03/10/2021

"I AM the Gate"

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Featuring: Rev. Richard Maraj
Week # of a 7-Week Lenten/Easter "I AM" Series

Click HERE to download this transcript.

INTRODUCTION
Rev. Richard Rogers: Good evening! I’m Richard Rogers; this is Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center, and I am so glad you’re with us tonight! I’m doing this seven-week series on the “I AM” statements of Jesus. And I really want you to hear these statements as they apply to you. That they’re not just Jesus claiming something for his own life; in reality, he’s teaching us how to claim all the good that God is, and to really access it for our own life. So that’s what we’re going to do tonight!

OPENING PRAYER
Let’s the intention by going in to prayer. I want you to open your mind, your heart, your soul to the activity of God. That there is only one presence and one power — one God, one good — manifesting in each of our lives. So we dedicate this day to being the greatest expression of God that we can be: living our very best life. Thank you, God; thank you, God; thank you, God! And so it is. Amen.

SOLO
Guest artist Rusty Ferracane sings, “Love’s Divine”

Then the rainstorm came over me
And I felt my spirit break
I had lost all of my belief, you see
And realized my mistake
But time threw a prayer to me
And all around me became still

I need love, love’s divine
Please forgive me now I see that I’ve been blind
Give me love
Love is what I need to help me know my name

Through the rainstorm came sanctuary
And I felt my spirit fly
I had found all of my reality
I realize what it takes

‘Cause I need love, love’s divine
Please forgive me now I see that I’ve been blind
Give me love
Love is what I need to help me know my name

Oh I don’t bend, don’t break
Show me how to live and promise me you won’t forsake
‘Cause love can help me know my name

Well I try to say there’s nothing wrong
But inside I felt me lying all along
But the message here was plain to see
Believe me

‘Cause I need love, love’s divine
Please forgive me now I see that I’ve been blind
Give me love
Love is what I need to help me know my name

Oh I don’t bend, don’t break
Show me how to live and promise me you won’t forsake
‘Cause love will help me know my name, my name

I said love, love will help me know my name
As I try to understand the meaning of love
Love will help me know my name

MESSAGE
Rev. Richard Rogers: Rusty – fabulous! Thank you, buddy! Thank you, thank you!

Alright. So I’m doing these “I AM” statements of Jesus. And today we’re going to focus on John 10:9. And it’s, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and he will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, to kill and destroy. I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly.”

Aright! So that’s where we’re going today. Right? I want you to see. We’re going to talk about the gate and all that that means to you — all that means to your life. What it means to have the access to the gate; to have the doors open wide to the kingdom of heaven — all the good that God is. And also of knowing that we can close the gate. That we are safe and protected in the pasture of all God’s good.

So we’re going to start with the first two words in the Scripture. “I am.” Now, last week we really looked at what the “I AM” is: it’s the words that spoke to Moses. “I AM that I AM.” When God sent Moses out into the world, he said, “Tell them that the ‘I AM’ has sent you.”

And I just love that imagery! I want you to feel that activity of God speaking directly to your soul, saying to you that the “I AM” has sent you! Right? That the “I AM” — that that power of creativity — has sent you out into the world. And whatever you align your “I AM” with is the power that is sending you out into the world!

Like, if you want to align with the “I am broke; I am poor; I am stupid,” then you’re being sent out into the world with that as your dominant identity! But, in reality, when the “I AM” sends you out in the world, you get to actually decide. You have 100% free will! You get to decide what you’re going to link with your “I AM” nature! What you’re going to link with your God nature. What you’re going to link with your “I AM” presence. “I am wise. I am powerful. I am abundant. I am whole. I am well. I am loving. I am at peace.” Right? You get to decide what you link to your “I AM” nature, and that literally propels you out into life!

Like, you can move out into life from a place of weakness or brokenness, or you can start with the “I AM,” and link your God nature to those things that are powerful, those things that are abundant, those things that are loving, to those things that are of God!

And when we really link “I AM,” we know that it begins to change our identity. That we can no longer see ourselves as broken or limited or wounded. That we have to begin to see ourselves as created in the image and likeness of God: that the “I AM” sent you into the world! And when we begin to link our “I AM” with those qualities of God, then we are expressing and we actually fulfill the promises that God has made to us from the beginning of time: that we are the sons and daughters of the Most High. That we are the heirs to all that God is.

And when we link our “I AM” to these divine, spiritual natures, we actually have the power to transform every level of our life. “I AM! I AM! I am one with all that God is. I AM!” And I want you to feel the power of that: just the power of your “I AM!” Even if you don’t link it to anything else, if you just begin to affirm “I AM,” it’s your declaration of potential! It’s your declaration of power. It is your declaration that you are the sons and daughters of the Most High: that you are the offspring of all that God is! “I AM!” Say that with me: “I AM!”

In the places where you feel the most wounded, the most broke, the most needy, the most sad and pathetic, what I want you to begin to claim is “I AM.” And I want you to feel — as you begin to call forth that “I AM” nature — that you are literally claiming the power of God. “I AM! I AM! I AM!” And feel that power within you! I promise you that you’ve never touched the fullness of that power! That there is more God in you than you’ve ever realized! And, as you begin to affirm “I AM,” you actually begin to feel that creative, dynamic power of God moving in and through your soul. “I AM!”

And then Jesus links it to this. He says, “I am the gate.” The gate is the structure that keeps things in, and keeps things out. Jesus was proclaiming that the “I AM” is our opening to God. That our “I AM” is our access point. That all that God is — that God is our opening place. That the “I AM” is our opening place to the infinite reservoir of God’s good.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” When we claim the “I AM,” it’s our soul knocking at the door of the Infinite. When we claim the “I AM,” the door opens to us, and whatever we’re claiming is attached to our “I AM” is the reality that we begin to experience.

Now, if I’m affirming, “I am broke” or “I am wounded” or “I am stupid,” is that the spiritual truth of who you are? No! But it becomes your experience! Because you identify with these broken natures, it becomes your experience! Now, does it minimize God? No! But it sure minimizes your experience of life! As you claim anything that’s unbecoming a child of God, it doesn’t change the nature of God in you; it doesn’t change your potential. It just changes your experience! And life is about the experience! Right?

So when you come into this world, you are whole and complete and lacking in nothing. You are a full and complete spiritual being. And that’s why the whole idea of spiritual growth is erroneous. We don’t grow spiritually! We come into this world and we’re already whole and complete and lacking in nothing. We don’t grow spiritually. We grow in our understanding. We grow in our experience. We grow in our transformation of our life. But your spiritual nature doesn’t grow.

When you think that you’re growing your spirit, it is the ego doing its work: telling you that you’re not quite there, but your ego can get you over the hump. You are whole and complete and lacking in nothing! Your “I AM” nature is full and complete always. And when you link your “I AM” nature to those things that are less than, your experience is less than, but your nature doesn’t change. God in you doesn’t change!

You were always created in the image and likeness of God. What we’re working on really doing in this life experience is allowing our life to outpicture the glory of God: allowing our life to be the living example of all the good that God is! And that’s what the Scripture’s all about: it’s our “I AM” that is the gate!

And then it goes on and says, “Whoever enters by me will be saved.” “By me” is the “I AM!”

Now, when we think about “by me,” this is where all the ministers would go, like, “You can only get saved through Jesus!” Right? “You can only get saved if you believe that Jesus is the son of God.” Well, I believe that Jesus is the son of God; but I also believe that the “I AM” — the nature of God in him — is that same nature of God that’s in me. And that we’re saved not by Jesus, the person; we’re saved by the nature of God in him: by the “I AM.”

So when we read it like this — “Whoever enters by the ‘I AM’ will be saved.” [Laughs] And I want you to feel that! I want you to feel the power of God that is going to save you as you link your “I AM” to greater and greater things!

And then if we look at “saved” … from what? Like, saved … Most of us would believe that we’re going to be saved from “hell.” And, you know, there’s so many different forms of hell. You know: the hell of fear; the hell of pain; the hell of addiction; the hell of neediness; the hell of brokenness. Like, the “I AM” saves us from hell: the hell of separation; the hell of not being enough.

When we really begin to claim our “I AM,” we move out of the hells in our lives into a heavenly existence, because we’re actually fulfilling the promises that God made to us from the beginning of time! So when we enter in – right? — we are saved by the “I AM.”

And then it goes on. “And you will come and go out and find pasture.” Like, this is such an important part, right? Because, when we experience this, is: that when we claim our “I AM,” we actually have the freedom to move in and out of this expression. Like, as a spiritual being, there’s going to be times when you’re going to move in and out of this awareness, of this experience. There’s going to be times when you claim your “I AM,” and you feel connected to all that God is. And then there’s times [laughs] when you go out, and you go, “Oh, my gosh. Who am I?” You just forget, and you get into your drama. You get into your stories. You know, you go have your little pity party with a friend about how awful you are, or how awful life is. Right? You’ve gone out! And then you come back in! You come back in and you’re, “Oh! There I am! I recognize me! I know this guy| This guy’s powerful!” Right? “I like this guy!”

When I go hang out, and I get into my pathetic little self … Is everybody aware of your pathetic little self? [Laughs] I mean, I want you to — I want you to see your pathetic little self. When we’re outside the experience of the “I AM,” we get pathetic! And we find people that will believe in our woundedness. We’ll find people that believe that we’re broken or less than.

And then we come back into our “I AM” nature. And it’s like, “That’s not who I am! What a waste of time! I AM, and I will find pasture.” Right? That this is our opportunity. In the pasture, all of our needs are met! In the pasture we have freedom; we live in the abundance of God! From the 23rd Psalm, Scripture says it this way: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Like, when we know our “I AM” nature, the Lord is our God: the Lord God of our being; the Lord God of the I AM. I shall not want! “He maketh me lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

See, there’s such a powerful thing that Jesus was teaching. Because, in the Old Testament, Moses gave us the Ten Commandments. And the Ten Commandments were all the “I shan’ts,” right? “Don’t do this; don’t do that; don’t …” And the reason for it was that the activity of God wanted us to stay close until we had a personal relationship with God. Right? The God of the Old Testament was the God of the tribe. It wasn’t an individual experience, right?

So when the God of the tribe — God wanted to be sure that the people were close. But when Jesus came in, he taught a personal relationship with God. He called God “Father”; he called him “Abba.” Right? He taught a personal relationship with God. And then he went out and taught these “I AM.” Right? And then Jesus’ great teachings were the Beatitudes. It wasn’t “Thou shalt not …” What Jesus taught was, “Blessed is he who does …” Right?

This is the difference! In the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want; He maketh me lie down in green pastures.” Right? It’s this parental God making us behave. Making us be blessed. Making sure all our needs are taken care of.

That’s not what Jesus taught! Jesus said, “You will go in and out of the pasture.” Right? Because you’re a full child of God! You’re a spiritual adult now! God’s not going to tell you to just sit here in the pasture; you’re not just going to sit in the blessings of God. You’re going to sit in the blessings of God, and then you’re going to forget, and you’re going to go out! But then you have to come back in! Because, over and over again, as we feel this experience of going in and out of the abundance of God — in and out of our spiritual power; in and out of the blessings of God — there’s a moment where we make a decision to stay in the blessings of God … not because we were told to stay, but because it’s our personal choice. At that moment, we’ve aligned our will with the will of God.

Like, anybody else have any authority issues? [Laughs] I’ve been known to have authority issues. I don’t really like to be told what to do. Right? And, in fact, most of my life — when I was told what to do — I did exactly the opposite. Right? It just … It was just in my nature. Like, if people told me I needed to do … I needed to test it myself. I needed to see if it really worked.

But, as I come into God, and it becomes my choice to live my “I AM” … When it becomes my choice to be blessed … When I no longer need to get bumped around by life … When I no longer need to be in my drama or my story or my woundedness … I come back to my “I AM.” Because now I’m free, because I’ve chosen to live in integrity with my “I AM.” I have chosen to fulfill the promises that God has made to me. That’s my choice! I could go out; I could go back out and live in craziness at any point! But I choose more and more of the time to live from my “I AM” nature: from the power of God within me. I’m not required to be here; I choose to be here. “I choose to express all the good that God is.” Will you say that with me? “I choose to express all the good that God is.”

And then he teaches this. And I love this! Right? Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And after he teaches all about the “I AM,” he gives us this warning. He says, “The thief comes and only steals, kills and destroys.” So what is the thief, right? Many of us were taught the thief was the devil. Right? That the devil’s going to come and steal our good. The devil made me say it. Like, the whole devil thing.

What I want you to see is that: as you begin to learn about your “I AM” nature … As you begin to express your “I AM” nature … The thief is — what kills you and destroys you — is linking your “I AM” to anything that’s not inherently of God. When you link your “I AM” to any quality that’s less than the goodness of God, we are in the process of killing ourselves! Destroying the good life! We are in the process of imploding. And Jesus gave us this warning.

And then he goes on to say, “I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly.” And I love this! Like, your spiritual nature is not so you just sit around with other good people, and just pretend that everybody’s all good and all that. No! Your spiritual nature is to unleash all the blessings of God! That we are literally here to have the greatest life possible! We are here to feel profound love. We are here to be fully alive. We’re here to be healthy. We’re here to express and experience the abundance of God. We’re here to have the greatest life! That we are transforming from the inside out, so that we can transform our life and live an abundantly good life!

And that’s my hope and my prayer for all of us. My hope and my prayer for you today is that your life just gets better and better and better through this “I AM” nature. That, as you awaken spiritually to all that God is within you, that you just make choice after choice to experience greater joy, greater peace, greater love, greater abundance, greater happiness. That you’re the living example of all the good that God is!

And the “I AM” is your gate! It is the passageway. And you can either come into the power of who you are, or you can be in the drama of who you are. But Jesus made it pretty clear that you’re either in one or the other. That you’re either in the power of who you are as a child of God and your “I AM” nature, or you’re in the drama of who you are.

And when you’re in the drama of who you are, there’s no limit to the amount of drama. [Laughs] And some of us have been masters at it! Some of us have created levels of drama that just are amazingly awful! And we’ve gotten lost in darkness and pain and fear. And the truth is: when we’re in our “I AM” nature — when we come to God, when we come back to the power of God within us — there’s an infinite level of good that mirrors the infinite levels of darkness.

Today, where are you going to put your focus? Where are you going to focus your “I AM”? Are you going to focus it on the power of God within you? Or are you going to throw it away? Are you going to focus on the drama and the darkness and the fear, and all the worst-case scenarios?

“I am the gate.” I am the gate! And this gate opens wide to opportunities, to blessings, to good too numerous to name. But you have to use your “I AM” nature in a way that is more mature, more aware, more awake than ever before. “I am created in the image and likeness of God. I am wise. I am bold. I am powerful. I am abundant. I am loving. I am kind. I AM! I AM!”

As we hold the truth of that, everything in our life begins to change. “I AM!”  Let’s take that into prayer.

MEDITATION
I want you to take a deep breath as we move into this time of meditation. I want you to really dwell in the “I AM.” I want you to say those words to your soul over and over again, and I want you to feel the power of God within you. “I AM. I AM. I AM. I am the light. I am the truth. I am the way. I am the gate. I am the good shepherd. I AM. I AM! I am created in the image and likeness of God. I AM. I am powerful beyond words. I am truth, light, power. I AM.”

And I want you to feel the full power of God that’s within you. And as you claim your “I AM,” I want you to feel that power of God begin to stir within you as never before. That, no matter what’s going on in your life — no matter what the need, no matter what the situation is — God in you is infinitely greater. “I AM. I AM. I AM!”

Take another deep breath. And feel the power of God moving through every cell of your body. “I AM.” Feel the power of God transforming your finances. “I AM.” Feel the power of God transforming your body and healing you in every imaginable way. “I AM.” Feel love opening in new ways and opportunities for greater depth and relationships. “I AM.” And feel the wisdom of God inspiring you, guiding you, to greater and greater levels of good. “I AM.” That you are created in the image and likeness of God. “I AM!”

Today, I want you to claim the full power of God within you. I want you to unleash all the good that God is. “I AM!”  I want you to be bold and courageous in your willingness to claim this “I AM” nature. “I AM!” And just send it out into your future. Proclaim the truth of who you are. Allow any broken or needy place in your life to be transformed by the “I AM” nature. “I AM!”

That we let go of the old, limited beliefs. We let go of the old, limited ideas. We let go of the old brokenness, and we continue to affirm, “I AM. I AM.” In the name and through the power of the Living Christ, we give thanks. And so it is. Amen.

CLOSING/COLLECTION
Alright! This is a time of giving of our gifts and tithes. I invite you to take them in your hand and bless them together. And I want to thank you all for your generous support of this ministry. Through your online giving, through the checks that you drop in the mail, you’re allowing this ministry to continue to do its mighty work. So thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support!

Our offering blessing is: “Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.” Together: “Divine love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.” In the name and through the power of the Living Christ, it is done. Amen.

Let’s affirm together our Prayer for Protection:

The light of God surrounds us;
The love of God enfolds us;
The power of God protects us;
And the presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is! And all is well!

God bless you, friend! Have a great week. And I look forward to being with you next week!

Unity of Phoenix Choir sings:
Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth;
the peace that was meant to be.

With God as Creator,
family all are we.
Let us walk with each other
in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me;
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
Let this be my joyous vow:

To take each moment
and live each moment
in peace eternally!

Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me!

Copyright 2021 Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center/Rev. Richard Rogers

 

 

Location and Contact Information

Unity of Phoenix Spiritual Center

1500 E Greenway Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85022
Phone: (602) 978-3200

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