Friday, October 29, 2010

Pursuing Fulfillment

            The book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters that would be great to accompany your daily study of God’s word.  Take the chapter that accompanies the calendar day of the month and you will be able to read through one of God’s most practical manuals for living 12 times throughout the year. 
            The pursuit of knowledge has been a quest of mankind since the beginning of time.  Adam and Eve sought wisdom when they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6).  Man’s desire for knowledge seems insatiable still today, especially in the U.S.  It is expected for kids to go to kindergarten, graduate high school, go to college, and possibly graduate school.  There is a myth that you have to have a college education to do something important with your life.  We could fill this article with names of people who either dropped out of college or did not go at all and yet did something extraordinary with their lives.  Have we gotten so caught up in the myth that a scholastic education is necessary that we have neglected some weightier matters?
            Solomon recognized education was important, “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles” (Proverbs 1:2-6).  Something we will read several times throughout Proverbs is the acquiring of wisdom and knowledge comes through reading and listening.  It is easy to get busy talking and never take the opportunity to be quiet and listen. 
            There is a kind of wisdom and knowledge we should pursue and its beginning is “the fear of the LORD…fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).  With this in mind, do not neglect what Solomon observed from his pursuit, “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).  In our pursuit of fulfillment, let us seek knowledge, wisdom, and learning of our righteous and loving creator, the LORD God and make him our focus.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Peek at Proverbs

The authorship of Proverbs in our Old Testament wisdom literature is attributed to Solomon, son of David, king of Israel (Proverbs 1:1).  Solomon had much to write about concerning wisdom.  When God said to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you,” Solomon said, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil…’” (1 Kings 3:5, 9).  Because of Solomon’s humble request, God gave him wisdom, a discerning mind like none before him and none after him, riches, and honor beyond his imagination (1 Kings 3:12-13).  One cannot get a better reference letter and credentials than that which is directly from God!        
Though “the Preacher” mentioned throughout the book of Ecclesiastes is never referenced by name, it has traditionally been recognized as Solomon.  The Preacher was the son of David, king in Jerusalem (Ecclesiastes 1:1) and pursues wisdom, riches, work, and pleasure only to find out that, “All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2b).  Though Solomon was blessed with wisdom and riches by the LORD, he set out to find fulfillment and meaning in these things.  So if having wisdom bestowed on him by the LORD God is not enough to impress, he had the experience to go along with these blessings from the Lord.  Solomon was truly a wise man who “spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005” (1 Kings 4:32).  Let us not neglect to mention the wisdom he had in love and relationships as witnessed in Solomon’s Song of Songs.  700 wives and 300 concubines must qualify as decent credentials of how to treat a spouse!  Though these women turned Solomon’s heart away from the LORD in his old age (1 Kings 11:3-4), we can learn from the wisdom he gained through those experiences as well as what the LORD blessed him with.
Having Solomon’s life written out is an enormous blessing because we can learn from his victories as well as his falls.  Solomon, as the King of Israel, played a significant role in the history of God’s people and recorded much of that wisdom and insight he gained directly from the LORD.  Let us consider these things as we delve into the grandeur of wisdom that has been left for us by King Solomon and inspired by the LORD our God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Talk, but Don't Tell -- Prezi

Follow along in the Prezi as you listen to the sermon in the podcast player on the right.  You can also click on the bottom of the player to take you to the podomatic website where you can subscribe to the Four Mile Hill church of Christ podcast with iTunes and be updated as soon as a new episode is posted.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An e-Book Just for You!

I published my first e-book! The title is The School Bus Driving Preacher.  It is available FOR FREE!  Just follow the link in this post or at the top of this website to download your own copy today.  Once you download it you can perform keyword searches and Scripture references to utilize in your own Bible study and devotional preparation.  It will also be available soon on Kindle.  Please let me know what you think.

Catch More Than One

We had chores growing up that required plenty of work outside. During our labors, that seemed it would take all day to get finished using our amateur skills, my dad always told us, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” I appreciate his wisdom to this day. He made us think outside the obvious to come up with a much simpler way of doing things well and efficiently. James wrote, “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16). The illustration is not to downplay the labor of Christianity, but maybe we can look at “smarter” ways to walk daily with Christ and bring others to him.

One fishing trip my dad took us on, before our teenage years, he let me use his rod and reel for a little while. His rod and reel was like another son to him. It was the smoothest reel to him even if it was the roughest someone else had ever handled. As I was casting, that rod flew out of my hand into the pond! I thought my dad was going to kill me. I sat in the truck as tears of shame rolled down my cheeks. A little while later, my dad’s line got hooked with one of my brother’s lines and they pulled up three fish…one on each of their hooks and the third on the hook I threw into the pond along with the reel! I am sure that is not what my dad had in mind when he said, “Don’t work harder, work smarter,” but one rod was thrown in and three fish came out.

So how can we “work smarter” in Christianity? James went on to write, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (5:19-20). We can stop a lot of sinning if we can bring the lost sheep home to God. We can bring even more people to Christ if we stack the work force. Just imagine if every Christian led one person to Christ, and each of those new converts brought one person to Christ and so on and so forth. Think of the implications of bringing just one person to Christ. In so doing, you may have helped in leading hundreds to Christ through that one. That is how you can work smarter. That is how you can catch more than one.