Thursday, September 29, 2005

Duelilng Wisdoms

Wednesday Night Recap
James 3:13-18

Back in the Old West, if there was a dispute it was solved at high noon, right in the center of town, where everyone could see. A duel! Today we often tend to sweep our disagreements under the rug so as not to be politically insinsitive or hurt someone's feelings.

There is a duel that needs to take place in each of our lives every day. It is a duel between wisdoms.

James 3:13-18 speaks to this duel. There are two types of wisdom in this world: Worldly and Godly. These two wisdoms have distinct characteristics, as James describes.

Characteristics of Wisdom # 1:
Earthly & Unspiritual
Full of Disorder
Characteristics of Wisdom #2:
Peace Loving
Full of Mercy
Full of Good Works
Unwavering and Steadfast
Without Hypocrisy
Wisdom #1 is described in James 3:14-16 and Wisdom #2 is described in James 3:13, 17. Which of these wisdoms do you think is Worldly and which one do you think is Godly? I believe it is pretty clear that Wisdom #2 is Godly wisdom because it celebrates the Fruit of the Spirit.
Here is the foundation of the difference.
Worldly Wisdom is concerned with self while Godly Wisdom is concerned with others. Worldly Wisdom is concerned with "self-help" while Godly Wisdom is concerned with "Spirit-Help".
If you look around this week you will see Worldly Wisdom everywhere. Oprah, Dr. Phil, horoscopes/astrology, psychics, television, music. It is all pointing us toward the mantra "do what it takes to make yourself happy, regardless of what it means for others around you." Godly Wisdom, on the other hand, is concerned with purity. Purity is a flawless direction, and that is where Godly Wisdom will lead a flawless direction.
If you are seeking council, or someone comes to you seeking wisdom, turn to the source of God's flawless direction, the Bible, for your wisdom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

GTKY Vol. 2

What is the most number of pieces of pizza you have eaten at one time? (Estimates are OK!)

Post your comment and check out what others have said! (Or click on GTKY Vol. 2 Link to the Right to go straight to the comments!)

GTKY Vol. 1

What is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?

Check the Comments to See How Others have Responded!

Getting to Know You

Welcome to the GTKY's (Gitkeys)

Check out the questions (I'll try to post a couple a week, so keep coming back!!!) and send your response via the "Comment" button. Make sure to include your name in the comment so we can Get To Know You better!

H2O Encourages Meadowview

Students from H2O delivered over 30 handmade encouragement cards to Meadoview Terrace Nursing Home on Sunday night, September 25. The cards included scripture meant to encourage the residents and give them hope and peace in a time that can be so despairing. The residents were very appreciative, and the students enjoyed the opportunity to interact with them.

While the ministry was hard for some of us, the experience was a blessing for all. Thank you, students, for your willingness to make the cards and deliver them.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Happy Un-Birthday Everybody!!!

19 students from Water’s Edge H2O Student Ministries enjoyed an un-birthday party at Palace Point in Roxboro, NC on Saturday, September 17. The day was filled with bowling, skating, video games and gifts.

On the bowling scene, many pins were spared the horror of a 15 pound bowling ball hurtling towards them. This is because most of the balls flew harmlessly by in what we like to call the “gutter”. I think I actually saw a couple of the pins laughing at us and yawning in sheer boredom from the lack of action they were getting! The average score for the day was probably somewhere around 40 (and that may be generous!) The high score of the day went to Kevin Turner with a 106 (thanks for ruining the curve Kevin!)

Skating was much more successful as Heather Barden defeated a floor full of munchkins in “Four Corners” and received a nice frozen treat. Also, thankfully, the falls on the skating floor produced no broken bones, just a few bruised egos. We may need to invite someone in to give lessons on how to use those toe brake thingys on the skates…I sure never learned how to use them. I was always just glad there was a wall, or a large man, nearby.

Caroline Craft stole the show in the video game arcade by hitting the jackpoton Cyclone and winning over 3000 tickets. She bought lost of junk with her tickets. This came in a redemptive form shortly after an embarrassing display of dancing skill on DDR 2. (Is it still Raining Men?)

Everyone enjoyed giving and receiving gifts to their “secret pal”. Thank you everyone for putting so much thought into your gifts! Hope you enjoyed the cupcakes and barnyard theme!

Remember: Your birthday proves you have been given life. In the same way, your spiritual birthday is eveidence of eternal life through Jesus Christ!

Happy Un-Birthday everybody! Here’s one to grow on! *pinch*

A Maze of Words

Wednesday Night Recap-September 21, 2005

James 3:6-12

How quickly can you complete this maze?

Now, put yourself inside the maze, not above it. (This may take some deep abstract spatial thought. If you aren’t an abstract thinker, then place your hand in the air now and someone will be by shortly to help you.) Do you think completing the maze would be harder if you couldn’t see the whole thing? I would probably take many more wrong turns if I could not see the path to the goal.

What if you could follow someone who had been through the maze before? Would this make getting through the maze easier? What if you had someone looking at the maze from above and telling you which way to go? Would you trust that he would not lead you astray?

So often in life we blindly trust the people around us to lead us where we are supposed to go. The problem is that many times those people are leading us where they want us to go. How can we be sure that the direction that a leader is giving us will not lead us astray or to a dead end? How do we know that our teachers are telling us truth for our benefit and not half-truths or outright lies out of their ignorance or for their benefit?

The following questions can be answered in a simple way. God’s Word is Truth! We must compare what we are being taught to the Truth that is revealed in God’s Word. This is the crux of the 4 WARNINGS discussed in Crushing Cans & Cutting Boots (see below).

James now brings these warnings down to a personal level in verses 6-12. You may be saying, “But I’m not a teacher, so these verses don’t apply to me.” Oh, but they do!

The Truths
Here are Three Truths we can learn from James 3:6-12:

Truth 1: We influence ourselves and others through out tongue. (v 6)
The tongue is an influence over our entire being and also sets on fire the course of our life. The course of our life, in turn, affects the course of other people’s lives, whether intentionally or not.

Truth 2: Our tongue may be small, but it is a powerful tool of Satan. (v 7-8)
The tongue is described as a restless evil that is full of deadly poison. What sort of deadly poison is your tongue filled with? Gossip? Slander? Anger? Hate? Disrespect? Unbiblical beliefs?

Truth 3: Our tongue reveals sin in our life. (v 9-12)
This is where the rubber really meets the road. Do you want to know the direction of your life, whether it is honoring God or not? Listen to your words. Listen to your thoughts (the tongue of your mind). Our tongue reveals the bitterness of sin that is in our lives. That same deadly poison in v 8 is the sin that is revealed through our words and thoughts. (I say thoughts because you can cuss someone out by never opening your mouth. They may not know you are cussing at them, but your Spirit sure does!)

The Challenge

So, where does this leave us? Beaten up, convicted, and discouraged over the sin that is so easily revealed to the people around us? NO!!! It leaves us with the hope that there is someone ready to take all that bitterness and poison away, giving us the sweetness of His Truth! Jesus Christ is the cure! While we may not be able to tame the tongue, He can!

As you see your words and thoughts drift away from God, check yourself, because your life is drifting away too. Anchor yourself in the TRUTH, His Word, so that you will continually speak and think on those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely. (Phil 4:8)

Ask God right now to reveal these things to you:
o Who He wants you to have an influence over.
o People who have an ungodly influence over you.
o People that you are having an ungodly influence over.
o Sin in your life…and the tools and courage to deal with it through Jesus Christ!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crushing Cans & Cutting Boots

Wednesday Night Recap-September 14, 2005

James 3:1-5

Ahh, informercials. You know, there is nothing better on a boring night than to flip through all the channels and watch a good infomercial. My two favorite are the Silver Bullet and that vacuum sealer thingy. I always love it when the Ronco man leads the crowd in saying, "Set It and Forget It!" It just gives me chills thinking about it.

How about a few of these ideas for inventions that would definitely sell on a late night infomercial.

The Inflatable Valet: Running late and unable to find a parking spot. Head on in to the office and let the Inflatable Valet do all the work.

The Remote Control Holster: Tired of scrounging around for that lost remote control? Do you refuse to change the channel the old fashioned way? Get the Remote Control Holster. It clips on your belt right next to your cell phone. Now your remote control is only a quick draw away.

Chameleo-Flage: It's chameleon DNA mixed with paint. Cover your body in it and instantly blend in to your surroundings. Works on automobiles too.

Tired of traffic jams, buy the new Zanac 5000...a flying car!

Bully-Killer: Get rid of those pesky bullies once and for all. (Does not actually kill the bully, only renders them helpless in a pile of tears!) Available in aerosol and liquid forms.

BaDing!: It's an instant meal. Anything you like. Just put the packet in the BaDing, press the desired meal button, and "BaDing", instant gratification!

Some of these ideas may seem a little far fetched, but some, at least the remote control holster, would work.

Have you ever been influenced by an infomercial? Why? The people on those commercials are usually so excited, so good at communicating, so skillful at making a product that may not be worthwhile look like a necessity. And everything only costs $19.95!!! It's so easy to get sucked in to what they are selling. But, what if their product doesn't deliver? The sellers on infomercials have an expected level of responsibility to be honest, fully disclosing, and fair. They have this expectation on them because they are in a position of influence that affects other people's lives!

So, what about us? Are we in positions of influence over other people's lives? Who is in a position of influence over us?

James 3:1-5 speaks to one of those positions of influence: teachers. Now, don't check out just beacuse you are not a teacher. These 5 verses hold VERY IMPORTANT lessons for you too. Let's look at 3 Truths and 4 Applications from this passage.

James 3:1-2-"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall incur a stricter judgement. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well."

Truth 1: Teachers are held to a higher standard. (v 1)

Why are teachers held to a higher standard? For the same reason advertisers are. They have a direct influence over other people's lives, and a more regular influence over other people's lives. Teacher's words are very influential. They can teach, but they can also mold. People who are great teachers become great leaders. Because of this, teachers must be held to a higher standard, by God and man.

Truth 2: Teachers are not perfect in what they say. (v 2)

Here is why this passage is important for everyone, and not just teachers. Teachers are not perfect. We all have to realize that so that we do not follow blindly and so be led down the wrong path. Always take the words of your teachers, including me, and compare them to the TRUTH, God's Word.

Think about Hitler. Was he an imposing man? No! But he was a great speaker! He was a brilliant mind and led millions down a path that destroyed lives and attempted to destroy whole nations.

What about David Koresh. Hundreds followed his supposed Biblical teachings and ended up dying a horrible death at the hands of their leader.

Even Osama and Sadam. These are religious men who have based their lives on the twisted teaching of scripture (and I am NOT referring to the Koran as Scripture, but it does twist the true Scripture, the Bible). As a result, thousands have died and entered eternity separated from God!

It is important that we examine the teachings of our leaders and hold them up to the light of the TRUTH!

"Now, if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!" James 3:3-5

Truth 3: Great teachers have great influence on great followings.

Even one man or woman can lead great crowds away from the Truth. We must be vigil
ent in keeping watch and holding our teachers acountable for what they teach.

Application: WARNING!

1. WARNING: Being a teacher of God's Word is a high calling that is not for everybody!
2. WARNING: Teachers will be held to a higher standard by God and man!
3. WARNING: Teachers have great influence and may lead you astray!
4. WARNING: Teachers of the Word who are not called by God will not survive!
Teaching the Word is something that is a calling from God. All of us have a calling placed on our lives by God. What is yours? Pray about that right now. Ask God to show you who he wants you to have influence over for His Truth now and in the future. How does He want you to impact this world for Christ.
What a great honor it is, and a great responsibility, to be in the service of the King!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

H2O Has Logoed ( that a word) Up!

Hey H2O!

Check out the New Logo!

You'll be seeing this thing all around...letterhead, fliers, blogs, announcement slides, t-shirts, so get used to it!

Jeremiah 7:23: "But this is what I commanded them saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way whcih I command you, that it may be well with you.'"