Posts Tagged 'wisdom'

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness Sermon Audio Here

1 Cor.3:1-9

The current snowy weather has certainly changed how we prepare to begin a journey. What might have been a quick trip to the supermarket is starting to resemble something from Scott of the Antarctic…

How Do We Get Ready for Wisdom?

Don’t Get Stuck in the World ~ 1 Cor.3:1-4

  • v1 follow up from 1 Cor 2:14-16, distinction between the person living according to the Spirit, or according to the world; Corinthians are living by the world’s standards
  • v2 the world can’t digest God’s wisdom as a whole; if we are caught up in that system, we can’t either
  • v3 indications one is caught in the flesh? They act like the world, with argumentative attitudes
  • v4 They even take spiritual leaders and reduce them to rallying slogans

Focus On Who’s Really At Work ~ 1 Cor.3:5-9

  • v5 simply, God does the spiritual work; we just help as God chooses
  • v6/7 we do different tasks, but God gives the growth
  • v8 God notices our specific help; we’ll be rewarded eventually (that’s another sermon)
  • v9 notice that the Corinthians are not counted among the workers (they’re too worldly); they are the recipients of God’s work, not the co-laborers

Deut 30:19-20a ~ This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

God chooses us for Salvation; We choose to live IN that Salvation, by responding to His Love, listening to His Word, and walking in His Way.

Epiphany: Understanding the Directions

Epiphany: Understanding the Directions Sermon Audio Here

Matthew 2:1-12

In the old days, before the ever-present use of satellite technology, to find one’s way around the world took careful research and a good map.

Finding Our Way Like the Magi Means:

Seeking Sets Up Wisdom ~ Matthew 2:1-2

  • v1 magi=”oriental scientist”, observe/interpret world
  • v2 looked for meaning; acted on it: cf. James 1:5 (ask God for it)

Refining Required for Wisdom ~ Matthew 2:3-6

  • v3/4 disturbed; couldn’t be bothered to seek for himself
  • v5/6 wisdom IS available for those who bother to actually seek: cf. Job 28 compares gaining wisdom with the process of mining: hard work which requires refinement

Practicing the Process of Wisdom ~ Matthew 2:7-12

  • v7/8 Herod wants to subvert Magi’s seeking for his own agenda
  • v9 went ahead: another miraculous overlay – not JUST looking for wisdom through observation, but now depending upon God’s direct intervention
  • v10/12 response to direct intervention: joy, worship, fulfillment (they left differently).

This is still true: when we interact with God directly, we discover joy, enter into worship, and find fulfillment as God leads us in different directions.

Covenant Concepts ~ Moses: God Expects Righteousness

Covenant Concepts ~ Moses: God Expects Righteousness

1 Cor. 1:18-25

God Establishes His Covenant with Moses; in fact, it is His most famous Covenant: The 10 Commandments. What’s different about this particular covenant? God (the Stronger Party) dictates what WE (the weaker party) will and will not do to keep it.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

God’s Wisdom is Beyond our Wisdom
1 Cor. 1:18-21

  • v18 BEING saved: it is GOD’s power at work!
  • v19/20 We did not figure salvation out on our own
  • v21 God’s reasoning is that we stop trusting our reasoning to figure out God.

When We Give Up, We Win
1 Cor. 1:22-25

  • v22 signs: God MUST show us power; wisdom: God MUST make sense to us
  • v23 Jesus is NEITHER
  • v24 Christ is power IN weakness; Jesus taught wisdom beyond our experience
  • v25 God is MORE than we can imagine

When we give up, HE Wins (and somehow, we win, too).

Inescapable Irony

Inescapable Irony Sermon Audio Here

Wile E. Coyote having a bad day
Ecclesiastes 10:8-14

I became a big fan of the RoadRunner cartoons when I was a kid. One thing that always gave me pause: Wile E Coyote ALWAYS gets caught in own trap, but WHY? The answer, of course, is that we need that to happen, it’s the comedic hook that makes the cartoon work. But the philosophical answer is this: he’s driven by his appetite, not his reason. That’s why he’s short-sighted.

To Keep From Being Short-sighted in the Long Run

Prepare for the Pitfall
Ecc. 10:8-14 How Will Our Choices End?

  • v8/9 wisdom: assume worst case, & prepare for it
  • v10/11 skill better than strength
  • v12-14 the fool ignores preparation; likes to chatter instead (monologuing!)

Trust in Providence, not Possessions
Luke 12:13-21 ~ How Do Our Lives End?

  • v15 guard against greed
  • v16/17 problem: overabundant crop
  • v18 answer: build bigger storage (wrong)
  • v19 trust in storehouse (wrong)
  • v20 preparing for retirement is NOT preparing for mortality, and yet mortality is the ONLY certainty!
  • v21 focus on self alone is idolatry; doesn’t work

A square dance caller knows the steps; dancers just carry them out (do-si-do, swing your partner, promenade)

We are to live in a reactive relationship with the Father, not preemptive isolation from Him. Let’s join in His dance, not ignore His call.

Pleasure, Work, Wisdom

Pleasure, Work, Wisdom Sermon Audio Here

Thoughts from the Teacher - a study in Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3; 9-11

Ask yourself: how do you take in:

The Purpose of Pleasure
What can we learn looking inside?

  • v1 we test our hearts; what is discovered?
  • v2 what is accomplished?
  • v3 take pleasure in fun, guided by wisdom?
  • v4-8 take pleasure in work?

The Worth of Work
How do we judge the value of our work?

  • v9 keep your head, no matter circumstances
  • v10 hard work give sense of accomplishment
  • v11 but it doesn’t last

=> Ever notice that when your cup of happiness is full, somebody always jogs your elbow?

The Warning of Wisdom
Is there an often-ignored danger here?

  • v1-3 hoarding wealth not same as accumulation
  • v4-5 injustice & self-indulgence connected in God’s economy
  • v6 power of judgment and sentencing is God’s alone

The worldling says—live to Pleasure as I die to God.’
The ascetic says—’I live to God as I die to Pleasure.’
The Christian says—’Lord, in my life, let both united be;
I live to Pleasure as I live to Thee.’

All This Is Temporary

All This Is Temporary Sermon Audio Here

Thoughts from the Teacher - a study in Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 1:12-18
How can we prevent worldly distraction?

Think Carefully

Apply Ourselves to Learn Wisdom

Absorb Wisdom Together

Abide in Wisdom

It’s okay to appreciate solid information, or logical rhetoric, but at the core of it all, hold onto godly wisdom. LIVE in Christ.


Pastor Ed Backell

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