More to Life…continued

The More to Life series mentioned in my post, https://brucestaley.com/2016/01/19/more-to-life/, has begun!

Last week by way of introduction it was Discovery Bible Study Reloaded and we examined Matthew 7: 24-29, the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders.

Lots of laughter when someoneĀ  recalled a children’s song of long ago and got the group to join in.

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This week was the first study, Life, in the series.

John 10:10
“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

No singing this time but lots of excitement. Names were quickly entered on our Pray4five cards. And more excitement for me when my young friend, Praveen, from India, agreed to lead the group next week.

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Podcasts of the weekly sermons are available at http://www.churchone2one.org

Not only reloaded but reinvented into a Discovery Discipleship Movement. We shall what see what God has in store.

A Work in Progress..

In the Epilogue to his excellent book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, Rob Bell draws our attention to the Apostle Paul’s thoughts in Philippians 1:6,

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”,

and highlights the powerful progression in the words ‘began’, ‘good work’ (a work in progress) and ‘completion’.

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All of this is God’s initiative, bringing to completion that which he has begun.

When we look at creation, there was God in the beginning. He is bringing it to completion.

When we look at God’s salvation plan, there was God, in Christ, working it out, working it through to completion at the Cross, and God placed his seal of approval on the finished work by raising Christ from the dead.

IMAGINE, the same power that God used to raise Christ from dead is at work in you NOW, bringing to completion that which he begun in you when received Christ.

Ephesians 1:19-20 puts it this way,

“…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Imagine…a work in progress… being brought to completion.

He will do it!

Jude 1:24-25
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

Apprehension…

Some time ago I completed a daily reading series by Charles Swindoll, Come Before Winter…

While each reading was thought-provoking one reading in particular held my attention.

Apprehension…

One explanation of apprehension by Dictionary.com describes it this way, anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.

Further reading of Dictionary.com includes the following synonyms, alarm, worry, uneasiness and suspicion, all implying an unsettled and uneasy state of mind, and again apprehension is an active state of fear, usually of some danger or misfortune.

This undefined uneasiness or feeling of uncertainty, misgiving or mistrust has the potential to cripple or immobilise, to hold us back.

“What frustration is to yesterday, apprehension is to tomorrow.”

…Swindoll

The admission by the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:22,
“And now compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.”,
has an air of apprehension against the backdrop of long term opposition faced by Paul across the course of his missionary journeys and the haze of an uncertain future.

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It’s apprehension that tightens the heart muscles, tugs on the reins, even generating the temptation to turn and run.

While openly acknowledging its presence Paul stood firm, refusing to run, emphatically declaring in Acts 20:24,
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

The bonds of apprehension are strong until DETERMINATION breaks their hold and we refuse to run but instead break free and move forward.

Further evidence of the character of Paul’s determination can be found in Philippians 3:7-15 where he finishes with these resounding words,
” I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In the face of apprehension resolve to…

Dependence

Stephen Covey died in 2012 as a result of complications arising from a bicycle accident. Stephen was considered the pioneer of the self-help genre that aimed at helping people live more productively. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which was published in 38 languages and sold over 20 million copies was his most notable publication. I have a couple of copies of Seven Habits on my bookshelf at home along with a copy of First Things First which Stephen co-wrote with Roger Merrill.

Stephen Covey https://g.co/kgs/aLNuu

In Seven Habits Stephen mapped out his seven habits paradigm with each of the habits in sets of three moving a person from DEPENDENCE to INDEPENDENCE and finally to INTERDEPENDENCE. He recognised that personal effectiveness is greatly improved when we acknowledge and give credence to the part others play in our effectiveness rather than adopting the motto of Frank Sinatra’s song, “I Did It My Way.”

Our greatest effectiveness is achieved however, when we take a further step forward toward dependence again. This time a dependence on God.

The habits or practices in this case include the cultivation of a daily personal relationship with our Heavenly Father where we seek His will and purpose for our lives and act in obedience, trusting Him in all things.

This is wonderfully illustrated by Jesus in His well known Sermon on the Mount found in chapters 5 – 7 of Matthew’s gospel. In these chapters Jesus espouses the habits and attitudes that will put us on the path to effectiveness and a healthy and fulfilling future.