By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 ESV)
It’s November, a time to be grateful. This month, in particular, I’ve been thankful for all the doers at Alto. You “don’t just listen and do nothing” (James 1:22 ERV) at Alto. You are proving “yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves.” (James 1:22 AMP)
I hesitate to list people here, for fear I will miss someone, but I hope you can rejoice over these gifts of time and talent being offered.
I’m sure I missed some of you serving in the church and serving beyond our walls.
THANK YOU to all of you for being the church.
THANK YOU for not just listening to a sermon each week, but for doing the ministry.
THANK YOU for loving your neighbor and being a light in the world.
If you’re wanting to be a doer, you can find a list of opportunities and discover your strengths on our website.
By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
Paul was blunt with his instruction, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Eph. 4:32)
Last month I wrote regarding the divisions in America… “To a degree, I’ve been writing in the sand, hoping the conflict simply goes away. It’s not going away, but I have no desire to feed these fires. I’m going to write in the sand a bit longer, resist throwing thought bombs, reflect on my heart, and listen for God to speak truth.”
Honestly, I’m still writing in the sand, but I do want to share what I hear God saying to us. It’s not complicated. It’s not a theological debate or a controversial concept. It’s as simple as they come… be kind.
Such a simple idea… be kind. You taught it to your kids from day one. No biting, no spitting, no hitting… Yet this simple command seems to be lost in a flood of retaliation.
I watched two things tonight. The second was the Presidential Debate. It felt more like a boxing match or a food fight than debate. Both candidates had their punches…
“You are the worst president we’ve ever had.”
“You graduated last in your class.”
“Just shut up already.”
“China ate your lunch.”
“It’s hard to get anything in with this clown.”
“[You’re hosting smaller campaign events because] nobody would show up.”
The cutting attacks made the debate colorful, but distracted from the actual issues. It was far from kind. It was vicious and, sadly, both candidates claim to be Christian. As millions of Americans watched, they certainly saw the total depravity of man over the life-changing power of Jesus.
Let’s consider the other show I watched: an episode of “Little Men.” In it the kids living in the orphanage are challenged to learn about philanthropy by doing something kind, and afterwards, are instructed to write a paper about it. They proceed to serve others in all kinds of ways. One made breakfast for everyone, another helped an elderly lady with her groceries, another helped care for the horses, and another used her allowance to buy a gift. It was a great example of being kind.
Here’s the key: we can to a degree pull ourselves up by the boot straps and be kind, but when tension is high, our true colors come through. We are all a work in progress, and it is God who changes our character if we let him.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)
As we face a society of tremendous contention, will the Church shine in the darkness by being kind or will we let the darkness hide the light? Let's work extra hard this season to show kindness to one another. Whether Trump or Biden get the office, Jesus is the King! We cannot control politicians, but we can let God control us. So…
• Let’s pray for God to stir in the presidential candidates to mold their character into kind, humble, wise leaders.
• Let’s pray for God to do the same in us that we might be changed and show the love and power of God to the world.
Help me Lord, to be a disciple, denying myself; quietly meeting with you; studying your word; praying always; worshiping you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and in so doing, letting You transform my heart and life so that I truly am like Christ. Amen.
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