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Keeping the Valve Open

• Greg Boyd, Vanessa Williams

God’s design for creation is beautiful. But, sometimes, we don’t follow God’s design for our life. In this sermon, Greg and Vanessa Williams address the battlefield in our mind and how to keep God’s goodness flowing to us. In addition, Greg gives a Kingdom response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

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Living out a Kingdom life starts again every morning, and it begins with the brain between your ears. It is our job to align our minds with the reality of the Kingdom. Everyday we have a choice. Do we live out the Kingdom or do we continue in our old ways?

Living out the Kingdom, in Paul’s writings in the New Testament, requires three things. First, we need to know the reality of God’s Kingdom. Second, we need to believe and imagine the world as though God’s reality has already happened. Finally, we should behave in ways that reflect that reality.

Since our reality is that we are a new creature in Christ, we should live out that reality. Jesus already did the work of making us new creations. We just need the faith to live it out. As Greg has shown over the past few weeks, we are new creations. Living out that new reality is why we put on the behaviors of Christ.

Whenever we align our mind with the reality of the Kingdom, we keep the valve open for God to pour into our life. God wants to pour into our lives, but it’s up to us how much he does that. How much we align ourselves with God’s plan for creation will determine how much he can pour into us.

God’s design for creation is beautiful. God wants to communicate to our Spirit so that our soul can be changed. Once our soul is changed, we begin to behave differently. When we behave differently, we affect the world as a Kingdom follower. This is God’s plan; a top down and inside out kind of living. Our brain links us to our soul. When we open the valve and allow ourselves to accept God’s plan, God begins to overflow our lives with the Kingdom, and we begin to make a Kingdom impact in this world.

God trusted us to live out this design and we turned it over to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Satan’s design for creation is not beautiful. Satan works from the world and gives us experiences that affect our body. Our body sends these signals to our mind and our souls are affected. This is a bottom up, outside in influence.

The battlefield is our soul and our mind is the connection to our soul. What goes on between our ears is important not only for our soul but for which Kingdom we live out. It is on this battlefield where we are to constantly be on guard and vigilant to what God has for us and where Satan is trying to cause trouble. We must seek to keep the valve open.

Part of this battlefield is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not ignoring a problem or dismissing this problem. There are many situations where forgiveness doesn’t mean the same thing as reconciliation. Forgiveness, according to the Bible, is a releasing or cancelling a debt. When someone wrongs us, they are in debt to us. They have harmed us, and they owe us something to make that right. When we gave up our authority to Satan, we owed God a debt that we couldn’t fulfill on our own. Only through Jesus was this debt satisfied. And it is this love that God showed us that shows us how we should forgive others.

While we were yet in sin, God forgave us. When we harbor unforgiveness, we have problems. We are not acting with God’s love towards people when we harbor unforgiveness. We may think that not forgiving someone strengthens us and feeds us, but in reality, it only goes against the person God created us to be. Forgiveness is a major component of the battlefield in our soul. When we don’t forgive others, we are acting upon Satan’s orders. When we forgive, we’re acting on God’s orders and opening the valve to his Kingdom to reign in our lives.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. Even for God, it cost everything. But it is something we are called to do for those that hurt us. Releasing people from their debt is important because it shows God’s mercy. It doesn’t mean that we have to reconcile with that person or not protect ourselves. It simply means that we won’t allow Satan to use our circumstances to shut off the valve that God supplies.

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Topics: Creation, Faith, Forgiveness

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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 3:12-13

    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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14 thoughts on “Keeping the Valve Open

  1. Peter says:

    An old saying but well founded:-

    Unforgiveness makes us a prisoner of the past.

  2. Dave Pritchard says:

    “Unforgiveness makes us a prisoner of the past.”


    This also came to mind –

    “Tout comprendre rend tres indulgent.” — Latin saying

    “To understand everything is to forgive everything”. – (supposedly) Buddha

  3. Peter says:

    Hi Dave….that saying looked a little French rather than Latin (not that French was ever one of my strong points)….a little searching turned up “French writer Mme de Stäel (1766–1817) in Corinne (1807) has, ‘Tout comprendre rend très indulgent [To be totally understanding makes one very indulgent]’”. However, your English quote….”In the original French the saying is “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.”
    The quote only ever seems to be “attributed” to her, though, and it’s also often described as a “proverb,” which makes it unattributable. There’s no hard evidence that Mme. de Staël actually said this. However, in a 19th century book, The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, a similar quote is given with a reference to one of her books:
    The more we know, the better we forgive ; Whoe’er feels deeply, feels for all who live. s. Madame de Stael — Corinne. Bk. XVIII. Ch. V
    And in fact that quote is in Corinne, but only in an English translation (by Isabel Hill and L. E. Landon). In the original French we find something rather different:
    “Car tout comprendre rend très indulgent, et sentir profondément inspire une grande bontée.”
    (“To understand everything makes one tolerant, and to feel deeply inspires great kindness.”)
    The Buddha doesn’t seem to have talked much about “forgiveness.” He talked much more about letting go of anger”.
    I think the translation “The more we know, the better we forgive”, is good….how many times do we hear or receive the response…”How can you forgive, you don’t know what I’ve been through…or similar. In that sense, Jesus knows exactly what we have been through and can forgive totally….it is accepting the blessing of this that is often the problem.

    Changing channels, what have you been reading recently on your Kindle?…I have been watching “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by theoretical physicist Brian Greene…and in particular Quantum Mechanics (see YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce1ols-lOTU ) and while my knowledge of this subject is light years away from this, I was interested in the Christian connection as I could see tenuous links between what was explained and biblical aspects. I am now currently reading “Quantum Glory” by Phil Mason…a fascinating read, but needs to be read with an open mind as this is not covering your everyday theology.

  4. Dave Pritchard says:

    Quite right! I tend to be a bit “lutulento” when I cut and paste! I actually prefer the Italian –

    “Di capire tutto è perdonare tutto!”

    I’ve encountered a few variations on this saying but as you’ve mentioned, the implication of – “The more we know, the better we forgive” is far more profound and relevant to our faith in Christ! Could it be though, that the reciprocal of this saying is even more virtuous?

    Tuning into the other channel……..

    It might be that those “tenuous links” you’re seeing could be even more spiritually robust than we actually realize. I have often thought that the vibrating flux within the quantum foam itself, is evidence of the “Free Will” universe that we live in. Now that’s a huge, huge mega-stretch overgeneralization, but as Denis Alexander (From BioLogos) has pointed out, it’s a necessary fact that Creation itself have “Free-Will” in order to produce “Free-Thinking” creatures like ourselves, with the option to respond to God’s love. Since perhaps from our perspective, the “Physics” of the universe, precede the “Biology’ of the universe (us) the same “Indeterminism” is built in – within the constraints of reality that He has determined beforehand (His will). I see this merging comfortably with “Open Theism” in that, even at the quantum level, God is not playing the “Puppet Master”!

    However, last year in an by article by George Musser for Scientific American on “The Quantum Physics of Free Will”, he castes a very skeptical shadow on whole the supposition. He states, “I find the idea that indeterminism restores free will extremely unpersuasive”.

    The Quantum Physics of Free Will: Scientific American – http://www.scientificamerican.com › More Science › Web Exclusives by George Musser – Feb 6, 2012

    Greene’s work as you probably already know, connects to a whole host of other interrelated concepts such as correlation between “Quantum Uncertainty and Free-Will”, The Cogito Model, Compatibilism, etc… I absolutely love this stuff!!! But,……. it can fatigue the mind and should be taken in small doses, especially for armchair dilettantes like myself! Ha!

    If the Holy Spirit is truly in us and guiding us to His Truth (all truth) – John 16:13, then it stands to reason that he is not only involved in the Macrocosmic, but with the Microcosmic as well. He can literally make every “string” vibrate with his Love! Wow, this is all starting to sound a bit Star Trek’ish but fun!

    I’ll definitely take a look at the link, Thanks Again!

  5. kevin s. says:

    My earlier comment was intended to be Constructive, not judgmental. I can not help but be mindful of such things as modesty because i hold WH leadership to a higher standard.

  6. Matt says:

    Great sermon from both of you! I was very blessed by this message. Vanessa did a great job of conveying how and why we should forgive – you go girl!

  7. irwin says:

    It would seem to truly forgive you need to be able to exchange this world for another; you need to be able to morally transcend the offense, to see the victimizer from the perspective of his own vulnerability. Unforgiveness is, in fact, selfish and is merely the perpetuation of the sin perpetrated. It continues from the inside out in hatred. Revenge isn’t justice. The sin wins.
    However, our mundane (or worldly) lives also give us the unique ability to recognize the otherness of God working in our lives, i.e., what is truly “new under the sun.” And if we focus on what is new, will we not be renewed?

  8. Peter says:

    Yes Dave…..as I read through this material (quantum physics), the thought passed that if Einstein and Co. were propagating this material in times past their “careers” may have come to an early fiery end.

    Phil Mason in his book quotes Niels Bohr “Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it.”

    The “Observer Effect” is astonishing where something may not exist unless it is being observed which raises all sorts of questions…..but has been shown repeatedly by scientific experiments to be present phenomena at quantum level. So in the universe where we have an omniscient God…are we to conclude that this is purposeful in its continued existence?

    The creation account takes on a slightly new dimension when God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Here the word “good” is not meant to be goodie good but functionally good. And so the creation continues in the sense that it is spoken into existence with the feedback from the observer, God, that it complies with His requirements. So seemingly out of “nothing” (space and time) the creation is made. In Revelation (Rev 4:6) we have “four living creatures, full of eyes front and behind”…..symbolic of observer God sustaining the creation?

    The interesting point that Phil sees here that as the creation has materialized through God’s actions, why can man see the quantum mechanism in creation….which he proceeds to answer in his book (Amazon “Quantum Glory” ….P121 if you “look inside” and search the words “two realities” (no quotes) and scroll and select P121).

    The aspect you raise of free-will in creation is also interesting. We understand from the Bible that God has purer eyes than to behold evil (Hab 1:13) and, wherever there is evil, He must judge it (1 Cor 5:13). Accordingly, it is not possible for God to create evil in a direct sense otherwise He would be in a no different situation than ourselves (and would be judging Himself). However, creating a situation where free-will is available and defining the boundaries, man (Adam), chose evil and was judged for those actions.

    Looking at it another way, God cannot create/do evil (although in His wisdom he can use evil as a form of judgement against others…..eg the nations that came against Israel), therefore perfect free-will must have existed prior to the fall otherwise man would have been created as a robot and programmed to sin which links directly to the Creator (and cannot happen). So if free-will was in anyway biased towards sin or serving God, then it could not be free-will….the decision to do either must be man’s alone.

    While the fall caused a relational death between God and man and man and creation….another interesting aspect of quantum physics is “entanglement” which comes out in Brian Greene’s video. Here we are told where two different bodies are somehow linked and can be anywhere in the universe such that what occurs to one instantly affects the other. If God and man were “entangled” at creation and that sin also cosmologically broke that relationship/”entanglement”, then we have Jesus who through His crucifixion is able to restore that bond and becomes “entangled” to His bride…so that what has happened to Christ, the benefits are instantly shared with his “entangled” bride….and we are seated with Him in the holy of holies.

    The aspects you discuss with string theory which is all part of QM is similarly fascinating….which Phil discusses in terms of speaking the world into existence.

    So where you mention “this is all starting to sound a bit Star Trek’ish”….is this where you have updated what Einstein described as being “spooky”?…

  9. Dave Pritchard says:

    Peter –

    “Another interesting aspect of quantum physics is “entanglement” which comes out in Brian Greene’s video. Here we are told where two different bodies are somehow linked and can be anywhere in the universe such that what occurs to one instantly affects the other. If God and man were “entangled” at creation and that sin also cosmologically broke that relationship/”entanglement”, then we have Jesus who through His crucifixion is able to restore that bond and becomes “entangled” to His bride…so that what has happened to Christ, the benefits are instantly shared with his “entangled” bride….and we are seated with Him in the holy of holies.”

    – Amen Bro! Absolutely love this part above! I was getting there,….. but lagging a bit behind!

    My favorite part of the “Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos | NOVA Science Documentary” had to be when they quoted Niels Bohr’s response to Einstein’s famous “God doesn’t play dice!” Statement. He is disputed as having said something like – “Stop telling God what to do with his dice!” Ha!

    I just briefly skimmed through the first part of Phil’s book Online and I really enjoy what he’s saying. However getting entangled in “Quantum Mysticism” (no pun intended,…….OK, pun intended!) could lead some away from, rather than towards our Savior. Theoretical enticements often become for me a malaise of distraction that bites into my time in His word. Nevertheless, this looks like another winner and a definite download for the near future! I’ll just add it to my list of the other 25 books I’ve started this year and never finished. Ha!

  10. Peter says:

    Dave….as you say,

    “I just briefly skimmed through the first part of Phil’s book Online and I really enjoy what he’s saying. However getting entangled in “Quantum Mysticism” (no pun intended,…….OK, pun intended!) could lead some away from, rather than towards our Savior. Theoretical enticements often become for me a malaise of distraction that bites into my time in His word.”…..which was funnily enough a similar thought when I was flipping through Phil’s book. However, this was put at ease for me where Phil explains his position in his Introduction P25-26. In fact, having come out of the New Age movement, it is to those that this publication is, in part, directed to show them that rather than weave QM into their own worldview, but show them what a glorious God and salvation that Christians have.

    Phil leads a Christian group called the “New Earth Tribe” at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia which was once…and probably still is an early hippie mecca…and now new agers….so he is appropriately placed. With Greg talking about “tribes”, perhaps this is the forward direction rather than linking back to Anabaptists 😉 .

    Nonetheless, Phil has written a couple of new books since QG which are part of a four part series on Heart Life….which are interesting in themselves….but am yet to find the word quantum mentioned in them ie it would seem QG is written with an essential aim, but is not taking over his theology in other areas from what I can see.

    Actually one of the other thoughts I had on QM was whether a black hole is, in fact, a “bottomless pit” referred to in Revelation……if light cannot escape from one….are they a similar trap for demonic powers?

    Watching the last episode of Greene’s series on multiverses….which involves both dark energy and string theory, I personally don’t hold to that there is more than one universe or, that given the exo-planets being discovered there is more than one earth. While the proportions of the universe appear so vast and that we are but a grain of sand, there can only be one Son of God, Jesus, and one sacrifice for sin.


  11. Dave Pritchard says:

    Yea, Lawrence Krauss and company think they’ve got us all whipped and on the ropes with their “Multiverse Theory” which magically seems to be multiplying as we speak – Greene alone has what, 9 or 10 different versions now? Not to mention other completing cosmologists who insist that things like the “CMB Cold Spot” and “Dark Flow” conclusively prove their versions. The problem with all this is the lack of “Empirical Testability” and or “Falsifiability”.

    Ironically It was Paul Davies who said few years ago that –

    “For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification
    Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.”
    Wha wha….what was that again ??? Ha!

    As you might agree, Anthropic Coincidences/Principles pretty much back up the fact that our little blue sphere is an amazingly special and unique place! I’m open to the possibility of other “Goldie Locks Zone” life, but the discovery of such would not negate in any way, shape or form God’s incredibly compassionate and redemptive plan for humanity through Jesus! Speaking of “Black Holes”, I can think of a few choice individuals I’d like to send over the Event Horizon!

    “A black hole walks into a bar.
    Life on that planet comes to an end, and the planet is annihilated”

  12. Kathy D. says:

    Really enjoyed this – the diagram of aligning our wills with that of the Father’s, and how God works from the top down, Satan from the bottom up, and the information about the battleground being the soul was very helpful. Shared it with those of my Not One Sparrow prayer group, lots of help it was to others, too. Thank you.

  13. Omar says:

    Dear Greg,
    This is Omar from Bolivia. I was so blessed by this message, these series are helping me to envision myself as Christ sees me and as who really I am. And the message of unforgivenes today has helped me to see that I didn’t want to forgive some people in my life for the fear I have to be taken advantage of again. I still love so much the people who hurt me that I am afraid that if I forgive them they will take advantage of my love again. Praise God for your message, it helped me to see what I am sharing here. Be blessed and thanks,


  14. Madge says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added
    I get several emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Bless you!

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