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All Things New

Gentleness & Self-Control

February 5, 2023

D. L. Moody, the famous evangelist of the 19th century, was once asked, “Of all the people you have come in contact with, who would you say has given you the most trouble?” He said, “That’s easy, D. L. Moody.” We smile because we understand all too clearly that the one who consistently gives each of us the most trouble, the one we have to clean up after the most, and the one we have to correct the most is none other than ourselves. Someone once said, “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you probably wouldn’t be able to sit down for weeks.” We all have a hard time saying “NO.” Have you ever lost control of yourself and been embarrassed or frustrated by your behavior? Maybe you overate - or spent too much - or said too much - or played too much - or bragged too much - or procrastinated too much - or interfered too much - or worked too much - or complained too much, or argued too much? Can you think of a time or two or three in your life when you lost your grip on the reigns of self? I’ll bet you can because we all have! Each of us has had to endure times of difficulty, frustration, and defeat, and we realized later that we had no one to blame but ourselves. This Sunday, as we conclude the "All Things New" series, we will consider the remaining two items on the list, gentleness and self-control, which tie all the others together.

Goodness & Faithfulness

January 29, 2023

A linguistics professor explained to a group of students the development of the English language, which finds its roots in old English. It looks very different from modern English as it is essentially the result of Germanic tribes (Angles and Saxons) moving to or invading parts of England and combining their language with the native tongue of the Britons, which itself is a combination of Celtic and Latin. All of that was pretty boring until he launched into the connection between our word for God and the word “good.” At this point, my ears perked up! I guess it’s not a problematic connection, as they are separated by a single letter, but I never knew if that was an accidental similarity or something more significant. When these Germanic people began to worship the God of the Bible, they needed a word to describe him. They had proper names for their pantheon of Germanic gods, as in Odin, Thor, and Freya, but they didn’t have a word that would ultimately work as a way of describing the God of the Old and New Testaments. However, as these people began to learn about the God of scripture, his inherent goodness, and his faithfulness to his creation they decided to take a form of the word “good” and make it their word for God. The words are recognizable in both the early Germanic languages and the modern languages of German, Dutch, and English from which they came. Isn't it amazing that when a group of people came to believe in the God of the Bible, the word that made the most sense for them to use was the word “good?” We have a good and faithful Father who has called us to exhibit the same characteristics in our lives; they are indicators or fruits that His spirit is working within us.

Patience & Kindness

January 22, 2023

Patience and kindness are not easy disciplines. Just try waiting until something happens over which you have no control, or the bus shows up at the end of the rain storm, maybe a meaningful conversation with a spouse or child, or the resolution of a conflict. Patience and kindness are not just waiting passivity until someone else does something; they force us to live each moment to the fullest, to be completely present in a situation and to taste the here and now of where we are. You might describe these attributes as love for the long haul; bearing up under difficult circumstances, without giving up or giving in to anger, frustration, or bitterness. These fruits of the spirit force us to work when gratification is delayed. It means taking what life offers, even if that offering is suffering, without lashing out or quitting. Patience and kindness are basic elements of Christianity! The power to wait, to persevere, to hold out, to endure to the end, recognizing one’s own limitations, not to force issues by playing the hero or the problem solver, but to practice the virtues that defined Jesus ministry, the meekness of the Lamb. In many ways patience and kindness serve as a protection against temptations and wrongs as clothes do against cold. If you put on more clothes as the cold increases you will have the power to endure it because you have insulated yourself from it’s dangerous effects. As we grow in the fruit of a spirit-led life, we meet with great wrongs and challenges shielded by a spiritual protection tried and demonstrated by our Lord to work in powerful ways.

Joy & Peace

January 15, 2023

The Collins English Dictionary has just revealed its 2022 word of the year to be “permacrisis.” “Permacrisis” is a noun defined by the book publisher HarperCollins as "an extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.” The publisher explained in a blog post on the dictionary website that they selected the word because of the war in Ukraine, climate challenges, political instability, and the surge in inflation. They go on to comment that the term embodies the "dizzying sense of lurching from one unprecedented event to another," people seem to wonder what new "horrors" might be around the corner. It goes without saying that for many in our world today the concepts of Joy and Peace are relegated to a holiday fantasy which is revised every year in December and then is put away as we “get back to life”, but should it be that way? In the the Bible, the words “joy,” “rejoice,” or “joyful” appear a total of 430 times, compared with “happy” or “happiness,” which appear only ten times, and peace another 420 times. Something is very different here.  Nearly 1700 years ago as a third-century man was anticipating his death, he carefully wrote these to a friend: "It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am one of them." Christ came that we might have to tools to do the same. The fruit of the spirit working in our lives is Joy and peace and this week we will discover how to live in a broken world with serenity.

The Story of Love

January 8, 2023 • Jason Corder

For a word that we use so often, love is a very difficult word for us to define. I looked up love in the dictionary on my shelf, and found that it is both a noun and a verb. It has eleven different definitions. Love has to do with God. It has to do with physical affection. It has to do with romance. It even has to do with tennis. Thats a pretty wide range of definitions to sort through.  So when the Bible says we are to love one another it sounds good, but what does that really mean anyway? People can be so irritating. Somebody once wrote a little limerick that’s hard to forget; "To live above with those we love, oh, how that will be glory. To live below with those we know, now that's another story. Even our immediate families and church families can be difficult to love. Sometimes we sing a chorus in church: "I'm so glad you're a part of the family of God," and then we look at the person beside us and think, "I'm surprised you're part of the family of God." In English we have only one word for love. I think that unfortunate. The ancient Hebrews had the same dilemma. 'Ahab was the ancient Hebrew word, and all different shades of love had to be captured in that single term. The Greeks had far more. But no matter the number of words you have for it one thing remains the same. Love is work, love is sacrifice, love changes things, and God calls us to Love others and he loves us!

All Things New

January 1, 2023 • Jason Corder

A London businessman was selling a property. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, the seller took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage, but the buyer wasn't interested. “Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “If I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site. God is that investor in II Corinthians 5 Paul remarks that ''If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation. Old things are past away, behold all things are become new.'' Years ago I heard a saying that was hard to forget; “Nature forms us. Sin deforms us. Schools inform us. Prisons reform us. But only Christ transforms us.” The Bible tells us that in Christ we are to become new. A Christian is not just somebody who's become nice, he becomes new. He doesn't just turn over a new leaf. He receives a new life. A Christian is not like a tadpole that has become a frog. (He's gone through a series of changes, but basically he's same creature.) A Christian is more like the frog who has received the kiss of grace and become a prince. That's what we are. We are to be radically and dramatically changed. Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God’s, the old life is over. He makes all things new. All He wants is the site and the permission to build.