Proud vs Broken People

By Kevin Wolfe,

This weekend we studied Psalm 51 and what true, Biblical repentance looks like. I mentioned a resource during the sermon that contrasts proud, unbroken people with humble, broken people. The full list of contrasting characteristics can be found here:

I encourage you to take time this week to look over this list and pray through ways that you have been proud and resistant to true repentance. 

We see a pattern of true repentance in Psalm 51:
    - Run to God, not away from Him! (vs. 1-2)
    - Take complete ownership of your sin! (vs. 3-6)
    - Trust that He can cleanse and change you! (vs. 7-12)
    - Know that God can use even “this” for His glory! (vs. 13-15)
so walk in true repentance! (vs. 16-19)

Engaging with Those Who Are Suffering

By Jason McConahy,

Over the past few weeks, in our study through Job, we have been talking about the tendency for those who suffer to feel isolated. This is due, in part, to the discomfort and mess that suffering brings, which keeps many well-intentioned friends from effectively loving those in need. Instead, we can avoid the discomfort by remaining aloof from those who are in the midst of suffering, or we can try to provide quick-fixes and advice without entering into and sharing in their pain (involvement without empathy), or we can just lack the kind of perseverance needed to come alongside someone whose suffering doesn’t go away. 

Here are some helpful and practical suggestions for ways we can come alongside those who are suffering. These are from a lady in the church body who has suffered through health challenges for nearly a decade.  

  • Don’t try to “fix” the situation. God may have them there a long time.
  • Wash them with the Word - remind them of truth. Share what God is teaching you.
  • STOP! Take time to listen.
  • STOP! Take time to pray on the spot.
  • Pray first, then ask considerate, caring questions, seeking to understand their circumstances.
  • Be willing to walk through the discomfort of processing the ups and downs. (You don’t have to provide answers, just listen).
  • Don’t judge - you don’t know God's purposes and what He is truly doing in their circumstances.
  • Be prepared for a long haul - small touches mean A LOT. (i.e. text, phone call, card with verses, email, etc…)
  • Consider what would speak love and support beyond physical service…TIME spent!
  • Don’t get sucked into the prosperity gospel. Job was righteous but God still let Satan test him. John the Baptist and Paul’s lives ended badly but the end of this life is not the end.
  • Be a patient listener.
  • Reiterate your love for them because when the darkness surrounds you, you feel isolated and unlovable.
  • Repeat God’s promises and truth frequently.
  • If possible, laugh with them.
  • Be willing to trust God to teach you how to walk through the darkness with them.

Listen to the sermon series through the book of Job:

Our Life Is Like Grass | Don’t Spread Yourself Thin (Psalm 103:15-17)

By Ashley Denton,

How easy it is to spread yourself thin

“Combatting busyness with more programs is not going to transform the souls of people. Developing Jesus’ rhythm of retreat will.” - Excerpt from Christian Outdoor Leadership

“Combatting busyness with more programs is not going to transform the souls of people. Developing Jesus’ rhythm of retreat will.” - Excerpt from Christian Outdoor Leadership

I’m convinced Jesus is not impressed by how physically or mentally busy I can be. If you are busy, that goes for you too. One litmus test that I hate to take is to ask others around me, like my wife, how they think I am doing in the area of busyness or preoccupation with lesser important things. It is really important to maintain an awareness of the reality of my soul, so I don’t believe my own press that I’m doing “great” when I’m actually not. Sometimes we need other people to help us become aware of the health of our soul.

Recently I had a heart to heart with my wife, and she lovingly reminded me that my “presence” is what pleases God, not my “productivity.” I need to hear that because I love to work and serve and lead. But at the end of the day, what’s going to last is how I invest in those who will outlive me. And that requires presence of mind and heart with those relationships with those closest to me. Busyness is the enemy of that.

Invest in those who will outlive you.

The writers of the Psalms learned so much of their wisdom from going outside and looking at the cycles of nature. In reflecting on what my wife shared with me, I looked out over a large grassland behind my house, and found this Psalm really helpful:

As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– (Psalm 103:15-17).

There seems to be a special emphasis here to focus on investing in kids. To be blunt, it is the young people around us today who will carry the baton when we are gone. I’m grateful for God’s Creation that can give me a tangible symbol like grass to remind me daily to not spread myself thin, but to invest my best in my kids.

Take Action

  • Ask someone close to you today to honestly help you evaluate how you are pacing your life. Are you running too fast and missing the most important investment of all… relationships?
  • Spend some time reading the Psalm above and meditate on the idea that our lives are short, and we will all be a distant memory some day. What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?
  • Describe in a few words the legacy that you want to pass on to those friends and family who are closest to you.
  • Schedule your legacy. If we don’t plan and schedule our priorities, they won’t happen. So decide on a few habits or patterns you can put into place that will help you invest in passing on the legacy of Christ to those around you. You might want to consider a regular daily, monthly, quarterly retreat into God’s Creation a part of your rhythm, to help you slow down and hear God’s voice.

-Ashley Denton

Other related posts:

Your Soul is the Personal Concern of Jesus | 1 Peter 5:7-8
Winds of Change | Lessons from Mountain Biking & Gear Innovation
Danger of Viewing the World from Behind a Desk & Smartphone