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.
Death Over Dinner With Jesus
Sun, Apr 21, 2019
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. - Hebrews 2:9 (ESV) We are all inexperienced when it comes to death, but it will be a reality for everyone. Yet we avoid thinking or talking about it, but it is something everyone must face. On Easter we celebrate One who has tasted death and won. This unique event changes our perspective and our eternity when we consider our own mortality. This Sunday we come together, as we do every Sunday, to look toward this One, namely Jesus. We will see how the resurrection opens a way through grace for us. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 2 to prepare your heart and mind.
A Different King for a Different Kingdom
Sun, Apr 14, 2019
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:25–28 (ESV) The murmurs began to rise out of the growing crowd. They daily felt the oppression of the current regime, but it had never extinguished the hope that lingered from long ago. They had heard from the parents and grandparents that one day a king would arise. He would step into his rightful place and all would be set right. As they saw a figure grow over the horizon they wondered if all those hopes would meet reality. They had heard rumors he had been visited in childhood by mysterious men seeking a king. Some had heard him speak of a kingdom. Others had seen him command a crowd with his teaching. There had been others who sought to grab the throne, but none lasted. This felt different. In a moment the whispers broke out from their hushed undertones to outright declarations. 'Hosanna' someone in the back declared, and with that the flood was unleashed. This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday. It begins our Passion Week celebration and it reminds us of the rightful place of Jesus as King. This king and his kingdom would not be like anyone expected. Join as we explore the King and His Kingdom.
Gospel Love For The Unlovely
Sun, Apr 07, 2019
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:19–21 (ESV) Let's just be honest. We have all had those thoughts. There is a list in our head of our enemies. Usually they aren't someone far away or in a different country under a different flag, but they are people near us. They have a different outlook. They have harmed us. They have angered or wronged us. We even have a new term for some of these people - 'frenemies'. They might be in your office, in your neighborhood, or even in your own home. Now we don't want to see them harmed physically, but we do want them to get their 'just desserts'. If that happens maybe they would learn. We think that would give us a sense of justice. However, the gospel subverts this idea. This week we continue our journey through Romans 12. The gospel changes the way we love, not just the people that love us, but even our enemies (and frenemies). Take some time to read through Romans 12. I want to challenge you to write down a few names of people that came to your mind in the previous paragraph. Come ready to consider what God wants to do in you in this passage.
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