Biblical Messages

THE MISSING PEACE: Peace with yourself

Warning:  if you listen to this message, it could be a game changer for you.

I’m serious!  In our world, where we tend to let others dictate who we really are, a message about having peace with yourself has never been more important.  I hope you will take time to listen.  It’s based on Psalm 139.1-18. Have a listen!  I’d be interested in hearing your response.  (Toward the end of the message, I showed this video.)

Advertisements
Encouragement From The Word

Priorities, in light of eternity

Sometimes, we say things inadvertently, without words. And sometimes, we give a message by what we do or don’t do, or by what we say or don’t say. Let me give you an example.

Last Sunday in my message, I was talking about having peace with one’s family. In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul talks about the importance of treating one’s children well, and helping them to know the Lord. One way we do that is by giving our kids a theology.

When we tell our kids that they have multiple choices in their activities, that they can stay home and play video games, watch TV, or go to soccer practice or hockey practice or whatever, and tell them that they also can go to youth group (for example), what we’re saying to our kids is that each of these activities matters equally.

I’ll bet you didn’t think of that, did you?

That’s why it’s important to look at what we do with our kids, or how we order our own lives, in light of eternity. After all, which of those listed activities is apt to have the greatest impact on your kids in light of eternity?

Those activities are not all equal, are they?

When we look at activities we do, or that our children do, in light of their eternal impact, it helps us order our priorities even better. I’m not saying that hockey and soccer are bad, or even that video games or TV are bad (though we should be careful with those!), but there are activities that are better. Always choose the better for yourself, and help your kids do the same.

They may not thank you for it today, but down the road, they will.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22.6, NLT).

Biblical Messages

THE MISSING PEACE: Peace with your family

Someone once said, “Everyone deserves a close, tightly-knit family…in another city.”  Family is often a source of conflict, because we often let down our guard with those closest to us.  So how can we know peace with our families?  Based on Psalm 133 and Ephesians 6.1-4, you can listen to the message and find out.  (By the way, the orange football was found…behind a stack of books in the pulpit!)

Encouragement From The Word

You reap what you sow

Apparently, there are a lot of nervous people walking the streets these days. News broke this week that Ashley Madison, an online agency that links people up for illicit extramarital affairs, had its website hacked, and some other website now gives the public access to all the email addresses of those who were connected to the agency.

Someone asked me what I thought of that, and the best I could come up with was the words of the apostle Paul to the churches of the region of Galatia: “You reap what you sow.”

If you are or have ever been married, you know that the relationship takes effort, and needs to be built into on an ongoing basis if it is to thrive and grow. Often, those who resort to affairs are in marriages where that effort is not happening through the efforts of one, or both parties. An affair seems to be the easy way to get the affection, or even the friendship, that should come from building up a marriage.

Those who might be “outed” by this very public website hacking do well to be concerned; it’s one thing to be worried about the availability of one’s personal information, but it’s another thing to be worried about where that personal information has been found. We do reap what we sow.

Even if your email address is not to be found in connection with Ashley Madison, this can be a lesson for you and me, too, and an encouragement to have an honest conversation with our spouse, if we have one, about how the relationship can be strengthened.

Reaping what you sow isn’t really intended to be a negative thing – for if the sowing we do builds our marriages, we will reap stronger marriages and healthier families and, therefore, a stronger society!

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.  Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.  So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith” (Galatians 6.7-10, NLT).

Biblical Messages

THE MISSING PEACE: Peace with your theology

A lot of us are not very clear about what we believe, or why we believe it.  Sometimes, when we belong to a particular church or even community organization, it may be assumed we believe certain things when we’re not even aware of them or sure that we believe them.

The church needs to be composed of those who grow in understanding what they believe and why they believe it. That’s why it’s important to teach and preach about theology.  If we buy what we believe – if we put our money where our mouth is, theologically – we will be better equipped disciples of Jesus.

This message, based on Philippians 2.1-11, can be heard here:

Encouragement From The Word

Victory is assured!

It’s a great time to be a Blue Jays fan!

On Wednesday night, with a victory over Oakland, and a loss by the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays ascended into first place in the American League East. It came with the Jays’ second 10-game winning streak this season.

Pennant fever has struck Toronto in a way not seen since the early 1990s.

When this happens, people who otherwise pay almost no attention to baseball become rabid fans. We, O human race, are a bunch of bandwagoners.

Jesus had his share of fair-weather fans, too. When he was teaching about peace and love and justice, they were right there beside him. But when Jesus would teach about discipleship and holiness and taking up your cross, folks backed off faster than Blue Jays fans in a slump.

See, here’s the deal: Jesus does not call us to be fans, but to be followers…not to be showgoers, but to be students. Following Jesus isn’t always about being comfortable. Sometimes, the Lord’s call to us is decidedly uncomfortable, but the role of the disciple is to follow and learn, even when the going gets tough.

My wife’s aunt was a huge Blue Jays fan. She kept records and statistics for every game. She taught me – back in the day – that the best way to watch a Jays’ game on TV was to watch it with the sound muted, turn on the radio, and listen to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth call the game. And she cheered for the Jays even when they weren’t winning.

It can be difficult for us “cheer” for Jesus when the church seemingly is in a slump. But, unlike the Blue Jays, we know for certain that Jesus will win the final victory. Stand fast! Follow Jesus even when it’s not the ‘in’ thing to do. Victory is assured!

After all, the Blue Jays might win the World Series, but Jesus has overcome the world!

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16.32-33, NLT).

Biblical Messages

THE MISSING PEACE: Peace with God

Everybody wants peace.  Some want peace with God, some want the peace of God.  But everybody wants peace.  In this series, we’re going to look at the missing peace:  peace with God, peace with your theology, peace with your family, peace with yourself.  This week, in thinking about peace with God, we consider three steps that may help us with it.  At the end of the message, everyone was challenged to come up with some ways, prayerfully, that they could help others have God’s peace in their lives.  What would your answers be?

Based on Ephesians 2.1-3 and Philippians 4.4-9, you can listen to the message here: