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making the connection | January 14, 2018

January 10, 2018

A hand appeared and wrote on the palace wall: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin”.

This scene is found in the fifth chapter of Daniel where it tells us of a king who had everything. This king knew how to live life to the fullest. In the midst of one of his wild parties, a human hand appeared. This floating hand wrote a judgment from God onto the walls of the palace. The judgment: “You have been found wanting.” Imagine the wealthiest, most powerful person in the world being judged as lacking contentment or being poor before God.

The story of Daniel 5 is an extreme case of a person being rich in this world, but poor before God. However, we can feel in very real ways, our poverty before God as we struggle daily with contentment. A lack of contentment shows up in our lives in some pretty ugly ways. It shows up in our constant busyness and fatigue. We look to coffee and energy drinks as never before to keep ourselves going. A lack of contentment is also seen in our finances. The debt keeps mounting in order to prop up the lives we want for ourselves. We could go on to talk about anxiety, conflict, and general dissatisfaction. Suffice to say that we desperately need to find contentment, and we can find it in God.

Throughout the Scriptures, God shows people the way to be content in Him. One of the primary ways we discover contentment is by resting in our identity in Christ. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we need to focus on the fact that in God we are accepted and loved. We find freedom from comparison through our faith in Jesus Christ and what He’s done for us. God also calls us to enjoy the good things we already have. Whether we have a little or a lot, we can all be grateful to God that we live and breathe. Life and health are a gift from God. Most of us can add to these things a mountain of other good things to be grateful for. Contentment and gratitude are closely tied to one another. The road to contentment isn’t necessarily easy, but it leads us closer to God. We can find contentment, and be rich in God’s eyes, regardless of what material things we have in this world.  –Nate Metler

  • Read Philippians 4:4-13 this week. What does this passage teach about gratitude, generosity, and finding peace and contentment?
  • Pray for the Lord to help your grow in contentment this week.
  • Make all of this practical by finding a way in the next seven days to be generous, grateful, or to trust God for the strength to make it through something difficult.

Contentment Conspiracy

January 8, 2018

What is it that drives us to want more…bigger…better? Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? How will we ever really know? There is a belief system so strong that it drives our desire with quick fixes and temporary relief, but it’s actually meant to destroy. It’s a system that is broken, and built on a lie. It’s fabricated. It’s not truth. But so many believe it that it could be labeled a conspiracy. A Bigfoot, Moon Landing, UFO sized conspiracy. Unfortunately, this conspiracy holds us hostage to what we don’t have, rather than releasing us to enjoy what God has already lavishly blessed us with. Join us through February 11 for a series that will unravel the lies behind the Contentment Conspiracy. Services are Sundays at 9 and 10:45am.

making the connection | January 7, 2018

January 5, 2018

Although our culture may shift, and the ways we reach people may be adjusted, one thing that remains the same is the truth of God’s Word. As a church body we should be engaging with God’s Word because we know that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) We engage with God’s Word corporately on Sunday mornings and in various Bible studies and discipleship classes throughout the year. But we should also be engaging with God’s Word as individuals. Below are some suggestions to help you do just that.

If you’re new to reading the Bible

YouVersion Bible app and website
If you’re not a big reader, use the YouVersion Bible app or website (bible.com) to have scripture read to you. You can do this while you’re getting ready, driving, cooking, or whenever makes sense for you. You can also use the Bible app/site to find specific studies and reading plans that fit you. They offer hundreds of studies, but a great one for new believers is called What’s Next?

Start in the right place
Another important step in studying God’s Word is to start in the right place. There are 66 books in the Bible so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about where to begin. A good starting place is the book of John (one of the four accounts about Jesus) and a good starting pace is to read one chapter a day.

If you need some inspiration or a new format for your regular time in God’s Word

First 15
This is a daily guide you can access online (first15.org) or sign up to receive via email. This resource pairs reading God’s Word with a devotional, prayer, reflection, a worship song, and a call to action. This is a great option if you want a variety of ways to engage with God’s Word.

Bible app studies
The Bible app/site has hundreds of studies on just about any topic you can think of. Spend some time browsing though to find a study that sounds like the right fit for you. A few WCC staff suggestions are: Doing Things that Matter, Move Toward the Mess: Curing Boredom in the Christian Life, Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul, and 7 Laws of Love.

If you’re ready for a more advanced option
A great option for you would be to read the Bible in a year. To do this you can purchase a One Year Bible that will guide you through this goal, use a Bible app plan like Bible in One Year 2018, or find a reading guide online to print out and use with your own Bible. You could also read the Bible chronologically this year. To do this, you can purchase a chronological Bible, use a Bible app plan like Chronological or find a reading guide online.

SHIFT

January 2, 2018

As we start 2018, there is plenty to look back on and celebrate. But, a desperate, hurting world remains that needs the local church. Our vision, mission, and values are firmly guided by the greatest of commandments and commissions, and we have work still to do. Change is inevitable. Culture is shifting. So how can we respond? The why and what may not have changed, but perhaps the how, when, and where are shifting as well. Join us as we kick off 2018 discussing God’s vision and mission for WCC and how He wants us to respond personally, locally, and globally to the culture shift we are experiencing. Services are Sundays at 9 and 10:45am.

This Winter in Sonlight!!

January 2, 2018

Happy 2018 to all our Sonlight Families!

Be sure to check out our Winter Newsletter which talks about friendships. Friendships are such an important part of each of our lives. Many of us have friends who have been a part of our lives forever. They are the ones that no matter how much time there is in between visits, it is like you were never apart. We also have friends that are part of our life for a season. They are just as important to us. I feel God sends those people into our lives for a short season to help us in our trials.

In Sonlight, kids learn at an early age that Jesus is their “Forever Friend.” He is there for them in all seasons of life and He is there for them forever. He loves them always. This year, I encourage you to talk with your kids about what good friendships look like. Talk about Jesus and how He always forgives us when we mess up and how we can forgive our earthly friends when they mess up. Talk about healthy friendships, boundaries, and the qualities that are important for friendships in our lives.

In this issue of the newsletter, Stephanie Bibler shares about what friendship has meant in her life. She talks about friendship through the highs and lows as a wife and mother.

Praying for you all for a healthy and joyous New Year!

Blessings,

MarianneSig
Marianne Watson
Children’s Ministry Director
Warsaw Community Church

 

making the connection | December 23 & 24, 2017

December 21, 2017

Try for a moment to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. He’s excited about being engaged and looking forward to what life will be like with Mary. And then it happens. He receives the news that somehow Mary is pregnant. How can this be?! All he knows is that it wasn’t him. How could Mary betray him like this? Who’s the guy? If you were Joseph, you would be filled with hurt, frustration, and a deep sense of disappointment. The future you envisioned is now gone.

But wait, just like the surprise twist in a good story, God lets Joseph in on His plan and the role their family will play. An angel tells Joseph, “do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Really?! How? Does God do this sort of thing? But what if this is really true? This would be incredible! The Savior of the world would come into the world through our family. Why would God pick us? I can only imagine the conversations that Mary and Joseph had. What started out as a story of disgrace and shame turned into one filled with hope.

I know none of us can match this turn of events in our lives. However, I hope you have experienced God take what seems like a hopeless, dead-end situation and turn it around. God is all about taking the messes in our lives and turning things around. God knows the pain, disappointment, and brokenness that living in this world brings. He sent Jesus to live among us for a while so we could better relate to God and see first-hand His incredible love for us. I want to encourage you to look to God for help and guidance to get you walking on a path of hope. Maybe you have something you are facing that seems pretty hopeless. Give God a chance to speak into your life and show you what redemption looks like.

Be encouraged with these words written about Jesus from Hebrews 4:15-16, This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Scott Nieveen

 

making the connection | December 17, 2017

December 13, 2017

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” –C.S. Lewis

A new heaven and a new earth is where this is all headed ultimately. This is the hopeful expectation of every believer. So why do we try so hard to wring all the enjoyment we can out of this life? Heavenly peace is not possible when we only live for the things we want in the here and now.

Redemption is not an escape from our earthly life. It is reclamation of our earthly life. When Jesus died, God wasn’t done with His old body. His resurrection body was His old body made new. God is not done with these bodies or this earth. Our old bodies will be made new, and this old earth will be made new.

Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body – which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, and that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in heaven. And that it is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy.

Our culture’s bucket-list mentality reveals a distorted view of redemption. We end up thinking, “If I can’t live my dreams now, I never will.” or “You only live once.” But if you know Jesus, you go around twice – and the second time lasts forever. It’s called eternal life, and it will be lived in a redeemed universe with King Jesus.

The typical view of heaven – eternity in a disembodied state – is not only completely contrary to the Bible, but it obscures the far richer truth; that God promises us eternal life as totally healthy, embodied people more capable of worship, friendship, love, discovery, work, and play than we have ever been.

The risen Christ said, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones.” (Luke 24:39) The scars testified that His new body was the same old body made new. Likewise, we will be ourselves when we are raised. Without continuity between the old and the new, resurrection would not be resurrection.

C.S. Lewis sums it up nicely at the end of The Last Battle. “All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page. Now, at last, they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Such is the vast and far-reaching redemptive plan of King Jesus. – adapted from a message by Randy Alcorn[1]

[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/c-s-lewis-on-heaven-and-the-new-earth-god-s-eternal-remedy-to-the-problem-of-evil-and-suffering