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January 26th, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, 10:00am Combined Service & Congregational Meeting Robbie Carnes preaching, “Proverbs, Don't be that Guy: Chicken Little”; Proverbs 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. If we were to base our understanding of our world on what newspapers, TV and radio tell us we would despair easily. But that is not who we are as followers of Jesus. Even though the earth shakes and the mountains fall into the sea we will not fear, because God has it all in his hands. Avoiding despair can be a great effort and we need truth of God’s Word and the love of God’s community to establish hope in our hearts.
Proverbs 17:1,4,9,14-15,19; 18:2,8,13,17; Matthew 5:9. All throughout the 17th and 18th chapter of Proverbs there is a running theme of the foolishness and blindness of those who use their words wisely and those who foster discontent. We need to recognize the power of our words and learn how we might relieve discontent and negativity rather than maintain it. This is at the core of what Jesus speaks about when he says, blessed are the Peacemakers.
Look! God is doing a new thing. So many times God surprises us with what God is doing in the world and in the lives of others. So many times we are amazed at who God is. What would you say if I told you that God might surprise you with what God is doing in your life? Could God be doing a new thing in you? Are you being changed by the Spirit?
Joseph was a man who made plans. Faceing the personal tragedy of a pregnant fiancé he planned to ‘put her away quietly’. But this was not God’s plan. God’s plan didn’t protect Joseph or Mary’s honor or adhere to their plans. God’s plan was for the redemption of all creation. How do we learn to give up our plans for God’s marvelous mission in the world?
“Spiritual Recovery: Making Direct Amends”, Pastor Robbie Carnes, Matthew 5:23-24; Genesis 33:1-4; Luke 19-8-9, It is this ninth step in which the rubber of our spiritual recovery hits the road. After we have done so much interior work it is now that we should make amends with those we have wronged so long as we don’t injure them. This is a challenging step and it is important that we do all of the prior work before we try to make amends. With this step we become givers rather than takers, with eyes to see one another as people rather than means to get what we want.
We all know the need to make amends. If we borrow something and break it, we need to replace it. Not only are we repairing the loss, we are repairing the relationship. The destruction that bad behavior and addictions produce need to be amended for. However this is a difficult task. Making amends means we are trying to undo the work of addiction and bad habits in our lives. But this does not guarantee that those we make amends to will accept us. However we know that Christ has made amends for us on the cross, and we are accepted by God because of that. This gives us courage to extend grace to each other and make amends for the ways we have injured others.