Love is an on-going connection with God!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and contextually conscious followers of Jesus Christ, I am in a season of offering premarital counseling for couples soon to be married.  While every couple is unique, each has similarities.  But for each couple, there is the exploration for a deeper love of God, self and the other.  Every couple is expected to live by the great commandment, “Love God and love neighbor!”

Learning to be in deeper, intimate, Christ-shaped relationships requires living with a few constant questions.  Answering these questions will allow us to stay curious about each other.

First is the idea of why do we love each other?  “We love because God first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

Second is how do we love each other?  Love is driven by the Holy Spirit so that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against things like this.”  Galatians 5:22-23

Third is a new question, how do we make time for one another?  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Love must be a priority, which means we must develop a deep abiding trust by finding time for one another.  Love finds time for one another.  Jesus made time for those in need.  In Mark chapter 5, he wasn’t too busy to leave what he was doing, which happened to be ministering to a large group of people, to make time for a single girl.  (Mark 5:21-24, 35-42)  Jesus displayed the heart of the Father in going after the one.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus consistently made time for people around him.

So to those who aspire to be in deeper, intimate and Christ-shaped relationship with others, follow the three simple rules: 1) do not harm, 2) do good, and 3) stay in love with God.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Love is an ongoing connection with God!”

Remember to pray The Lord’s Prayer every day at 12 Noon!

As always, remember, God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Priority #4 — Motive

Proverbs 16:1-7, New International Version

The answer to the “Why” question offers insight to the most significant reason for living.  Whether we admit it or not, everything we do has a motive.  However most human motives are hidden from the naked eye.

Humans draft plans but God has the ultimate plan.  God’s plan always has a motive of moving us closer to perfection (known as sanctification).  Do our plans help sanctify us?

God’s motive answers the questions of life!
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.   Proverbs 16:1

God examines our motives!
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.   Proverbs 16:2

God’s motive involves love and faith!
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.   Proverbs 16:6

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
God’s motives have no strings attached!

 

Priority #3 — Walk with Integrity!

Proverbs 3:21-35, The Message

God’s priorities include Trust, Wisdom and now Integrity!  These three integrated characteristics can offer a life of harmony and human flourishing.  So we are on the path of righteousness (right alignment with God’s Will), which calls us to trust God and through our trust in God, we gain Wisdom and Understanding.  By gaining Wisdom, we began to walk faithfully, but never alone.

Solomon suggests God assigns us Clear Thinking and Common Sense (Judgment and Discretion).  So this path, our journey with God and one another, is guided by integrity!

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching!”    C.S. Lewis

As we travel the road of integrity remember…

Think about your walking companions!
Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them.  They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.  You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip.  You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.  No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, because God will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.   Proverbs 3: 21-26

Don’t forget you are God’s Representative!
Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.  Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket.  Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.  Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight.  Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.  Why be a bully?  “Why not?” you say.  Because God can’t stand twisted souls.  It’s the straightforward who get his respect.   Proverbs 3:27-32

God guides honorable people!
God’s curse blights the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.  He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder, but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help.  Wise living gets rewarded with honor; stupid living gets the booby prize.”   Proverbs 3:33-35

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“God is always near!”

Wisdom as a New Year’s Resolution

Proverbs 3:13-20, New International Version

Sermon Notes from Karasheila Jackson

Solomon was the wisest man on earth at this time and having been blessed with the gift of exceptional wisdom from the Lord, decided to keep a record of what he learned through that gift.  He emphasizes the link between receiving wisdom and blessings, but also warned that we must accept the wisdom that disciplines together with the wisdom that brings blessing.  He also explains that finding wisdom is a blessing but we need to understand that to receive the blessings of wisdom one also must have the discernment to follow without judgment.  Ultimately Solomon is teaching us that wisdom is a characteristic of God which He offers to share with humankind.

Choose to seek out wisdom in the New Year.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, …” (Proverbs 3:13 NIV)
“When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:13 CEB)

 

True wealth comes from finding wisdom.
“She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:15-17 NIV)

Wisdom has a positive influence for a blessed life.
“She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. (Proverbs 3:18 NIV)  “Those who trust in their own reasoning are fools, but those who walk in wisdom will be kept safe.” (Proverbs 28:26)

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
True wisdom is found in obedience to God.

 

Priority #2 — Wisdom

Proverbs 3:13-20, Common English Bible

Sermon Notes from Whitney Simpson

In this New Year, we have decided to set out together on a path of first trusting God.  Along that journey, we notice priorities such as wisdom, integrity, and motives.  Ponder today, where do you find wisdom on your path?  At times, do you think you know all there is to know in life?  Do you find yourself stating you have all the answers at times?  Do you look to God or others for true wisdom?  Ponder these words written by Socrates, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

In our country, we often consider ourselves foolish or dumb if we do not know the answers.  Yet just as Socrates states, our Biblical characters did not always know either.   Scripture shows us how they trusted in God for wisdom and were confident enough to offer God’s wisdom to others.

Seek Wisdom along the path.

Allow Wisdom to be experiential.

Wisdom comes in safe community.

Wisdom is not books or knowledge.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom:
Trusting in God offers us true wisdom!