This Sunday was Deacon Nomination Sunday, so we took a break from our “Pearls of Wisdom” study to look at the office of deacon. The office originated as a way for the early church to heal a growing division; today, deacons can help heal local bodies by being willing to serve, exercising their gifts, and being men of godly character. But, when we look at it further, we see that these requirements are no different than the expectations God has placed on every believer.
Wisdom calls to us publicly, and failing to heed the call of wisdom is a foolish decision which causes us to risk judgment while missing the blessings of God. We should heed Solomon’s warning to not wait until it is too late to walk in wisdom’s path.
Mankind, throughout time, has sought to live the “good life,” a meaningful life free from cares and struggles. Today, as we begin the series “Pearls of Wisdom,” we look at Solomon’s opening words in the book of Proverbs. These words remind us of our need for wisdom, our need for learning, and our need to revere the God Who is the source of all wisdom and knowledge.
As Paul wrapped up his letter to the church at Philippi, he shared his heart with these believers who had meant so much to him in his ministry. The themes of gratitude, the true meaning of their gifts to him, and the grace of God are equally desirable for us, as we strive to be a church as uncommon as the one in Philippi.
The church at Philippi had wanted to help Paul with his ministry for a long time, and as Paul was writing this letter, he had received help from them again after some time had passed. In thanking them, he explains how he has learned that his contentment does not come from his circumstances. True contentment is only found as we depend on God, trusting that He knows what we need.
As we take an in-depth look at the Lord’s Supper, we find that it requires several different looks from us, both in preparation and response. Not only do we remember Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we must ensure we are right with Him, we can look forward to His return, and we are inspired to share the good news of His sacrificial love with the world around us.
What we think about and who we emulate are important decisions, and choices we should make intentionally. Paul gives the church at Philippi a list of the types of things with which they should fill their minds, then tells them to live out their faith the way they have seen him live. These are wise words for our church as well.
Paul encouraged the church at Philippi to rejoice in the Lord at all times, to reflect Him in their lives, and to trust Him for their needs. Paul describes the peace that they will experience as a peace that defies understanding. Today, we too can walk in this peace, as we joyfully yield to and trust Jesus.
Fourteen years ago, Paul Barnard planted a church in Magee, Mississippi, with the goal of reaching the lost. By taking opportunities most “church people” would not take, Overflow Church has grown to 800 people, using no marketing, advertising, or gimmicks. He is now the director of the 242 Network, which screens, trains, and walks beside church planters to help them reach the lost, rather than simply attracting dissatisfied churchgoers from existing churches. He challenged us to do the same in our community, winning souls not by inviting them to church, but by forming relationships that allow us to share our faith.
Claren Dease, along with her husband Lyle, served in Uruguay for over twenty years. Over that time, God used them to plant churches, sharing His love with the people there, and many of their church plants are now continuing the work themselves. They recently came back to the United States, but are excited about the new ways that the “next generation” is continuing to spread the gospel around the world.