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When you walk in the Light of the world you will shine
Implications of Jesus as the Light:
Is waiting agony for you? For most of my life it has been torture for me. Last Sunday, the sermon shed some light on why being left hanging has been so hard in the past: the way I was handling waiting was all wrong and I was sabotaging God’s solutions.
In the last few weeks God has been specifically teaching me about this area of waiting. The topic of the sermon was waiting and what Pastor Jason had to say lined up perfectly with what God had already been teaching me. I love it when God’s Spirit arranges for confirmation!
So what was it in this weeks sermon that was so helpful?
First of all, while waiting we need to embrace our vulnerability. In the past I have been ashamed to admit my areas of vulnerability; but I recently experienced the difference being humble and honest can make.
Last week we had a truck incident. The dash display died, the engine light came on and it would not shift into reverse or park. We took it in to find out what was wrong and what it would cost to fix it. I don’t know how you respond when your vehicle breaks down but this is not a situation where I normally shine. It’s frustrating to have an unexpected bill thrust upon me and I do not handle it well.
This particular bill was $1500 just for parts with labour on top of that. Yikes!
In the past I freaked out about car repairs because I was never prepared for them. I would whine to God about why He would allow our car to need repairs when He knew I would have to get the money out of the line of credit. I was managing my life unreasonably, hoping nothing would happen instead of planning for the chance that it might. I think my coping technique of denial was a rather poor choice. I was denying that it was my weakness of not planning ahead that had me in such a pickle.
God convicted me about half a year ago of this very fact. Since then we have been paying into a vehicle fix fund each month. So this time, when my display went kaput, I was not as stressed as I usually am because I had saved some money to have it fixed.
I had faced my weakness and allowed God to correct it.
However, I am sad to say that this time, at the mention of $1500 I still freaked out. That is a huge amount of money – way more than was in the vehicle-fix fund. It was then that I applied Point #2 from the sermon: Search for God.
In the past, when something bad happened, my habit was to whine to God. (I probably don’t have to tell you that whining is really ineffective when it comes to finding solutions to problems.) This time, I stopped the fit of questioning fear and evil foreboding. I gave the problem to God and then waited for Him to come through.
It is pure agony if we wait in a state of anxiety, imagining all kind of horrendous things that might happen. I had to admit that my own weakness of responding in this manner was not making waiting a good time for me. The problem has never been that God was taking too long to answer – the problem was me. I seem to be saying that a lot lately! So I admitted to God that I was having a problem with worry, fear and hopelessness when it comes to owing huge amounts of money to fix my truck. Admitting my vulnerability again.
Why did I respond automatically with fear and anxiety when faced with a problem? I was obviously having trouble trusting God or I would have been experiencing His peace.
It says in James that when we ask God for wisdom we should not doubt or we will not receive from God. Could my doubt not only be causing misery while waiting but also preventing me from receiving God’s answer? In the past, when it seemed like God didn’t come through, those were all times when I was doubting that He could or would help me.
God was not silent just for the heck of it. My doubt was preventing me from hearing His answer.
Again the problem was me!
This time I examined myself. Why do I feel like God will not answer me? Why do I fear the answer and feel like God has awful things in store for me? I am not expecting God to do good things just to do things that will “develop my character” and that I will barely make it through. (Wow, writing that down really shows how silly a thought that is.)
Search for God. I realized I had not been finding or trusting the true God. The God I was serving was not like the God described in the Bible. Where did I get such a negative view of God? Satan had whispered a load of lies into my ear and I had bought them – hook, line and sinker. If you think God is out to get you than waiting certainly is not a happy place to be. So again, the problem is me and my wrong view of God.
But the solution is easy – search for the real God and get reacquainted. Getting to know the real God blew my fear and anxiety out of the water and then, with faith, I was able to ask for wisdom – and God answered!
I gave God my truck and control of the whole situation. I renounced fear that I might be disappointed and decided to try faith for a change. I did not spend hordes of energy trying to figure it all out first so I could let God know how to fix it. In the past my bossiness would often lead to disappointment when God did not fix it the way I wanted Him to. I put the Creator of the universe in a box I created with my limited brain – not my most shining moment!
From now on I don’t want to limit Him at all, which is why I give Him total control of the truck situation. My job is to joyfully trust God to sort my life out and to do what He tells me. I don’t need to feel shame that I can’t fix it because my need just sends me to God who is the strong one anyway.
That way God gets the glory. Which is how it should be.
I searched for God and when I found the right, true One I trusted that He was working on the situation and that He would work His plans for good. Being free from anxiety and fear made waiting so much more fun! In fact, waiting was not even an issue because the outcome was not something to fear but something to look forward to.
So what was God’s answer? How did God help us with our truck? It is a good thing I did not try to figure it out because vehicles are really out of my realm. God gave the answer to my husband, who was able to order a used part on-line and put it in himself. We were able to cover it with the money we had saved so far in the vehicle repair fund. God is good! Trusting instead of worrying while waiting really is better for our stress levels! God meets our needs! No wonder Satan has been lying to me for so long. He is the thief who comes to steal and destroy. Jesus came that I might have life and have it to the full!!
Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years. You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.
by contributing writer Kristen Webb
Joshua had to face Giants but the giants I face have fur. I am addicted to selling and buying horses.
I am not sure why it gives me such a rush but I love doing it. It started because I have a very limited budget and very high expectations of what I want in a horse. Now, looking back, I can see why I struggled so long without victory. Basically, even though I prayed about it, I never really believed God could answer. My prayers were more of a fierce desperate wishing followed by worry and scheming. I still felt like it was a huge long shot that I would ever find the horse I was looking for. Joshua acted in faith, listened to God’s voice, lived in partnership with God, and prayed with imagination. I did the complete opposite.
I was not kidding when I said this was a long road of mistakes. The first horse I bought was pretty but very stubborn so I sold him and tried to get another horse that was closer to my wishlist. But each horse I would get, after a little while, I would think that if I sold them I could trade up for something better. I did this in a frenzied fashion. I would look on kijiji and find something that was amazing that I just had to have. However I had to sell the horse I had first. I would list my horse and then wait – not very patiently – for it to sell. I would worry that the horse I had seen and wanted and really believed was the only horse for me would sell before my horse sold.
The horse I bought last year was the worst mistake of them all. She was more money than any of the others and she was only a one-year-old. She had a problem with bucking when you got on – like you were in a rodeo. I need a safe horse because I have already fallen on my head too many times and I can’t fall off again. This horse was my worst nightmare and the people I bought it from would not take it back. In the end I had to pretty much give it away.
At this point I recognized that I had a problem. I really wanted to stop the cycle and just find a horse that was safe and that I could keep for a long time. I prayed about this and for the first time I really gave it to God and stopped worrying and stressing about it. God did not have much to work with because I had no money left for my next horse as I had lost it all on the nightmare. God, being all powerful and all knowing, was not stressed by my request for a horse. In fact I think He was very relieved that I was finally giving it to Him. He started working on pulling the strings to bring me the right horse for me despite of myself.
There was a horse that I was boarding for someone who wanted their horse to be shipped out to her in BC at the end of summer. She was an older white mare and did not catch my attention because I’m usually drawn to the flashy, crazy horses. The owner decided that she was too old to ship such a long distance and decided to give her away to someone here. She asked me to try her out and then put an ad on kijijito find her a new home. I tried her out and she was seriously the best horse I had ever ridden! To think she had been in my backyard all summer! She was so safe and obedient that I could ride her with my daughter (who has Downs Syndrome) as well. I was enjoying riding when I was on her and it was peaceful and soothing.
I had some reservations however because she was older and not the prettiest horse I have ever seen and usually buying young and pretty is high on my priority list. But I asked God what He wanted me to do. He impressed upon me that safety and having a horse I can trust were the most important things. It was vain of me to only want good-looking horses that others would admire. Who cares if others think the horse that just bucked you off is good-looking! This time I was trying to live in partnership with God in regards to my horse search instead of going off on my own schemes.
Fear of getting the wrong horse again was at first overwhelming but as I wrestled with what horse to get I just keep praying and asking God to help. I did find that He eventually gave me freedom to act without fear right around the same time I finally got a hold of the idea that God administers all the resources of the land. Finding me a great horse was not a hard task for Him. Even helping me accept that what I originally wanted in a horse was not the best choice was not a hard task for Him either!
So instead of living in fear and making a hasty decision I trusted God to meet my needs and bring me a safe sane horse. It was pretty cool that He arranged for the horse that I was considering to not be available to anyone else until I made up my mind. I did not have to make a fast decision because no one else even knew she was available for free yet!
I have had her for 3 months now and I like her more every time I ride her. I am so thankful to God for ending my horse search and freeing me from my trading addiction. I do sometimes feel the same old urge to upgrade and get a better horse but then I apologize to God and thank Him for the great horse I do have. I ask Him to continue to help me be content with the horse He gave me and not be such a picky perfectionist.
Guest Post by Caleb Dyck, worship leader.
“Worship is the idea of ascribing worth to someone or something”
The basic idea or definition of worship as described in most evangelical circles is that worship is us declaring or attributing to God the worth that He is worthy of. As God is infinitely worthy, He is worth infinite worship. Now, I think that most people will agree that worship is not just the singing of songs or raising our hands or even just praying. Rather, we are called to worship with our entire lives, our entire being.
Having heard this all before, I was surprised when my ever active mind took that definition and ran with it. So, as Jason continued on, my thoughts raced along a track parallel to the central theme of the message. What in my life am I ascribing worth to? If there was an honest, objective overview of my life, what would stand out as being worth the most to me? I obviously know the right answers to what SHOULD be important, but does my life lend evidence to support this?
In our own lives, what are we saying is most important in the way we spend our time, our efforts, our resources? Do we spend all of our spare time in finding fulfillment in relationships, family, entertainment? I can say that part of my worship is tithing and yet if I was spending more money on fast food every month than giving, what would you say is worth more to me? If I say that I worship by serving others and yet am more concerned about my “me” time every evening than getting involved serving my local church, what is my life saying is most important to me?
Now, I am not saying that everything breaks down into an elaborate system of charts and graphs, and if the tithing and serving clocks is at more hours and dollars than fast food and down time then I have this worship thing in the bag. That’s not really the point. If that was the end goal then the Pharisees had it down to an art form all those years ago. Obviously worship is a heart issue. But still… What does our life say about what is most important to us deep down in our hearts?
On Sunday, Pastor Paul challenged the congregation to lay something down as an act of sacrifice because “with less of you there is more of God…” Matthew 5:3b The Message. Responses varied from the giving up of physical items to the commitment to set aside negative character traits. Below is a list compiled from the responses. Feel free to add your own sacrifice to the list or to let us know how God’s been working through your offering by using the comment link below.
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Ever wonder what the youth are getting out of a Sunday morning service? Aidan Hennebry, an active member of HMC’s Senior Youth Group has shared his thoughts from one of Pastor Jason’s December sermons. Click here to read his reflections.