In Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, Jesus Christ says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Most theologians agree that Jesus’ first command is “repent”. Over the years I’ve noticed that while baptizing tends to be pretty common, disciplining and teaching the commands are not as much.
The Greek word that is translated repentance is metanoia, “to change one’s mind or purpose.” The English word “repent” is an old nautical term for when a sailing ship is sailing against the wind. A sailboat cannot sail directly into the wind. It must take an angle against the wind for a time and then turn 180 degrees to the opposite angle against the wind. When the captain decides to turn the ship one hundred eighty degrees, he orders the crew to “repent!” This brings us to what the Bible says about repentance.
“Repent” is what people do when they recognize they made a mistake and decide to go the opposite direction. Repentance is a process that involves the voluntary renewing of our minds, adjusting our moral and spiritual vision, and thinking toward that of the mind of GOD. It is GOD’s requirement for everyone on the face of the earth. I believe that repentance is a lifestyle, although not necessarily needed daily. When the Holy Spirit brings something to mind we need to deal with “it” obediently and not make excuses because we may still enjoy “it” or feel “it” is useful. Proverbs 28:13 reminds us that we will not prosper if we conceal transgressions but mercy is obtained by confessing and repenting. “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness . . .” (Acts 17:30-31a).
We Are Family
January 30, 2022
The One Thing: Issues in the church are not issues in the church unless we make them issues in the church.
Luke 12:32 So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. (NLT)
What makes you afraid? I don’t mean things like arachnophobia or xanthophobia(fear of the color yellow, and yes it’s an actual thing). But what kinds of things cause you to stress and worry? We often have these feelings when life seems out of our control, and when life seems out of control it’s because we feel like we don’t have “enough”.
Earlier in this chapter Jesus tells his followers the parable of the foolish rich man. This man had fertile land that produced a great amount of crops. But the man spent all of his time worrying about where he would keep his surplus. In verse 19 the man says to himself “And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ The story ends with God saying to the man, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
How much time do you spend worrying that you will have “enough” or that you will be “enough”? This rich man told himself once he had “enough” he would be able to enjoy life. But what even is “enough”? It’s easy to get caught in a trap where our idea of “enough” changes with our circumstances. Jesus is reminding us throughout Luke 12 that life is so much more than getting or being “enough”. This is also more than just stuff. We often try to act and do certain things so that other people will think that we are “enough”. Don’t get me wrong it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have stuff, or to do things with excellence. However, if God is not at the center of our lives it is all in vain. This is why Jesus calls us a little flock. He is reminding us that we are sheep in need of a shepherd. We have someone here to provide us with what we need. While we try to fill our lives up with “enough” God is happily offering us His Kingdom, which will always be more than enough.
Are you willing to be humble today? To realize that you are sheep in need of a shepherd. Are you willing to let go of trying to fill your life up with “enough” and simply let God be enough for you?
The author of the book of Hebrews has this to say about gathering as Christians: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-24)
As we gather together as a body of believers, we tap into something so much deeper than a mere social club: we reaffirm our membership in the diverse Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The enemy is very good at convincing us why we should skip church, or getting us to justify why we’re absent. There are some very legitimate reasons to not be able to attend in person (health concerns, travel safety, etc), but if the question comes to “should I go to church or not,” the answer should be “Let’s Go!”
Life is Hard, but God is good! A Pondering by Holly Woodbridge
John 16:33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Well, congratulations! You have made it through January in the year 2022. That is an accomplishment these days.
More than likely you have disappointed someone already this year or someone has let you down. You may have already experienced loss or heartache. Jesus said, “In this world you WILL have trouble.”
Life does not ever stay smooth for too long. People you trusted, betray you. People you love die. People you hope so much for, disappoint. BUT not Jesus! He never disappoints. He never abandons you or sticks it to you. He never uses His power to oppress you. He is with you. He loves you. You can trust Him. You can follow Him. You can lean on Him.
So, when he speaks listen, because He is for you and He says, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Whatever might be sucking the life out of you right now is not bigger than your God. He always overcomes. So take Heart, He is good and He is with you in it all. Let His peace wash over you.
This song has been a help to me as I work through the hard of life. Take a listen.
A Gardener of Love
This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.
For over three decades I have had the privilege of watching my Father-in-law Bampy Clifford as both a flower gardener and a farmer. Even at the ripe old age of ninety he is still trying to learn how to get better at his craft and adapt his strategies in the face of changing challenges. I have also gotten to watch him apply these same practices in ministering to the spiritual lives of those around him..
Any good gardener or farmer knows that the conditions in which you plant determine the quality of the harvest. Certain plants can’t survive certain weather, even as other plants won’t take root in certain types of soil. A good farmer needs more than just good intentions to receive a good harvest; they also need knowledge and wisdom.
Interestingly, Paul seems to believe that these two gifts are also what our love needs if it is going to be effective. Rather than simply throwing around indiscriminate love with merely good intentions, Paul prays that our love will become abundant in knowledge and insight. Such a love is effective because it helps us to decide what really matters.
Our most faithful expressions of love are those acts that are filled with wisdom and discernment. Love that considers the most helpful words to say to our friend who is hurting, love that leverages our own resources to benefit those in need around us, love that listens carefully to the voices of others to learn what our knowledge is lacking. Such a love not only fills our own lives but also overflows into a fruitfulness that feeds those around us.
Let's pray that God would grant us the depth of insight that we need today and in the days ahead!
God, I pray that you will make my love more insightful and wiser so that I might be able to decide what really matters. I want to not only love much, but love well.
I pray that you would give me a discerning love that might grow into a multiplying love, overflowing to everyone around me.
ATTITUDINAL ADJUSTMENT FOR 2022
The believer is commanded in Scripture to have a different mind, to develop a biblical viewpoint, and possess a Christlike attitude in all things.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. (Romans 12:16)
William Law wrote: “Man needs to be saved from his own wisdom as much as from his own righteousness, for they produce one and the same corruption.”
We must have the mind of Christ to think with the Word of God to live, as the scriptures say with every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, so our thoughts and actions are in harmony with God’s.
If we want to experience God and the joys of His plan for us then we must allow the Holy Spirit to adjust our attitude so we can truly know Him. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
We must constantly renew our minds in the Word as a vital part of our attitudinal adjustment.
Otherwise, our mind is like a vehicle driving down the road of life on a road full of potholes or as I like to call them VW traps, that catch us, knock us out of alignment with God, requiring a much-needed spiritual realignment of our attitude and to guide us around the potholes of life.
Our attitudinal adjustment must be aligned with a sense of joy. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Our mind and attitudes must be kept free from bitterness, blame, self-pity, and pessimism, for us to really cast our cares on the Lord and trust in His sovereignty.
Our adjustment requires an attitude of humility for sacrificial love which puts the needs of others above self. Humility is recognizing who we are by God’s grace and that He provides our ability to love and serve others. Religion and religious strivings are often corrupted and nullified by cravings and striving for power and security—the opposite of submission, humility, and trust.
We cannot impart to others what we do not ourselves possess! Therefore devote yourself to one another placing the needs of others above ourselves. (Romans 12:10)
Chuck Swindoll wrote in Strengthening Your Grip: The colorful, nineteenth-century showman and gifted violinist Nicolo Paganini was standing before a packed house, playing through a difficult piece of music. A full orchestra surrounded him with magnificent support. Suddenly one string on his violin snapped and hung gloriously down from his instrument. Beads of perspiration popped out on his forehead. He frowned but continued to play, improvising beautifully.
To the conductor’s surprise, a second string broke. And shortly thereafter, a third. Now there were three limp strings dangling from Paganini’s violin as the master performer completed the difficult composition on the one remaining string. The audience jumped to its feet and in good Italian fashion, filled the hall with shouts and screams, “Bravo! Bravo!” As the applause died down, the violinist asked the people to sit back down. Even though they knew there was no way they could expect an encore, they quietly sank back into their seats.
He held the violin high for everyone to see. He nodded at the conductor to begin the encore and then he turned back to the crowd, and with a twinkle in his eye, he smiled and shouted, ‘Paganini … and one string!’ After that he placed the single-stringed Stradivarius beneath his chin and played the final piece on one string as the audience (and the conductor) shook their heads in silent amazement. ‘Paganini … and one string’!
Swindoll goes on to say: This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. … Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. … When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me. Yet, we must admit that we spend more of our time concentrating and fretting over the strings that snap, dangle, and pop—the things that can’t be changed—than we do giving attention to the one that remains, our choice of attitude.
How transformed is your attitude?
We are only required to be faithful in using what God has given us, in the context, in situation and ministry, as He places us. And without an attitudinal adjustment to be like Christ, that is impossible!
May God Bless and Keep you all 2022 long, with an attitudinal adjustment from a heart focused on God and your trust in Him.
Rev. Jerry Schmid
Notes from the Staff @The Woods