Last week Joel Osterlund, director of Covenant Park Bible Camp, shared about happenings at Covenant Park and preach a sermon on Living Water based on the story from John's gospel chapter four. It included insights about the importance of water, and the special significance of God's living water which Jesus has made available to any and all.
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The temperatures plunged this weekend but a special Valentine's dinner warmed a lot of hearts last night, and music of love warmed the sanctuary.
Brad welcomed us with his usual cheer. "Good morning! I'm grateful you're here." He then explained how comforting it is to hear sermons about how committed God is to us, but every once in a while we need to be reminded of our own need to be committed to Him. "What does whole-hearted devotion to Christ look like? This will be our theme today."
Our Ash Wednesday Service will begin with a soup and sandwich dinner at 6:15 followed by worship at 7:00 p.m.
After the introit, Eric Johnson from the Amundson Education Center in Alaska helped lead a time of worship accompanied by Pastor Brad. Eric ministers to Native youth, there, teaching Christian community and discipleship.
The offering taken we turned to the Lord in prayer.
Being a Christian is not a half-hearted commitment. No Super Bowl coach says to his players, "OK, I want you to be sure to show up at the game and give at least 75%." No, Pro football coaches expect a partial commitment when a championship is on the line.
Today's sermon was a tale of two kings.
II Chronicles 22 begins with the story of Ahaziah who was 22 years old when he became king. He only served a a short time, and it was not whole-heartedly.
In contrast, Brad told stories about David who is dscribed in Acts 13:22 as "A man after God's own heart.' David was not perfect, but he had a heart for God.
First, you see it in his servanthood. Many examples shared. David did not finesse his commitments. If you are a follower of Jesus you will serve.
Second was his commitment to worship. There are a lot of people who say "I love Jesus, but I just don't want to go to church." David throughout the Psalms expressed his wholehearted devotion to God. David danced before the Lord with all his might.
Brad noted that there's really no such thing as an uncommitted person. We're all committed to something. It may be an addiction or it may be the couch in front of the TV.
Michal, David's first wife, understood from watching her father Saul what half-hearted devotion looked like. So it is that our children see what level of commitment we ourselves are making. They understand what we are committed to not by our words but by our actions.
Third, whole-heartedness includes our attitude and relationship to material things. Stories told about how David had opportunities to shirk his need to sacrifice, but he refused to give to God something that did not cost him something.
David gave willingly, and generously. He was sold out.
[Brad made several additional points but my computer crashed and they were not saved.]
At the conclusion of the message Brad set forth a set of questions to challenge us about our level of commitment. If you're really honest, what are you committed to? What do you dream about? What makes you get all fired up when it's threatened or absent from you? Where is your heart? If it's not God, if it's not wholehearted devotion to God, will you confess it right now?