One of the lessons the Lord has been teaching me over the last few years is humility, for which I’m grateful.
Last weekend in our adult Sunday School class I had the opportunity to teach on one of the main passages that I have been dwelling on.
We covered 1 Peter 5:1–7 but particularly focused on verse 5-7.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
I had the privilege of preaching twice in New Zealand recently during our Christmas break and thought I’d share one of those sermons here. I preached the same sermon both times. This is the longer of the two from Riverbend Bible Church in Hastings.
This sermon was originally preached in August at Placerita Baptist Church (our current church), and is based on El Roi – the name that Hagar gave to God in Genesis 16.
If you are particularly stuck for something to do you can watch it (in black and white for some reason) from here.
Otherwise, the audio is below.
Last Saturday we went to a series of lectures at Grace Community Church called “Understanding a World in Crisis”. Three lectures were delivered by Mathias Kern. Professor Kern is an adjunct professor at the Masters College, and has been involved in advising senior government officials in a number of countries for many years. He is also part of an international think tank based in Spain.
The lectures followed the following pattern:
Lecture 1: The Arab Spring, the Iranian Nuclear Program, and Consequences for Israel
Lecture 2: The Rise of Islam in the West
Lecture 3: Economic Crisis in Europe/America and the Post-American World Order and Q & A (with Will Varner)
You can access the lectures here. I’ve also created a podcast you can subscribe to here.
These are quite sobering, and perhaps disconcerting. Will Varner opened up these lectures by reading from Psalm 2:1-3, and closed them by commenting on the rest of the Psalm. I suggest a reading of this Psalm might be in order before and after you listen to them.
It has been busy here, but it has been a good busy. We are involved in ministry at our local church (placeritachurch.com) and occasionally, I have the opportunity to teach. Today I was filling in for Dr Barrick in his adult Sunday School class, and I decided to start a study on 1 Thessalonians. There are a couple of reasons why I chose 1 Thessalonians – neither of them very profound, but it is a great book and I’m enjoying working through it.
If you are interested in following these irregular lessons, I’ve included my notes, the power point and audio here so you can follow along.
In this lesson we look at what it cost Paul to evangelize the church at Thessalonica, the character he required and what the cost to the Thessalonians to come to Christ. We asked what motivated Paul and us, what a first century Christian looks like and questioned our own willingness to suffer. It is a challenging study.
Intro to 1 Thessalonians: notes, powerpoint
Intro to 1 Thessalonians
This post by Frank Turk from a few years ago is really good, and well worth digesting if you are considering leaving your church. Here is an extract
Listen: I have advice for you who are in these [something about this church is not right] situations which you are not going to like, and you are going to think that I have somehow gone soft when you hear it – but I am actually telling you how to buck up.
My advice is this: God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything….
See: the example Christ gives us is to die to sin and to do this for the sake of others. If our personal holiness is a matter of the highest importance, I think it turns out that it’s not in order to make ourselves into moral paragons: it is to make ourselves into offering poured out for the Lord
His focus is that we are not there to be served but to serve.
The comments are also very good. There are people who are in the process of leaving church who he interacts with. This is very helpful. This extract of one persons comments in particular stood out to me:
In the wake of that exodus I was forced to re-examine exactly why I attended church – and it turned out that I had been been coming there to be served, and not to serve. I hadn’t been loving people, I had been loving the attention that was given to me, and I found myself loving only those who gave it. When they left, I found I had no love for anyone else – and this awful truth jarred me deep down where it counts.
It isn’t a long read, but well worth it. Read it here. There is a followup post also worth reading here and another here.