2017 Bible Reading Plan
Commit to spending some time each week in 2017 paying attention to the message of the prophets! Download the Bible reading schedule here. This week's reading is Isaiah 54-58.
The Greatest Thing You'll Do by Joshua Creel
On October 14, 1947 Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, flying faster than anyone had flown before... flying faster than anyone thought possible just a few years earlier. But to his fellow pilots, that epic feat was not the greatest thing Yeager had ever done. Yeager's greatest feats were the many times he aided his fellow pilots in distress. On one occasion a young pilot was losing oxygen at high altitude, causing him to become delirious and erratic. If the pilot didn't decrease his altitude, and soon, he would pass-out and die. Yeager flew out in front and talked the young pilot through the process of following him down to lower altitude, saving the young man's life. On another occasion a pilot had all of his windows ice up, rendering him blind. He was almost out of fuel, but how could he land the plane without the ability to see out of the windows? Well, up comes Yeager, flying alongside the blind plane talking the pilot all the way down to a safe landing.
Chuck Yeager's fellow pilots were well aware that he had broken the sound barrier. They new that he was a true Ace of the skies. But what made him truly great to them was that he cared and that he would do whatever he could to help them when in need.
“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26–28) What's the greatest thing you will do?
From the desk of Taylor Pickup
Hopefully we are assembled together today because we acknowledge our need for God. In Luke 18:13, Jesus spoke of a man who “would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” In this parable, Jesus was pointing out that humility will bring you close to God, but pride will drive you farther away. As disciples of Jesus, we realized and admitted that we were unable to fix what we had broken. Our sins had shattered our relationship with our Lord. In humility, we turned to God. We became people who were willing to faithfully obey whatever He commanded. And because of this humility, God graciously mended and strengthened our relationship with Him. But this was only possible because of what Jesus did.
Jesus ended His parable with these words: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus Himself was the ultimate example of this concept. Jesus humbled Himself more than any other person ever could. He was completely innocent of any sin and unworthy of any form of punishment. Yet He accepted a painful and humiliating death because the Father commanded it. There has never been a greater demonstration of humility. And the Father responded by exalting Him. Jesus was exalted to the point that He now sits at the right hand of God. And as disciples of Him, we now humbly follow His example, praising Him for the lowly death He suffered and the exaltation He has received.
From the desk of Joshua Creel
Want to know the weather forecast for tomorrow? There's an app on your phone that can tell you. Want to find the score for today's baseball games? There's an app on your phone for that, too. Want to catch up on the news of the day? Chances are you have multiple apps on your phone for that. Feeling lonely and need to tell your problems to a sympathetic stranger? Well, you can install an app on your phone for that too.
I'm not belittling the purpose of such an app, in fact it would seem that this project was born from good intentions. "Loneliness is deadlier than diabetes, a 2015 analysis showed, raising the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer... Plenty of people who aren’t ill also need someone to talk to." Many in our society feel isolated without anyone to confide in. To who else but a stranger could they relate their problems?
And this is why all of our talk about being a family must be more than talk. Our relationships must progress further than the pew and brief conversations in the foyer. A family member will "rejoice with those who rejoice" and "weep with those who weep" (Romans 12.15). A family member will "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6.2). A family member will "practice hospitality" (Romans 12.13) to foster closer relationships with their brethren.
Today we are going focus on those who are dealing with the aftermath of divorce. It's a tragedy that has affected more than a few of us; it's a tragedy that destroys the fabrics of families. It's one reason why this family must remain intact and strong.