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Thank you all for your feedback from the sermon on Sunday. I’ll get to that shortly.

Thank you all so much for helping Connor have a good experience.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many lessons he learned that “you cannot teach in seminary”. 

Since last summer our goal with Connor has been to give him as many real world opportunities in local church ministry as possible.  With those in his back pocket he will be in a better position to discern God’s will and calling on his life. 

One of the roles of a local church is to identify men who could be potential leaders of local churches down the road, train them in the local church and observe them, give them opportunities to serve and then help them with formal seminary training.

What a thrill to know that God has been using RVC for that very thing in the life of Connor. There are others who have experienced similar aspects of this at RVC and have gone on to ministries in one form or the other.  Praise God for the privilege and opportunities we’ve had to grip hands with those seeking to serve.

Now on to Sunday’s message.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance for Christians to make Jesus their first default when encountering issues of uncertainty be they career opportunities, conflict with one another, health concerns, call to ministry, etc.  Jesus first. Jesus first.

In some ways the local church has become so inundated with good alternative sources of wisdom for conducting ministry that we lose sight of our first response, which is to go to the throne that offers mercy, grace, and help in time of need.

Business approaches to ministry can help the local church in many ways such as casting vision, mission, and learning leadership and management principles. But we do not replace the Word of God with business models. 

The same with music.  If the purpose of our use of music is to entertain and wow folks, we will not be preparing them to depend on Jesus when the music stops. We can learn a lot about music genres and new songs, but we go first to the purpose of music, which is to put Jesus on display, not ourselves.

And so it is with the explosion of efforts to drive culture, and the local church to lean heavily on counseling.  There is a massive need for mental health assistance in culture and in the church.  No one can deny it. I myself have directed many of our sheep to qualified Christian counselors over the years. 

But Christian Counseling cannot be the first move we make when confronting challenges as followers of Jesus and within His Church. Jesus first. Jesus first. Jesus first. And the Word of God has given us such excellent guidance for how to approach many situations that arise in our lives.

The more we draw closer to our Savior, who has passed through the heavens, and the less we depend on others to solve our problems, the more we will grow in our walks with the Lord and “soar” to new heights in our spiritual maturity.

If God has isolated you for reasons you do not understand and cannot control, it may be His grace and gift to give you greater opportunity to be increasingly more dependent on Him.  

God wants all of us, not just part of us. And my goal as your shepherd is to push you to Jesus first and to His Word for help in your time of need so that you become less dependent on specialists, friends, spouses, parents…..or even your shepherd.  

Tough love, but love nonetheless.

Rescued by Christ Alone,

Shepherd Tim