Thursday, March 22, 2007

Anchors Away!

WNBS Recap
March 21, 2007
2 Corinthians 13:7-14

Well, this is it, the last of our studies through 2 Corinthians! It's taken us about 9 months, but it has been well worth it. Next week we will have our 2 Corinthians Party (and say happy b-day to Courtney at the same time). Bring something to drink or eat, we'll hang out, and review some of the MAJOR LIFE CHANGING TRUTHS that we learned in 2 Corinthians.

But for now, let's head on into the WNBS Recap!

You know, an anchor is an extremely important thing on a relay team. Whether running, swimming, or biking, a solid anchor can hold a lead or make up ground when behind. Having the anchor in the wrong place can spell defeat for a team that otherwise would have won.

Paul has spent a lot of time encouraging and reprimanding the church of Corinth. he has pointed out their righteous acts and their sin, their admirable qualities and their shortcomings. he has shown them godly and fatherly love. He has defended the truth and exposed lies. he has examined the church and asked the church to examine themselves. He has done all this while keeping an eternal perspective. Now, he is ending his letter with a prayer, a prayer that will expose where the anchor of their lives is placed.

Where is the anchor of your life? In relationships, family, money, fame, education, stuff, a pastor or Christian friend, yourself? What can happen when an anchor is not secured properly? You can be set afloat and shipwrecked, and none of us want that, especially in our lives.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us in chapter 2 to "pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it." Our anchor should be in the Truth of Jesus Christ. If we are not anchored there, then we will drift away from the Truth! So, we need to be anchored properly.

Read 2 Corinthians 13:7-14 and look at these 5 ways you can know if you are anchored properly:

1. You know you are anchored properly when... your right actions are not based on someone else's right actions. (verse 7)

2. You know you are anchored properly when...You live with regard for Truth. (verse 8)

3. You know you are anchored properly when...Your faith does not depend on people, but on the promises of God. (verse 9)

4. You know you are anchored properly when...You are encouraged by correction. (verse 10)

5. You know you are anchored properly when...You daily experience God's presence in your personal life and in relationships with others. (verse 11-14)

We need to stop anchoring ourselves to moving foundations. We need to get away from the idea that "my pastor changed my life" or "that camp changed my life" or "my best friend changed my life" or "that movie changed my life" and return to the solid foundation of "The Word of God changed my life!" That is worth anchoring to because it is eternally certain.

This week, examine your attitudes and actions and the motivation behind those attitudes and actions. Regard the Truth as Truth. Receive correction as encouragement, and trust in the promises of God.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Exam Week

WNBS Recap
March 14, 2007

What is your least favorite part of the school year: a specific day of the week, a season, homework, competitions, lunch? For me, my least favorite part was always exam week. Why? Because it became very clear very quickly whether I had done my work throughout the year. The less I did leading up to exam week, the harder exam week was. But, when exam week was over, it always seemed to be one of the most rewarding times of the year. When those final grades came out and I saw how the studying paid off, I felt relieved and excited about the next semester. If, however, I did poorly on exams, there was little to be excited about.

Well, this week, Paul is going to encourage us to an even more regular exam week: examine yourself week.

Remember that Paul has just spent time showing how he relates to the churches God has placed him in leadership over, and how that relationship between Paul and the churches gives us a picture of God's relationship to the universal Church. Paul finishes up this explanation by expressing a few fears at the end of 2 Corinthians 12.

2 Corinthians 12:20-21
For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.

This "fear" that, despite his efforts in relating to and ministering to the church as a servant from God, the church is still walking down a path more like the surrounding culture than the path toward holiness leads to a warning and a challenge from Paul in the next 5 verses.

In verses 1-4 Paul says that by the "testimony of two or three witnesses" (quoting Dueteronomy 17:6) Paul will not spare anyone in the church that is still living in the sin he has exposed in his previous two visits to Corinth. He also warns that he will not spare anyone else either, possibly counting them as accomplises to their sin after the clear instructions he has given the church in dealing with sin in the church. Why is he being so harsh? He knows that at this visit he will see the true heart of the church. Have they listened to the words of God and repented, or are they continuing to live like the culture around them. Also, they claim to want the truth, but if they are not allowing the truth to work a powerful work IN them, then they are still living in weakness, wanting, like the pharisees, God to work toward them, only cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside remains dirty. So, this is Paul's warning: I'm coming to see you again, and, just so you know, I'm not going to go easy on you. I expect to see certain changes in you, just like a father expects to see certain behavior in his sons, and, just like a father, there will be consequences for everyone if sin still remains.

Paul follows this warning with a challenge in verse 5; one of the most difficult exhortations for anyone to adhere to: EXAMINE YOURSELF! Not just in a surface way either. Go right down to the heart of the matter: are you even a believer to begin with? If so, then why not live with the power of Christ that is IN you? And if you fail the test, look to us because we have the truth and the power of Christ to work in you and not just toward you, cleaning you from the inside out.

This challenge to examine yourself has come through 1900 years of world history to you and to me. This week is exam week. Examine yourself, first to see if you are in the faith, and second to allow the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to wash you from the inside out, not giving sin a home anymore.

Examine yourself. Please! It won't be easy, but it will be rewarding!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Line in the Sand

Flood Zone Recap
March 4, 2007

A Line in the Sand: A challenge, a warning, a boundary.

The question "how far is too far" has recently been asked by a student of H2O. In response to that question, I have to ask, "with what?" I assume the thought is "how far is too far with my girlfriend or boyfriend," but I think that is too narrow a scope to completely answer the question "how far is too far."

Every action and attitude in our life has the potential to cross the line into sinfulness. Anger, discouragement, language, dress, drinking, diet, sarcasm, and apathy are just a few examples of things we can go "too far" in. At least theoretically.

When it comes to our culture, though, there really is no definite line anymore regarding these actions and attitudes. One group may draw the line in one place (say, yelling at someone and calling them derogatory names) while another group draw's the line another place (like at actually hitting someone). One thing is consistent with most of these groups. As society draws closer and closer to crossing the line as a whole, the line gets moved "to accomodate the beliefs of the times." There is not definite line when it comes to how far is too far with our actions and attitudes in culture. The line can be moved at will because it is not founded on anything definite.

In the Christian life, however, there is a definite line between sinfulness and holiness when it comes to our actions and attitudes. We could write pages and pages of commentary on each action and attitude, but I think a basic foundation for discovering actions and attitudes that have crossed the line is a good starting point.

Let me start by saying this. If you are looking for the line just so you can get as close as possible to it without crossing it into sinfulness, you have already crossed it a long time ago. Your heart is one that does not desire holiness, but "just enough" of God. And, the closer you get to the line, the harder it is going to be not to cross over it. So, let's see how we can examine our own actions and attitudes to determine if they are sinful.

5 Questions to Examine my Actions and Attitudes:

1. Does my action or attitude violate the clear teaching of scripture? 2 Timothy 3:15-17

2. Does my action or attitude destroy any part of my body as the temple of the holy spirit (physically, mentally, or spiritually)? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

3. Does my action or attitude keep a weaker believer or a non-believer from coming closer to Christ? 1 Corinthians 8:8-13

4. Does my action or attitude go against the direciton of an authority in my life (teacher, pastor, parent, government)? Ephesians 6:5-10; Romans 13:1-7

5. Does my action or attitude glorify God? (Can God be asked to bless my action or attitude with a clear-conscience?) 1 Corinthians 10:31

So, what about you? What actions and attitudes are God calling you to repent of and turn from? What areas of your life have you filtered scripture through, throwing out the parts that don't fit how you want to live your life? What parts of your life do you need to filter through Scripture, throwing out the parts that don't match up with God's best for you?

You have the tools, now ask the question, have I gone too far?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

What's Next on Wednesday Nights

So, our 20+ part series through 2 Corinthians is only a few weeks away from wrapping up, so what's next for Wednesday nights?

Well, that's where you come in.

What do you think are Characteristics that the world NEEDS to see in Christians?

We will take one characteristic a week and discuss it on Wednesday nights.

Let me know what you think!

Man Party

Friday March 9!!!

6:00-11:00 at the WAM

Bring a friend (as long as it's a guy) and come on out to the WAM for a

Sting Pongin'
Meat Eatin'
Basketball Watchin'
Video Gamin'

Good Time!