I hope you can find pieces of my messages on Sunday to take home and use to grow in your spiritual walk during your week. I’m glad you are reading, and I look forward to hearing from you! -Tim
On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat…but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. Over time, it became a famous place.
Some of those who had been saved as well as others along the seacoast wanted to become associated with this little station. They were willing to give their time and energy and money in support of its objectives. New boats were purchased. New crews were trained. The station, that was once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant, began to grow. Some of its members were unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided. Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture. Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded and sophisticated systems were installed. The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, systems, and appointments. By its completion, the life-saving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift. It was now used as sort of a clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings. Saving lives, feeding the hungry, strengthening the fearful, and calming the disturbed rarely occurred by now.
Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work. The original goal of the station wasn’t altogether forgotten, however. The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club’s decorations. In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely. Others were ‘different’ from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. A special committee saw to it that a makeshift shower was immediately built outside and away from the club so victims of the shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next club meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members. Most of the people wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims…[“it’s too unpleasant, it’s a hindrance to our social life, it’s opening the door to folks who are not our kind”]. As you’d expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective—that their only reason for existence was serving anyone needing help regardless of their club’s beauty or size or decorations. They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast! They did.
As the years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes. It evolved into another club…and yet another lifesaving station was begun. History continued to repeat itself…and if you visit that coast today you’ll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.
Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now, most of the victims are not saved. Everyday they drown at sea, and so few seem to care…so very few.
According to “Theopedia”, online evangelical encyclopedia of biblical Christianity, “The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to His will. His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted; nothing takes Him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, always and without exception.”
This story comes from Mark Batterson’s book, “All In” that I mentioned in my message:
“About 100 years ago two missionary couples left Sweden to minister in the Congo in Africa, the Floods and the Ericksons.
They hacked their way through the jungle to a particular village and began their mission to introduce the villagers to Jesus. During the first year they saw no fruit of their efforts. The tribal people were afraid of offending their tribal gods if they accepted the gospel. The only noticeable inroad was that Seva Flood was able to share Jesus’ love to a five-year old boy who delivered eggs to their back door every day.
Seva became pregnant and gave birth to a girl, Anna, but Seva died 17 days later from malaria. Her husband made a wooden casket for his 27-year old wife, buried her, gave the baby to the other missionary couple and returned home full of bitterness and anger. He spent the next 50 years broken hearted, an alcoholic and never mentioned God again.
The other missionary couple raised the little girl, until they both died a couple of years later after the villagers poisoned them. Anna was given to an American missionary couple that returned to the states and raised her in South Dakota.
Anna eventually graduated from a bible college in Minneapolis and married Dewey Hurst. He became a pastor and eventually a college president. On their 25th wedding anniversary they traveled to Sweden hoping that Anna could find her father who had abandoned her 50 years earlier. They found him in a ram-shackled apartment building on his deathbed, dying of liver failure. They reconciled, but sadly, Anna’s father died the next day.
Now for the rest of the story…Five years later Anna and Dewey traveled to a Denominational conference in London, England. 10,000 delegates were in attendance. On the opening night the man who spoke who was the Denominational leader from Zaire, Africa. In his message, he mentioned the region of the Congo that he had grown up in and it was the same area where Anna’s parents had lived, and where she was born. After the service, Anna spoke to the Denominational leader and found out that he was from the same village she had been born! She asked if he remembered some missionaries by the name of Flood. He said he did. And then said that he was five years old and delivered eggs every day to their back door. He then said that he had accepted Jesus shortly before Mrs. Flood had died and had always wondered what had happened to their baby!
The two embraced. He then said that just a few months earlier he had placed flowers on her mom’s grave on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of believers in Africa who had come to faith because of her parent’s efforts 55 years earlier!”
When it comes to the sovereignty of God, take the ‘long view’ of life and submit your plans to His! I will guarantee you that in the end, you will see that God is both sovereign and good!
For the full version of the sermon, go to Riveroaks.org/message.php and go to “Invasion” series.
Here is the “mom’s version” of 1 Corinthians 13 that I used in my message today. Enjoy!
I can read bedtime stories till the cow jumps over the moon and sing “Ten Little Monkeys” until I want to call the doctor…but if I don’t have love, I’m as annoying as a ringing phone.
I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and listening to voice mail. I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the neighborhood and I can tell a sick child’s temperature with one touch of my finger…but if I don’t have love, I am nothing.
Love is patient while watching and praying by the front window when it’s 30 minutes past curfew.
Love is kind when my teen says, “I hate you!”
Love does not envy the neighbors’ swimming pool or their brand-new minivan, but trusts the Lord to provide my every need.
Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and insecurities, and love rejoices when other families succeed.
Love doesn’t boast, even when I’ve multi-tasked all day long and my husband can’t do more than one thing at a time.
Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks, “What have you done today?”
Love does not immediately seek after glory when we see talent in our children, but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.
Love is not easily angered, even when my 15-year-old acts like the world revolves around her.
Love is not self-righteous when I remind my 17-year-old that he’s going 83 in a 55-mph zone, but rejoices in the truth.
Love does not give up hope.
Love always protects our children’s self-esteem and spirit, even while doling out discipline.
Love always trusts God to protect our children when we cannot.
Love always perseveres, through blue nail polish, burps and other bodily functions, rolled eyes and crossed arms, messy rooms and sleepovers.
Love never fails.
But where there are memories of thousands of diaper changes and painful labor, they will fade away.
Where there is talking back, it will (eventually) cease.
Where there is a teenager who thinks she knows everything, there will one day be an adult who knows you did your best.
For we know we fail our children, and we pray they don’t end up in therapy, but when we get to heaven, our imperfect parenting will disappear. (Thank you, God!)
When we were children, we needed a parent to love and protect us.
Now that we’re parents ourselves, we have a heavenly Father who adores, shelters us and holds us when we need to cry. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE!! –Author Unknown
Here are some verses on encouragement that I used in my message today. May you be an encouragement to everyone you interact with this week. Remember, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle and could use a little encouragement!
Ephesians 4:29, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
1 Corinthians 16:17-18, “I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you.”
Romans 15:32, “Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.”
Romans 15:5-6, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.”
Acts 4:36-37, “For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”
1 Peter 5:12, “My purpose in writing is to encourage you.”
Hebrews 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11,”So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
1 Thessalonians 4:18, “So encourage each other with these words.”
2 Corinthians 13:11, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Hebrews 3:13-14, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Romans 12:8, “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.”
This last one is a sad statement written by Jeremiah, the Prophet. Lamentations 1:16, “For all these things I weep; tears flow down my cheeks. No one is here to comfort me; any who might encourage me are far away.” Is there anyone that you know that this may be true of? I urge you reach out and encourage them!
This is the poem I read to begin the series “No Regrets”. It was written by a monk in a monastery in Nebraska. I hope this helps focus you on a ‘no regrets’ life.
If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I know of very few things I would take seriously.
I would take more trips. I would be crazier.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.
I would do more walking and looking.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles, and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives life sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute.
If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hookey more.
I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident.
I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.
I’d pick more daisies.
- You shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not give false testimony.
- You shall not covet.
My challenge is for you to post the 10 Commandments in your home, memorize them and obey them!
Here is a link to the book I mentioned in my message on prayer entitled, “Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels. This book will help you slow down so you can pray, listen to God, respond to what you hear and overcome barriers to prayer. I highly recommend it.
Sermon audio from yesterday’s service is online! Yesterday’s topic covered the end times. Many people have asked about the music in Yesterday’s service. Check out Scott Allen’s blog to read a little bit about our worship package! To read a bit more about the message, check out Connecting Point on the Adult Ministries blog, or you can listen to the sermon audio here:
Last Sunday I finished a two part message on why there is so much pain, suffering and evil in this world. To read about the conclusion of this topic, check out Connecting Point on the Adult Ministries blog, or you can listen to the sermon audio here: