Aaron Summers

Peril of Pragmatism

In Gospel Living on June 9, 2016 at 7:00 am

Obedience_small

I have a scar on my knee from a bike wreck years ago.  I was attempting the “longest skid ever” on my bike on the gravel road on which we lived.  I had successfully skidded 10’ and then 15’.  I wanted 20’.  I came racing down the hill as fast as I could go.  As I reached the best spot to slam on the breaks I hit a hot the wrong way and I was separated from the bike and my knee skidded through the rock and gravel several feet.  My mom told me to leave it alone after she washed it and it began to scab over.

I didn’t.

I picked at the scab when it began to itch.  The healing process was extended and now I have a scar.  Because I disobeyed mom and thought I knew better, I have a constant reminder that strict obedience is my best option.

So it is with God.

In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul is given specific orders on what to do with the Amalekites.  He was to completely defeat them and bring nothing home.  He brought home sheep and goats because he wanted to “make sacrifices to God of praise”.

That’s not what he was told to do.

From the rest of the chapter we discover that:

  1. Partial obedience is complete disobedience.
  2. Making sense to me is not what counts.
  3. Looking good for others is not the same as looking good to God.

We are broken because of sin and seek to live as we want, we see best, or to make ourselves look good.  All around us we find well-meaning people choosing partial obedience or rationalizing their behavior.

  • This child is inconvenient so I will take the “morning after pill”.
  • I don’t want this child so abortion is the only “rational” choice.
  • I have male parts, but identify as a female, so I will be a girl now.
  • If we love each other what difference does it make if we are a same-sex couple?
  • It’s just sex.
  • Living together just makes sense, because we need to see if this will work.
  • Show me where the Bible says I CAN’T do….
  • I go to church, what more does God want?

Many of these ideas have been in the news recently and, quite possibly, are in your family right now.  Our world is broken. We need someone to fix it.  In our minds we believe we can fix what is wrong, but we can’t.  The only one who can repair the damage is Jesus.

I once had a leaky faucet and need to repair the problem.  Being cheap, I attempted to fix it the “best way I could”.  Though I was told how to do it properly, I felt it cost too much and I could figure out a better way.  After several attempts to do it the way I thought was best it still leaked.  When I did it the way the expert told me to, it worked.  Not only did I end up spending the extra money, but I also wasted the time, effort, and expense of trying it my way first.

What happened to Saul is sad, but we live this today.  How long before we just accept what scripture teaches?

Seeing Potential

In Chrisian Life on June 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

Master 4c logo

About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.

In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?

Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.

If you are doing Lifeway’s VBS, then you are SUBMERGED this Summer!  Here are a few quick thoughts for us as adults who work or who support those who work during VBS.  In each of the 5 stories this year a common thread is sight:  what the people saw vs. what Jesus saw.

People saw…

  • Zacchaeus – thief
  • Woman at the Well – immoral
  • Nicodemus – seeker
  • Blind Man – disabled
  • Children – distractions

Jesus saw what they could be not what they were.

  • Zacchaeus – potential to be saved
  • Woman at the Well – potential to be saved
  • Nicodemus – potential to be saved
  • Blind Man – potential to be saved
  • Children – potential to be saved

Every time people would see their past, Jesus would see their potential.

Jesus SAW them.  Do we SEE them?

Does God Write Hot Checks?

In Faithfulness on June 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

bad-checks

Have you ever received the notification that you had insufficient funds?  What a horrible feeling!  Your stomach ties up in knots, you have immediate anxiety over what else will bounce and how much the total charges are going to be.  If we’re honest, we have all probably had this happen.  When the bank has it happen that is even worse.  Can you imagine if you went to cash a check from a bank and it wouldn’t go through?  Can you imagine if you went to your bank and found it closed and unable to transact your business?  The trust you would have had in the bank would be torched.  You would want to change banks.

Or maybe it was just a holiday and the sign had fallen down from the drive-thru window.  Maybe you had misunderstood the reason.

Or maybe you just think another bank could do this better with better fees and benefits.  They have a better online system.

As we approach 1 Samuel 8, the people are having similar thoughts about God as we see about our banks!

  • The Insufficiency of God. (1-9)
  • The Insecurities with God. (10-18)
  • The Irreplaceable Image of God. (19-22)

Ask yourself the questions:

  • What should they have done differently?
  • What should I do differently?
  • What would that look like in real life right now?

What is God desiring from us as we hear this lesson?  I think a key word is contentment.  Israel was on the rise.  The cycle of oppression seems to have shifted toward independence.  Samuel is the prophet, rather than judge, and is leading the people from a spirit-political position.  They are a theocracy.  God speaks through his chosen man and Israel’s elders hear and pass the message and obedience is called for by the people.  Now that Israel is on the rise in the region, they begin to get discontent with this situation.  I hear my teenager voice arriving, “everyone else has a king.…”

The desire to keep up with everyone else is a distinct issue in America.  Every child grows up wanting more, bigger, faster whatever.  As adults we do the same thing.  The car payment is almost over so we trade for the new one.  The credit cards are almost paid down, so what can be the next purchase.  Our house is not what it used to be so let’s get a new one.  We ALL do this.  We are ALL susceptible to this insidious trick the of the Devil.

  • We feel that what God is offering is no longer sufficient and need to find what is.
  • We feel that God is not giving us the security (absence of all bad or uncomfortable issues) so we change.
  • We feel that God’s call on us is too much to ask and we shirk away.

All the while, if we would learn to just relax and BE with God, we would find the perfect peace we long for even when we cannot come up with the words to describe what we want.

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