5/24 Series: The Art of Decision-Making, Finding Greatness in Humility James 4:1-12
Everyone likes balloons. They bring a smile to our face, they add to a celebration, and when you see one you know something good is going on. During Time for Our Young People Pastor George talked about our lives and how we like to puff ourselves up much like we blow up a balloon. How do we do that you ask? By thinking we are better than others, that you are the best, smartest, cutest, etc., it’s that me, me, me mentality above anyone else. Eventually your balloon will pop. Self-centeredness is an enemy of God. Overconfidence is bolstered by a sense that we know more than we actually do and this in turn almost always leads to poor decision making.
In the children’s video in RNM for the week Iesodo (whose character is a portrayal of Jesus) talked on Kindness in the series titled The Greatest is The Least. Iesodo shared that doing something out of obligation or for praise is never the point but doing it out of love is what life is all about. Every task taken on with a positive attitude and with love is our heart of not expecting anything in return. That’s living with humility.
Bill Pollard in his series Lead with Humility, calls this a disease of Hubris, that we deserve the best. It’s a leadership disease and a cultural disease, giving into pride. He also says it is time to eat some humble pie.
Sunday’s message we heard from Pastor George that humility is putting another first, lifting them up. Humility is tough. Humility plays a crucial role in our lives. CS Lewis in Mere Christianity states that the utmost evil is pride. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride-the chief cause of misery since the world began. In the scripture passage from James, Pastor George mentioned that 15 times you or yours is stated. Instead we are to adopt the same attitude as Christ as we read in Philippians 2:5 “Let the same attitude and purpose and humble mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.” Let Him be your example in humility.
In the series The Makings of a Godly Man by Ravi Zacharias he examined the life of Daniel to teach on humility, spirituality, and faith. Ravi says we are to draw a line in place for principles to live by. In humility God tells us to look at your heart and see it as I see it. For this Ravi calls the Line of Resistance by training his (Daniel’s) appetite. We are daily responsible for training our hunger and passions. Train what we can enjoy – shun whatever we know can lose us to service for the King of Kings. The Line of Dependence is where he (Daniel) knows the true source of wisdom. God’s Wisdom- the ability to discern right from wrong, our spirituality. The Line of Confidence is our faith. We follow God no matter what happens, even if you are thrown into a lion’s den.
Lisa Chen, in her series of True Beauty encourages us to say I belong to Jesus. True beauty lies in the heart. She spoke of denying yourself. Deny yourself and those self-indulgences, be my disciple says Jesus. When you feel it’s the right thing to do for another, you don’t question it, you just do it. Life is not perfect. We are on a journey with God. He wants us to lay down our lives, give up our comforts, possessions, stuff that we feel is most important, and to live life with Joy that nothing nor no one else can give except when you have that personal relationship with Jesus.
Iesodo also ended in saying what is in your heart is what is most important, if you want to be a great leader you must be a humble servant. Never stop doing what is right. Open your heart and enjoy all the beauty and fun life has to offer. Ravi Zacharias says that God will ask us “What’s your name?” In answering are you willing to see your heart today as God sees it? Humility begins in the heart.
Larry & Darlene
May 17 – How to Let Wisdom Guide You James 3:13-18
When we think of Wisdom, what comes to mind? Someone who is well respected? Someone Older? Someone well educated. Is wisdom learned, trained in us, or is one just born with wisdom? Where does wisdom come from? How do we find it?
In the scripture for this week we read that Wisdom is from Above. James 3: 13-18 talks about wisdom from above, and also addresses earthly wisdom. Rick Howerton in his illustration that we watched this week in RNM, gave us insight on Mining for Wisdom versus Advice Giving. Every one of us has given advice to another. Howerton cautions us regarding advice giving. Advice giving is when someone gives their opinion or tells what someone else told them to do. Might that be earthly wisdom? On the other hand, Howerton says together we should journey towards wisdom learned from the scriptures, that’s wisdom from above.
In the message this week we heard Pastor George explain that having knowledge is good. In hearing, listening, learning, we gather knowledge. Let us be cautious in who or what we are gathering our knowledge from. It is taking what we know, the knowledge and applying it. What flows out of us is our true wisdom, he said. Pastor George referenced Matthew 7;15 ….it’s our fruit from the tree of our life that we are known for. We are told to get a picture of what Jesus is like. As Jesus tells us, Follow Me. Sunday, we sang the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, that is what we need to do Lord, turn our eyes to you. Another way of saying this is, Lord teach us your Word. The Holy Scripture it is there that we find the wisdom to guide us.
Another RNM series we watched this week was “Wisdom Literature” by Tim Mackie. He shared his insight on the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. These books are books of wisdom. Wisdom says Mackie, is a moral law of the universe, a force that everyone can access. Wisdom is used to develop the skill of a good life. He began with the book of Proverbs. He classifies Proverbs as a brilliant young teacher. In reading through Proverbs, we learn about living, about God’s definition of good and evil, learning those boundary lines and not crossing them. Ultimately Mackie says that wisdom begins with the Fear of the Lord, a healthy respect for the Lord. That God is wise and just. Then we looked at what the book of Ecclesiastes offers. Mackie refers to this book as the critic. The book begins with a lot of gloom and doom. Life is referred to as meaningless, life under the sun is meaningless. Life is short, here today, gone tomorrow. Soon we will all join the dead, but until then we are in what is referred to as the Race of Life. We will live through life’s random chances, uncontrollable, confusing, the meaning of life is never really clear. Through the end of the book Mackie asks the question, “What does it look like to live well in this world? His answer was, the right thing to do is Fear the Lord, as we learn in Proverbs, and from Ecclesiastes we learned that we can’t control life, one only has control over one thing – your attitude towards the present moment. We are to be humble; all is in God’s hand anyway. Life has meaning even when you cannot make sense of it. Fear the Lord and keep His commandments. Then Mackie goes on to the book of Job. He likens the book of Job to a weathered old man who’s seen a lot in his day. Job, a friend of God, living the good life but then loses everything. Why? Was he obeying God just to get what Job wanted in life? Did Job finally get what he deserved? Job defends his innocence – Job is humble – he lives in the peace and Fear of the Lord. No matter what comes he knows that he can trust God. God says I am in control of the universe and its complexities. Trust Me. Combining all three of these books together we learn of lessons of Living the Good Life.
God’s Word is for us. Reading it, learning from it, applying it, mining it for How to Let Wisdom Guide You. The Bible gives us wisdom on all aspects of our lives. Regardless what you want to know more of – growing up, adulthood, marriage, child rearing, finances, relationships, friendship, stewardship, anything……. The wisdom you need to know can be found in God’s Word. One of those topics we viewed this week was Financial Wisdom by Alex Cook. Yes, there is a right way to handle money and Alex addressed those wisdom points. In summary he gave the Foundation of Wise Management of Money. Some of his points were to have a right attitude towards money; a heart right thinking; right priorities with goals and visions; simple living, finding contentment; and most importantly having an Eternal Focus. Cook references Matthew 19: 29-30… “Eternity is our reward for what we’ve done in this life.” As Pastor George referenced, what fruit are you offering to the world, in this life? Another verse reference often is Hebrews 12: 1-3 … “don’t grow weary, run the race, fix your eyes on Jesus.” We all can use that as a focal point for life
As we find ourselves doing life there will be times that we embark on a new adventure, nervous, not really sure how to proceed, or we may find ourselves in the middle of an adventure struggling through, then there is a time when one door closes so to speak, and we’re awaiting another to open. What are we to do? Wisdom is necessary in every stage and age of life. Looking for some earthly advice? Or are you now going to take the time mining for wisdom. As we asked in the beginning, when you think of Wisdom what comes to mind?
Larry & Darlene
5/10 The Heart of a Mom James 3: 1-12
This Sunday is recognized nationwide as Mother’s Day. A day to give special acknowledgement to our Mother. Moms are special people. They are special to their children, to their husbands, and to God our creator.
Honoring Mothers is honoring those who mean the world to us. Time with our young people this past Sunday talked about how do you Show Your Love? We demonstrate it by showing her through smiles, hugs, gifts made and/or bought. As well as the words we speak to her and about her. Actions that show your love as well as words that tell your love.
In this week’s RNM video by Jill Savage we listened to No More Perfect Moms. Mom’s want the best for their families and work hard to try and reach a level of acceptance not only by what she wants for her family, but by what is perceived from others outside the family on what she does for her family. Jill referred to this as mom’s perfection infection. All moms have struggled with meeting their expectations of what a mom should be. This video series has a cute and truthful skit showing that a mom wears so many hats in any given day, there is much demands upon her. She has such a going’s on in her head because she wants to meet the needs of her children, home, and husband and some even add a career into the mix. Leaving women with a fear of insecurities of meeting those expectations. She shared and every mom will attest to, that things don’t always go as planned. Jill Savage said that Moms need to have a pliable heart to go with the circumstance. To ready our hearts, for any given moment, for motherhood is a ministry of interruptions. And that is okay and expected. People need to feel loved in the place they live, within the home. Every woman works to make a house a home. A place her family enjoys to be. Stay focused on heart keeping versus housekeeping Savage said, and every mother would agree with this, that’s why moms work so hard towards being a perfect mom to win the hearts of their children. Jill wants all moms to know that “you are the perfect mom for your kids; we as moms learn through raising our kids how to be the perfect mom for them; it’s works with a reward!
Pastor George this past Sunday stated that: We are a faith family, parents, and children. It’s two jobs you cannot get fired from. We sang the song Cornerstone this past Sunday. Through all of life Christ is our cornerstone. One of the lines in the song says “…from life’s first cry to final breath, here in the power of Christ I stand.” That is the desire Christian parents have not only for themselves but for their children. To raise up a child in the way that he should go. Raising a child, preparing them to be the man or woman that God created them to be. It’s character development Pastor George said that moms work on in their children.
Sunday’s scripture is from James 3: 1-12. This passage addresses Taming the Tongue. The tongue is powerful. We are to recognize the importance of words said that we use the tongue for. In David Platt’s RNM video on Faith Works, on the topic of Faith Speaks he said, “From the same mouth can come blessings and cursing; words that abuse, distort, or words that heal, and encourage. Your words are an indication of your heart and therefore your true spiritual condition.” Pastor George credits moms with guiding their children in taming the tongue. To better manage the tongue is a lesson preparing their children to be the man/woman they are created for. It’s their growth process towards character development. The tongue with what we say and our actions what we do, will be the evidence of how we live out our life. A follower of Jesus is watched by others in how we speak – serve – love. A mother’s love for her children is teaching them throughout all stages of their growth. Much the same as God’s Love for each of us. He teaches us as we continue to grow our faith. Pastor George said that as we celebrate God’s Love, on this Mother’s Day we also honor moms who lead the way in showing God’s love, who help children grow to maturity. Showing grace when necessary as her children grow. We celebrate the heart of mom and mom’s sacrifices for her family, as a reflection of God’s Grace and ultimate sacrifice for us his children.
In Matthew 21:16 it says “…from the lips of children and infants Lord, you have called forth your praise”. Nothing warms a mother’s heart more than knowing that her children are praising our Lord with their tongue. We, as someone’s child, need to continue to warm our mother’s heart with praises to our Lord through our tongue.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!
Larry & Darlene
5/3 The Feet of Jesus James 2: 14-26
This week we again visited the Book of James. We know that James is the half-brother of Jesus. James’ ministry hadn’t really started until after the death of Jesus. We heard Sunday from Pastor George that James was the pastor of the first church in Jerusalem. During that time there was extraordinary persecutions going on. Much hardship for the people, lacking food, and material things. James in his writings wrote of what being a true Christian means, what it looks like, and how we are to live out our faith! Sunday’s sermon message asked if we’ve taken our faith the twelve inches from being an intellectual ascent, to the heart? Even the devil knows of God. What makes us different than him? Are we living what we claim to believe? As Pastor George talked about during Children’s Time, “Talk the Talk & Walk the Walk”, are we?
Our RNM video that we viewed this week was from David Platt titled Faith Works, Living What We Claim to Believe, he said that faith in our hearts is evident in the fruit of our lives. Within the message from David Platt we learned that our acts of mercy are necessary evidences and natural overflow of salvation. To ignore the need, is to ignore Jesus. He said this not to put guilt upon us, but to arouse faith within us. Faith creates works, sacrificial works. The more that our faith matures, says David, obeying God brings honor to Him. To disobey is our lack of trust, our lack of faith.
Remember during Sunday’s service Pastor George gave us a visual of our sins being nailed to the cross. The lies, even half-truths, when we ask for forgiveness is nailing it to the cross; anger, when we blow it, ask forgiveness is nailing it to the cross, pride, when we want the glory to bring us honor instead of God, nail it to the cross. The more our faith matures, we want to obey God, bring Him honor and declare it, we are then righteous before God. We trust in Him. We are obedient unto Him. David Platt says that Faith produces radical action, radical trust, radical obedience for the spread of the Gospel.
Sunday’s scripture in the book of James Chapter 2 beginning in verse 14 says -…”faith in action as it relates to caring for the poor.” And ending in verse 26…”faith without works is dead faith”. Faith works. We walk with God as a friend of God. A radical obedience before God. David Platt said that “faith creates works and works on the Day of Judgement will be evidence faith was real.” How do you live out your faith?
David also reiterated that our Salvation is by faith – faith in Christ. We have no other work to do for our salvation. He in his series Faith Works, shared The Confirmation of the Christian’s Life. Christ is the basis of our justification. Sin stained us. He, Jesus, is the Righteous One. He lived the righteous life that we cannot live. Faith is the means of our justification. Turning from self, submission to and trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Works are the evidence of our justification. Fueled by faith not by flesh. All three of these realities are only possible by the Grace of God. Living grace, grace at work in our lives.
“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling”. Sunday’s song The Old Rugged Cross, I am Free, claims that in song. It’s in the cross that we’ve been redeemed. We remember His sacrifice for us, us the needy, in need of a Savior. It’s this same sacrificial love, sacrificial care that we need to live out to the needy around us. We are to see through the eyes of Christ, be devoted to the law of Christ to love your neighbor as yourself. David Platt shared The Manifestation of True and Acceptable Religion... Faith always expresses itself through love.
Pastor George gave us an acronym to remember that the Feet of Faith reveal:
F - I am FORGIVEN by grace through faith, faith necessitates works
E – I am ENERGIZED to thank God through my actions, Romans 5: 1-5, suffering produces endurance which produces character, character claims this Hope
E – I am EQUIPPED to do good for God and his people. In Ephesians 2:10, to respond and do something with our faith.
T – I am working TOGETHER with Christ to live out my faith. Hebrews 11:16, Jesus nudges us.
Pastor George encourages us to be known by your feet!
Larry & Darlene
More Th>n a Presence Acts 1:6-8 Vs. 8 “… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.”
Sunday’s sermon message had a different scenery, Pastor George spoke to us around a burning fire, with the smoke rising upward. Was this just a comforting scene on a cool Sunday morning? Or is there more to this picture?
In the message we read about receiving power when the Holy Spirit comes, and to be a witness. Have you given much thought to the power of the Holy Spirit? We hear much about God, and his son Jesus but what about the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit?
One of the video’s we watched this week in RNM is titled Earth – Wind – Fire, learning from and listening to the Holy Spirit by Jason Nelson. He addressed the nature of the Spirit, a separate essence of God. God three in one: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. First Jason addresses EARTH – We have all read and/or heard the Genesis account of creation. God created. Did you also catch in reading, the Spirit of God hovering over the Earth? We are referred to as mortal clay, earthly vessels of which God breathed life into, the very breath of God, the Holy Spirit breathed life into us, filling people with the power and presence of God. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. Jason Nelson then addressed WIND – His daughter, when asked to describe the Holy Spirit saying, “I see something invisible, I see air, but I know He’s there”. The Divine Wind. We can see, feel, or hear the effects of wind. Jesus, in his Word confirms the Divine Wind, the Holy Spirit. There is no life apart from the Spirit of God. How do you receive it, Nicodemus asked? Jesus replied by believing. Place your faith in the Son of God. Be Born Again, Born of the Spirit. The Spirit of God swirling within the depths of our soul. We can hear this wind, the Spirit, be still and know. It is through the Spirit giving us wisdom, insight, guidance that we can also breath this message of faith into our family, neighbors, strangers. A breath of fresh air in a spiritually polluted world.
A second video we watched this week was Working for the Man Upstairs by Rev Tim Radkey. He quoted Martin Luther who said “Our occupation is a mask behind which God hides himself, working through our lives – our hands, our feet, our head – doing great and wonderful things for people He placed around us.” Martin Luther also said, “God does not need good works but your neighbor, community, family do”. Rev. Radkey wants us to think on the work that we do. Do we enjoy it? Or do we put in our time looking forward to clocking out for the day? We can look at our jobs as an occupation – earning a living – filling up with stuff that could fill a U-Haul. Or we can look at our jobs as a vocation – living your life for God. Striving to do what the creator of the universe wants you to do – that which fills into the lives of people that God has placed in our paths. Rev Radkey went on to say that each of us have a part within God’s society. Colossians 3:23… “whatever you do, do for the Lord”. We are conduits that God works through, to love and serve. As we interact with others, we can tell of all that Jesus has done for us. We have Ten Thousand Reasons for our heart to sing! A song that we sing, with words that hold so true. We show a fire that is burning within us.
FIRE is the last attribute of the Holy Spirit that Jason Nelson addressed. We are all familiar with fire. We see its presence and know its power. Jason stated that with a fire you need heat, fuel, and oxygen. Without one there is no fire. In referring the Holy Spirit in relation to fire, there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Without the three there is no Trinity. Is there a fire burning within you? Have we caught on fire with enthusiasm? He said the fire of the Holy Spirit will never go out. Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, God in three persons, Blessed Trinity, all powerful, all knowing, ever present wants to work in and through our lives. On Sunday we sang Soul of Fire. Burning for Jesus? Pastor George talked around the fire on Sunday as we witnessed the smoke rising. The smell of smoke. That smell gets on us, our hair, our clothes. The Aroma that identifies. In burning for Jesus are we emitting an aroma? The same aroma as that of the Disciples? Are we part of the Gospel wildfire? Referring to Sunday scripture passage, to be a witness in Jerusalem, where you live, work and play; in Judea, our surrounding communities, our state; in Samaria, people who we tend to avoid, don’t like to be around; even to the ends of the earth. Let’s spread the wildfire!
The aroma of fire, the aroma of Jesus, is what lingers on…………………. As we live for Jesus, we want to be More Th>n a Presence. We want to smell like Him!
Larry & Darlene