Sunday, September 18, 2016

Growing Young

Chuck Vanderscheuren welcomed us on this beautiful autumn morning. It's the first week of Sunday School. Chuck said they will talk about being addicted to God in our Adult Sunday School class this year.

~ Adventure Club will be starting in October.
~ The fish fry went really nicely yesterday, raising $1500 for Sunday School.
~ Ruth Ann thanked everyone who gave blood yesterday, a gift that will save lives.

Interim pastor Terry White read a passage from Ephesians preceding our time of worship. After a set of worship songs an offering was taken as Darlene accompanied on the keyboards. A time of prayer followed.

Growing Young

Rocky Mountain Juniper
Terry White began by sharing the subtitle of a Max Lucado book: God Loves You Just the Way You Are, But He Refuses to Leave You There. It's a paradox. God loves you today just as you are. There is nothing that you can do to make God love you more, or less. Yet God wants us to grow.

The text is from II Peter 1:3-8.
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse five, Peter states, "make every effort"... not "a little bit of effort."

Supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge.This is just a starting point. Getting educated is not necessarily going to change you without persevering through self-control, steadfastness applied godliness and love.

Orthodoxy is "knowing correctly." But we need to also "live correctly" which is orthopraxy. Not only must we have the right beliefs, we need to live aright as well.

How do we live this kind of life? To illustrate, Terry brought a Rocky Mountain Juniper, which may be over 200 years old. This tree has been through hard things, and as it ages it gets more interesting. It has a story to tell. You can see places on the tree where life had been but is gone. Even through the hard times the journey continues.

Good soil also plays a role in growth.
We are on a journey of growth. God is a master planner who is doing this work within us.

Terry explained the wisdom literature to us. If you took all the commands of the historical parts of the Book and did them, the wisdom literature is what you would be. Proverbs shows us examples of what life becomes for the one who chooses life and the one who does not, the wise and the foolish.

God invites us to make progress. Growth is a deep-seated alignment with God's way of looking at things. "I've spend so much time with my Master that I forget where I end and He begins."

This message is about individual growth, and next week will be about corporate growth.

"I am a Christian because I have seen the love of God lives out in the lives of people who know Him." When the Word becomes flesh it is a compelling witness.

We're commanded to grow not only for ourselves but for the people around us. My prayer is that we would be committed to becoming more and more like Christ.

God loves you just the way you are, but He is not willing to leave you there. There's a better place.

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