Monthly Archives: September 2015

Oh, What a Tune Up

By Pastor Gary Jennings

RAP – It’s very simple; and everyone can RAP.  RAP means that you Read a passage; then you think through how you can Apply the passage to your life, and then lastly, you spend time in Prayer. We began RAP in our church this September. It’s great to know that many of us are reading the same passages each and every day. For the month of September our emphasis is, “God’s Wise Words”. This past week our reading kept us in the book of Proverbs. This week it is my turn to share how God has spoken to me from these daily passages.
The book of Proverbs is an amazing book. As I was reading this week, I was thinking that there is no rhythm here. Rhythm to me means that you can move along, and sometimes rather swiftly once you get in the grove. The Book of Philippians is a rhythm book for me. It has one theme and you run with it throughout the book. Proverbs is not like this at all. In my reading this week, I found that every verse seemed to be an incredible book in itself. Every verse stood on its own. Every verse was self-contained and separate. I found myself starting at the beginning of a verse and then at the end of this short verse, stopping to really flesh out the meaning for me and my life. Every verse seemed to be taking me in a different direction, as the message constantly changed. I was learning about the importance of a good character; how to guard my tongue; the need to cross-examine my motives; how to have a heart that pleases God; the need to follow God’s plans and not mine. The need for discipline, and on and on I could go. I feel like I had a tune up as this week’s reading went through so many areas of my life.
If I had to highlight one thing I read, I would highlight the word “fool”. This word shows up a few times in a defining way. I learned that a fool speaks out stupidity. A fool does not listen to a parent’s discipline. Fools feed on folly. Fools find no pleasure in understanding. Wow! This is powerful and deep cutting. I asked myself, “Have I ever been a fool in the past?” The answer is yes. God help me to not be a fool today or in the future.
Proverbs contains what I really need to read. On I go. On we read together.
Pastor Gary Jennings

Wisdom

by Pastor Ruth Denboer

This week we are looking at wisdom. I love what the Bible has to say about wisdom. Again it is one of those things that seems to our human understanding to be completely upside-down. So many things in God’s economy seem to be upside-down compared to what we see around us and have been raised to believe it true.

Look at these verses from 1Corinthians 1

25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Doesn’t that seem a little upside-down … and yet that’s how God works. He wants His power to be seen through our weakness, and His wisdom to shame the wise of this world.

Why, you ask? I believe it is so people can be constantly reminded that God is the supreme creator and we are simply His creation. We can be tremendously used by Him to influence this world with His goodness, His power and His wisdom, but we do not have this ability on our own.

I love also that the Bible says we can ask for wisdom and God gives it to us generously!

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Do you get the picture that God wants us to live life with wisdom. Of course! He always wants what’s best for us. Many times in my life I can look back and see how much better it could have played out if I would have asked for God for wisdom before going into the situation.

This week’s reading have been so encouraging to understand how much God wants us to live with wisdom in everything we do … and how eager He is to bestow it upon us!

May we let these words from Proverbs 8 sink into our hearts as we fill our mind with the words of God. This is the wisdom calling out to us …

Vs 6 “Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,

Vs 7 for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.”

What would you wish for?

By Pastor Vern Kratz (Thoughts from I Kings 3)

If you were given the chance to have any wish granted to you what would you wish for? If you could have anything in the whole world what would you ask for?

That sounds like something right out of a fairy tale story, or maybe too much like a genie in a magic lamp.

But this actually did happen. Our reading for this week leads us through some of the life of King Solomon. And early in his reign as king of Israel, God met him in a dream and he told Solomon he could ask for anything and he would be given it.

Imagine, Solomon could have asked for all the wealth in the world. He could have asked for land, or a great palace, but he thought for a moment and then asked for a discerning heart so that he could lead his people justly.

Wow! And it is recorded that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. And it is interesting to note that because of his great wisdom in ruling and governing he also became wealthy and popular. People came from all over to ask his advice.

God was pleased with Solomon and his request for wisdom. He gave it liberally to him.

Wisdom is one thing that God promises to lavish on us liberally if we ask for it. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

When I was a child I used to think life will be so much easier when I become an adult. I would think, “Right now things are difficult because I do not understand everything as a kid, but adults they are so wise – life must be so easy for them.”

Little did I know that I was partially right, you do because wiser as you get older. You do understand life and the world around you more than when you were a child.

But what I didn’t know was that as you get older your need for wisdom becomes disproportionately greater. What I didn’t realize was that as you get older the weight of responsibility can become burdensome. What I didn’t understand as a child was that making decisions was not always a fun task. What I didn’t know was as one become busier their need for wisdom become even greater.

That is why I am so glad for verses like James 1:5 and for the example of King Solomon in 1 Kings 3. One of the best things we can ever ask God for is wisdom, and he is always ready to give us a generous portion of it.

So for whatever situation you are facing right now, for whatever life has thrown at you, for whatever decision you need to make God is waiting to grant you your wish for more wisdom – just ask him for it.

The Joy of Trials

by Pastor Nikki Ragush

This week I had the opportunity to read through the book of James, it is by far one of my favorite books of the Bible as it continues to challenge me each time I read it. In college I was actually challenged in one of my classes to memorize this book and after that experience I quickly fell in love with all that the writer had to say. However, the book of James is not the type of book you read to feel simply encouraged but many times after I read this book I was away feeling the need to reexamine parts of my life. James challenges me in so many ways but I will pick one that comes within the first couple of verse of reading this book.

James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Personally I don’t enjoy going through difficult situations; I like when things are easy, people get along, and life simply falls into place neatly. James was a bit more of a realist though, he understood that sometimes life hands us situations we don’t enjoy and many times that we think we can’t get through. I’m not sure what you are particularly going through today but I know it’s easier to embrace this idea when I’m at a point of reflection, when I am actually going through difficult situations I find it very hard to agree with this.

I’ve been given many opportunities in my life to talk to others about their spiritual walks I’ve seen many different responses including (but not limited to) anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion. I’ve experienced these same feelings and no matter what people say to you it’s very difficult to simply be joyful and truly mean it. The saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” may be true, but in the moment it doesn’t fix the hurt or the pain that is being felt at that time.

Even though I know I must go through times of trial I rarely jump at the opportunity to be tested in this way; however I continue to realize how I need these times. I would never have learned how to walk without falling on my face several times, I wouldn’t be able to tie my shoes now if I hadn’t gone through hours of tears and frustration, and my faith in God would not be as strong if I had not had those times when I most needed to depend completely on him. I remember a time in college where my prayer life began to completely change. I was in a difficult situation I prayed something I had never understood fully before that moment; I prayed “God not my will but yours be done” I completely submitted whatever the future was to him be it easy or difficult. Since then life has not gotten easier and I still don’t enjoy any sort of conflict with people or big changes in plans. However, I am learning to embrace the times in life where we have the ability to grow. The times that have shaped me most are those which I couldn’t understand the reason for in that moment.