In January we invited 82 adults to set aside 6 hours on a Saturday to sharpen the axe of their life (Ecc. 10:10). It was great!
Our Yearly Retreat is off like a rocket. We planned for 60 adults and have 77 adults signed up so we are having to close off registration.
Our next Spiritual Challenge of 2016 is our Theological Training. We like to think of this process like working out physically, and instead working out spiritually. Haven’t you noticed all these groups of people working out together in a running class, spinning class, yoga class, and they are everywhere. Why not work out spiritually!
Why do we try to grow spiritually as individuals. We learn in groups, we hang out in groups, but we try to keep our spiritual life private and end up struggling.
That is why we launched Theological Training. You read a Christ centered book with a group of people, write a 1-page paper, and meet once a month with a group of people to discuss. Here’s a quick recap:
It is the beginning of a new year and during this time of the year we typically begin reflecting on our life and making goals. Goals can be helpful, but I have found it is better to take time and draw out our personal values.
Every company has values, so why not think of your personal life or family as an entreprenurial start up and put your values down on paper. You are already living by those values technically. It is how we make decisions. So why not take the time to put those values down on paper.
Below is a little video to help describe our Yearly Retreat:
How do we respond to trials with wisdom? James 1:1-8 is a great resource that teaches how to walk through life with wisdom:
- Jesus is Lord: In verse 1 James refers to Jesus as Lord. This is significant because James grew up with Jesus as His younger brother. Could you imagine calling your older brother Lord? James did, and it is critical to see Jesus not only as your Savior, but as your Lord when you go through trials.
- When / Not If: In verse 2 we see trials are going to come. I know our culture teaches us to expect life to be easy, but God makes it really clear trials are going to come. They might be situational trials like a car accident, status trials like not getting married, or sin trials like ignoring God, but trials are going to come.
- Consider: In verse 2 we are taught to Consider our trials. Specifically, as we go through trials we would consider how we see ourselves, others, and God. Does it line up with Scripture? Is there deception from the enemy? Are we in relationship with others for godly counsel?
- Persevere: In verses 3-4 God is teaching us to stand firm in our trials. The purpose of our trials are an extension of God’s grace to help us mature and stand firm in Him. Really. It is His grace that allows trials. It is why He must be our Lord. It is why we must consider our trials, and it is why we can consider it all joy.
- Ask for Help: In verses 5-8 God teaches us to ask for wisdom. We can’t walk through wisdom with Him. He is the embodiment of wisdom. He is good. He wants us to mature in Him, consider; rightly see Him, ourselves, and others, and for that to happen we need His wisdom.
God knows you are running to illusions that will let you down. He knows you are hoping in idols that are frail. He knows you are placing your foot on shifting sand, so that these trials are an extension of His grace so that we might find our footing in Him.
Matthew 6:19-21, “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Treasures On Earth Are Powerful: Verses 19-20
- Earthly treasures are DISORIENTING. How do you know when you have enough? It isn’t wicked to get a house, get a car, get a cup of coffee, but how do you know when you have enough? How do you know when you are being greedy? How do you know when you are being wise with money? How do you know when you are being generous? How do you know the difference between storing up treasures on earth, and being wise to save for the day you are older? How do you know?
- Earthly treasures are DISRUPTIVE. You will change jobs, changes houses, change cities because you will convince yourself that you need more earthly treasures.
- Earthly treasures will breed DISCONTENT. How many times have you been going through life, feeling okay about yourself, and then you go to someone’s house and you see their television, house, car, pictures, and you think to yourself, “What have I been doing with my life?” You immediately feel horrible about yourself. 10-minutes ago you felt great, you thought about going to your high school reunion, but now you are in such a place of despair you can’t imagine getting out of bed.
- Earthly treasures are DECEPTIVE. When you get them they promise they are going to make everything better, and they never last. Pretty soon they end up on Craigslist with every other earthly treasure, and on the hunt for a new earthly treasure.
Do you know the greatest treasure we could ever imagine? He is the visible of the invisible God. He is Lord over all. He is the second person of the trinity. He is eternally connected to the Father and the Spirit, and yet He lays all of His heavenly treasure aside to come and take on flesh. His name is Jesus.
He was born in a manger. He born into poverty. He was despised and rejected, He was stripped naked of all His earthly possessions, and spiritually stripped from the Father and the Spirit when He willingly lays down His life at the cross, and He went through all of it for you.
While you were yet sinners, while you were yet enemies storing up treasures on earth and He completely gives His life for you because He is deeply committed to you.
He’s is the only One that will last, and He invites you to turn to Him and find the greatest treasure you could ever imagine.
Ephesians 3:2-3, “2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.”
In verses 2-3 the Apostle Paul is going to refer to our relationship with God as a “Mystery.” Now when we hear the word “Mystery” it sounds like we are watching one of those mystery shows on Dateline.
The whole time you are trying to figure out the motive, murderer, the mystery, but in verse 3 when you see the word “Mystery” in the original language it isn’t about discovering the answer on your own, but that the mystery is so mysterious that God must reveal Himself and make Himself known.
John 13:1, “1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
This means the cross is coming, and Jesus is wanting to take these last few moments to press into His closest friends about the most important things.
It is as if He is saying, “You have heard Me teach, you have seen miraculous healings, you have seen crowds gathered, but Jesus wants to make sure they are focused on the most important things. Look at verse 2:
John 13:2, “2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,”