Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Family Day Camp We will have several rotations that you can visit with your family + a few others at a time including: the pool, canoes, indoor craft...
In January of 2010 Kelly and I welcomed our second son Harrison into the world. We had been told halfway through the pregnancy that Harrison was not growing as he should, but no one seemed overly concerned. On January 8, 2010 we arrived at the hospital for a scheduled C-Section, excited to meet our son, but we were not prepared for the events that occurred in the operating room and in the days and months that followed. I’m not sure I have ever felt so helpless. I was prepared for an exciting birth like I experienced with William, our oldest son, but this was nothing like that experience.
I’m sure that you have experienced something in life that made you feel helpless. What did you do? We did the only thing we knew to do, we looked to God for help. During those early days after Harrison was born more than one person reminded us of Psalm 121.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
These words brought us much comfort during a time of great difficulty. Knowing and resting in the truth that the maker of heaven and earth was taking care of us gave us peace to face those uncertain days.
Take comfort today in the uncertain times of 2020 that the maker of heaven and earth is your help.
Meditate on these other scriptures about God as our help.
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
1 Samuel 7:12
The Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called it name Ebenezer, for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”
“There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
2 Chronicles 14:11
And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
Psalm 30:2, 10
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD be my helper!
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
Matthew 15:25 (Canaanite Women)
But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Know where your help is from.
It is an honor to serve as your pastor. The last few months I have personally watched your care for one another, your grace and flexibility, and your creativity. The times have forced us to be alert, to be discerning, and in the middle of challenges, I hope you are motivated to show and display the love of Christ more than ever before. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul writes, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” I hope this will encourage you, challenge you, and inspire you all at the same time for the sake of the gospel.
1. Work produced by faith
Isn’t it incredible to watch the church in action and to see the gifting of God’s people used to accomplish task that He has allowed us to be a part of? Your faith in Jesus is evident in how you serve, or as Paul puts it, your work. This is not works-based-salvation, instead it is the opposite. Because of the salvation by faith in Jesus, it is a pleasure to work in His work. When I was in fourth grade our music instructor took us to a symphony. I was a young man that loved football, basketball, professional wrestling, and lunch; needless to say, I wasn’t so excited about a trip to the orchestra (sorry for all of the musically gifted folks in our church, in our orchestra, and those that love this sort of event). The teachers herded us down the aisles, sat us in our assigned seats (noticeably, they did not place any of my friends close by, which is some type of magic that teachers have), and the lights went dark. For the next two hours I sat and watched in complete amazement. One instrument would start playing, suddenly a whole section would join in, then another, then there would be a rush of playing, harmonizing, and the music was incredible. The conductor was passionate, energetic, but controlled. I often imagine being in that orchestra. Playing an instrument, joining in at just the right time to make some beautiful music with many other talented people all hitting the right notes, at the right time, and being synchronized. This is what I often see the Lord do in a church. He takes the right people, with the right abilities, at the right time, brings them together and suddenly makes a masterpiece that shines His glory and participates in His work. When the world sees this unity, this passion, this supernatural faith and work – they sit in amazement and marvel at the unity despite the differences. When we are not moved by faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it’s a train wreck. The world still watches, but they marvel at the church’s disfunction and difficulty in being what Christ commanded of His church. So what instruments and gifts are your carrying, are you playing the same song the Lord is conducting His people to play, and are you playing passionately, joyfully, and with enthusiasm?
2. Labor Prompted by Love
The great theologian Billy Dean once said “When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost.” (Billy Dean is actually a country music singer, not a great theologian). The statement is true. When you love people you become long-suffering with them, generous to them, and eager to serve them. Paul tells us that without love, we are just clanging cymbals (a lot of musical references). Have you ever sat in a room with just clanging cymbals? A few years ago Janna’s uncle, Eddy, bought Stone a drum set for Christmas. Ever since that time, periodically, I am in a room with clanging cymbals. It’s deafening, maddening, and endured because I love that little man so much. Christ has redeemed us. Romans 5:8 reminds us that He proved his love in the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The New Testament informs us that we must love one another just as Christ loved us. In fact, Jesus says this, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love is the groundwork of all we do – but true love also leads to doing. This is the point of the text, our labor (service, work, efforts) are all prompted by love for God and love for people. When I do not “feel” like serving, I instantly check my heart before the Lord. It is almost always because I have not refueled myself in the good news of the gospel and failed to meditate on the love God has displayed for me. During this time in our nation, the Enemy is attacking us, trying to divide us, and working hard to harden our hearts toward our fellow men and women – continue to allow the labor to be prompted by love.
3. Endurance inspired by hope
Endurance is a word that is so important and relevant for these days. You have been challenged in so many ways in 2020, and the year is only half over. How is your hope? Where is your hope? Who is your hope? The good news of the gospel is that all of this, the work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope, it is all in Jesus Christ. Since Christ has risen from the dead, since He lives for all eternity, since He has victory every second over death, then marriages can be restored, people can be transformed, addictions can be broken, people can be rescued, relationships can be restored, beauty can come from ashes, good can come from what the enemy meant for bad, people can be built up instead of torn down, and most importantly – eternal life is secure in Christ Jesus. Do not give up. I remember a time when I wanted to quit in sports. I left a practice, I had underachieved, I felt humiliated in front of my friends and coaches, I had not reached my potential, and all my insecurities had been exposed. It was very raw and emotional. I remember being angry and in tears at the same time. I told my dad I was going to quit, but he refused to ever let that be a part of my life. So I endured, I fought harder, practiced more, and became more focused than ever before. At the end of the year the coaches gave me an award for being “All-In” and giving 110% (not mathematically possible) throughout the season. You never know who’s watching, when their watching, and you never know what they see you going through. The Lord is faithful, He is victorious, and because of those two truths, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). That’s a verse about hope-centered endurance, not doing incredible feats of strength or athleticism. Stay the course, keep in step with the Lord, and trust me, the reward at the end of the season is worth it!
Be encouraged Woodmont! Be encouraged ___________ (insert your name there)! You are loved unconditionally, you are a part of an incredible movement and work of God, and He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).
Last semester I had a group project that was assigned in seminary. I worked alongside other ministers and our topic that we were to speak on was decision making. We all divided up what we would do and the first thing that popped in my mind, was, what does the Bible have to say about decision making. I am not saying this to be super spiritual, but that should be our mindset with everything in life. When something comes at us in life and we are faced with something we are not familiar with, we should stop and ask, what does the bible say about this matter. I want to share with you what I learned about Biblical decision making from a few articles that I read. The first thing is:
1. What the Bible has to say about decision making
First, begin with prayer. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” If we should pray in all situations, we should certainly pray in times of decision-making. As we pray, we ask for wisdom (James 1:5).
Second, define the issue. Wise decisions are informed decisions. It is important to understand what options are available. Once the factors are known, options can be further considered and evaluated.
Third, seek biblical wisdom. Some decisions become easy, if there is one clear choice consonant with God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” When we follow the teachings of God’s Word, He guides our path and provides knowledge to make wise choices.
Fourth, seek godly counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Sometimes, consulting with a friend or family member is enough. At other times, consulting with a pastor or other trusted voice can make the difference between a harmful decision and a helpful one.
Fifth, trust the Lord with your decision. In other words, if you’ve made your decision with prayer, sound wisdom, and biblical counsel, trust God for the outcome. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “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.”
Sixth, be willing to admit mistakes and adjust accordingly. In most cases, there is no wisdom in continuing down a wrong path after you have discovered it is wrong. Be willing to admit mistakes or failures and ask God for the grace to change.
Seventh, give praise to God for your success. When your decisions result in personal success, the temptation is to believe it is due to your own power, talent, or genius. However, it is God who blesses our efforts and gives strength. “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
The second is an article by David Jeremiah entitled:
2. 5 Principles of Biblical Decision Making
1. YOUR BEST DECISIONS REFLECT YOUR VALUES
If I am a Christian, my every decision should be a Christian decision. This means what entertainment I enjoy, how I invest my money, and what I do in my free time. Every decision you make reflects what you actually believe. Your decisions and my decisions reflect our desire to glorify God. Do you choose to glorify God in everything we do and say?
2. YOUR BEST DECISIONS ARE BIRTHED IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF PRAYER
Living a life of prayer conforms us to God’s will and gives us desire to follow His leading in every decision that needs to be made. Prayer is our way of asking God for His wisdom and surrender our wants to His will. David Jeremiah tells about King Saul, “When Saul was faced with a crisis, he invariably made the wrong decision. Why? He was alert, intelligent, and charismatic, but he lacked internal character and intimacy with the Lord. He didn’t make His decisions in prayer or with a view toward God’s glory. His successor, King David, was just the opposite, earnestly seeking God and inquiring of the Lord before every decision”. Our days need begin with prayer, throughout the day we need to be in prayer, and before we go to sleep we need to be in prayer, constantly seeking His presence and wisdom in our lives.
3. YOUR BEST DECISIONS HEED WISDOM FROM OTHERS
The Bible reminds of this throughout the book of Proverbs
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through man advisers (Prov. 11:14)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise (Prov. 12:15)
Pride leads to conflict; those who take advise are wise (Prov. 13:10)
Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established (Prov. 15:22)
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days
By wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety (Prov. 24:6)
4. YOUR BEST DECISIONS TAKE TIME
Proverbs speaks on this as well, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way” (Prov. 14:8) and “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps” (Prov. 14:15).
We are in such a hurry to get everything done. We rush through everything in life, but it would be foolish of us to make snap decisions. Take time to think through and allow God to lead you instead of going ahead of Him.
5. YOUR BEST DECISIONS ARE COMMITTED TO GOD
The previous four can be summed up in this one. We have a lot of decisions to make every day and we are sinful, selfish people, so we must commit our decisions to God. We must commit to a life of complete surrender, one of prayer, seeking wise counsel always and commit all of our decisions to God and He can bless them.
I pray that this blesses you as much as it did me! God bless you!