with all of his mind. Solomonís curiosity allowed him to discover God in so many areas. The church needs to do the same thing. We need to turn off all the distractions around us that keep us from experiencing our holy curiosity and begin to love God again with all our minds.