Yearly Rhythms: Celebration Planning.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes 3 is considered a part of wisdom literature. Ecclesiastes is written by Solomon, who is one of the wisest people in the world, because in 1 Kings, in the Old Testament, Solomon was approached by the God of Scripture to make any request and it would be granted. Can you imagine?

Solomon could have asked for money to get helicopters, vacation homes, and have Stevie Wonder sing him a lullaby. Solomon could have asked for the intelligence of Doogie Howzer, and rock out Jeopardy every day! Solomon could have asked for all the power in the world, and do you know what Solomon asked for?

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Yearly Rhythms: Relational Planning

Galatians 6:1, “1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

  • In verse 1 the Apostle Paul is writing to a region of churches in Galatia, modern day Turkey, and in verse 1 the Apostle Paul writes, “Brethren, you who are spiritual, (those who are in Christ, the body of Christ, the local church), restore one another in a spirit of gentleness.”
  • Do you know what that means? The word, “restore” in the original language, means to “equip by exposing rips and tears in our relationships with one another.”
  • It means relationships are going to be messy. I know we don’t want relationships to be messy. We want relationships to be fun, easy, natural, and just happen, but relationships are messy. Relationships aren’t like Saved By The Bell where you see a conflict, some jokes and everything is resolved in twenty minutes. It’s messy.

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Yearly Rhythms: Financial Planning

Order the book, “Discovering Your Yearly Rhythms”

Sign up for the event:  January 25th

2 Corinthians 8:1-2, “Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.”

  • The first and second letter to the Corinthians is a real letter to real people from the Apostle Paul, and in verses 1 and 2 the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church about the local church in Macedonia (Two churches in modern day Greece).
  • The Apostle Paul describes the Macedonian church as a people who are going through a “great ordeal of affliction” vs. 2, and yet they are “overflowing in the wealth of their liberality.”
  • The word “liberality” means “generous.”  The Macedonian church is a generous church. The word affliction means “trouble and hardship.”

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Luke 2:22-40, “Lighting the Nations.”

Luke 2:22-24, “22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

  • In verses 22-24 Joseph and Mary follow a tradition of bringing the “firstborn male” to the temple as a reminder of the rescue in Exodus when the angel of death passes over every house that is covered by the blood of the lamb.
  • In the Old Testament Israel is enslaved in Egypt, the Lord tells Moses to take the blood of the lamb, put it on the doorposts, so that when the angel of death passes over the house, he will pass over every house that is covered by the blood of the lamb.
  • And in Luke 2 Joseph and Mary are bringing baby Jesus to the temple to celebrate the rescue of the Passover in Exodus 12, and foreshadowing that Ultimate Rescue that is going to come in Jesus.

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The Essence of Life: Proverbs 26:18-19, “The Lord is compassionate toward the widow.”

Proverbs 15:25, “25 The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”

  • That phrase “The Lord” doesn’t always carry a lot of weight in our 2019 ears, but in the original language we see the word “Yahweh.” Yahweh is the personal name of God. It is how the God of Scripture introduces Himself to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3, and it is thought that “Yahweh” is a play off the Hebrew verb, “To Be / HYH.”

I know this is technical, but it’s so good. When you watch the Prince of Egypt, and you should, (Mariah Carrie and Whitney Houston Duet, amazing), the God of Scripture tells Moses to go to Pharaoh (King of Egypt, “Let my people go.”

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The Essence of Life: Proverbs 11:22, “How do we become men, women, and children growing in character?”

Proverbs 11:22, “22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.”

Proverbs is in the Old Testament, considered wisdom literature, Proverbs make you think, and the original audience for Proverbs is a training guide for boys, otherwise known as a manual for growing young men in character.

Now, in 2019 we hear that language, and we say to ourselves, “What about the ladies?” In fact, when you see verse 22 reference a “beautiful woman” it is possible our inner “Beyonce” comes out, we get in “Formation” and we wonder, “What about the ladies?”

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The Essence of Life: Proverbs4:1-2, “Stirring up wisdom.”

Proverbs 4:1-2, “1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you may gain understanding, 2 For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.”

It is important to note that in the context of Proverbs wisdom is always presented relationally. Do you see it in verse 1, “Hear, O sons the instruction of a father.” The context of wisdom is relational.

In addition, it is important to note that the “instruction” in verse 1, do you see it, “instruction of a father” in the original language is often used in the context of correction, especially in the context of discipline.

Which means if our church family is going to stir up wisdom in our relationships with one another then we must fostering close relationships with one another and willing to have hard conversations with one another.

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The Essence of Work, “The Work of Jesus.”

John 4:31-32, “31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

  • John 1, Word becomes flesh, Jesus is introduced, John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb!” John 2-12, Jesus works and words are miraculous, so that in John 4 we get to see Jesus engaging in an ordinary conversation with a woman at the well.
  • In the context of John 4 we see that Jesus is tired, the disciples go into town to buy food (vs. 6), and Jesus starts a conversation with a woman who has come to the well to draw water and Jesus says to her, “Go and get your husband.”
  • Now, if you are sitting in the pocket of this story there is tension all over the story.   The woman at the well says to Jesus, “I don’t have a husband.” Jesus says, “That’s right. You got five husbands, and the guy you’re with right now isn’t your husband.”

It’s a powerful moment, and there is external tension all over the conversation in John 4. First, Jewish men didn’t typically speak to women who were strangers. Second, this woman is a Samaritan woman; historically Samaritans and Jewish people didn’t get along. Like Longhorns and Sooners.

Third, this woman has been through 5 marriages, in a small town, so that socially she had become an outcast, so that we see ethical social tension, religious tension, ethnic tension, and moral tension all over the conversation.

In addition to the external tension, Jesus is pressing into the soul of this women to create internal tension. This is hard to see at first reading, but Jesus is using the watering well as a metaphor for romantic relationships, so that as a person comes to a watering well to get water, so has this woman come to the “well of romantic relationships” and she keeps coming up empty.

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Ephesians 6:5-9, “Hope of Work.”

Ephesians 6:5, “5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

The letter is written by the Apostle Paul, to the church in Ephesus, a real location in Turkey, you can visit today, and in the opening words of the first chapter we see the Father’s plan is to sum up all things in Jesus, things in heaven and things on earth will be summed up in Jesus as He comes to restore, reclaim, and renew everything that belongs to Him (Verse 10). That’s the plan!

Therefore, in Ephesians 1, 2 and 3 the Apostle Paul is teaching how this plan of restoration takes place theologically, and in chapters 4, 5, and 6 the Apostle Paul is teaching us how this plan of restoration takes place practically today.

In Ephesians 5 and 6 we see the Apostle Paul starts taking Jesus’ plan of restoration all the way down to the marital level, the parenting level, the children level, and in verse 5 we see the employee / employer level of restoration, and verse 5 starts off with “slaves, be obedient to those who are you masters according to the flesh.”

Now, I am guessing that most of us see the word “slave” in verse 5, and it makes us uncomfortable. We are thinking, “Doesn’t seem like ‘slave’ should fit into Jesus’ plan of restoration, right?

Perhaps we have even had a college professor say that the Bible endorses slavery, and yes, there have been pastors who have used these verses to endorse American Slavery, particularly in the south, but this was and is a complete misuse of Scripture.

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Genesis 3:14-17, “Frustration of Work.”

Genesis 3:14, “14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, And dust you will eat all the days of your life;

Alright, before we jump into verse 14 we need to keep the big picture in mind of Genesis 1, “All of creation is spoken into existence.”  Then, in Genesis 2 the God of Scripture zeroes in on His prize creation of humanity, and Adam and Eve are given the responsibility to cultivate and keep the garden (2:15), and everything is good.

Until Genesis 3 we see a fracture that enters into this story of goodness, and as a result we see frustration in our lives and in our world today. Write that in your notes, “Genesis 1-2 everything is good, but in Genesis 3 we see frustration.”

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10 Year Celebration

North Village Church is a family, which means we are radically committed to having deep, healthy, vibrant relationships with one another.

In addition, we are ridiculously committed to Jesus being at the center of our lives, which means we are submitting the whole of our lives to Jesus and His Word.

And, then our belief is that when we are living in deep relationships with one another and deep relationship Jesus, we will have an ravenous compassion for every many, woman and child in greater Austin to experience the life transforming power of Jesus.

Every three years we focus on one of these three areas, and the last 12 months we have been pressing in on our “chasing the community” and we called it, “making the most of the opportunity.”

Making the most of the opportunity

Colossians 4:5-6, “5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

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Why do we connect with North Village Church? (Romans 14:1-8)

Romans 14:1-3, “1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

The book of Romans is written by the Apostle Paul, and toward the end of Romans Paul begins to talk about the importance of our relationships with one another, because sometimes it can be difficult to establish deep, vibrant, healthy relationships with one another in the local church.

We are all coming from different backgrounds, different experiences, different social norms, and sometimes we are like porcupines bumping into one another. Most of the time we are actually trying not to hurt one another, but it still happens.

In the context of verses 1-3 there are men and women in a local church in Rome who are coming from Jewish backgrounds, and historically Jewish people followed dietary laws, but now these Jewish people were in Jesus, and they were wrestling with how to apply those old dietary laws. That’s why the Apostle Paul is talking about meat and vegetables in verses 1-3.

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Why do we connect with the community? (Matthew 5:13-16)

Matthew 5:13-14, “13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;”

In Matthew 5 Jesus is standing in front of a crowd of people (rich-poor, young-old, religious-indifferent, all types), standing on a mountain side, and as people gathered around Jesus He begins to speak to them about who He is, what He is doing, and what it means to live out our meaning and purpose in life in Him.

Matthew 5 starts off and Jesus is teaching phrases like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek,” and at first glance we’re like, “That’s cool, but what does that mean”, and what we find out is that Jesus is teaching us what it looks like to live out our meaning and purpose in life in Him on earth.

Phrases like, “Poor in spirit means we are to be filled with humility because we are reconciled to Him, we feel small, but safe. Those who mourn because what we see today isn’t right and it should bother us, and blessed are the meek, because we willingly set aside our interests for others” and Jesus is teaching us what it looks like to live out our meaning and purpose in life in Him on earth.

Instead, Jesus shows up in Matthew 5, 6, and 7 and says, “Look over here, this is what it looks like to live out our meaning and purpose in life in Him on earth. And, then, in what must have been incredibly powerful, in verses 13-14 Jesus looks these men and women in the eye, and says, “In Jesus, you are salt of the earth.”

Can you imagine how Jesus’ words must have pierced their soul? The same voice that spoke creation into existence is now speaking into their soul and says, “In Jesus, you are the light of the world.”

These types of words would have only been used to describe the religious leaders of the day, “A guide to the blind, a light to those who are in the dark,” and Jesus just looks at these men and women, and says, “Nah.”

It isn’t because of titles. It isn’t because of status. It isn’t because of physical appearances. It isn’t because of ethnicity. It isn’t even because of morality, but instead when you are reconciled to the Father by grace through faith in Jesus you are, “Salt of the earth and light of the world.”

The word salt is used to put off decay. They didn’t have refrigerators back then, so the only way to keep meat from rotting immediately was to cover it in salt, so that salt was preservative to put off decay.

And, back then they didn’t have light at the tip of their fingers like Iron Man. They would have spent the majority of their evening walking around in literal darkness, and Jesus just says, “When you are in Him there is a light in you that conquers all darkness.” It’s like having superpowers.

Matthew 5:15, “15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

In verse 15 Jesus uses the phrase, “Nor does anyone light a lamp” and it is important to clarify that we ourselves are not the light. Maybe that’s obvious, but I just want to be clear.

We could hear the language of verses 13 and 14 and think to ourselves, “I don’t know if I can be salty enough, or I don’t know if I can shine bright enough.”  Sometimes my grandparents would interact with people who were really kind to them and they would say, “That fella is salt of the earth.” Or sometimes politicians will refer to America as the “light to the world.”  No, Jesus is the light.

Matthew 5:16, “16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

In verse 15 our lives are lit through faith in Jesus, and in verse 16 Jesus moves us toward practical application and says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works.”

When you see the phrase “good works” it can sound like our relationship with the God of Scripture is determined by our “behavior” but we need to remember that our relationship with the Father is not according to our deeds (Titus 3), but to His mercy, and the result of His work in our life is “good works.”

I heard it said this way, “It is as though our good works do not become good works until we see that we do not have any good works. It is why Jesus starts with becoming salt and light, and it results in good works.

Now, it is possible that we see the words “good works” and we think of enormous “good works” like moving across the world, selling all our possessions, eradicating racism from the face of the earth, or solving the immigration challenges of the United States, and those are great pursuits, but did you know there are “good works” in you on display by just showing up to the office on Monday?

Remember, you are salt of the earth. The Holy Spirit has been poured out richly, you have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, so that even your failures are powerful.

  • Imagine the type of hope you bring into the work place just because you are in Christ?
  • Imagine simply remembering someone’s name, someone’s birthday?
  • Imagine inviting someone out to lunch?
  • Imagine marriages preserved when you encourage them not to throw their spouse under the bus.
  • Imagine the power you hold in your words when you simply ask someone about their weekend?
  • Imagine the hope in your fingers when you send your child’s teacher an email of encouragement?

Therefore, we need to ask ourselves, “Have our lamps been lit in Jesus?”  Is so, “What are ways you want to be salt and light?”  It doesn’t mean we try to be more salty and shine more bright, but instead it is being overwhelmed that Jesus pursues you, cleanses you, forgives you, reconciles you to the Father, so that the Holy Spirit can reside in you and as a result, you become salt and light. 

Why do we connect with Jesus? (Titus 3:3-6)

In Titus, chapter 3 the Apostle Paul is going to remind Titus about the importance of “keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.” In verse 3 we see the word, “For” which is a literary word to explain why Jesus is so important, and it is because “We were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to lusts, and spending our life in hatred.”

I am guessing that most of us in the room don’t like to think of ourselves, or all of humanity, as foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to lusts, and spending our life in hatred”, but I think we just need to be a little more honest with ourselves.

How many times do we watch the news and say to ourselves, “That was stupid, why did that person do that?” How many times do we hear about a family member bucking authority (Parents, Teachers, Police) and say to ourselves, “Why are they making it so hard?”

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