Great Sunday morning as usual! In service James Walker spoke on our mission: building bridges from Acts 17:16-34. There were 4 steps seen in the passage for Paul’s bridge building:

  1. observation- Paul’s observation led to motivation; he went out to where the people were because he saw contrary gospels and needed to share the Truth. If we look at American spirituality today, it should motivate us to get out into the world and share Truth.
  2. confrontation- When you get out in the world and share the gospel (even gently and lovingly), there is a good possibility for confrontation; people will be offended by the gospel. There may also be people who misunderstand the gospel that we are preaching, which will lead to confrontation.
  3. proclamation- Paul began with doctrines that unite (he looked for common ground) and then he continued with doctrines that divide. If we stop before dividing doctrines, we haven’t delivered Truth. Proclaiming the gospel of Christ will take actually talking about it and delivering it to those around us.
  4. invitation- there will be many reactions to an invitation to know God–> denunciation (rejection), procrastination, and regeneration (acceptance)

In the student service, Pastor Aaron talked about the Good Shepherd from John 10. In this passage Christ calls Himself two things: the door and the shepherd. The door/gate in the passage is the only way in and out of the pen; in order for a sheep to be saved, they must enter through the gate and when the good shepherd calls, they are safe by listening to His voice. We as the sheep are to use our one defense against the thieves…our ears. If we are His sheep, we will know His voice. A sheep will not only know the Shepherd, but the Shepherd knows His sheep as well. This Shepherd lays His life down for His sheep; He loves them and cares for them and He gives them life abundant. In other terms…ONLY by Christ are we saved and ONLY in Him do we have life. If we abide in His Word, He will abide in us and that will satisfy. We must listen to Him with our ears and obey Him with our hearts. Do you know His voice? Are you one of His sheep? Are you listening to any other voices (the voices of the world)?

In college class, Ben continued our series on the discerning Christian by talking about dating. He had 3 points, but unfortunately ended up only getting to expand on two of them due to time:

  1. dating is a means to an end- keep in mind traditional dating is not the only way to marriage, but since it’s the most common way in our “world” that is what we talked about. No relationship should begin without the possible and even probable end of marriage. We can’t keep letting culture influence us more than scripture, even in the area of dating. The is no place in scripture that mentions a romantic relationship outside of marriage; there is friendship, brother/sisters in Christ, and marriage mentioned in the Word. Romantic desires (this is not just physical) should not take full bloom until marriage. We must be guarded in how we express romantic desires and feelings.
  2. who we date is vitally important- God is more interested in us pursuing sanctification than our “one true love.” The person we date should be the type of person we would marry, that will encourage us in our ministry and walk with the Lord. We should be looking for the right type of person we will marry when we are dating. We should be looking for certain qualities in ourselves and others when looking to date biblically; just to name a few:
  • believer- this is foundational; they need to be a follower of the one true God
  • person of Godly character- this implies that you know God’s character as well…look for someone who looks like Christ
  • contentment in Christ- they must not look for their satisfaction in another person, but must be satisfied in Christ alone…He is their only NEED–> this is something I struggled with for a long time; I placed my contentment in circumstance and looked to another person to complete me, make me happy, and satisfy me. Oh how I regret this more than I can express in words. Not only was it miserable for me because a human will always disappoint when it comes to satisfying, but it was miserable for the person I was putting that pressure on; a guy was never meant to fulfill me…only the Lord is the source of joy and I can ALWAYS remain content in Him. I am so thankful that the Lord in His grace showed me how wrong I was and how sinful I had been, so thankful that He brought me to knowing Him as my joy and contentment. This does not mean we won’t/shouldn’t want to be married to the person we are dating and love (or that getting that shouldn’t make us feel happiness), but it does mean that our joy is not found in that person being in our lives or that we can only be content if we end up married to that person.
  • receive confirmation from others- Godly individuals in our lives should approve of the relationship and the person we are interested in. It will be obvious to others if the above qualities are true in the person of interest.
  • companionship- Eve was created for Adam not because he was lonely, but because He was alone and God saw it fit to give Him a helper. We should look for someone who is fit for our future, someone who is a good companion for our lives, someone who will support us in honoring the Lord and doing His will.
        3. we are brothers and sisters in Christ
It’s funny that what was talked about in the services goes with what I had been thinking about this morning. I was thinking about joy and contentment and when I felt the most of it. I feel like joy and contentment pretty much go hand in hand–> if I am really filled with joy, I will be content. When I think about when I to felt the most joy, it seem like it was the moments when I felt most loved…and not very surprisingly, I feel most loved when I am thinking about the Lord and loving Him! What joy that brings! I will never be loved perfectly by anyone other than the Lord and so naturally, He will ALWAYS bring joy and contentment (even apart from circumstance). He will bless me with people in my life that show me love as an extension of Him and out of His grace and kindness to me, but even their care for me will not ever measure up to Christ’s. God is so good to surround me with wonderful friends and family that do show me I am loved and cared for and even more importantly that remind me of God’s love for me…isn’t it cool that God blesses us with people that love us in order for us to see His love better and to remind us of His grace. It’s just so neat that it all goes back to Him! All He gives us causes us to know Him and love Him better! He is the source of all joy and contentment and I need nothing else for complete satisfaction, contentment, and joy! I really don’t know if all that came out in a way that made sense, but I hope it kinda did!
Headed to the church to watch kids during summer series and then going to Outback with friends to celebrate Carrie and Corey’s engagement! 🙂

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