By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
I had an eye appointment the other day, and, yep things are a bit blurry. They did all the regular tests and even high tech pictures of my eye. In the end, I’ll have some new glasses with slightly changed lenses.
My physical vision will be clearer. That was an easy fix.
We live in a very blurry world. Politically, socially, racially, and spiritually our world is divided and distracted. Our news media and social media are filled with conflicting arguments over everything. Should kids play sports? Should they wear masks? Should the government close businesses? Should the federal government send troops into cities?
I can see some of you boiling over in frustration. These issues and others have become very contentious as we want people to see our side is right. So often I want to play devil’s advocate to push back on strong opinions, but isn’t that really being an advocate for the devil?
Paul challenges Timothy…
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24 NIV)
I do believe it matters more how we interact on these issues than whether we “win” the debate. In most of these quarrels, our eyes become blurred, anger and hurt filter what we hear, and we respond by fighting or fleeing. Now, more than ever, we must be the Lord’s servant and be kind to everyone.
The only way we can do that is through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Again, Paul gives great direction to Timothy…
“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” (1 Timothy 4:13 NLT)
What might happen if we truly focused on, i.e. devoted ourselves to, these three things? Read. Encourage. Teach.
We are nudging you to read the minor prophets this summer, watch the Bible Project videos on each one, and then dig into the book with us.
In the Fall, we will give you another great opportunity to Read, Encourage, & Teach. We plan to use “Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ.” We hope many of you will use the workbook in your private devotions, discuss it in discipleship groups, and be inspired by the correlating sermons in worship services. This is a significant step in our discipleship path, Journey to 412, toward intentionally growing to be like Christ.
It’s tempting to think more COVID, political, or cultural information will clear up our vision, but don’t count on it. Let’s keep our eyes focused on the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) as we read Scripture, encourage believers, and teach each other.
By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
Wow! That’s harsh. My mom! She was not that bad.
I hope you are reading the Minor prophets with us this summer. If not you might miss some gems like this one. “So I will destroy your mother”.
Why my mom? Check out Hosea’s reason...
“You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you. So I will destroy your mother— my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” (Hosea 4:5-6 NIV)
Four reasons are given for destroying your mom (as well as rejecting the priests and ignoring your children).
Well, that is not the intent of this passage. The straying of the Israelites (priests and children) will result in their rejection and being ignored. This results in the destruction of the nation of Israel, the mother. So, this is not about my mom or yours. What a relief, for me and my mom.
Yet, this does not exclude us as God’s children. Yes, we live under grace. Jesus died and forgave our sins. We live in a new reality! But that does not give us a license to sin.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?... What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2, 15 NIV)
There was and is a lack of knowledge. I’m sure you have learned a lot about viruses and politics over the the past few months. How many articles have you read? How many hours have you spent reading headlines? How does that compare to your efforts to learn about God?
There was and is an ignoring and rejecting of God’s word too. Not only do we fail to read and listen to God, but we tend to respond with apathy. What’s the last biblical command you intentionally sought to obey? Sacrificially loving your spouse? Instantly obeying your parents? Blessing your kids (spiritually, not materially)? See our Connecting Well series.
The challenge is clear: don’t be found ignorant or ignoring. You have a Heavenly Father who longs to walk with you, to give you hope, peace, and direction. Will you dig into God’s word this summer? Will you walk in his grace and truth?
Summer Minor Prophets reading plan, along with video overviews and our sermons can be found here... https://www.altoreformedchurch.org/minor-prophets.html
Heavenly Father, help us learn. Teach us of your love. Help us walk in your path and never stray from your truth.
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