By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
The world is in chaos. The botched evacuation of Afghanistan continued to dishearten nearly everyone. Covid mandates continue to stir division and confusion. Gender identity issues continue to divide our communities. Critical Race Theory continues to cause frustration and concern. I could go on about immigration policies, national debt, unemployment, homelessness, mental illness, and more. Our nation and world are a mess!
On top of these issues you have your own household chaos… school starting, sports commitments, illnesses, family conflict, child rebellion, job tension, increased expenses…
So, how will you keep your head screwed on through all of this? What will keep you grounded? What will calm your heart when more chaos strikes? How will you not lose your mind?
And the Church gave the “Sunday school answer:” JESUS!
Yep, you’re all right, but what does that simple answer mean for tomorrow and the next day and the rest of this fall? Is periodic church attendance sufficient? Will dropping kids off at Bible Class be sufficient
Jesus must permeate your entire life.
Did you really hear that? Jesus must permeate your entire life.
Let’s consider three major areas of life… your personal devotions, your family devotions, and your church involvement.
Now, remember permeating our life is very much a work of God. He gives the Spirit to believers (Eph. 1:13). He empowers believers for ministry (Acts 13:52). He fills believers with wisdom and understanding (Deut. 34:9). God does this work!
We can either welcome this work of God or quench it (1 Thess. 5:19). Welcoming the Spirit’s work in us is often referred to as being “in Christ,” “abiding in Christ,” and “obeying Christ.” This leads to a long list of “shoulds” which quickly overwhelms us and can lead to apathy and hopelessness. Remember, the whole point here is not to lose your mind. This is how you stay clear-minded and healthy. So give these habits shot this fall! Yes, I’m suggesting all of them. Implement them all this fall:-)
1. Personal devotions: Your personal time with God is absolutely essential. Dietrich Bonhoeffer mandated this of his students. For them it was meditating on the same passage of scripture for a week, seeking to understand what God was telling them personally. No other books were to be used in this study. You can read a devotional, write in a journal, study a commentary, or simply read the Bible. No matter when or how you do it, spend time alone with God!
2. Family devotions: This may be new for your family, but it’s essential, and if you baptized your child, you promised to disciple your child. You made a vow in front of the church to teach your kids about Jesus, to pray for them, and to teach them to pray. It won’t get any easier to start tomorrow, so start today. Yes, you will get some tough questions like a recent one at our table… Is time eternal? You don’t have to have all the answers, but you can give them Jesus. Here are some ideas for time with your kids…
a. Read an age appropriate Bible. Adrea has several options in her office and they are awesome, or just use an app like the Youversion or the Kids Bible App.
b. Read a fun, practical devotional like “Don’t Forget to Flush.” (Our teenagers even found this humorous, although it was not always relevant for them. :-)
c. Read a deeply challenging book like “The Insanity of God” or "Jesus Freaks.”
d. Dad… not sure about doing this? Then read “Family Shepherd” and you will have a clear picture of God’s call for you and your family.
3. Church involvement: The relationships in the church should give you support and purpose. This goes beyond regular Sunday morning worship. That is only part of the food put before you. It’s like having a 5-course meal and only eating the salad. Each course (spiritual habit) is part of the Christian life and will keep you healthy, so eat up…
a. Worship every week: First, make Sunday morning a priority and come with a heart ready to worship, hear God’s Word and give generously to God’s work.
b. Serve: This is a great way to find real purpose and meaning in life. Teach some kids, serve some coffee, greet some visitors, lead some singing, paint a room… you’ll be surprised at the joy you receive in serving.
c. Grow: Join a Sunday school class, a small group, Golden Lifers, the women’s ministry, or teach a class yourself.
d. Reach out: Outreach to the community is often hard, but we have some great connection with One Waupun, food banks and REACH which give great opportunities.
e. Connect: Yes, fellowship is important and life giving. May be come early, plan to stay late after church, invite someone over for dinner, or visit a shut-in.
The possibilities are endless, but you don’t have to do everything. However, you should be eating from each of the 5 plates. Call the office for opportunities.
So, now, as I stated you are probably overwhelmed with the list of “shoulds.” Take a moment and consider what you have done this past month. Have you spent any time personally in prayer or reading the Bible? Have you sought to teach your kids about some good or bad choices? Have you met with other believers? Don’t beat yourself up, but let’s raise the bar and be more intentional about welcoming the work of God in our lives so we can face the chaos with joy and peace.
May you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Col. 1:9), with all joy and peace (Acts 13:52), and with great boldness (Acts 4:31). AMEN.
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