Wisdom

"the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" - the Apostle Paul

Those who think that wealth = happiness, the stock market = economy, and smarts = wisdom, will have a hard time accepting the wisdom of the cross that Paul talks about or what Jesus was doing when he blessed the poor.

For: 
February 2, 2014
Matthew 5:1-12
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Epiphany 4
[God answered Solomon's prayer saying] I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart

God must not like our prayers because he keeps giving us the opposite of what we ask for. We ask for patience and we receive more frustrations. We ask for peace in our household and we receive more conflict. We ask for enough wealth to be secure and we find ourselves jobless and dependent upon the kindness of strangers. I get the feeling that God’s intention is to throw us fully into life, like a baby being thrown into the deep end of the pool. We pray, “Lord give us a firm foundation of truth,” by which we mean that He should make us smart enough to always be right. God responds, “Hey it’s time for your swimming lesson. Keep your head up and remember to breathe.”

For: 
August 19, 2018
1 Kings 3:5-14
Pentecost 15

Today if you want to know something, you Google-it. Works for discovering the lyrics to the song in your head, knowing how to tell if your pomegranate is ripe, and for looking up the population of Canton, Ohio. Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia dispense a lot of useful knowledge — people even buy smart-phones so as to never have this wealth out of reach — but, where is wisdom? What is Wisdom? People should hear about wisdom in church often, because it is our business. Internet-based information sites out perform bricks and mortar religious institutions when it comes to answering peoples’ questions. What keeps us competitive, is our claim that we can help people live better and live with an assurance about eternal realities.

 

It hits me that many of my most life changing moments, occurred in small, Christian, fellowship groups. The foundation of today’s church is a variety of small group experiences where wisdom is shared prayerfully, in relevant and personal ways. Lions may suffer want, but those who seek the Lord — and attend Sunday School — lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10). What needs to be said, is that the message of wisdom is best transferred in the medium of face to face contact.

For: 
August 16, 2015
I Kings 3, Proverbs 9:1-6
Ephesians 5:15-20
Pentecost 15

I like Psalm One, especially with the clear progression of verbs found in the RSV walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands… nor sits. One imagines a young person listening first to some bad advice, then finding himself loitering with the wrong crowd, then in time, becoming fully stuck in an addiction, financial folly, or illicit lifestyle. Wickedness is an active, dynamic thing, until it is not. It is easier to steer a life away from tragedy while it is yet unformed. Be careful the rut you choose, you’ll be in it a long, long, time.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about goal-setting and the role that visioning should play in our personal lives. It seems to me that the wicked are much more intentional about marketing long range self-help than are the compassionate. The wicked begin their sermons with, “You can do whatever you fix your mind to do.” Jesus began his sermon, “blessed are…” He focused on forming the generous heart in his disciples first, before he told them that the goal was to make disciples of the whole world. He began with inner peace and rooted spirituality (taught people how to sit), then branched out to spreading salvation/healing (walk to all nations).

For: 
May 17, 2015
Psalm 1
Mark 4:30-32
Easter 7

“How many of you are planning to make a New Year’s resolution?” I asked a congregation last week. Very few hands went up. I assume that most of the others had already obtained perfection. For me, New Year’s Eve and Day are a time of transition. The stores are closed, meetings are canceled, and I’m afraid to go out on the roads. It is a good time to reflect on what has been and what will be. Again, I made the resolution I only partly kept last year, to be a more loving person. By loving, I mean ‘in the moment,’ and present for the people I meet. I shouldn’t spew the garbage of my lousy day on others. I should be prepared to listen and hear what the person I am facing is concerned about. To be Christ-like, moment by moment, is my on going New Year’s resolution. This is what John Wesley was talking about when he asked the early Methodists to become ‘perfect in love.’  

 

For: 
January 5, 2014
Ephesians Chapter 1
Christmas 2
New Years
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