“May you come to see that the song is written on your heart. And as you live in tune with the song, in tune with the Creator of the universe, may you realize that you are in relationship with the living God.”—@RealRobBell: NOOMA 011 Rhythm
“It was really hard. Honestly looking back now if I had known how difficult it was going to be, I don’t know if I would have done it. I’m thankful for God’s grace that He doesn’t always reveal what will come before us. So we went through a lot, but it has been great learning how to obey.”—
“When people see the beauty of God’s grace in Christ, it leads the powerfully toward justice.”—Dr. Timothy Keller: founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and bestselling author of The Reason for God.
Godly counsel from a trusted, younger subordinate is often a bigger pain in the butt.
It is natural to look to those who are older for wisdom and accountability. But we must not resist humbling ourselves to accept the same kind of severe blessing from those younger, for the Spirit of the Living God resides in them too.
Radical's definitely a challenging book. A "radical" book, of course. I loved reading it and without a doubt believe that David Platt has a heart for God and His people. I know his service is not obligatory, but the way he wrote of the issue made it seem so (to me, anyway). Nonetheless, I loved the book and encourage others to read it.
I agree. The cross of Christ and our salvation from it should spawn in our hearts a sense of indebtedness. Because Jesus died for me I should feel compelled to serve Him and be willing to die for Him. He does not hold me to this as a slave, but rather invites me in love to walk with him in a relationship that He began on the cross. A relationship of love and hope that we invite the world to be a part of.
This is the transcript from my message this Sunday in PowerSource. This is generally how I plan out the majority of my messages. Thought I’d post it. Enjoy.
Good morning PowerSource and a merry Christmas to you all. It’s after Thanksgiving now so I feel like I can officially say that to you. You know some people like to decorate for Christmas or start playing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving is even over. You know I bet Thanksgiving feels like the neglected holiday. It’s like, Thanksgiving is sort of a big deal… but really we all just want to get to Christmas…
Anyway, welcome. If this is your first time here, thanks so much for hanging out with us this morning. We’d like to invite you to stop back by our new student table for a free gift at the end of our services today, just as a little thank you from us to you for being here this morning.
So, as I’m sure you can tell, the Christmas season is in full swing and we’re beginning a new series this morning called “What’s In A Name?” Because the Christmas season often gets confused. See many of us say that it’s about Jesus birth, but we don’t really act like it. We say that the Christmas season is all about Him about celebrating Jesus birth, but really Jesus doesn’t get as much of our mind space when we see those presents under the tree or when we start making our Christmas lists.
See I think Christmas can be one of the most beautiful celebrations of the year as we come together to worship the birth of our Savior, but Christmas can also be the most dangerous time of the year. It can be the most dangerous because we have this sin nature that wants to put our selfish desires above the worship of Jesus.
So this year we decided to look closer and who this little baby Jesus is by asking the question “What’s in a name?” Who was He prophesied to be? We’re going to look in our Bibles, I hope your brought yours and I hope you read yours daily because you say you believe everything in this book and if you don’t know what’s in here, but say you believe it you’re living a lie. We know that Jesus wasn’t about lies He was and is truth so let’s make sure we know the type of things He asks us to live out. Let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6.
Isaiah is a book in the old testament. It’s a book of prophecy. See Isaiah was a prophet from God, that means God gave him a message to tell to the people about something that was going to happen in the future. In chapter 9 verse 6 Isaiah gives us some names describing the Messiah that was going to be born as a little baby. We’re going to look at one of these names every week for the next couple of weeks so we can hopefully get a better idea of who Jesus is.
Let’s stand together out of respect for God’s Word as we read:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Let’s pray. - pray - You may be seated.
When you hear the word “counselor” what do you think of? Some of us may think of a guidance counselor at school or a doctor. Some other words for counselor are: consultant, guide, mentor, expert, specialist. We kind of understand all those things, but see for the Jews who were first hearing this prophecy the word counselor meant something more than that.
The word counselor was sometimes used in reference to military plans, referring to someone like a strategist. So here we get this picture of a master strategist. Of someone who can storm any obstacle to get the job done or to reach the objective. It may help to think of board games like Risk, Battleship, or Monopoly where you have to have a strategy in order defeat your opponent. Or for those of you who have played paintball with us before you know it requires strategy to move forward and capture the flag without being shot. Some of you may need to work a little bit more on your strategy…
But anyway, the point is, to those who were first hearing that the coming Messiah would be a Wonderful Counselor it meant that he would know what was going. He would have a plan in order to overcome the obstacles of the world. He would be one worthy of following. He would be a protector and a guide for the people.
Counselor also referred to God and to His infinite knowledge and understanding. Think about the smartest person you know. God’s smarter than them. If they don’t realize that then they may be one of the most not smart people you know.
When I was in high school there was this girl in our school, she graduated valedictorian. She was absolutely one of the smartest people I have ever known. And you know how sometimes people can be book smart, but don’t have any common sense? As in they could recite Pi but couldn’t put their shoes on the correct feet in the morning… well she wasn’t like that. She had a love for knowledge, a love for people, and a love for God. God’s smarter than her. And she knew it.
Then I got to thinking, have you ever played with a 20 Questions Ball? The premise is you think of a one word something and the ball asks you 20 questions with your simple responses being Unknown, No, Yes, or Sometimes - and it guesses your one word something. I remember the first time I saw one of these I played with it for probably 30 minutes straight trying to fool it. I mean this little game is smart. I think my wife, Kristin outsmarted it one time with the word “stage”. You know what… God is smarter than a 20 Questions ball.
The word counselor meant that the coming Messiah wouldn’t just flip a coin to decide the fate of the people of Israel. This coming Messiah was very wise. He had book smarts and common sense
Put together “Wonderful Counselor” is used 81 different times in the Old Testament, each time it refers to the wonderful things that God had done for the people of Israel. The people knew that this “Wonderful Counselor” would have a plan for their lives. They knew that He could protect them. Thy knew He was wise. They knew they could trust Him. So whenever they heard that his baby was going to be born with all of those attributes they had something to get really excited about!
So what about you? Who is this Wonderful Counselor in your life? We know that He has a plan for our lives: Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know they plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has a plan for us. He’s is our Wonderful Counselor. He will not lead us blindly.
God knows what is best for us. In the second half of verse 8 in Matthew 6, where Jesus is teaching us about prayer, He says that, “… your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” He knows what we need. Notice I didn’t say what we want… He knows what we want, but sometimes what we want is not what’s best for us.
Maybe the best thing about God being our Wonderful Counselor is that we know we can trust Him. Whenever we have troubles or problems in our lives we sometimes seek counsel. We may go and talk to one of our friends, or our parents or a teacher or pastor. Sometimes we even google our problems to see what others have done going through the same thing. You know the only true counsel we can ever find is counsel from God. That doesn’t mean to ignore wise counsel from others. God has placed others wiser than us in our lives to help us. Sometimes He even speaks through them.
The truth stands that the one we go to whenever we most need counsel should be God. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We can find rest in Jesus. He is the guidance we need. He is the counsel we seek.
So let’s recap here:
This baby Jesus that has come to earth. Has a plan for our lives, knows what’s best for us, and we can trust him with everything.
Why would we want anything else?
IMAGINE IF WE:
Imagine if we put Jesus at the top of our Christmas lists? What if we stopped trying to find fulfillment in the newest and coolest things and instead found fulfillment in Christ? What if we stopped trying to make our own plans and trusted that God knows what’s best for us and followed His plans?
Imagine what it would look like if we loved Jesus more than all of our stuff? Because we don’t.
At least from the outside looking in during this time of year Jesus seems to be about as high on our priority list as a light up inflatable in the front yard or a “Reason for the Season” banner to make sure we’re covered.
Do our lives look like we worship the “Wonderful Counselor” or do they look like we worship the newest “it” thing?
Imagine what it would look like if we made the conscious decision to lift up Jesus as our Wonderful Counselor, the greatest gift of all, to the world around us this Christmas season.
You rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you.
Have you ever seen someone pull a photo out of their wallet and argue about the supremacy of this particular loved one? Of course not. They show you the picture and give you the opportunity to see what they see.
Father, teach me from Your word. Speak truth into my heart. Help me to follow You more.
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
(John 4:46-54 ESV)
Write. Official: “Sir, come before my child dies.” Jesus: “Go; your son will live.”
Imagine the faith it takes in that moment to go. This man is desperate for his son to be healed. He’s looking for divine intervention and he goes to Jesus. Jesus the miracle worker. Jesus the healer. Jesus the one who all are speaking of. He goes and finds Jesus and asks him to come with him to his sick and dying son to heal him.
First it seems like Jesus blows him off. As if he’s testing him. Jesus: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
Then after seeing the faith of the official, he simply says, “Go your son will live.”
Can you imagine the faith to walk away? This official has been tracking down Jesus to get him to come and heal his son and in that moment the one who all hope rests in says, “Go…” giving only a simple sentence of hope to the official.
The official goes. And the boy lives.
Could you have walked away? Would a sentence have been enough? Do we trust Jesus enough when he gives us just sentence to go on? How much faith do we really have? What are the things Jesus is giving us one-liners about asking us to “Go” and trust him to do the work that we are too scared to believe him in?
Do. Step out in faith. What is Jesus asking you to do? What is the thing he’s not giving you a lot on but you know you need to just do it? What is the thing you’re afraid to do for God? Stop making excuses. Start following Jesus.
Be Awesome. Trusting Jesus = Being Awesome. Trusting Jesus = Hard choices. Trusting Jesus = Stepping out in faith. Trusting Jesus = ______________________