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Main St. temporarily closed on Wednesday evening, July 23

Main Street will be temporarily closed from Elm Street to the Avenue beginning at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 23 for a town event - a concert and Chicken BBQ in the park. Access to the church for regular Wednesday evening activities is available from East Avenue. 

 

America Through the Years

By Pastor Ben Hiwale

America became a free country on July 4, 1776; however, what many may not know - or remember - is that America is also a nation under God founded on Christian principles.

54 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christians, 27 held theology degrees. Our first president, George Washington, took the oath of office and put his hand on what? (The Bible).  What was his first official act as President? (Kissed the Bible, then held a 2-hour praise & worship session in Congress). How did they determine to open sessions of Congress? (Prayer). Who would lead in those prayers? (Chaplains). How would they be paid? (Tax dollars). Does all of that sound like they wanted to keep God out of government? By the way, opening in prayer is a mystery to investigate. Why is it that the little boys and girls cannot, but the big Congressmen can? Who decided to put “In God We Trust” on our coins? (Because they pulled a fast one on a government that wanted to keep God out of government!) Congress adopted it in 1956!

In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office. In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation. The GETTYSBURG ADDRESS states "...this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom..." 94% OF THE WRITINGS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE U.S. CONTAINED QUOTATIONS FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS OF ALL 50 STATES MENTION GOD.

On that First "Thanksgiving", who do you think the people were giving thanks to? To God!

The famous "Liberty Bell" has part of Leviticus 25:10 inscribed on it: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Personhood

By Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div.

President/CEO, CompassCare

It is an outrageous injustice that the personhood of any human is a matter for political debate. Yet that is exactly what has happened with preborn children. Much like Blacks in Great Britain and the U.S., and Jews in Hitler’s Germany—preborn babies have been stripped of their personhood. When the personhood of a human is denied or ignored, that person can be treated as an object to be used, manipulated, or disposed of at the whim of the powerful. For anyone to determine the criteria for who qualifies as a human is an act of unparalleled arrogance and the very fountainhead of mass human injustice. Furthermore, for anyone to accept such insidious self-appointed power and not destroy it is to accept that the vulnerable can be owned by the powerful. To not stand in opposition is an act of complicity denying the very nature and image of God in each person, an act which ultimately is a denial of God Himself.

It is for this reason that Christians, like you and I, are often found at the forefront of the epic battles against human injustice. When confronted with this depth of human atrocity it is our belief in the Creator God that causes a righteous rage to resonate in our souls. Humans are the crown of His creation, made in His very image and likeness. Any dehumanization of this form is not only an affront against every human, but against God Himself. You and I understand that any criterion used to disqualify a human from personhood can never be anything but arbitrary and capricious. This is why Christians were instrumental in fighting British tyranny, with men like Rev. John Witherspoon and Rev. Jonathan Mayhew at the forefront. This is why we saw men like Rev. John Wesley, Rev. James Ramsey, and Rev. John Newton rise up against slavery in Britain. This is why we saw a man like Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer plunge headlong back into Nazi Germany, away from American safety, knowing that death could await him for his actions. These men prayed, they preached, they wrote, they ran for political office, they picked up arms, they assisted with ‘underground’ operations, and whatever else might affect the change required to protect the dignity of the disenfranchised and dehumanized.

These great Christian servants recognized that they had laid all claim to themselves at the feet of Jesus and now lived only unto Him and in service to Him for their fellow man. They were wise, swift, resourceful, insistent, indignant, unrelenting, and ultimately victorious. They implicitly understood God’s expectation upon His faithful to, “Remove the evil deeds from My sight” (Isaiah 1:16b), and that this required ongoing and arduous effort. It is only logical that for great evil to be eliminated only those who know God as the Standard of good are able to recognize evil and be the first to stand against it. An evil world cannot be expected to stand against evil. An unjust nation cannot create for itself justice, having no knowledge of the Good, which can only be found in God.

God commands His people to, “Learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:17), according to His moral code. He commands us to, “Reprove the ruthless,” to restrain anyone who oppresses another. He demands we, “Defend the orphan,” and actively pursue justice for those who have no father—protecting and providing for them. He expects that we, “Plead for the widow,” standing for those who have lost their standing. Our task is to leverage our resources for the weak, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized because we reflect our God who did this for us in Christ.

You and I understand that only in this battle against sin is there hope for the world, only in our struggle against injustice can the vision of the gospel be fully realized in our lives. “Come now, let us reason together...though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow...If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land” (Isaiah 1:18-19).

What does abortion represent? The greatest injustice the world has ever seen, with an annual death toll of 40 million worldwide, 1.2 million in the U.S., and New York State as the abortion capital of the nation. Women are never more widowed than when facing unplanned pregnancy. They have been intentionally abandoned, not only by boyfriends, but by a culture of ‘independence’ that screams, “You are on your own!” Children are never more orphaned than before birth, having been dehumanized by the U.S. Supreme Court and thereby officially excluded from all legal protection and recourse. 

It is because of Christians just like you, intolerant of human injustice, that great crimes against humanity have been identified and eradicated. It is through the sacrificial service of Christians, just like you, that God will encourage other believers to always be ready to rebuke, defend, and plead. It is because of Christians like you that the inhumanity of the world has been and can continue to become ever more humane and welcoming for each person, no matter their stage or station in life.

P.S. For more information visit CompassCare’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/CompassCareCommunity

 

 

Is the Church Caught between Methods and Message?

 

By today’s standards in the American church, Jesus wasn’t cut out to be a pastor, nor would His ministry be highlighted as a model for church planters. Consider these facts:

Jesus had the greatest preaching, teaching and healing ministry in history. Thousands came to hear Him, followed His every move and lined the streets to get a glimpse of Him or simply touch Him. Yet amid His rock-star popularity, He intentionally offended religious leaders, challenged potential mega-donors and weeded out casual followers with tough teachings. Not exactly the textbook strategy you’d find today to grow your church, much less your Facebook likes and Twitter followers.

After Jesus spent three and a half years ministering to thousands, His church consisted of only 120 disciples gathered in the upper room. And even that was a low turnout, considering He had appeared to more than 500 people after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6).

But we know the rest of the story: how the 120 quickly became 3,120 and grew daily to where even unbelievers credited Jesus’ followers as those “who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). The truth is, we know that Jesus’ divine church-growth tactics surpass all others—with the proof being a global church that, 2,000 years later, refuses to die while it works to fulfill His Great Commission.

Why, then, do we in the 21st-century American church focus on all the elements that Jesus didn’t? He focused on training and equipping 12 disciples; we focus on growing our crowds and spheres of influence, regardless of whether those people follow Jesus. He preached an uncompromising message of truth; we sugarcoat the gospel until we’re saccharine-high on deception. He walked among His enemies in love; we ostracize our enemies by blasting them for all their sins.

Indeed, most of the U.S. church is enamored with size over substance and microwave growth over true reproduction. Research shows that while 235 million people call themselves Christians, only 40 percent of those meet regularly with fellow believers and only a fourth (at most) read the Bible on a regular basis. It’s time we discovered the marks of the real church, measured by Jesus’ standards rather than our own trendy metrics. 

Who Will You Be?

By Lynn Metier

Many years ago a philosopher named Rene Descartes claimed: "I think; therefore I am." The world considered his deductive reasoning profound. But many years before that statement was uttered, Jesus had said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)  That statement truly is incredible. Jesus - in just that one sentence - was claiming to be the DIRECTION in which we must go, the REALITY that we must know, and the PURPOSE for our very existence.

Are you just wandering through life; bumping along from one circumstance to another; reacting to one crisis after another? Look to Jesus. He has a plan for your life. “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for peace and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)  Perhaps you are unsure of your way because of darkness. Psalm 119:105 tells us that God's word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Jesus is the Living Word of God, for, as Peter pointed out in his first epistle (2:21), Christ left "an example for you to follow in His steps". If you are following Jesus, you are going the right way. Any other direction is a mis-direction; meaning, you took a wrong turn. How do we avoid those erroneous turns? By studying God's Word because that is how we keep our eyes on Jesus. Isaiah 30:21 tells us:  "And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk ye in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." After Jesus rose from the dead, an angel at His tomb instructed the women who had come to anoint the body to tell His disciples not only that Jesus was alive, but also that He was going before them into Galilee, just as He had previously said (Mark 16:1-7). Jesus does not leave His followers wondering where He is or how to get to Him. He gives us “the way”.

Jesus also claimed to be “the truth”. This implies much more than just being a person of honesty and integrity. Jesus was saying that He is authentic, genuine, without hypocrisy. He is sincere, pure, and without pretense. Isaiah 53:9 states that there was not "any deceit in His mouth"; and Hebrews 13:8 assures us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever." In other words, Jesus is REAL and an unchanging REALITY. In our Western culture especially, we are so attuned to and impressed by the physical world that we struggle to comprehend the reality of the spiritual realm. But the spiritual is actually more real since the physical is only temporary and is dying, decaying, and passing away. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Mark 13:31) He also said, “If you abide in My word... you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31,32)  

Word Watching

There’s an old adage that we’d do well to follow. It is: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” After all, God does. To question the Lord’s intentions, or doubt His accuracy or truthfulness is to be of a devilish mindset (Genesis 3:1,4). But to always speak truthfully, and that includes speaking with complete accuracy with regards to spiritual reality, is contrary to our fallen human nature (Isaiah 6:5), and we need to be aware of that battlefront.

I recently heard someone say, “Third time’s the charm.” Not for Christians! Instead of mindlessly agreeing with that saying, we need to realize that our faithful God, who is “working in us that which is pleasing in His sight” (Heb 13:21), patiently and repeatedly prompts us to keep trying until we get things right, or learn to persevere! The reality is there is no such thing as ‘luck’ (‘good’ or ‘bad’!), ‘fortune,’ ‘mis-fortune’ or ‘chance’ (in the mystical sense of those words), (magic) ‘charms’, etc., for those who truly believe in an almighty, sovereign God, so we need to be very careful how we use those words. Don’t they make us sound like the world? Charms, luck, chance, etc., are part of the vocabulary of superstition, witchcraft, and paganism – denying the reality and power of God. “ ‘But I say to you that for every idle (or careless) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’ ” (Matthew 12:36,37) Jesus said that. Do you think He means it? “God is not a man, that He should lie, … has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) He also warned: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:2,3) While these verses certainly pertain to gossip and other types of wicked speech, they can also be applied to words spoken carelessly or in ignorance, which are contrary to the reality of our salvation. God knows everything we say and even think (Psalm 139:4), and He is fully aware of our lack of comprehension (darkness) behind too much of it.

“So what’s the big deal?” you might ask. “They’re only words; they’re harmless.” Are they? Proverbs 18:21 declares: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and James warns us about its use and misuse (James 3:1-10). We don’t really comprehend the power of words or their effect in the spiritual realm. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11) Remember, God uses ordinary people to speak His word so that He alone will receive the glory for the extraordinary results (2 Corinthians 4:7). Remember also that our God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing (Psalm 33:9)! That’s POWER! 

Letter from our new Youth Director

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have been given the privilege of working with the youth of Koinonia Fellowship on Wednesday nights in the Agapé Hall. In January we went through the book of Jonah together and we saw how God could take a stubborn, racist, bigoted prophet who had run away; save him by booking him a three night stay at the Whale Motel; take him right back to land; send him on his way to a city filled with people he legitimately hated; and use him there to bring about one of the greatest revivals in history.

We have had some guest worship leaders join us each week and it is so beautiful to hear the kids singing their hearts back to Jesus. I have truly felt His sweet presence in the room as we have gone to His feet in praise. I know He is working in our hearts. It’s so refreshing to get to sing with these kids!

We have an incredible group of leaders who are committed wholeheartedly to these kids. Their desire to see each student grow and develop an individual faith is clearly seen. It is truly an honor to get to work with these leaders.

In February we began going through Colossians. This book was on my heart because it is a practical book filled with wisdom and encouragement. Each and every letter Paul wrote to the churches was written to build them up and encourage them. He gave practical advice applicable to the situations they found themselves in each day in the time and place they were living in. This letter is just as potently relevant today as it was then. Kids are dealing with hundreds of different stimulants and activities. They need simple, positive input from people who love them to death and want what’s best for them. Paul knew this about the Colossians, and sought to encourage them, so we are going through his letter to them today.

Our ministry vision for Accelerate is “Teaching young people the Bible. Leading them as disciples of Jesus. Aiding them in living out their faith in daily life.” In spending time with the kids each week we are able to have conversations with them. These conversations often lead to teachable moments where we get to talk about how we can live like Jesus in the simple situations in our lives.

Worship Wars

I once heard about a conversation that happened after a Sunday morning service. One person complained that the worship band was terrible. His friend reminded Him that the worship wasn’t for him, it was for God! Sometimes we forget that.

We all come into the Church community with a culture, a context, a history, and a background of personal preferences. And with a mix of all of those, we have our own worship prejudices. We have an opinion on the songs that are sung, the number of words in those songs, the familiarity or lack of melody, and of course the ever-popular “volume” issue. It’s too loud or it’s too soft! Some like piano music, a solo acoustic guitar, or the full onslaught of a big rocking band with guitars-a-blazing!

Depending on your own Church history, tradition, culture, and context, we all have “comfort zones.” We all have personal preferences that help us connect with the Lord and express adoration of our great God through the songs we sing. I have the great privilege of having many seasoned saints who have tracked a lot of time with Jesus, encourage me and express their joy when we sing the hymns. I also have many people who comment that they appreciate the new music we are doing that is currently being shared in and through Church communities across the country.

The tension among a congregation between singing the “oldies” and reaching forward with new songs from this generation continues today. Some churches even split over opinions and preferences when it comes to worship music. We, by God’s grace, at Koinonia have a very loving and gracious flock that spans a broad spectrum of Church tradition. I am so thankful for that! The older saints often like the memorable and familiar hymns while the younger generation connects with songs rooted in different ethnic and modern expressions. And then there is every opinion in between.

The reality is that much of what we currently call “contemporary” worship is actually, from a cultural aspect, about 15 year old! If we truly wanted to have music that was “contemporary,” we would have a techno-urban, bass-booming, rap-laced worship service. For some that would be heaven, for some it would be hell. Regardless of our culture, our context, or our comfort zones, worship is not about you or me! It’s all about Jesus! His glory, His faithfulness, His truth, His might, His salvation, His heaven, His judgments, His righteousness, His blood, His cross, and His worth! (Revelation 4:11)

Memorial Stones of the Rock

By Domenico Danesi

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River the Lord commanded Joshua to choose twelve men to each take out of the midst of the Jordan a stone (Joshua 4:5). What was the purpose of these 12 stones? “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying what mean you by these stones? Then you shall answer them, that the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord: when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)

As parents, we too are living stones (I Peter 2:5)! What we do and say will be a memorial for our children. How we live outside of the church walls is as important as how we live inside of them on Sunday. The easiest place to speak and act like a Christian is at church. We may be able to fool some people but we are not fooling our children. They live with us, they know us. Our children see us fail, they hear us lose our tempers. They know us better than we think.

One Wednesday evening the children viewed a Torchlighters Voice of the Martyrs video about Samuel Morris. This young African man was only 20 years old when he died of hypothermia but he touched so many people across the world for Jesus. This story made me wonder, will we be able to impact our children for the Gospel? Will our lives be like the memorial stones that were taken out of the Jordan? Will our lives be remembered for generations to come? When people ask your child, “What is the meaning of that photo?” or” What is the meaning of that old Bible you always read?”, will your child respond, “This was my father who served God with his whole heart” or “This was my mother, the best example of a Christian I ever knew”?

The good news is we have the “Captain of the Host of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13) to lead us. Just like Joshua was called to lead the Israelites, we are called to lead our families into the Land of Canaan (Christian life). There are many battles as Christians but if we “follow the Captain” He will fight for us! When it is all over and the battles have ceased, let us leave a memorial stone that reminds people of the Rock; “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:18) Let the memory of our lives serve as a reminder to the generations to come that “the Rock” Jesus Christ lives forevermore!

 

 

 

I Will Hope Continually

By Pat Tharp

Meditation: Psalm 71

Hope…it is a powerful ally to the heart. It will give a person strength to wait, endure, and keep moving forward despite the adversity around them. Medically, statistics show that people who have hopeful expectations of recovering from illness often heal quicker and live longer lives despite physical adversity. Many testimonies during the holocaust revealed that those who lost hope died quicker than those who had the “hope” of being set free. Hope is often the buoy that preserves us over those stormy waters.

But true and enduring hope for a Christian needs to be more than “wishful thinking” or a peppy optimistic viewpoint; it must be anchored in a solid and immovable foundation, because “hope” will be tested in the storms of life. Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “Hope itself is like a star - not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” No one needs hope in the days of answered prayer, smooth sailing, and sweet days of rest and relaxation. Hope is like the necessary oxygen our bodies need; it is the air of our spiritual lives.

Paul penned a chilling description of our lives “before” Christ in Ephesians 2:12. He wrote that we at one time were, “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Having “no hope” and “without God” is a dark place to be! “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Verse 13. Amen!

A heart that has present hope and a future hope anchored in Christ will worship! Psalm 71:14 says, 

“But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” As children of God our hope in Christ works in us in amazing ways. 

We have a hope…

  • That rests…Psalm 16:9
  • That takes courage…Psalm 31:24
  • That doesn’t disappoint…Romans 5:5
  • That makes us bold…2 Corinthians 3:12
  • In this life…1 Peter 1:3
  • That testifies…1 Peter 3:15
  • That purifies…1 John 3:3
  • A hope that calls…Ephesians 1:18
  • In heaven…Colossians 1:5
  • That is anchored…Colossians 1:23

A heart that is hopeful because it is anchored in the hope bought and brought by Jesus will sing, praise, and worship with a present assurance and a future confidence that come what may, you can say, “It is well with my soul.” Dear Saint, don’t lose hope because of where you may be now. Hope continually in the One who is our hope…Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

“Accelerate” Youth Ministry

By Pat Tharp

Back in March of 2011, the Leadership Board here at Koinonia gave me the amazing privilege to lead the Youth Ministry. It has been an incredible 3 years, and by God’s grace I was able to serve, share the word, and see many young people meet Jesus as they entered their teen years, left their teen years, graduated, went off to work or to college, and some even prepared for marriage.

It has been a journey that has been fruitful, satisfying, sometimes demanding, a few times heart breaking, but all the time worth it! And as with every great journey that begins, each one has an ending. For me, through much prayer over the last year, discussion with my wife, family, and the leadership board, my season in youth ministry has come to an end.

As an Elder here at Koinonia, I will continue serving on the board and leading the Worship Ministry and other related areas of responsibility. However, my ending is not the end of the Youth Ministry but it is the joyful beginning of a new chapter of a new work, with new opportunities and a new leader.

It is with great pleasure and thankfulness that I introduce to our church Family and Youth Ministry, the new Director of the Youth Ministry, Collin Zweigle.

The Lord has been preparing us for this young man for a while. My path with Collin actually has intersected on numerous occasions. I once heard from a friend about 6 years ago that there was a “young guy who leads worship that you need to keep your eye on.” That young guy was Collin. Over the years Collin has ministered in a worship band that we have had at some of our events, and in life and ministry I have seen him from a distance and up close demonstrate a faithful and genuine love for Jesus and others. He once even gave me a gospel track in Canandaigua at a 4th of July Celebration! I was able to give it to some kids who didn’t know Jesus.

God’s sense of humor, providence, and planning never cease to amaze me. I am very thankful for Collin and the way the Lord has brought him here, and His plan for our church family. Collin is not just “stepping in”, but in God’s design he is bringing fresh vision, passion, and a pursuit of Christ with an aim to lead our young people as life-long disciples of Jesus Christ who hit the target of His purpose for their lives.

As Moses passed on the ministry to Joshua and Paul poured into Timothy, I am beyond blessed to affirm and introduce Collin as the new Youth Ministry Director. He is a graduate of the Calvary Chapel school of Ministry, where he earned a Certificate of Theology, and his last ministry position was at Browncroft Community Church, where he led a branch of their Youth Ministry. Collin is currently a part-time student in his second semester at Monroe Community College. His desire is to transfer into Nazareth College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program in the fall of 2015.

 

Physical and Spiritual Fitness

By Lynn Metier

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service of worship." (Romans 12:1)

When we as believers begin to understand even a little of what God has done for us, then we want to serve Him out of thanksgiving for His gifts and blessings to us. Paul tells us to do this by being a "living sacrifice", by surrendering our bodies to the Lord's use. Let's think about this. We're not urged to present our spirits or our souls, but our physical, temporal, earthly bodies. Of course, to be fully surrendered to God means to let the Holy Spirit control our spirits and souls too, but Paul makes a point of exhorting believers to take conscious, deliberate action in presenting our bodies to God. Why? Well it's rather obvious that, if our bodies are dead, we'll no longer be able to serve God in this physical world. Only He knows how many of His saints have been limited in their ministries, or even been prematurely removed from them, because of failing health brought about by their own ignorance, neglect, or even abuse. Yes, God is sovereign and He knows the number of our days, but that doesn't negate the natural consequences of the choices we make concerning our bodies. Galatians 6:7: "whatever a man sows, this he will also reap" also has a very practical and true application to our earthly body, and neglect or misuse of our body ALWAYS (barring God's miraculous intervention) - sooner or later - will have a detrimental effect on our soul and spirit as well.

One of the erroneous philosophies of mankind is the notion that the spiritual realm is somehow disconnected from the physical; that, in order to be "spiritual", one should ignore or even abuse the physical. While that ideology is clearly prevalent in Eastern mysticism, Western culture has gone to the opposite extreme in glorifying the physical, often even while still abusing it! Neither way is God's design or desire for mankind, whom He created in His own image (Genesis 1:27). So what is our attitude supposed to be toward our bodies? Well, Paul's exhortation continues: "And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2) Paul is here telling us that we've got to change our thinking. This is where we must start. We have to look at the beliefs that are behind the habits we've formed - dietary, exercise, work and rest patterns, etc. - and assess them in light of God's word and will for us. We're not to live the same way as the world does! So, since we're to reject the world's attitudes and ways, let's see what the Bible says about our bodies.

Giving Myself Advice

By Pat Tharp

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and give yourself advice for the future? It sounds like something from a sci-fi flick, but if we could, we’d all probably make the trip. Looking back at our lives as parents, we see a lot of broken things. We have regrets, failures, and a number of things we wish we “did differently.” Our hearts of love for our children make us want to “spare them” the grief of what we went through.

We see in the Bible many examples of fathers and mothers giving advice to their children, exhorting them with wise counsel and knowledge to make wise choices - like King David did to Solomon, and King Solomon did to his children. As parents, we always want to protect our kids from doing the same foolish things we did and not repeat the mistakes we made. If I could go back and speak to Pat as a teen I would encourage him with a few things. (There are probably many more!) Maybe these are some of the things you need to share with your young person as they walk in this world.

 

  • Know that Jesus loves you no matter how badly you’ve messed up, or where you are today. That moment or mistake is only a page in your life, it’s not the end. Jesus has much more for you! For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

  • Trust your parents. They aren’t as dumb as you think, and you’re not as smart as you believe. They love you more than you’ll ever know. God gave them to you! Talk to them, they probably have some wisdom that will be helpful to you. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;” Proverbs 1:8.

 

  • Save your virginity for your future marriage partner. You will have no regrets when you say “I do” on that day. Your purity will be the greatest gift you can give your spouse. If you’ve blown it, there is forgiveness from Jesus and he will give you a clean start, 1 John 1:9. Guard your heart and your relationships. “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7:27

 

  • Make choices with a long view in mind. Studying hard, applying yourself, saving money, and planning wisely will all reap a blessing and a benefit that in this moment are unseen, but in those future days will be very evident to you. Good and godly choices are worth it! “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37

 

  • “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come…”Ecclesiastes 12:1. Walking with Jesus is not something you want to put off for a “later time.” Days, weeks, months, and years will fly by. We are a vapor and there really is not a lot of time on this side of eternity to waste. Walk with Jesus, get to know Him, and see the amazing things He will do in your life as you do.

 



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