Trusting God and Distrusting You
Sun, Jun 30, 2019
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. - Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV) I hate asking for directions. As a guy I feel that I have some innate sense of how to get from here to there. It's almost as if my ancestors passed on to me how to track the sun, look at moss on a tree, and follow the stream to get from my house to anywhere. With those senses and a good cellphone signal I can get anywhere. This is how we often think of our own intelligence. We have both internal direction and external guides that can take us wherever we want to go. Unfortunately these voices don't lead us toward God's path. In the third chapter of Proverbs, Solomon tells his son there is a need for another guiding voice. This voice however is not a fallible human one, but the Divine creator of the universe that know how everything is put together and functions including you and me. For the next two weeks, Derek Fleischmann will be opening up this chapter for us. I look forward to what God is going to show us through this time. Will you take a few minutes and read through Proverbs 3 before Sunday?
Consequence of Ignoring Wisdom
Sun, Jun 16, 2019
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: - Proverbs 1:20–21 (ESV) There is no absence of voices in our world. If you want to fix a car or an appliance, you can call a repairman. If you want to tackle the job yourself, check Youtube for a tutorial. If you want to figure out what to invest in, call a financial advisor, or you can read a book, listen to a podcast, and even consult a 'robo-advisor'. Want to improve your people skills? Take an online course or go to meet-ups or try an app. There is no end to the voices for just about anything. The problem is what voices will ultimately not only help you, but tell you the truth? A company's self-interest, a profit motive, or a self-advancing perspective all taint people's advice and perspectives. How will we cut through the noise? In the midst of the crowded, loud marketplace one voice is calling. She is beckoning those that will listen. She is calling to those who want knowledge and understanding. She is Lady Wisdom. This week we continue to look at Proverbs 1, and we will see this feminine sage speak for the first time. The price to hear is admitting your own ignorance. That price is to high for some. How about you?
Listening to Wisdom's Voice
Sun, Jun 09, 2019
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. - Proverbs 1:8–9 (ESV) The older I get the smarter my parents have become. I'm not sure what class they took or books they had read, but they became geniuses. When I was younger they had no idea what the world was really like. Now, my dad seems to have a realistic and wise outlook of what is going on. The truth of this perspective is not that he has changed, but my ears have become uncorked with age. In Proverbs 1, Wisdom calls to the youth to consider who you will listen to. Who will influence your thinking and direction? Wisdom is calling out, but so are a company of fools. Who will you listen to? This week, I'm looking forward to hearing my friend Jim Maynard open up God's Word. Take some time to prepare your heart and mind before Sunday to read through Proverbs 1.
Path to Wisdom
Sun, Jun 02, 2019
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. - Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) It seems like there are smart people and 'smart people'. We live in a town with a BUNCH of very well-educated people. They know answers to things that I didn't even know were questions. They have some many letters behind their name that it looks like an alphabet soup. There are also 'smart people' that have what we often call 'street smarts'. They understand how the world works. They know people and what motivates and moves them. They know how to make a deal and they know how to just get stuff done. My question is...are either of these kinds of smart people wise? Proverbs describes something called wisdom that involves knowledge. It involves the ability to relate to people. Is this just some mash-up of the intellect and social skills? This week we begin our Walk with the Wise in Proverbs 1-9. We begin by seeing seeing what wisdom is for and where it comes from. I want to encourage you to take some time and read through Proverbs 1 to prepare your heart and mind. Looking forward to worshiping with you.
Characters on the Journey
Sun, May 26, 2019
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. - Proverbs 13:20 (ESV) I feel smarter when I hang out with smart people. Many times, I may have no idea what they are talking about, but it just feels like my IQ goes up a point or two when they are around. Along the way I do pickup a thing or two which helps me learn and grow. Ever had that experience? This summer we are going to hang out, not with smart people, but with wise people. (There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.) Scripture tells us that if we listen to the wise voices around us we will grow in our wisdom. This Sunday we start our summer series 'Walk with the Wise' looking at the first nine chapter of Proverbs. This week I'll be introducing to a few of the people we will be walking with this summer. I want to encourage you to take some time to read through Proverbs 9. The invitations in this chapter are the perfect introduction to a few of these folks.
Wake Up and Fight
Sun, May 19, 2019
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. - Romans 13:11–12 (ESV) What are you anticipating? What are you looking forward to? This time of year it might be graduation or vacation. That kind of anticipation can give us energy to continue and push through current difficulties. It can build excitement to what is ahead. This perspective is not unknown to scripture. In our passage Paul tells us some good news, salvation is coming. It will happen. Things will get better, eventually. We are moving from a dark night to day. Are you ready? Take a few minutes to read through the last half of Romans 13 to prep your heart and mind. Also, please take a few minutes to read through the rest of the email for a bunch of updates. There are some specific needs and volunteer opportunities over the summer.
The Debt of Love
Sun, May 12, 2019
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. - Romans 13:8 (ESV) According to Experian, the average American has $6,354 in credit card debt. The average interest rate is around 17%. So the average minimum monthly payment is around $127. This means it will take you over 7.5 years to pay off that balance if you incur no other debt, and over that timespan you will pay over $5200 in interest on that balance. That's a little overwhelming! That's how debt can be - overwhelming. It's no wonder that Paul uses it here as an illustration. This week is not primarily about money. It's just a side-note. It is about a debt that we owe one another and how that debt has been paid in the gospel. Now we have the freedom to be generous people not just with our money, but ultimately with love. Take some time to read through Romans 13 starting at vs. 8. We will be considering together the overwhelming debt that was paid by Christ as we look at the scriptures and as we celebrate communion together. Plan to join us!
How To Disobey The Authorities
Sun, May 05, 2019
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. - Romans 13:1–2 (ESV) Paul wrote these words to a group of people who lived under a government that at the time was ambivalent and mostly ignorant to Christianity, but in a few short years things would not be nearly as peaceable. Caesar would not only demand loyalty, but worship. Christianity would be outlawed and severely persecuted. Under these circumstances how do we think about these words? Is there a limit to submission? Is there a time or even a duty at times to disobey the authorities? When is that? Last week, I entitled the message How to Obey the Authorities. This week I want to take a different angle out of the same passage and idea. I want to look at How to Disobey the Authorities. We will look at how and when we are to go expressly against the wish and power of the civil authorities. I want to encourage you to read through Acts 4 to see one instance early in the life of the church that this happened. Come ready to consider your own disobedience.
How To Obey The Authorities
Sun, Apr 28, 2019
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. - Romans 13:1 (ESV) The saying goes, 'There is only two certainties in life: death and taxes.' We all think about that this time of year. Hopefully you have already filed and the sting has started to wear off. Have you ever considered not paying? Maybe you even spiritualized it. The government is not going to do the 'right' things with the money after all. It's full of politicians and crooks (which are basically the same thing - right?). God could do some amazing things with that money. As we turn back to Romans, Paul wants us to think about the authorities in our lives, including the government. Why are they there? What role should they play? Do they deserve our loyalty? Don't I have a King, not a president? We are going to look at these questions in the next few weeks. It's bound to get political, but probably not in the way you are thinking. I want to challenge you to read through Romans 13, and consider where your loyalties lie.
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