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Tag: church

Submission vs Subjection

I have done some foolish and dangerous things in my lifetime – some of them years ago when I was a kid, and some of them not all that long ago. For example, when I was probably about 9 or 10 years old, I decided one day I wanted to see how long and how far I could ride my bike with my eyes closed. For some reason, I didn’t really see the potential danger in this and so I took off down our driveway of our farm – eyes closed and pedalling hard! It wasn’t until I was slapped in the face with a spruce tree branch, that I began to realize that I may have done something foolish. I opened my eyes just in time to avoid the tree trunk but still ended up in the barbwire fence. I still have a scar on my arm to remind me of my foolishness that day.

But that didn’t keep me from doing foolish and dangerous things as an adult. A short time after my wife & I were married, we lived in the farmyard across from her family. Her brother Roger was still living at home at that time, and so we often got together to do guy stuff in the shop – like carefully filling up lightbulbs with acetylene and oxygen and watching them explode when you turn on the light and things like that. Well, we had learned that if you mix tin foil with a certain cleaner – there is a chemical react that lets off a couple gases. If you do this in a 2 litre pop bottle and close the lid, the pressure increases until the pop bottle explodes with a tremendous bang. So one day, we decided to explode a hot water bottle – It would be pretty exciting to see how big those things would become until they finally burst!

So we filled the bottom of the hot water bottle with little balls of tin foil and then Roger went to put in the cleaner. Well, it reacted so quickly, that as he was pouring it in, the pressure began spewing out the cleaner out the top of the bottle. Of course, we had never thought to wear eye protection or anything and so Roger got this highly corrosive cleaner in his eyes! So we immediately drop the bottle and rush to flush his eyes out. I think we put him in the shower or put his face under the gardenhose or something like that. I believe he eventually went to the doctor to get his eyes check out – and if I remember correctly, there was some marks on his eyeballs, but thankfully no damage was done to his retinas. But the potential for significant damage was great! We’re thankful that God was watching over us – even while we did those foolish and dangerous things.

That being said, I’m trusting that God will watch over us again today, as I attempt yet another potentially foolish and dangerous thing this morning. This morning I want to talk to you about the role of women in marriage.

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The Roles of Men & Women in Marriage

Well, last week we almost started a new message series. It was the first Sunday of the new year, and so we started off by talking about how we spend our time.

I gave you some interesting stats on how the average person will spend their life. For example, an average person will spend a total of about 33 years of their life in bed. 26 of those years will be spent actually sleeping – 7 of those years will be spent trying to get to sleep. And then when you’re not in bed, statistics say that you’ll spend 4.5 years of your life eating, 3 years on vacation, 8 years watching tv – and so on…

And the main point in all of that was to spur us on to consider how we spend our time. We centred our conversation around a verse in Ephesians chapter 5 – which said, in the Old King James Version… 

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16

We certainly live in a time when the days are indeed evil, but we can redeem or buy back that time from evil and use it for good. So Paul is encouraging us in this verse to make the most of every opportunity we have for the kingdom of God.

And we ended last week on the point that we spend way more time at home than we ever will at church. To go along with those other statistics that we shared, the average life expectancy of a typical North American is about 28,835 days (just under 79 years) – and we will only spend about 173 of those days attending church. That’s 28,662 days not at church. So by far, the majority of our opportunities to ‘redeeming the time’ will not be happening at church – it will be happening within our own homes. But that doesn’t mean the church will not be involved.

One of the points that I try to bring out in the kids features every so often – is that the church is not a building or an event – the church is actually the people in the building or at the event. Specifically, it’s the people who have put their trust in Jesus and have been adopted into the family of God. But we don’t often communicate that to our kids very well.

For example: think about the ways most Christians use the word ‘church’ – We say things like…

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Doing God’s Work

There’s a short film called “Godspeed” that I watched recently and it’s all about this Pastor, Matt, who ended up moving to and pastoring in a tiny community in rural Scotland. And while he is there, to make a long story short, he learns the value of slowing down, learning to really know and be known by the people around him, and he learns to participate with God in the slow work of changing lives through relationships. And I watched this film back in January and I am still processing the implications for my life. It’s had a significant impact on me and I’ve debated showing you the whole film in place of a sermon, but I’ve opted not to do that today – perhaps that’ll be part of a Bible study in the fall or something.

But at the end of the film, there’s a short epilogue. After spending 13 years in Scotland, learning to operate at Godspeed, Matt moved back to America and began pastoring a church in small city in central Washington. And the film closes with how Matt is now, along with his new congregation, trying to figure out how to live the slower, more relational “Godspeed” life in the midst of the fast paced, non-stop culture of America. Life in urban America is very different from life in rural Scotland, so how do these principles translate and apply in this culture?

And that actually sounds a bit like what we’ve been doing here for the past several weeks. About a month ago we began going through this series called “Kingdom Living” and we’ve been trying to figure out how do we live differently in the Kingdom of God while still living in this world. What does it look like for citizens of the Kingdom of God to live right here here in Alberta, Canada in 2018 in the midst of a very worldly culture & society? Because just like how rural Scotland is very different from urban America – the Bible describes life in the Kingdom of God as being very different from life in the kingdom of this world.

So far, we’ve looked at two major contrasts between these two kingdoms. The first contrast was how our western culture today is increasingly individualistic and me-centered. Selfies are our main way of expressing ourselves. The question everyone asks is “What’s best for me? – Not, “What’s best for us?” But in the kingdom of God, we are called to put others first and to sacrifice for the good of one another. 

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Discipleship in a Crowd

“Helping People Trust & Follow Jesus”

That was one of our main lessons from last week and it was based on the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

We summed up the main ideas in this passage and ended up with this easy-to-remember statement about what discipleship is all about: helping people trust and follow Jesus.

And we brought up this whole topic of discipleship, not because this is some crazy, new idea that we should make disciples. I think most of us are well aware that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples. That’s one of our main purposes in this life as Christians. To be a disciple of Jesus, and to make disciples of Jesus – or as we’ve defined discipleship here, to help people trust and follow Jesus.

And so we’re not bringing this up because we didn’t know that we’re supposed to make disciples. But rather, we’re bring this up because I think a lot of us don’t know how to make disciples. I think we want to make disciples – we want to help people trust and follow Jesus – but we’re just not sure how.

Obviously being a disciple of Jesus means doing what Jesus did – but we can’t replicate everything that Jesus did. We can’t walk on water, we can’t give sight to the blind or bring people back to life. And even if we leave out the miracles, I’m not sure we’re in a position where we can have 12 grown men following us around everywhere – living life with us. All that stuff seemed to work really well for Jesus as he made disciples, but I don’t think that’s what he expects of us today.

So somehow, we’ve got to learn the principles behind what Jesus did so that we can live out those principles in our current context. We’ve got to find a discipleship model that fits.

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Iron Sharpens Iron

Well, last week we wrapped up our series talking about the unlikely heroes in the book of Judges, so normally I would start a new series today. However, we’re just about into the summer months and most of us, including myself, will likely miss several Sundays as we take vacations, spend time at Bible camp, or whatever else we find ourselves doing this summer. So I didn’t really want to kick off a whole new series at this point.

But it is Father’s Day – and so I thought it might be good to do a message that was really geared for the men. Now that’s not to say that it won’t apply to you ladies – I think there’s lessons here for all of us today – but I really want to try to connect with the guys this morning. And so to that end, today’s message will be shorter than usual, it will include power tools, and it will end with food.

I think most guys would be agreeable to all that – so we here we go! Let’s jump right into it.

The main verse that I want to focus on today is Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Now of course, when I was a kid, I memorized this verse in the 1984 edition of the NIV – and back then, the translators weren’t so concerned about being gender neutral – and so that edition put it like this…

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV 1984 Edition)

So while, obviously this verse can apply to anyone – both men and women, today I want to focus on applying this verse to us men. Because I think this is really a missing ingredient in our Canadian culture today. We really don’t have that element of men sharpening men.

But I guess, before we get too far along, I should probably define this whole concept of sharpening one another and why its so important.

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A Taste of God’s Generosity

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Over the past couple of weeks we have been focusing our Sunday mornings around this verse. We’ve discovered that knowing the truth about God – tasting and seeing for ourselves that God is good – that changes everything about how we live our lives.

Because what we believe determines our decisions. Just like how if we have an incorrect belief about gravity – we’re bound to make some foolish decisions that can lead us to having a real wreck. Likewise, believing false ideas about God can lead us to making foolish decisions that will cause us a lot of pain and hurt in our life.

So we want to know the truth about who God is and what He’s like. We want to taste and see for ourselves that God is good. As we do that, we’re gonna find that our day-by-day decisions change – which in turn, affects the entire course of our life!

And I know that many of us are already well into that process of tasting and seeing that God is good. We’ve experienced it for ourselves – and now it’s our turn to help the people around us taste and see for themselves.

Our friends and our neighbours have been fed a lot of mis-information about God. They’ve been told a lot of stuff about God that simply isn’t true. So our job, as disciples of Jesus – as imitators of Jesus – is to help them taste and see (through our lives) that God is good.

For example, we spent time last week looking at how God is joy. He is the source of all joy. He invented laughter and happiness and even pleasure. That was all his idea. The very character of God is joy. And the more we taste and see and experience God’s joy, the more we will find that our life begins to overflow with joy. And its then that our neighbours and friends and co-workers can taste and see that joy through us.

So that’s what we talked about last week and today I want us to look at another truth about God.

I read a very interesting article this week. It was entitled “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Giving”. I’d love to read you the whole thing, but for the sake of time, let me just read the first couple of paragraphs of the story…

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