Wednesday, May 20, 2009

for attaining wisdom...(4)

Proverbs 12:15; 13:,10; 15:22, 16:20; 18:17.

Even Alan Sugar has his advisors – Margaret & Nick. Proverbs is clear that the attainment of wisdom is rarely a solo exercise. All of us can be quick to form opinions and come to conclusions about issues that confront us in life – our view on how church should be improved, the problem with some person or activity, or what would be best for us. The danger (indeed likelihood) is that our assessement will be lacking in some respect and won’t take into account all the factors. Unchecked we can get into all sorts of mess.

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (12:15)

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (15:22)

It’s why God in His wisdom ordained collective leadership in churches – elders accountable to each other. It’s why Christians are called to be part of churches and open to mutual correction and instruction (Col 3:16). It’s why being part of a small group, or a prayer triplet and having good Christians friends, that we share with and listen to, is so vital if we are to make wise choices in life. It will require humility – yep, your idea isn’t always the best! Your opinions aren’t always well founded! Your instincts and preferences might be very misjudged!

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (13:10)

I’ve been in church leadership long enough to both bear the scars but also appreciate the great truth of one of my favourite Proverbs…

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. (18:17)

So hit the 'pause button' on yourself - seek some godly counsel. You're not alone for reason.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Praise Gathering 09

Over 400 voices from 128 Scottish churches join together for 3 evenings of praise, accompanied by the PG band and special guests Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Fri 12, Sat 13, Sun 14 June - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Book now - if you've not done so already.... CONCERT HALL BOX OFFICE

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Piper on Preaching

Wise words for all who preach and all who listen...

Source: Scott Hamilton's Resolve Blog

Monday, May 11, 2009

for attaining wisdom...(3)

Proverbs 10:19, 13:3, 18:13, 21:23, 29:20

Oh to have 'the gift of the gab', not to be tongue tied with reaction times slightly less spontaneous than a large government department. No one is excited by 'ums & ers' or a request to think things over a little longer. No, we want Jonathan Ross (without the sweary bits obviously) - instant comment & opinion given with assurance and force. We want the instantaneous wisdom and wit of a West Wing walk down the corridor - the show where no-one ever said, 'derr , I'm not sure, what was that again?...' The quick-fire reply is the mark of authority in our 24/7 sound-bite media age.

But, fellow ditherers - don't be too intimidated...

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. (Pr 10:19)

He who guards his lips guards his life but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Pr 13:3)

He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame. (Pr 18:13)

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. (Pr 21:23)

Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Pr 29:20)

It might not be cool and media savvy - but a wise & considered response leading to a good outcome is much preferred in God's book (literally). So better to take a little time, admit uncertainty, even say nothing - than to spout forth words that fill a gap but can't meet any need.

Friday, May 08, 2009

for attaining wisdom ...(2)

Proverbs 24:17

Popular culture says ‘follow your heart’. Don’t repress your feelings but let them out. The idea of ‘a stiff upper lip’ or surpressing your emotions is seen as restrictive and harmful. The Bible on the other hand doesn’t see our feelings as always healthy or being a good basis for how we should approach life – because like every other part of us our feelings and emotions are fallen. Not that they will always be misplaced but that they always need to be assessed by a higher standard – the Word of God.

Do not gloat when your enemy falls, when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
Or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.
(Pr 24:17)

There will be times when we must master our emotions – reign them in and resist their pull on us. Note that the proverb sees emotions as something we are to control – there is no sense of, ‘I can't help it, it’s just how I feel’. So when that bully of a boss, or that obnoxious neighbour, or that meanspirited church member comes a cropper – we must put down any feelings of glee or satisfaction ('do not let your heart rejoice'). We must pull our hearts back into line with God’s.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

for attaining wisdom...(1)

Proverbs 12:16

We've all been there. The email that seems, to us, to be a bit off-hand, a bit condescending, a bit presumptuous, a bit unfair, a bit disrespectful - that is, a bit wounding to our ego. As we scan it we feel our chest tightening, our breathing becomes a little shallower, the blood is pumping faster - then like a demented woodpecker we're off furiously tapping the keyboard and with a flurry of CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!! - the reply is sent.

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. (Pr 12:16)

Real strength is not to 'hit back' but to 'sit back' - and have a sigh and a smile at the email and your reaction to it.