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PRELUDE – “All the Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

“My hope lives not because I am not a sinner,

but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died;

my trust is not that I am holy,

but that being unholy, HE is my righteousness.

My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know,

but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me.

Hallelujah!”

~ Charles Spurgeon

Song –

No One Higher” by Heath Balltzglier, Seth Condrey, and Steve Fee

CONFESSION OF SIN –  Joel 2:12-14

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,

“return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

and rend your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

and he relents over disaster.

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,

and leave a blessing behind him

Let’s take a moment and reflect on the ways that we have often been ungrateful for God’s mercy and grace.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON  – Joel 2:21-23

 “Fear not, O land;

be glad and rejoice,

for the Lord has done great things!

Fear not, you beasts of the field,

for the pastures of the wilderness are green;

the tree bears its fruit;

the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

“Be glad, O children of Zion,

and rejoice in the Lord your God,

for he has given the early rain for your vindication;

he has poured down for you abundant rain,

the early and the latter rain, as before.

Songs –

His Mercy Is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

Mighty to Save” by Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING  – Jonah 4

SERMON  – “Irritating Grace”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

How Deep the Father’s Love” by Stuart Townend

I Stand Amazed in the Presence” by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

OFFERING

Song –

Lord Most High” by Don Harris and Gary Sadler

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Beautiful Lord” by Leeland

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Fitness”

November 13, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #201 “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched” & #259 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”

Testimonies – What’s a meet up you’ve had with another member or with a non-believer lately that has been encouraging?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

We’re talking about how we as Christians are supposed to be a peculiar people. We’ve been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). So let’s not keep living like we did. Ephesians 5:7-11 – “Do not become partners with [the world]; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” We’ve been trying to expose the world’s way of thinking about Authority, Purpose, Speech, Relationships (btw, did you see the recent news that Emma Watson is ‘self-partnered’?), Conflict, Drugs, Alcohol, Bioethics, Entertainment, Work, Money, and Possessions. And show a better way, a more beautiful way – God’s way, motivated by the gospel.

Today we are looking at the topic of Fitness – physical fitness, exercise, working out, health, body image…

Obesity

Is obesity a sin? It’s actually hard to find verses in the Bible about this. I first thought of that story in Judges 3 about Eglon, the wicked king of Moab. It says he was “a very fat man.” And left-handed Ehud hid a sword on his right thigh and got a private meeting with him and thrust the sword into his belly. “And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out.” It’s a disgustingly intriguing story… but it actually doesn’t make a clear moral pronouncement against obesity.

The closest I could think of was Deuteronomy 31:20 where God predicts: “When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.” I think a link could be made between excessive consumption and spiritual lethargy.

But we have to also be careful about judging people who are overweight. It may not always be directly due to laziness and sin. Genetics may be involved. Poverty and food justice issues may be at play. I’ve heard of someone who was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and then ballooned to 400lbs as a defense mechanism to try to make himself unattractive in the hopes that that would make the abuse stop. So we never know all that is going on.

But I think we can agree that it is in general not a good thing to be overweight. It’s often connected with lack of self-control and food idolatry. It increases your risk of heart attacks, makes you feel yucky overall. And it’s just not winsome.

Several years ago there was a story in the news about a study showing that Baptists were by and large LARGE. I think it was in response to the Baptist insurance company no longer automatically covering Baptist pastors because they were overweight and high risk. And I remember hearing a Baptist leader here in Chicago say that he was contacted by a reporter for a comment and he said he would do it, but said no pictures please… because he was a bit portly himself. It’s not winsomely weird to be known as the pudgy people.

Obsession with Fitness

But I don’t think that’s our church’s issue. I don’t think we have an obesity problem in our body. Actually, we’ve got a lot of fairly fit people. And so I think we need to come at it from the other side and ask what might be ways that we have bought into the world’s perspective on fitness. Our center-city culture is one that seems to not have a problem with obesity but rather an obsession with fitness. How are we to be different?

So let’s think: what are some sinful ways the world approaches physical fitness?

It can be a form of self-salvation. At my gym there is this big plaque right in front of the treadmills that says:

What is a Workout?

· A workout is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. Stated another way, it is one part physical exertion and three parts self-discipline. Doing it is easy once you get started. [so far so good, I think we can agree that exercise can be a fruit of the Spirit of self-control or discipline]

· A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind, and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly your problems diminish and your confidence grows. [okay, mostly good; working out has physical, mental, and emotional benefits; I heard a trusted pastor once say that a lot of times depression can be cured by breaking a sweat 3x a week; but the self-confidence thing starts to make me concerned]

· A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination. It is the badge of a winner – the mark of an organized, goal-oriented person who has charge of his or her destiny. [this is where it starts to sound a little like Joel Osteen and verge into godless self-help territory; we are simply not in charge of our destiny and when working out makes us have too high a view of our own works, this can get spiritually dangerous; it can get close to self-salvation]

· A workout is a wise use of time and an investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary. [again a mix of wisdom with this idea that we have deep within us the power to change ourselves; the next one makes this explicit:]

· A workout is a key that helps unlock the door of opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force. Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it. [no, hidden within each of us is a sinful desire to be autonomous and self-determining; we are not good at the core and just need a trainer to help us release that; we are sinful and need a Savior; and here it is:]

· A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a good workout, you don’t simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.

There’s a great example of how fitness can take the place of faith in Christ. It becomes a surrogate for salvation and the Holy Spirit. My hell is low self-confidence and flabby abs. My heaven is people’s attention and a flat stomach. And my salvation is myself – effort, grit, determination.

What are some other potential pitfalls with an obsession with fitness??

It can come from a fear of death. What is driving so many people to stay healthy? They are slaves to the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Aging, slowing down, losing muscle tone… is terrifying. And instead of trusting Christ, we try to take matters into our own hands and stave off death by obsessing with health.

It can miss the blessings of weakness. A fixation on fitness often is coupled with a despising of weakness. Those who are slow, uncoordinated, handicapped, limited… are looked down on. We want to avoid at all costs losing our independence. And so we idolize youth and strength. The picture of beauty is an athletic, active person. Those who have deformities or diseases are ignored. The worst imaginable thing in the world is to be weak and frail. But the Bible talks a lot about weakness as the way of the Christian life. 2 Corinthians 12:10 – “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” An obsession with health can be an aversion to weakness. Are we a community that welcomes the weak or prizes the strong?

It can feed vanity. Humility, C.S. Lewis I think said, is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. The world’s obsession with fitness puts the focus on self – weighing self, measuring self, looking at self in the mirror, counting calories, fishing for compliments, wanting attention; me, Me, ME! But Christ wants us to stop thinking about ourselves and love others.

It can be our identity. Being in shape can be how we feel worth and value. We compare ourselves to others in order to feel good about ourselves. But the dark side of this is that when we put on weight after giving birth, or develop a middle-age ponch, or get pimples or wrinkles, we are insecure and devastated. We work out more, trying new supplements and diets, obsessing about appearances. Why? Because we’ve wrapped up our identity in our physical fitness.

Obsession with Christ

Instead, I think the most winsomely weird thing for the world would be to see a people who are obsessed with Christ and secure in him, who therefore aren’t too worried about what they look like, but just exude a sense of being comfortable in their own skin, because they know they are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, that God the Father sees them as glowing and gorgeous on account of grace. And so they can relax.

This gospel identity produces in us a winsomeness and beauty that isn’t based on the world’s definition of beauty. We don’t let the world tell us what to do to be pretty and attractive. We focus on becoming Christlike. I don’t think he cared at all about his body-mass-index. I picture him more like a baseball player from the 50s – just a normal guy. More importantly he was kind and patient and content and selfless and humble and full of compassion for the broken and weak and hurting. That is true beauty and strength.

This topic has a lot in common with the question of dress and modesty. We obviously don’t want our fashion to be an unnecessary offense to the gospel, but we don’t let the world tell us what is beautiful and try to fit in that way. Peter tells women, “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1Pe. 3:3-4). Peter might say something like, “Fashion is of some value for keeping warm and even displaying creativity, but godliness is really what’s beautiful.”

And that is what Paul says about fitness – “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1Tim. 4:8; NIV). We should not be people obsessed with fitness, but with Christ, secure and resplendent in his robes of righteousness, and growing into them like clothes that are several sizes too big.

Value of Physical Training

So if Paul says that bodily training is of some value, in its proper place, what is that value?

· Anti-Gnosticism. Being physical – moving, bending, twisting, stretching, doing amazing things with our bodies… – reminds us of the importance of the body, of physical matter. God made matter. God the Son joined himself to a human body. He was raised bodily. He’s coming back in his body. He’s going to raise our bodies. The body matters. Gnosticism was a heresy that said only the spirit matters, but that’s not true. Using our bodies is good theology.

· Spiritual benefits. Similarly, since we are embodied souls, exercise and physical health (if we’re able) does help our spiritual life to be generally healthy. Working out releases stress, helps you sleep better, helps your mind focus, is a beneficial use of leisure (if your work doesn’t involve much physical activity).

· Spiritual metaphors. It’s full of spiritual metaphors. We are running a race (i.e. Heb. 12:1). We’re in a fight (i.e. 2Tim. 4:7). Paul loves sports illustrations. He said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1Cor. 9:24-27). There are many ways that fitness can help you with spiritual growth instead of inhibit or distract you.

· Witness opportunities. It can be a great opportunity to witness. I think of Russell’s evangelistic rock climbing. And several years ago Vivian helped organize a Meet-Up in the UIC for runners.

· Service opportunities. Finally, we need to think about why we want physical health. Do we want it so that we can do what we want to do: travel the world and enjoy life? Or do we see health as a gift to use to serve others? I often think of the story of Jesus and Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:29-31. Read… Her physical fitness was for serving other people. We should be stewarding our bodies for the sake of long-term service, and then when we can no longer, either through poor decisions or just the natural inevitability of aging (probably a combination of both), we are able to let others serve us without feeling useless and guilty. That’s winsomely weird.

What’s Next?

We’ll meet next week, then take the week of Thanksgiving off, then have one more and then the next Wednesday is the Christmas Party. What do you want to do next week? Gender, Sexuality, & Family or Politics…

Prayer – Get into groups based on how much you weigh… jk! What’s your favorite way to be active? (1) Rock Climbing (2) Walking (3) Playing a sport (i.e. basketball, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee) (4) Going to the gym (i.e. weightlifting, pilates, Zumba) Get into those groups to pray…

Pray for each other to have a deeper gut sense of God’s delight in them on account of Christ and freedom from the world’s definitions of beauty…

Pray for growth in discipline and endurance…

Ask God to save specific people you know who are running after things that won’t satisfy or last…

PRELUDE –

“Salvation Belongs to our God” by Adrian Howard and Pat Turner

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP  –

Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there any works like yours.

All the nations you have made shall come

and worship before you, O Lord,

and shall glorify your name.

For you are great and do wondrous things;

you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord,

that I may walk in your truth;

unite my heart to fear your name.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

For great is your steadfast love toward me;

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

 

 

Song –

“Everything That Has Breath” by Matt Redman

CONFESSION OF SIN–

Neh. 9:16-17

But they and our fathers acted presumptuously

 and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments.

They refused to obey

and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them,

but they stiffened their neck

and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.

But you are a God ready to forgive,

gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,

and did not forsake them.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON-

Psalm 103:8-12

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Songs –

“Jesus I Come” by George Coles Stebbins and William True Sleeper

“Kindness” by Chris Tomlin

PRAYER

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING  – Jonah 3:1-10

SERMON (Nathan) – “Wide Grace”

LORD’S TABLE

Songs –

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Lemmel

“O Praise the Name (Anástasis)” by Benjamin Hastings, Dean Ussher, and Marty Sampson

OFFERING

Song –

“How Can I Keep From Singing?” by Chris Tomlin

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“God of this City” by Chris Tomlin

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Work, Money, Possessions”

November 6, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs

Testimonies – How have you been challenged to be ‘weird’ during our Wednesdays together?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

I have no voice tonight, so I’m going to lean on you to do most of the talking…

Can someone explain what we mean when we say that Christians are to be ‘winsomely weird’??

I had the thought last week that Daniel and his three friends presents us with a good model of being winsomely weird? Can someone elaborate on how that might be??

Work

We talked some last week about the fact that work is good. Christians should not be lazy and idle. Can you think of Bible passages that address this?? Ex. 20:9

What about workaholism?? Ps. 127:2

How should we be different from the world in the ways that we approach work?

· Witnessing

· Integrity

· No grumbling (Ph. 2:14)

· Excellence… to a point

· Not find our identity in our career, have a life outside work

· Say No, rest well

· Work as unto the Lord (Eph. 6:5-8; cf. Col. 3:22-24)

· Be a good boss (Eph. 6:9)

· What about Sundays?

I recently received an email from a pastor who said, “I’ve just met a group of house workers /nannies who don’t have the autonomy to be able to attend our corporate gathering, since they are required to be working on the weekends. There are no other church options for them. Any counsel for how to think about potentially bringing these ladies into membership, when they are unable to come to our gathering? They are Filipinas in Turkey. Their obligations are somewhere equivalent to indentured servitude.”

I also heard this recently: “According to a 2016 time study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34 percent of the workforce works on the weekend…. The U.S. workforce is approximately 160 million. That means over 54 million work on the weekend” (thomrainer.com). The person was saying that we need to adapt to try to accommodate this trend.

Money

What does the Bible teach about money? I.e. Eccl. 5:10; Mt. 6:24; 1Tim. 6:9-11; Heb. 13:5.

How should we look different than the world when it comes to money?

· Stewardship (Mt. 25:14ff) and saving (Prov. 6:6-8)

· Sharing (Acts 2:42-47) and generosity (2Cor. 8:1ff)

Possessions

I saw when I opened my web browser today that Jeff Bezos has a mansion with 25 bathrooms. Is that wrong? 24? 10? 5? 4? 3? 2? 1? How should we think about stuff?

How can we be weird yet winsome when it comes to our possessions?

Home Décor

Minimalism

Christmas

Cool factor, fashion

Contentment (1Tim. 6:7-8)

What’s Next?

We’ve got three more of these. What do you want to do next? Gender, Sexuality, & Family; Fitness; Politics…

Prayer – What’s your primary vocation right now? (1) Higher Education (2) Medical Field (3) Business World (4) Other Get into those groups to pray…

Ask God for wisdom to know how to do what you do with distinctly Christian motivations and goals…

Pray that you would “take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15)…

Pray that we would  have our treasures be in heaven and not transient things (Mt. 6:19-20)…

PRELUDE – “All My Hope”by David Crowder

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP –

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,

and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord,

for he comes to judge the earth.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever!

 

Song –

How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves

 

CONFESSION OF SIN  –

 

Jesus, forgive my sins.

Forgive the sins that I remember, and the sins I have forgotten.

Forgive my many failures in the face of temptation,

and those times when I have been stubborn in the face of correction.

Forgive the times I have been proud of my own achievements

and those when I have failed to boast in your works.

Forgive the harsh judgments I have made of others,

and the leniency I have shown myself.

Forgive the lies I have told to others,

and the truths I have avoided.

Forgive me the pain I have caused others

and the indulgence I have shown myself.

Jesus, have mercy on me and make me whole.

Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Songs –

You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman

How Great Thou Art” by Stuart K. Hine

 

PRAYER

 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 5:8

 

SCRIPTURE READING – Jonah 1 and 2

 

SERMON – “Deep Sin, Deep Grace”

 

LORD’S TABLE

 

Songs –

Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Lees Bancroft and Vikki Cook

Behold the Risen Christ” by The Village Church

 

OFFERING Song –

Sing to the King” by Billy Foote

 

 

BENEDICTION

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

POSTLUDE – “My Life is an Offering” by Sovereign Grace Music

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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