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PRELUDE – “Only Jesus” By Casting Crowns

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Hear this call to worship from Isaiah 35:1-4

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

it shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,

and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who have an anxious heart,

“Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

He will come and save you.”

 Song

Everlasting God” by Brenton Brown and Ken Rile

CONFESSION OF SIN –  Isa. 8:19-21

And when they say to you,

“Inquire of the mediums

and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,”

should not a people inquire of their God?

Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

To the teaching and to the testimony!

If they will not speak according to this word,

it is because they have no dawn.

They will pass through the land,

greatly distressed and hungry.

And when they are hungry, they will be enraged

and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God,

 and turn their faces upward.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 

You have multiplied the nation;

 you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,

 as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder,

the rod of his oppressor,

you have broken as on the day of Midian. 

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult

and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

 with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. 

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 Songs –

            “Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green

            “At the Crossby Darlene Zschech and Rueben Morgan

PRAYER 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:13

SCRIPTURE READING  – Micah 2

SERMON (Bryan Coble) –

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

One Pure and Holy Passion” by Mark Altrogge

Change My Heart Oh Godby Eddie Espinosa

OFFERING

Song

            “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” by Edward Mote

BENEDICTION 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Known” by Tauren Wells

PRELUDE – “Great are you Lord” by All Sons and Daughters

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power

 and the glory and the victory and the majesty,

for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.

In your hand are power and might,

and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

And now we thank you, our God,

and praise your glorious name.

1 Chronicles 29:11-13 ESV

Song –

The Lion and the Lamb” by Brenton Brown, Brian Johnsonand Leeland Mooring

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Let’s confess our sins together. Please read the bold sections out loud.

Minister: Blessed Jesus,
you offered us all your blessings when you announced
Blessed are the poor in spirit

People: but we have been rich in pride.

Minister: Blessed are those who mourn

People: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.

Minister: Blessed are the meek

People: but we are a stiff-necked people.

Minister: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

People: but we are filled to the full with other things.

Minister: Blessed are the merciful”

People: but we are harsh and impatient.

Minister: Blessed are the pure in heart

People: but we have impure hearts.

Minister: Blessed are the peacemakers

People: but we have not sought reconciliation.


Minister: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness

People: but our lives do not challenge the world.

Minister: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me

People: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.

Minister: Your Law is holy and your benedictions are perfect,
but they are both too great for us.
You alone are blessed.

People: We plead with you to forgive our sins
and give us the blessing of your righteousness.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON–

Hear this assurance of Pardon from Isaiah 66:1-2

Thus says the Lord:

“Heaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,

declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit

and trembles at my word.

 Songs –

Rock of Ages” by Augustus Toplady

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

 

PRAYER Please be seated

 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL – Romans 10:9

SCRIPTURE READING – Micah 1 Please stand for the reading of God’s Word

SERMON – “Tell it not in Gath”

LORD’S TABLE

Song(s) –

There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper

Worthy Worthy” by Jacob Sooter and Mia Fieldes

OFFERING

Song –

Indescribable” by Jesse Reeves and Laura Story

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE – “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Politics”

November 20, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #111 “All Hail the Power” & #1 “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”

Testimonies – What’s some way that you have been engaged with the city (polis) lately?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

What’s one way Christians should be winsomely weird when it comes to:

· Authority & Purpose?

· Speech?

· Relationships & Conflict?

· Drugs & Alcohol?

· Bioethics?

· Entertainment?

· Work, Money, & Possessions?

· Fitness?

Tonight the topic is politics. Has anyone been listening/watching some of the impeachment proceedings going on? We’re a politically charged and divided culture. Christians have a great opportunity to be winsomely weird in our partisan climate.

Allegiance to the Kingdom of God

How do we do it? First off, by having our allegiance be ultimately to the kingdom of God and not any of the kingdoms of this world. Philippians 3:20-21 – “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” “Jesus is Lord” is a politically subversive statement, because in the first century Romans said, “Caesar is Lord.” To be a Christian is to acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings and to find your primary identity as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

All other kingdoms are fallen and fall. This week my Bible reading plan has me in Daniel. Special points if anyone can tell me the vision that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar and it’s interpretation… Statue with head of gold (Babylon), chest and arms of silver (Persia), middle and thighs of bronze (Greece), legs of iron with clay mixed into feet (Rome). And then a little pebble rolls up to the feet and crashes it all down, and that stone (the Kingdom of God) grows into a great mountain that fills the whole earth. What’s the point? In the middle of the Roman Empire, Jesus established his kingdom, it’s like a mustard seed but as all the kingdoms of this earth rise and crumble, Jesus’ kingdom keeps growing and growing and one day when he returns the great Hallelujah Chorus will resound – “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

All the kingdoms of this earth are limited in power and geography and contain within them the seeds of their own destruction. Rome fell, the Ottoman Empire fell, the sun is setting on the British Empire. America outlasted Russia (or did we?), but this superpower will weaken. Jesus’ kingdom is forever and is perfect! He’s the only unimpeachable king. He alone tells the truth. He has exactly the right position on everything because he’s the definition of righteousness. He’s trustworthy. He’s loving and beneficent. How else is King Jesus awesome and better than any other political savior??

How do we participate in this Kingdom of God now even before the Return of the King? Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to the church (Mt. 16:19, 18:18). Church – this right here – is the most important poltical entity that we belong to. It’s where we find our deepest sense of belonging, our noblest cause to work for, our greatest joys… Jesus and his eternal purposes have captured our hearts and to him we pledge allegiance.

Which makes us weird. It means we won’t feel really at home in any of this earth’s political entities. Peter calls Christians sojourners and exiles (1Pe. 1:1, 17; 2:11). We’re living outside our fatherland, even if we’re living in the country of our birth, because heaven (shorthand for the renewed creation under King Jesus) is what we’re homesick for. We live like the saints of old, acknowledging that we are “strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If [we are simply talking about the land we moved from, we can return]. But as it is, [we] desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called [our] God, for he has prepared for [us] a city[, the New Jerusalem]” (Heb. 11:13-16; Rev. 21:2ff).

When I was in high school I had a Bob Dole bumper sticker on my bedroom door. I went to Washington, D.C., several times for things like National Young Leaders conferences, including President Clinton’s Second Inauguration. In one of my high school classes we were supposed to bring a song to have played that defined who you were. I brought the Star Spangled Banner.

I was a born again believer but had, unwittingly, bought into a brand of civil religion that conflated Christianity with Country. Thankfully, as I have gotten to know Christ better and grown as his disciple I’ve learned to disentangle the two. For example, in the church I grew up in (and almost all the ones I knew) there was an American Flag (and a Christian Flag[?!]) at the front. There was a Patriotic section in our hymnal and we sang from it around Fourth of July. I think that’s atrocious and we would never do that here. We gather to sing about and pledge allegiance to Jesus and his empire.

Life in the Kingdoms of this World

In college I was a Bible major and Political Science minor. Is there any benefit to studying those things? Is there any obligation to participate in the broken, compromised, political systems of this world? Can we love our country? Is there a good patriotism?

Yes. When you watch Captain Von Trapp sing “Edelweiss” there is something touching and honorable about that. You want to choke up too, don’t you? God is my Father, the church is my mother, you are my brothers and sisters. But I can still love the smell of my grandparents’ house and my mom’s cooking and respect my dad and enjoy my family’s cultural traditions and feel a sense of fealty to them and it can be okay. Jesus’ statement that his follower must “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters” (Lk. 14:26) is about relative affections, right? In comparison, my love for Christ makes my connection to my blood family look like hate and they can never get in the way of following Jesus. But Jesus also took care of his mom at the cross (Jn. 19:26-27) and Paul said “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim. 5:8). Similarly, we can be aligned with the kingdom of God and still thankful for and appreciate the blessings of our country and root for it in the Olympics.

John the Baptist (Lk. 3:14) and Jesus (Lk. 7:1ff) didn’t tell Roman soldiers that they had to stop wearing that uniform if they wanted to be part of God’s kingdom.

Paul in places like Romans 13 and Titus 3 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-17 said that secular (or more specifically, pagan) governments were instituted by God and used by him for certain evil-restraining functions, keeping the world in order while the gospel spread like a virus in and throughout them. Can someone actually read 1 Peter 2:13-17?? So we can honor political leaders, respect them, submit to them in submission to the Lord (and disobey them when they go against the Lord, i.e. Acts 5:29).

So what we’re seeing is that we’re weird because we’re not of this world and our ultimate loyalty and longings lie elsewhere. But we’re also winsome because we remain in this world. We are still citizens of the lesser, temporal governments and we should be the best citizens of these Cities of Man that we can. Any verses that you can think of that back that up?

State and National Politics

So how can we do that here in the U.S. where we have a form of democracy that invites political engagement? We vote for candidates based on values and our best understanding of policies that apply those values. We are getting our values from God and so here’s my main point that I want us to walk away from tonight with: the source of our political thinking is informed not by the right nor by the left, but from above. And that will make us winsomely weird!

Our convictions about what is best for people and society won’t line up easily with one party or match an ideology. We will bust those categories and confound the world. The world desperately wants to reduce ‘evangelicals’ to a voting bloc. We should defy those categories!

Some of you were at the City to City North America Conference here in Chicago last fall with me when Tim Keller walked through the revolutionary values of the early church that made them winsomely weird. First, he showed how they were multi-ethnic, breaking down racial barriers. Then he talked about their radical commitment to serve the poor. Then he showed how the early Christians championed an ethic of non-retaliation. Then he talked about how they were pro-life – rescuing babies from the garbage dumps and caring for the weak and infirm. And finally he explained the sexual counterculture that the early church had – sex only within loving monogamous, heterosexual covenant marriages. These 5 things made the church stand out then and caught the world’s attention with their winsomeness.

And then he commented that today the first two: racial justice and concern for the poor seem to be the domain of the political left. The last two: pro-life and holy sexuality seem to go with the right. And nobody’s really talking about the 3rd one, love of enemies. What if the Church in America today, what if we embraced and embodied all five. That would be really weird, but I also think winsome.

We’re still going to have disagreements on the best policies for helping the poor and things like that, but if we could talk charitably and humbly we might be able to arrive at more of a consensus and where we still can’s as long as it’s not compromising a clear value, we can agree to disagree about implementation.

This will mean losing a lot of power, but that’s okay.

This politics from above will also mean we never feel excited about anyone we vote for.

Global Politics

But since the Church is trans-national we should also be interested in global politics: International Justice Mission, what’s going on in Hong Kong, religious freedom in India…

Local Politics

But we can become too inundated with information about what’s happening in the Hague or a hearing room on the Hill, or even Springfield, and miss the people we have moral proximity to. I saw this some with Ferguson. The race issue blew up on the national scene and we had people in our church getting rightly upset about this, but at the time we had some evangelism efforts and a Bible Study going on in the Brooks Homes and a Mercy Team forming and nobody wanted to be part of that. Racial injustice issues are right on our doorstep, but it’s easier to re-post Facebook articles about places far away than it is to actually get involved right in your backyard.

I want to encourage us to focus more on local politics. Do you know the gatekeepers on your block? Who makes our neighborhood run? Have you ever considered running for your Local School Council? Or how about showing up at your HOA meetings and taking an interest there? They aren’t usually debating Gun Control or Entitlement Programs. It’s smaller, more immediate issues. And as a Christian you can show that you are concerned as a neighbor and then when they find out that you’re loving your neighborhood not to earn your salvation, but because you’ve been shown grace and that you live out all five of those values, you will shock many people and they will find you intriguing…

What’s Next?

Next week there’s no Midweek Meeting because of Thanksgiving. On December 4th we’ll talk about Gender, Sexuality, & Family. And then on 12/11 we’ll be having a Christmas Party.

Prayer – Break up into groups to pray based on what Ward you live in: (1) 28th Ward (Alderman Ervin) (2) 25th Ward (Alderman Sigcho-Lopez) (3) 27th (Alderman Burnett) and 42nd (Alderman Reilly) Wards (4) 11th (Alderman Thompson) or another Ward

https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/mayor/iframe/lookup_ward_and_alderman.html

Pray for your alderman and a need in your ward (1Tim. 2:1-4)…

Pray that God would guide the presidential primaries and give us good options and for an elevation in civil discourse…

Pray for Hong Kong…

Pray that our hearts and minds would be captured even more by the eternal glories of God’s Kingdom and pray for it to come soon…

Pray that we would reflect the Kingdom of God’s winsomely weird values around the Thanksgiving table next week…

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

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

Songs –

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

Winsomely Weird Wednesdays

“Entertainment”

October 30, 2019

Welcome & Dismiss Kids to Kids Club

Songs – #140 “When Morning Gilds the Skies” & #47 “Fairest Lord Jesus”

Testimonies – What’s some way that you have seen God moving in our body lately?

Teaching

Recap & Intro

So we’re basically talking about holiness, how we as God’s people, saved by grace, are to think and act differently from the world around us. We’re aliens and strangers. Which means we will stand out, be weird, yet in a way that is winsome, still engaged with the world. Jesus wants us to understand the world, to be savvy with the world, without getting sucked into the world in the least. Totally in, totally different. There are people who are totally weird because they live in a bubble. Then there are Christians who say, “We need to get out of the bubble,” but then start absorbing the world’s ethos. We want to stay weird, but be winsome.

That means we live under God’s authority and for his glory, in a world that lives from Self and for Self. It means we’ll be winsomely weird in the way we talk and relate. It means we won’t get drunk with wine or high on pot, but be filled with the Spirit. And last week we saw that we will be a winsomely weird community in the way that we care for the weak and vulnerable and those that the world sees no value in; we care about all of life from the womb to the tomb. And we will die differently than the world does. We will die in peace, trusting God, okay with weakness and dependence. That’s a major way we will be weird to the world.

Today we’re talking about entertainment. This one is so important because it’s probably the primary instrument that the world uses to promote worldliness. We must be thoughtful here. Leland Ryken wrote a book a while back called Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure. In it he lamented that often “we worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.” We’re all mixed up. So let’s try to think clearly about this topic.

Work

First, we need to establish that we were made to work. Work is good. God created the world and made humans in his image to cultivate it and care for it. That is the genesis of every valid profession. We are to be active creating, cultivating, organizing, operating… This is supposed to take up the bulk of our time.

There are all the admonitions in the Proverbs against laziness (i.e. Prov. 26:13-16). There are statements in Paul’s writings like: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Eph. 4:28). “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you” (1Thess. 4:11). “We hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2Thess. 3:11-12).

So a good chunk of our time must be taken up with work. Work is not an unfortunate thing, a necessary evil, but it’s good and God-honoring. I hope to talk more about this on another night. But let me just add: when we work, we should work hard and buckle down and focus so that work doesn’t expand and creep into all of our life because we’re also supposed to rest.

Rest

The Bible puts a limit to work to keep us human and humble; to keep us from thinking that we are just machines and that we are able to keep the universe running ourselves. God puts limits to work. The most obvious is the Sabbath – one day in seven to cease your productivity and enjoy (i.e. Ex. 20:8). But also yearly rhythms of celebrating (Lev. 23:33-36). And also the daily need for sleep. By and large, he made the day for work and the night for sleep (Mk. 4:27). Psalm 127:2 – “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” God made us to need sleep, to remind us that we’re not God and as way to declare our trust in God to keep the world spinning (he does not slumber or sleep; Ps. 121:4). Most of us need 7-8 hours a day to function well.

So two main categories to our days: Work and Rest. We keep them separate and balanced; the world blends them and has them all out of whack (i.e. workaholics or playaholics). But if we work, let’s say 12 hours a day on average (I’m including in that your job, housework, making meals, giving kids baths, etc…) and sleep 8 hours a day, that leaves roughly 4 waking hours in a day in the category of Rest. How are we to use that time as believers in ways that are weird to the world? Time when we’re not ‘getting things done’; let’s call this sub-category of Rest – Leisure.

Bible Reading, Prayer, Meditation. Christians spend time regularly and daily focusing on the Lord. This is weird to the world. Remember how I mentioned a few weeks ago that the way we give of our finances limits the disposable income we have to spend on things like alcohol? So just won’t be able to drink like the world because we give away a significant percentage of our money. It’s similar here. We spend a significant portion of our leisure time reading the Bible, praying, meditating, which simply means we will not have as much time for the other stuff.

Similarly, we are committed to a community. So we will be at Sunday gatherings and Midweek Meetings. That’s takes time. And beyond that there is relationship building – meeting up with a brother or sister for accountability, encouragement, fellowship. Calling and checking in. Bringing a meal. Working on relationships with spouses, roommates, kids, parents, friends… We’re always thinking of each other, even in our leisure time, whereas the world is thinking of Leisure time as Me Time.

Then with what’s left, what are some other good uses of our Leisure??

Exercise/Physical Activity.

Hobbies. I encourage you to try to use your hobbies for fellowship and/or evangelism…

Read. When is the last time you’ve read a book? How about a book that stirred your soul and strengthened your faith? When are you going to do that? Paul writes to Timothy – “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books” (2Tim. 4:13). Listen to Spurgeon on that verse:

Even an apostle must read…. He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! [….This] is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” – join in the cry.

Diversify your leisure.

And what about Me Time? Can I have any time to just totally unplug and relax and have a diversion, some mindless break from all the exhaustion? Well… It depends. Unplug, but not from Christ. Relax, enjoy a non-utilitarian pursuit, but not apart from Christ. A break for the mind, but can never turn the mind totally off. What about Self-Care, which is all the rage in the world today? Didn’t Jesus withdraw to desolate places by himself when exhausted? Yes! We need time away. But look at Mark 6:30… First off, their Me Time was We Time… But what happened to it? It got interrupted. So, yes, you can take time away, but don’t make of it an idol; don’t let it become an excuse to be selfish; and see it in the larger picture of replenishing you for a return to greater engagement and service.

And now here’s what is in my mind the area we need to think through the most: what about Screen Time? We live in a world largely dominated by the image and the screen: tv and phones. Discussions about Entertainment in the past were geared around the theater, the coliseum, the pool hall… stuff you had to go to. But now we have access to entertainment at our finger tips 24/7. It distracts us at work. It keeps us from sleep. And it seeks to dominates our leisure time.

If you have kids or when you have kids, do you want them to not know what an iPad is? No. But do you want them to watch iPad all the time? No. Why do we limit screen time for our kids? Because it may make your life easier for an hour, but it makes them more selfish, whiny, discontent, bored, less imaginative… In excess, screen time sucks life out of kids and rots their brains.

And it can do the same with us. A quick look at Twitter can turn into 30 minutes easily and it can make you more anxious. Scrolling through Instagram makes you jealous of other people’s lives. Surfing YouTube reduces your attention span. Binging on Netflix numbs you to the real world. It’s alarming when the goal of our days, the thing we’re looking forward to is: get home and get the kids in bed so I can watch my show. We need to be very careful with the amount of time we watch. The world is watching a lot of Screen Time; we should be weird.

Entertainment is by nature Self-focused. It’s designed to serve you. You don’t have to do anything to make it happen, just sit back and passively be pleased. Is that always wrong? No. But we must be careful that it doesn’t feed Selfishness.

A lot of those same questions we asked with substance you take into your body, are good questions to ask with what we take into our eyes and minds: is it legal, is it necessary, is it good, is it healthy, is it an addiction, intoxicating, an idol, wise?

Some more suggestions for our Screen Time:

Do it with others. What if we were watching some of the same shows and then discussing them? So it wasn’t just a private thing. What if we even turned our watching into social get-togethers? We do it for the Super Bowl, why not other shows? At the very least what if you watched with your spouse or your roommates, so there was accountability and it didn’t isolate but brought together?

Do it for others. Watch what your co-workers are talking about to understand them. Watch what gets nominated for Oscars to be able to engage the world.

Do it with God. Always, do everything with a conscious awareness of God’s presence. You can’t turn your mind off and veg and passively take in what Hollywood is feeding you. You have to think critically. Measure everything by God’s Word. If there is common grace there, praise God. If there is beauty there, worship God. If there is sin there, hate it and thank God for forgiveness and the promise of a new world without sin. Turn it all back to God. Watch it as a Christian, filtering everything through the lens of Scripture.

We’ve been watching Disney’s Liv and Maddie as a family lately. Thinking about this upcoming talk I started having everyone share a biblical principle (positive or negative) that they saw illustrated in an episode. Andrea and I have been watching The West Wing for the last couple years. It’s a well-written show that has lessons about leadership, work, relationships… but it’s also trying to shape the way you think about social issues. We have to be discerning…

And what is off-limits? Pornography. Game of Thrones? VidAngel. …

What’s Next?

What do you want to do next? Gender, Sexuality, & Family; Fitness; Work, Money, & Possessions; Politics…

Prayer – If you had to pick one of these, which of the following would you prefer to do tonight before bed: (1) Watch a re-run of Parks & Rec; (2) watch the World Series Game 7; (3) play Super Smash Brothers; (4) or listen to Kanye’s new album. Get together in those groups and pray…

Repent of ways that you have had more of an appetite for the things of this world than Christ…

Pray that we would look carefully how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16)…

Pray that we would learn how to understand the longings and brokenness of this world and better connect them to Christ for people…

PRELUDE – “A Mighty Fortress”by Martin Luther

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP

How does Christ’s return “to judge the living and the dead” comfort you?

In all distress and persecution,

with uplifted head I confidently await the very judge

who has already offered himself to the judgment of God in my place

and removed the whole curse from me.

Christ will cast all his enemies and mine into everlasting condemnation,

but will take me and all his chosen ones to himself into the joy and glory of heaven.

 

Song –

“O Worship the King”by Chris Tomlin, Johann Michael Hayden, Robert Grant

 

CONFESSION OF SIN

“Hear this pronouncement of judgement in Romans 2:6-11:

 

He will render to each one according to his works:

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality,

he will give eternal life;

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress

for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

but glory and honor and peace

for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

For God shows no partiality.

 

In light of God’s coming, let’s take a moment to confess our sins before our holy judge.”

ASSURANCE OF PARDON  – Psalm 32:1-2

“If we by faith embrace salvation in Christ, the Lord declares over us:

 

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man whom the LORD counts no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

 

Songs –

You Are My King (Amazing Love)” by Billy J. Foote

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

 

PRAYER

 

CHILDREN’S BLESSING & DISMISSAL  – Romans 5:8

 

SCRIPTURE READING – Obadiah

 

SERMON  – “The Day of the Lord is Near Upon All Nations”

 

LORD’S TABLE

 

Songs –

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M. R. Stead and William James Kirkpatrick

In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

OFFERING

Song –

Let Your Kingdom Come” by Bob Kauflin

 

BENEDICTION

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

POSTLUDE – “O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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