Woo hoo! We've gone a few weeks now without any snow! It seems like Spring has finally arrived! What a gift! It's Wednesday, I'm working on my sermon, and you know what that means!?! Sunday is coming, and we get to gather together and worship the Living God together! Can't wait to see you all!
I want to continue in this series on the Strategic Plan by talking through the Discipleship Pyramid, which outlines biblical principles for discipleship. This week we look at what our authority is in Discipleship. We need to talk about authority in discipleship, because we all make our decisions and live our lives based on some kind of authority. For Christians, as we learn to change to be like Jesus, our authority in discipleship is the Bible. Below is a description of what it means that the Bible is our authority and that it is sufficient.
Authority: The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
The authority and sufficiency of scripture lies beneath all disciple-making. When we say that the Bible has authority in all of life, we are saying that the last word always goes to the word of God. We must never allow the teachings of science, of human experience, or of church councils to take precedence over scripture. This conviction is rooted in the example, teaching and resurrection of Jesus. This does not mean that we are perfect interpreters or that church councils and the study of the world around us have nothing to teach us. It simply means that in discipleship and evangelism, the scriptures have the final word in everything.
The Bible is also sufficient. What we mean when we say this is that the Scriptures contain everything that we need to understand the gospel and to live accordingly. Even in twenty-first century American culture, the Bible is sufficient and relevant to address all of life’s circumstances (2 Peter 1:3) and makes us competent and “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
How this practically plays out is that we want to help one another know how to know what the Bible teaches, and help one another live it out in every aspect of our lives.
Are you regularly reading your Bible? If not, I recommend reading a chapter of Proverbs a day, while we are in Proverbs series. The beginning of the month is a great time to start. Start today on Chapter 2, then read 3 tomorrow, and so on until the end of the month. Then start over!
(Source: As You Go Discipleship Paper, p. 4)
The fear of the LORD leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.
When we began the building project for FCC a few years ago, I was confronted with a life dominating fear. The fear of failure. I didn't know that this was a life dominating fear until being helped by a counselor and friends. I started to realize that for most of my life I have lived with this life dominating fear. The fear of failure was the reason I was successful in certain areas of life, why I avoided good opportunities that I didn't think I could succeed at, why I lost sleep and experienced anxiety quite often. I also realized that if I didn't get a handle on this fear, I could damage my family, because I would be driven to not fail at pastoring, which would take a toll on my family and health.
Maybe you're not dominated by the fear of failure. Maybe you live more with the fear of rejection or abandonment? But we all have to live by some kind of fear. The goal is not to try and be fearless, but to replace our destructive fears with the one true and life giving fear: The Fear of the Lord.
We are made to live by the Fear of the Lord. When the Bible talks about fearing the Lord, it is getting at awe over who God is and what he has done. We are made to live with a sense of the greatness, power, mystery, goodness, purity and grandeur of God. He is God!
There is also a sense, in which to live by the fear of the Lord, is to be afraid of dishonoring or grieving him. I once had the opportunity to host one of my living heroes. I was able to pick him up at the airport, bring him to dinner and escort him from his hotel to meetings. Because I was in the presence of someone great, I wanted everything to be right. I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure that I honored him. This is what it’s like to fear the Lord. He is the greatest, he is awesome, and we don't want to do anything to dishonor him.
How do we get that fear? Ironically, we get that fear by experiencing forgiveness. Psalm 130.4 says, “But with you (God), there is forgiveness of sins, so you are feared.” Isn't that amazing? We tend to fear disappointed people who are unforgiving. But not so with God! We fear the Lord, because his forgiveness reveals his great steadfast and faithful love for us. When we taste grace and forgiveness, our fears begin to change. Instead of our worst fear being failure or rejection by someone, we fear dishonoring so great a God, who forgives us at great cost to himself. Because to forgive us, his Son became like one of us. He lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died. Jesus got what we deserve so that we get what Jesus has earned and deserves.
As we continue to learn from the book of Proverbs, we will learn how to gain wisdom. We will learn from Proverbs 3.1-12. Just a hint—the way to gain wisdom is first and foremost keeping the truth of God's steadfast love and faithfulness always on our hearts!
In the current sermon series, Proverbs: Seeking Extraordinary Wisdom, we’re talking about wisdom: what it is, how we can get it and what it looks like to live a wise life in the world today. We have a resource available in the café area to go along with the sermon series: “God's Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs,” by Timothy Keller. This is a hardcover book and available for purchase for $14.
A part of the vision at Faith Community Church is to see Christ empowering global missional leaders. One way we live that out is by partnering with a network of churches in the St. Croix Valley called The St. Croix Valley LEAD Team to extend our disciple-making convictions locally and globally.
The LEAD Team churches, which include The Bridge in Somerset, Faith Community Church in New Richmond, The Village in Baldwin, The River in River Falls and Torrent in Prescott
will gather on Sunday, June 24 at 4 p.m. at Lakefront Park in Hudson for Vision for the Valley 2018. We will celebrate what has transpired through our shared mission in recent years, cast vision for what the future could hold and share a meal.
Stay tuned for more details, including a magazine coming out in May. Learn more through this brief video shared during the services last Sunday.
Part of our vision at Faith Community is to see Christ renewing neighborhoods and the valley. One way we live that out is through FaithWorks, a week we set aside each year with an intensive focus on short-term missions across the St. Croix Valley. Volunteers work together on everything from painting, yard work and home maintenance projects. FaithWorks is scheduled for the third week of June, from June 18 to 22. You can sign up for part of a day or evening, a full-day, several days or the entire week. There are opportunities to serve as laborers, on the food team, as nursery workers, on the prayer/evangelism team, and as administrative assistants.
FaithWorks is also a great opportunity for Missional Communities to serve their neighbors by working together on a project right in their neighborhood. If you’d like to nominate a project, please just go online to fcchudson.com and complete the online form.
Find more information on FaithWorks, please visit fcchudson.com and click on REGISTRATIONS to:
AND here’s a tip when completing the online registration form: Please be sure to click the “Continue Registration” button. You will receive an email confirming that your registration is complete. If you do not receive an email, it’s possible your registration wasn’t processed completely. If you need more help with this, please call the FCC Office. Thank you!
Thank you for your participation in the Faith Forum held last Sunday night on “The Gospel and Human Trafficking.” Our speaker shared many facts on the subject, including a statistic that places the Twin Cities as one of the top centers of human trafficking in the nation. Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., is hosting the Stop the Trafficking 5K Walk/Run for Justice on Saturday, June 9, to help raise awareness about human trafficking. The event will take place at Purgatory Creek Park, 13001 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. To learn more about the event, please visit https://www.stopthetraffickingrun.org