Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Stand Amazed

"Good morning. I'm delighted your here. Since the beginning of the year we've been talking about fresh starts and new beginnings," Pastor Brad said as he welcomed us. The message today would focus on the scripture The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

1. If anyone has a used couch or chair that can be contributed for the youth group.
2. Wednesday the youth will be going to The Edge from 5:30 - 8:30. Meet at the church.
3. There will be a youth group Lock In at the church Feb. 21.

With a light snow falling outside Brad shared that he and Brooke are going on a snowmobile trip called New Frontier Expedition, which is also a fund raiser for the church. Brad will be on snowmobile beginning here and heading to Churchill, Manitoba, a portion of the journey on ungroomed terrain that will be navigated by GPS. Thus far $6300 has been raised in sponsorships, with a target of $12,000. His journey will begin right here at New Life and proceed to MacGregor, then to Bimidji. From there to Roseau, to Steinbach, to Brandon, to the middle of nowhere, to Snow Lake, Gillam, to Churchill. Brooke and the kids will drive to the end of all roads and meet Brad by means a train. For those of you online you can follow on Facebook and at

Darlene, Ken and Chuck led worship today, opening with "Little is much when God is in it."

After the offering, we had a prayer time for the many needs we share and lift to God.

I Stand Amazed

Brad began by citing the show Fear Factor, where people are paid money to face their greatest fears. What would you most fear? Eating bugs? Jumping out of airplanes blindfolded?

Many people have shared their fears in Brad's office, from aging to catastrophic illness to loss of a loved one.

One of Brad's fears is preaching about the Fear of the Lord. "I'd rather talk about the love of Jesus than the fear of the Lord. I would rather talk about 'perfect love casts out all fear' than 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'"

Many verses say fear the Lord and others say "Don't be afraid" and "Fear not." So, how do we reconcile these seeming contradictions.

The word fear has several translations. One version is the idea of terror. The second notion of fear has to do with awe and reverence. I think this latter is the meaning of the word in Proverbs. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Several verses were then shared including Acts 9:31 which says, "Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers."

The writer of Hebrews wrote, "Worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

Think of the response of those who encountered God. The standard response is awe. Awe at the grandeur and otherness of God is a good thing. All too often we forget this. We forget the fear factor in our faith. When was the last time you sat in awe at something?

Brad shared anecdotes about the hush that came over people as they visited the ice caves in Cornucopia, gloriously more magnificent than people could imagination. Is that what God is for you? Glorious and magnificent beyond all you can imagine?

Earlier this week we had a wonderful funeral service in which we gave witness to the resurrection. At the end of the service, I thought, "Don't we worship a big God?"

All too often we get caught up in things like what we're planning for lunch or other little things and forget the reality of this big God, this living God. He is alive, and His mercy is vast. He is in relentless pursuit of people who are lost. And all too often we make Jesus small, a buddy who helps us, and forget the immensity and majesty of this God we worship.

Israel's concept of God was that He was holy. Holy doesn't mean purity at its core. It means "other." His name, Yahweh, was too sacred to even be spoken.

The reason people often cry when they experience God is that it seems too good to be true, this great and majestic God who created all is not indifferent but actually cares about you, personally. The reality is, it's too good not to be true.

Don't stand in awe of your problems as if they are what is big. God is so big your problems are as nothing. Stand in awe of God. God is big enough to handle your needs, both your inner and outer needs.

Cameras, phones and tech toys keep getting smaller. But as this happens, don't let your God shrink with them. Don't lose that sense of awe and wonder in His presence.

When you let God be God and allow Him to be big for you, you can begin to understand what Paul is saying when he writes in Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

God is big enough to handle whatever is going on in your life.
Prov 14:26 states, "Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge."

When you fear God, there is nothing to fear. This is the beginning of wisdom.

Brad shared additional verses here to serve as food for thought...

Prov 26:12
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Prov 15:12
Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.

Prov 15:33
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor. 

First you experience humility. And then you experience glory.

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