Wisdom and Stature! – Part 2

Hello All,

Luke 2:52  “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
 
This is the verse I wrote about 2 weeks ago regarding us, as followers of Jesus, to continually keep in mind.  As a reminder, the last lines written was the question and challenge for us to ask ourselves:  “HOW CAN I GROW IN WISDOM AND STATURE? (and in favor with God and men?) Think about it.  Meditate on it.  Contemplate it.  I believe you’ll find your answers, but the answers perhaps aren’t the point as much as the process of seeking Him is!  I read something to that effect in the Book!
 
The part 2- of Growing in Wisdom and Stature is to encourage us to look beyond just us as individuals in personal growth, but to us as LIFT, as a church that should also be focused on growth in a healthy and Godly way.  It’s not about growth in numbers of people, but about growth in “changed lives” of people!  Those that have been around that past few Sundays have heard the messages from Ken and I regarding the Elements of LIFT and what makes up our values and mission together as a Christian church.  A quick overview is this:
 
Fire- a metaphor of worship as our lives are a spiritual act of worship to the Lord. (Roman 12:1-3)  believe  
Water- a metaphor of belonging together, moving (flowing) in a common direction and being intentional to create a community of believers to encourage, share and hold one another accountable! (Act 2:42-47)
Earth- a metaphor for growth, or growing in faith, knowledge and of course wisdom in our Lord!  (John 8:31-31 and Luke 2:52)  become
Wood- a metaphor of service and ministry as building blocks, together creating and building our church to serve God and others! (Romans 12:4-13)
Wind (coming this week)- a metaphor of the motion of “GOing” for the Lord, on mission into your current realm of life and those around you and as a church body aiding other Christians or people in need around the world! (Luke 10 and Matt. 28:19-20)
 
These are exciting times of growth at LIFT. We have a Servant Leadership team recently formed (elders-deacons) and in the next weeks we will have completed the legal process of becoming a registered entity recognized in Switzerland.  In faith, we will soon find a solution to our limited physical meeting space issues.  There are many ministries that people are involved with from kids, to teens to adults, both men and women.  We are growing!  But let’s be sure to prayerfully lift up LIFT to the Lord and keep asking the question (as a church) “HOW CAN WE GROW IN WISDOM AND STATURE AND IN FAVOR OF GOD AND MEN?”  I believe it is happening already, but my prayer for all of us is to not let the growth and structure of growth supercede the growth in Godly stature! 
 
Looking forward to continuing the journey!  See ya Sunday at the Kirchgemeindehaus!
 
 
In His grip and grace,

Corey

Wisdom and Stature!

Hello All,

I hope that this Lift update, even as it is my first of 2008, doesn’t come across as a “New Year’s Resolution”, but instead as a life long target for Christ- followers to continually strive for!  About 6 months ago, I was encouraged by a friend who shared their insight into trying to look deeper into the very short statement of Luke 2:52.  It wasn’t even the first time I had contemplated this verse, but truly, I’ve been trying to “walk it closer” in my life every since.

Luke 2:52  “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
 
We get this verse from when Jesus was about 12 years old and after this short statement, the Gospel story picks up again when Jesus was about 30 years old and about to get baptized. This verse is about all we’ve got from the Bible to fill that 18 year gap of Jesus’ life and little, if not any, is recorded anywhere else.  What did Jesus do during those 18 years? Where did he go?  What was his life like?  There are some conceivable and even someone credible “suggestions”, but from the Bible we’ve basically just got: “and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”.  

This is a simple statement, but to think that when the account of Jesus’ life story picks up again at around age 30, it bridges what we don’t know to what we do know about His ministry to followed! We know that, in less than 3 years, He changed the world with his Message, His actions and His dying on the cross for our sins and His rising again three days later as a Risen Savior.  To think that he grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men during the preceding time, is something to look into and contemplate.  There is something about this to take from God’s Word and try to apply to our lives here and now.  “To grow is wisdom and stature” seems to mean that I don’t just get smarter about  God’s Word, but grow to understand God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit apply it in my life, daily, this year and for the rest of my life.  “And in favor with God and men” emphasis a priority in life as well. “To love God and love others”, to live the great commandment Jesus gave us as his followers should be one of our priorities which brings a great outcome as well.  As we love God – which by the way is our top priority – we find favor with Him and we also gain favor with our fellow man, if even in God’s eyes only.  

The question that I keep asking myself is, “How can I grow is wisdom and stature?” At one point, I split the two and tried to first consider the wisdom part which can be grown in practical ways with the obvious things like praying, going to church, reading my Bible, studying my Bible (there’s a difference!), asking other mentors/teachers that I value for their insight and learning from what God has been teaching me through life experiences.  I’ve challenged myself over and over to keep trying to figure out deeper aspects of these and to envision other ways to grow in wisdom as well.  Of course, I also took on the other point, which is growing in stature and how I can do that.  Clearly, this verse is mostly referring to a child growing up but since the Gospel account picks up at age 30 for Jesus, there might be more to this word.  Can our “stature” besides growing up, also grow older, more out of shape? My stature sure doesn’t always grow the way I intend it to and my belt size may increase, but my biceps decrease.  So taking care of my body, eating right, exercising, sleeping well and overall healthy living influence my growth in stature .  But, I’ve really been challenged to NOT overly split them and be intentional to do both, grow in my Godly wisdom and live and eat healthy, ongoing and at the same time.  What good is it if I have strengthened my Godly “heart” but then have a “heart attack” with my physical heart at a young age?  What good would it be for me to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (when he was 30 of course; have you seen him lately without a shirt?) but make poor life decisions and miss God’s love for me or lose sight of Jesus in my life?  I’m aiming for long term progress in BOTH, growth in wisdom and stature and all the while loving God and loving others and as a result growing in favor with God (which is enough) and with others (as they will see our integrity as well).  

So again, this isn’t about 2008, but my walk with God, now and for the rest of my life, “How can I grow in wisdom and stature?”  What are ways that I haven’t considered yet?  What are things that I need to improve upon?  What are ways that are working for me?  I’m not perfect, nor do I have it all figured out yet, but I’m definitely going to continue the journey of asking the questions and taking actions along the way to grow in my faith in the Lord!
 
One last thing; “HOW CAN YOU GROW IN WISDOM AND STATURE? (and in favor with God and men?) Think about it.  Meditate on it.  Contemplate it.  I believe you’ll find your answers, but the answers perhaps aren’t the point as much as the process of seeking Him is!  I read something to that effect in the Book!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Looking Ahead!

Hello all,

As we continue our current messages about “GOING” (taking the Gospel Message of Jesus to those around us) in the next weeks, it’s with faith that we continue to go forward and trust the Lord, and leave the outcome to Him!
 
I’m reminded of something I read recently about the names of the “groups” of animals.  You know, it’s a “herd” of elk, or deer; a “flock” of birds, and a “pack” of wolves. The one I like the best is a “CRASH” of rhinos.  Why is it a CRASH of rhinos?  I’m not sure of the scientific reasons, but I like this as the answer;  Rhinos don’t have good eyesight and can only see about 35 meters or so and then things get blurry.  At the same time, rhinos have no fear to go ALL OUT when they run, meaning while running top speed, they can only see about the same distance as it takes to come to a stop……. hopefully!  It can happen that when a crash of rhinos are going all out, and some obstacle comes into sight, they can’t stop in time and…….thus the name crash!  So why wouldn’t they just slow down and be more cautious?  Perhaps that has to do with faith!  I guess when we bring up the subject of faith (especially when God is involved), it’s not surprising that rhinos have an amazing ability to not crash very often!
 
As we GO for Jesus, we can’t always see what is ahead and things may be blurry, BUT God can see the future and it’s completely clear to Him!  As we Go, let’s be sure to hold on tight to God and walk (or run full speed) with Him!
Tonight I will be sharing from Acts on how the followers of Christ took the Message to Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and thankfully for us today, to the ends of the earth!  What’s assuring to us is that as they WENT, God was already ahead of them!   May we GO into our world around us (wherever that may be) as a rhino running in faith, not knowing what is at the end of our vision, and trust the Lord!  He is faithful! 
 
Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.  
NIV
 
Below is a very important announcment regarding our worship service times for the month of June/July.

In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

“JAMES-WISDOM”

Hello everyone,

What does it mean to be smart?  If we look at how most of the world’s education system is structured, it somehow seems to be about “measured knowledge”.  We go to school to study and memorize a lot of knowledge and then take a test to see how much we could keep in our brains.  If you were anything like me, as soon as the test was over, the information that was memorized was emptied out on the pages as well, long forgotten making more room to store information for the next test!  :)  Thus the revolving process of “Easy Come and Easy Go” or perhaps “Garbage In and Garbage Out” (I meant information in and information out!)

The Bible has something to say about knowledge as well, but from another aspect that includes application of knowledge to your life!  It’s called WISDOM! This week in verse 5 of James 1, we will dig in to see what it means for us to ask God for wisdom and how that can help us along in life!  Hint:  Faith isn’t just about sitting back and simply studying God, it’s about putting on our boots and doing like God!

Have you taken a look at the book of James this week?  It’s just a few pages and in 15-20 minutes, you should be able to read the entire book!  In fact, I challenge you to read it once every week until we are finished!  I promise you that it’s worth your time and effort!

Looking forward to seeing you at LIFT this week!

In His grip and grace,

Corey and Tanya