November 24th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Baruch

Most of us have probably felt like a failure.  We’ve also experienced some measure of success.  But what exactly does it mean to be a success?  Is it accolades?  Milestones?  Money?  Living comfortably?  Approval?

 

My any of those measures Jeremiah was a complete failure as a prophet.  So was his sidekick, the scribe Baruch.  Serving the nation of Judah for 40 years and 5 different kings, they saw nothing but constant deterioration of the nation into idolatry and paganism.  Their job was straight forward enough…deliver a message for the Lord and they did it, but no one was listening.  Worse than being ignored they were ridiculed, persecuted, hunted and jailed.  It’s hard to feel good about that kind of assignment.  It went so badly that Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet and Baruch got frustrated that they weren’t being given the respect they deserved.  If you find yourself in a particularly deflating assignment (as an employee, a family member, or in a ministry) know that sometimes God gives out assignments that don’t feel very successful in the worlds eyes.

 

True success in God’s eyes is faithfulness to His calling for you.  Success is endurance even when opposed.  

 

It is possible to be a success in the eyes of men, but fail in God’s eyes.  Baruch and Jeremiah needed each other.  Jeremiah needed a faithful friend and Baruch needed someone to challenge his view of success.  So, what does it mean for you to be successful in your difficult situation?  Maybe God wants to reshape your perspective on success.


November 18th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Uriah

Every single day of our lives we face any number of moral dilemmas.  We all understand that some decisions are more difficult to make than others.  But, being a Christian means that God is helping us build a moral compass.  This moral compass from God gives us a sense of direction when faced with life’s difficult decisions.  In Scripture, Uriah the Hittite stands out as a moral compass with his beautiful testimony of a person with God honoring convictions and faithfulness.  With seemingly everything going well for him, the life of Uriah was about to take a tragic turn.

 

One of the most startling and treacherous stories in Scripture is when David commits adultery with Bathsheba and then sets up Uriah to be struck down on purpose in battle.  David, at this season of his life was deceptive and was loyal to himself and his feelings only.  Uriah on the other hand exemplified true honesty and was loyal not only to his king, but most importantly, to God.

 

When we face our moral dilemmas in life, are we going to rely on ourselves like David did here?  Or, like Uriah, are we going to rely on God for our moral compass?


November 11th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Jonathan

Have you ever been caught in the middle?  What do you do when you want to help both parties, but they are not getting along?

 

That’s the situation Jonathan finds himself in.  After recognizing God’s calling on David, Jonathan embraces the eventual threat to his throne as a best friend, but his father isn’t on the same page.

 

David and Jonathan have promised to support each other and not allow harm to come to the other man or his family.  Then David marries into the family.  He’s King Saul’s son-in-law and Jonathan’s brother-in-law.  After serving the royal family faithfully and conquering many of their enemies, David is declared an enemy of the king and Jonathan is order to kill him on sight.

 

Jonathan’s faithfulness, loyalty, love, wisdom and optimism  for David and Saul can teach us a lot about how to conduct ourselves when we’re caught in the middle.

 

Two things we looked at on Sunday were:

  1. Supporting one person, doesn’t mean that you have to oppose the other.
  2. Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean that you have to put someone else down.

 

By the end of their story Jonathan had good reason to hold a grudge and to expose or ostracize his father, but instead Jonathan lives out what Paul teaches in Romans 12:14-18.

14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16  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. 17  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.


November 4th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – David

We are continuing our “Sidekick” sermon series by talking about the Biblical character David.  We must not forget that David was a sidekick to king Saul for over 10 years, and the amount of abuse and mistreatment that David experienced as a result of this was mind blowing.

 

This story has so many life lessons and practical applications for all of us today.  Many important questions can be asked such as: 1.) If God had already rejected Saul as king, why did He allow him to chase down David at all, let alone for over a decade?  2.) Why did God want David to deal with everything Saul dished out?

 

Scripture is clear that even though David had a “heart” for God, there was much more refining needed in him.  David had to learn some deep lessons in humility, and he had to learn to surrender everything over to God.  God also wanted David to get into the habit of turning to Him in prayer when trying to figure out the best way to handle all situations.  Even a situation as difficult as Saul!

 

The truth is, we all have “Saul’s” in our life.  And with Christ in the lead, we must embrace our “Saul’s” so we can cling more to Jesus.

 


October 28th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Caleb

When we think of sidekicks we probably think of them as being slightly inferior to the leader they assist, but what if that’s not true?

 

Our third Sidekick in this series was Caleb.  The relationship between Caleb and Joshua begins when they are put together as leaders of their respective tribes to go with 10 others and spy out the land that God had promised His people.

 

Over and over again it seems that Caleb is the one that steps forward with boldness and faith.  Caleb isn’t afraid of the giants in the land, he also isn’t afraid of his own people turning on him.  Joshua just happens to be the one other person who agrees with Caleb.  In every way Caleb seems like the ideal leader to replace Moses and Joshua would make a great sidekick.  But instead it is the other way around.  Joshua is selected as the leader even though Moses has to remind him again and again to “Be strong and courageous”…something Caleb didn’t seem to have any trouble with.

 

In the end we see that being a sidekick may not be the “less than” role that we often picture it to be.  Caleb is bold and brave and God uses that in the role He gave him.  The truth is that…Being the sidekick isn’t a position of weakness, but of great strength. 

 

Did you ever realize that even the Holy Spirit is called the helper?  It’s the same word that God uses to describe the role of the wife (a help mate).  It’s the idea of sidekick and it’s not inferior.  The Holy Spirit is far more powerful than I am and yet He is my helper.  Sidekicks aren’t supposed to be weak.  Embracing the role of sidekick isn’t for wimps, it’s for warriors. 

 

Even Jesus disciples got caught up in playing king of the hill and Jesus corrected their thinking…

Mark 9:33-35 (NASB)
33  They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34  But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35  Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

 

Jesus embraced the role of lifting others up.  Instead of clamoring for respect, admiration, or the spotlight, He was the servant of all and He invites all of us to live the same way.


October 21st, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Aaron

It can be very difficult to work alongside or in support of someone else.  There may be times we feel we could do it better than them.  It can be difficult not to become critical or competitive because every leader has weaknesses.

 

As we dove into Moses and Aaron we quickly see that both men have strengths and both of them have flaws.  When they worked together it was a beautiful thing, but when they got critical or competitive it could get very ugly.

 

Paul has some great things to say about working together in Galatians 6:1-5.  It can be summed up this way:

 

Is there someone you’ve been competing with?

Is there someone you’ve been criticizing?

Maybe it’s time to ask for forgiveness and start over with them.  How can you make up for their weakness instead of tearing them down over it?


October 14th, 2018: Life as a Sidekick – Zipporah

We started our brand new sermon series called “Life as a Sidekick”. For the next 10 weeks we will do character studies from the Old and New Testament where we will focus on individuals who were not necessarily the hero of the story, but were the sidekicks. Sunday’s message was on Zipporah – Moses’ wife.

Truth be told, the Bible does not give all that much information on Zipporah. However, she is involved in one of the most interesting and puzzling stories in all of Scripture. In Exodus 4 we find that right on the heels of God’s great call to Moses, God wants to take the life of Moses. That does not seem to make much sense at all, until we read between the lines a bit.

We invite you to listen to the sermon in its entirety as we unpack this intriguing situation and learn key life lessons from Zipporah.


October 7th, 2018

Is it possible to have “Joy in the Tought Stuff?” In Philippians 4 Paul lays out a roadmap to joy even in the midst of an intense personal conflict. He also applies the same process to his own financial struggles.

Most of us have experienced those two kinds of situations and they are the kind of things that can put knots in your stomach, steal sleep from your night, and totally distract you from the areas you should be focusing.

Paul’s steps include rejoicing, being gentle, resting in God, and looking for the good so that we can experience the peace of God in our own heart and mind (Philippians 4:4-9).

However that can be easier said than done especially when we can get so caught up in determining that something is bad and then bracing for the worst, like the victim of a storm we can’t control.

We tend to categorize things like conflict as bad based on how we feel or what we fear might happen, but in reality every situation is an opportunity…even conflict. In God’s economy things that feel bad aren’t necessarily bad. We may have to let go of our feelings and begin to walk by faith in trusting our God who claims He will work all things together for our good. Consider the limitations of our understanding:

· How many times have you experienced something you deemed horrible, but it turned out good?

· How many times have you thought something was good, but it ended really badly?

In the end it is impossible for us to fully deem a situation good or bad because we don’t know the outcome. Was it good when Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den? The other wise men planned for it to kill him. Was it good when David faced Goliath? His brothers didn’t think so. There may be components of a situation that are very hard, but we can always rejoice because we know the one who holds the final outcome and His intention for us is always VERY GOOD. If it isn’t good yet, hold on.

How far can we go with that? In Romans 8:36-37 (NASB), Paul says…

36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;

WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

I’m not in any way saying that good and bad don’t exist. Your actions can be good or bad…sinful or righteous…and each action will be judged by God. But deciding that a situation is good or bad is often a matter of perspective and ours is very limited. The truth is that every situation is an opportunity. Paul rejoiced over being in prison and as a result he led his captors to the Lord on several occasions.

Don’t forget that what looked like the worst event in human history, the murder of the innocent Son of God, was actually the best event in human history because He paid the price for our sin.

So instead of spending all of our energy categorizing events in our lives as good or bad, maybe we need to recognize the limitations of our ability, put our hope in God, and begin to live for Him in each opportunity that He allows to come our way. Suddenly peace and joy in any situation don’t seem quite so out of reach.

What “opportunity” is God giving you? Start by rejoicing, being gentle, resting in Him, and looking for the good…you just might be surprised by the peace and joy you will find.


September 30th, 2018

We continued our sermon series on the book of Philippians. Paul, who wrote this letter from prison, states over and over how our attitude and circumstances in life are to be lived out in true humility and unity with others. Humility, followed by being exalted by God is a theme that runs through Scripture. Christ is our ultimate example of what it looks like to be a servant, a bond slave even, for the sake of obeying God’s work and serving others.

Jesus Christ did this particularly strong two times: First, in His humbling Himself by becoming a human being. And second, of humbling Himself by voluntarily taking on the most shameful and painful death imaginable – all for our salvation!

Jesus was, is, and always will be the definition of humility. And Paul insists we must do the same.


September 23rd, 2018

We continued our sermon series on the book of Philippians. Paul, who wrote this letter from prison, states over and over how our attitude and circumstances in life are to be lived out in true humility and unity with others. Humility, followed by being exalted by God is a theme that runs through Scripture. Christ is our ultimate example of what it looks like to be a servant, a bond slave even, for the sake of obeying God’s work and serving others.

Jesus Christ did this particularly strong two times: First, in His humbling Himself by becoming a human being. And second, of humbling Himself by voluntarily taking on the most shameful and painful death imaginable – all for our salvation!

Jesus was, is, and always will be the definition of humility. And Paul insists we must do the same.