Never Let Go

“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13, NIV).

As I sat down to read through Proverbs 4, I asked the Lord, “What do You have for me in this chapter this morning?” He replied directly (which is pretty rare for me), It’s not for you. Pray this for your sons.

I read through the chapter a couple times to get a sense for its flow and meaning and then prayed through each verse, putting in the names of Asher, Jack, Elliot, and Graham. What a beautiful prayer for my boys, and what a great lesson that God loves my children and has specific things He wants me to pray for them! Too often I get into a rut with my prayers for my family, and this was a reminder to use God’s words more often when I pray for them.

As I prayed through these verses, I noticed something I’d missed in previous readings (sometimes praying a passage brings new insight). Five times in this one chapter we’re instructed not to forget, forsake, or let go of wisdom, instruction, understanding, etc. I love to learn new things, have new experiences, go on new adventures, and explore new places. Sometimes in my passion for discovery, I get frustrated with rehashing what I “already know.”

But through directing me to pray for my boys, God also reminded me that sometimes I don’t need to learn something new, I need to hold onto what I already know. And, here’s the kicker, knowing is of no value if we don’t apply it to our lives. Maybe it’s not a fresh revelation I need; maybe I need to apply the revelation I already have received. It’s our fallen human nature to loosen our grip on God’s instruction over time, to lose our focus and stray to the right or to the left. Sometimes we need to be reminded to live according to the Word we’ve been given. My prayer for this week is that God will show you where you can you refocus your heart on His Word, and renew your commitment to live it out every day.


Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

Light and Truth

“Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place. Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy.” (Psalm 43:3-4, HCSB)

How often do I pray this? How often do I ask for God’s light and His truth to guide me in the decisions I make day in and day out? I’ve found that when I’m faced with a large, life-changing decision (like whether to move my family to a new community and take on a new role as a lead pastor) I tend to ask for wisdom more often. But in those in-between-years, when life seems manageable and there are no world-altering decisions staring me in the face, my tendency is to run with my own ideas, thoughts, and plans without asking for light and truth from God first.

And, even when I do ask for wisdom from God, do I seek it? Do I ask God to just download light and truth into my brain like an app update, or do I ask God for guidance as I seek His light and His truth in His Word? Sometimes we ask God to speak or give us direction and wonder why He doesn’t answer when in reality, He put that wisdom just in front of us if we’ll look for it. Have your kids ever asked you for something, and you put it just out of their reach, so they’ll have to work to get it? Why do you do you that? Because when they work to get what you have given, it’s more meaningful; and sometimes it sticks more than if you just hand it to them.

God has given us tools to seek His wisdom. He has given us His Word. He has given us the ability to reason and think rationally. He allows us to have experiences that shape us and should teach us more about life. And, most importantly, He has given us His Holy Spirit who will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). But that truth doesn’t just come as an update or a new operating system. It’s not downloaded and installed in our brains while we sleep. When we pray for light and wisdom, we need to look for God’s answer using the tools, gifts, and opportunities He’s blessed us with. And as we seek Him, He will guide us into all truth.

My prayer for us this week as that God will send His light and His truth to lead us each day, and that we will have the discernment to see and hear His voice.

 


Photo by Himesh Kumar Behera on Unsplash

Wisdom Guards the Heart

This week at LakeView Church we started a new series from the Book of Proverbs called Wisdom for the New Year. Proverbs 4:20-27 has a message written by King Solomon over 3,000 years ago—a message that is still relevant today. The Bible is filled with wisdom that will help us discover God’s design for life and live according to His plan.


Sermon delivered at LakeView Church on 1/7/2018.

Give Her Something To Eat!

They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”  Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat (Luke 8:53-55, NIV).

I love this story of how Jesus was interrupted by a woman who’d been sick for 12 years while on His way to heal a very sick little 12-year-old girl (I’ve always thought it interesting that the girl’s age was the same amount of time the woman had been sick–12 years, but it’s probably just a coincidence).  The interruption delayed Jesus long enough that the little girl actually died.  Undeterred, Jesus went and raised her from the dead.

Wait… He did what?!?  Yes, He raised her from the dead!  Wow!  What an amazing miracle!  And then after performing one of the most incredible, miraculous acts in human history… He told them to fix her supper.  Jesus is so practical!  If I’d just seen my own child raised from the dead, supper would be the last thing I’d be thinking about!  But no doubt this little girl was hungry, and Jesus doesn’t just look after supernatural needs, but everyday ones, too.

This brought to my mind the question of how well do I look after my own everyday needs, like, say, sleep!  Or rest, or relaxation, or eating healthier, or… exercise (yes, I used the “e-word”).  If Jesus cares about me eating supper, maybe I should, too!  And if Jesus is concerned for the practical needs of others, so should we be.  Sometimes people don’t need a miraculous intervention, they just need a cup of coffee with a friend who will pray for them.  My prayer for us this week is that we will remember to eat, sleep, and wrestle with our kids, do the everyday, practical things that Jesus cares about, and have a very normal, “mundane” conversation with someone who just needs a friend.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy

Ezra: Heart, Head, Hands

What is the foundation of your life?  And what do we want to be the foundation of the life and ministry of LakeView Church?  Laying the proper foundation is a critical element of building anything, whether a home, a family, a life or a ministry.  I had the privilege of delivering this message at LakeView Church on September 10, 2017.

How to Cultivate Contentment

The average American throws away more stuff in a year than most of the rest of the people in the world will own in their entire lifetime. Yet, we don’t feel like we have enough. In this message, we take a biblical perspective on contentment and examine five ways to cultivate contentment. Those five ways are:

1. Count your blessings.

2. Stop comparing and start celebrating.

3. Tell yourself no. Tell God yes.

4. Trust God because he is good.

5. Be satisfied with Jesus.